April 25

Fear turns into Anger into Violence

How we behave

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Symptoms to watch out for, and what to do about them.

When people fear for their lives or their livelihood is threatened they either come out fighting, or they isolate themselves. This we all know as fight or flight, but there is more to it than that. Where does Logic come into it? Because both of these are emotional responses and therefore are mostly unconscious automatic responses. You may not even be aware that you have been triggered to fight or run and hide.

What causes people to get angry to the extent of violence? It’s not logical, right? At least it doesn’t seem to be logical to anyone observing that.What causes anger often is not fear alone, it’s fear of being Hurt. The Hulk turns green when he gets hurt. The hurt makes him angry, and he changes state. Not too far off what actually happens to all of us. Some people run and hide when they are hurt, because they believe they cannot win, and don’t have a chance. Often they just don’t know how to fight. While others whom have experience in fighting, seem to find the will to fight, even if it seems futile.

But hang on. We all have fight or flight responses. We’re all from cave man. So what’s happened to us over the thousands of years of evolution. It’s happening right now with Covid19.

A large population are hunkered down at home, still in their pyjamas and do not know what to do. While others are finding ways, still from home, to reach out and connect via online. Some are building new plans or reworking old ones. Maybe doing some learning to further themselves.

And we hear about yet another group whom have resorted to violence at home. The friction of being confined with the same people for long periods seems to trigger their stress and any little thing becomes a fuse. And it’s a very short fuse.

However the fuse isn’t the person at the receiving end, they just happen to light the fuse. The fuse goes back to the HURT. When we are hurting either Emotionally, Financially or Physically this creates a situation that is a fuse for fight or flight.

Understanding these 3 factors will help deal with the hurt rather than salvaging the post effect of the triggered response. Right now some people are hurting financially, and this creates a fuse that is easily triggered by the wrong question. Like “Why don’t you do something?” POW! BANG! TWANG! It didn’t take much.

We’re not directly being hurt physically, although for some people whom are in isolation, self-isolation, or infected this is a serious physical hurt. Anger is ok as long as it is not physically targeting others. I mean, it’s ok to be upset. To yell and scream. It is a hurt.

What about emotionally getting hurt? Rhetorical question? Sorry about that. We’ve all been there at some point. This is about values or beliefs that are being challenged or compromised.

So, what’s the point of sharing all this? Well, to put it simply: when we become aware of what is going on between our ears, we can turn on our conscious brains, and we become logical rather that getting emotionally triggered.

When we understand that the financial situation could have a solution, we work towards looking for that solution. Knowing which of the 3 hurts is taking place is like being a surgeon. A surgeon doesn’t get caught up in what you feel and how it hurts you, they focus on the reason for that. They look to remove or correct the thing that is causing the hurt, and the emotional response related to that. Fix the cause and the pain goes away.

Help one another to identify the cause behind the anger, frustration, or violence. Before logic can have space to process, first the hurt needs to be understood and flushed out.The brain shuts down all unnecessary functions when in fight or flight, because it needs everything directed to muscles, to fight or run. Logic is not a necessary resource and at best is given very little energy directed to that part of the brain.

Some people seem to be calm under all kinds of pressures. They have learned to control or suppress any hurt so that they can fully access their logic brain. Do you know people like that? I am sure you do. Ask for their help. Maybe they don’t even know they do that.

Good luck. Help one another. Anger is not the answer. It just makes more hurt.

About the author 

Nagui Bihelek

Nagui is an entrepreneur, public speaker and thought leader on Behavior in the workplace. As founder of AccuMatch the neural map of individual and team behaviors in the workplace and creator of Behavior Intelligence coaching to transform culture and inspire positive action and collaboration.

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