Coping with Intimidating People

No te dejes intimidarBy Enrique Etchevest

Many people waste daily minutes and hours of their time trying to intimidate or discredit all those around them. It seems that they enjoy to belittle and demean others, whatever their task at hand is or their relation with the victims. Such people can be found at work, at home (a relative), at school or college, in the army, in the neighborhood, by strangers or by those who have power.

If you have suffered from these type of verbal attack, you may have questioned the origin of these attacks, wondered what were the causes that motivated them and most probably have not found the answer.

We can propose different theories and assumptions without reaching any sole conclusion. We can only realize that intimidating people aim to control our self-esteem, make us feel “nothing” in front of others, so that in this way they can “shine” and “be the center of the universe”.

If you do something, they will criticize you for doing so, and if you don’t they will judge you for not doing anything. Their specialty are twofold and mixed messages. They deify you today and tomorrow they get you off the pedestal in an instant.


Intimidating people play cruel games that seek to destabilize our emotions and steal our dreams.


“Excellent job!, Sorry you turn it in so late.” (A Boss to an employee)

Their ideal is that you live in mistrust, feeling insecure and becoming more and more dependent on their words and opinions.

Invalidating, disqualifying, manipulating are some of the objectives and goals of the intimidators. They attempt to have control and power over your emotions, your soul, and destroy your self-esteem so that then you depend on them completely.
However, it’s not all bad news. We can regain control of our emotions, of our self esteem and be free of being intimidating by others. We can can detoxify from all these negative people!

Learn to recognize and operate in the most productive and effective way so that no one gets hurt or harmed.


How to recognize intimidating people and avoid getting hurt?


Tactics and strategies of intimidating people:

  • They hide behind masks, play the role of being our true friends, companions and why not, even our brother/sister.
  • Pretend to be interested in what you do, but in their mind they are plotting on how to take advantage of what you’re working on.
  • They’re ironic and sarcastic: by hints and insinuations they will have you believe that what you are doing is not quite right, thus influencing negatively in the motivation and energy that you put into your projects.
  • They live with a magnifying glass to see your flaws in detail, and then at the right time use them in their favor to discredit you, turning you into their prey and/or victim.
  • Will try by all means to reduce your self esteem to zero  so that their image and their power increases over yours. Only if you shrink, they will rise.
  • Will be attentive to hear all claims and complaints that you make about yourself, so that at the right time they will bring them to light and undermine your self esteem and your power.
  • Will exaggerate your mistakes and your failures, and will lessen the full value of your accomplishments and achievements.
  • They hide behind a mask to play their game better, concealing their temper, their irritability and lack of self-control. Their own vulnerability scares them.
  • Their goal is to have “power and control” over all that happens and all those within reach.
    Only they are right and have extensive knowledge of all the topics and issues that may arise.


Tips for dealing with intimidating people:


  • Do not contradict them: this is a battle you’ll never win. If you openly contradict them and you insist with this strategy, they will go harder against you, because they hate being confronted. They’re vindictive, and if you humiliate them, your name will be written in their memory forever.
  • Do not confront them in public: this is a humiliation they will not ignore. “How dare you offend or discredit the word of the Almighty?”
  • Get closer to the intimidator: don’t be his friend, just get closer so you don’t get hurt. Be subtle: small gestures and behaviors achieve great changes, maybe it sounds a little crazy, but it’s a good start.
  • Look at them and smile: This is a simple method to take control of the situation. Smile and give them the impression that you heard them, so that you can reverse the tense situation as soon as possible. I know it’s difficult, but you can do it.


The bottom line is “Do not fall in their game” and “Do not give into their cheap shots.”

Prepare yourself: do not intimidate or allow to be intimidated.

Have you ever had to deal with an intimidating person? how did you manage to solve the problem?

If you want to talk to the author of this article click the following red button and make an appointment with him:


One on One with Enrique Etchevest


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