Wordmasters, use your skills and talents to stop bullies, thwart personal attacks, and enjoy more comfortable social gatherings.
Let’s get excited about using our innate abilities and refined word expertise to overcome dealing with the insulting relative, the hurtful-sarcastic advice giver, the condescending do-gooder, and more.
Going to family gatherings can be daunting. Your boss likes to pick on you. You can’t take another barb about personal decisions and the assaults keep coming.
What are we going to do to short circuit the pain flung our way?
Time to lock up and load, stand and be counted, face the problem and shut down the onslaught of abuse.
Tools of word gunslingers are subtle and sublime.
We can think around and through problems using the word martial arts of deflection, redirection, and obfuscation.
Do you remember teasing other kids in early grade school with, “Look, your epidermis is showing?” That was a good joke in 3rd grade. So many kids looked down to see if their pants zipper was open.
We can use our words for fun in a similar spirit to obtain a favorable outcome in awkward circumstances.
What if you can have a blast rerouting a dirge shot in your direction, rebound it to the sender, and nullify the critical energy? With practice and a good thespian performance, you can have the power.
Don’t worry about the acting. We all act when we want something and in this case, we desire to retain self-esteem and be content.
Aunt Sylvia greets you at the yearly family gathering. She knows you are working hard and taking care of the kids but you don’t have much money. You hold Aunt Sylvia in high esteem.
She says, “Hi, so at least you made it this year. Must be difficult having time between shits to visit with your loved ones.”
“ You’d think you’d find a way to make things easier on yourself and your family. You were so smart when you were young. What happened? I always thought you had so much potential.”
Sylvia ends with the guilt trip shaming to crush your spirit. How do you answer? How do you redeem? How do you not feel horrible about yourself?
Begin with processing this barrage of pretended caring laced with heavy judgment, in a light she might actually care instead of just wanting to prod. You can alter the direction for yourself and for her.
“Aunt Sylvia. So good to see you. Everything you say is so wise. My partner and I are making progress every day. Work is tough and rewarding. I made my mistakes but getting wiser with time. I’m so glad you care so much.”
With that kind of verbal jiu-jitsu, Sylvia won’t have another word to say about your situation. You’ve addressed her concerns, thrown the weight of her subtle attack off balance, and swept the feet from under her disapproval.
Now you can talk about fruit, sunshine, and the conspiracy to make farting illegal in Canada (most likely not true). The point established you’re in control of your life and your business is your business.
Using words like a weapon of harmony will become a precious game you utilize frequently. With practice, your verbal jiu-jitsu will occur organically, even involuntarily.
Consequently, your integrity, dignity, and self-image will improve and gain strength to handle anyone at any time.
We learn to move around the intended hack of our character, disable the intention, and crush the focus while reframing and redirecting.
Engaging with the aggression is necessary. Instead of taking offense we acknowledge. Using a pinch of self-depreciation can be helpful and it in no way weakens our position but rather shows strength in having self-knowledge.
We get training in these concepts throughout life. Parents, friends, and antagonists tacitly begin the teaching early in our odyssey.
These ideas were reintroduced and made concise to me in the book, Verbal Judo by George J. Thompson. I read this around the year 2001.
The idea to write this article popped into my head this morning because I was thinking of how holidays are stressful.
Verbal martial arts can be extremely useful in dealing with people we don’t want to deal with during holidays or any time of the year.
Uncle Bob chuckles and jabs,
“Looks like you picked up an extra 25 lbs this year around the middle. I didn’t know you were into odd crafting? Must have been difficult making your clothes from road kill. Not everyone can put together style from critters they just ran over with their car.”
Uncle Bob has no mercy but this chance to practice your art of word skill battle is precious.
Use a deft response to squash and quash,
“Uncle Bob. Wow, so great to see you! I got the most improved tummy award for sumo wrestler’s this year. And, I’m doing the road kill red carpet fashion show this year, glad you recognized my skill.”
Guaranteed to give Uncle Bob no room to make any more passive-aggressive remarks.
In Jiu Jitsu, you can trap an opponents arm and hand in a lock that immobilizes and disables.
With verbal Jiu Jitsu you use the words of the offender to trap and immobilize the direction of their attack and bend it to a better more favorable path.
Believe, do, and be brave.
Small examples are given here regarding using verbal defense. You can use these ideas to mold and form your own responses so you no longer need to fear an encounter with any individual.
Enjoy social gatherings, family get-togethers, business meetings, and random run-ins with a smile in your heart knowing you can handle the situation.
My hope is that you find a helpful tool with verbal Jiu Jitsu and a bit more peace in your journey.
Let peace and strength in spirit guide your path.