how to handle put downs

How To Halt Put-downs And Come Out On Top Part Three

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How To Halt Put-Downs The Assertive Way

 

Once time has passed and your emotions have cooled (at least a little) try to get the person in a neutral environment alone. If the person continues to put you down in front of others, maybe consider continuing to address the situation assertively – regardless of who is listening – as outlined below.

 

Most of all, remember to remain calm (at least on the outside) with a moderated tone of voice and open body language throughout the duration of the conversation, no matter what is being said. Remember, the moment you lose control and get angry or aggressive you give your power to the perpetrator which is exactly what they want.

 

Step One – Find Out The Intention Behind The Comment, Explain Your Thoughts And Feelings And Say What You Want

 

Repeat the put-down and then ask…

 

‘Can you say more about what you meant by that comment?’

 

The person may then reply by a further put-down such as ‘nothing, you’re overly sensitive’. Repeat the question and if they do not answer continue by saying…

 

‘I took the comment to mean (x, y, z). Is that what you meant by the comment?’

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How To Halt Put-downs And Come Out On Top Part Two

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Although being assertive is beneficial, many – including me at times – shy away from it out of fear. Fear of conflict, fear of failure, fear of humiliation or even fear of further put downs. One of my favorite books is called ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’ so when possible I try to push through my fears because I know what I resist, persists.

 

Trust me, if I can do this, you can too. Just take a look at what you stand to gain below. It’s worth it, I promise.

 

 The benefits of being assertive

 

Assertiveness is all about creating healthy boundaries for how you wish to be treated and should not be confused with aggression which violates others disrespectfully. When we assert ourselves we shift from a victim mentality to an empowered one. We reap the rewards of increased self-esteem when we communicate to others we deserve to be treated with respect because we communicate our inherent worth.

 

Whilst dealing with put-downs is quite a specific area of assertiveness, if you feel you would like to be more assertive in your day to day life, I would suggest reading my other assertiveness articles as featured below:

 

How To Free Yourself And Assert Your Rights

 

A thorough look at the intrinsic rights we are all born with and how to protect them by creating boundaries.

 

Assertiveness: A Journey Worth Taking

 

Examines and explains advanced assertiveness techniques and breaks them down in a manageable and easy way.

 

Sick Of Over-Extending Yourself? Learn How To Say No

 

Explains in depth how to overcome the people-pleasing trap and gives step by step instructions on how to use assertiveness to say no.

 

The criticism quandary; How to handle criticism and emerge bigger and better for it

 

Looks at how to handle criticism in a healthy, constructive and assertive way, enabling you to use it to propel you forward.

 

How To Halt Put-Downs – Immediate Responses

 

The best way to respond to put-downs – at least initially – is with humor. This disarms the perpetrator and fails to give them the reaction they want which is anger, you feeling ashamed or humiliated. A standard and very effective response to almost any put-down is:

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Receiving criticism in action: Evaluating role play

When role playing your responses to put downs, did you feel more in control of the direction of the conversation?  How did the role play make you feel? How did it help you? Thinking about the role play in this way will enable you to hone in your skills even more.

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Receiving Criticism in action: Role play with a friend how you would respond to put downs

This is your opportunity to practice all the amazing things you would have said if you had thought of them in the moment (don’t worry very few of us do have an immediate reply to put downs).

 

Remember the key is to stand up for yourself by being assertive – this is the most effective way of putting them in their place and avoids unnecessary conflict or an unhealthy competition between one another’s put downs, which only serves to encourage and escalate the unwanted behavior.

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Receiving criticism in action: List a time when you received a put down

Think back to a put down you received and go through what you would have liked to have said to them (HINT: Aim for an assertive response and avoid aggressive or sarcastic retorts).

 

This can be a frustrating exercise but it’s worthwhile as tomorrow you get to role play the scenario which is usually very cathartic.

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How to call someone out when you receive a put down

Malicious criticism usually takes the form of a planned and deliberate conversation and is easily enough exposed but what should you do when you receive an off the cuff put down? The tricky thing about put downs is that they often come by surprise and are only registered as put downs by the person on the receiving end after the fact. In future follow these simple steps to let the offender know what they said was not ok and you will not tolerate treatment of that nature moving forwards.

 

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