The Keys to Personal Empowerment
Relating to manipulative and other character-impaired personalities in empowered ways demands a special kind of skill. But anyone can learn the necessary skills. Personal empowerment ultimately requires you to firmly define the “terms of engagement.” And you have to be willing to enforce these terms with any relationship partner. Knowing what terms to set and committing yourself to enforcing them can free you from much potential relational abuse.
Some Basic Principles
Military tacticians have studied the realities of engagements with potential adversaries for years. So, we now have a virtual science on the topic. And the research has revealed some interesting general rules. First among them: “The aggressor sets the rules.” This axiom means an aggressor’s first move pretty much dictates your necessary defensive response.
Consider for a moment the “aggressive” driver. (Notice, I did not say “angry driver.” That’s because aggressive personalities aren’t driven by anger but by desire. They become angry when something gets in their way!) You notice this driver weaving between lanes behind you. And you witness them tailgating the car in front of them. You also sense them coveting the small space between you and the car in front of you. Then, without warning, they make their move. And when they do, you face a decision. If you don’t back of the gas and afford them space, your front fender could bear the consequences. So, their first aggressive move effectively dictates your response.
Two Main Personal Empowerment Tools
Whether they’re overt or covert about it, manipulative aggressors will always try to dictate. Therefore, to empower yourself you must re-define engagement terms and do so quickly. Taking these two actions are your principal empowerment tools. Unfortunately, good-natured folks tend to balk at this. Naturally tolerant, they often wait for things to become unbearable. But in my book Character Disturbance I explain the importance of acting quickly. And in my book In Sheep’s Clothing I outline 12 specific tools to maximally empower yourself in your engagements.
In upcoming posts I’ll be discussing the strategy of personal empowerment in more detail.
I’ll be doing workshops in the greater NYC-NJ area in August. Find the information on the Workshops page or at Vyne Education. Also, Character Matters will air live Sunday July 2nd. Once again, a special holiday edition. Call in at (718) 717-8296 or (501) 258-8326 to voice your thoughts on freedom and character.