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Old 04-13-2010, 08:10 PM   #21
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I'm not sure when this thread went astray, but I mean by "attack" VERBAL abuse and not actual physical violence. How do you handle someone who verbally attacks you with a great deal of vicious hostility?
Hang out with more polite people.

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Old 04-13-2010, 09:12 PM   #22
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The way I see it is in a peer-to-peer situation hostility usually results from insecurity. In your situation, you're not locked into a work situation, just avoid or tell them off if they take the fight to your face.

In a work situation where there isn't an immediate choice to walk away, addressing this kind of hostility requires a more delicate touch. One co-worker who has been doing nothing for the past 3 years (not that he did much for the previous 5 years when he ran his small business into the ground) is constantly on the attack looking for small embers to fan into flames. This guy on average actually is in the office about 2.5 days week. Monday he is in for a "full" day. I put the "full" in quotes because 6 hours of watching Hulu isn't exactly work. Tuesday he goes home at noon. Wednesday he works from home. Friday he tries to leave at noon because of unspecified meetings. While he is at work, he is making up useless incidents that constantly need group's attention, or he gets into arguments based on any perceived slight to his productivity.

While he has been sleep walking through his job and being an asshole to cover up the fact that he is not doing much, the company essentially hired a new woman to replace him. What's his reaction? Hostility toward this new woman. At every turn, he is thinking of ways of thwarting this person's efforts. A simple request to change an announcement results in a screaming match from him to this new woman. Not only is he making himself look bad, he is making the group look like a bunch of unprofessional idiots.

In this case, even though he is doing the yelling, he is not the one with the power. He knows that if he doesn't do something soon, his charity case of a job will be gone soon.

The good news is that I know the source of his insecurity, so I try to give him busy work that doesn't require much effort because I know that even busy work that would require him to shoulder some responsibility will result in yet another screaming match because in this case, it would be his lazy side doing the screaming rather his insecure side doing the screaming. In any case, a delicate touch is needed.

There is really no cure for people's insecurities, only ways to minimize the effect. In a work situation where we are locked like inmates in the same cell block, I try the best to identify the root cause of the insecurity and finds ways around it. In a social situation where I have the choice to walk away, I politely decline further social interactions. If the situation is unavoidable and the offender keeps up the rude behavior, I tell them that they are behaving like jerk offs because most rude people actually count on others' good manners in order to perpetrate their rude behavior. They figure that others are too polite to call out their rude behavior.

For instance, this weekend, a woman I was dancing with decided to "show me the basics of Salsa". From the way she was dancing and her incessant need to count the 123-567, she's probably had maybe 2 months worth of instruction, but instead of learning a couple of things from me, she decide to adopt a condescending attitude to cover up her lack of knowledge. In this case, I told her, "I don't want to dance with you because what you are saying doesn't make any sense." If I see her at practice, then I'll make it a point to decline to dance with her. It's that simple. Rude behavior requires a firm response.
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:49 AM   #23
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I don't tolerate rude behavior and if someone got in my face....I would return the favor
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:13 AM   #24
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Since it is a relative, this may present a challenge.

You can either avoid or confront.

Avoiding the person (assuming you are not around them much) could be the best approach. When you are at family get togethers... just try to keep your distance.

If you confront... call it what it is, it might shame the person into keeping their mouth shut in your presence (but perhaps not behind your back). Simply tell them you are not going to put up with the verbal abuse and distance yourself. Do not let her negativity draw you into some sort of confrontation or let it cause you distress (if you can).

It is most likely a reflection of the abuser's self image and/or mental health. But still... no need to put up with abuse or bullying.

I have a sibling that is emotionally unstable and extremely unpredictable and abusive... The sibling is estranged from most of the family. I have nothing to do with the sibling and avoid contact because of it. Of course it usually is not a problem since I never hear from this sibiling unless they want something (usually money).
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:25 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm View Post


