How To Stop A Vindictive Person Before They Strike

How To Stop A Vindictive Person Before They Strike

Dealing with a vindictive person can be challenging. They may hold grudges, seek revenge, and go out of their way to make your life difficult. However, there are strategies to handle people like this before they attack so that you can stay out of their line of fire altogether. Here’s how to do it.

1. Understand Their Motives.

provided by Shutterstock

Vindictive people often act out of hurt, anger, or insecurity. By digging deeper and understanding their motives, you may be better equipped to anticipate their actions and react accordingly. Obviously, understanding doesn’t mean justifying their behavior. While it can offer some good insights into what’s going on in their minds, it’s crucial to remember that vindictive behavior is often more about the person acting out than about you.

2. Set Clear Boundaries.

provided by iStock

Boundaries are an absolute must when you’re dealing with vindictive people — otherwise, when you give them an inch, they’ll take a yard (and then some). It’s important to clearly communicate what behavior you will and won’t tolerate. Be firm but respectful in maintaining these boundaries. Consistently enforcing them helps you maintain control of the situation and may discourage the vindictive person from crossing these boundaries in the future. It’s worth a try, anyway.

3. Avoid Escalation At All Costs.

provided by iStock

Engaging in arguments with the vindictive person or retaliating can (and usually does) escalate the situation. It’s best to try and stay calm and composed, even when they provoke you, which they definitely will try to do. Responding with kindness or neutrality can sometimes disarm them, and without the desired reaction, they might lose interest. Remember, not every action warrants a reaction.

4. Keep Evidence.

millennial woman writing in journal

provided by iStock

If you’re dealing with vindictive behavior at work or in another formal setting, it’s really important to keep records of your interactions because you never know when you might need them. Emails, text messages, or even witnesses can serve as evidence if the situation escalates. Having documentation of some sort can be particularly useful if you need to involve someone else, like a supervisor or human resources, to help resolve the situation.

5. Try To Get Support.

provided by iStock

Dealing with a vindictive person can be draining, so don’t try to handle it alone. Get support from friends, family, or even your therapist. These people can provide a different perspective, offer advice, provide emotional support, and help you maintain perspective. Their feedback and encouragement can also reinforce the idea that you’re not alone and that you’re justified in seeking a resolution.

6. Limit Your Contact With Them.

annoyed woman texting

provided by iStock

If possible, limit your interactions with vindictive individuals. The less contact you have, the fewer opportunities they have to hurt you or cause damage in your life. This might mean changing your routine, avoiding certain social events, or even blocking them on social media. While this isn’t always possible, creating as much distance as you can often help reduce their influence over your life.

7. Don’t Take It Personally.

provided by iStock

Although it may feel personal, remember that a vindictive person’s actions are often reflections of their own issues, not a statement about your worth or character. Try not to internalize their negativity or let it affect your self-esteem. Keeping this perspective can help you maintain your mental and emotional health. Don’t let them get to you!

8. Practice Emotional Intelligence.

serious woman talking on phone outdoors

provided by iStock

Emotional intelligence, which is the ability to understand and manage your emotions, can be particularly helpful in dealing with vindictive people. It can help you stay calm under pressure, empathize without enabling them, and respond rather than react to being provoked. They still might get the better of you sometimes, but you’d be surprised by how much high EQ can help.

9. Maintain Your Integrity.

provided by iStock

No matter how the vindictive person behaves, make sure you cling tight to your values and integrity. Don’t stoop to their level or engage in similar behavior, no matter how tempting it is. By maintaining your standards, you show that their tactics can’t influence your actions.

10. Use Assertive Communication.

provided by iStock

Express your concerns and feelings assertively, not aggressively. This involves stating your perspective respectfully and listening to theirs. It demonstrates your self-respect and can make it harder for the vindictive person to manipulate the situation.

13. Practice Self-Care.

Beautiful Caucasian plus size woman in her bedroom, looking at herself in a big mirror, applying her morning cosmetics.

provided by iStock

While you’re dealing with a vindictive person, don’t forget to look after yourself. Do things that relax and rejuvenate you, whether that’s reading a book, going for a run, or even just zoning out to some Netflix for a few hours. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep can also help manage stress levels and boost your ability to bounce back.

14. Neutralize Negative Conversations.

Young adult happy couple outdoors

provided by iStock

If conversations start to spiral into negativity or personal attacks, do what you can to neutralize them. You can redirect the conversation to a neutral topic or politely end the conversation if it becomes too toxic. Sometimes you just have to walk away — know when it’s come to that.

15. Keep Your Expectations Realistic.

woman walking with attitude through city

provided by iStock

Recognize that you may not be able to change a vindictive person’s behavior. Keeping your expectations realistic can prevent disappointments and help you make decisions that prioritize your well-being.

16. Educate Yourself

frustrated man sitting at computer

provided by iStock

Learn more about vindictive behavior and tactics that vindictive people might use. Understanding their possible manipulation strategies can help you recognize and counteract them more effectively. You don’t need to go get a Master’s in psychology or anything, but a little research can go a long way.

17. Develop an Exit Strategy.

Photo of good mood charming confident young man wear green windbreaker schoolbag walking city street.

provided by iStock

If the vindictive behavior continues despite your efforts, it may be necessary to consider an exit strategy. This could mean ending a personal relationship or seeking a new job. It’s essential to prioritize your mental health and well-being.

Enjoy this piece? Give it a like and follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.