Have you ever been drawn into a conversation you didn’t want to be in? Have you ever told someone you preferred not to talk about something but ended up in an uncomfortable dialogue anyway? This happens often because you were baited. These conversations can revolve around any topic from politics to religion to family dynamics. Insults are another form of baiting.
Some people enjoy the challenge of pushing boundaries and having difficult conversations. Unfortunately, some personalities delight in seeing you become baffled, disturbed and uncomfortable. This gives them a strange sense of power. They have the experience of gratification, dominance and control over you. It’s an unhealthy dynamic but one that occurs frequently. Narcissists are notorious for this type of behavior, but other people engage in it too. It happens to the best of us, but you can be more prepared in the future if you find yourself in this situation.
Here are a few strategies you might find helpful:
First, be clear within yourself about what your boundaries are about certain topics.
Then, communicate those boundaries to others. You may even need to reiterate them right before you see or talk to them.
If they still move forward toward discussing tough topics or putting forth jabs or barbs toward you, don’t retaliate. Be assertive and let them know you will not proceed any further. Retaliation often only serves to excite the baiting perpetrator. Your reaction is often their reward.
If they continue, you may need to walk away from the conversation.
Know that people often will lash out toward you in anger if you have a boundary and refuse to be baited. The relationship can take a turn for the worse. At this point, you will need to decide if you need more distance from this person for your own well-being. Let your own sense of peace and joy serve as your north star. Reach out to us today!