For instance, this weekend, a woman I was dancing with decided to "show me the basics of Salsa". From the way she was dancing and her incessant need to count the 123-567, she's probably had maybe 2 months worth of instruction, but instead of learning a couple of things from me, she decide to adopt a condescending attitude to cover up her lack of knowledge. In this case, I told her, "I don't want to dance with you because what you are saying doesn't make any sense." If I see her at practice, then I'll make it a point to decline to dance with her. It's that simple. Rude behavior requires a firm response.
Hmmm...sounds like you've met Kate Gosselin.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:07 AM   #26
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Just say "your mother had a cold nose" and walk away. By the time they figure it out you can be long gone.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:55 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
I'm not sure when this thread went astray, but I mean by "attack" VERBAL abuse and not actual physical violence. How do you handle someone who verbally attacks you with a great deal of vicious hostility that's undeserved?
I'm basing this post on my observations of people in general, from w*rk meetings (believe it or not ) and a few public verbal confrontations I've witnessed from a safe distance.
Unfortunately, in some cases the two (verbal and physical) can go hand in hand. The good news is most people limit it to verbal. Whew. On daytime TV, chairs are thrown.
IMHO, a vicious verbal attack can mask the desire to really want to make it a physical attack.
Read the body language of a person who is in verbal attack mode. I'll guarantee that their fists are clenched and their upper torso is thrust forward while delivering the verbal attack. Or the arm of the dominant hand with index finger pointed is used as a "weapon", invading the personal space of the unlucky recipient.
The natural human reaction is to "fight". The wiser decision is "flight", i.e. walk away calmly, before it degrades to a physical situation.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:05 AM   #28
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I'm not sure when this thread went astray, but I mean by "attack" VERBAL abuse and not actual physical violence. How do you handle someone who verbally attacks you with a great deal of vicious hostility that's undeserved?
It doesn't happen to me a lot at 6'3", but on the rare occasion when it does, I just stare at them squarely in the eye. It has always worked..........maybe my eyes are crazier than theirs............
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:26 AM   #29
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Now, I just walk away. No need to tolerate those sociopaths now that I'm retired. In the past, I found the best way is to be exagerately sweet to them while watching my back. It is the best revenge because I deny them the satisfaction of getting to me while actually exposing them for what they are. They really can't get the power they desire with the high road strategy. It really ticks them off and they seek easier prey.
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:49 AM   #30
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Now, I just walk away. No need to tolerate those sociopaths now that I'm retired. In the past, I found the best way is to be exagerately sweet to them while watching my back. It is the best revenge because I deny them the satisfaction of getting to me while actually exposing them for what they are. They really can't get the power they desire with the high road strategy. It really ticks them off and they seek easier prey.
I have a retired humanities professor friend who loves to bait me on political topics. So once after our lunch was over I said, how come you win all the arguments? He just smiled and said- Don't kid me, I know judo when I see it.

So we are still friends, in spite of really different ideas about how to best run the world.

Ha
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:38 AM   #31
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I would probably say "That's a very rude thing to say!" thereby letting them know what I think of their behavior.

And thereafter, have no contact with them.

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Old 04-14-2010, 12:29 PM   #32
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I usually just bust a cap in they a$$es.

Problem solved!

Ha
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:57 PM   #33
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How many of these verbal attacks are by men vs by women? Just wondering...
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:17 PM   #34
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I just remind myself that it must suck to be such a bitter person, and be thankful that I'm not like that. I prefer not to even dignify them by wasting time, energy or brain power to respond. They aren't worth it.

And when you know people who have a pattern of doing this to many others, there's no reason to take it personally. They're just a cranky, bitter person. Again, thank God I'm not like them.

It's like I often say: If you have a problem with some other person, the problem might lie with them. But if you have a problem with just about everyone, the problem is *you*.
Not the first time, but I could not agree more with this answer. In my younger days, I could verbally take anyone's head off, I got so good at it no one would mess with me. But then I grew up, and that approach just begets more of the same if not worse, it's pointless, and you're no better than the source if you take that route IMO. So again, in my experience, Ziggy is on the money here.

And if you let a (verbal) attacker get to you, you have some work to do on yourself (don't we all).

Never argue with a fool applies at least in part here...
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:35 PM   #35
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I'm not sure when this thread went astray, but I mean by "attack" VERBAL abuse and not actual physical violence. How do you handle someone who verbally attacks you with a great deal of vicious hostility that's undeserved?
I usually do something like this.



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Old 04-14-2010, 05:36 PM   #36
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Some of us are unable to avoid people who are nasty without reason.
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I just remind myself that it must suck to be such a bitter person, and be thankful that I'm not like that. I prefer not to even dignify them by wasting time, energy or brain power to respond. They aren't worth it.

And when you know people who have a pattern of doing this to many others, there's no reason to take it personally. They're just a cranky, bitter person. Again, thank God I'm not like them.
Exactly. They’re unhappy with their life or the choices they’ve made and express it by trying to make others like them. Some also suffer from depression.

