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Preventing Anger Outbursts At Work

by Anonymous

Over the years, I have noticed that I have suffered from anger outbursts at work that could easily have been avoided. Now I realize that they were all a build up of unspoken anxiety caused due to particular situations at work. However, I would like to write a particular situation which happened to me recently.

I had started my new role as an administrator and I actually felt I was happy and doing well until I started to realize that a particular member of the administration team was acting immaturely towards another member.

At first, I was feeling lucky that I was not the target and I actually expressed that the perpetrator had actually been nice to me so far and could not really understand why she was acting this way. It so happened that a friend of mine pointed out that this particular person had also said things about me, mainly that I was a difficult person to work with since recently I had made some lateral moves at work.

I took this badly as I never expected it, more so since I was told that this person had said that someone had actually taken the trouble to phone her up and tell her about me. From there, I think it was a downward spiral because today I realize that my anxiety started getting more out of control even though this person ended up being confronted by the whole administration team one day (though I happened to be sick on that day).

I was really hurt and this is not the first time that it happened. It's like a vicious circle and I feel that I actually end up confirming the rumors about me! It so happened that I had several challenging situations at work which I felt I tackled quite well until one day my boss said something and within minutes of hearing it, I threw a kind of tantrum.

Some staff were shocked but I have to say that my main reason for my outburst was because of my fear and pain at being talked about and because my peer administrators showed lack of support during my outburst which was unusual as they had showed me support before. I was embarrassed and very hurt to say the least but I have found the courage to move on.

Anyway, I now realized I should have controlled my anger and funneled it into healthy anger and calmed down somehow. I have learned a lot about myself and I have learned that I need to love and appreciate myself more before I let myself be hurt or influenced by others.

I am working hard to improve myself but I still feel I need some more sound advice on how to switch off instantly once I feel an outburst coming to prevent any future problems. Also how do I become less sensitive to other people's comments about me?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I respect your integrity in taking responsibility for your own growth and development as a person and professional. That is the starting point to effective and lasting change.

You asked two things: how to switch off instantly when you feel an outburst coming on, and how to become less sensitive to other people’s comments about you. I will answer both.

First, it is next to impossible to stop an outburst, once it has started coming on. That’s because it comes from your subconscious and emotional mind, and it literally “has a mind of its own.” However, you can prevent the outburst from coming on, by doing all of the exercises described on this FAQ page. These are powerful tools, but their power is only available to you if you use them repeatedly, until you develop skills in using them. Using these processes (which include journaling), you will also address your second question regarding sensitivity to others’ comments about you.

Regarding sensitivity, it’s not an unhealthy thing. It’s healthy to be sensitive, and to be able to respond in strong and effective ways when your sensitivities are touched. The outbursts, as you have experienced, are neither strong nor effective. You can look forward to being both sensitive and aware, sensitive and in control of your emotions, and sensitive while also communicating in an assertive, appropriate manner.

You can do this. I can tell you’re an intelligent person, and I’m sure you will follow my recommendations to improve.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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