Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?

I’m much older now and had this question come up twenty years ago, I’d tell you that I’d probably be the one in flight in the blink of an eye.

Although looking back, I have had my share of fighting back when it was all worth it.  Like when my uncle began walking towards my apartment with a gun in his hand because my servant dared fight him off when he tried to take his liberties with her, and I stood by the door and stared him down, gun or no gun, though I think it was the adrenaline talking.

That and the look in my eye that told him if he took one more step forward, I’d tell everyone what he’d done – to me.  Not that anyone cared then.

Or when my mom’s boyfriend started hitting her in the middle of the night because she dared break up with him so she could marry the man who would be my stepfather, one who could give her more than an already-married man ever could.  Until then, I’d never heard the sound a hand hitting skin makes – and it’s not something one can easily mistake for anything else.

My confrontation was more like standing solidarity with her, with me staring at him in silence because I could not speak, daring him to take one more swing at her because if he did, I’d start telling everyone what he’d done – to me.  Not that anyone cared then either.

These days, if I do confront someone, it would have to be after I run through a checklist inside my head which would have my 3-year old munchkin right on the top of that list, as in how will my actions, confrontation or otherwise, affect him, if at all?

And the second question would be:  Is this all worth it?  Even if no one cared?


The Daily Prompt

7 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

  1. FWIW, I was told once, don’t remember by whom, that you can accomplish a lot just by witnessing something with clear disapproval in your eyes, you often don’t have to get involved in the physical altercation to get something to stop. In part abusers do what they do because they think they can do so unobserved, I guess.

    1. It’s a comfort to know that there is some truth to that statement, that abusers are shamed by their actions when someone else is watching, even if it’s the person they’re also abusing that’s witnessing it.

      But I think it’s traumatic to the witness most of all – as it is to the victim.

      I’m struck by the way Patrick Stewart talks about the domestic abuse he grew up in the previous post I reblogged, and how his body language totally is closed up with his arms folded in front of his chest, and his voice cracks as he speaks. It is a traumatic memory still, years and years later even when he is helping his own father and mother heal at the same time.

      1. Oh, no doubt.

        I saw the Patrick Stewart vid yesterday (which touches on what I’d written on Memorial Day) and noticed the cramped up body language. I’m impressed he can speak. I can’t. I have no compassion for my father at the moment.

      2. I often wonder how I can kill off the villains in my real life when they’re penned onto the page, but I’ve found that I can’t really write them into fiction so much either without bringing back the demons and having to deal with them all over again.

        I remember being invited to attend a two-day class on healing the spirit and how to read chakras and energy and all that. When the teacher got to me, she said that while there was such brightness in the higher chakras, my throat chakra was simply closed off, as if choked. She didn’t have to say much but at that point, I realized how abuse does steal one of the power to speak up and speak out, so many years later.

        And I didn’t even need to tell her anything about me.

      3. My last therapist told me childhood anger (probably at my father) was the reason I wasn’t finishing the book I was supposed to write. So I abandon one project for another and here it is again … at least this time I can acknowledge it.

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