Health & Fitness Lifestyle

How to respond to a provocation

The provocations cause blood to rise to the brain and respond impulsively, fomenting the power struggle and leading the provocateur to continue. A more functional response can break the mold and allow you to get out of the trap.

It will have happened to everyone at least once in their life to be accused of something unfairly, attacked in the depths, teased, offended or mocked … here you have been the victim of a provocation. By provocation we mean any verbal or non-verbal form. of attack, violence, aggression and offense aimed at generating a negative reaction, anger, groundless arguments, discomfort and suffering in the victim.

The provocateur acts intentionally and takes pleasure in observing a reaction in the other as it indicates the achievement of his purpose: to attract his attention and cause annoyance of any kind. Reacting to provocations by entering the aggressor’s game and using his own forms of action, causes an escalation and causes suffering to the victim, without resolving the unpleasant situation. provocateur. But obviously it is not easy and some small tricks are needed …

Answer and don’t react

The first weapon against provocation is to understand the instinctive nature of one’s reactions and learn to control them. Reacting to aggression with other aggression satisfies the needs of the provocateur who feels satisfied and motivated to persevere: he feels he is in control. The answer, on the other hand, must displace the interlocutor. You can laugh, use self-deprecating forms, a sense of humor, the silent and detached response that transpires indifference. All this is unexpected by the provocateur and generates a stalemate and the inability to fight back.It is not necessary to reply verbally but it is sufficient to observe with determination and firmness who is attacking and transmit the message that what has been said does not violate one’s intimacy and is not a source of suffering. case of heated discussion and escalation of provocations the use of irony or sarcasm can reduce the bright tones and bring the communication back to normal tones.

Know yourself

To assume an indifferent attitude it is good to know yourself and understand what causes pain. Awareness and acceptance of your “weak points” allows you to find strategies to emotionally endure the attacks, understanding their mean nature and lack of foundation. criticism, if truthful enough, can be a starting point for improving and growing, while respecting oneself and in the free and autonomous choice to change the most critical and negative aspects.

Respond assertively

The best answer is the assertive one. By assertiveness we mean the ability to respond to the other in a firm, decisive and conscious way, expressing thoughts, opinions, points of view and needs, while respecting others. Being assertive is the right compromise between assuming a passive behavior or an aggressive one. In the first case, the provocateur would be given the satisfaction of having “hit the mark” and caused damage, in the second case he would fall into the trap and activate a play of forces, providing new motivations and elements to the provocateur.


The provocation generates stress that physiologically generates the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases the automatic fight or flight response. The most appropriate reaction is an impulsive response, whether it is a passive closure and withdrawal or, as opposed to a direct attack. Breathing firstly improves the oxygen supply to the brain, reduces stress and muscle tension typical of the attack and secondly to buy time. Time allows you to activate a rational and conscious response that is functional to reducing the provocative act and eliminating the reasons that induce the provocateur to this type of action.

Change the subject and ask questions

A good way to answer is to ask questions that investigate the reasons for the accusation, offense or reprimand. Welcoming without asking for explanations is the first step to communicate to the other that what he says is true and deserved. The questions allow to reduce the provocations and lead to a stalemate of the provocateur who must now provide valid and rational explanations to the often unfounded statements. Asking questions can also be useful to change the subject and thus reduce the level of attention on the accusation made. It indicates not giving too much weight to what has been received and showing superiority and indifference, placing the focus on things that are really useful and functional to the relationship, work or conversation.At the same time, if necessary, it is good to demonstrate to the other, through actions, that how much affirmed has no basis: if you are told that you are unable to complete a job, prove the opposite with commitment.

The other is weaker

This, more than advice, is a truth. So let’s consider it as a postscript. At the base of the provocation there are a strong sense of insecurity, the need for attention, affection, acceptance in the context of belonging and control of fears and a sense of inadequacy. Reacting to a provocation allows to satisfy a series of needs otherwise unmet, but in an inappropriate way, because they are unsuitable at a relational level. Having this in mind allows the victims of their acts to respond adequately and destroy the negative mechanism for both parties, helping the provocateur to understand the error and acquire more adequate ways to receive affection, attention, listening and respect.

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