“How did I do?” you asked Stan.
Stan shook his head and said, “Maybe others understood what you were saying. You seemed a bit unfocused.”
Your heart sank. You’d sweated buckets over your presentation. Now you felt like kicking yourself for asking Stan for feedback. You share an office with Stan and your first memory of him was when he said, “You must have enjoyed your vacation last month. Those pants look a bit tight. My wife always eats a bit too much on vacations.” At the time, you chalked it up to Stan trying to make conversation. You soon learned he loved putting others down, especially you.
We all know a snarky Stan, who whittles away at our self-esteem. If you want to undo a put-down artist’s damage, use these strategies.
Acknowledge your feelings
It hurts when another diminishes you, what you’ve done or who you are. Belittling comments drain your confidence and trigger shame, anger and other negative emotions. Allow yourself to feel what you feel, as brushed off or shoved down emotions cling and fester.
Realize your part
Those who sling vicious remarks do so to make you feel smaller so they can feel bigger. What they say isn’t truth and you needn’t take it personally. You do, however, need to stop appearing to be an easy target. If you’re the butt of repeated slams, ask yourself “what do I need to do differently?”
Eleanor Roosevelt spoke truth when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Never let a put-down artist’s mind games change how you feel about yourself or drain you of confidence. Their disrespect reveals who they are, not who you are.
Decide and act
Don’t fall into the “just brush it off” trap. If you ignore, accept or smooth things over after an insult, you let the put down artist feel he’s gotten away with it.
No one has the right to use you for target practice. Your self-esteem is on the line; you can’t ignore another’s nasty remarks and carry on as if they weren’t said.
What does it take? Realize that you deserve respect and may need to train others how they can and can’t treat you. Don’t smolder or roll over and take it, speak your mind. Forcibly cast a nasty slam dunk aside. A firm “that’s unacceptable” or “I won’t tolerate you speaking to me that way” shows you have the self-confidence and backbone needed to stand up for yourself, if and as needed.
© 2016, Lynne Curry, executive coach and author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully. Follow her @lynnecurry10 or onwww.workplacecoachblog.com or on www.bullywhisperer.com™