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#434481 - 05/12/13 11:20 AM Verbal Self Defense
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 585
This is kind of a little trick I've learned lately. To give a bit of context - I found myself replaying a lot of the abuse I went through, and I hated the fact that every time that happened, I felt like the defenseless, powerless, vulnerable child again. It filled me with anger, sometimes bordering on rage. I still replay them (often involuntarily), but now, I've started arming myself with methods that allow me to defend myself verbally and to firmly establish boundaries - even if they are only in mental reenactments of the abuse - although I am hoping to be able to saturate myself in this so that I can use them in future scenarios where I might be brushing up against an abuser. It's been very healing and I just wanted to share this experience with you to get some feedback and possibly some more statements I can use.

The statements I've come up with are very straightforward and simple, but throughout my childhood I was deprived of opportunities and indeed the very basic vocabulary and language to be able to defend myself in the future. I think this is one of the reasons CSA is so destructive - because it leaves you defenseless, warping back into the past and assuming the role of the defenseless child over and over again, and making you prone to further abuse (be it mental, emotional or sadly sexual) in the future.

So here's a list of verbal self-defense statements I thought up of that I've been using in my internal dialogues (and sometimes now with other abusive people who I come across):

"I disagree."
"That's not true."
"That's irrelevant/not necessarily/that doesn't follow." (especially when they're trying to make up excuses for their actions)

"I have a right to...xyz" (e.g. be angry, establish boundaries)
"I don't deserve...xyz" (e.g. to be disrespected)
"I'm not obliged to...xyz" (e.g. comply, obey, disclose)

Imperatives - "Don't...(xyz)" (e.g. touch me)

"WHY are you...xyz?" Not a statement, but I found this (rhetorical) question to be so powerful, because it's calling them out on their abuse. The list of words you can use to replace xyz is, needless to say, potentially endless...(e.g. humiliating me, lecturing me, manipulating me, coercing me, forcing me, ignoring me; guilt-tripping, deflecting, denying, rationalizing, minimizing)

I'm hoping this might help some of you and it'd be great if you could add more to the list.
_________________________
Husky

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#434483 - 05/12/13 11:32 AM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Man. Powerful stuff. Thank you for posting it. Quite similar here. I'll add one to the list:

"Why do you say that? I don't understand."

Especially if I'm in Spock mode, it drives 'em nuts. Usually they'll briefly become more agitated - while I remain calm - and then they'll give up, back off...and go do it to someone else.

Thanks again Husky. Just excellent.

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#434485 - 05/12/13 11:47 AM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 585
Spock mode, totally get that smile Thanks for the addition.

I thought of a few more too:

- "Why are you judging?" Especially when they assume things without having enough information.
- "Why are you threatening me?"
- "Why are you so preoccupied with yourself?"
- "Why are you sabotaging me?"
- "That's not fair."
- "That's not right."
- "I'm not obliged to talk to you."
- "I'm not obliged to share my feelings with you."


Edited by concerned_husky (05/12/13 03:40 PM)
Edit Reason: More additions

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#434489 - 05/12/13 12:17 PM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
For me, internal and external are different, for all I get them confused.

my abuse took the form of literal insults, or accusations aimed at me, of the form "your x" or "your being so X" or "you think your x"

I'll let you fill in all those nasty x's yourself, though one which i can even laugh at now was the statement "your so f''kin igorant" (and yes, it was pronounced igrant).

At the time I'd simply not answer. the problem is now, I've developed a tactic of simply thinking, and indeed sometimes saying "Well if that's all you can say your not worth my time"

And leaving.

the problem however is that getting the difference betwene someone not being worth listening to and actively feeling contempt is not easy, and I don't like hating people, indeed if i find myself do it I tend to feel guilty, even my abusers, which I know is stupid.

in everyday life, i've unfortunately took up the motto of Thomas covenant from the steven Donaldson novels "don't touch me!" or "get your hands off me!"

that's one I've had to actually use occasionally, not even in s/xual context, just to stop people assuming I have no personal space.

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#434491 - 05/12/13 12:20 PM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1307
I recently learned this empowering way to respond to a complaint:

"I accept your criticism."

Sounds simple, says a lot. It implies that while they level criticism at you, you have the ultimate veto authority to accept or reject it. By accepting it, you take control of the criticism from the person giving it. In that subtlety lies your power. They'll sense it and respect it, even if subconsciously.

Of course, "I do not accept your criticism, and I will tell you why..." is an equally powerful statement, but only to be used if your objective assessment is consistent with that assertion.

And I would agree that saying it like Spock would be the ultimate delivery, showing them they lack the power to drag you into their passion pit. Once you're down there, the game is lost.
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#434511 - 05/12/13 05:08 PM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I'll add on the "Spock" approach that it took years for me to notice how, as Eric would say, passionate people in the throes of anger are thrown off-balance by his approach. So, I tried using it and it worked.

Of course, the insides and outsides have to have some equilibrium, too, for it to work for me, otherwise it eats my insides. I suppose that's why I particularly like Quinto's development of the character's emotional side right off the bat. It's a more realistic and achievable state for me. Again as Eric said, empowering.

otoh, there are times when "Spock" isn't appropriate...lol, that makes me HUMAN. I had a nasty, bitchy neighbor who'd hurl insults while peeking over the top of her fence. I didn't engage the insults. My calm response was simply, "I don't argue with idiots" and walked away (no, not singing the Bilbo Baggins song).

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#434520 - 05/12/13 08:13 PM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i tried a new one recently.
i insisted upon a single concession in response to several demands upon me.
my bottom line was "this is not negotiable!"
i got my way.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#434546 - 05/13/13 04:22 AM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
The weerd thing for me is if it ends up being some sort of demand on me made by someone else, %80 of the time I can just let my social skills take over, empathize with the person, be honest and end up getting my way anyway.

On one recent occasion for instance I couldn't get a taxi to the station, ended up (to my distinct displeasure), having to ask a lift from a friend who turned up late, and missed my train. Missing the train wasn't the problem, but missing my booked seats (especially the seat booked for Reever my dog), was.

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#434799 - 05/15/13 10:58 PM Re: Verbal Self Defense [Re: concerned_husky]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 335
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
To give a bit of context - I found myself replaying a lot of the abuse I went through, and I hated the fact that every time that happened, I felt like the defenseless, powerless, vulnerable child again.


Husky:

Becoming aware that this is happening can be empowering. Especially if in the midst of the experience, the courage is found to speak words never spoken.

Originally Posted By: concerned_husky

"I disagree."


This is the first one listed, but in some ways the most powerful. As defenseless children, not only are we silent, but we tend to merge with our perpetrator, parent, or whomever seems more powerful. Becoming truly aware of what has happened for the first time follows from the experience of being able to separate. Your disagreeing is an example of how to undo the merging with what was doing harm. In the past there was no recourse but to submit and comply. With the disagreement comes a statement that blind submission will no longer take place. Whether or not the disagreement leads to immediate clarity or even continues is not relevant. In and of itself it states that you exist. From that many other thoughts and statements can follow from a present, empowered self.

Focused
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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