Violence comes in many forms; any abuse is violence done purposely
There are plenty of abusers who derive their sense of themselves from subjugating others. These are the bullies who most often learned their trade at home, then improved their skills in kindergarten and classes that followed. Manipulation, self-righteousness, and appropriated authority are their weapons. If the Christian will not call these out, then what good are we?
This Trumpian approach to living with others divides our communities and makes losers of us all.
We are not called to be nice, nor is nice a Christian virtue
The world is full of people who see in Christianity an excuse for their own inadequacy, their own lack of courage to speak out against nonsense, and their unwillingness to stand and be counted when justice is in the balance.
We are susceptible to others’ charms and emotional blackmail. The closer a person is to us, the more serious is their threat. Most such interactions are hardly noticeable, but they are constant enough to train our habitual responses. We earn our label as a nice guy or a good person by being agreeable. We have been groomed. (Grooming is what abusers do to their victims in order to maintain their victim/abuser relationship.) Society encourages passivity
Unfortunately, the expectations society has of us also support those attitudes an abuser can exploit. Because we belong in various communities, we inevitably find we are encouraged to go along to get along. In other words, within any community we are expected to help maintain peace and harmony so forward progress can be made. This is not a bad thing. So much good happens within a community by its members working together, agreeing to disagree, while supporting each other in their efforts. Being a nice person can become a habit that is hard to identify. Knowing your mind on things and taking the time to decide on your response is a good strategy to hold at bay the temptation to go along to get along. Expressing your preferences and giving thought to what is going on means you will be a more useful and active member of any community.
Practicing the art of saying “No”
“No” is the whole vocabulary necessary to redress the imbalance passivity creates. “No!” needs only to be used quietly or gently to be effective. In fact, the less affect or emotion expressed increases the power of your refusal to be co-opted. Firmly saying “No” is more effective than if you shouted it angrily. Sometimes when I have taken my time to reply, paused to consider the situation, and then finally responded with a quiet
“No,” some have heatedly replied, “What do you mean,
‘No’?” Sometimes in a heated exchange, I have found dropping my voice, so the abusive person has difficulty hearing me, puts him at a disadvantage because he cannot believe his ears. After all, any abusive person is unaccustomed to being rejected. I then get to repeat
‘No’ for him or her, by which time the bully has lost the initiative.
Rules for employing this strategy
• Cultivate your power of recognizing when someone is trying to manipulate you. By saying “No” to any such enticement, you practice the art of “No”
until you can appreciate the power that little word affords you.
• “No” is not confrontational, nor an angry or aggressive response. Use it carefully, even gently, for above 57
all we do not want to become the abuser, bully, or manipulator.
• Use your hands. Gently raise your hand up between the two of you. Create a barrier. It’s hard for a manipulator to pretend your hand is not there or he or she missed the physical statement.
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