Repeated slaps on the back of the head do one of two things: they finally knock you out, or they get your attention in the right way.
Tonight I had a slap on the back of the head. I finally got it.
Stopped at a service station, driving a friends car, she got out and approached the door to the shop at the same time as a big, burly drunk man, who turned on her aggressively.
I reacted. I got out of the car and told him to leave her alone.
He reacted aggressively to me. Verbally aggressive, with a bit of standover.
I’ve finally realised that my reaction provokes this reaction, and I’m left with utterly nowhere to go after that.
Under those circumstances, I can:
- yell and scream — provoking more aggression from the other person
- back-off — provoking more aggression from the other person because they perceive me as weak
- stand my ground with eye contact — provoking more abuse because now the other person perceives me as passive-aggressive
I can see this now. Finally. It’s taken a while.
So the solution to this one would probably have been to have stepped out of the car and asked sweetly if everything was okay rather than going in hard. Make a joke, distract rather than attack. And if the guy still came at me verbally to have backed off with a kindly apology — not backing-off as such, more smoothing things over. Allow him to think he’s in the right (clearly he isn’t).
Okay. Now I can sleep.