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Coping With Hostile Aggressive Bullies

Coping requires that you not fulfill their expectation that you will be put out of commission
through either fear or rage.
At the same time you must avoid an open confrontation with them over who is right and who is the winner.

Stand up for Yourself.

You must stand up to that aggressive person.
If you let yourself be pushed around by aggressive people, you will simply fade
into the scenery as far as they are concerned.
They will not see you as someone to whom attention should not be paid.

You must stand up to any sort of aggressive person to ensure that you make genuine
and solid contact with that person.
There is the possibility that person whom you believe to be aggressive and hostile
may not be at all.
They may be only trying to get the facts and not trying to get you.
If you don't stand up, then you will feel that you have been run over by a tank,
and he or she will feel frustrated.
If you acquiesce to this person, it will be taken as a sign that you're not worth bothering with
and so they have a license to squash you.

When you deal with difficult people, it will help if you recognize that the fear and confusion
that you feel are natural and appropriate reactions to being attacked.
You can expect to feel angry and even awkward, but stand up for yourself.

Give Them Time to Run down.

If the person is yelling at you, crying angrily and being rather loud, hold your position
for a brief time to give them time to run down.
Look directly at the person, and wait.
When he or she begins to lose momentum, jump into the situation.

Don't Worry about Being Polite -- Just Jump In!

If you wait for that aggressive person to finish sentences and give you time to enter
the conversation, you are in for a long wait.
It is often necessary to interrupt in order to stand up to that person.
It is a necessity to cut that type of person off before they are through.
If that person interrupts you before you are finished, say very firmly and loudly,
"You interrupted me!"
If that doesn't work, then say it again.
Then have your say.
Don't worry about how will you express it -- just say it!

Get Their Attention -- Carefully.

Hostile-aggressive people tend to have expectations of how you are going to react to them.
They probably believe that you will be like all their previous victims.
So you must get their attention so they will recognize that you are not responding
according to their formula.
According to their formula, you will either run away or be enraged.

It often helps to began by clearly and loudly calling the hostile person by his or her name.
You might get their attention and interrupt the interaction by rising very deliberately
from your chair or by dropping a pencil or a paper.

Get Them to Sit Down.

Try to get them into a seated position.
Most people behave less aggressively when they are seated.
You might say, "If we are going to argue, we might as well be comfortable."
Began to sit down yourself, but keep your eye on that person.
If he or she doesn't sit, remain standing yourself.

Speak from Your Own Point of View.

Certain words and certain phrases project a self-assertive quality.
They will clearly express your viewpoint without a direct attack on anything the other person has said.
Some phrases you might use are:

"In my opinion, it's a good idea..."
"I disagree with you..."
If it is your superior, it might be better to say, "I guess I disagree with you..."
"I can see that you don't think much of this procedure, but my experience has been different."

By using such phrases, you have not told the other person what to do, how to feel or think,
or even that he or she is wrong.
You have simply expressed your own views, your feelings, and perceptions about what ever
is being considered.

Avoid a Head-on Fight.

It is important to avoid fighting to win.
There is a short-term and a long-term risk involved.

You may lose the battle.
When you fight, your efforts are directed toward winning, prevailing, and in forcing them to back down.
However, the hostile-aggressive person cannot give in.
They will react to your battle behavior with an escalation of their own.
When that happens, you will probably be sorry, because you are likely to be the loser.

These people are good at fighting.
They have been perfecting their battle skills for a long time, and they have found them
to be powerful in dealing with other people.

When you fight with a aggressive-hostile person, you may be tempted to take pot shots at him or her.
If so, you probably will get blasted because they don't mind causing a scene.
They will persist, and you most likely will not.
They will persist long enough for you to withdraw or give in.

You may win the battle, but lose the war.
Even if you are an aggressive person and skilled in such fighting, there are good reasons
for learning to use that strength to stand up to them rather than fight with them.

If the person you are fighting is your boss (or maybe your spouse), you will be the eventual loser,
even if you win the immediate battle.
Being defeated does not cure a hostile-aggressive person.
Instead it leaves them seething with anger and bent on revenge.
They will be driven underground and become highly dangerous.
So, you can expect that they will take pot shots at you whenever the occasion arises.

You will miss the satisfaction of being able to cope in a way that enable you
and your adversary to be more productive, and place you both in a win-win situation.

Even if you can win, think of the impression you will make all observers of such a battle.
If you win over a coworker, you may be seen by people of importance to be
simply a brawler then a hero.
They may believe that you have accrued some of the same negative feelings
as the hostile-aggressive person and your relationships will suffer because of it.

Be Ready to Be Friendly.

When a hostile-aggressive has been stood up to, but not personally defeated,
they may friendly overtures to you.
They may even change toward you.
Since they have not been able to overwhelm you, and do not feel that you are a competitor,
they may now see you as worthy of respect.
Or, maybe there is the need for acceptance that they can only express to someone who is strong.
Whatever the reasons for the change, the feelings are usually genuine.

If you are still reacting with anger and not ready for this to happen, you may lose a productive
and valuable future relationship.

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-- Adapted from several sources