1: “Ride It Out.”
This is not the same as “ignoring.” You are consciously choosing to give their argument all the attention it so richly deserves, namely none. You just appear to be paying attention. Nodding your head would be a nice touch. You are choosing to keep your peace.
2: Your Power of Choice
You can choose to catch yourself being provoked to retaliate out of your own immature attitudes. You can choose not to take their words literally, personally or seriously. You are not in a court of law and do not have to defend yourself against their false accusations. You can choose to do something else instead. In fact, you can do anything we want as long as it is based on a choice for yourself, not against them and not a mindless reaction to their provocation.
3: Don’t Take It Personally
You can catch yourself about to take their barrage of insults personally, as if they were a reflection on your worth as a person. That is exactly the way they wants you to take it! They are building themselves up by tearing you down! This tells us that they are badly in need of building up. Self-respecting grownups have no such need, but those lacking self respect do. You can choose not to give them verbal ammunition to use against you. You can choose not to tear them down more than they are already.
4: Do Not Take Hurtful Words Literally
Do not take their hurtful words literally as if they means what they said. They are merely “firing for effect.” They want to intimidate you into submitting like a victim, and they use strong language to do it. You are not the worst person in the world. You can choose not to take their words at face value. They are non-rational absurdities in the service of their negative, destructive purposes. You can agree that they feels the way they feel: “You sound hurt. That must be painful” and so on. We can keep our version of the facts to ourselves. This is called, discretion, which is the power to choose how much we wish to reveal and when. Right now, we do not choose to reveal anything. It wouldn’t help if we did. He isn’t interested.
5: Know You Are Equal
If you just have taken their insults personally, you have been put in a “one down” position. Tbey made it happen. They have put you in a condition of inferiority and self-doubt. You don’t know how to prevent this process from happening because you didn’t go to school for it. As of right now, you can choose to regain your context of self-respect by reminding yourself that you are worthwhile in spite of your faults and imperfections. You are still an equal member of the human race in good standing in spite of what they just said. Even if they are right in their facts, you are still worthwhile in spite of them. They merely prove you are an imperfect, like everyone else. Your “imperfection” made them angry, and you regret that it did. You have used your resilience. You can allow yourself to bounce back from their unhelpful put-down shtick.
6: Use Your Judgment
In this context, your new choice is to use your judgment, not your defensive attitudes, to solve problems. Reality requires you to know what you are thinking and trust your own judgment. You can use your adult judgment to determine which words make sense and which are used to be hurtful. Any solution using your judgment will be good enough to get the job done.
7: Catch Yourself
You can get your independence back by reminding yourself that you have the power of choice. Specifically, you have power and control over what comes out of your mouth. You can catch yourself about to live on others’ terms and choose to shift your mental gears. Catch yourself about to explain, defend, debate, cajole, counter-attack or submit, and choose not to do it. You are choosing not to operate out of your old carryover attitudes from the playground. You do not react, but you are choosing to respond. That includes choosing to say nothing while they vent. You can stay in the present and exercise your power of choice constructively, using your adult judgment, which your adversary does not have. Nodding your head during the tirade is a sign that you are hearing what they said, not that you agree with it!
8: Regain Your Self-Respect
His criticisms of your skills are not to be taken as a reflection on your worth. But it’s hard to avoid going down the path of doubt and self-criticism. You can’t help yourself in a way. You can regain your self-respect by reminding yourself that others’ comments are merely a child’s temper tantrum; they don’t help the situation for him or for you. Even if they are true, they are only imperfections. They are regrettable, and you wish you didn’t have them. You wish you had seen this coming in advance, but you did not. You are a worthwhile human being in spite of these human imperfections. This part of the process is not between you and him, it is between you and you.
9: Liberate Yourself
You are choosing to liberate yourself from the tyranny of your old attitudes, such as, “I don’t want to be displeasing” Or, “I have to take a stand or he’ll think I’m a wimp.” Instead, you are making a Third Choice. You are freeing yourself to act responsibly and effectively on your own terms in this crisis. You don’t have to say a word. You are able to use this turmoil as an opportunity to replace your own self-doubt with mature, effective self-respect: the feeling that you are a “worthwhile human being in spite of your faults and imperfections.” That is reality. We don’t always feel that way. We need to feel it more often. You can use this crisis to grow on, to declare your mature independence as a person in your own right, not against him, but for you. He doesn’t have to know what is going on in your head. It’s none of his business.
After awhile, these experiences of self-respect in your daily life all run together. Your previous roles in the family as the Pleaser, the Victim or the Responsible One have been replaced by an independent identity on a realistic basis. You have been tried in the fire and come out stronger than you went in.
10: Regain Control
This whole situation is scary. They are making it scarier than it needs to be. Why are they doing it? Because they can. These are people who can’t make a positive contribution to highway safety, but they sure can make a negative one. In their book, it’s better than no contribution at all! All of these behaviors arise out of their attitudes toward you, themselves and the whole human race. Their attitudes are in the saddle, controlling their empty words and negative behaviors. Their attitude-driven words must not be taken at face value, as if they made sense.
You are in control of you in the present. You are choosing to exercise admirable restraint: “I really could have let him have it, but I chose not to! I made it not happen!” When you minus a minus, it’s a plus. That’s an accomplishment. That is a success between you and you. You have used this crisis to strengthen your self-respect.