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Feeling less vulnerable?


Untamed Heart
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Is there a way to make yourself a bit braver? I really want to know. I generally feel horrible when really minor things happen and I probably shouldn't - like when some dick in the library last month was taking pictures of me through the gaps in books on a shelf, while I was waiting for a group activity to start (I was by myself, milling around to kill time. I only noticed him when I heard his phone camera click. I just walked off as far away as I could, feeling really uncomfortable - I know what he did wasn't illegal, in the UK at least, but I felt utterly crept out; someone sneaking around taking photos of me when I wasn't aware of them just seems really odd behaviour. I was too scared to confront him, also... I think I get selective mutism at times - where I literally can't talk due to the circumstances/being threatened, and also if it's a certain person - which would have made things worse). 

I'm not a confrontational person at all, though if I were in a corner I probably would fight if I had no alternative. But if someone were harassing me I'd probably just try and get away rather than confronting them. My reactions are usually slower than other people's (as I found out at school in the rare times when I did snap and lash out at people bullying me). 

Nothing's really happened lately but sometimes I feel so helpless. Even when I try to stand up for myself I get beaten down. I know I want/need help with this, but not 'what'... I'm not even sure if my feelings and reactions are even reasonable any more, but there's only so much 'suck it up' one can do. 

Sorry for the rambling, I just hope some of it's understandable... I'm just fed up of feeling so pathetic and helpless but I don't want to be a victim. I just don't understand how to 'get better', if that makes sense? Is it possible I'm still kind of suffering from not having reliable coping mechanisms in high school? I was always told to just ignore the bullies (which I know is BS anyway), but got literally no other advice and had few outlets for my frustration with how I got treated/not having any solutions. Nobody ever seemed to want to listen, so I didn't feel like people cared. 

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I can relate to this a lot. :hugs:

 

I think running away is actually the safest option - so that's not a bad response in most cases, especially if there's actual potential danger involved. I would have felt creeped out too if some random jerk was taking photos of me. That is genuinely creepy, and a valid cause for concern, I think.

 

But as for standing up for yourself... "how to get braver"... is complicated. I would say my martial arts training helped me a HUGE amount. I got lucky to have a really awesome teacher and a nice group of people... results may vary elsewhere. I think in general it's a slow process that involves pushing yourself to do things that are a bit scary, but that you know you can still manage... there was a lot of that involved in training.

 

On 23 July 2017 at 0:35 AM, Untamed Heart said:

I think I get selective mutism at times - where I literally can't talk due to the circumstances/being threatened, and also if it's a certain person - which would have made things worse). 

I used to get that a lot too when I felt really overwhelmed. These days I can stay calmer, but I still sometimes stutter and have trouble finding words if I'm really upset.

 

On 23 July 2017 at 0:35 AM, Untamed Heart said:

I just don't understand how to 'get better', if that makes sense? Is it possible I'm still kind of suffering from not having reliable coping mechanisms in high school? I was always told to just ignore the bullies (which I know is BS anyway), but got literally no other advice and had few outlets for my frustration with how I got treated/not having any solutions. Nobody ever seemed to want to listen, so I didn't feel like people cared. 

It could be that. School and the bullies there basically destroyed my self-confidence. It's been slowly regenerating since I've been out. Bullies are awful, especially when nobody stands up to them, and people act like bullying is just OK and the victim is somehow at fault. It's not your fault for having these problems.

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6 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I think in general it's a slow process that involves pushing yourself to do things that are a bit scary, but that you know you can still manage... there was a lot of that involved in training.

This is a recognised and approved way of dealing with fears. I can also vouch that it's helped me a lot too. 

 

6 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

It could be that. School and the bullies there basically destroyed my self-confidence. It's been slowly regenerating since I've been out. Bullies are awful, especially when nobody stands up to them, and people act like bullying is just OK and the victim is somehow at fault. It's not your fault for having these problems.

Seconding this. Its not your fault you were bullied. As cliche as it is though, life does often get better after school. I've just turned 30 and I'm still dealing with poor self esteem though I'm much better about it now.

 

If you are really worried though, then I definitely recommend having at least one session with a psychologist. It's a scary step, but no joke one of my friends got full blown CPTSD from bullying at her high school. She's in her mid 20s now and still struggling with basic day-to-day life.

