How to Deal With Bullies, Trolls and Haters

How to Deal With Bullies, Trolls and Haters

Last week, I submitted a comment on a blog, and got back the wrath of what I like to call an “angry man-child”.   This person insulted me and everything that I said, and it was clear that he was ready to pick a fight.   I felt myself getting defensive, and I started to think how I’d retaliate.   But I quickly realized that my emotions were getting in the way of me. I decided that I’d try to call him out on his behavior by labeling it, and then I tried to respectfully use reason to argue my point.

I had hoped that I would increase his awareness of how he came across, but he came back with more vehement insults and lambasted me for not addressing his points.

I knew that he was an angry man-child, and that he was trying to defend an ego that someone in his past had insulted.   But I still wanted to find a way to silence him. I wanted him to realize he was spreading anger and hatred that only hurt people and himself.

I couldn’t seem to let the issue go!

And then I realized I wanted him to stop so desperately, because he reminded me of my father.

Growing up, my father was constantly criticizing me, and infusing our home with his volatile temper. Nothing I could do could make him stop. I wanted him to gain awareness of how he was coming across, but all my attempts at helping him raise awareness backfired into more insults and attacks from him.bully-655659_1280

I felt desperate to make the bully stop!  I remembered how vulnerable and hopeless I felt growing up in the presence of my father and other bullies!   I wanted to make him realize how he impacted others, so that he couldn’t hurt anyone else.

So I decided to let him know how awesome I was.    I needed to show him that his comments about me were completely unfounded!   I apologized if I had offended him and told him that it wasn’t my intent.  I then ignored his other malicious attacks and tried to kill his inner beast with kindness.

But I realized as I was writing, that regardless of what I said, and my intentions, he’d find a way to take offense.  I was walking on eggshells, and I realized there wasn’t anything I could do regardless of how nice I tried to be, to make him see the impact of his actions.

At that point, I found a way to flag him, and soon after his comments disappeared.

Meanwhile, I realized what a source of stress he had been to me! I had spent too much emotional energy and time trying to make him stop.

After clearing my emotions around the interaction, I decided to concentrate on creating strategies for those who are being bullied.   My aim was to help those who are bullied feel empowered to say how they feel about the interaction, and to help them create respectful boundaries.  At the same time, if we all engaged with bullies this way, we would take the fuel out of their fire.

Here are my 6 steps to dealing with bullies, trolls and haters:

1. Remember its not you, it’s them.

People who feel good about themselves don’t need to be mean. People desperate for some sense of pride, will cut others down to make them temporarily feel better about themselves than their target. In the long run, it only hurts them.   They will pick on people who seem (at face value) are unlike them, and people who they perceive won’t be able to effectively fight back.  Women and children are often prime targets.

It has nothing to do with you.

2.  Check your own emotions.

bullying-679274_1280Bully’s and haters often have a knack for finding your raw spots. Check in with your own feelings and treat them with compassion. Your raw spots were created from previous attacks.  If you take the opportunity to learn more about how your respond and why, you’ll be able to see that this interaction isn’t just about you and the bully.   Your reaction is largely based on your past experience!

3. Resist the urge to retaliate

Do not try to retaliate.   Remember that the bully’s expertise is in being mean, and his mission is to irk you. If you retaliate, that is exactly what the bully wants, and you would only add fuel to the bully pulpit.

4.  Exit swiftly & gracefully

I’m a big fan of standing up for yourself and calling out when bullies say something hurtful.   It is important that you take ownership for your feelings.   Never stoop to their level by name calling or labeling.   Simply say, “I was hurt by _________, and I am only interested in mutually respectful interactions. “  If that feels too vulnerable, then simply say, “I’m only interested in mutually respectful interactions”.

If interaction is online, and you suspect he’ll just retaliate, try to find a way to block them.   If they respond rudely, ignore them.  You’ve already told them your standards for interacting, so he needs to meet those standards before you give him your time.

If the interaction is in person, you can use a similar approach. If the person keeps attacking you, use the broken record approach, repeating “I’m only interested in respectful interactions.”  If you can, remove yourself from the situation.

5.)  Pity them

If you realize why they are doing this (because they lack self-respect), you will be able to connect with their vulnerability. This will help you realize that this person will treat anyone they can this way.   Knowing that it’s not about you can help you let go of any anger and move on.

6.)  Restore your self-esteem/self-worth

wonder-woman-533667_1280If you are triggered by mean people, then to buffer yourself against future attacks, you will need to rebuild your self-esteem.    It means that there is a part of you that agrees with the bully, and you have to let that go.   If you’d like to let go of any negative messaging or emotions that are triggered by a bully, contact me to help you let them go. Listen to my interview on Releasing Subconsious Barriers: The Key to Health and Happiness, and call me at 1855 ENERJOY to schedule your complimentary consultation!

Do you know anyone that is dealing with a bully?   Please share this article with them!


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