I think we’d agree that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect. (try our cpi certificate or our crisis intervention training) When somebody goes into crisis does that right disappear? Do they forfeit that right? Absolutely not. Just because someone’s is not treating you respectfully as a responder, doesn’t mean you get to dish it out in kind. One of the hardest things to remember in the de-escalation process is that, when someone is making a personal attack or a verbal assault on your character, it is not the time to give them a little taste of their own medicine. The key to being a professional is to not take it personally. Let the things they’re saying bounce right off you. Regardless of what they say, it’s imperative that you continue to maintain high levels of professional conduct and treat them with dignity and respect. I would love nothing more than for you to be constantly treated with dignity and respect, but let’s be honest, you didn’t get into your line of work expecting to be treated that way, did you? If you did, you’re probably not going to last long. You’re probably in the wrong business. The reality is that you need to provide dignity and respect to everyone with whom you are working regardless of the situation; regardless of how escalated it may become. It doesn’t matter whether we’re going hands on, or whether it’s just a verbal altercation, or a simple de-escalation. I have to maintain my professionalism, and treat with you with dignity and respect throughout the encounter. If you know this and take ownership of that fact, you will recognize that it is not easy.
Holding your tongue during a verbal assault is one of the most difficult things to do. That is, until you have found your place in this world. What do I mean by that? I heard a fantastic quote from a mentor of mine, Dr. John Maxwell he said, “Until you believe you are worth more, you are worth-less.” It resonated with me, as I could relate back to a time growing up where I felt worthless. As a result, any insult, any disparaging remark made towards me, became an invitation to a fight. I had no confidence in who or what I was, and therefore couldn’t withstand any type of insult. If you find that verbal insults lead you to lose control of your emotions and actions, you need to work on identifying your strengths and attributes. Believe you are worth more, and you will no longer feel worth-less.