I am pretty open-minded when it comes to an other's thoughts and opinions but I have a couple of rules I follow. The primary one that I have learned to never waver from is responding to open aggression. The reason why I ignore an aggressor, verbal, or otherwise is this, they don't really want to know what you have to say. They never do. The only purpose an angry person has to confront you with insults is to make you feel inferior and tear you down.
Why they want to do this in the first place is irrelevant although I will say they will have lots of excuses for their bad behavior AKA reasons for confronting you. Regardless of the litany of reasons they have for deeming you the worst person in America, Europe or wherever you live , the actual intended outcome is only an argument. It is a purposeless, useless, no-win war of an argument designed to see who caves first. The loser, and they hope it's you, gets to be ragged on by them and their spineless cohorts behind your back. You see, even if you win, you aren't going to be honored anyway. No one will be tipping their hat, bowing down and thanking you for a fine, gentlemanly (or womanly) debate. You lose no matter what because the goal was not to see if you could rise to the challenge in the first place (see intended purpose above).
Should you be accosted with an onslaught of angry words for no real reason there is an important rule of engagement, don't engage at all. I know, it's hard. You want to ask them what in the world possessed them to take such exception to your point of view, don't do it. They'll be happy to tell you, but don't probably won't be able to make heads or tails out of it and if you ask for more clarification, well that brings me the next rule.
Rule number two is for those of you who find yourself involved in a feckless exchange because you failed to follow rule number one. This rule is simple. Stop communication. I mean, stop. Don't say, "I'm stopping now", just stop. If you announce your departure they'll keep going and then, of course, paint you as the coward. Go, run if you have to, smash your laptop, but don't continue. Continuing will only cause two things to happen, hours of your life will be spent without any return on investment and you'll have a king-sized headache trying to figure out what the heck happened in the first place.
If you ignore all of this well-used advice based on years of research, you will yourself in the middle of nowhere in the Emotional Swamp. These beings, disguised as regular people just like you and me are really alligators who are trying to stalk you and drag you into their swamp and wrestle the life out of you until you have no fight left. That is what alligators do before they eat their prey and that is what an alligator of this magnitude will do to you. Unless you like being alligator lunch and dragged into the murky waters of a lair you can't get out of, the trick is to know how to spot an alligator in the first place.
How to spot an alligator from the Emotional Swamp:
1) They are easily offended
2) They typically do not compliment anything
3) They are more interested in voicing their opinion than listening to others
4) They like to point out the negative
5) They talk about other people
6) When they confront, they love an audience
Know what you are getting yourself into. Most of all, put on your hip waders. Alligators love to twist the truth and turn things around, just like an alligator does when it latches on to its victim. The trick is not to get caught in the first place. A little ego check on your part in the beginning will leave your alligator hungry and swimming off to find its next victim. If you don't want an alligator attacking you, don't give it anything to sink its teeth into.
"Hurting people hurt people and are easily hurt by them." -John Maxwell
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