“Do You Know How To Overcome Abusive Gauntlet Attacks” – Negotiation Insight

“You can be put upon by abusive behavior in the time it takes a snake to strike. To avert such gauntlets, know the snake you’re dealing with and where it may lay in wait for you.” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Do You Know How To Overcome Abusive Gauntlet Attacks”

Two people were sitting across from one another at the negotiation table.  And one said to the other as he stood to leave, that’s the best damn offer you’re going to get from me. My supporters and I will ruin you if you don’t take my deal.

Such occurrences can happen in any environment. And the gauntlet tossed before you can come in ever-increasing degrees. Some can be chilling and fraught with an abusive tinge, while others may have a tint of seduction attached to them. There are a lot of variables to consider. So, what might you do in that situation?

Point of Challenge

Someone has served you (i.e., offered a challenge)! Now what? How should you handle the test before you? Should you back away, readily accept it, or is there something else you might do? The answer to how you should proceed is, it depends.

When confronted with a challenge, some people shrink, and others rise to the occasion. The pending point as to the direction you choose is dependent on your personality and the form of the challenge that’s before you. Some points you might consider are:


  • Ask yourself, what’s the intention of the challenger? There’s always a source of motivation behind the actions of people. Even when a person says they don’t know why they’re doing something, they’re motivated and moved to take action by some stimuli. Thus, if you can identify what that source is, you’ll have a more significant understanding of what’s motivating them to adopt the action they’re perpetrating against you.
  • Another question to pose is, who do the person’s actions serve, himself, or a more substantial body? An additional point to consider is what forces are behind the perpetrator’s actions against you. And assess if those actions are born out of folly, or do they possess a more sinister intent. That assessment will not only give you insight per how you might refute his actions. It’ll also indicate the forces aligned against you.
  • There’s something else to consider. And that is, is this person being used as a puppet by a puppeteer that wishes to remain anonymous? If so, you may have a more significant challenge than you initially assessed. If you believe that to be true, dig hard and deep to uncover who and what that source might be. You can’t determine the best action to take if you’re not aware of who or what is confronting you.  

Possible Responses

  • Opponents’ strong points – When considering someone’s capabilities, related to them putting forth a challenge, I suggest you start by evaluating their strong points. The reasoning is, if you know the degree of their strength, you’ll have a better understanding of the resources they might marshal against you. You should consider that support, the quickness at which they can gather those forces, along with the potency of them. With that judgment completed, you’ll have greater insight per what powers you might want to assemble to combat him and his allies’.  
  • Opponents weak points – Sometimes, a challenger will issue you a summons in an attempt to enhance his persona. It can be something akin to an attempt to dethrone the one that sits atop of the preverbal pile, you. Thus, again, you should identify the motivation that’s causing this person to engage you. You should also not dismiss that individual type out of hand. Because they can possess a hidden danger in the form of being or doing something irrational – something you don’t anticipate. And sometimes, dismissing them may be perceived as mockery, which would serve to heighten their attempts to dethrone you.

In either case, try not to over or underestimate the forces against you. The more accurate you are per your assessment, the higher the possibility you’ll have of competing against it successfully.

Response Timing

Depending on a situation, if you don’t perceive it to be dire, you can take a wait-and-see position. This approach will allow time to point the direction the challenge might take. If you adopt this strategy, be sure to monitor it regularly. You don’t want it to become dire due to your lack of attentiveness.

On the other hand, if the challenge requires an immediate response, consider where a hasty action might take you and how quickly you can marshal the forces needed to support your efforts. That means, measure how you’ll respond before doing so. Don’t initiate a massive undertaking when a smaller one might suffice.

The degree of your response will carry with it your perception of the seriousness of the gauntlet. Thus, your comeback should be one that meets your objectives without signaling any angst that might be associated with it. Too strong of a rebuttal will indicate just that, there was angst in your calculation, which might give the perpetrator more incentive to become more dogmatic with his challenges. Correctly apply the right force, and you’re more than likely to subdue his efforts without further recourse from him.


Avoiding an abusive situation can be a daunting gauntlet to overcome. But, it doesn’t have to be if you adhere to the suggestions mentioned. If you choose to adopt the recommendations, you’ll increase your odds of quietly admonishing your foe without riling him or his supporters. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here https://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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