Dealing with repeat offenders is more challenging. They do it better – practice makes perfect – so responding often leads to escalation. I have to deal with people like this with whom contact is frequent and unavoidable. Nothing really works, but my preferred response is : “there’s nothing you can say or do that will make me feel any different about myself, my family or you, so why don’t you just go insult someone else and when you're feeling better come on back” and if needed “you know there are professionals that can help you deal with these feelings”.

Nothing has ever stopped this kind of behaviour, though. It’s a sign of emotional disturbance that needs professional help.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #37
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shunning. If you are a giver rather than a taker, cutting someone off from your association removes benefit from them.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:11 PM   #38
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Some of us are unable to avoid people who are nasty without reason.
Exactly. They’re unhappy with their life or the choices they’ve made and express it by trying to make others like them. Some also suffer from depression.

Dealing with repeat offenders is more challenging. They do it better – practice makes perfect – so responding often leads to escalation. I have to deal with people like this with whom contact is frequent and unavoidable. Nothing really works, but my preferred response is : “there’s nothing you can say or do that will make me feel any different about myself, my family or you, so why don’t you just go insult someone else and when you're feeling better come on back” and if needed “you know there are professionals that can help you deal with these feelings”.

Nothing has ever stopped this kind of behaviour, though. It’s a sign of emotional disturbance that needs professional help.
MichaelB, you, obviously, have some experience with this type of person--just an exact description of my toxic put-down artist relative. It amazes me that--even tho I have seen other relatives (usually the women interestingly enough) and his business partners (yes!) actually hang their heads when he said something really nasty to me--nobody that I know of has said anything to him. Note that I only notice when he attacks me, so he might be attacking them also as he's pretty much prone to put-down anyone if the mood strikes him.
He is a pro--and make that a capital P as in Pro--at quick, nasty, cruel, demeaning insults. So fast and quick is he that you sit there with your mouth hanging open as you just don't expect the attacks when they come. From my understanding, my grandfather who raised him was the same way. Charming, eh?
Being the bigger person in this situation did get difficult I admit, but, I felt, telling him off wouldn't make much of a dent in his behavior. So, when I got to the point of losing all respect for him in any way I just cut off the relationship. Just not worth being around that much toxicity ever. Ever.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:51 PM   #39
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Hmmm...sounds like you've met Kate Gosselin.
Sorry a little slow on the draw to most pop culture references. Since my cable company decided to cut my basic $10/month cable to just 12 channels, I have no idea what's going on in basic cable land.

Well, this thread is giving me renewed enthusiasm to ER because I will have a choice to walk away from idiots.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:10 PM   #40
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To a person, I've found whenever I have encountered someone who makes a personal, vicious attack on me--one with no substance really because a. either the person doesn't know me or b. because I have not done what the person thinks I have or c. any multitude of reasons--that the person who is the attacker is unhappy with their own lives. Either they are just losers and are trying to make themselves feel better by attacking or maybe it's much deeper than that (dysfunctional childhood, drug or alcohol problem and so forth). Whatever their problem, it is their surprising and vicious attack on your person that comes out of the blue and works like a slap in the face. But I guess in the attacker's mind, it provides them with some relief from their own pain?

There is a woman at my pool who I've seen viciously attack another lady there who's done absolutely zero to her to deserve her nastiness. It was really a below the belt remark(s) about the lady having lines in her face (she's 70, so get real cause, of course, she will have some lines). The attacker is so over-Botoxed she actually has changed her German features to almost Asian and looks, frankly, odd.

I've seen same woman attack another lady about the cellulite in her thighs/legs. Granted, the attacker lacks cellulite, but she is about 70 lbs. overweight. Does she not have a mirror. Talk about the pot calling the kettle.

So, after some thought, how do you handle attacks from vicious folks? Me, personally, I tend to let it roll off my shoulders normally and just cut them off socially by avoiding them. But, I'm not sure this is the best way really to handle those folks who need to project their own shortcomings and unhappiness on others.

What is the best way to handle vicious attacks on your person that are undeserved and just plain cruel/mean? Is the best way to treat these just to ignore them and leave the person alone or is it better to say something back to the person that shuts them up for good? And--if you do say something back to them--what do you say that hits the nail on the head but doesn't put you into a counter-attack mode?

As I get older--and have experienced plenty of this put-down/insulting attack method from one of my relatives (or as I call him, "an equal opportunity insulter")--where my "let it roll off my shoulders and he will stop" method did not stop him. In fact, he felt it gave him more license to continue because, since I didn't say anything to him, he could UP the attacks. Needless to say, after X number of years, I no longer speak to him or care to see him ever again relative or not.

Anyone have a better method than what I've been using?
How deep is the pool?
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