“Real World Portland” went out with a bang tonight as last week’s dispute over dog poop escalated into a serious altercation between Nia, Johnny and Averey. Also, still upset over Jordan restraining her in the first fight with Averey, Nia turns to Dom — a tough-guy trainer she met in Portland — to help send Jordan an unpleasant message.
The roommate drama usually simmers down by the “Real World” season finale, but tonight’s episode was the most explosive yet, as tempers flared and many unresolved issues resurfaced. We spoke to anger specialist Dr. Eva Feindler about what went down, and how to avoid or diffuse similar angry episodes in our own lives.
ACT: What can bystanders do when they witness an angry episode?
DR. FEINDLER: Do your best to calm everybody down. Understand both sides of an argument and try to steer both parties away from each other, or back to the real issue at hand. On “The Real World,” nobody ever addressed the real problem: Who should clean up after the dog? This is something that could have been calmly discussed, or even decided at the start of the season when the dog was first introduced to the group.
ACT: How can people avoid fights like the one we saw on the “Real World” finale?
DR. FEINDLER: Don’t let something boil for too long. At the first sign of a disagreement, see if there’s a way to work it out. If, like the “Real World” roommates, you’re stuck working or living with someone you simply don’t get along with, create boundaries and take some sort of nonviolence pledge.
ACT: What causes violence in the first place, and how can we avoid it?
DR. FEINDLER: Oftentimes, people who have been hurt as children or adults cover that hurt up with violence. But becoming the aggressor usually only leads to further victimization and alienation. The best way to avoid anger is to be more internally reflective and ask oneself, “What’s really going on here? What am I really upset over?” The person standing in front of you may have simply triggered something you've been feeling for years.
ACT: How can one stay calm when an interaction is on the brink of becoming an argument?
DR. FEINDLER: Manage your internal temperature. Take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and calm yourself down so you can think more clearly. Anger is not the problem. Everybody gets angry. It’s about the tipping point — the boiling point — the point at which anger becomes explosive. That’s the point we need to avoid by stepping out, or breathing in, or exiting the situation altogether.
ACT: What are the best actions to take following an angry encounter?
DR. FEINDLER: There needs to be a cooling off period. Some separation. And everyone needs to apologize and accept his or her role in the argument. Apologizing is a sign of strength and maturity. Whether you feel right or wrong, apologize for the situation and be genuinely sorry the whole thing happened.
ACT: At what point should someone seek professional help for feelings of anger, and how can we show young people there’s nothing wrong with getting help?
DR. FEINDLER: Everybody’s got s*** in their past, so having been through therapy is a good sign. It’s great to talk and analyze with somebody who’s not your friend or parent. It doesn't mean you have a problem, it just means you want to figure yourself out better. (End of interview)
The Portland roomies dealt with some serious drama and differences, and taught us a number of priceless lessons in the process. Even their most extreme situations were fueled by emotions that all of us feel sometimes. If you or someone you know needs help controlling their emotions or drinking habits, check out MTV’s Half Of Us for resources by taking action below.