I’m a quiet person, well actually not really. I’m just not a big talker so people think I’m quiet. Some people can talk to a rock…… that’s not me. I’m a listener, and I’m warm and welcoming to everyone. However, since I’m not a “talker”, assholes interpret quietness as weakness and try to walk all over me. Sometimes I choke around Assholes because I don’t know how to (politely verbally) defend myself and I feel bad being an asshole right back. Sometimes I get so frustrated, physical altercations may occur in the parking lot. (just kidding)
Some assholes are so abrasive they could talk the paint off a car. Assholes include, but are not limited to, everyday haters and critics, the insecure egomaniacs and narcissists, etc. Being your “warm and welcoming self” is equivalent to casually sipping on a glass of battery acid mixed with juice. I’m sure it doesn’t taste that bad going down, but the effects start to hit you after you walk away. Feelings from the asshole’s toxic encounter sink in and damage your insides.
Now, I’ve “sipped on battery acid” before because I didn’t know how to handle these Assholes. I’d smile, laugh and shrug it off because it didn’t bother me, which is fine for people in passing, but for interactions that occur on a regular basis, it invites problems.
I workout at a gym run by the most one of the most egotistical men I have ever meet – we’ll call him Barry. Barry is delusional, he thinks he is god gift to earth. Along with self perceived “godlike” abilities comes the need to feel superior by making others feel inferior, which means a load of snide dumbass comments.
I usually keep quiet because, I just want to work out, so I shrug everything off and keep it moving. However I realize now, this was a huge mistake, because over time keeping quiet had lead to the grand finale of snide comments! ( I guess I was sipping battery acid unknowingly)
One day, My leg was hurting and I was limping on the treadmill. My personal trainer, with a sense of humor of a pubescent 5th grade boy, made a joke about my “third leg.” I’m still confused as to why this joke about me bothered him so much, but it really bruised his shallow ego. Maybe it was the combination of the joke and the realization of his limp **** from limping on the treadmill, I’m not exactly sure but it bothered him so much he felt the need to put put me down to make himself feel better. Barry went out of the way to tell everyone “I’m half asian!” and gesture with his thumb and pointer finger.
Word spread throughout the gym as Barry told everyone. Last but not least, Barry came up to me and said “Jean (my personal trainer) was talking about your third leg….. I go to her…… remember he’s half asian” and motioned with his thumb and pointer figure.” He turned and motioned to another grumpy old man who replied “half asian you know what that means” and he also motioned with his thumb and pointer finger…… Now at this point the size my man parts are being debated by everyone at the gym except me. I kept quiet thinking……. “Great….my man parts are the topic of conversation because two old insecure men felt they couldn’t “measure up” to a rumor?”
Now, I’m ok with my friends joking about me but, this old man doesn’t know me like that. From the look on his face and the way he said it to everyone….. this wasn’t a joke, it was an insult meant to belittle. However, I wasn’t insulted and didn’t feel the need to defend myself, so I laughed it off and kept my mouth shut.
I wanted to blurt out “I’m pretty sure my weiner is the only one in this room that can function without the aid of performance enhancing drugs” but I bit my tongue and finished my workout.
Was biting my tongue the right thing to do? After all, I was unoffended, and it might of been a bit harsh to talk about “two old men who can’t get it up.”
I failed to realize these old men had ego’s so fragile they needed to make themselves feel better by putting me down. Now that I look back on it, I should’ve said every word I was thinking, loud and proud. Next time I will let loose a string of piercing words to deflate their overblown egos, because keeping quiet invites more negative chatter.
Keeping quiet says “yes, I am willing to listen to your stream of unwanted garbage comments.”
Silence is neutral sometimes, but when dealing with a person that speaks with the intent to belittle, silence says
“I’m ok listening to what you’re saying” when in reality you’re not!
Yes, you can turn the other cheek to a person that is just passing through but when you encounter the same verbally oppressive people on a daily basis you need to speak up and communicate what they are saying is absolutely unacceptable.
It always starts with small snide comments that don’t register at first but get worse over time. Even though you may not be offended, silence is filled with more rhetoric that supports the other side. It’s an invisible game of push. The aggressor uses his or her words to force their garbage opinions onto you.
Silence invites an invasion of your mental space.
The only way to keep your mental space is to push back by using your words and communicate.
“Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is bullshit.
Words have the power. Wars have been started and ended because of words. Words can be heard, felt and internalized.
Even in the absence of a speaker, words can be internalized and replayed over and over leading to happiness or craziness. Think about Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. His words may be reverberating in your head right now just as vividly as the day you herd them. The same goes for words said by our president Donald Trump.
Once you realize the power of words, it is wise to harness this power. You have a choice, instead of keeping quiet, give yourself permission to express yourself.
