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Default defense against verbal attacks: mirror technique

Hello guys,

already mentioned in PU but worth repeating. I’ve been experimenting with it and it works.

When someone attacks you, use the same attack back on them. So it’s a “light side” defense technique in Star Wars terminology. They brought it on them.

Example today:

Head nurse, seeing me alone in the room waiting for all the people to come for the meeting: “you lost your colleagues?” with a frame of me like a little boy who lost his mother.

Me, recognizing it as an agression: “no, I don’t know where they are. And you? You lost your colleagues?”

Her: “no, blabla” walking away as she mumbles some bullshit excuse.

Why does it work? Because when they say it, it means they think it’s appropriate in this context to say this to you. So when you send it back to them they cannot accuse you of being mean or inappropriate.

That’s why it’s powerful. It’s unstoppable. That’s also why it’s a good default response when attacked. You can do better but you cannot do worse.

Lucio Buffalmano, Matthew Whitewood and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew WhitewoodTransitionedselffriend

Good one John, and great to have one more example for this technique.

Since it's in the "techniques" section, and deservedly so, OK for you if we put a name on the topic title?

Something like "default defense against verbal attacks: mirror technique".

Matthew Whitewood, John Freeman and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodJohn Freemanselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Yes, it's much better this way. I agree with you! I also thought the title was not so good. Thank you! 🙂

selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend

As I told you guys, I realized I'm a beginner with defense technique, so here is an example coming from the Whatsapp group. In italic, my analysis and commentaries:

Me: Alright, I just got out of the operating room: I will be in good state for Friday evening. (PS: I realize today that my friends did not know if it was a joke or not)

JB: Surgery went well? Get well soon! This anal cyst will not bother you anymore! (I was there for a ear-nose-throat surgery, but my friend did not ask nor know about it, yet this is one-upping).

Me: It went well. They told me to tell you that your appointment for the vaginoplasty is confirmed (one-upping back, mirror-style: you want to fight? let's fight)

JB: It was time! I hope the result will be better than yours, because they did f##k you up! I don't know if this was a horse or a sow (=female pig)? Have you seen your pussy or what? 😀 (Who has the ref?) (I don't know if he was refering to something I don't know about. Anyway this escalated quickly as this is the downside with mirroring: it's a game of who's going to back down first)

Me: One should not project on others his insecurities (me going meta)

After that, he did not answer anymore. Other guys asked me how I was.

Another one said:

Him: Get back soon well, old man!

Me: thank you! Old man! 🙂 (mirroring back)

So I do think that mirroring is an effective method to set boundaries. It shows people that you are a hard target. And it does leave room for going meta, assertive or shaming if it does not work in the first place.

So I think it's the right attitude with experimenting with this technique. It does have the cost of breaking rapport a little bit but I think it's worth it for getting self-respect. Then you can always build back rapport. It's important for people around you that they know that if they hit you can hit back harder. So they don't even try for fear of getting hurt. I know because it happened to me. Some people I don't try to one-up them because I know they can hit back.

Be hard target. Hit back.

Another option would have to do the "Show me the hand" (I love this technique):

Me: Alright, I just got out of the operating room: I will be in good state for Friday evening. (PS: I realize today that my friends did not know if it was a joke or not)

JB: Surgery went well? Get well soon! This anal cyst will not bother you anymore! (I was there for a ear-nose-throat surgery, but my friend did not ask nor know about it, yet this is one-upping).

Me: What are you talking about? (Show me the hand)

I think it is more evolved. It also prevents me for falling into his frame of having been operated from an anal cyst. As I said I'm considering myself a beginner in self-defense. So I'm at the level where I'm learning just to defend every attack. Then I will sophisticate my defenses. I can always apologize and say that I went a bit too far. It's better to over-defend than to under-defend.

Cheers!

Lucio Buffalmano and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanoselffriend

Good one, John.

I liked your first response.

JB went way overboard with his second reply, there wasn't even a hint of funny anymore, so it was also OK to let it drop there.

Your reply keeps up the game instead -psychologizing-, and might also feel like your were being touchy.

Another option:

"alright, this joke is going too far now with the aggression, I guess deep down you mean well though".

Or:

"alright, this joke is going too far now with the aggression, I'm out.

The interaction then says that you hit back, but are not the type of guy to get bogged down in value-taking, turkey-scratching behavior.

Then you reply to the others who wish you well with big "thanks", showing that you appreciate, prefer, and reward that type of communication.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Also, there was a strategic reason for calling yourself out of the one-opping game early:

He had invested a lot at that point.

By withdrawing and going higher earlier, you'd have further highlighted that not only he was stuck in a lose-lose, value-taking game, but that he was also putting wat too much effort into it.

Edit: let him end with value-taking, turkey behavior. You go higher sooner. That way, you better highlight the difference between leader behavior, and turkey.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I think you're right. I thought about asking why all the aggression. But I think it's better to state what I think:

I think it went too far with the aggression on this joke.

Like you said. I'm writing it down to learn through modelling (wink). And then going warm:

I'm looking forward to see you again, though.

I now end most of my communication with warmth. Even if I was really dry or assertive in the main communication.

On my emotional state: I was not touchy but they know that I don't like John's pussy so this is why he tried to push on this button. However, now thanks to self-development it does not affect me anymore. That's why I threw it back at him: "you think it pushes my button? Well, I think it pushes your button."

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 25, 2021, 5:49 pm

Also, there was a strategic reason for calling yourself out of the one-opping game early:

He had invested a lot at that point.

By withdrawing and going higher earlier, you'd have further highlighted that not only he was stuck in a lose-lose, value-taking game, but that he was also putting wat too much effort into it.

Edit: let him end with value-taking, turkey behavior. You go higher sooner. That way, you better highlight the difference between leader behavior, and turkey.

 

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 25, 2021, 5:49 pm

Also, there was a strategic reason for calling yourself out of the one-opping game early:

He had invested a lot at that point.

By withdrawing and going higher earlier, you'd have further highlighted that not only he was stuck in a lose-lose, value-taking game, but that he was also putting wat too much effort into it.

Edit: let him end with value-taking, turkey behavior. You go higher sooner. That way, you better highlight the difference between leader behavior, and turkey.

100%. Still much to learn I have. (Star Wars reference)

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
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