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10 Aug 2016 17:36 UTCWed 10 Aug 2016 - 5:36 pm UTC
I've read articles like this - http://www.fastcompany.com/3032351/the-future-of-work/why-venting-about-work-actually-makes-you-angrier
that make the statement venting actually makes things worse.
But I'm interested in the causal side of this. WHY does venting make things worse? I'm kind of looking for a step-by-step guide to why it's a problem and how it has a bad outcome.
11 Aug 2016 11:48 UTCThu 11 Aug 2016 - 11:48 am UTC
Why does venting make things worse?
From 6 Virtues, and 6 Vices, of Venting
6 Vices of Venting
1. It can damage, or even destroy, relationships. If you habitually rely on another to vent negative feelings, you may eventually exhaust their patience and lead them to feel that their own wants, needs, and feelings have very little importance to you.....
2. Choosing to ventilate directly to the person who upset you (typically, not a very prudent move) can actually increase your level of distress. Depending on their response - and you can generally assume that such individuals are either insensitive to your feelings or, frankly, don’t much care about them - you’re likely to feel even worse than you did earlier....
3. In the moment, emotional ventilation can feel almost like problem-solving: By airing out the problem, you’re doing something about it. But if viable ways of effectively confronting the problem actually exist - and the problem demands to be confronted - mere ventilation is a poor substitute for taking appropriate action. In fact, in many instances venting, by partially relieving your distress, can be counter-productive by making you less likely to act constructively in your behalf. Paradoxically, such venting, at the same time that it opens up self-expression, can also close it down - in ways that ultimately could be harmful to you...
4. Venting can be a way of denying any personal responsibility for the situation that’s so disconcerting to you. In tone and substance, it tends to be both blaming and self-righteous, to presuppose a certain moral superiority. Obviously, it can be comforting to see yourself as a victim of someone else’s unfairness or disregard. But it hardly facilitates your appreciating the subjective validity of their viewpoint. In other words, it can be polarizing in a way that’s not particularly healthy - and certainly not very productive
5. Although venting is frequently viewed as cathartic, in that it can lead to substantial emotional release, if it’s done with the wrong person(s) or with too much vehemence, it can also backfire. Angry venting, in particular, can antagonize another - and their response to your impassioned discharge could then be similarly heated. In short, your inadvertently prompting such a negative reaction in your confidant(e) can, in turn, lead you to become even more upset - surely, the opposite of experiencing any sort of catharsis or improved mood.
6. In regularly venting your frustration or anger, you’re in effect practicing it - and thereby becoming more 'skilled' at it. This will make you more likely to get upset by future disappointments, even relatively petty ones.
From How Venting to Friends Can Make Things Go From Bad to Worse
In a study that focussed on people with some traits of perfectionism facing daily setbacks, venting to a friend often made them feel less satisfied about their circumstances than before they talked about it. Study professor Dr. Joachim Stoeber a psychologist at the University of Kent in England, noted that the study’s focus on people who have a perfectionist personality was significant, because they are generally less satisfied than others with daily setbacks.
Read: Worry and anxiety linked to high IQ?
The study found, instead, three other strategies that were effective coping strategies for people dealing with setbacks: acceptance, humor and positive reframing, which means looking for something good in the otherwise stressful event.
"It’s no use ruminating about small failures and setbacks and [dragging] yourself further down," said study author Dr. Joachim Stoeber, "Instead, it is more helpful to try to accept what happened, look for positive aspects and - if it is a small thing "have a laugh about it." He goes on to say that: "The finding that positive reframing was helpful for students high in perfectionistic concerns is particularly important because it suggests that even people high in perfectionistic concerns, who have a tendency to be dissatisfied no matter what they achieve, are able to experience high levels of satisfaction if they use positive reframing coping when dealing with perceived failures."
From That's just rude
Incivility in the workplace
Incivility is also increasing at work, according to research by business professors Christine Porath, PhD, of Georgetown University, and Christine Pearson, PhD, of the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In a 2011 survey of workers, they found that half reported being treated rudely at least once a week - up from just a quarter in 1998.
All that rudeness comes at a price, warns Michael Sliter, the former bank teller. In a study of 120 bank tellers published last year in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Sliter and his co-authors found that incivility - defined as low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect - made a big difference. Incivility from customers and co-workers increased tellers' absenteeism. It also decreased their sales performance, a rating that reflects the average number of recommendations to customers to open new accounts, try online banking, schedule a meeting about a mortgage or similar referrals that customers pursue.
In an earlier study of call center employees, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in 2011, Sliter and colleagues found that both the source and the target of incivility make a difference in outcomes. Incivility from customers had a bigger impact on well-being than that from fellow employees. And workers who are easy to anger seem to experience more negative effects from conflict with customers.
"Workplace incivility - people being rude or not refilling the coffee pot when it's empty - may seem like a relatively minor thing," says Sliter. "But the fact is that it's incredibly frequent and can have huge negative impacts on individuals."
You might want to take a look at the following:
Why venting at work doesn't help
Effects of Habitual Anger on Employees’ Behavior during Organizational Change
Kristin Behfar on How We Fight at Work, and Why It Matters
Don’t Hit Send: Angry Emails Just Make You Angrier
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