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I think the co-worker fighting is normal here: (YouTube) Horrifying office fight (Leaked video). It happened to me as well quite a few times with different bosses. How to handle in this scenario in Buddhism?

It's related to this previous post: Dealing with Anger and Criticism. But that does not directly answer my question. Some solutions may take a 500 lives to practice too such as master in patience as story of Buddha himself so minimum is 500 lives. The situation may could lead to continuous karma such as injury, unhappiness in the company or even death in some cases. We just have few seconds of thoughts in this event of karma.

Any other quick guide? I tried these quite useful. Assume the "boss" is aggressive and unreasonable type

  1. Personal message or personal discussion with the boss before the karma happens. i.e. if u start to scream like the other day, then how to manage ya. I can't talk properly when being screamed.

  2. Can we talk about this in an hour time later ? Or just walk out of the place by saying "I need some fresh air". This tip eventually given from #1 above.

Another solution provided in minute 2:03 of (YouTube) 4 Types of Workplace Bullies, for #1 screamer: she said can we have discussion in a respectful way. What if the boss said "No! get the F out of here?" and continue screaming?

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+50

I think the co-worker fighting is normal here

I don't think it's normal. Only once in my 40-year career (working in offices) have I heard someone raise their voice in anger. Slapping somebody is unthinkable, I imagine someone would be fired, criminally charged, or sued.

Any other quick guide?

Two come to mind.

  1. When I was a teenager, a young Quaker (i.e. a pacifist) said to me, "I'll discuss anything with anyone! But as soon as it turns into an argument I walk away."

  2. There are a few people (army recruits?) whose job it is to be shouted at -- which reminds me of SN 35.88

    "Punna, the Sunaparanta people are fierce. They are rough. If they insult and ridicule you, what will you think?"

    "If they insult and ridicule me, I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with their hands.' That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone."

    "But if they hit you with their hands, what will you think?"

    "...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a clod.'..."

    "But if they hit you with a clod...?"

    (etc.)

if u start to scream like the other day, then how to manage ya

I don't know why people shout, it's possibly to establish dominance or social hierarchy -- i.e. they are trying to manage you, and don't want to be told that you see the situation as being your managing them.

That's the message I read from the body language of the first few seconds of the first video you posted, i.e. "I can hit you (because I'm superior) and you're not allowed to hit me."

I can't talk properly when being screamed.

Yes it's difficult, and I'm not sure the person can listen properly when screaming.

My personal experience of being shouted at is that it eventually begins to affect my emotional state too, for example beginning to trigger a primitive "fight or flight" reflex -- and like getting drunk, that's a situation I prefer to avoid. To recover from that altered state, I like (as you mentioned) "some fresh air" i.e. to go for a walk -- or a nap (some sleep).

It is a stressful experience though, so might result in "post traumatic stress" to some degree.

It's also an experience you might get better at with experience.

My final bit of advice is this: there are good ways to react, and bad ways. If you try all the good reactions you can think of and they don't seem to work, do not try the bad ways! It may be tempting ("If A doesn't work then try B"), but try not to get led into bad behaviour.

I think it's possible, even, that the person shouting is (consciously or otherwise) trying to make you behave badly. "I think they're insubordinate and hard to manage. I shout at them ... and look, they shout back, which proves they have an insubordinate attitude, proves they're in the wrong (and I'm right)!"

And that reminds me of SN 7.2 -- don't partake of the anger, don't participate.

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  • the boss i mentioned confirmed with mental illness but director also same i guess so keep them working there. in my city, we have 39% people diagnosed with mental illness in 2016. not sure about now cause i can't find the national health care report since ever. probably government scares to post it Sep 11 at 14:33
  • Most mental health symptoms have traditionally been divided into ‘neurotic’ or ‘psychotic’ symptoms. ‘Neurotic’ covers those symptoms which can be regarded as severe forms of ‘normal’ emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or panic. Conditions formerly referred to as ‘neuroses’ are now more frequently called ‘common mental health problems.’ Less common are ‘psychotic’ symptoms, which interfere with a person’s perception of reality, and may include hallucinations such as seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling things that no one else can. Sep 11 at 14:35
  • if u go HK for a visit. u can see every one out of 3 streets that u walk can see people quarrel. typical reason for those people are free thinker, overly chase for wealth. well, for my case, is political unstable, higher crime case and economy downturn making really worse. the video with a man slapping a woman, is from Singapore. that is common :) Sep 11 at 14:38
  • youtube.com/watch?v=EsYRQkmVifg --> this is another from HK at public area. to handle this is simple, just say sorry boss and let him win, then enjoy a fresh lemon ice then karma ends. but, if he is my boss then i can't do same thing every time. Sep 11 at 14:44
  • this is more like a city problem. Glad to hear that your city not impacted yet. This is Skid Row in USA near Hollywood. 5:30 got explain why this happen - youtube.com/watch?v=vTJWdtX90C0 Sep 11 at 14:49
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The immediate concern with an angry person is that they might hurt you, physically or otherwise undermine your well-being.

The situation might provoke you to let anger loose which is the nut worst outcome and it would be better if they killed you. This is because your wrongly directed mind will hurt you much more than an enemy can ever do.

One should not strike a brahman, nor should the brahman let loose with his anger. Shame on a brahman's abuser. More shame on the brahman whose anger's let loose. (Dhp 389, loose translation)

Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy, Or haters, one to another, Far worse is the harm From one’s own wrongly directed mind.

Niether mother nor father, Nor any other relative can do One as much good As one’s own well-directed mind. (Dhammapada v 42-43, translated by Gil Fronsdal)

In general we should think about everybody as being like ourselves and that we would be acting in the exact same manner given the same amount of delusion & due conditioning.

