How to handle distressing news
I ve only been rambling on and on how to stay calm in the face of any emotional earthquake but today I want to go beyond that. It’s easy to judge others and provide an outsider perspective – when we are given distressing news the first impulse is to react. When we are hit (emotionally), we want to punch back! But… It never works out in our favor that way. Instead, it’s either the situation takes hold of you (the demon possesses you), or you take hold of the situation. Which one is it going to be?..
But HOW do you take control? I will discuss such examples.
1.Disarming the Shock Bomb with “I already know” or “I already know (this shock bomb) but did you know (return shock bomb)?
Saying I already know and following with your own shock bomb is even more effective – “Yes of course I know of this; but did YOU know THAT?”
If we are being deliberately attacked: “I am a lover your partner is cheating on”, or other shocking, unbelievable news you can’t possibly trust, it’s best to smile and say: “I already know, I am so sorry that she or he used you. This poor person is a recovering sex-oholic and they just can’t help it. Please get checked.”
2.Disarming the Shock Bomb with Mirroring+Return Shock Bomb.
Example2. Breakup News are a form of a shock bomb, but since they are a wake up call to you – a person who failed to break up with this person FIRST and was acting too patient and forgiving… There’s a way to save a face!!!
“I am so sorry it’s over… It’s not you it’s me…” But most commonly they will say “I still love you BUT…” And some madeup excuse.
“Oh baby I am very sorry too. Thanks so much for this. Truth be told I wanted to break up last time we met but chickened out… This was gonna be my second try but you read my
Mind and beat me to it! Whew! Thanks so much! The feeling is mutual!” And hug them/be on your way. The person will probably be stunned as they failed to shock you and got shocked instead. What? You are…grateful instead of angry? That is an unexpected response, and totally qualifies as a “RSB” or return shock bomb.
3.Disarming the Shock Bomb when you are informed of something disagreeable to you in front of other person/peoples. The Group Shock Bomb can only be disarmed 1-on-1!!!
This applies to a group situation where a leader or authority figure informs you that he made the decision to do something disagreeable to you. Don’t react in anger. Can you start a group discussion and start politics/polling for votes? No and no, because there’s a chance the other person will disagree with you and you will be outnumbered.
“We will now start performing a horrible group activity”
“Can I speak with you in private please?” While smiling.
Walk away from a group, then in a low voice explain that the whole group will absolutely not do it and the why’s. Speak for the whole group but with concern for the groups safety and wellbeing. If Mr Hitler doesn’t comply, walk directly to his supervisor and make a formal complaint against him.
4.Uncertainty SB. You are assuming that a Shock Bomb is handed to you but it’s not very clear. If you touch it, it will blow up just like the bomb you imagined it to be, but this is the case of FEAR materializing. Easy! If the person delivering it, is not sure it’s a bomb, it’s not.
Paraphrase what the person just told you, word-for-word. Acknowledge it “OK”. Say nothing more of the subject and change to a positive subject. Smile and carry on happily, as if it didn’t bother you.
Hard I know. Uncertainty bomb is the worst because it feels just like the bomb only lacking direct wording. Assuming it’s a fake prop and acknowledging someone’s uncertain feelings is hard. Some people take uncertainty for cowardliness, and will egg them on: “Come on let me just say it for you, you want a divorce am I right? And you want kids and the house?” W R O N G!
An uncertain person wants for YOU to make a decision. They will just agree with anything you’ll say at this point: “Yes, you got it”. When a person in doubt has no clarity to deliver to you, they got NOTHING. They are lost, in need of guidance. The fact that they came to you means something. They need you to hold their hand, reassure them with your own confidence but NO DIRECT WORDING and no confrontation.
Don’t be harsh to you both by treating a fake prop, a fear or a doubt, like the Shock Bomb (it is not).
Exorcise the demon of fear! Disarm the Uncertainty Bomb by a simple OK (paraphrase it and show that you understand that they are lost at this time). It’s OK to be afraid and to have doubts – don’t hold it against them. Don’t tell them “I thought better of you than this coward slug I am seeing”.
I am telling you in all 4 cases there’s never an understanding, always an outrage. How can they do this to me after all I’ve done?… But, pray for understanding to come and it WILL COME at a later date.
Know one reason only: It came to you today to make you a stronger person, a better person, to carve you into a super-hero shape from this clay-mush shape you are in. So be a Man, Super Hero, a Role Model and handle the Shock Bomb with care and confidence. YES YOU CAN!!!