Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back-to-School Bully Defense Tip: Don't Escalate, Don't Retaliate

The following is a guest post by martial artist Alex Timin of Impact Martial Arts in Naples, Fla. It's a great reminder of the value of de-escalation skills.

It's a natural reaction to being bullied - you're angry, you're upset, and you want revenge. You want the bully to feel hurt just like they hurt you. Sometimes it happens without even thinking - you tease right back at them, or respond physically yourself. It doesn't have to be this way. Don't let yourself get drawn into the bully's conflicts and fights. Stay cool, calm and confident! Respond to the bullying, but not out of spite. Be firm and assertive in speaking up and standing up for yourself, without over-reacting. The bully wants to get a negative reaction out of you. Don't let them! Be calm in the storm, and show the bully that you are stronger than their attempts to harass you. Be loud and clear in your voice, and say things like "Stop NOW" or "That's NOT Cool". Stand up strong, look them in the eyes, and let your body language convey the same message that you are willing to protect yourself. Being bullied can set off all sorts of negative emotions in you - but you can still control how you react and respond to it. Choose the better path, not the downward spiral of revenge.