First off, let’s just take a quick look at what Wikipedia says about verbal self-defense:
I think we have all said things at times that we wish we could take back. Maybe it was a joke that was taken the wrong way or even a sarcastic comment. We’ve also all been on the receiving end of it. But this is exactly what we need to be working on.
Silence is Golden
The best response to give to an aggressor is usually no response at all. A simple word or two can escalate the situation to a whole new level. Now, I’m not just saying that you should just stand there and take whatever they throw at you but use it as a time to work out how to de-escalate the situation. It’s a time for observation!
- Why is this person so angry with me?
- What started this?
Always Be Polite
This is easier said than done when you have somebody yelling in front of you but politeness can go a very long way in calming someone down. It’s also a very good way of catching an attacker off guard as they never expect someone to be polite after they have just had a heap of abuse thrown at them.
They expect you to fight back which is a normal human reaction but we have to fight it. Tell the other person how rude he is being, but do it politely. After all, he might not have manners, but you do.
Focus Only On the Positive
Positivity goes a long way in every area of our lives. Positive words make us feel good. If you want to anger someone you’d say “you can’t do that” but if you want to calmly discuss the issue you’d say “let’s try to sort this out.”
Every time that you are injecting anything positive into the situation, you are removing the negative. Remove enough and the entire mood changes.
It doesn’t matter whether it is an attacker in the street or a bully in a school, you need to prove that you can’t be fazed by their actions. They will soon move on to a new target.