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On 7/23/2017 at 0:35 AM, Untamed Heart said:

I'm not a confrontational person at all, though if I were in a corner I probably would fight if I had no alternative. But if someone were harassing me I'd probably just try and get away rather than confronting them. My reactions are usually slower than other people's (as I found out at school in the rare times when I did snap and lash out at people bullying me). 

Well, I don't want to become more brave. :) If you aren't in public (and even this often doesn't help) it can easily escalate to a fight and that's really something I want to avoid.

I got in a “street fight” once: It was with a drunk at night and I couldn't run away without leaving my very expensive bike behind, which he obviously tried to steal. After a heavy blow on the side of my head I was extremely scared and so hammered back with maximal force. He got knocked out, falling from the sidewalk onto the street. While he slowly regained consciousness I jumped on my bike and drove away. But if there had been a lot of traffic on the street so that the passing car couldn't have stopped in time this could've ended badly for him. So even if you “prevail” that's also something to “consider”...

 

Probably if one is a skilled martial artist one can quickly neutralize the danger without anyone getting seriously harmed. But I'm not and it's probably too late to start. :D

 

PS: I'm sorry that I can't write anything more of substance. You seem like such a nice person to me, I really don't understand why anyone wants to hurt you.

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7 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Probably if one is a skilled martial artist one can quickly neutralize the danger without anyone getting seriously harmed. But I'm not and it's probably too late to start.

It's never too late to start. :P

 

10 hours ago, Momo said:

If you are really worried though, then I definitely recommend having at least one session with a psychologist.

Hopefully you get a good psychologist... the quality levels of those vary wildly. :/

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On 7/22/2017 at 11:35 PM, Untamed Heart said:

Is it possible I'm still kind of suffering from not having reliable coping mechanisms in high school? I was always told to just ignore the bullies (which I know is BS anyway), but got literally no other advice and had few outlets for my frustration with how I got treated/not having any solutions

 

Sorry you had to go through this :( High School can be pretty terrible. I think that high schools can be a bit like prisons in a lot of ways. If you're not part of any of the existing cliques, and try to go it alone instead, well, that can be dangerous for you... Often the kids largely run the school, especially outside of lessons, and the "prison guards" (a.k.a. teachers) have limited control over what goes down. William Golding was a schoolteacher - something to bear in mind!


I don't think "ignore the bullies" is very good advice. (I'd go further than that: it's shit advice :P) I'm not sure exactly what good advice looks like, but probably the school should have played a more active role in your case. Maybe some older kids could have mentored kids that were getting bullied so that they weren't left to fend for themselves over lunch breaks, for example? Maybe some older kids that had been bullied themselves but been able to find solutions? Solidarity!

 

I can tell you what worked for me (although I wouldn't necessarily advocate it as a good solution!) So, I was a weird loner kid and early on in high school a few people tried to bully me. My solution was to start fights with them! Before things got out of hand. Nip the thing in the bud. (I empathized a lot with Will from The Subtle Knife and Ender from Ender's Game- both loners who (reluctantly) felt like they needed to start fights to make people leave them alone)  This was actually highly effective for me. I even found out (years later) from some other kids in the school that I had a bit of a 'reputation ' off the back of that xD. This 'solution' doesn't translate well into adulthood - don't do this! (you also need to be 'wired' a certain way - have a 'fuck you' button - not everyone has one...) But it did leave me without any lasting trauma, I reckon. I had a problem and I fixed it, all by myself.

 

Unlike @DeltaV I have been fortunate enough not to have encountered any physical threat during adulthood. Who knows if I would be able to handle myself in an actual adult confrontation (kids, in my experience, are reluctant to actually really try and inflict physical damage - most high school 'fights' are just (bad) wrestling - no strikes involved, as nobody has the training or motivation to do them effectively - perhaps I was just fortunate though)

 

I think @SoulWolf's suggestion of martial arts is a good one. Particularly since you wrote this:

 

On 7/22/2017 at 11:35 PM, Untamed Heart said:

My reactions are usually slower than other people's (as I found out at school in the rare times when I did snap and lash out at people bullying me). 

 

Martial arts classes are something I've found helpful in all sorts of ways (ways that are difficult to concisely summarise in a forum post). In your case, they might give you a way to work through and 'own' those past negative physical experiences in a controlled and supportive environment (best case scenario).

 

If I knew you IRL I would totally go along to some classes with you at different places, to find somewhere you liked  (most clubs will let you try your first class for free) Do you have any IRL friends you could do this with? (maybe some friends who have done a martial art before, to get their opinions on the class too - although remember that it's your opinion that matters most!). That might make it a bit less scary first time. If you don't feel up to this or want to try it out, then that's cool too. Don't feel bad about that, it's a big step to take, especially on your own. Also, if you try out a few classes but find they are making you feel worse, not better, about these things, then, pro tip, they probably aren't a very good club! ;) So leave and try another one! In a good club, it won't matter how good and/or confident you are to start with; you'll get supported to get better. I was so awkward and uncoordinated when I started martial arts, but it's helped me out a lot in that regard (and others). Awkward and uncoordinated beginning martial arts students are actually the most fortunate students of all: they have the most to gain from the training! :) 

 

On 7/22/2017 at 11:35 PM, Untamed Heart said:

I generally feel horrible when really minor things happen

 

For this: maybe give meditation a go? It helps me. One thing you're doing is training your brain to continuously decide what it wants to focus on / stay with and what it wants to drop. That gives you the choice to "drop" those "minor things" much more easily whenever you notice that you're obsessing over them in a way that isn't helping your happiness (meditation also makes it easier to: 1) notice that you're doing this  2) catch it much earlier, and 3) stop doing it before it has got a proper hold on you)

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Thanks for the replies, it means a lot to me :) 

@SoulWolf and @NullVector I am taking self defence classes, which actually made me feel a bit worse when I was thinking about this the other night - it was an utterly irrational thought, since I've only been going maybe 5 or 6 weeks at most (and bought a self defence for non experts book with really good advice in it). The group I go to is women only but has three awesome male trainers. I really like it there! I was the only person who turned up last week but we still went ahead with the session. But what you said about it being a slow process which you build on makes me feel a bit better - we do go over skills from previous weeks and while I'm good at some I know I still need to practice. I'm just not that disciplined when I'm at home, even though I have enough free time for it (yes, I'm awful! xD)

@Momo I think seeing a psychologist probably would be a good idea - I haven't really discussed how I feel with many people, partly because of the whole 'vicious circle' of the people I'm closest to not being able to offer practical advice and some of them essentially just saying 'people are dicks'. Where does that really leave me? I do have a few flashbacks to stuff that happened at school and in the years since I left, that my brain also usually likes to 'embellish' so it ends up worse than it really was (but it was already pretty bad when it happened). I even have thoughts like that about stuff that hasn't happened and likely won't. Silly thing is, I don't really think like that when I'm out - I just obsess and bitch inwardly a lot if anything happens.

@DeltaV aww, that's sweet of you :) I think people probably see me as an easy target since I'm hardly ever with anyone else. I can't just get together with my friends at random times and go where I need to - I'm fine with that, though. Since I split with my ex last year and went back to being happily single, I realised it's important I can truly rely on myself whether I'm with someone else or not, which is why I need to work this stuff out and essentially heal my old wounds - not only because I plan on living by myself if I can afford to, in the future, preferably with pets of some kind. Glad you got out of your encounter with the drunk OK!

@NullVector I agree with the whole ignoring thing being shit advice, even back then I realised it was as effective as me trying to fight back lol. I definitely don't have the same mind set as you, but I have a friend (I don't see her very often) who does and it's a quality I admire a lot in people. I do have a fuck you button somewhere, unfortunately it needs poking in just the right way to work! Meditation is something I've dabbled in before, but it's a great suggestion so thanks a lot!

 

 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Untamed Heart said:

But what you said about it being a slow process which you build on makes me feel a bit better

 

Yes, this, 1000% this! You will not learn to effectively defend yourself in a few weeks on a 'course'! Having the physical confidence that you could (perhaps) acquit yourself somewhat effectively in an actual 'fight' is something that, I think, will take years of regular training to happen, not weeks. I think going in with any mindset other than this is pure self-delusion (or perhaps group-level delusion - which is something a fair number of (bad) martial arts clubs may suffer from ;) ). I think a martial art would give you a better than average chance to come out of any physical (or verbal) altercation relatively unscathed (both physically and mentally). That is all. It will certainly not make you into some invincible, super-human fighting machine / weapon, all in a matter of weeks xD 

 

31 minutes ago, Untamed Heart said:

we do go over skills from previous weeks and while I'm good at some I know I still need to practice

 

I'll let you in on a great martial arts secret - this will always be true, however good you become :D

 

31 minutes ago, Untamed Heart said:

Meditation is something I've dabbled in before, but it's a great suggestion so thanks a lot!

 

You're welcome :) 

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2 hours ago, Untamed Heart said:

Meditation is something I've dabbled in before, but it's a great suggestion so thanks a lot!

 

-deleted because I can't read-

 

@Untamed Heart sorry, I thought the comment was about medication not meditation (I can't read without my glasses apparently!). I've never seriously done meditation but I can definitely vouch for medication as a short-term get me back on track thing. I don't personally like using them long-term but some people do need them.

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2 hours ago, NullVector said:

I think that high schools can be a bit like prisons in a lot of ways.

I've been saying this for years... even this psychologist agrees.

 

1 hour ago, NullVector said:

You will not learn to effectively defend yourself in a few weeks on a 'course'! Having the physical confidence that you could (perhaps) acquit yourself somewhat effectively in an actual 'fight' is something that, I think, will take years of regular training to happen, not weeks.

I agree with this. My teacher, who has been training all his life, even says that he will only fight as an absolute last resort when running away is not an option. So if he's gonna run away from things... then I'm sure as hell gonna run away from things! :rofl: 

 

1 hour ago, NullVector said:

My solution was to start fights with them!

This is a bit weird with girls... in my case, bullies knew that if they tried to mess with me physically, I would kick them first and ask questions later. So they didn't touch me. They used teasing, insults, mind-games, all kinds of stuff of that nature. I couldn't bring myself to hit them without them trying to touch me first, and they took advantage of that very well. :(

 

1 hour ago, Untamed Heart said:

I am taking self defence classes, which actually made me feel a bit worse when I was thinking about this the other night - it was an utterly irrational thought, since I've only been going maybe 5 or 6 weeks at most (and bought a self defence for non experts book with really good advice in it). The group I go to is women only but has three awesome male trainers. I really like it there! I was the only person who turned up last week but we still went ahead with the session. But what you said about it being a slow process which you build on makes me feel a bit better - we do go over skills from previous weeks and while I'm good at some I know I still need to practice. I'm just not that disciplined when I'm at home, even though I have enough free time for it (yes, I'm awful! xD)

Awesome - keep going! :D When I started, I signed up for the weekly classes and the weekend classes, and I hardly ever missed a class. To some people, they thought I was an "overachiever" for learning so quickly - I "outranked" some of the people who had been there longer than me. But it's just because I kept consistently going to every class. Consistency = win. Our classes are quite small, and a couple of times I was the only student there. Smaller classes are actually better, because you get more attention from the teacher. Which is great, and also makes me nervous for being watched all the time... haha. But I've kind of gotten used to that... oh, another thing martial arts is good for is curing fears of being touched or of touching others. :P

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32 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

My teacher, who has been training all his life, even says that he will only fight as an absolute last resort when running away is not an option. So if he's gonna run away from things... then I'm sure as hell gonna run away from things! :rofl: 

 

I think there could be another aspect to this - if your teacher has the skills to potentially seriously hurt somebody then I'd hope he would be extremely reluctant to use those skills, unless the situation absolutely called for it (for reasons of basic human compassion; never mind the potential litigation implications). So, he might not fight for different reasons to us :P (not because he's not sure that he'll 'win' - like with us perhaps - but because of the potential costs of 'winning') Particularly when a lot of fights are just ego/bravado displays that can be easily walked away from by somebody with nothing to 'prove' - to themselves or others.

 

32 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

This is a bit weird with girls... in my case, bullies knew that if they tried to mess with me physically, I would kick them first and ask questions later. So they didn't touch me. They used teasing, insults, mind-games, all kinds of stuff of that nature. I couldn't bring myself to hit them without them trying to touch me first, and they took advantage of that very well. :(

 

Good point! I much preferred getting into 'fights' (nothing ever too serious though) vs. all the psychological bullshit that girls typically have to deal with! Glad I'm not a girl in this sense :P

 

32 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

Consistency = win

Yep. I think 'natural talent' is largely a myth. People get good at stuff by doing it. A lot. At university I was going to martial arts classes 3-4 times a week, week-in, week-out, for several years. I've slacked off a bit since then xD 

 

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Content warning / disclaimer: I really dialled the cynicism up to 11 on this post - I may come back and look askance at it in the cold light of day! :P 

I also 'spoilered' it / marked it as 'tangential' content, 'cos I don't want to derail @Untamed Heart's thread too much...

 

Spoiler

 

1 hour ago, SoulWolf said:
4 hours ago, NullVector said:

I think that high schools can be a bit like prisons in a lot of ways.

I've been saying this for years... even this psychologist agrees.

 

Interesting article, but here is where I disagree a bit:

Quote

As a society we could, perhaps, rationalize forcing children to go to school if we could prove that they need this particular kind of prison in order to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become good citizens, to be happy in adulthood, and to get good jobs. Many people, perhaps most people, think this has been proven, because the educational establishment talks about it as if it has. But, in truth, it has not been proven at all.

 

 

I think our 'capitalist'* economy is optimized to maximize production for profit and is not optimized to maximize human happiness. People's level of happiness in their jobs (good or bad) is arguably irrelevant to the economic calculus; unless of course they become so unhappy that they become unable to function as the desired economic units of profit maximization (and, if so, this is where the mainstream psychologist can step in - ignoring Krishnamurti's dictum that "it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society", or Martin Luther King Jr's notion of "creative maladjustment").

 

Now, schools can provide an important 'socialization role' here, IMO. They train the child for a role in the adult economy where they will be expected to show up to a fixed location, at fixed, inflexible times, remaining present and attentive throughout the day, despite often feeling bored or disengaged. All whilst performing tasks that have been assigned to them by an external authority and have no intrinsic meaning to them. They will have no meaningful say in significantly altering these tasks so as to incorporate and prioritize their own intrinsic goals (and no meaningful framework or process to participate in to do so in a democratic manner - 'capitalist'* workplaces aren't democratic, by any stretch of the imagination, so i don't really know what it means to say that we live in a 'democracy'. It's repeated a lot on the news though, so I guess it must be true...).

 

TL;DR: work is prison! :P 

(I actually quite like my job in general, but I'm in a relative minority there, probably - and I'd like a fair bit less of it, overall!)

 

As per disclaimer, don't take what I wrote above too seriously. In particular, I'm not denying that mainstream psychology can be extremely helpful for many people. I just don't think there would be as much call for it in a less shitty system of political economy than the present one (when your economic system is killing your planet as part of its day-to-day workings - for example - it seems pretty reasonable (and even human?) to not be entirely thrilled at the prospect of your ongoing participation in that system)

 

*I'm using 'capitalist' here as a shorthand for the economic system we actually have at the moment and that which has existed, in broad-brush strokes, for the last few hundred years since around the time of the industrial revolution. I don't wish to get into a semantic debate about whether such an economy is 'really' capitalist - and consider such debates mostly pointless anyway!

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, NullVector said:

I think there could be another aspect to this - if your teacher has the skills to potentially seriously hurt somebody then I'd hope he would be extremely reluctant to use those skills, unless the situation absolutely called for it (for reasons of basic human compassion; never mind the potential litigation implications). So, he might not fight for different reasons to us :P (not because he's not sure that he'll 'win' - like with us perhaps - but because of the potential costs of 'winning') Particularly when a lot of fights are just ego/bravado displays that can be easily walked away from by somebody with nothing to 'prove' - to themselves or others.

It's kinda both of those reasons. Well, if someone attacked him or someone he cares about, he'd have no compassion for the attacker... not in that moment anyway. But you should see what he can do with knives... and he says there are people better than him. He says fighting is just not worth the risk - if you're being attacked, your attacker has a 40% advantage right off the bat, because they chose the location, and they're prepared, whereas you probably aren't (well, they'd be a pretty dumb attacker if they attacked you when you were prepared for it). So basically, if you survive the first move the attacker makes, and you don't have an incredibly good reason to stay and fight... run.

 

Also, training helps a lot with being able to sense trouble before it happens, so you can just entirely avoid problematic situations in the first place. Like... that alley looks like a good spot to get ambushed, so don't go there. Or that guy up ahead looks like he's up to no good, so cross the street. Or that argument at the table next to you is getting heated, maybe it's a good time to leave... etc.

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17 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

Also, training helps a lot with being able to sense trouble before it happens, so you can just entirely avoid problematic situations in the first place. Like... that alley looks like a good spot to get ambushed, so don't go there. Or that guy up ahead looks like he's up to no good, so cross the street. Or that argument at the table next to you is getting heated, maybe it's a good time to leave... etc.

 

Sure. Those spidey senses, lol. And you'll never know how many fights you've avoided just by walking about with a greater air of confidence and better posture as a result of your years of training, for example (it's good to remember that humans are animals too; attackers would presumably size up potential targets like a lion looking to pick off a weakened animal from a herd).

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Those are some really good points! Without going into too much detail, my trainer did indicate tonight he indeed wouldn't use his skills unless he absolutely had to, because of not wanting to lose his license/job etc. And I had a chat with him about how I've been feeling lately and what happened in the library before the first session (luckily he moved the sessions to a Methodist church instead a few weeks ago), and he said he'd bring some leaflets next week for me from someone who runs a women's survivors group - I had asked whether he thought it was better to see a psychologist or a normal counsellor about my issues, he wasn't sure so suggested the survivor's group lady instead. I do feel a lot more positive right now, just need to wait and see if this other lady would be able to help me.

Thanks again, everyone! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/24/2017 at 9:49 PM, Untamed Heart said:

aww, that's sweet of you :) 

Just stating a fact. ;)

On 7/24/2017 at 9:49 PM, Untamed Heart said:

 I think people probably see me as an easy target since I'm hardly ever with anyone else.

As an adult nobody targeted me just “for fun”, never, alone or not. School bullies, sure.

 

I always thought that people grew out of this stuff, but obviously you still have to deal with it. :(

On 7/24/2017 at 9:30 PM, NullVector said:

Unlike @DeltaV I have been fortunate enough not to have encountered any physical threat during adulthood. Who knows if I would be able to handle myself in an actual adult confrontation (kids, in my experience, are reluctant to actually really try and inflict physical damage - most high school 'fights' are just (bad) wrestling - no strikes involved, as nobody has the training or motivation to do them effectively - perhaps I was just fortunate though)

Though they aren't kids anymore at some point and some 15-year-olds can probably deal out quite some damage. But in school the “fighters” know each other by name and so a lot of dangerous stuff is taboo, even if they are very angry (if you don't go to a school like this ). Heavy punches to the head? Never happened in school fights, at worst some halfhearted strikes to the body. As you said, they mostly tried to wrestle the opponent on the ground. In street fights they go directly for the knockout.

On 7/24/2017 at 9:30 PM, NullVector said:

I don't think "ignore the bullies" is very good advice. (I'd go further than that: it's shit advice :P) I'm not sure exactly what good advice looks like, but probably the school should have played a more active role in your case. Maybe some older kids could have mentored kids that were getting bullied so that they weren't left to fend for themselves over lunch breaks, for example? Maybe some older kids that had been bullied themselves but been able to find solutions? Solidarity!

I went to two secondary schools and the difference between them was like Rushmore vs. Grover Cleveland High, if you know this movie by Wes Anderson.


I hate to sound so old-fashioned, but there wasn't really much bullying going on in the first school, while in the second it was rampant. Maybe

  • insanely much stricter discipline
  • being swamped in homework and having to study really hard to pass exams – no energy left for bullying ;)

helped?


So, how the school is run can very much affect bullying, though maybe 1. & 2. aren't universally applicable solutions.

On 7/25/2017 at 3:13 AM, SoulWolf said:

It's kinda both of those reasons. Well, if someone attacked him or someone he cares about, he'd have no compassion for the attacker... not in that moment anyway.

I wouldn't feel compassion in that moment, too. But even if it was 100% self-defense, you had no choice but to defend yourself and nobody would blame you, imagine if you had to add “killed somebody” to the list of your “achievements”. :gasp:

 

Okay, killing a healthy person with a single knockout punch seems very unlikely, of course. But are there any numbers? Is it like 1:1000 ? Also, contrary to the boxing ring, there's so much more that can go wrong in a street fight. For example if the opponent instantly goes unconscious he will additionally hit the concrete without any ability to protect himself from the fall.
 

I wonder if it is a good idea to kick the opponent's thigh with full force? Not that I could do this... but I imagine if the opponent is untrained it has quite some “stopping power” and seems certain not to cause serious, permanent damage.

On 7/25/2017 at 3:13 AM, SoulWolf said:

He says fighting is just not worth the risk - if you're being attacked, your attacker has a 40% advantage right off the bat, because they chose the location, and they're prepared, whereas you probably aren't (well, they'd be a pretty dumb attacker if they attacked you when you were prepared for it). So basically, if you survive the first move the attacker makes, and you don't have an incredibly good reason to stay and fight... run.

