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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?”

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    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…”

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    “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.

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    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?”

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    “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.

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

    The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

    In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

    Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

    1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

    What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

    Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

    2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

    Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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    How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

    Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

    Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

    3. Get comfortable with discomfort

    One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

    Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

    4. See failure as a teacher

    Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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    Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

    Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    5. Take baby steps

    Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

    Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

    Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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    The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

    6. Hang out with risk takers

    There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

    Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

    7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

    Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

    Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

    8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

    What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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    9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

    Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

    If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

    10. Focus on the fun

    Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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