What do I say when someone attacks me verbally? How can I stand up for myself without putting them down? How can I turn a bullying incidence into a learning experience?
So far you have learned how to build confidence and personal value, how to love yourself so what others say has very little or no impact. Now you will learn what to say in the event someone does approach you with hurtful intent.
The advice I am about to give you comes from many sources and classes I have taken over the years. (I can give you sources if you would like just shoot me an email with your request at Jeanie@jeanieciscometh.com.) I have watched it work time and time again for me and for my students. It is very simple, but you must practice it with someone before using it so you are confident and sure of yourself and what to say. You can change the situations to fit your needs and circumstances.
- You have just arrived at school and you are confronted by a school bully. He/she is saying what an ugly outfit you have on. Calling attention to you by pointing and laughing. You say hello and ask a question. “Hey, Mike, what time did you get to school this morning?” (I’m not saying that people named Mike bully. I just need to use a name in the example.) It must be said with sincerity and interest. This is why I said practice. No anger or sarcasm allowed. It will make matters worse if you are attacking back. People are trained from a very young age to answer questions and it is an automatic response to do so. This question short -circuits the initial thought pattern and gives rise to a new one. The one you have suggested is a respectful conversation. It also gives you time to move on to class and leave him/her behind. When he answers say something respectful and move on. “That’s cool. Have a good day.”
- You are in the lunch room at work having lunch when a coworker comes in and demands you go take care of something right now. If you are on your lunch break and have the right to take this time for yourself, you need to teach them how to respect that. First ask a question to interrupt their thought pattern. “Good afternoon, Mary, what do you have planned for this evening?” (Again I’m not saying that people named Mary bully more than anyone else it’s just a name I chose.) “That sounds like fun. Can this problem wait until after my lunch break? I am signed out right now and have thirty minutes left. I will get right on it after lunch.” If she says no it can’t wait respond with, “Okay, I’ll clock back in and then clock back out when I’m done so I can finish my lunch.” You must have the courage to move through the fear she is using to control you.
- You are in the kitchen preparing dinner when your child comes in and is angry because of the meal you are cooking. “You hate me. You never fix what I like. Why are you so mean to me?” Take a deep breath, center yourself, remember you are valuable, and ask; “Did you paint your room this morning?” It must be something he/she is not expecting to create the pattern interrupt. This changes the focus and gives you a chance to see what is really bothering them. Remember it’s not about you or what your cooking, it’s about the bad place they’re in.
- You’re walking down the street when a stranger says something rude to you. “Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day,” you say and keep on walking. You are so important to so many people it is okay for one person to have their negative opinion. It’s not about you anyway. It’s about them and the negative space they’re in. Let it go, and move on with your incredible day.
These are some examples of what you can do when you have a plan of how to respond. Remember you need to practice them so you become competent with the sincerity of the emotion. You want them to feel kindness from you. They are hurting and you can help them by refocusing their attention on something better.
Now go have a successful day.
Talk to you next week,