we lack problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Isaac Asimov said, "Violence
is the last refuge of the incompetent."
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it
were a nail.
Learn to be assertive with others. Assertiveness is tactful but firm; it
is reasonable. Aggressiveness is inconsiderate, unreasonable, abrasive, and
often an unfair angry over-reaction. Obviously, there will be less anger if you
can be assertive rather than aggressive. Again the distinction between
"swallowers" and "exploders" is useful. Swallowers need to learn to express
their feelings, to stand up for their rights, to state their preferences and
opinions, to immediately negotiate minor inconveniences or irritants. This is
assertiveness. Quick effective action avoids the build up of anger, ulcers, and
explosions. Exploders need to reduce their impulsive, hurtful anger, find
better tactics for reducing conflicts, and, perhaps, learn ways to be more
positive and empathic. Both swallowers and exploders need to be assertive.
See method #3 in chapter 13.
Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person,
to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right
way--that is not easy.
Be empathic. See the Longfellow quote at the beginning of this chapter.
The least angry people are the most able to understand others, able to put
themselves "in the other person's shoes" and realize their motives and pain.
It is a life-long, unending task to know or intuit the inner workings of others
and to view every human life as a kindred spirit, in the sense of "but for the
grace of God, I would be that person." See method #2 in chapter 13 for
empathy responding and method #4 in chapter 14 for tolerance through
determinism. The most soothing reaction to hostility (your own or someone
else's) is genuine empathy.
Practice emotional control by role-playing. There is no better way to
learn new and better ways of interacting in difficult situations than to practice
over and over with a friend. Watch how others handle the situation. Try out
different approaches, get feedback, and practice until you are ready for real
life. See method #1 in chapter 13.
Learn to "fight" fairly. When you find our someone has been lying to
you, you may feel like yelling at them or even hitting them. That isn't very
smart. A reasonable solution is unlikely to come out of a big nasty verbal or
physical fight. So, chill out. Some therapists recommend fighting "fairly." To