Turn Them Off

People that experience harassment often feel as though their options are limited and become more so the longer the harassment drags on. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause of the initial harassment there is always the initial sense of dread as the person realizes what they thought was nothing or just your run of the mill game playing has become much more serious. There are many options at first, but as it goes on those options seem to grow fewer. That's when most people make the choice as to whether to stay in the situation in order to find a way to stand up for themselves and let those committing the acts it won't be tolerated, or they can just leave.295

For people that choose to stay, the most important thing to develop is your counter strategies. The people harassing you will most certainly have their own. Often, harassers have engaged in such behavior previously, and will resort to strategies and tactics they have used in the past. Maybe they don't like the color of your skin, your religion, your lifestyle, your nationality, your politics or perhaps they wish to harass you to get you to give in to their sexual designs on you.

Whatever the case, they've probably done it before, and have specific tactics and strategies they employ to deal with it. You, on the other hand, probably do not. Now, there will be articles and books to read from pop psychology shrinks and lawyers. The advice they give may help you in dealing with your situation, and if it does, great! That's what it comes down to, dealing with the situation in a way that helps you in a way that suits your situation and who you are as a person.

The one kind of strategy and advice you will find lacking is how to defend yourself once going to people in positions of authority has dead ended, lawyers or other legal counsel say you have insufficient evidence to bring a court case and pop psychology candy coated "I want to sell books and get a talk show" strategies have failed to win over the hearts of your harassers. Most people that have dealt with serious harassment might even look back on some of the Dr. Phil/Oprah type advice and laugh at how ineffective it was when confronting serious harassers and dealing with them.

If you choose not to quit and to stand up for yourself and your right not to be harassed in such a situation, past the point legal counsel has said there's nothing you can do through the legal system and the pop psychological tactics have failed, you need to start thinking outside the box. From there you may find strategies and books on revenge and getting even with people, but I would warn against resorting to such tactics. Aside from moral reasons, if you get caught, you end up in trouble and on the losing end. Your harassers then get exactly what they wanted. Trust me that's a road to losing and failure - that especially goes for violence.

Thinking outside the box simply means looking at your situation, assessing the environment, the people around and specifically the people involved. Look at your harassers and begin compiling your own personality profiles of them. Look at their strengths and weaknesses and be honest - leaving out personal feelings as best you can. Next, look at the lesser players. There are usually people that kind of get involved sometimes to be one of the crowd and are either neutral or polite to you when you are alright, but the minute the pack descends, they are right there with them, in order not to be left out like scavengers, or perhaps they were just pretending for whatever reasons of their own. Either way, such people can be used, but never mistaken for friends. In such a situation there really is no going back. Once they show they are wiling to join in, that's what they are. It's not like your personal life outside of the situation, it refers only to a situation of harassment - extreme harassment. There might also be people that genuinely feel sorry for you, but can't do much or won't because of reasons like a lack of ability or because they are scared, etc.

I understand these things because I went through them when I was a student at the University of Connecticut's Landscape Architecture Department and really had no choice - or not much of one - regarding staying and going through the harassment or leaving, and furthermore, felt it was wrong for them to be treating people that way. They needed a lesson and since I had no choice, I would help to teach it. I had to develop my own strategies and counter strategies to their own in order to survive, and I can tell you it works. It requires a certain level of detachment, and a willingness to deal with the hurt, and deliver some of your own if necessary. Standing up for oneself is not always a pretty situation, and you must absolutely commit to seeing it all the way through, come hell or high water, in order for it to be a success.

There is a good chance you will find that the people harassing you enjoy it - that goes for the main person or group of people harassing you and the people that are off and on about it. Sad as it is to say, they love it. Screwing you over is a party to them. As such, one of the things you need to do is to discover ways to begin to make it tiresome for them. You must begin to discover ways to get as many of them as possible to feel trepidatious about encountering you or even having to come into contact with you. You don't want to do this outwardly and thus do things to jeopardize your ability to stay where you are, but subtle things that have a longterm increasing effect and that blunt their own sharpness.

When you come into the room you want to be able to see it on their faces, hear muted and muffled expressions of exasperation, like, "why me," "I hate that person," "uuuggg!! why can't they just go away," "it's not going so well," etc. If you aren't trying to do that and you hear that, it's a bad sign, once you are, that is exactly what you want to be hearing. You want to find subtle but effective ways make it uncomfortable for them to be around you, without it being the kind of thing that would justify your being kicked out, etc.

You want them to really rethink their involvement and what they're doing somewhere in their subconscious, and even conscious minds. Those that liked you, then turned on you when they thought it would benefit them - make them pay - not for the sake of revenge of course, but for the sake of creating the desired effect. Make them nervous about you, resentful about you and even angry. This isn't for everyday life of course, just for such extreme situations.

To do this, you must reference your notes on the individuals involved and who they are, etc. You must act accordingly with the big picture in mind always. Remember, you need to be employing such strategies along with countering the strategies employed by your harassers. You need to be making notes of those also and developing counter measures based on what they do. They won't be expecting it, and the primary people involved probably won't have experienced a person effectively dodging their moves and countering effectively without doing anything illegal. They will begin to get red faced, frustrated and confused. Wunderbar!!

Remember it's your right to stand up for yourself, just like the Israelis feel about the Palestinians, and the way the Palestinians feel about the Israelis - both are very equally correct. If you choose to do so, you need to think it through and assess the situation you're in. Yours will be different from mine, as the people, places and circumstances will always be different. But, the overall issues will be there and that's where you can adopt the strategies of others, like those listed here, to your own situation. I write this because, after a lawyer from the NAACP told me that the vast majority of people in such circumstances just can't take it and eventually give up, there was nothing else as far as advice. I was on my own to develop my own counter tactics and strategies, and believe me, I graduated and got to look in their faces on graduation day, cap and gown and all! Oh the red faces and heads turned away! I know it can be done no matter how insurmountable the odds seem. Now it's your turn develop your own strategies, and don't forget, once they cross you, that's what they always are - even if you need to use them, never forget. And oh yeah - sour that milk!!! Good luck!

To read about my inspiration for this article go to http://www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.