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Although discussions of workplace violence in the wake of the Virginia shooting have centered around how employers can handle volatile employees, this isn't just an issue for managers: The people who have to work side-by-side with short-tempered or confrontational workers also need tools to cope with these difficult colleagues.

Obviously, the vast majority of people — even the most unpleasant ones — never commit violence, but working with them can be mentally and emotionally draining.

This can be a tough realization for some, but trying to “rescue” a perpetually angry colleague is likely to just leave you feeling defeated. “Displaying self-discipline can deescalate a situation because [you] are aware of [your] attitude and behavior and can make adjustments accordingly,” says Lisa Barrow, a consultant and speaker on workplace bullying.

They may use subtle scare tactics, or they'll rapid-fire questions at you.

Don't show that you are intimidated, but control the way you react.

But the good news is—if you’re stuck under the thumb of a less-than-stellar superior—there are strategies for managing her particular strain of craziness.

(For more on the importance of managing up, click here.)For expert advice, we spoke to Nicole Williams, Linked In’s connection director and author of “Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success,” and Leigh Steere, cofounder of Managing People Better, LLC, a research endeavor that studies differences in management styles.

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