There are 3 reasons why someone gets angry, and knowing them can help you understand yourself, and the people around you, a bit better. And in a bad situation, just might save your hide.
From Les Carter’s The Anger Workbook (via Marc MacYoung), the 3 root causes of anger are:
– Preserving essential needs
– Preserving self-worth
– Preserving core beliefs
Let’s play the “Why’s he so pissed?” Game Show:
Question – You flirt with someone’s wife and he gets all aggressive.
Answer – His wife is an essential need for him, and you’re jeopardising that (at least, he thinks you’re a threat to his marriage, even if you were just asking the time).
Question – Taxi drivers get all pissed when they’re stuck in traffic (and often do dangerous things to get through that traffic as quickly as possible).
Answer – They don’t get places, they don’t make money. Essential needs.
Question – You’re not supposed to talk about politics or religion at a bar. And most bars tend to get a majority of their customers supporting a single sports team.
Answer – Smart bar owners know not to step on people’s core beliefs (e.g. religion and politics), especially when they’ve had a drink in them. And people (I’m guessing mostly those with low self-worth already) tend to base a lot of their self-worth in their favourite sport’s team. Possibly why some people get so pissed when “their” team loses (and why it’s good to not be supporting the “other” team right in front of that guy).
Question – You say something embarrassing about a colleague (in front of the boss) and he gets all huffy and upset?
Answer – Bonus! 2 possible answers. Essential needs &/or self-worth. Nothing like making a guy worry about his job (that he needs to get money to buy food for his family). There’s also nothing like making him worry that he’ll be thought less of at work (which might be important to his self-esteem).
Why do I care about all this?
Just knowing about these 3 things isn’t going to make your life all rainbows and unicorns, but “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” (Jung)
When it causes violence
Among the many, many causes of violence, some will inevitably be because you threatened a guy’s self-worth, core beliefs or essential need. If this is the case then, like many others have said before me, a simple and sincere apology can go a long way to stopping the fight before it starts. So if you’ve knocked a drink onto him, dented his car, flirted with his girl, you don’t have to know which of the 3 things you’ve stepped on, you just have to know that maybe you screwed up, and it actually is your fault.
So if you know it might be your fault (and you want out of the situation), then a solid apology has a chance of working.
And if it DOESN’T work, then you know that maybe something else is at play. Maybe it’s a Territory Defense issue (in which case you need to LEAVE to stop the threat to his essential need). Or maybe it’s a Status-Seeking Show, in which case the threat to his self-worth only stops when he starts hitting you.
So for me, the 3 roots of anger model gives me 2 things:
1 – I understand that it genuinely might be my fault, so a solid apology goes a long way.
2 – If the solid apology doesn’t work, to stop bullshitting myself and know that if I don’t get out, the physical violence is probably going to start soon.
This explains so much (about SJW’s)
Why do social justice warriors cupcakes get so upset over seemingly stupid shit? Easy, they’ve obsessed so much over a narrow range of ideas (their “politics”) that they’ve made their self-worth dependent on their core beliefs. And they’ve turned these core beliefs into an essential need (notice all the hysteria that makes it seem like they can be murdered by offensiveness?).
This is why a “wrong” word can make someone act so angry you’d think mommy forgot to cut the crusts off their sandwich <sad face>.
When a normal guy gets pissed off because his car got damaged (essential need), he can maybe be talked down if he can see that it won’t affect his needs too much (getting to work etc.). But social justice warrior cupcakes? They’ve stacked all 3 causes of anger on top of each other, intertwined them so much that if one of the 3 causes of anger is “triggered”, they all are.
Why do you think SJW’s always lie so much? To protect not only their core beliefs, but their self-worth and their very needs as well.