All of us will encounter people who are verbally aggressive, intimidating, controlling freak who take over our conversations or try to overpower us. They may be known to us and will be present everywhere – work, home, friends, public places, events etc. People who have more empathy and soft natured find it difficult to handle these aggressive people and will move away from the person. Instead of moving away from a person understand and react in such a way so that you will handle more such people smartly and will not cut off the relationship. How that is possible? It is possible by reducing personalization; we can be less reactive and focus our energy on problem solving. With astute approach and good communication, an aggressive person can become more cooperative and less aggressive.
What are the common behaviors of aggressive person?
1) Control freak
3) Need too much attention and praise
5) Pushing your buttons, pull your strings
6) Throw you out of your balance
7) Unnecessary arguments over small things or for no reasons
8) Abusive, yelling and shouting
9) Helpful but seek all the credit for the little work they do
10) Too much of intimidating.
How to handle such people?
Depending on the circumstances and situation, learn to handle these kinds of people in private or public.
1. Maintain composure and stay calm:
To use your better judgment stay calm and breath in and out. Instead of responding to harsh words take a deep breath and count slowly one to ten. Many times, by the time you reach 10 you would have regained your composure and it clears your mind. Instead of giving yourself to anger, you will respond to the person in a calm and composure mood. Maintain self-control and say, “I will get back to you later” or say, “You are very angry right now and you’re saying things you don’t mean. I am going to excuse myself. We can talk again after you calm down.” This helps to keep your tension low.
2. Maintain a distance and keep your options:
If it is not worth tussling with an individual then maintain a distance. Your happiness and well-being is important. If the person is negatively entrenched, do not try to engulf yourself in an argument or anger. Keep a healthy distance unless you are sure and feel that it is important that you have to get involved. Aggression to you may just be a panic attack for them that have put them in fight or flight mode. If you feel that you are stuck in the situation, seek help from trustworthy friends and family members. Keep your options in mind and be ready to take a good decision.
3. Choose not to take it personally:
Aggressive people often hurt you by hurtful words. Do not take it to heart and make it personal. You have an option how you respond and if you feel that it is not worth to listen to their hurtful words take it in one ear and leave it through another. Do not allow words to go through your system and there is absolutely no need to be sad. It does not make you feel better and things will only worsen. Practice de-personalizing the words of aggressive person by putting yourself in their shoes for a moment. They might have not had an easy upbringing, difficult job, controlling partner, chronic pains or sickness. Attempt to understand the meaning of the aggressive behavior. This does not mean that, (your) empathetic statements do not excuse unacceptable behavior. The point is to remind you that sometime people do what they do because of their own issues.
4. You have the right to be treated well and with respect:
Understand your rights and demand respect. Do not harm the person but express yourself with your feelings, opinions, and priorities. Say no to the person without any guilty. If your opinion is different express it. Everybody is different in this world – you may be born very different and it is okay. If you are threatened physically, mentally then you have the right to question. Your happiness is important to lead healthy life. Do not allow aggressive people to take advantage of your situations and good mind. Offender is not charge of your life, you are charge of your life.
5. Give them center stage but reclaim your power:
Often controlling people want more attention. They always complain. They will not focus on solving the problem. Do not react to comments by being defensive. Instead, ask direct question and have simple conversation with person. Your focus should be on solving the problem. Ask the aggressive person for a suggestion to fix the problem or offer your own solution. If they still disrespect, you tell them, if they do not change the attitude, you will not talk to the person. This will make other person think a bit and will back away. If still the complain continues, change the topic and take charge of communication.
6. Do not allow person to violate your boundaries:
In a serious situation if the person is violating the respect and is trying to intimidate more, put your foot down and say it. Do not show your anger, breath in and breath out before responding or count one to ten. Then say with calmness and composure that the person is crossing the limits. You should also set boundaries for the person -it requires you to assertively express how someone else’s verbal abuse makes you feel and that you don’t want to be treated in this manner.
7. Humor and smile:
Smile is a powerful tool. In mild situations smile and react. Your ability to add humor to the situation with aggressive person in it, is the best tool that you have. This will break the ice. It only shows that you are calm and have superior composure. This will help to reduce the tension.
8. Ask them do they need help:
If the anger and aggressiveness is going out of proportion, suggest them to seek help when they are in a better mood. Many website, experts and text lines will help in emotional situations. Talk to the person about their behavior and aggressiveness that is making the people to move away in social life. Often talking, discussing and seeking expert suggestion helps the person to be better.
Dealing with someone’s aggressiveness and hurtful words is really can be taxing. The key to responding to verbal abuse is learning how to break free of the control and get your power back. Try to find a solution to keep yourself happy. Remember offender is not charge of your life, you are charge of your life.