The Elephant In The Broom Cupboard!


These are things you should face up to, but don’t – like handling ‘Put-Downs’ from others.
Put-downs come at you ‘out of the blue’ with no warning. Have you ever had a put-down, which you haven’t been able to answer there and then?
Moments later the perfect answer comes to you, but the moment has gone and so has the person.
Put-downs give you that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and your stomach keeps count until it can take no more and you explode with aggression.
Put-downs are things people say to you when they are feeling bad about themselves and want you to feel bad about yourself = I’m NOT OK and neither are YOU!
Striking back with your own put downs may feel good but is often a pre-cursor to spiralling retaliation. The person who has put you down knows they have got through because you react.
The purpose of handling put downs is to stop them and do it in a way that maintains your self respect. Here are 3 behaviours to try:
1. Either not reacting or making light of it
One of the options is not to react (denying them the reaction they want) and to ignore the comment. This may work. So can making light of it e.g. “Sometimes I don’t get it completely right but that just shows people that I’m only human.”
If neither of these are effective there are other options:
2. Question Assertion
A universal response which we have found from experience works in every situation is to ask this question “What makes you say that?” It tends to stop people in their tracks; this isn’t the reaction they wanted; you are now in control; it gives you time to think of more effective responses, if needed; and now the other person has to explain him or herself.

3. Empathy Assertion
Questioning with empathy  ‘I sense a certain anxiousness in your voice when you say that. Is everything OK with you?’ does 2 things –

1. It pays respect to those who are not aware they are putting you down or appreciate the effect it has on you.

2. It shows that you have the intellectual upper hand and they’re less likely to want to engage with you further because of the effort involved.

If you don’t like handling put-downs from others, experiment with our ideas and do let us know what works best for you?

photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc

One Response to “The Elephant In The Broom Cupboard!”

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  1. Subhash Muneshwar says:

    The suggested responses are both practical and effective and why should the innocent lose his her cool for someone else who cannot handle their own personality problems.

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