WAYS TO STOP PEOPLE FROM DOMINATING YOU OR CRITICISING YOU - Dr Kamal Khurana Marriage Counsellor
Updated: Mar 3
Alfred Adler a Great Austrian Psychotherapist of 19th century had coined the term 'inferiority complex'. He emphasized that all individuals strive to do away with their feelings of inferiority. Building upon this theory, we can ascertain that if you can help the person in front of you, with his need to compensate the feeling of inferiority( without compromising on your individuality) the other can certainly treat you well.
Indeed it's difficult when we encounter a person who is dominating the discussion every time. And it's not fair to put the blame entirely on the other. There can be a ‘with-drawer’ in us as well, that makes the other take up the role of a 'pursuer'.
As it is rightly said, it calls for two for a tango.
Yes, if you feel that the other pursues his or her way and oppresses you, stop for a while and note that there’s a with-drawer in you too.
The story goes back to our childhood days, where we weren’t provided with an environment to share our emotions freely. All of us love our parents, indeed we must because no parent would think ill of their child. Yet, in the pursuit of protection and concern, some parents miss out on inculcating a very important skill - ‘assertiveness’ in their children. This happens in most of the families, so it's normal.
Whereas, now if you find the need to differently deal with the people, who you feel control you, it is important to develop assertiveness.
Let us understand the meaning of assertiveness first.
Being assertive is when you can express yourself effectively and freely. It is about standing up for your views, while respecting the belief of the other at the same time. You can be assertive only when you have worked upon your self-esteem. And the best part is that when you are genuinely assertive, you gain respect from the other. Yes you may find it strange, but it’s true.
WAYS TO BE ASSERTIVE
1. Initiate the discussion yourself.
If you do so, the other will have no option but to listen to you. It is important to say to the other that "I have to share something that i feel is important for me."
Now this will hold the other’s attention to something that he / she has never heard from you.
Of course you need to know how to put across your view considering it as important. In the points below you will learn a specific format to do so.
2. If the other starts talking, don't interrupt
It may also happen, that like always, the other starts talking. Here you need to learn the diffusion technique. Let’s understand what it is. People who have a tendency to dominate, have a huge need to be heard. See them as kids who have never been allowed to express when they were young. So while growing up, they developed a defense mechanism by which they start the talk oppressively( well in advance) so that others do not dominate them. Here, by listening (without interrupting them) you are allowing that kid inside to speak up or puke all they have in their mind. The trick is to let them say all. And you need to actively listen to all that they are sharing. Don’t get stuck at their facial expression or oppression. See it as their need. And once when their energy is depleted, you can start your talk. It is really important that you don't feel suppressed while they are speaking.
You have to remember that it’s their pattern to gain control and that’s natural for them and unintentional. He / she involuntarily comes into that zone, when he/she feels threatened. So if you help them believe that you are neither threatening nor scared, you actually take them out of the game of their subconscious mind. In a way you give them a space where they feel trusted that they can share. They don’t even know that it is their weakness. Of course when they are speaking you will not be able to spot the anxiety behind their oppressing behavior.
Martial art fighters are trained to use this technique. They don’t interrupt the opponent when the opponent is attacking. Once the opponent is finished on energy, only a single full power punch on the right spot is enough to knock the opponent down. Here you can use this technique to finally collaborate on the core issue. You will learn this in the following part.
3. Do the focused talk
You need to keep your composure within and feel super confident. This can happen only when you respect your ownself and your views. You need to know whatever your views are, they are valid for you. You have all the right and responsibility to express your views to the other. Because the other is unaware of what you think, doesn't make you or your views invalid. If you observe carefully , the other always mentions to you, that he / she is not aware of why you do what you do. This is precisely the point. You need to share your views because only then the other can help you. Of course there is a technique to say what you want to say.
