There are powers that be. There are those that be on the receiving end of the aggressive power that wields its way into a position of control.
We are always willing to tap a thug on the shoulder to get their attention and offer the opportunity to change course before the natural path of aggression they are on leads them to a brick wall.
This requires a bit of assertiveness on our part, which can be a challenge of its own, considering that previous attempts to just keep the peace conditioned our responses to the thugs to be passive in nature.
Aggressive people love to have passive people to rule over. All they have to do is throw a fit… or threaten to throw a fit, and the passive person will take another step backwards to avoid a beating of some form.
Standing your ground with a thug who is used to being able to push you around and backwards is usually interpreted as an act of aggression against them. They flip. In many situations, you can feel their blood beginning to boil. As someone who is passive by nature, it is at the boiling point that I would typically begin my retreat.
There are two obvious responses to thugs: fight or flight.
Nothing new there. Most of us are familiar with those terms as a phrase. As in many things, though, it is worth unpacking the terms to reveal a deeper understanding of what we mean.
One way to respond to a thug: FLIGHT
- Roll over and stay… good dog.
- Drop to your knees, and crawl back.
- Retreat and withdrawal
- Hang the white flag and surrender
Another way to respond to a thug: FIGHT
- Grab a frying pan and start swinging.
- Recruit their family members to feel sorry for you and turn on them.
- Post something about them on facebook.
- Do the exact same thing you say they are doing to you, and justify your actions because of your own pain.
The above mentioned responses tend to lack creativity, and are the easier routes to take… but they aren’t nearly as fun as the third option below. Why? Because nothing is as gratifying as flipping someone’s world upside down in the hopes that they get it.
The third way to respond to a thug:
- Seize the moral initiative
- Find a creative alternative to violence
- Assert your own humanity and dignity as a person
- Meet force with ridicule or humor
- Break the cycle of humiliation
- Refuse to submit or to accept the inferior position
- Expose the injustice of the system
- Take control of the power dynamic
- Shame the oppressor into repentance
- Stand your ground
- Make the Powers make decisions for which they are not prepared
- Recognize your own power
- Be willing to suffer rather than retaliate
- Force the oppressor to see you in a new light
- Deprive the oppressor of a situation where a show of force is effective
- Be willing to undergo the penalty of breaking unjust laws
- Die to fear of the old order and its rules
What you’ve got to be careful with here, is that you don’t turn ‘the third way’ into a means of revenge. In the end, our hope is that the thug sees the error of their ways, and turns things around. Reconciliation has its place.
But, in case they don’t make the change… grab some wine and enjoy the circus.