If we think about it, we might realize that we should want our enemies to come to their senses and become Arahants. That would be great for everyone involved and many would profit from their victory.

In the meanwhile we should sympatize & be compassionate to all beings unconditionally because we are just like them and we want to sympatize & be compassionate towards ourselves unconditionally.

We shouldn't punish anybody because we will inevitably get into the habit of punishing and that will also turn against ourselves as we thus cultivate cruelty. We punish ourselves by punishing others.

We shouldn't seek revenge because that will make us go out of our way on the path of vengence and with that we aren't training and aren't letting others train, indeed we get disturbed by disturbing others.

We should learn to protect ourselves from unruly people and we should learn to protect others from our ugly qualities.

Therefore

Do not consider the faults of others Or what they have or haven’t done. Consider rather What you yourself have or haven’t done. (Dhp, flowers)

“He abused me, attacked me, Defeated me, robbed me!” For those carrying on like this, Hatred does not end.

“She abused me, attacked me, Defeated me, robbed me!” For those not carrying on like this, Hatred ends.

Hatred never ends through hatred. By non-hate alone does it end. This is an ancient truth. (Dhp dichotomies)

Our own behavior needs to be restrained as we should take care not to trigger others if it isn't beneficial and appropriate.

This question has good answers on how to guide others without force Does accusation helps a person change his values or a better ways is to tell a story with moral?

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  • well, this ques more like to handle the person in anger that almost turning to a real fight. may be no time to read sutta or meditate during that few seconds moment. Sometime keep quite or avoid this person not working. Sometime even worse or they become more angry by telling the person u are reading sutta cause different from their written truth or religion. Sep 12 at 7:22
  • Eh.. you have to do preventive conditioning and a lot of it. There are no techniques to stop you in the moment, your reactions depend on your judgement of the situation and the power to exert impulse control in order to stay rational. It takes a while to develop rationality, interpersonal skills, learning to talk appropriately and dealing with unruly people.
    – user8527
    Sep 12 at 9:06
  • Well, if count to 10 consider or talk a deep breath a technique ? Its needs practice. Now smart watch also can read whether u are angry or not. Is a technique too right ? Sep 12 at 15:49
  • Some people are angry but they dont aware they are angry Sep 12 at 15:49
  • 1
    @little star - unfortunately this isn't a website that promotes discussion. Users post a question and select what they might deem to be the right answer. They may or may not use the voting system when choosing a correct answer. This comment section is generally for clearing up any discrepancies with an answer.
    – Max
    Sep 13 at 12:16
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In Buddhism, We follow Maitri Bavhana (Meditation). This is the best place to start. Regardess the religion we can do this. There is a variation which my uncle recommended me to try out and as per my personal experience. It works out great.

In Maitri Bavhana we

  1. Feel metta for yourself
  2. Feel metta for your parents, teachers, animals, friends around you

In this variation, as per your highlighted environment (Office environment) You could try this excercise for 21 days continuously. I am trying to translate my best from my native language Sinhalese to english.

  1. Choose a comfortable place where you are not disturbed by other factors
  2. Close your eyes and keep your hands together in the Meditation method
  3. Think about your happiest place or about a calm environment (A forest maybe), hear the birds chirping
  4. Say these mentally, repeatedly in a slow phase
    1. If your boss is really angry at you always, say
      1. "May [Boss's name] be happy and peaceful
      2. Be healthy and strong
      3. Be comfortable and convienient"
    2. If it is a trouble/problem, replace te [Boss's name] with [Your problem]

First day do it for 1 minute or two, day-by-day increase the duration of your exercise. Do this continuously for 21 days. The max duration can be set to 1 hour.

If you feel that you are getting on your nerves, it is the time to mentally repeat this exercise with replacing yourself to [Boss's name].

We do not need 500 lives to master patience as Lord Buddha himself has taught how to master patience during this lifespan

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Found this answer from Doc Conte. A psychologist that handling angry prisoners for more than 20 years

  1. People yelling and screaming because they're expressing their "pain"
  2. Don't "just" stop people from angry or feed into their anger
  3. Find a "safe space" to discuss their anger. i.e. the tip/guide given from question above.

Key is how to find and practice the "safe space".

2ndly, Doc mentioned people scream because they're in great "pain" too perhaps from some other reasons, understand that will swift feeling from anger to compassion to understanding to problem solving.

This guy appear to be a Buddhist too. Try to spot from the picture.
enter image description here Doctor Conte - How to talk to angry people

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  • He's a psychologist, not a psychiatrist.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 14 at 13:15
  • When you posted a bounty message it was to ask for "a canonical" answer" -- on this site that would usually mean an answer that's based on the Buddhist canon.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 14 at 13:17
  • FWIW it's true he appears to be a student of Zen -- this book description says, "Distilled from many years of study Zen Buddhism, Zen Parent, Zen Child is a book that brings the reflections of a 2,600 year old philosophy to present day parenting."
    – ChrisW
    Sep 14 at 13:20
  • @ChrisW modified. 2ndly, "a canonical" answer" --> sorry i did miss that. will take note of that Sep 14 at 15:11
  • I think he's implying the root cause is "pain"; my impression was that it's an attempt at coercion (a kind of threat or violence) and of domination. I wonder if we're both right; or whether there's a difference in context, e.g. as a psychologist he's seeing patients (in pain and) being treated by him, whereas the context described in the OP seemed to bullying in the workplace. So maybe there's some selection bias.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 14 at 17:12

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