You may know this site as Strategic Living Personal Safety and Self-Defense Training. But today, for this post, we are Strategic Living Personal Safety and Selectivity Training. Because recognizing and selecting when to say YES or NO is an important component of your personal safety. As a bonus feature, an important component of your peace of mind.  You make choices every day, selecting whether to say YES or NO to requests.

That includes when someone wants your time. They may be a stranger, a co-worker, client, acquaintance, exercise buddy, family member, BFF; could be live, could be on some webinar platform such as Zoom, could be on Facebook or other social media. Maybe they want advice, or want to give you advice, or tell you about their day, or make sure you know their opinion. Maybe they want a discussion, or pick a fight, or are testing your boundaries to see what they can get out of you. Maybe they just need to connect with another human.

By all means take that into account, and consider what you want. Much of the time, you can select whether to engage or not, and at what level. Recognize when you can make that choice.  Think of it as selectivity training.

Perhaps because I’m a bit older, I take measure of my time. I’m at the age where I’ve lived more years than are ahead, and my use of my time has more urgency.  (If you are younger this is still true, but you may not think about it with the same sense of urgency.)  My time is valuable. Once spent, I can’t get it back. So I choose to spend more time on people and events that I will enjoy, or from which I will benefit, or that will result in a sense of accomplishment or feeling that I was able to help, or it’s sustaining and self-care. If somebody wants to waste my time, I probably don’t need to let that happen. I can select to end the conversation, say no, walk away.  Perhaps they will consider me rude; oh well, that is their prerogative. And that’s it. Move on. Live your life. Stay safe, and live life.

If you answered new trend in home decor, you’re about a century out of date.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation. It is a way of telling people, especially women, that their opinions and perceptions are out of whack with “reality.” Out of whack with the reality that the manipulator wants to believe, that is.

For a clear and articulate recent article on this topic, read Yashar Ali’s piece in The New Agenda: http://www.thenewagenda.net/2011/09/17/a-message-to-women-from-a-man-you-are-not-%E2%80%9Ccrazy%E2%80%9D/comment-page-1/#comment-76411. Read the article to find out how “gaslighting” got its name.

Whenever anyone tells you that you are “over-reacting,” “too sensitive,” “too emotional,” or “I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor” (and there are infinitely more variations), they are minimizing and discounting your feelings and perceptions. This is substantially different from someone saying to you, “Wow, I have a totally different understanding of this!” Both may be ways of expressing disagreement, but the former is an aggressive way of denying that your perspective is valid.

Sometimes the person doing the gaslighting is feeling defensive because they don’t care to be “wrong.” Other times, if the person does it on a regular basis, it is plain abuse. Once seen for what it is, it’s simple. Until then, it’s crazy-making.

In today’s self-defense class, we talked about how body language can be used to try and intimidate and invalidate others in a work environment. How to clearly recognize it, and how to use your own body language to minimize its effect on you. How to tell someone, “hey, you’re discounting my opinion, quit it!” And your options, in case they don’t.