Try defining "malice"
out loud, as tho to a pre-teen.
A thesaurus lists these synonyms; ill will,
grudge, spite, malevolence, nastiness, and
unkindness. Have you ever met an adult or child
with any of these attitudes and behaviors? Would
anyone ever accuse you of displaying any
you've ever met a malicious person, how
did you feel? How did you react? Common
responses include feeling intimidated,
resentful, anxious, aggressive, angry, critical,
righteous, disrespectful, and/or defensive.
It's hard to feel neutral when someone wants
you to suffer for some reason (like revenge).
Significant and/or chronic anger, hostility, and
ill-will is a sure sign the person has inherited
It's also a sign
s/he doesn't know how to assert needs and
feelings effectively. Understanding this can
help keep an attitude of respect and compassion
vs. lose-lose antagonism or intimidation.
Perhaps the easiest response to such a person is
avoidance - at the cost of feeling
anxious and furtive. Where avoidance or
endurance aren't practical or acceptable,
a "best way" to respond effectively to a
malicious, spiteful person? Experiment with
brief YouTube clip provides perspective
on effective confrontations. The video
mentions eight self-improvement lessons in this
Web site - I've simplified that to seven.
Begin by (a) having your true Self
and (b) choosing an attitude of
toward the malicious person. Then (c) mentally
rights as a worthy, dignified person.
Decide what you
need - specifically - with this person: to
vent, to apologize, to set or enforce a
boundary, an admission ("Yes, I want you to
suffer!"), a different attitude, a promise,
willingness to problem-solve, and/or
As you decide, be aware - if a false
self rules the malicious person, s/he may be
unable to feel or behave differently.
Requesting or demanding something beyond a
person's capabilities will only increase
antagonism and mutual resentment.
the steps to making an
Decide if you're
going to vent,
Compose a calm,
direct, response that expresses your feeling
or need clearly. That might sound like...
"(Name), can you
tell me what's bothering you (about me)?"
"My sense is
that part of you wants to see me suffer. Is
"So you're /
bitter / angry / resentful (at me) because
"(Name), What do
you need from me now?"
"When you speak
/ act / behave like that, I lose respect for
"When you seek
to hurt me, I feel _______________ (and I
"I don't like
the way you're treating me."
"When you need
to be sarcastic / critical / demeaning, I
can't hear you."
"(Name), are you
willing to problem-solve with me?"
"I'm not going
to respond to your false self any more."
"When you spread
malicious rumors about me, I feel ________
(and I need ______________.)"
Notice the theme of these responses: they clear,
brief, direct, here-and-now, respectful,
and factual (vs. emotional) statements.
As with any assertive or confrontive
communication, these are best delivered calmly,
with steady eye contact.
Expect the other person to "resist" you,
to acknowledge (vs. agree with or engage)
them. Then calmly restate your assertive
If there is a malicious child or adult in your
life now, imagine using attitudes and
responses like these with her/him. How do you think
s/he would feel and react? Would you satisfy
your primary needs?
(false self) responses like these:
"Oh, grow up! You're acting
like a six year old!" (1-up,
"OK, OK - I'll do
_____________________ (give in)."
"(Name), You give 'obnoxious' a whole
new meaning!" (sarcastic put-down)
"You think that
bothers me? Dream on..." (I'm 1-up - superior to
"With a mean attitude like that, how
do you live with yourself?"
"Did someone put lemon juice in your
mother's milk?" (insult).
"OK (Name). If you
want to fight dirty, so will I!"
"You're totally wrong. I never said /
did that!" (arguing / challenging /
"Do you realize what a fool you look /
act / sound like?" (1-up insult,
Disrespectful responses like these suggest a false self dominates you, and will probably
amplify the malice! Lose-lose!