Express both positive and negative thoughts. Expressing your positive thoughts from pleasant encounters by saying “thanks for sharing that with me, I really appreciate it” will strengthen the bond between you and the people you value. And expressing your negative thoughts from unpleasant encounters by saying something simple like “that’s offensive, and it’s making me uncomfortable” will distance the creepers. Use your words. Simple phrases often work best especially if you are like me and have trouble dealing with Assholes.
Yesterday I had a disagreement with Barry. He was trying to shovel me a load of bullshit….. Instead of keeping quiet and eating it up like everyone else, I used a simple phrase to shut him down. I turned, looked at him and said “really, I don’t think so Barry……” in a firm fully confident voice. It was nothing harsh or critical, but that simple phrase derailed his usual ego filled circus act. He recoiled into the corner of the room and tried to feed his bullshit to someone else. I could tell, he felt it like a kick in the groin.
I know some of you may be thinking “I feel too much emotion when I say something back.” and “won’t that make people hate me?”
Ask yourself, will I feel emotion either way? And would I rather feel the weight of the other person’s filth laid upon my shoulders?
Would you rather feel a slight initial discomfort about confrontation, which will fade as you become more comfortable with standing up for yourself? You will develop a deep sense of personal empowerment as you express your true inner feelings!
Secondly people will NOT hate you. People like and respect competence. Even after what felt confrontational, Barry approached me trying to gain my approval and said “Hey Stephen let’s get you checked out.” Putting me before other clients. He respected me more after causing some mild tension. I felt bad about rejecting him and felt like it was confrontational but, accepting the weight of someone else’s bullshit by keeping quiet will damage your self esteem. For the sake of your self esteem, please do NOT do that.
Now we’ve already went over the basics of dealing with nasty people.
- Keeping quiet doesn’t work.
- You have to communicate “you will NOT accept their bullshit” or they will keep pushing. (Don’t sip battery acid if you can avoid it)
So how do you communicate this? Well you have to speak your mind to express your dissatisfaction. To speak your mind it’s important to know what to say, but it’s even more important to know, HOW TO say it.
Of course you may be thinking you can “say it authoritatively and say it loud” or “say it like you mean it” which is great, but I’m reminded of a time where I saw Barack Obama speaking about the democratic – republican divide in the whitehouse caused by differences in viewpoints. They were refusing to work with each other. President Obama looked around the room and said
“Where I come from, if we have differences, we’re not going to run away, we’re not going to hate each other, we’re not going to argue……
“We’re going to sit down and have a discussion.”
And that’s the key word, discussion. When you imagine expressing yourself as casually as sitting down and having a discussion or conversation over a cup of tea, you will speak much more purposefully and powerfully.
Imagine having a conversation with your friend to tell them “i’m tired of your shit” and “ you’re acting real stupid right now.” We all have friends that we’ve gotten mad at and expressed it.
There’s no pressure, no goal because you’re simply conversing to get your point across. You will communicate your point automatically and effortlessly as your thoughts make their way into the other person’s ears like music.
Now let’s talk about what to say. The best thing to say is exactly what’s on your mind. Be brutally honest when dealing with assholes. Most of them aren’t used to hearing anyone talk back to them. The honest truth really cuts them to their core. At the gym, I should have said
- “My man parts are the topic of conversation because two old insecure men feel they can’t “measure up” to a rumor?”
- “I’m pretty sure my weiner is the only one in this room that can function without the aid of performance enhancing drugs”
You may think you are not witty enough to come up with this stuff but you are, just speak the truth. The Ancient Greeks said “Comedy is the truth.” Speak whatever is on your mind, speak the truth.
If you draw a blank here are some simple “go to” phrases
- “NO!” Just say “no” plain and simple and that’s it and walk away. This is the most powerful phrase you can use when dealing with Assholes. Most people have a hard time saying “NO”, and have a hard time hearing “NO”. “No” will stop those clowns in their tracks. Think about it, wouldn’t it stop you?
- The same goes with just saying “STOP!”
- “Really (sarcastically) I don’t think so buddy…”
- “That was a terrible thing to say”
- “I really don’t like that / what you have to say, it’s _________ and I don’t want to hear it”
- OR my favorite variation “I’m really tired of listening to your garbage ass comments, please stop”
Yes, dealing with Assholes can be like drinking battery acid but it doesn’t have to be if you know how to talk to them. If you use these concepts you will double your confidence and power when dealing with everyone, not just assholes.
You may feel uneasy at first about talking back to Assholes, but that perfectly normal and OK! Years and years of conditioning from our parents and school teachers have taught us that talking back is bad. That’s a load of bull, it’s time to break this belief and take charge.