Here are five healthy and mindful ways to respond when you find yourself dealing with a verbally aggressive person:
1. Choose KindnessPeople who are verbally aggressive may have a past history of violence. When they begin to raise their voice or show anger, they are most likely expecting you to get angry in return. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, don't raise your voice. Attempt to have a calm conversation. If it's clear that they are too fired up, be the bigger person and walk away before things get out of hand.
2. Try to Calm Things DownNurses often need to apply non-physical methods to keep verbally aggressive patients from escalating. Follow steps similar to the ones below to attempt to calm the aggressor:
- Identify the person's level of aggression on a scale of 1-10. If there is a potentional for injury, call for help.
- Attempt to understand the meaning behind their aggressive behavior. Listen carefully and let them know that you are hearing them and understanding.
- Try to connect with them. Use language such as "I understand why you would be upset" or "I can see how that would be frustrating for you."
- Find a solution to their needs. Ask the aggressor what exactly they want or need, then find a compromise.