How to Deal with Verbal Confrontation

-What is verbal confrontation?

Verbal Confrontation is that range of disagreement where there is no physical threat present or implied (yet) and the threat is solely a non physical, psychological threat to the ego.

-What does dealing with verbal confrontation effectively imply?

Dealing with verbal confrontation effectively means standing your ground, getting your point across in a calm, assertive fashion whilst not unduly harming the other persons ego (or starting a fight).
It DOES mean diffusing the situation verbally before it becomes a fight.
It DOES NOT mean walking off in a bad state and pretending you have been the “bigger person” when you know and feel you should of actually said something and its eating you up inside causing you to spend at least an hour before falling asleep staring at the ceiling and questioning your own manhood.
Other symptoms may include waking up at 4 am to repeat this process of insecurity driven “dwelling impotently meditation”.
It is NOT simply and genuinely choosing to not engage the other person in dialogue because they are just a tiny spec in your reality tunnel and without consequence. That is a valid, but different, response to the issue dealt with on this course.

-Why do we find confronting people verbally a problem?

Richard Bandler once told me (I was 20 and on my first NLP course) that he thought I was trying to look big and tough but that he knew I was secretly scared and couldn’t even talk to girls I liked. Damn him and his mind reading, he was absolutely right!
People involved in Self Protection, Martial Arts, Combat Sports and Security can often be very skilled and capable and confident in situations of high risk, but crumble in medium risk confrontational scenarios.
Can you think of an example of a “tough guy” who is scared to say “no” to his wife or girlfriend?
Or a really “hard b@$stard” who can fight ten brickies… but cant walk over to a girl he likes and introduce himself?

What is the issue here?

Well… what is any human beings single greatest fear?

The Unknown?
Spice Girls Reunion gigs?




Verbal Argument leaves a much wider opportunity for humiliation than a physical fight does… so your nervous system acts like the argument is the bigger threat than a physical fight.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But at an unconscious level that is exactly what an argument is, a larger threat.

Your Autonomic nervous system is governed by unconscious drives that will not and can not distinguish between a Sabre Tooth Tiger attack and some Public Speaking scenario.

But as a martial artist with some training you know that you can end a physical “argument” with the ultimate “put down”: multiple elbows to the jaw (I joke!)

So you feel more in you confident comfort zone when a physical fight is imminent no matter what is said.

So we end up with the bizarre scenario of experienced, trained men who can fight off attackers with skill and finesse yet who feel sweaty and get shaky voiced when telling people not to jump in front of them in a queue.

-What can we do about it?

There are various techniques and processes that need to be reprogrammed into your unconscious to help but here are some common sense guidelines to dealing with Verbal Conflict:

1. Know that you are right.

Sounds non consequential I know but this one powerful first step can allow you to completely “reframe” how you experience the whole Verbal Conflict.

Ask yourself “How do I know that I am Absolutely right to feel this way?”

The more of a sense of certainty you get about your absolute right to do something about this situation the stronger, calmer and more resolved you will feel.

How does knowing you are in the right empower you and make you feel more resolved?

Im not 100% sure why this works so powerfully, but I do know that one of the fundamental principles of human psychology is:

“People will do ANYTHING if they have a good enough reason.”

So as you sit there stacking all the reasons you know that you are absolutely right to engage in a verbal conflict you feel stronger and stronger and more motivated to just get it done.

Another reason might be that it will bring clarity to your situation.
Some social situations are ambiguous and as we have moved from village to city life we are encouraged more and more to interact less and less with our fellow humans.

The result?
We are less certain nowadays about what we have the right to say and get involved in.

A Counter Example:
You are looking after your 4 year old niece, you are walking along happily when from out of nowhere someone runs past picks her up and attempts to run off with her…
Do you need an instructional CD to tell you how to react at this point? I’ll bet not! But most social situations aren’t that unambiguous so we need to bring that level of crystal clarity to them ourselves.

2. Stay Right. Be Professional.

I know that you, like me resist the idea of someone thinking you are using your training or size to “bully” them. You abhor the notion at an unconscious level. In fact the sweating and shaky voice you feel in verbal conflict could be a manifestation of your neurology rebelling against this violation of your “rules” and self image.

“This just isn’t who I am… I punch people, I don’t argue with them!”

Well Mr. Martial Artist: don’t be a bully in any way, shape or form.
Be the opposite and you will blameless in your own eyes ad others.

The key word here is “professionalism”.

Be really friendly, stay in a good state, be polite, be clear and communicate in your body language and tone of voice that you are only looking for a mutually beneficial solution.
Reframe the situation. Use your imagination in whatever way works best for you. Be Ghandi or Kofi Annan. Sober, dignified, reasonable but utterly resolved.
Think of Cesar Milan with his “Pack Leader” Dog Psychology of calm, assertive energy for training unruly dogs. No barking or threats.
Be like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings: “You shall not pass.”

(I know he looks like a floppy hatted bearded old git, but he fought a 20 foot steroid injecting fire breathing whip weilding demon… and totally kicked his ass.)

If it goes physical at least you know morally and ethically in your heart of hearts you were in the right. You gave them every chance.
Legally it looks much better in front of witnesses to have been seen to be the reasonable, un provocative party even if the only thing perceived was your volume of voice, your facial expression and body language as is often the case in reports of fights.

3. Be Zen

Being Zen in this scenario has 3 parts:

Perception and Reality are two different things.
The map is not the territory.
Make as few assumptions as you can about the situation, stay in the moment, externally focused and switched on.

Be Detached.
Be detached from the outcome of the conflict. The more detached you are the more intelligence you will be able to access for its successful resolution.
Do NOT take anything personally. The person isn’t talking to YOU, they cant be as they don’t know YOU. They are talking to themselves and to the projection in their sphere of reality that you represent. Leave your precious little ego to one side.

Believe and trust in Karma.
Karma is not necessarily a religious faith based concept, it is also Newtonian Physics: cause and effect.
If someone is being manipulative, bullying, confrontational, aggressive with you do you think you are the only person they’ve done it to? Very unlikely. Its more likely a little game or programme of psychodrama they are impelled to play out again and again.
Now think of them like a blind robot, with no choice but to waddle out into the big bad world with that horrible attitude programme running inside their little heads. How long before that little blind robot hits a wall?
Are they hitting a wall right now?
This is where compassion for their plight can come in, by having a clearer sense of what is really happening.
But don’t be too merciful.

Verbal Conflict Master Pack Available Now