Three steps to deal with a bully, lessons from the Iliad

by Marguerite Granat on December 17, 2011

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Do you allow anger to cloud your thinking? Have you been subjected to a leader’s rage?

That’s exactly what Achilles was experiencing when King Agamemnon insulted him and treated him unfairly.

In the Iliad, Agamemnon is forced by the gods to give his beautiful mistress Chryseis back to her father.  In exchange for giving up his prize, he demands that Achilles give up Briseis, a prize that was given to Achilles in another war victory.

They both start a vicious argument that starts to turn dangerous.  Achilles has tremendous physical powers because he is a hybrid human-his mother a goddess and his father a mortal. He could easily kill Agamemnon and anyone that gets in his way.

When Achilles is about to draw his sword against Agamemnon the great goddess Athena shows up. She holds him by his hair and stops him from reacting from a place of rage. Unlike Achilles, Agamemnon does not have a goddess looking out for him and gets angrier by the minute.

One of the elders tries to intervene and counsels the two of them to work together.  He recommends that Agamemnon allow Achilles to keep his girl and that Achilles show Agamemnon the respect he deserves as his superior.

Agamemnon does not listen to the advice of the elder and is consumed with anger. He continues to bully Achilles who quits the fight against Troy. Without Achilles the Greeks can’t beat the Trojans.

Here are a few ideas on how to deal with a bully:

    1. Listen , then observe the offender’s body language
    2. Control your tone of voice and volume and remain calm
    3. If you need to deal with the offender again, try to meet in a neutral place and if possible make sure that you’re not alone.
Any other suggestions on how to deal with a bully?




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