When you’re in a powerless situation, it can feel so good to fantasize about suddenly gaining the ability to fix it. Imagine telling off the boss about not giving you enough hours, or the bank about unyielding policues and fees. It seems like it would be so good.
However, in situations where we do technically have the upperhand and the power to do something, it can be really hard to do anything with it. Even when you are clearly in the right, other people can simply decide that you don’t – and then try to pressure you into not exercising your rights.
The fantasy is shouting “I HAVE THE POWER!” He-man style. The reality is trying not to appear like you are shaking.
I don’t know of any way to make other people stop trying to intimidate you like this. There may not always be a way to do that – and that is really unfair. All I can offer is what helps me deal with this stuff.
- Learn everything you can about the situation – especially what your rights and responsibilities are. Knowing what ought to be going on provides something strong to lean against.
- Prepare to be treated badly. Maybe they’ll relent or they suddenly realize they’ve been awful. Maybe. You’re better off hoping for that, but preparing for them to take advantage of you.
- Keep your communications limited if it gets abusive.
- Seek out resources. In some cases, advice and info on dealing with situations is all you’ll need, and chances are whatever you’re dealing with has been covered in a blog article, forum discussion, or on a website. If it’s a legal issue, there are often helpful organizations that will offer you free assistance.
- Always try to give yourself time to think about other things. When you have a moment, pull up music you like or clips of TV shows. Keep looking till you can find something that absorbs your attention. Having a mental break can do wonders for your ability to process what is happening and to respond effectively. I use playlists and Youtube’s “Watch Later” to set up things to watch specifically when my brain is too frazzled to try & find something.
- Do self-care. Eat food. Bathe. Rest. There are social media robots you can follow that will remind you periodically to breathe & chill. And there are sites/apps like Habitica where you earn points for completing to-dos. I find these really help me focus, and free up mental energy to deal with my problems.
Everything may or may not be okay, no way to tell till it’s done. When the outcome of a situation is outside your control, try focusing on what you can control that will set you up for the best possible result.