Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 7

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 6"

Here's an interesting comment from WARSKYLMOOT, the discussion forum over at

It's strange: my mother seems to think I'm in terrible danger if I'm alone, or whatever. She's against me walking anywhere at night (even when I worked at night). Just things like that.

Now, I don't want to sound like I'm trying to be all macho, but I'm 19, 6'4", and 200 pounds. I'm not the easiest target. Sure, there are always dangers, but if I were a criminal, I think I'd pick someone else. Surely, I am in no more danger than anyone else. And, one thing I always like to point out: women are by their very nature in more danger than men, because a whole class of criminals attacks women, and not men, for sexual reasons.

So, what's frustrating is that my mother and sister seem to think they're safe alone. Yeah, there are two of them, when I'm just one if I'm alone, but still, I try so hard to get this across to them, and it simply isn't working.

What advice will help this conscientious young man who obviously cares for and is concerned about his mother and his sister?

I think we've pretty much established that men and women tend to think differently about personal security issues. Men think of safety in terms of fighting off aggressors. This comes out in the young man's comment

Women, on the other hand, think of safety in terms of freedom from aggression. Could it be that this difference in attitudes is the reason the mother worries about her son? Let me give a true story as an extreme example.

Over 30 years ago, I asked a mother where her husband and grown son were. She told me they had gone -- I don't remember where. She followed up with the comment, "I always worry when those two go somewhere together, that they're going to get into trouble."

I replied, "You mean Patience and Prudence? Get in trouble? Nah!" I meant it as a joke, because neither of them was patient or prudent. The father was a WWII vet and strong as an ox. The son had spent a few years in the Marine Corps, and he'd had some martial arts training.

They both knew how to "take care of themselves" and when they were together, they did not back up for anyone. No doubt, they thought this made them "safe". The wife/mother saw it from a different perspective.

She thought their overconfidence (or downright challenging) attitude would invite rather than repel violence. I'm wondering . . . does the writer of the comment above have a mother who senses some of the I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude in him? And maybe she interprets it as a liability rather than as an asset.

He assumes the role of the competent, confident male who can handle trouble, thinking this should comfort his womenfolk. They see his mindset as dangerous and are troubled by it. What to do?

For what it's worth, here's my advice:

First, I would recommend that you immediately cease all talk about self defense with the womenfolk (& save it for another phase in this campaign). Second, I would recommend that you immediately start reading everything you can get your hands on about awareness/avoidance (a/a) of violence, with the intention of becoming an expert. (One article or even one book does not qualify you as an expert.)

I'd start with The Gift of Fear -- don't let the title scare you ;-) -- and follow it with Tiptoeing to Tranquility. The VHS video Safe in the Street mentioned by James 3v1 in his comment on "Sheepdog Strategies, 6" is a must-see for awareness/avoidance training.

As soon as you begin your study of a/a, you need to start practicing what you have learned. You must practice each security tactic daily for at least two weeks for it to become a habit. After these become ingrained, you're ready to begin a soft sell of personal security to mom & sis.

You must begin to model personal security behavior to your mother and sister. You know your mother worries when you go out alone, so you begin by telling her about the safer route you are taking, where you plan to park, and/or how you have planned the path of the walk to your destination. You may even preface your first such announcement with an apologetic, "I recently realized that I've been taking some unnecessary risks when I go out, so I'd like your opinion on where & how I plan to go this evening."

Let the ladies know that you're not doing this out of some paranoid fear, but that planning for safety just makes good sense to you, like looking both ways before you cross the street. Then when you're out with them, you can make a/a suggestions like, "I think we should park here. We'll have to walk a little farther, but there are lights here, and it's not so deserted."

Just be careful not to pontificate. Keep each comment in the form of a suggestion. And leave the books you've read lying around. They may get curious about the change in you, and pick one up to investigate.

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 8"


Theresa said...

I suggest that this young man also make sure that he shows his care for his womenfolk in other ways as well. Pray that God will make you aware of ways to show your love and protection of them in areas not related to personal defense. "Can I help you carry that?" "Would you appreciate a hook for a dishtowel here?" That way they will more clearly see that the concern springs from love, and not just from personal interest.

Gravelbelly said...

Good point! Thanks.

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Oh, wow. Haha, I didn't think this would make it onto the blog! Thanks!

She thought their overconfidence (or downright challenging) attitude would invite rather than repel violence. I'm wondering . . . does the writer of the comment above have a mother who senses some of the I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude in him? And maybe she interprets it as a liability rather than as an asset.

Honestly, I disagree. Of course, being a man, and my mother being a woman, we think completely differently so I'll be the FIRST to say I have no idea what goes on in the heads of ladies sometimes, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the reason here. If it is there at all, there are other things at work to create this mindset. And now that sounds pretty senseless....

Overall, I will seriously. take this into consideration. I have no idea if it will work, but I don't know what to do, and you've got a load of experience to back your points, so I may just try it. I'm gonna think and pray. I'll let you know how it goes, my friend?



P.S. Theresa: Already part of my daily life, pretty much. I mean, no way am I perfect, but I try....

P.S.S. Oh, yeah, and just a notice to any newcomers to this discussion, if no one minds, I'd appreciate it if we could keep this on this blog or the Warskylmoot forums, and not my own, as we've been doing, k?

Gravelbelly said...

It was not my intention to give your identity away here on the blog. So sorry.

WARSKYLMOOT has a tiny readership compared to the blog, so I thought it would be "safe" to quote you here.

Apologies for any discomfort or embarrassment this might cause.