Refuse to Engage...
When someone attacks you verbally, they are extending their energy or force toward you. The idea when countering is to take the energy from the opponent and either interrupt it, avoid it, or re-direct it. In this way the force exerted against you fails to have the desired effect. One of the prime ways to do this is to “refuse to engage.”
If we are really honest, most of verbal attacks made against us are not worth wasting our time and energy to address and are better off simply being ignored. Some people seem to take joy in trying to provoke or offend others. But if you simply ignore them and refuse to respond, eventually they will either lose interest or run out of energy and give up and leave you alone. By refusing to engage the other person, saying nothing and in some cases, calmly walking away from the scene, you remain completely detached from the situation and refuse to give the attacker what they want, which is some form of attention and interaction. This in turn denies them what they require to attack you. Seneca, the Roman statesman, wrote, “There is no battle unless there be two.”
Remember, just because someone throws down a gauntlet doesn’t mean you have to pick it up. You can choose to leave it on the ground. When someone fires a verbal attack against you, ask yourself, “Is this matter even worthy of my attention? What purpose will be served by me becoming disturbed by the actions of this person?
In his book, The Warrior Within, author John Little recalls a story told to him by Lee’s attorney, Adrian Marshall, in which Lee and Marshall were having lunch with film producer Raymond Chow at an upscale restaurant in Los Angeles. According to Marshall -- “During the course of lunch we were served by a jerk of a waiter who went out of his way to be rude to Bruce. He spoke in a condescending manner to Bruce, who, to my surprise, just smiled at the man and totally ignored his rudeness. I finally asked Bruce why he put up with this jerk. Bruce replied: I came in here in a great mood, so why would I choose to allow someone to ruin it?’”
Don’t respond or react to useless or insignificant threats. It’s a waste of your time and energy. Instead, maintain your “detached cool” by simply smiling and ignoring their rudeness or condescending remarks. If you feel it is necessary for you to say something to the person, use a phrase like,” I’m afraid that I do not have the time at the moment to discuss it with you.” and then simply leave. Whether you talk to them or not, the message your actions convey to the attacker is very clear, "How does your action affect me? It doesn’t. I recognize that you are attempting to draw a particular reaction from me with your attack. Well, forget it, because it’s not going to happen. I refuse to play that game, so don’t waste your time and energy.” Take the position of Count Katsu, the famous Japanese ruler, who wrote, “Some people are truly like fleas and mosquitoes and they bite, but what does their biting amount to? It itches a little, that’s all; it won’t endanger your life.”
(The previous material was excerpted from “Liberate Yourself – A Guide to Personal Freedom” © 2011, Chris Kent – All rights reserved in all forms of media)