So what I really meant was…
“I’d like to help but I can’t do so if you swear at me or continue to raise your voice.”
In difficult situations staying calm will create an atmosphere that is least likely to escalate tempers. Issuing commands, yelling, or swearing back generally stokes the flames of anger and the argument will spiral out of control.
Yet, ignoring the swearing or yelling by continuing to help someone who is treating you inappropriately is not the answer. Never accept demeaning language or behavior as this will encourage more of it in the future.
If the other person grabs you by the arm, don’t lose your calm. Face him or her squarely and repeat your request, “Look, nothing is accomplished by shouting. Let’s sit down and discuss this in a civilized manner.”
If the angry person continues, you can repeat yourself one more time: “As I’ve said before, I do want to help, but I cannot do so if you raise your voice and swear at me. And if you continue, I will walk away.” Be prepared to do so.
If the behavior continues, quietly walk away.
by Alison Pouslen, PhD