Brain scientists have learned that you can change your own brain by practicing learning skills. You can even learn to do the opposite of what you once did, if you practice enough.
That’s how it is with writing BIFF (Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm) responses. Even though you may feel tempted to write a Blamespeak response, you can train yourself to weed out the Blamespeak and just write a pure BIFF. You’ll be amazed at how well you can do. You can train yourself to think, feel and say to yourself: “His comments are not really about me.” “The issue’s not the issue.” “Her personality is the issue.” And other short, quick sayings that train your brain to not react defensively.
With practice, you can keep yourself from slipping over into “fight, flight or freeze” or, if you get emotionally hooked, to bring yourself back fairly quickly. I have been teaching this skill for years and I still get emotionally hooked sometimes – but I catch myself much quicker than I used to and usually bring myself back to being logical and calm again. Writing BIFFs can really help you with that. It helps you focus on writing carefully, rather than emotionally reacting.
You can also influence the other person’s response to you. If you can respond calmly, it actually helps the other person manage their own fearful or angry response. In many ways, you can decide if the other person will react defensively or think logically about what you say – all based on your ability to send a BIFF instead of blame speak.
Excerpt from BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People: Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email, and Social Media Meltdowns. Second Edition by Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. UNHOOKED BOOKS.