To resolve angry conflicts use empathy; when possible view others with unconditional
positive regard; think like a scientist=determinism (the universe is unfolding as it
should) rather than being upset; if you cant have both fairness and happiness, choose
happiness; use your hostile energy to do good rather than to spew hostility; bad karma
Level V: Become aware and neutralize unconscious causes of
Avoid put-down games. Transactional Analysis describes several
common interactions that either degrade and hurt others or build one's ego at
the expense of someone else. For example, a person might unconsciously
place others in a position to fail (e.g. a parent criticizing the housecleaning of
a child or a teacher assigning very hard problems to students) and thereby
make themselves look super competent. Much of our gossip is an "Ain't it
awful!" game in which we get support from each other by putting down
others. Read more about games in chapter 9.
Disliking others is costly. Research confirms that hot headed, hostile
people prone to cynical, antagonistic interactions (compared to less angry
people) are, as you might expect, less open-minded, less tolerant, less
understanding, less socially responsible, and more likely to have chronic heart
disease. There are many good reasons to get serious about reducing our
anger and critical intolerance. Becoming aware of unconscious processes, like
games, is not easy, however.
Look for unconscious payoffs. Conscious payoffs were discussed
above, including using the threat of anger to manipulate others. At the semi-
conscious or unconscious levels there are more hidden rewards, such as a
boss blustering around implying some people may be fired to build his/her
own ego. Other examples: fighting to avoid intimacy and dependency (see
family conflicts section above), getting mad to justify breaking up, building a
resentment of another group or race to justify discrimination, getting mad at
parents about assigned chores to justify "forgetting" to do them, etc.
Vicious anger is usually just another way of laying on a guilt trip.
A common "game" used by us as children involves making a parent mad
so that he/she feels guilty, then the parent will give us--as a "poor little
victim"--what we want. So your anger may be part of some one else's scheme
to manipulate you, i.e. another person is profiting from your loss of emotional
control. Another example: There is considerable sick satisfaction in being able
to drive someone else "up the wall." Kids do it but it isn't just a kids' game.