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Therapist Leslie please: I'm still recovering from the upset…

Therapist Leslie please: Hi, I'm...
Therapist Leslie please: Hi, I'm still recovering from the upset the other day and now am fighting a migraine but I want to stay on top of things and avoid letting myself get into that state again. So my question is about more generally - how can I protect myself from any person that says something provoking or rude, etc? Sometimes when that happens I feel frozen to the spot and then start defending myself and it NEVER is a good idea. So you gave me a great idea to write ideas for when I've gotten upset. And the ice cube idea I love. Just wondered if you could expand on that concept of not engaging when someone emotionally attacks you and how to get myself to leave the scene. I've done it a few times and later I was so glad but I want to be able to do it right away as soon as I know this is just someone messing with me and not real. It's actually also happened on the phone with complete strangers - once a customer service person at Macy's and a few times on a crisis line. Where I should have just hung up but I wanted to get *them* to stop, but people like that never will. I also have a STRONG desire to defend myself verbally/rationally to these types but that also never ever works because they don't want to be rational - it's about abusing another human being. So I'm looking for any other ideas or insights you think might help me? Thanks - I know you may not be here right now so I'll just check back from time to time. Thanks Leslie.
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Answered in 13 minutes by:
9/12/2017
Therapist Leslie
Therapist Leslie, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 445
Experience: Owner and Psychotherapist at Self-Employed, Private Practice
Verified

Ahhhhh sweet soul, this is a tough one and one I've also found myself in many times. I don't know about you but I do find myself frozen in the moment--usually because I'm so horrified by what was said that I'm unsure of how to respond. So, I've come up with a few things that are my "go to's" should, god forbid, this comes up again. One I always recommend to my clients is this.....Person X says something horrible.....I respond, "I'm sorry, I don't think I heard you correctly?" Person X repeats horrible thing. I then say, "Oh dear, that's what I thought you said" and walk away. This lets the person know that what was said was inappropriate and I no longer have to engage as I'm already halfway down the hall by the time they realize it. I also have used this technique....Person X says something horrible or offense. I respond, "Oh my, I thought you were so much better than that" and immediately walk away. These techniques honestly stop people in their tracks and allow you to escape a potentially difficult situation. Does this help at all?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I like both. I especially like the first one because it puts the ball back in their court or I mean that it puts them on the defensive. They now need to say the horrible thing twice - instead of me responding directly to the horrible thing which puts ME on the defensive. And "Oh that's what I thought you said" and walk away puts me in control of my own situation and not having me just sat there waiting for more horrible things. But it's also kind of funny to me, and sardonic or one of those words. With the second one I could say that too but it feels a tiny bit more direct and I think I prefer the more indirect and "light" way.
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I like both. I especially like the first one because it puts the ball back in their court or I mean that it puts them on the defensive. They now need to say the horrible thing twice - instead of me responding directly to the horrible thing which puts ME on the defensive. And "Oh that's what I thought you said" and walk away puts me in control of my own situation and not having me just sat there waiting for more horrible things. But it's also kind of funny to me, and sardonic or one of those words. With the second one I could say that too but it feels a tiny bit more direct and I think I prefer the more indirect and "light" way - for me because I'm still a little wobbly in general. But I'll put it in my "files" for future use. What do you think about writing some of these ideas on 3x5 cards or they have smaller ones on a ring and flipping through them in my spare time - to get them more solidly in my mind?
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Oh, why did it do that, sorry!
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
What can I do when I start feeling defensive and my emotions start kicking in? This feeling that I HAVE to defend myself and my reputation. Is there some way or wisdom you have about helping myself understand that I don't NEED to do that? It's almost like I need to understand that in advance. I mean is there any way you can help me understand that I don't need to "set the record straight" to abusers? Well I think this and my last comments are the most of what I wanted to ask about tonight.
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Leslie I might be away from the computer for about an hour so I'll check back here in awhile. :)
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Hi Leslie, I'm wondering what happened with this. I still have a migraine but I wanted to finish this if possible. Just to let you know I'm still here so I'll check back tomorrow - well today but it's 4:30 in the morning so later on today. Thank you.

Ohhhhh sweet soul, those who abuse are sadly not interested in learning about you and understand why you are responding to their comments. Sadly they are abusing because of their own pain. I honestly believe that silence speaks volumes. You know your truth and don't need to defend your stance to anyone. There is freedom in becoming confident in who you are and of course, our actions speak so much louder than our words. When we live an upright life, this speaks for itself. No need to defend. I realize this is incredibly difficult in the moment and make take some practice in learning to walk away but I have no doubt you can do it!

I'll be back on line in just a little bit....just taking the pup out for her morning walk. : )

Therapist Leslie
Therapist Leslie, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 445
Experience: Owner and Psychotherapist at Self-Employed, Private Practice
Verified
Therapist Leslie and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Hi Leslie,
Just so you know I've been trying to give a rating so that I can complete the payment/rating part of this but it is greyed out and wont let me. I've tried 2 different browsers, signing out and in and it just stays greyed out. I'm going to try contacting them -did they lock this or something? Anyway I am trying to do that! I also want to say just a few more words about what you wrote but I want to sort this out first. I'm also really sorry I just got on here shortly ago. I hope you and your pup had a lovely walk this morning!
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Hi Leslie, I'm still in a chat with them. I gave a rating but there is a problem with the tip part now. I'll let you know what happens.
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Hi, I plan to leave a tip but need to sort out what the problem was. If I can't do it tonight, I will leave on in the morning. If that doesn't work for some reason I will leave a double one next time we chat. I'm also fading from this migraine and think I need to lay down. :( I will be back though! Take care & thank you SO much for everything.

Oh please, sweet soul, no worries. I am here so please let me know if you are in need of anything else. Thank you again for your very kind rating. I truly do appreciate it.

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