Why ego is at the heart of intimidation
I fell apart. I wasn't on my game. I didn't react well and I felt as though being a woman was to my detriment. I doubt he would have talked over a man in the same way he talked over me. He never let me finish a sentence, nor did he care that he was in fact representing a taxpayer body.
I can't change what happened or how I felt at that moment, but I can change the future. People who use their perceived power to deliberately intimidate others often are struggling with their own self-worth. They are not truly thinking about the action that they are doing but instead thinking about their own perception of power by doing so.
It is highly unlikely that one person can stop another from their pathway of intimidation, but you can manage the way you feel and ensure that the instance is 'water off ducks back'.
Firstly, understand the 'why'.
People can unknowingly be intimidating. Just their sheer presence, tone of voice, and body language may not intimidate many, but if it intimidates you, then it's intimidating. Then there is the other type of intimidation where someone wants to ensure that you know they are in control but manage the process in a professional manner. They choose their words carefully and structure the way they communicate. Then there are the people who take it to another level. They raise their voice, they bully you and pounce on you until you are submissive. You will find that the latter sends you stuttering, stammering, and into silence, unable to communicate. You might find yourself defending yourself when there is no need. This type of person does this all the time and doesn't just aim their behaviour at you.
They desperately seek power and will quite often tell you how much power they have, just to reinforce their message.
But this person comes from a deep dark place. They often feel neglected, unheard, unimportant, and experience self-loath. They don't think they are good enough and mostly don't like themselves. While they may project that they like themselves a lot, that is just the face they are wearing to get through the day.
While I was a wreck after my call, I soon found counsel in another person who reminded me that the arrogance behind the intimidation and the constant reinforcement of what power this person held, was mere because that person felt insecure. This is the only part of their day where they feel important and if they think that you don't understand just how important they would like you to think they are, they are going to 'bash it into you'.
We've all been in this situation before and it's not nice. It's hard to phantom why people do this but having clarity that it isn't about you and it's more about them will help you better cope with the situation.
You will never be able to fully prepare for people like this, but if you do get a second opportunity, reinforce to them that they are important and while it's not ok to treat you in that way, you want them to feel like they are worthy.
Sometimes the best way to deal with people like this is to ensure that they feel like they have power and are important, and once they are more confident, you will find that they are probably much better at communicating with you and treat you with the respect you deserve.