Anyone who has ever been run down or belittled would agree that it is not a pleasant experience. Being around bullies, bossy, and negative people is also not enjoyable.
However, when circumstances force us into the close company of such toxic people, how can we manage the situation without dignity intact and without losing our cool?
We may find toxic people with negative character traits among our friends, colleagues, and family members. When we cannot limit our interaction with them, what can we do to protect ourselves?
These are toxic people who have negative attitudes ingrained in their genes. Probably they are not aware of how mean or hurtful they are. Neither can they control their nasty comments and demeaning gestures.
Dealing with such toxic people needs better planning and subtle finesse. In case you’re unsure of how to respond when someone looks down on you, read on. In this article, you’ll find tips and suggestions on how to deal with people who put you down.
7 Ways How to deal with people who put you down
When you cannot avoid interactions with toxic people, you need to have a proper strategy to deal with them. One point you need to remember is that the only person you can change is you. Don’t even think that you can convert this toxic person into a lovable, understanding, and positive person.
Dealing with negative behavior involves finding ways to minimize exposure to negativity and reducing its aftereffects. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider.
1. Don’t turn your frustration into anger
Anger is the most common reaction when a person is pulled down or humiliated. Some may see the angry reaction as letting out steam and consider this to be therapeutic. It can also act as a deterrent from further humiliation. The toxic person who put you down will be intimidated by your angry reaction.
Though it may have its benefits, anger is not the ideal way to respond when someone degrades you. When you’re angry, you are exposing your vulnerability. This is not a good situation to be in with a toxic person. Moreover, when you react with anger to being belittled, you are handing over the control of your mind to your tormentor. You’re letting them win by making you angry.
Then again, when you’re angry, you’re no longer thinking clearly and lose control over what you’re doing and saying. This may lead to conflicts and difficult situations. When you’re angry, you become the kind of toxic person you’re running away from. This is definitely not desirable.
2. Try not to absorb the negative comments
Some toxic people are cynical, pessimistic, and negative in their attitude. They may make general statements that can influence your positive attitude. They may be talking about themselves or their own experiences. But as a listener, you may think that they are talking about you or your life. Such toxic people impart venom in others without even realizing it. They may end up projecting their own prejudices and fears on you.
If you are aware of such toxic people, be cautious about keeping their company. When you cannot avoid them, you should be aware of what they are talking about. You need to accept that the person is referring to themselves and not to you. If you can manage this, it can help you in many ways. You can avoid negativity. And, you can develop more empathy for this person, even if they are toxic and say negative things to you.
3. Don’t jump the gun with your response
If someone constantly puts you down, you may want to retort as quickly as possible. You’re just being human. However, when you adopt this strategy, you may falter and go wrong in many ways. Your response itself may not be appropriate. The only way you can ensure an appropriate response is by taking time to think up the right response.
When you have to deal with friends or family members who put you down, time is of the essence for your response. When you are offended by something they say, you may find it hard to think with clarity and choose the first thing that comes into your head. Most often this would be something to hurt the person. This will get you into a vicious cycle of negative actions and reactions.
Instead, you can try taking a deep breath or counting to ten. This will give you enough time to think and prevent you from making angry retorts. Even a few moments extra to think can make all the difference. When you have time to gain more perspective on the original incident, you will be in a better position to make more suitable decisions. Taking the moral high road is always better than angry retorts.
4. Accept or deny it with a smile
When considering ways to deal with people who put you down, you can either choose to respond with anger or ignore them. You can also adopt these in-between responses if you think it will help neutralize the situation. You can either accept the remark or deny it, all the while remaining calm and maintaining a positive attitude.
While accepting the remark, you can add that you’re aware of it and are fine with it. If you’re denying the remark, you may add an explanation why they’re wrong. You can also add that you’re not concerned about whether they believe you or accept your explanation.
5. Demand an explanation
When someone is showering insults on you and you fail to understand where this is coming from, you can demand an explanation or clarification. Sometimes insults come camouflaged as compliments. In such instances, you may feel stunned and unsure of how to react, let alone what to do about it or how to deal with it.
In situations like this, you should ask the person to be clear and elaborate on the comment and its meaning. Maybe it was actually meant as a compliment and it was just a misunderstanding. If it was indeed an insult, you can use the occasion to start a friendly conversation with the person.
6. Ignore the remark
And the person. You need to remember that ignoring a hurtful comment doesn’t make you a coward. It’s not out of fear that you chose to ignore. Rather it is your maturity that helped you choose this as the right response.
When you choose to ignore, you are scoring a strategic win over your tormentor. If their goal is to incite you or make you sad, you are not falling for either of them. Nor are you going to spend your valuable time pondering their remarks.
When a toxic person realizes that their comments are not affecting you, they are bound to feel deflated. You can carry on the conversation after ignoring the nasty remarks. By taking this approach, you’re disarming this negative person without a single word being said.
7. See the funny side of it
Humor can be a huge asset for you to deal with people who put you down. It is often said that if you have to choose between happiness/humor and sadness/anger, always go with the former. It is definitely good for your mental health.
Respond to the caustic comments of negative people with a joke. If possible, make a joke out of the comment itself. Nothing is better than laughing at yourself. With this approach, you’re throwing the negative strategy of the person right out of the window. You’re making it clear that you’re not falling into their trap.
However, there is always a chance that the aggressor may misconstrue your joke and it will backfire on you.
Final thoughts on dealing with people who put you down
One of the best strategies to deal with people who put you down is to keep your distance from negative people. You can avoid contact with toxic people for as long a period as is necessary.
When this is not an option, take care not to judge them and keep your emotions under control. And, if you indeed have to meet them, make sure the circumstances are right and there is no chance for confrontation. This is vital to preserving your mental health.