Advertising
Advertising

Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps

Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps
Verbal bully
    Verbal Bully

    If bullies were actually like Nelson from the Simpsons, they would be easy to avoid.  Unfortunately, most of the verbal abuse you will ever experience in life will come from co-workers, friends, or family.  The people you like or love are often the worst offenders, whether they meant to or not.  Even worse, most of the verbal attacks will not be obvious or cutting, but instead, they will be subtle and sarcastic.  Individually, small verbal stings may not feel painful, but over time, these stings can take a toll on your confidence, stress levels, and relationships.

    You won’t have time to analyze the attack and think about how to defend against it.  That’s why it is important to have a response ready for any type of attack in any situation.  The following two steps will show you how:

     

     

     

     

    Step 1: Remove Yourself from the Role of a Victim

    You may be confronted with a snide remark such as, “Are you always this absent-minded?”

    Advertising

    How would you respond?  Would you become defensive and say, “I am not absent-minded!”?

    Many of us would be caught in the moment and become defensive.  Some of us would freeze and say nothing.  But the last thing you want to do is respond directly to their attack and give them the response they were looking for.

    Your best initial move is to remove yourself from the position of the “victim.”  Place yourself above the attack.  Act like it doesn’t bother you.  Step outside of the attack altogether and comment about the content of the attack itself (this is sometimes referred to as Meta-Talk). Talk about what they said or how they said it.

    Let’s take a closer look at some example defenses:

    “Stupid? Is that the best adjective you could come up with?”

    “Wow, that was so clever…how do you keep coming up with such great jokes?” (sarcasm)

    “That sounded like it was meant to insult me…”

    Advertising

    “The way you said that was kind of child-ish, did you mean to say it like that?”

    “Absent-minded?  That’s a strong choice of words wouldn’t you say?”

    “Wow, you sound so bitter…maybe you should go take a break for a minute.”

    “You’re still hung up on pointing out my flaws, let’s try to move away from that and get down to the real issue.”

    These defenses accomplish four primary objectives:

    • It demonstrates to the attacker (and the audience), that the attack did not bother you
    • It implies that you do not place much value on what the attacker says
    • It implies that future attacks will not affect you either
    • In case the attacker did not mean to attack you, this defense makes them aware that they crossed over the line

    By vocally analyzing and dismantling their phrase or their delivery, you can take away its power and place yourself above the role of a “victim.” If you step outside the attack, it becomes impossible to be hit by the attack itself.   In fact, not only are you avoiding the attack, but this type of defense can simultaneously mock the attacker at the same time.

    If you’re faced with a relentless bully, you may want to add Step Two to your arsenal.  Not only do you want to avoid their stings, but you want to make them think twice about attacking you again in the future.

    Advertising

    Step 2: Place the Target Back On the Attacker

    After you dodge the bullet, your next order of business is to shift the focus back on to your attacker.  Not much good ever comes from keeping the focus on yourself when a verbal war is being waged.

    An easy way to place the target back on the attacker is by exposing their intentions.  You may be poor at comebacks and witty repartees, but that’s the beauty of questioning the attacker’s intentions – everyone has an intention.  You don’t need to know some special information or come up with a clever remark in order to complete this type of defense.

    A bully may state, “You’re always so defensive.”

    A poor conversationalist would take the bait and respond, “No I’m not!”

    Instead, expose the source with one of these lines: 

    “Were you trying to be funny just then?  I wasn’t sure…”

    “Why are you trying so hard to point that out?  Do you need attention?”

    Advertising

    “Are you trying to make me act defensive? Because it’s not going to work.”

    “Are you obsessed with ________?  Can’t you think of something else?”

    “Do you really think you can persuade me to ______?”

    “Do you always side with ______?”

    “Are you always this angry?”

    “Oh, you’re trying to be funny now, huh?”

    “You think you’re pretty clever don’t you?”

    These verbal defenses can easily throw your attacker off balance.  When you question someone’s intentions in this manner, it can be very hard to come up with a good response.  And if they do manage a successful response, you can go back to Step 1 and make a comment about it!

    It’s important to note that the two tips will be rendered useless if you become defensive or over-react.  Thomas Jefferson wisely said, “Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”  That is still true today.  The person who seems to maintain their composure always has the edge.  If you can remain cool, calm, and collected during a verbal battle, you will always have the upper hand.

    More by this author

    The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 1 of 2 The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 2 Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps Don’t Let These 4 Habits Ruin Your Conversations Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate

    Trending in Communication

    1 Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It 2 Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself 3 Feeling Like It Might Be Too Late To Pursue Your Dreams? Think Again 4 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 5 10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 18, 2019

    Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

    Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

    The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

    If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

    The Need for Change

    Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

    Advertising

    We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

    Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

    This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

    Advertising

    Happy_old_man

      Signs It’s Time to Redefine

      “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

      So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

      Advertising

      In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

      “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

      The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

      Advertising

      When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

      Aronld in Predator

        Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

        And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

        Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

        Read Next