Aggressive behavior may be caused by a lot of factors such as stress, illnesses, personality traits, situations, etc. When you find yourself in the presence of aggressive behavior, remain level headed. Walk away if possible. If you have to deal with it, here are some things you can do.
- Practice effective communication. Miscommunication is often the cause of tension between people. When talking with an aggressive person, or if you have aggressive tendencies, talk clearly. Avoid using words that trigger hostile reactions. Pay attention when the other person is speaking and avoid cutting in. Learn more about how to be an effective communicator to cope better with aggressive behavior.
- Prevent further aggression. Separate the person from the thing or situation that’s provoking his aggression. Take him into a quiet and safe place and encourage him to take deep breaths. Don’t let him have access to potentially harmful objects which he can use as a weapon against himself or others.
- Provide an outlet. When the aggressive person is in a safe place, let him have an outlet for his aggression. Releasing emotions is healthy, not only psychologically but physically as well. This outlet may be sports, hobbies, chores, exercise and the like. This may take the form of verbal, written or artistic expression. Have him choose an outlet that he’s comfortable with.
- Identify the source of aggression. When the source of aggression is isolated, it’s managed better. Make the aggressive person pause and think about what’s bothering him. Before you do this, you must get him into a relaxed mood to enable clear thinking.
- Identify the purposes of aggression. Behaviors often have a purpose. Let him ponder on the purposes of his aggression. Then, help him find alternative behaviors to meet those purposes.
- Encourage non-aggressive behaviors. Pay attention whenever the aggressive person is behaving properly and politely, and ignore aggressive behavior when possible. Praise the person when he’s being assertive and non-aggressive. When this is done consistently, he may adapt the desirable behaviors.
- Get psychological counseling. A psychologist is capable of treating aggressive behavior. He determines the cause of the person’s aggression and may prescribe medications or therapies to treat it.
- Get support. There are plenty of support groups for aggressive behavior, including anger management groups and the like. Support groups are not limited to organizations. They may be friends, family and health workers who are concerned about the aggressive person’s welfare. A supportive network greatly helps people who have problems.
- Use restraints or sedation. When the aggressive person is causing severe harm to others or himself, it may be necessary to restrain or sedate him. You can only do this if you have the right to do so; such as if you’re a health care worker or police officer. Usually, this is done only as a last resort.
Aggression is a normal emotion and is shown by different kinds of people all over the world. However, it becomes harmful when exhibited frequently, forcefully, and inappropriately. Aggressive people must learn to manage emotions before acting and deciding. Seek help from a psychologist and those who are capable of treating aggression. This article doesn’t replace their services.