Intimidators can spot weakness from a mile away. If they sense your fear, you’re more likely to be their target. Stay positive by remembering that these people in your life can offer you a chance to grow. Here are tips to remember when you feel powerless in someone’s presence:
Stay calm and cool: Don’t show them you’re bothered. Let their rudeness roll off your shoulders. Take deep, slow breaths as you count to ten to get your mind off of the situation. Practicing self-control will give you the upper hand.
Put yourself in their shoes: Understand why they act this way. A painful past or stressful job could be the reason for their aggression. Psychotherapist Michelle Farris, owner of Counseling Recovery, reminds us, “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control and you can’t cure it.”
Stay away if you can: Avoid their presence as much as possible. Only interact with them when you have to. But when it comes to getting what you want or need, don’t shy away. Instead, practice being assertive and starting with statements such as “I feel…” or “I understand your position, here is what I think…”
Don’t be defensive: You may want to lash out, but keep your frustration in check. Be the bigger person and don’t fight fire with fire. “Ironically, you can learn a lot about boundaries from [these individuals] because they are skilled at getting what they want,” says Farris.
Kill them with kindness: Being bright and cheery can throw them off. But this method can only succeed if you have self control. Otherwise, the “kindness” becomes overly passive aggressive and leads to hurt.