Intimidation in the context of a mental health issue

Intimidation is often associates with school, but we can find it in various contexts: in the workplace, at school or in a family.

What is intimidation? It is a behavior, something said or done, intentionally or not, direct or indirect. It is something that is repeated and that generates distress, it hurts or oppresses the person that is being intimidated.

Intimidation takes place in a contextwhere power between the two individuals is not equal. This is why in a relation where a person has a mental health issue, the risk can be higher.

Intimidation within a family can take place between conjugal partners, parents and children or between brothers and sisters. Theintimidationin a mental health context usually comes from the need to control the other person. By lacking with ways to avoid feeling helpless in the relation or by trying to help the other the respond to relational, financial or affective needs, intimidation strategies can take place between a care giver and someone living with mental health issues.

People using intimidation in family relations can do it intentionally or not. Even so, intimidation is a form of violence and can have negative impacts. Other strategies can be adopted to have a better communication in that context.

  1. Plan your anwsers. When you are in a downgrading situation, it can be hard to find an answer quickly without attacking the other or without silently accepting the violence of the other person. If you know the type of comments that pushes your buttons, prepare some answers in advance. This will allow you to stay calm while affirming yourself.
  2. Leave to take emotional distance. If the situation becomes too hard to deal with, take a break, leave the room and go to a calm space before the situation escalades. Tell the other person, in a calm but firm way, that you will leave the room. When you and the other person are calmer, talk about the situation to get a chance to express yourself respectfully.
  3. Establish limits. Try to think of problematic situations in advance in order to establish limits that will allow you to be more in control. For example, let your son know in advance that you will only stay two hours at a family party.
  4. Avoid rumination. When you leave a difficult situation, instead of thinking repeatedly about the situation in you head, consciously decide to do something to distract yourself and to get into a more positive mood. When you reach a more positive state of mind, rethink about the situation in a constructive way and ask yourself questions What has to change? How to answer in a more respectful way? How can I make myself feel more respected? What kind of limits can I establish?

Do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about our resources regarding intimidation.

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