The most important skill to have, as an young adult, is the art of controlling your responses to certain situations and the evaluation of whether a response is even warranted. While many of us may think this is simple, basic, or even a no brainer... it is easier to say when you are not currently facing situations in which a person antagonizes a response from you constantly.
If you are going through a situation in which a person is constantly trying to evoke a negative response from you.. have no fear. You are not the first person that it is happening to and you most certainly won't be the last. Let's take a look at some instances where you may come across this type of situation, how to avoid them, and how to face them with bravery and self confidence in your newly developed skill.
Instances where this article becomes useful
There are many times in which a person may try to make you mad, upset, or just plain angry. Here are a few, but there's no limit to what an individual can or will do.
1. During meetings- a colleague plants doubt in your work. You will know when this happens because there's a underlying tone of satisfaction when the feedback is given. While this may seem harmless at first- if this behavior persists then you should consider this a sign that the individual is looking to anger you.
2. A person or colleague speaks poorly of you to another person while in your presence. She will reveal a high level of hostility in order to evoke outright anger from you. If you give in, she will play the victim later. She will say she didn't say your name, however, the implication was there that the provoking behavior was directed to you. This is a form of passive aggressive behavior.
3. Everything you say is countered with a rebuttal. Nothing is ever let as is and you are never acknowledged for having a good idea.
4. They continuously talk over you or have to have the last say. As with the first example- if this occurs a few times it is not a blaring sign. However, if this behavior continues you should be wary.
5. A person gives you a compliment, however, there is a underlying negative undertone to it. For example: someone might say that you did an excellent job writing an article, and the amount of money that you should receive once recognized should be great. This gives off the impression that the only reason the article was written was for financial gain.
How to avoid these situations...
1. Attempt to organize meetings without the individual present who continuously counters your work. This may be difficult. To be honest, by the time you have come to realize that someone is constantly ridiculing your work- you won't be the only one who notices. Sometimes other people recognize the harmful behavior before you do. So when you begin to avoid the individual most people will know why.
2. Avoid the individual entirely. Make it difficult for that person to cross your path without being obvious to their intention.
3. When communication is unavoidable, make sure to be overtly cautious. Make sure others are present to witness the interaction, note the date and time, and if you can, provide evidence of what transpired. PLEASE NOTE: If the behavior happens once or twice then it should not be perceived as provoking. However, repeated behavior that antagonizes is not to be tolerated. You should be able to submit a list of occurrences to support your claim.
Facing these situations...
So you have tried to avoid situations that would cause inflammatory responses. In some cases, you will have to face this aggressor head on. In which case, here are some ways to frame your thought process in order to persevere.
1. Pretend the individual is a small child throwing a temper tantrum. If you are a parent, you know that kids throw temper tantrums in order to gain attention from their parent. You should never give in. The adult version would be to ignore their negative behavior and forgive them. How do you forgive a person like this? Simple! Accept the fact that this person will be negative. Don't try to justify their behavior, that's going to cause more damage to your psyche in the long run. Instead, accept what you are seeing and proceed to smile lovingly at them when they begin their routine to gain power over you. This further angers them and they ultimately make a huge and unavoidable mistake
2. Engage in pleasant conversation with them while side stepping any provoking words or comments. This will confuse them as they begin to wonder why they are not getting under your skin any more.
3. Harden yourself against the negative being flung at you. What you have to remind yourself is that you are resilient. The more these individuals will use these tactics, the more familiar the tactics will become to you. Let me be clear, those who continuously are negative do not have the patience to come up with new ways to get to you. They will grow tired as you grow intelligent to their ways. Your skin hardens, and you can thank them daily for making you more and more resilient.
4. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DIRECTLY COMPROMISE. Many books discuss ways in which you should confront individuals in circumstances such as these. If you try to discuss why the behavior they are exhibiting is provoking anger in you, you are giving them leverage to use at a later date. There is no reason to think that someone like this wouldn't do so. Be smart. Try to deflect what makes you upset at all times.
5. Develop a support system outside of the strife. Situations like these can be very taxing on our mind. You will need healthy coping mechanisms in order to continue to work through these hard times. Support systems serve to gain distance from the individual and the situation that they have created. It also allows for you to regain your presence of mind which is really important. Without presence of mind you are unable to think clearly. Never lose it.
I hope that whatever you are going through allows you to come out stronger and more confident. Remember, without pain there is no growth. It is inevitable.
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Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.