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Self Defense/So what about expectations?


Could you explain more about expectations when you were talking about scripts a while ago? I talked to a salesman buddy who was telling me that he makes sales by selling people what they expect to get from a product and shaping it around their desires. XYZ Product will give you this, or this car is what you want. That kind of thing. How's it work with people?

People have logical thoughts about what they want, which usually he ignores. People buy on emotion and justify with logic. They've already decided to buy usually when they start looking for more information. He prods them to find out what they really want on a deep emotional level (IE, What does having (such and such) do for you?) and what part of them will be satisfied by having what he's offering. Then, he presents what he has to sell as the answer to their dilemma and what will bring them salvation. He knows that people have pain deep within them and they look to alleviate that pain with products, cars or whatever else, or rather, he sells these things by giving them the idea that they can feel better or richer or sexier once they have them.

Even when it's spelled out to me like this, I still can't understand how it's applied in the context of a predator's use or with abusive relationships. I've read lots of books about how people who get trapped in abusive cycles will talk about a shift that occurred in which they expected the abuse or things they didn't like but still enjoyed the things that happened before. But never did it go into detail about how it happens or when.

Like for example, there's this book written by a pedophile in jail for life who talked about how he would convince young boys to perform sex acts with him once, and then after that they would expect to do it again the next time they saw him, in exchange for the attention he gave them and all the fun stuff he let them do at his house. He made them feel like he was the only one in the world who really cared about them, they felt sorry for him, they didn't want to hurt him, and they thought he was only doing this to them. Usually.

Now the most interesting thing about all of it is that he started the whole thing by hanging out with the boys (as a scout master, and heavily involved in the church, of course) and when he would be around one individually, he'd purposely swear or do something minor that he shouldn't be doing, then ask the boy to keep it a secret. If the kid told someone, he'd never touch him at all and would completely ignore him afterwards. If he did keep the secret, then he knew he was good to abuse further. None of the kids he ever assaulted told, and he only got caught because he gave a Polaroid of the abuse to one of the boys, and the kid's mom found it in his room.

I don't want anything bad to happen to the people I know. It's really hard to even ask you about all of this. Either way, I'm sure that expectations are what ties all of this together, along with the vulnerability you were talking about before. Since if someone doesn't have, say, a desire to look richer than all of the neighbors, he might not want to buy a Ferrari or Cadillac so it can sit in his driveway and make everyone else so very jealous (in his own head, maybe).

And that pervert even said he would avoid someone who wouldn't keep a secret.

Thanks, if you can answer this.

Skipping over a lot of the stuff that is confusing you. How do you boil a frog?

Coming back to some stuff that is confusing you, let's reduce the question to something more manageable.

The human brain is a fascinating marvel of bio-engineering. We have something called plasticity which -- as a gross oversimplification -- underlies our ability to learn via operant conditioning and adapt to our environment. Basically our brain adapts to the situation we find ourselves in.

We also have things that arise from how our brains work. It's arguable that these go beyond psychology and move into neurology. If so, then these 'blindspots' are hard wired in. If that's the case while we can develop work arounds, these pits will be there waiting for us to fall into them if we don't pay attention.

You want to know how they do it? It's simple. First things first, it doesn't work on everyone.

Different people, because of their wiring, culture and how they were/are raised are more susceptible to different kind of predation. Kind of like a fly is vulnerable to a Venus Fly trap, fly predators and lizards, but a deer isn't. On the other hand, deer have their own predators to deal with.

So while everyone's weaknesses and vulnerabilities vary, we all have them. Simple analogy, we all have shopping lists, but what's on them is different.

Predators find people who have 'lists' that work with their type of predation. Your salesman friend's techniques only work on people who are buying. People looking to buy, come to him. If he did cold calls, knocking on doors trying to sell, he'd have people slamming the door in his face.

Second, a predator must know it's limitations. And just as important, the limitations of certain strategies.

Take for example the common child molester trick of telling a child he will kill his/her family if the child tells. That works against kids from nice middle class families. Try that among the folks I run with and that threat will not take First, the kid would say, 'You're going to kill my daddy and his brothers? Good luck with that.'  Second, even if he was willing, there's the whole issue them killing him first. BUT, another strategy might work on the same child to keep him/her silent.

Predators tend to be rather specialized. This keeps them in environments and preying on specific targets. This makes them predictable. The challenge is knowing their strategies and recognizing when you see these pattern developing.

(Often the calm recognition of a pattern [i.e. not flittering past it as if it were nothing] is enough to warn away a predator. Using an example you provided, tell your kids that an adult NEVER should ask them to keep a secret for them about wrong doing. If someone tries, the child comes and tells you. You tell the child it's okay. And maybe this guy will come and try to talk to them, but a) they did right and b) if he does, they come to you immediately. Where upon you have a polite, quiet word about 'don't ask my kid to keep your dirty secrets. And BTW, don't you talk to my kid alone again. There's a 'shut down' on that kind of behavior.)

Third -- now we get to frog boiling -- once you find someone who is vulnerable and whom your strategy will work on, you turn up the heat. Depending on the nature of the situation, you turn it up fast and unexpectedly (the 'guy asking for direction' is actually a mugger [and has been all along]'suddenly' pulls a gun.)

Or you do it slowly, with increasing degrees. So the person acclimates to it. The long term slow option involves a lot of other stuff about messing with the person's head to get them to accept this behavior as normal and/or that they deserve it.

Your confusion is that you're trying to get too specific of a big picture.

The tactics of a fast predator and a slow predator are different -- even though they may be based in the same core strategies (e.g. pretend you're something else, set up the situation, act.)

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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