The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Author: Gavin De Becker
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by Fey_fox   2019-01-13

There’s a book I like to suggest to young women called The Gift of Fear that goes into how to recognize and avoid violence. It helps in pointing out subtle signs of abuse, discusses how to survive violent situations, and basically the book gives permission to trust your instincts. I know that the last bit sounds like a big bag of duh, but people (not just women) do it all the time. Things happen, often starting out with just words and moving to small gestures that indicate that this person has less respect that could later lead to harmful intent. It won’t be known for sure but it’s safer not to write the behavior off and not to self doubt.

We wouldn’t be hearing from OP if all he did was pull on her hair while going home. She said the choking thing was a first, but how many other things weren’t? We don’t know if there were other attempts at gaslighting or pushing or other things he’s done to whittle away her power and create dependency. For OP, this is a shock, because like many of us she may have chosen to write off the subtle minor behavior that lead up to this. I’m not blaming her for this to be clear, just acknowledging how people find themselves in abusive situations. “They were just X (drunk, having s bad day, etc.)” “They didn’t mean it and apologized” “I made them feel that way so I deserved it”. Etc etc. violence escalates, sometimes just through words. It’s very rare that a person can conceal their feelings to control and punish. For OP the sign she gave us here was hair pulling, coupled with his silence. She footnotes that like it wasn’t a big deal, but to me that behavior alone is a dumpable offense. That shit isn’t normal. That’s not appropriate behavior for anyone, and inexcusable in adults (unless it’s discussed beforehand, is consensual, and everyone is having fun with it, I ain’t forgetting you kinksters). The choking is a nuke from orbit offense, a go to the hospital and cops offense. That’s a line that should not be crossed, because now it’s something he knows he can get away with it OP doesn’t leave. Next time could be the last time.

Op get the fuck out, and I’d suggest you see a therapist to move past this. Good luck

by aixenprovence   2019-01-13

I have no idea. I'm sorry. It's a little unsettling that you should know so many men who don't understand how typical violence against women is. Maybe you just need a new crowd, haha.

If you find it refreshing that that someone recognizes that this kind of violence unfortunately does happen, you may find the book I mentioned to be particularly refreshing. If you feel a little overwhelmed, the book might help with that, too. (Or at least it may help put into words some thoughts you already have.)

by aixenprovence   2019-01-13

You may be interested in a book called The Gift of Fear . I would say that the author's main points are that

  • Our intuition evolved over millions of years and is quite good at protecting us in many circumstances, so when we train ourselves to ignore our intuition, we put ourselves in danger.

  • A feeling of fear is in many cases the most important flavor of intuition.

  • Rational fear is a gift, but irrational fear can be crippling, and education can help with that.

Part of the purpose of the book is to educate about danger. For example, when someone refuses to accept "no" as an answer, or they insist on providing unsolicited help in order to make another person feel obligation ("loan sharking"), those are warning signs.

Also, you mentioned:

> Double check my back who is walking in front and back of me, keep checking if someone is looking at me, think twice before getting on a public bus or cab.

Honestly, I think all of this is smart for you to do. I wish my wife were a little more thoughtful about her environment, as you seem to be.

by Daleth2   2018-11-10

Consult with an attorney. Also, get this book ASAP and read it all, especially the chapter on how to deal with stalkers:

by map_backwards   2018-11-10

The Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker

Overview (partial copy/pasta from amazon): In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker[...] shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker[...] offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, to act when approached by a stranger...when you should fear someone close to you...what to do if you are being to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls...the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person...and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.

I am a female redditor so /u/Powerspawn, if you or the community rather I be a quiet observer for now feel free to remove the comment. However I do think this book is a wonderful tool for those working on their mental health. I grew up in a dysfunctional family situation (to put it nicely) and from a young age was taught to not only doubt myself, but to give unearned trust and respect to people in perceived positions of power. This book was a great supplement to a lot of the other work I've been doing to reclaim myself for me.

by averagePi   2018-11-10

Já leu The Gift of Fear? Fala sobre aqueles sinais que todos nós temos que indicam que tem "alguma coisa errada" em determinadas situações. É muito útil pra qualquer pessoa. Eu sei que tem em português mas não lembro o título.

by rhapsodyknit   2018-11-10

Is he on parole? You could call his parole officer and let them know about his stalkerish behaviour.

Also, please have her read The Gift of Fear . It talks about a lot of situations, including stalking, and how to help keep yourself safe.

by Daleth2   2018-11-10

> Don't ever tell him you intend to leave until you are leaving and do so with people there who can assist you in leaving.

YES. There are more tips in this book, but OP, I would recommend you only get an electronic copy of this book (Kindle or on your computer desktop or whatever), so that he doesn't see it:

That book is a godsend. It talks about protecting yourself from both stranger violence and intimate violence. A random woman I met at a party once confided that it had saved her life. It also helped a friend of mine plan her divorce from her abusive husband.

by rhapsodyknit   2018-11-10

Please read The Gift of Fear if only for the section on stalkers. You can’t interact at all.

Document everything else.

by akuma_river   2018-11-10

There is a book about how we ignore our survival instincts for politeness and cultural behavior.

We are the only species to get into a locked moving box (elevator) with a complete stranger that you are wary of them attacking you.

The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence