In an effort to control the conversation, some people attempt to define reality by labeling you in a negative way. I call this type of behavior-‘doing a number’. Don’t let them do it. Their words can be derogatory and/or demeaning, placing  you in a one down position,  with such statements as…”I feel that you’re crazy” (wrong, stupid or anything other pejorative term) or  “You’re too sensitive” (too emotional or any other negative spin on your feelings). Sometimes they express hostility under the guise of humor with something like- “I was only joking”. Well if you’re not laughing — it’s not funny. These  examples  give the speaker the advantage of positing their opinions as the truth. THEY ARE NOT THE TRUTH. They are simply the negatively biased opinions of the speaker.  One may ask: “How do I take back the control of the conversation?”  It’s really quite simple but requires  the emotional strength  to take care of yourself as the interaction unfolds. But some people need support from an outside source before they can do it for themselves. The best way to treat a bully is to bully them back. For example, when a group member accused another of being ‘too sensitive”, I protected the other and said to the speaker, “And you’re too insensitive.”  In another case, a group member made a deprecatory joke labeling   another’s emotional frailty as ‘weakness’. I stepped in hard and labeled them back and said, “That’s abusive.” Then I said, “His weakness is his greatest strength.”

About the Author
Dr. Pepper has been running groups for over twenty-five years and specializes in group therapy. He has a special gift in helping member's resolve conflicts with.

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