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Looking after ourselves

Senior Contributor

Your best defence is?

Newton's third law is "The third law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction."


I can see already you are rivetted by this? Well its true. If two identical cars (one evil, one good) were placed nose to nose with identical power and they both revved up, neither car would be able to push the other down the road. What about people?


In this modern world we are shown in movies that good always wins. A fighter like Rocky can defeat a monster like Apollo. This fairytale storyline is more a reflection of Hollywoods needs to sell tickets at the box office. In real life anyone that's been bullied in the school yard by a bigger, stronger kid will know it isnt real life that the weaker wins.


This weaker physique isnt restricted to braun. Mentally we mirror the same fate. The strong overpower the weak. My first wife was 54kgs and I over 130kgs. My mother 70kgs. Yet both women mentally overpowered me in different ways. Now with a loving wife that doesnt seek dominance through emotional means, happiness abounds.


Having said all that, how do we with softer minds confront bossy people? What I've found over many years of enduring this problem, is that we cant change our fragile personality into a tougher confrontational one. That's fake and not sustainable in the long term. What we can develop is a few things-


  • Develop wit in preparation for verbal abuse. This is not easy to do but fewer words make more impact. A good example of this is George Negus interview with Margret Thatcher. Negus said "A lot of people on the street are saying you arent doing your job (paraphrasing). To which Thatcher said "and who are these people"? Everytime Negus went forward with another question Thatcher repeatedly said "and who are these people on the street?" He couldnt answer the question- checkmate. Use wit to outsmart the smart alecs
  • Set boundaries in your mind- All normal average people have boundaries. Set down your own boundaries on what is fair and reasonable.
  • Act on the boundaries- EG your parenting standards. I had a neighbour tell me 28 years ago that my 2yo daughter sits too long on my lap "she should be walking around" to which I replied "have I told you where your parenting has been incorrect"?
  • Shape your avoidance plans: Some of us tolerate toxic people in our lives be it because we think they are family so we cannot act or they have other positive traits that we like. With people with mental illness we have special needs and one of them is stability. We arent usually stable to begin with so any stability we have can easily be upset by the inconsiderate wanting to dominate. Remember, avoidance without conflict is better than conflict and separation.
  • Use all communication techniques to assist you. Some people find it easier to tackle conflict or touchy topics over the phone. Or text. Remember, you'll create respect with face to face discussion and you can remind people later of the effort you took in using that technique. Avoid using a third person to convey concerns.

Finally but most importantly. remember Newtons third law. This law is true in person to person disputes. If we are submissive or sensitive or show signs of weakness then we are doomed every time. All the techniques I've learned over the years in supervision of difficult people in environments like jails and security, I cant mention all of them, however the best technique ever is to ask questions in order to extract from them WHY? Eg  A relative comes to a family gathering and in front of many others during conversation says "I think you discipline your child too often" to which you can ask "So what makes your parent raising techniques more correct than mine".? Immediately you have returned the attention off you onto her/him and placed the emphasis on them to answer. Put to the abuser questions so as to make them accountable for their inappropraite comments! Then the action is met with equal reaction and dominance doesnt occur.


Once these techniques are more developed and you achieve some confidence people will know your limits from the boundaries you implement and through clever questions aimed at them they will know next time not to over step the line. Then there will be two possibilities- 1/ that they will decide to stay clear or 2/ they will conform and realise their error. Either way is good for you. Better than being a target leaving you to stew over hurt and embarrassment.



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