We all have bullies in our lives. We all have those jerks and a-holes who, for some reason, because their life sucks like a vacuum, need to come in and wreak havoc in ours just to make themselves feel good. Loosers.
When dealing with a bully, I encourage people to engage in a two-step coping, problem solving and communication psychological fitness routine known as Empathize then Pivot. This particular skill allows you to maintain a sense of self-esteem, self-advocacy and, at the same time, control the situation not allowing the bully to get away with all of their crap and leave you feeling as though you’re a complete wimp.
The next time someone starts to blame you, shame you, attempt to make you feel guilty, attempt to make you jump through their Fiery Hoops I want you to empathize. Empathizing with someone is a basic and vital psychological fitness skill that helps us communicate to another person our awareness and understanding of their emotional state and why they feel that way. When a bully is blaming or shaming, say to the jerk in your life, “Sounds like that’s very painful.” Or perhaps you might say, “that seems like it would be very frightening.” The goal here for you is to focus on the bully so that you can reflect back the emotion you believe they are genuinely feeling; which b6 the way, is actually fueling their aggressive and often annoying behavior.
Once you have empathized with the bully, pivot. Empathizing with the bully will throw them off their game, bewildering them. You’ll see it written all over their face. Once you have empathized and thrown them off balance now take control of the situation by pivoting the conversation away from their agenda to your agenda or something completely benign such as the weather, sports, politics, or one of my personal favorites, movies.
Once you pivot you have gained control of the conversation. The bully may try to take control back from you by siezing the proverbial Talking Stick. If this occurs do it again, empathize than pivot. And keep in mind that your pivot can also be walking away. Empathize then excuse yourself and walk away.
When you engage this particular psychological fitness skill, you will see your general and overall mental wellness skyrocket. You will feel a sense of confidence and your anxiety will diminish.