In Part 1, we looked at the destructive nature of toxic people that can wreak havoc on an HSP’s life. Here are four steps you can take right now to build up the power to resist the attacks of toxic people, who I call Swan-Killers. As a result of your own HSP traits, this power already dwells within you. These techniques are simple tools to bolster your own incredible resistance.
Your first step is to identify the people in your life, or who you come in contact with, as a Swan-Killer/toxic person. This is easier for you than you think. As an HSP, you are aware of subtleties and nuances in behavior. You notice little clues that will identify if someone needs constant praise and admiration, or has a sense of entitlement. We sense when a person treats others disrespectfully. Or intimidates, bullies or belittles others. These actions may be done in a slight manner or a roundabout way, but while they fly over the heads of others, you will know what is happening. Increase your awareness and pay attention to these clues.
As an HSP, you have a strong intuition. An HSP friend of mine calls her intuition her spidey-sense. This is when the hair on the back of your neck raises or tingles run down your spine. Your reaction might be simply a sick or uneasy feeling inside when you meet someone. You know how it manifests in you. Pay attention to these signals also. That spidey-sense is trying to tell you something.
The best solution to avoiding danger with a Swan-Killer is to disengage with them. Removing yourself from that person is your best defense against any possible attack.
Often, separation is not possible, as in the case of a family member or co-worker. In that case, you need a different strategy. There is a very simple but effective method for dealing with a Swan-Killer called the “gray rock” technique. As the name implies, your interaction with that person becomes as bland as a gray rock. To implement this technique, keep your interactions with the person as short as possible. Maintain your boundaries, and stay away from sharing personal information. Keep to subjects like the weather, or other neutral topics. Disengage as much as possible. Avoid eye contact. Draw their attention away from you by looking at objects in front or around you, or doing distracting gestures.
If you are being disrespected, you will have no choice but to engage with that person. Assertively, but calmly and evenly, stand up for yourself. Do not allow someone to take advantage of you. Take your stand and assertively let them know you will not be bullied. Tell them in a confident and decisive manner that you are in disagreement with them, but that mutual respect is required in the situation.
Which brings us to our third step.
Stay Calm and Focused
Our strong emotional reactivity does not mean we are not in control of our emotions. Emotional regulation is at our disposal. We have the innate ability to think before we act. It is part of our makeup to process the situation and our reaction to it before we actually respond. We need to take advantage of this trait. In that short span of time that we take to contemplate, we are free to determine and set an appropriate boundary, regulate our present emotions, and respond accordingly.
When we stay calm and focused, and react appropriately, the power in the situation remains on our side.
Own Your Power
This step will be more difficult for those of us who have had more difficult childhoods. Sensitive children take the garbage heaped on them to heart. It is a struggle for that sensitive child to believe in their own worth. But if you find yourself in this situation, understand that you have a special gift, that you have the power to do great things, and that you have the right to stand up to anyone who claims otherwise. And to anyone who wants to insult, belittle, criticize, or manipulate you.
We, as HSPs, have a unique kind of personal power. We need this power because we are favorite targets of Swan-Killers and other toxic people. To be the best you can be, own your power to stop abuse in its tracks.
Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson