April 1, 2011

Observations Afterwards

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the real test of your soul's strength is whether you are trying not to see it


As most know, I was the "victim" of a hold up of sorts, a "patient" came in with a gun and etc, long story short is I'm still here.

But I made some observations which are worth telling.

1.  Despite spending almost 20 very personal minutes in the room with him, I cannot remember what he looks like.  I know he's a male, I have a sense that he's about 6'1", and that he has dark hair, but... that's it.  If he came up to me in the street and offered me a sandwich, I'd take it.   I know the hair was dark, but I can't remember if it was buzz cut, or short, or...

I can't remember what he was wearing.  Blue and white shirt?  Can't remember.

I do, however, remember his sunglasses, I can even remember a hair on one lens.  The glasses were so prominent and unusual that they took my attention away from everything else, and, I reconstructed the physical appearance of this guy around his glasses.  I believe that if he was not wearing those glasses I'd have remembered his face or his clothes better-- thought it's possible my attention would have been focused on the gun. 

Now I know why they rob banks wearing Nixon masks.

2.  As further evidence: I had his chart.  I studied it after he was gone, and for sure I knew his name-- until Monday, when I discovered I had, for the entire last week, remembered his last name incorrectly.  Not misspelled it-- completely a different last name.  And when someone recently corrected me, I didn't realize I had made a mistake-- I was genuinely shocked to see I had memorized it wrong.  I thought they were wrong.

There's been 20 years of good research on the (un)reliability of eyewitness testimony-- generally warning against the transference and distraction effect, and the universally terrible idea of offering a witness one suspect and saying, "is this your guy?"




Most have seen the gorilla walking through the basketball game video, but watch it again:



The problem is that our attention is weaker than our memory, and selective attention to one thing is at the expense of others.  And no, it doesn't help that the girls are pretty. 

Practice can mitigate this, but not extinguish it.  And even someone like me who prides himself on his cool and his 133t perception skillz still gets tripped up.  I'll repeat something important: I didn't forget his name, I really believed it was something else.  I would have vigorously defended that belief.  "Are you guys insane?  You think I'd forget his name?"


3. I had wondered if, involuntarily, I'd be nervous to go back to that same office.  Would I be hypervigilant?  Would I have involuntary physical responses to the area?  Would I dream about it?

No, none of those.  When I awoke the next morning, it felt like it happened a decade ago.  I went back like nothing had ever happened.  I've really tried to understand why this is so I could propose it as a solution to other people who want to get past it, and what it feels like to me is that I was acting in a play a long time ago, playing the part of the doctor-victim, and now I'm onto a new role.

Reinforcing this is my feeling towards the guy with the gun: that if I saw him again, I wouldn't be afraid of him or even angry at him, but like he was an actor in a new role.  Why would I not be afraid of him?

I've tried to parse this out, what allowed me to get over that so quickly, and I think I have the answer.  Maybe this will help someone else.


4.  What's my pivot point?  What's the thing I keep coming back to, over and over?

If I run the fantasy version in my head, where I can imagine myself doing anything I want,  the thing I do differently is I get the door open sooner.  Whether I yell at him and he does it or he forgets to close it or someone comes in, the focus is that the door gets and stays opened.  When the door was open, I felt like I was no longer under his control.  That was the difference between having power and being powerless.

And so when I commanded the woman to get a copy of the insurance-- i.e. to open the door and leave-- and it worked, I had (perhaps the illusion of) power.  He wanted her there, but I told her to leave, and he didn't stop her.  I won that mini-battle.  And even though it closed again and he remembered he was insane, when I run this over I am "proud" of myself for being able to control the situation and get her to leave.

So what it comes down to, at least for me, is finding the one specific moment where I exerted some power, where I was not powerless, and it made up for everything else.   

Which explains the lack of hypervigilance or worry about going back: since I had some power the last time, I'll probably have some again.  All of this may be an illusion or a psychic defense, but reorienting myself away from my powerlessness towards a single instance of power completely changed the emotional memory of it.

Results may vary.








Comments

Research regarding eyewitne... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 11:24 AM | Posted by CubaLibre: | Reply

Research regarding eyewitness unreliability should be a standard part of every civics class, or every criminal jury instruction, or something. It needs to be disseminated. No one believes it until it happens to them - maybe you could write a post on why that is.

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TLP, did you ever consider ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 11:53 AM | Posted by Karen: | Reply

TLP, did you ever consider taking Inderal?

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I see your point about havi... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 12:03 PM | Posted by Dan Dravot: | Reply

I see your point about having some kind of power: It's a lot easier to live with having less power than somebody else, than to live with having no power at all -- or worse yet, with having chosen not to try to have any power.

On the other hand, what you did was very wrong, and you need to understand that. Without exception (not counting the crazies in flyover country), the police advise you to comply with violent criminals. Give them whatever they want. Don't argue, don't resist, just comply.

Don't you think you'd be much better off not taking any physical risks? Why not just give him everything he wanted? If what he wanted was power over you, a symbol of the white power structure that's been screwing him all his life, then you denied him something he needed for his own psychological health.

It seems to me that the possibility of having gotten killed should bother people much more than powerlessless. After all, powerlessness won't do you any physical harm. It shouldn't bother people to be powerless. So why does it? There must be something wrong with our culture that's teaching us this unhealthy attitude.

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TLP, I was robbed at gun po... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 12:09 PM | Posted by whowuzhere: | Reply

TLP, I was robbed at gun point by five guys about three months ago, and had a very similar experience. Although I was somewhat nervous for a week or so walking around at night on the street, I felt none of the sort of shaky trauma many of my friends who had been robbed or attacked described.

And what I think it was is that they asked for my wallet, and I gave it to them, and asked them to take the cash and give me back the wallet itself, and when they just continued to tell me "don't try anything", I told them I wouldn't and asked them to at least give me my metro card, which only had 3$ on it, so I could get home (I was far from where I lived).

Of course, they did none of these things, but being able to assert myself in this situation in a way which felt real and not totally full of terror (during the robbery i just felt a sort of calm, clear anger and frustration) made the robbery much less traumatic, or at least so I imagined and told it. Thanks for sharing this story.

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In fact, you've forgotten t... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 12:19 PM | Posted by Dan Dravot: | Reply

In fact, you've forgotten this man's face and his name: It sounds like you were programmed to de-person him. That's because of his poverty and his race. Don't you think he has a right to resent that? And what if he's been so de-personed for so long that the only means by which he can express that resentment is violence?

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"It seems to me that the po... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 12:39 PM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

"It seems to me that the possibility of having gotten killed should bother people much more than powerlessless."

Why? I have to die, I don't have to be powerless. Powelessness is something I can have some control over, death is not, therefore it makes more sense to be concerned with powerlessness than death.

"After all, powerlessness won't do you any physical harm. It shouldn't bother people to be powerless. So why does it? There must be something wrong with our culture that's teaching us this unhealthy attitude."

Didn't you read TLP's post about how it is powerlessness in violent circumstances that leads to PTSD? This isn't culture, this is human nature.

"In fact, you've forgotten this man's face and his name: It sounds like you were programmed to de-person him. That's because of his poverty and his race. Don't you think he has a right to resent that? And what if he's been so de-personed for so long that the only means by which he can express that resentment is violence?"

Is this a joke? I thought liberals and feminists taught everyone to not blame the victim. Oh TLP isn't the victim because he's white. So Dan, how's that racism working out for you?

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Walenty,Thanks for... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 12:55 PM | Posted by Dan Dravot: | Reply

Walenty,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. But your use of the term "human nature" gave you away, because there is no such thing. The term is always used to justify learned cultural norms (homophobia, sexism, cisnormativism, genderism) as "natural". I doubt very much that you'll find a single reputable critical theorist on this entire planet who takes the concept of "human nature" seriously.

All you've done is claim that PTSD is a product of a white patriarchal system which privileges "power" at the expense of justice. Imagine if you had instead written the following sentence:

"it is lack of social justice in violent circumstances that leads to PTSD".

Wouldn't you rather live in the world described by that sentence, where TLP avoids PTSD by working for justice rather than by working to maintain his race and class privilege?

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"I doubt very much that you... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 1:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"I doubt very much that you'll find a single reputable critical theorist on this entire planet who takes the concept of 'human nature' seriously. "

Reputable citizens know the history behind critical theory, and treat its purveyors with the respect accorded a spoiled bowl of tuna salad.

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The anonymous comment at 1:... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 1:22 PM | Posted by DJMoore: | Reply

The anonymous comment at 1:21 on critical theory is mine. My apologies.

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In fact, you've fo... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 1:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Rebecca: | Reply

In fact, you've forgotten this man's face and his name: It sounds like you were programmed to de-person him. That's because of his poverty and his race. Don't you think he has a right to resent that? And what if he's been so de-personed for so long that the only means by which he can express that resentment is violence?
Forgetting those kinds of details in high-stress situations has nothing to do with race, social status or perceived value of an individual. People forget those details because they aren't important.

Consider it from an evolutionary perspective: if you're attacked by a tiger, it doesn't matter how many stripes the tiger has or if it has a scar over its left eye. All that matters is that it is an animal, large, orange and white, with sharp teeth and long claws. In the future, those are the only details you need to determine if the threat matches previous examples.

In Alone's case, all he needs to know is that the attacker was a male and tall. His mind already has the bucket details for human male. Adrenaline increases perception, but it also decreases the amount of information you can retain in the long term. I'd bet, in the middle of the situation, Alone was more aware of the man's physical details and the way he held himself than the man's own mother. Those are necessary during a crisis, but afterward they're superfluous and are discarded.

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On the other hand,... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 1:57 PM | Posted by Rebecca: | Reply

On the other hand, what you did was very wrong, and you need to understand that. Without exception (not counting the crazies in flyover country), the police advise you to comply with violent criminals. Give them whatever they want. Don't argue, don't resist, just comply.

If you read the original entry, you'll see the attacker didn't want anything.

But this guy was different, this guy wasn't looking to get something. This guy came with the specific intention of killing him, he wasn't looking for more xanax or anything else.

By veering the situation into a transaction - by assuming power - he was able to diffuse a crisis. He successfully moved the confrontation from a mob hit to a bank robbery. The gunman's desired outcome was no longer putting a bullet between Alone's eyes, it was getting some more drugs. You don't walk away from a man with a gun who only wants to kill you - and you definitely don't get the chance to call the cops.

It seems to me that the possibility of having gotten killed should bother people much more than powerlessless. After all, powerlessness won't do you any physical harm. It shouldn't bother people to be powerless. So why does it? There must be something wrong with our culture that's teaching us this unhealthy attitude.

Powerlessness implies all situations are out of your control. Why are some women crippled by a brutal rape, but others are able to move on with their lives? The women who are crippled believe the situation is out of their control, while the ones who move on accept they lost that hand. Key difference: those who move on never lost power, they just lost the round.

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DJMoore:I apprecia... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 2:07 PM | Posted by Dan Dravot: | Reply

DJMoore:

I appreciate your kind remarks. I did not, unfortunately, take the time to read them.

You may not like critical theorists, but they're working to establish a truly egalitarian society, where every voice is heard and respected equally. And they do just happen to have some little things called "credentials" and "professional standing". After you get your doctorate and your tenure at Harvard, maybe we'll listen to your input on the subject.

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"Why are some women cripple... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 2:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Why are some women crippled by a brutal rape, but others are able to move on with their lives? The women who are crippled believe the situation is out of their control, while the ones who move on accept they lost that hand. Key difference: those who move on never lost power, they just lost the round."

With all due respect rebecca, there are many factors that involve why some people are more deeply affected than others. High internal axis of control is a positive asset in dealing with rape but it's not the ultimate pinnacle of psychological protection. Women who fight physically tend to do better because they don't have the experience of submitting which is a rather unbearable experience.

But the nature of every rape is different, so to not consider that some people are grappling with different things, and with different levels of previous trauma, and with different amounts of social support, and with different amounts emotional issues, is a cruelty to people who are struggling and not "doing as well with it."

To pressume they just have victim mentality is really hurtful Rebecca. I'm not saying that isn't the case in some situation, but to make that a blanket statement just seems cruel.

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You used the words "victim ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 2:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Rebecca: | Reply

You used the words "victim mentality" - I did not. Those words imply the person makes a lifetime of being a victim. It isn't as simple as having a single pivotal event that defines you.

Women who fight physically tend to do better because they don't have the experience of submitting which is a rather unbearable experience.

I fail to see how my statement is any more or less "cruel" than the quote above, but thank you for making my point for me. The women who never give up power tend to do better. Does it hold true all the time? No, nothing does, but it holds true often enough that it can be considered a decent generalization. There are always mitigating factors - the brutality, stigma after the event, previous occurrences - but those do not negate the general trend, which you've already pointed out.

Here's a different example, since that one seems to have struck a nerve: why do cancer patients who fight have better outcomes than ones who don't? Same thing. One group gives up power, while the other group hangs on to it.

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Yes but factors OUT of the ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 2:43 PM | Posted by anon1: | Reply

Yes but factors OUT of the womans control can intervene with the ability to fight the entire time. The perpetrator can seek to ellicit this kind of defeat and if they succeed the woman will have a harder time dealing with it after.

It might not be the nature of how much will to live and fight to hold on the power, but the nature of what is done to her during that time and the ability of a perpetrator to find her greatest weakness and break her during this time.


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There is also some research... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 2:46 PM | Posted by anon1: | Reply

There is also some research that cancer patients who have supportive involvement from others recover better as well. Perhaps how much support you have on the outside influnces how much will you have to live through this shitty fucking existance.

If it's all pain and no one gives a shit if you live or die, then perhaps your will would fade as well.

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Hey, I think I get it. You ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 2:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Time-traveling Stephen Colbert: | Reply

Hey, I think I get it. You actually have huge contempt for liberalism and political correctness. Instead of arguing against them directly, you have created a character who makes them look bad by exaggerating every unattractive part of political correctness to the point of absurdity.

Wait, that gives me an idea... to the TARDIS!

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Your conclusion is absolute... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 3:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Your conclusion is absolutely wrong - it's no facet of our society, it's our nature as humans and as primates that makes us fear loss of power. TLPs choice may have been foolish from a not firing perspective but wise from a mental health perspective (not that he was thinking about that in the moment).

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I may sound like an asshole... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 3:22 PM | Posted by Alex-5: | Reply

I may sound like an asshole, BUT: this article does not sound like Alone.

Okay maybe the style was changed on purpose, in this case I'll say you're bloody good actor, 'cause I believe that somebody else wrote it.

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Women who are intentionally... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 3:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Women who are intentionally forced to have orgasms during sexual assault have an extremely difficult time recovering. There is nothing as disempowering as watching your body respond to the actions of someone who knows they are humilating you and delighting in the way you die inside. This is when you go down a tunnel in your head and out of reality. It works really well, although unfortunately can cause damaging changes to the brain and forms of epilepsy, and in some cases insanity, particularly if done repeatedly to someone very young.

Such a person might appear as more negatively affected, but they are actually using such techniques in order to live despite unbearable pain. Using a crutch does not mean you want to give up, it actually means you're grabbing on to what lets you do exactly that.

It might involve more will to live than you think. Because when someone does that to you it's all you can do to fight begging the universe for a merciful death.

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TLP- I'll bet you're more a... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 3:36 PM | Posted by anon1: | Reply

TLP- I'll bet you're more affected by it than you realize. Honestly, being as self empowering as you can about it, while allowing other people to acknowledge that realistically this has definately affected you, is the best way you can do it.

Your sense of power is important. So keep that. People will automatically give you support simply by acknowledging what you went through, and that will be good for you too.

I'm glad you're handling it well, ceratainly an incredibly intense and shocking experience.

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Dan Dravot wrote:<block... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 4:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Dan Dravot wrote:

And they do just happen to have some little things called "credentials" and "professional standing". After you get your doctorate and your tenure at Harvard, maybe we'll listen to your input on the subject.

Oy vey, are you on the wrong blog!

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So, that was the first and ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 4:51 PM | Posted by mdgio: | Reply

So, that was the first and last time I'll read the awful comments here.

Anyway, a friend of mine who is a green beret had very much the same perspective when he came out of confinement/torture training. He would try to get little victories over his captors and hold on to them, and that these kept him sane.

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"In fact, you've forgotten ... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 5:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"In fact, you've forgotten this man's face and his name: It sounds like you were programmed to de-person him. That's because of his poverty and his race. Don't you think he has a right to resent that? And what if he's been so de-personed for so long that the only means by which he can express that resentment is violence?"

WHAT THE FUCK??? LOL are you kidding me??? Is this a youtube video? That is the top ten dumbest internet comments I've ever seen in my life.

Some other factors you might want to consider that could have influenced TLP in addition to his deep-seated racism and obvious hatred for the poor.

- The guy had a gun and TLP felt his life was in immediate danger

Man I hope you're trolling so bad.

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You may not like c... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 5:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You may not like critical theorists, but they're working to establish a truly egalitarian society, where every voice is heard and respected equally. And they do just happen to have some little things called "credentials" and "professional standing". After you get your doctorate and your tenure at Harvard, maybe we'll listen to your input on the subject.

Bravo for the most hilariously ironic comment ever to appear on this blog.

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As others have alluded, the... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 6:49 PM | Posted by andrew: | Reply

As others have alluded, the ability to will oneself to power following a traumatic experience is highly variable and dependent on numerous factors (severity of trauma, social support, genetic vulnerability, locus of control, etc.). While it's commendable that Alone bounced back so quickly, going the CBT route and becoming the overman isn't very realistic for a person with badly screwed up corticolimbic signalling. Identifying remnants of power after a traumatic experience is helpful in anyone's recovery, but hardly enough for many PTSD sufferers.

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"And what if he's been so d... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 8:49 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"And what if he's been so de-personed for so long that the only means by which he can express that resentment is violence? "

That's what jails are for, lmao!

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One thing that strikes me i... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2011 9:17 PM | Posted by Kath: | Reply

One thing that strikes me is the way that everyone is quantifying this, and other forms of trauma, which is a way that I think people can get into trouble. I know from personal experience it's how I got into trouble.
"This was a good day," "I'm feeling better," "I didn't do as well this time," It's measuring your reaction to an event against initial feelings of shock, fear, etc. It's casting yourself into a closed circle, creating a little eco system in your brain.
It's also saying "I know how this trauma/reaction/PTSD works, so if I scrutinize it, I wont get it." Which can only end badly.
An example: A friend overseas contacted us to say that a co worker had died in a workplace accident. It was a pretty traumatic episode so he was thinking of going see see a counsellor "for a check up to see if everything was fine."
If you want a counsellor to tell you you're fine, you're going to behave like you're fine so that they give you the all clear. Meanwhile, in your squishy brain....

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It wasn't not right if he s... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 12:32 AM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by Francis: | Reply

It wasn't not right if he survived and everything turned out okay... Anyway, (I don't really remember) I think he justifies his choices in that post pretty well, by talking about what exactly the guy wanted... Besides, you're a troll

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Dan, if we let you know you... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 3:47 AM | Posted by Gene Callahan: | Reply

Dan, if we let you know you're a very funny person and we admire your clever act, will you stop?

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"I appreciate..."I... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 9:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Dan Dravot's comment, by DJMoore: | Reply

"I appreciate..."

I, on the other hand, do not appreciate sociopathic ravings disguised as compassion at all. Fortunately, everybody seems to have figured out Dan is intellectually bankrupt. Nevertheless, I'm going to continue to have fun at his expense.

"your kind remarks. I did not, unfortunately, take the time to read them."

The link to "history" was not, in fact, to my comments, but to Bill Whittle's excellent Afterburner video on the history of critical theory.

"You may not like critical theorists,"

Equivalent to saying, You many not like astrologers, young earth creationists, mediums, con artists, heroin dealers telling little kids that the first hit is free, or the propaganda ministers for mass-murdering communist dictators....

"but they're working to establish a truly egalitarian society,"

They're working to destroy the most egalitarian, tolerant, and productive society in history. They're working to make everyone equally poor, and equally dependent on and obedient to the state.

"where every voice is heard and respected equally."

That is, not at all unless you are a member of the nomenklatura. And that, of course, implies you are just spouting the party line.

"And they do just happen to have some little things called 'credentials' and 'professional standing'. "

Wait, what happened to "every voice heard and respected equally"?

"After you get your doctorate and your tenure at Harvard, maybe we'll listen to your input on the subject."

Or at, say, Columbia University, home of the Frankfurt School in exile. Fact is, for economics, history, and political science, er, political divination, the bigger the school, the greater the indoctrination and the more suspect the degree.

Again, I'm not addressing Dan, who does not deserve a serious reply, because he's a loon who believes in social theory. But hey, mocking the most hideous ideology to ever afflict the human race is always a useful and entertaining exercise.

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DJMoore, Dan is just preten... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 10:51 AM | Posted by Gene Callahan: | Reply

DJMoore, Dan is just pretending to have these views. He thinks it is parody.

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Dang. April Fools.... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 11:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Gene Callahan's comment, by DJMoore: | Reply

Dang. April Fools.

Too bad I've seen people say this stuff in all honesty.

Dan, excellent work. Well done.

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"Dang. April Fools.<p... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 1:21 PM | Posted by AJWright: | Reply

"Dang. April Fools.

Too bad I've seen people say this stuff in all honesty.

Dan, excellent work. Well done."

That you were duped by such a poorly constructed straw man brings into question your own critical faculties. Maybe it's time to question your irrational hatred of all theory? Or more likely you're just another of Dravot's psuedonyms. In any case while there is a ton of bad theory, I don't think you can paint with so wide a brush and throw the baby out with the bath water.

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"But your use of the term "... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 2:33 PM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

"But your use of the term "human nature" gave you away, because there is no such thing."

Your denial of human nature has given you away for the left wing creationist you are. Steven Pinker, E.O. Wilson, Geoffry Miller, David Buss, etc. have done excellent work on the existence of human nature. Try opening your mind and picking up some of their works.

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Liberal nutjobs like Dan Dr... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 3:57 PM | Posted by someone: | Reply

Liberal nutjobs like Dan Dravot are more entertaining than any standup comedian.

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Hey TLP, I feel that you ha... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 5:44 PM | Posted by ecks: | Reply

Hey TLP, I feel that you have been very generous with us in this post. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability along with your powerful and always fascinating critical insight.

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Sorry for my snarky reply(s... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 9:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Sorry for my snarky reply(s) to the previous post. I assumed the account was fictional.

Thankfully you got out unhurt.

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I was beaten up a few years... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2011 9:48 PM | Posted by Mark: | Reply

I was beaten up a few years ago. The only thing I could remember about the guys that attacked me was that they were white. I wouldn't have been able to pick them from Adam.

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I find it funny that this d... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2011 12:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Walenty Lisek's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I find it funny that this dude basically admitted to being a child predator on this forum, yet he still posts here as if he is somehow normal or acceptable:
http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/11/advertisings_collateral_damage.html#c012861

Every time I see his posts I'm like, "why is dude still posting here, like he didn't say this fuckery?"

This is an old ass man who admitted he chases high school (or maybe junior high) girls and he was all like "NOW WHAT BITCH?"

I highly suggest a moniker change, wlanety lisek. Your name sounds like the name of a pasty fat white pedophile who wears dirty t-shirts.

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I've read the work of all t... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2011 2:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Walenty Lisek's comment, by S: | Reply

I've read the work of all those men. None did a single scientific study of human nature, save for perhaps Buss. EO Wilson was the only one who is a trained biologist and understood how to view humans as an evolved species. The rest, psychologists. They're a stones-throw away from Freud.

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Just a couple of quick obse... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2011 12:30 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

Just a couple of quick observations probably a little too far down the comments:

1--For whatever it's worth, I'm not sure TLP is white.

2--It's one thing to say you've recovered, it's another to be recovered. I know TLP knows this, but the brain can be tricky sometimes. I hope he keeps an eye on his own mental well-being enough to not try to force himself into a box called "recovered" or he may cause himself more problems down the line. I'm not doubting that he's OK, but sometimes these things have a way of settling in over time. The whole "denial" stage of grief and whatnot. Best wishes Alone.

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Certainly feeling as if one... (Below threshold)

April 4, 2011 4:47 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Certainly feeling as if one has had some control over the outcome helps when one has had a shocking/highly stressful experience but let's not ignore the importance of outcome and full context. You're an adult, you feel as if you handled it reasonably well and nobody actually got hurt - being threatened once is not the same as being violated (once or repeatedly). It's a bit different than actually being physically assaulted or watching someone else be physically assaulted. Plus you're a trained professional who can contextualize the experience for yourself AND, very importantly, you told your story. There's nothing like telling and retelling a story to make it "real" and as a form of desensitization - it's why a personal narrative that focuses on how one is a powerless victim can be so disabling and one where on had some control (illusory or real, that's not the point) can be empowering. There also seems to be some evidence that points to some people simply being more prone to PTSD due to neurobiology.

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It's also why some people f... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2011 12:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

It's also why some people find believing in God/s comforting and empowering, it gives them a sense of control over the frighteningly uncontrollable aspects of life (and death).

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"It's also why some people ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2011 10:32 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

"It's also why some people find believing in God/s comforting and empowering, it gives them a sense of control over the frighteningly uncontrollable aspects of life (and death)."

Or, it is why some people decide to not believe in God, but instead believe that we humans have all of the answers, and have the capability to handle a world where there are thieves, murderers, scoundrels, accidents, natural disasters, misery, illness and death. If there is a God, we have no chance of control, and anything could happen. Scary.

Ah, how comforting and empowering to have faith in the white lab coats, the computer-models, and the blue helmets.

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"Powerlessness implies all ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2011 1:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Powerlessness implies all situations are out of your control. Why are some women crippled by a brutal rape, but others are able to move on with their lives? The women who are crippled believe the situation is out of their control, while the ones who move on accept they lost that hand. Key difference: those who move on never lost power, they just lost the round."

Just out of curiousity, but... I mean, have you ever been brutaly raped? Or had cancer? Because I mean, just an observation, it sort of would appear you're milking the suffering of others to your own agenda. Not all brutal rapes are the same. Different thing happen, there are different durations, there are different acts of brutality; and there are different past life histories and biological forces at work.

It would seem, that you're making a guess here with nothing to back it up other than that culturally it's trendy to diss on people who are broken. It's empowering, for you, because you feel that with the great wonderfulness of your attitude, you can take on ANYTHING and overcome! That feels wonderful and has health benefits for you indeed.

However if you're wrong, then you're just pissing on broken people because it's easy and makes you feel good about yourself. So tell me, other than that you have observed or heard of through the grapevine these miserable people who cause their own suffering by holding on to their powerlessness--- do you have anything to back that up?

Oh, no? What a surprise. A woman who I would guess is from an in tact family and with a supportive current family (if you're the same rebecca I've spoken to before) feels that people who are broken by rape simply have the wrong attitude. Because clearly (trigger for those other than rebecca here, but rebecca you can read this. If you're woman enough to claim you know how to heal from rape, surely you're tough enough to hear what it's like, amirite?)--

SHE knows better than anyone else what it's like to have someone that you have loved with all your heart pushing themselves on you when they promised they would not. She knows what it's like to start crying and feel them grip you tighter intead of letting you escape. Clearly she knows what it's like to feel all the darkness they have experienced being put onto you, to feel them trying to push all the death and misery inside them into you so they can watch you beg for death.

Why, why did he do that? Why would you break the only person who tried to be there for you? Why would you sob on top of them for your actions, oh you want to die now for what you've done. Yes now I have those feelings too. You wanted me to share the horror of what's inside you and force my body to be aroused by your desire to get off watching another human beg the universe for death. And now you make me you. I am a monster with you.

Now you have someone to share your world of disturbing sadism and brutality. Now it's in me.

Now I am dead inside.

Be the phoenix, be the phoenix, be the phoenix.

But I know that if I have a good attitude, as Rebecca has told me, it won't shred my insides. When I watch the child he put inside me being raised by another woman, my insides won't scream. When I see her laugh and smile the way he did, the same joking demeanor, the same personality traits, I won't remember that I still love him in spite of it all. I won't remember that there was beauty inside him, that I still believe that at the core, the darkness is not who he was but something that was given to him.

And when I watch her call another woman mother, because I was too poor and too broken to fight off the pressure that she deserved better than me; I won't die inside everytime. When she tells me that her adoptive father chased her around with a wooden spoon and then cornered her and the trails off to silence--- oh how cute she just stops talking when she gets to something traumatic just like I do.

surely with a positive attitude I will see how wonderful all of this is. And when the adoptive mother gets divorced and then tells me she adopted to fix the marriage without telling me that prior to legally taking my daughter from me, I can smile and nod and say, "Oh I understand." Oh because I do.

And when I find out that she is a smoker and that she feeds my daughter fast food every night and literally keeps no food in the house because she just doesn't like to cook it won't make me want to pull my hair out. And when she brings my daughter to stay the weekend with some man she met on the internet and has never met in person and then he steals her car-- I won't wonder why on fucking earth I was told that adoption would be in my daughters best interest.

And when she takes food stamps and WIC and CHIP, I won't wonder why it's socially acceptable for her to have this support, but when I needed such supports I was a piece of shit who didn't deserve them.

And when I find out that all the books and movies I gave her on organic homemade baby food, and baby sign language, and infant massage, and toddler yoga; all the things I dreamed of doing with daughter--- never got used, and my daughter never went to the monessori school I was told she would be going to--- clearly my daughter needed to be adopted so that she could have a stay at home mom, and organic home cooked meals, and involved aware consistant parenting, all of which she never got, so it all makes sense why I'm in hell for the sake of this.

And when I find out that my daughter has thyroid disease at nine which so happens to be caused by inflammation due to food toxins and high fat diet interacting with gene predispositions AND THE ADOPTIVE MOTHER WON'T CHANGE THE DIET I won't care. Because I have a good attitude like Rebecca tells me to have.

And when I get to show up at my daughters birthday and LOOK her father is there, isn't that sweet and his lovely wife and their kids, and I get to be introduced to all my daughters friends parents as the birth mother, and eyebrows are raised and the middle aged men feel it is important to make alcohol and sex jokes because clearly I have a "history". I don't drink actually but that's all ok because I can smile and laugh. It's all very funny really because I have such a good attitude. And when men I've known my whole life find out I've lost a daughter to adoption and suddenly think it's ok to grab me and kiss me on the cheek I don't care. Who cares? Obviously I am a cunt now and demonstation of caring about my suffering should inherently be sexual in nature.

And when I start to date and a guy finds out that I've been raped and immediately DOES THE EXACT SAME THING, I can laugh about it. Because who cares, right? That's what weak people deserve. And certainly, if they struggle with it afterward, it's clearly just a little shift of attitude that will change all the pain.

When I was 16 I cowered in the face of brutality coming from a trusted adult. The fact that we think it's ok to put women down for responding with terror to these kinds of situations is what makes recovery so hard. The fact that we think women who sob in a ball instead of jabbing an eye out are less human, less good, worse human beings--- bring their suffering on themselves--- are failures of human beings--- are less than the rest of the humans---

These are the reasons it was socially acceptable to tell me I didn't deserve my daughter and some middle class woman who had less parenting knowledge than I did, deserved my daughter more.

You have no idea what hell is, or how much it takes to walk through it for the sake of others. The time I spend with my daughter is spent doing crafts and playing at parks and laughing and talking about feelings and being available in any way that she needs. I will do everything in my power to make sure that I am alive, and emotionally in tact and available when she needs me. I will make sure that her adoptive parents do not make her feel like a worthless piece of shit failure of a human being for being ADD and struggling with school, will not tell her she isn't trying or that she is an utter failure of a human being.-- like my adoptive parents did.

But when I walk away, when I get home, and my daughter goes home, I will collapse into the well of pain this leaves people in. You can keep your positive attitude THAT WAS GIVEN TO YOU BY THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFE. You have no idea what hell is.


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To deny the nature of the w... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2011 4:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

To deny the nature of the ways this world can utterly destroy the human spirit, even among the brightest and most full of life among us--- is to deny nature of human suffering, to deny the most innate places within us that make us human.

It is why people who have seen such suffering, often can never come back--- and why would they to a world full of people who have nothing to offer but insults and empty slogans of "put a good face on it now!" Ah, to be so blind, and ignorant of suffering, blessed be.

If that is all humanity has to offer, then death becomes a friend. But no one truly wants death. A truly merciful universe would pull us out of the suffering, would save us in spite of ourselves even from the most unspeakable conditions. But to do that, you have to be willing to see the that which is unbearable to see. To feel the weight of that which is impossible to feel without utterly collapsing into screams or insanity. You have to stop denying the humanity of the suffering among us.

And possibly face the terrifying prospect that they might not be any different than you. Which means you aren't as protected from such suffering as you think.

"He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come."

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See, this is how they manag... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2011 3:54 AM | Posted by Davey: | Reply

See, this is how they managed to get 2 Darrins on Bewitched without anyone noticing....

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Words cannot describe how m... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2011 6:50 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by DP: | Reply

Words cannot describe how my heart goes out to you. It won't help, it won't change anything, it won't make things more bearable, and I can't deem to understand what you've gone through, but somewhere there's a nearly parallel moment where I, too, huddle in a pool of my own helplessness and the darkness has a stranglehold on me and my whole being is an ear-shattering, drawn-out, cacophonic note of anguish that never seems to end.

No one ever asks the phoenix how such rebirth feels.

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Once you start describing a... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2011 5:27 PM | Posted by Susannah F-C: | Reply

Once you start describing a face - verbally or on paper - you begin to lose the usually effortless ability to RECOGNISE the same face. The psychologist Jonathan W Schooler coined the term "verbal overshadowing". As soon as you began using words (left brain) to describe the perpetrator, you displaced the visual memory (right brain) of him. You're now simply drawing on what you SAID he looked like, rather on what you SAW he looked like.

I think we can take this theory even further and at least wonder if it has a connection with why witness accounts of crimes are often times quite heavily ensconced on the unreliable side. And after all, witness statements are always recorded on paper. Maybe this is the problem?

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Once you start describing a... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2011 5:28 PM | Posted by Susannah F-C: | Reply

Once you start describing a face - verbally or on paper - you begin to lose the usually effortless ability to RECOGNISE the same face. The psychologist Jonathan W Schooler coined the term "verbal overshadowing". As soon as you began using words (left brain) to describe the perpetrator, you displaced the visual memory (right brain) of him. You're now simply drawing on what you SAID he looked like, rather on what you SAW he looked like.

I think we can take this theory even further and at least wonder if it has a connection with why witness accounts of crimes are often times quite heavily ensconced on the unreliable side. And after all, witness statements are always recorded on paper. Maybe this is the problem?

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A life journey about POWER:... (Below threshold)

April 14, 2011 5:56 PM | Posted by Dr.JS: | Reply

A life journey about POWER:
I am a clinical and forensic (expert for the court) psychologist, specializing in trauma work for over 30 years. From a "Leave it to Beaver" family; I married the charming, brilliant, attentive man I met in grad school in CA. He was from N.Y., meaning I married someone whose past, whose history of relationships, was outside my range of view. oops.
I took him at his word. It became a terrifying relationship that started in all the typical ways; subtle manipulations (i.e. beginning to turn to power equity to his favor, "in my best interest" of course) went on to full physical abuse, mental and emotional cruelty and finally I divorced. And then I really paid.... I was in many ways more terrified then because I lost the "power" of knowing as much about his state of mind and what he was up to.
He would still vacillate, in the "Borderline Personality" way from "genuine" (tho obviously driven by mental instability) efforts to be kind and befriend me/our children, to disappearing, reappearing and the fury... I had taken his wife and children from him.

Power is what is at the core. But for many women, in my case, that cannot "escape" because of the legalities of having minor children in common I learned some invaluable things:

1) People's advice to "fight" (in court) etc: "Be careful if you corner a rabid tiger"... now what? We all know the statistics: protection orders in a certain percentage of cases INCREASES the likelihood of harm/death. That was true with my ex; take away his power/perception of power and you endangered yourself and the children far more. Lay down and give-in, give-up?

2) Reality check: there are some, many, things we have NO POWER to change. I've seen people lose themselves fighting for what is "just" in circumstances such as mine....

3) You have OTHER WAYS TO MAINTAIN YOUR POWER- you may not "like" them as much, especially at first.
~YOU HAVE THE POWER OVER YOUR "SELF"/"SOUL", your mind and your heart. I have learned that you can violate my body, my privacy, etc., but I can choose to know THAT MY SOUL IS INVIOLATE.

4)You have power over how much time you allow yourself to re-live the past, to think and to worry about how to protect yourself in the future. (I gave up worrying for Lent one year- a shocking, truly +life-changing experience!)

5) Because of the forced opportunity for learning through repetition :-( I learned how to control my "Self" in experiences where I did not have power/control in the tangible sense we prefer.

6)I learned something I have taught many clients who are open to spiritual resources. I learned to envision the a halo of God's golden-white light at the crown of my head (where Christians would envision a golden halo, or Jews place the yarmulke on their head, Muslims tie a Igal, others wear a tofi, or in Eastern traditions it is the "crown chakra"). And I would FEEL that infinite, perfect God-spirit/energy/light coming into me, filling me so completely, that as it must then overflow ~ and radiate out as a bright light radiating out of my heart.
**I HAVE experienced doing that and seeing the power of that literally "overpower" the darkness in my ex,calming him. I have seen it quiet a person in my presence who seemed to be filled with, or lost in darkness.
5) A "must read" is the book, unfortunately poorly named I believe, is "Destructive Emotions".

It will forever change one's perception of power, especially for us "westerners" who define power in some very limiting ways, that result in only making us have a false sense of power and in the end unempowered, unnecessarily.

Quite simply, it gives tangible ways to manifest the old saying that in reality "we have little/no REAL power over what goes on around us, but we have power over what we CHOOSE TO DO with it". We are so seduced into wanting more of the "false" power because we can see that we, at times, can "maneuver" people and things around us with some success. That is in fact true.

My ex moved out of state, and for some years now appears to have "moved on"... But it was 25 years for me. From my journey of redefining power:

I love more consciously now, without determining who is entitled to receive it, I just desire to BE IT. I own where my mind and heart are now. It goes against everything about how I/my mind was raised and shaped, and will always be "in process".

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People? I don't say this to... (Below threshold)

June 29, 2011 12:53 AM | Posted by Zo: | Reply

People? I don't say this to be unkind, or disrespectful of your long, long stories, but get your own god damn blog, 'k?

Thanks.

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Wishing you the best... (Below threshold)

July 1, 2011 4:41 AM | Posted by Jimmy Choo Shoes: | Reply


Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.


Jimmy Choo Shoes

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Rebecca, your point about "... (Below threshold)

September 7, 2011 7:35 AM | Posted, in reply to Rebecca's comment, by Anon for now: | Reply

Rebecca, your point about "losing the hand for now" may be valid for many people, including yourself.....but.....if a person grew up with the covert message "No, (insert son/daughter's name), you DON'T have any power, because (insert unconscious self-defeating excuse)", what then? Do you expect the "victim" will see their situation as "losing the hand for now"? Or just seeing their situation as a lost cause? I'm not trying to make any excuses for people by the way - people can overcome disempowerment, if they know they can, and are prepared to make the effort.

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'And so when I commanded th... (Below threshold)

September 7, 2011 7:56 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

'And so when I commanded the woman to get a copy of the insurance-- i.e. to open the door and leave-- and it worked, I had (perhaps the illusion of) power. He wanted her there, but I told her to leave, and he didn't stop her. I won that mini-battle. And even though it closed again and he remembered he was insane, when I run this over I am "proud" of myself for being able to control the situation and get her to leave.'

Oh, wow. You described a hostage situation beautifully. But. Who is this woman you speak of? Was it in your power to "get" "her", this previously unmentioned person, to leave? (No).

No doubt "she" was also formulating a survival plan, too. I hope "she" is OK now. And WTF is the insurance plan you speak of? There's more to this story than you're letting on.

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Daniel Dravot: "Without exc... (Below threshold)

February 18, 2012 7:02 PM | Posted by ginnygeneva@gmail.com: | Reply

Daniel Dravot: "Without exception... the police advise you to comply with violent criminals. Give them whatever they want. Don't argue, don't resist, just comply.

I've been trying to research this all day on the computer (I'm a little frustrated with that; not a lot of great sites) and also going over what I've learned in my life, and while I'm no authority on what the police say (because whatever information I've gleaned I've gotten from sources other than cops) I think you are overall absolutely wrong about this. It appears to me that in general one should fight, run, make noise, never let them get you in a car, *never ever let them get you isolated*, throw your wallet/car keys as far away as possible so they have to go after them and then you can run, hit the alarm button on your car keys so that your car alarm goes off, shoot if you have a gun (don't hesitate or let them take the gun away from you), hold onto an object (I've heard of people saving themselves by holding onto a bicycle---so they couldn't get thrown in the car---and also, once, a chain link fence), buy a dog, etc. Hit them over the head with a lamp. (I think you're supposed to go for the left side of their head, especially). Stab them in the eye with your stilettos. (My grandmother did this to a would-be rapist once- go, Grandma). I know someone who saved herself from getting raped because after he shot her in the leg she STILL wouldn't let herself fall down on the ground. ("He kept saying "Go down , bitch, go down.") Or use whatever else--- any psychological tool you can, on them, or on yourself---such as, *getting the damn door open.*

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Except maybe if you are bei... (Below threshold)

February 18, 2012 8:06 PM | Posted by ginnygeneva@gmail.com: | Reply

Except maybe if you are being mugged.* I don't know though, it seems to me I've heard stories about people getting beaten the fuck down after surrendering their ipod, iphone, or bicycle. (Real-life examples of *what muggers want*). I've read one tip is to always carry enough money to make the mugger happy ($50.00) so they have more of an interest in escaping with some decent cash than in fucking you up. So I guess in this case it would be, hand over your goodies and then fight any way you can.

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