What To Do When You’re Thrown Under The Bus?


ver felt like you were at the receiving end of a conversation? You feel pressurized, short of breath, and at the end of your words. In other words, you felt like you were thrown under the proverbial bus. Somewhere deep down you know you were being wronged. However, as you were still aghast at the turn of events, that you weren’t able to gather yourself to respond.

I’ve sure you’ve been there one way or the other – when your business partner blames you, out of the blue, for the losses in the last ten years, when your boss shares in the appraisal that all you did was just meeting expectations, when your spouse thinks you haven never supported him/ her.

You know the feeling. Right?

Today, you’ll find out how to respond while you see yourself standing between the metaphorical mountain and the deep blue sea. On the one hand you don’t want to spoil the relationship with the person accusing you, but at the same time you want to save yourself from the disgrace.

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When I thought my training business was finally getting back on track after the long lockdown period nd my family’s COVID-19 survival journey, when I thought we had left misfortunes behind us, when I was finally looking forward to the light visible from the end of the tunnel, … something unexpected happened.

My very own business partner, who I trusted like a family member, left me shocked when he, out of the blue, claimed that he was liable to get a larger share of our business profits. It came completely out of  whack.

Of course, I can only share my side of the story and it felt like greed had taken over my otherwise rational business partner. Or may be he was led astray.

In any case, his unreasonable demand left me feeling cheated, insulted but more than anything else, shocked. Shocked, as I didn’t see it coming, not from him anyway.

But as they say – sh*t happens.

And it had happened. The BIG question somewhere deep down for me was – Can I save our relationship while at the same time asserting myself for what was right?

I’m not sure how I reacted or responded in that situation but looking back I think here’s what would work best:

  1. Don’t Be Defensive: The other person is probably doing that in order to negotiate a better deal for themselves. But, all that is just in words right now. It is likely not legit. If it was, they would come through legal channel or with the documentation to prove their point. Right now, its likely just a tactic to shake your confidence. Don’t give in to the bait. Stay confident. And staying confident doesn’t mean shouting back or arguing. Instead, it means the opposite – it means staying calm and composed. There is no better retribution than a calm and composed self amidst a storm.
  2. Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: In such a situation you may be tempted to say something to hurt the other party back. What better feeling than hitting below the belt in revenge. Well, don’t. That would lead to a vicious circle of accusations and counter accusations and eventually a communication breakdown. Unless you want that as the outcome (which may be ideal in certain cases), don’t give it back in the same coin. Moreover, they could be in a temporary state of mind to vent out their feelings. Your fuel to that fire could make a whimper become a forest fire of sorts – One that would take forever to put out or would cause a lot of collateral damage. Hence, choose your words wisely to keep the channels open.

    Two wrong may not make a right but they make a nice excuse     

  3. Don’t Get Carried Away: You will have a feeling that you’re being conspired against, that your trust has been broken, or even that the entire world is a bad bad place. Well well well, let that thought come if it is coming. And then, let it go. Don’t get carried away with it. Because world is not such a terrible place after all. You know it. Refer to the pre-agreed agreements, contracts or emails if these are available. (This may not work with your spouse unless you document every support you provide each other. You could take it in your stride and in less stressful time agree with your spouse on some rules of this very important partnership. )
  4. Don’t Kill Rapport: You don’t want to appear sheepish and neither do you want to be seen as raging. Then, how should you carry yourself? Its in both parties interest to continue to maintain rapport, and you could you Mirroring technique to do so without making it obvious. Basically, mirror the other person’s breathing patterns, their posture, facial expressions, tempo and tone.

Those are all the Don’ts but what should you do then?

Most of the answer lies in these don’ts itself – Stay Calm, Choose words wisely, Maintain Rapport, Have faith.

That was me. What about you? How do you respond when you find yourself in such a situation? Are there any other ways you think could serve us well in those times?

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