This is a step by step format to share your views and help the other to collaborate-
a. Start by saying that “I respect your view”
b. Say without blaming or rejecting the other “At the same time, my view on this is ….”
c. Mention the reason / logic behind your view “I believe this way because…. “
d. What you feel because of that – “ and because of all this I feel...”
e. Express your need specifically - “What I want exactly is that … “
f. Share your openness as well - “I am flexible in a way that if …”
g. Show the positive consequences in advance - “ I need your support and If I get it, I will be able to help you in a way that …”
h. Also Show the negative consequences in advance - “ If I don’t get the support then I tend to…. “
i. Immediately bring the discussion back to the positive - “I don’t want to go that route, so please support me, because I am concerned for you and your need”
j. Show your intention to collaborate “ I am open to your views on this …”
k. Invite the other for a collaboration talk - “Come let us find a way out as a mid way to what you want and how I want”
If you follow the above sequence, you will be surprised to see the change in the other’s body language. It may be an equal surprise, rather a shock for the other as well. That’s what you need. By taking the discussion in this format, you are inviting the other to respect you and also take a collaborative approach. You are connected with everyone, so you have to collaborate.
If you watch animals in a jungle, when encountered with a threatening predator, a normal tendency of all species is to defend. Here you are a human and in today’s time you are connected with everyone. For this you have to maintain the needed balance and calmness. By creating a position of equality, you are helping the other to create a positive relationship with you. It’s normal if you are unable to believe that this is possible. But only by executing this with all the authority figures, you will gain mastery. It really works for everyone.
4. Stop the other from interrupting you.
Many a times the other will interrupt you out of a habit. This is a normal. And in such a case your natural response is to feel judged, feel weak, feel scared because it is your habit too. But don't you need to put an end to this ?. So instead of getting stuck at feelings you need to say to the other "I haven't completed yet, I need to complete and then certainly i will listen to your view".
5. Make it a point that you summarize the talk
You need to summarize the talk expressing the understanding of both set of views, yours and the others. You need to say that "I understand that we have these two goals to achieve here. And we ned to find out a way, where we help you get what you want and also what I want. We need to be a team to cerate a central way for this. And this can happen only when we collaborate. I am game to find a solution. lets see what best we can do here".
You need to summarize to create a collaborative spirit to set up a new standard between the two of you. You have never done this, and to create a new present, you have to create a new position. Earlier you may be either withdrawing or being reactive in your own ways. Collaboration is what you need to establish. and by this you will be able to break the pattern of control and domination. Collaboration is also important because when we have to co-exist with people, even their needs must be well respected besides ours. Also remember it’s actually not there fault, because you were never firm on your needs. You needed to respect your own needs. Assertiveness is not rebellion , it is collaboration. Never mind, the time is right now.
Assertiveness doesn’t mean that you go on the other extreme. In many a cases when the withdrawers learn about the importance of their needs for the first time, they tend to become rude or obstinate. Even this is normal. This happens because of their strong urge to put an end to the oppression they have experienced all the while. and if you are going in that direction, you need to know that you are in inertia of the accumulated oppression and suppression from your growing years. And you are role reversing now. It is a saying that a bully was bullied at some point in time. Being on extremes doesn’t solve any problem.
FACTS TO BE REMEMBERED DURING THE DISCUSSION-
1. Keep yourself empowered throughout.
2. Accept your mistake if you have done any.
3. Don’t please the other.
4. Mutually arrive at a solution strategy.
5. Don’t attempt changing the others personality.
6. Don’t defend yourself.
7. Respectfully yet firmly set a ground rule, if the other abuses or criticizes.
8. Establish a break if the discussion is not going right. Set a different time to resume the talk.
All the conflicts get resolved only on table with healthy discussions. It is important that a conflict is only a form of unmet needs of either or both parties. And needs need to be shared. Of course a new beginning is not that difficult but it’s kinda different.
You can co-operate with anyone. People long for authentic discussions and solutions. If you have someone in your close vicinity who has a habit of pursing you, it is your responsibility to help both of you to have healthy discussions and create solutions mutually. You can't run away from working on your patterns of withdrawal. And you can't keep running away from people. You can create amazing relationship with this person and with every authority figure if you inculcate the above.