5 Tips to Deal With Personal Attacks
We’ve all had experiences in personal attacks from other people. Some people are just challenging our beliefs, behaviors, and even our character. They will pick out embarrassing details from our lives, our past and even our families, and, even worse, they may make up their own unnecessary things.
While we keep reminding ourselves that these attacks only show the low quality of the attackers and not our own problems, we can inevitably feel angry and, to some extent, want to fight back. But we all know two things: fighting back can give you a moment of pleasure, but it can also start a fight that we don’t want to. So how should we respond? Here are five psychological tips to help you stay positive when dealing with personal attacks on others.

5 psychological tips to deal with personal attacks

1. Accept anger

When you’re attacked, anger is a normal reaction and it’s the right thing to do, so it’s important to you. If your behavior, beliefs, values, personalities, and other people’s perceptions of you are not important to you, you won’t be angry. It’s because you care, so you get angry. You have to realize that anger is normal for you. In fact, it is good for your health. If you can take advantage of it, anger can also be a very useful emotion, it can motivate your behavior. So let you use anger to motivate behavior.

2. Face the humiliation

In a way, we have a sense of shame when we are attacked. But when the attack is directed at individuals, especially from geographical discrimination (also known as moral superiority), others are deliberately trying to humiliate you. Maybe someone else will specially pick some details of your life to achieve the effect of humiliating you. Especially when this personal attack is public, it will produce a very serious harm. All you have to think about how badly public figures have been personally attacked in the media.

Yet humiliation is something we must all face. We all have things that hope will never be known, hope that no one will ever know, or even hope that it never happened. And shame, in simple terms, keeps you running away. So face it. Ask yourself, why would you feel bad if the attacker said that? If what they say is true, ask yourself if you can carry this fact and move on with it. If not, you have to prove them wrong. Either way, you face the humiliation and understand that it doesn’t control you.

3. Put aside the need for unnecessary needs

We all want to show others the side of our intelligence, friendliness, honesty, love (and so on), so we spend a lot of energy and time working on creating this image. Sometimes, however, this image can be questioned, especially when we are personally attacked. This question is particularly unfair. So put aside all external factors. You have to understand who you are, and you don’t have to think about what anyone but yourself thinks about you. That doesn’t mean you don’t care – you certainly care, or you won’t try to do the good things you think are right – it means you recognize what you can control, it means you can let go of things you can’t control. So the more you want to be liked, the more you’ll shape your image of what others think, and you’ll be farther and farther away from who you really are. If you want to show yourself to others, you might as well let yourself be your own audience.

4. Rethink the values

When others question your values, beliefs, behaviors, or personalities, their real intention is to make yourself suspicious, with the emphasis on making you nervous, to shame, pain, and resistance, and ultimately to put your values at odds with your own. If you’re in the middle of it, you are not only betrayed by others, you also betray your own values. So when your values are in doubt, it should make you more determined, re-examine yourself, and believe in your beliefs, so that you are less likely to shake your values.

5. Put it into practice

Knowing your worth is one thing, and how to prove it to others is another. Putting it into practice means showing your value as actual action, which can be used as evidence when you or others need it. The difference is that one is to just say “I’m a helpful person” and the other is to help others in practice such as to accompany friends when they are in trouble which doesn’t need any unnecessary counterattacks. Practical action can keep you straight, because only action can prove your faith. So when someone attacks you and questions your personality, you can list what you’ve done in the past and will continue to do in the future. You don’t have to fight back, your actions have shown and you don’t have to prove anymore.

There are some personal attacks that can make you feel more painful than other attacks, especially those from friends and family or business partners who are most explicit attacks or those that go straight into the deepest pain of your heart – the most intimate and secret things you share with others. Sometimes you need to review the above steps, and sometimes you need to repeat using them. In fact, every time you feel attacked, you can repeat the steps above.

“Don’t personalize things” is a good piece of advice, and we can remind ourselves from time to time. But perhaps when we are personally attacked, we can extend this advice a little bit as to “don’t personalize things, but also don’t just accept personal attacks.” Instead, we can use the attack as a booster to motivate ourselves – or those around you – to be better and prove them wrong.

Types of personal attacks

Types of personal attacks

We humans often confuse opinions with people, such as if you think this person is stupid (perhaps the first impression) will make you feel that his ideas will be unacceptable and you will directly deny what he said. Because when he put forward his opinion, you have a presupposition in your heart. You feel that his point of view is not good, or even did not listen to his point of view.

However, this situation will seriously hinder the perfection of our views. Others may look stupid, but it doesn’t mean his point of view is not good at this, which it will affect our own growth.

So be sure to distinguish between opinions and people, in order to prevent us from listening to other people’s views subjectively in the pre-set, we can tell ourselves that this is a good opportunity to perfect our own views.

What are the types of personal attack fallacies?

1. Direct personal attack

It’s about directly judging or blaming others, or even using insulting words to attack others, trying to attack others to overturn the idea of a method.

For example, some people may say: if your brain is just bad, then don’t get involved in the conversation here.

2. Indirect personal attack

It’s about using indirect reason to personal attack. There is no direct attack on others. Point out “you too” accountability, the other side’s words and behavior contradictions to divert attention.

For example, some people may say: you haven’t been to college yourself, how can you educate my children?

Not having gone to college is an indirect reason, the hidden direct reason is that you have no qualification and can’t educate my children.

How to fight back with personal attack?

In the face of personal attacks, sometimes what you can do is to fight back.

It is inevitable that there will be a dispute between the two people. In the process of scolding, the unreasonable party will use personal attack strategies because they can’t convince others with reasons. Generally speaking, there are three means:

1. Moral corruption

Others say the facts are right. At this time, start attacking the character. Because if the character is not good, then naturally what he said will not be tenable. People who don’t have much factual evidence will often attack others about their personal history such as personal affair. Just describe him as a bad person and you can overthrow that person.

2. Bad motivation

Whether that person does it right or not, just say he has a bad motive. The best excuse is conspiracy theories: he has an unspeakable secret, pretending to be a good man, covering up his self-interest and give him his own fame. The person has bad motives, and what he does is naturally wrong.

3. Expose relatives and friends

If you can’t find any bad motive of that person and there is nothing wrong with this personal’s history, at this time go for his friends and relatives. Even though that person is good, the people around him are not necessarily good. As long as you prove that the person is dealing with the bad guys around him, you can infer that he is also not a good person.

What should we do about people who don’t actually engage in debate, but directly attack personally? The best strategy is not to justify it, but to put his way of life behind him. How he attacks you, you fight back by attacking his past. It doesn’t need to be based on facts, and the good guys tend to suffer here. In the face of such a personal attack, the only thing you can do is to fight back. You don’t need the facts as you can’t explain clearly to this kind of person.