The Characteristics of Verbal Assailants
“I can’t believe Tony represented the sales department’s position that way. What a stupid presentation and to upper management! He may not care if he looks like an ill-prepared idiot, but that presentation reflects poorly on all of us. I sure hope those VPs realize that some of us down here are competent.”
Sound familiar? If you’ve had a job for very long, you’ve probably heard these kinds of hostile words before. Verbal assailants can be directly hostile to you or vent their open hostility to others with the knowledge that their comments will undoubtedly get back to you. They often are people with low self-esteem. In their insecurity, they belittle you in order to build themselves up. When they’re successful, you pay the price.
Verbal assailants want to get you emotionally involved in the no-win situations they set up. Then they feel superior to you when their verbal attacks succeed. If you get hooked and try to play their game by their rules, you’ll always lose. That’s because verbal assailants create the game and its rules to their advantage.
it can be disheartening when you realize you’re the target of hostile aggression from a verbal assailant. Even a known verbal assailant can catch you at an unexpected moment or in an awkward situation. If knowledge is power, then knowing the traits of the aggressor may ease the circumstances for you. The situation may not be pleasant, but at least you’ll understand what is happening. As your personal experience may have taught you, there are three main characteristics of hostile-aggressives who act out as verbal assailants.
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