Yes and I don't classify a new 1,500 € bike as an incredible good reason. You're effectively risking your life (what if he drew a weapon?) for a thing. But in the heat of the moment it's difficult to make such calm considerations.

 

I'm very, very, very sure that nobody could get me into a “ego/bravado” fight, though.

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2 hours ago, DeltaV said:

the difference between them was like Rushmore vs. Grover Cleveland High, if you know this movie by Wes Anderson

 

No, but I need to see it now :D

Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom and Fanatastic Mr Fox were all great watches.

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Lots of advice about physical self defense here. I can't add anything to that, I've fought like once in my life and neither of us was in any danger.

 

A lot of conflict can be non-physical though. Sometimes there isn't even a clear conflict, just something that might make one feel insecure or small. A way I've dealt with insecurity over the years is to try to imagine a confident person and then act like how they would act. If I were ever in a situation when I felt insecure or uncomfortable I'd ask myself "if I were a confident person what would I do". Usually it just resulted in a small change to my posture or something like that but it also helped get me in a mindset of being confident.

 

Another thing that has helped me is to try to focus my feelings on the things I can control. For example if someone acts rude or creepy that's their action. I can confront them or I can not. But either way I try not to dwell on it but to move my thoughts on to something else.

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5 hours ago, Holmbo said:

Lots of advice about physical self defense here. I can't add anything to that, I've fought like once in my life and neither of us was in any danger.

 

A lot of conflict can be non-physical though.

Yes, but there's a connection here. If we could magically make UntamedHeart feel like a Honey Badger, her problem of feeling too vulnerable would be solved, but other problems would probably arise from it. ;)

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Holmbo said:

Another thing that has helped me is to try to focus my feelings on the things I can control. For example if someone acts rude or creepy that's their action. I can confront them or I can not. But either way I try not to dwell on it but to move my thoughts on to something else.

In psychology...

  1. it's often the case that one approach sounds reasonable and the complete opposite of it sounds reasonable, too. Compared to most other areas, one cannot easily discard many approaches as “obviously bad”. So we constantly reach “computational intractability” here.
  2. what one psychologist sees as a major goal of therapy, another just sees as a readily available treatment approach. This is because they make different assumptions about the supply of “mental resources” (which may often be unrealistic).

So applied to what you said:

  1. Becoming more thick-skinned, trying to let rude or creepy actions not affect you, may sound like a good idea, but on the other hand it may cement your inability to stand up for yourself.
  2. I find it difficult to not dwell on something that really bothers me. Sure, the decision to dwell on something seems mostly under our volitional control (though you can't stop all unwanted thoughts), but similarly eating is – yet I would regard it as pretty naive to think that we just have to give obese people the advice “eat less”. So you perhaps make unrealistic assumptions about the supply of “willpower” or “mental discipline”.

That's probably why this holds:

On 7/24/2017 at 7:00 PM, SoulWolf said:

Hopefully you get a good psychologist... the quality levels of those vary wildly. :/

There are also good doctors and mediocre ones. But the quality levels are much closer together and everything that falls outside of relatively objective standards is just medical malpractice.

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17 hours ago, Holmbo said:

Another thing that has helped me is to try to focus my feelings on the things I can control

Ever read any Stoic philosophers? You might like them - that's kind of the philosophy in a nutshell :)

 

5 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Becoming more thick-skinned, trying to let rude or creepy actions not affect you, may sound like a good idea, but on the other hand it may cement your inability to stand up for yourself.

I think in all fairness to @Holmbo, she added "I can confront them or I can not". Being largely unphased by somebody being rude or creepy needn't imply that you shouldn't also confront them about it. In my experience, it's actaully a lot easier to confront somebody about behaviours you see as problematic when you yourself are less directly emotionally wound up by those same behaviours. You can confront them with a clearer head and be more effective as a result.

 

5 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I find it difficult to not dwell on something that really bothers me

Yeah, it can be difficult! But if you deliberately practice certain exercises or techniques regularly, these can perhaps make it easier. For example, practicing continually shifting your focus back to a chosen object of meditation (such as the breath) could then make it easier to divert your thoughts away from any unhelpful "dwelling"  more-or-less at will. If you practice enough, that is (I'm certainly not an enlightened being ;) ) So I don't think "the supply of “willpower” or “mental discipline”" is a fixed resource - you can increase your "supply" by putting some effort in (ironcially, I suppose, the way to increase your supply of “willpower” or “mental discipline” is through the application of “willpower” or “mental discipline” xD Through a kind of "bootstrapping" principle)

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23 hours ago, NullVector said:

I think in all fairness to @Holmbo, she added "I can confront them or I can not". Being largely unphased by somebody being rude or creepy needn't imply that you shouldn't also confront them about it. In my experience, it's actaully a lot easier to confront somebody about behaviours you see as problematic when you yourself are less directly emotionally wound up by those same behaviours. You can confront them with a clearer head and be more effective as a result.

