In the previous piece about being assertive with people who intimidate you, we talked about clarifying your values, starting small and shifting your thinking about the intimidating person.That is, we can change our perception of the person, so we no longer feel intimidated by them. Today, we’re talking about other tools you can use.You also might’ve had critical or rejecting caregivers, peers, teachers or neighbors; you find anyone who reminds you of those relationships to be intimidating, she said.Hanks often hears clients talk about loved ones as intimidating — anyone from a spouse to an in-law.
She’s found that most people who have a hard time acting assertively haven’t reflected on what they think, feel, need and want.“If you have uncertainty or don’t have conviction about what you want to express, it’s really difficult to behave assertively.”To get clarity, she suggested simply asking yourself questions, like the below, on a regular basis: Hanks also recommended using a feelings word list to describe how you’re currently feeling.The more emotional intelligence one has the easier it is to deal with intimidation from others.As a general rule, I have often found that the people I encounter who are aggressive, judgemental, miserable, rude or just plain horrid usually have a reason for being the way they are.Below, Farris, owner of Counseling Recovery in San Jose, Calif., shared five helpful ways. (Because all of us, no matter our differences, just want to feel heard.) 2. If you’re dealing with someone with a strong personality, they might keep pushing if you’re backing down, Farris said.However, “if you state your opinion firmly, often back down.”The key is to express yourself without attacking the other person.“You say yes when you mean no, which leads to resentment and a sense that you’re invisible.This can lead to feeling depressed and devalued.”It might be harder for you to be assertive because you fear “being challenged, shamed, ignored, disregarded or socially excluded,” Hanks said.They might be used to getting their way and have strong personalities, she said.“[T]hey may not see that their behavior creates emotional distancing in their relationships — unless someone speaks up.”So how do you speak up? According to Farris, let the person “talk — but not dominate — the conversation, and validate what you hear.” For instance, you might say: “I can see how you feel that way,” or “What I hear you saying is …” If they feel heard, they might relax a bit, she said.One of my favorite authors, Forrest Morgan addresses this in his book, Living the Martial Way.Morgan states, and I paraphrase, that after a certain amount of time training in the martial way, warriors develop a certain energy that other people can sense.