Before Things Get Out of Hand
Have you ever tried to break up a fight before?
Two (or more) people, going head-to-head…toe-to-toe.
It’s not a very easy thing to do, is it?
Once things start to get physical it’s like human beings turn into raging bulls. Bulls that are seeing nothing but red and totally oblivious to everything except annihilating their opponent.
It’s very difficult to talk rational to someone in this state of mind.
Think about your job.
Your children are watching.
What if someone is seriously hurt?
It’s not worth it.
One question that seems to evade folks minds the most when they’re this angry is…
Whose going to bail you out of jail?
Before the First Blow
The moments right before a fist fight are very important. This is where you make the choice to either engage or disengage from the conflict.
The most important thing to do while involved in a threatening verbal confrontation is to attempt to de escalate the potentially violent situation. This will allow you to remove yourself before things get to the point of no return. Being approached in an aggressive manner or verbally threatened can seem scary and intimidating. Here are a few tips on what to do if this ever happens to you.
Be Patient and Stay Calm
In order to de escalate a conflict, your first weapon of choice is patience. A situation that has the potential to turn violent will require patience on your part. Be mindful of your response so that the aggressor is not further agitated. If you challenge them or respond with threats, then you have only added fuel to the fire that are difficult to put out after such a response. But if you are patient and calm then you can defuse the aggressor and the potentially violent situation.
Make Eye Contact
If you avoid eye contact with your aggressor it will often be perceived as a sign of weakness. Eye contact is a sign of confidence. It’s never a good thing to antagonize an aggressive person but looking like an easy target doesn’t help either.
Use Closed-Ended Statements
It would be best not to ask questions or engage with the aggressor at all. If you feel provoked in an uncomfortable situation, or being verbally abused, the best de escalating technique you can use is to not take the bait. Resist the urge to verbally defend yourself or to ask questions like “why” they are upset or “what” do they want from you. These open-ended statements are an invitation to allow the aggressor to escalate the situation into higher plains of hostility and aggression.
Do Not Become Aggressive
If you respond to your aggressor’s threats with threats of your own then you have successfully escalated the conflict. The best choice of action is to remove yourself from the situation. If you allow yourself to become engaged with a person that is being verbally abusive then it could very well turn into a physical altercation, which is not a good thing.
Your priority should always be your personal safety. If you’re in a situation that is becoming verbally abusive, try to de escalate it before it turns ugly and violent. Once a confrontation turns violent, defending yourself will be more work than just removing yourself from the verbal conflict to begin with. Don’t let anyway engage you in a verbal conflict that has the potential to escalate. Enduring temporary verbal abuse is better than getting hurt or killed in a physical altercation.