I didn't really try to refute the post by Holmbo, it's more like just a YMMV warning. Personally, a “Vulcan approach” rarely ever works for me, but people are different.
 

Why do emotions even exist, if we would be better off without them (at least in most cases)? Are they just evolutionary baggage? So should we all adopt the teachings of Surak? But there are surely some psychologists around who would say something very different. As always...

 

For example, maybe something similar as Jean-Paul Sartre (War Diaries. 1984 ed., p. 50-51):

 

“Conquer oneself rather than fortune.” Very well said. But a fine demonstration of the guile of stoicism. For after all, to take a precise example, if I’m passionately attached to some object that eludes me, what can renouncing it mean to me? Do people think that I can continue to assert the object’s value in the flesh, in short be a martyr to that value, and at the same time cut off all my desire at its roots? Do they not see that I grasp that value through my desire? Little jesuitical tricks will do for this, permitting me ceaselessly to assert in word and thought the object's value (out of fidelity to myself), while diverting me from feeling it. But this is to be willfully blind, for the object's value, though experienced only through my desire, is truly constitutive of the object.

[…]

Blind and deaf, that's what stoics are. On principle, because the end justifies the means. Small matter here that the end is equanimity. In any case, the stoic is a pragmatist who resorts to violence and self-deception to attain his goal.

 

So what should we do? Well, the best thing is to suffer and whine and weep, but never hide the value of things from ourselves. Authenticity demands that we be a bit tearful. Authenticity and true fidelity to ourselves.

 

Was you getting into fights with bullies adhering to the Stoic ideal? ;)

23 hours ago, NullVector said:

So I don't think "the supply of “willpower” or “mental discipline”" is a fixed resource - you can increase your "supply" by putting some effort in (ironcially, I suppose, the way to increase your supply of “willpower” or “mental discipline” is through the application of “willpower” or “mental discipline” xD Through a kind of "bootstrapping" principle)

Yes, I agree, of course willpower and mental disciplines aren't fixed resources. But they're often unspokenly assumed to come in huge supplies right from the start. :D

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How scientific it all got now. :)
I don't know much about the theory of different approaches of psychology or philosophy. I'm just sharing what's worked for me.

 

I think it's useful to have emotions when you're in a situation. But after the situation is over and you probably never going to see that person again (if we're still going by the example of the disturbing stranger) there's no reason to still feel angry at them, or worse: at yourself. IT IS very hard to distract ones emotions. If some situation has made me scared or angry I just want to replay it in my mind and think of what I said or did and why, what I maybe should have done instead, what would have happened if the situation continued. But I seldom find it helpful. I think we all have enough stress in our lives not to rehash stressful encounters were we did nothing wrong. I just try to switch my mind from it as quick as possible. Try to go through some complicated song lyric in my mind or take up a book and start reading.

 

I hope this is not too off topic for you @Untamed Heart. I think what I want to say is that if you feel you didn't stand up for yourself when you wanted to, don't beat yourself up about it. You did nothing wrong.

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@Holmbo that's fine, thanks :) I did feel like I didn't do what I should have, but I think that was also partly to do with the fact I saw something on the news earlier in the year, or late last year - a preview of a news investigation thingy, where a woman went out with a secret camera in London (I live on the coast, nowhere near the capital anyway, but doesn't mean it can't happen elsewhere) to make a documentary about street harassment.

In the bit that got shown, some dude came up behind her with a pro camera and was literally taking photos of her backside up close, and claimed he wasn't doing anything wrong when she confronted him (which led to me googling the laws about taking photos like that in public... bad idea, mental turmoil the rest of the night and all that jazz).

So, I had that in my mind afterwards. I do try and have a 'pale blue dot' attitude sometimes - in the grand scheme of things, nothing matters, as we're on a tiny speck in the middle of space... but it doesn't really work! You are right, though. I still have to wonder why these strange people want photos of me, however! Must be the resting bitch face? :P

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