There is an old saying that goes “a person always tells you what they are going to do next, you just have to know how to listen.” It has nothing to do with religion, spirituality or mysticism, just awareness of what's happening around one's self. It's also true, that a person will almost always show you how to respond, what to do next and how they really feel about something that has already happened, and likewise it just takes listening.
When faced with harassment, one of the last things a person does, is to become proactive strategically. Initially, people typically react out of emotions and try to appeal to their harasser’s humanity or emotions, hoping their harassers are sane and mature. Reacting out of emotions really happens as a result of confusion and desperation, often leads to a person becoming defensive. It happens because we have not sat down yet and said to ourselves, “okay, this is happening. Now how am I going to deal with this effectively?”
Trying to appeal to your harassers' sense of humanity or compassion could be effective, if those things are there in sufficient levels to cause a rational and mature response on their part. Typically, that won't be the case, as they would not have engaged in those things if they were there to begin with. But there is no harm in trying, as, if it works, it can avoid a lot of mess. Essentially, you will be attempting to enlighten them about their own behavior, so it requires some tact and consideration.
Likewise, appealing to their emotions for sympathy could also work, but the odds are stacked against it. Remember, that is precisely the response they are looking for. It is why they began harassing you in the first place. They want to see you appealing to them, begging, crying, whatever. But the person may not realize what they are really doing, or have a change of heart. Not likely however. Staying with the emotional path can lead to anger and that can spark violence, and unless you are being physically attacked and are defending yourself (at the moment of your attack, as is in accordance with the law), that violence will make you lose. Once you snap, your harassers win, it's what they always wanted – to see you go over the edge, and allowing yourself to be driven by your emotions will lead you to such places if not careful. It can amount to pointless destructiveness, like we see between Israel and Palestine, with their worsening cycles of terrorism and Apartheid-like oppression that the entire world ends up paying for.
Reporting things is the way to do things by the book, especially if you plan to take legal action as it proves you tried and took the appropriate steps, among other things. This is particularly true within an institution, but unfortunately that can also not work out. This can happen when the person harassing you is in a position of authority, ending in their word holding more weight than yours, when there are more people than you, and it will be your word against all of theirs or some combination. I went through it myself, and experienced the latter at the University of Connecticut, while majoring in landscape architecture. It was the word of two professors and numerous students against that of myself.
The University was able to tidily sweep the mess under the rug, in hopes it would be forgotten about. No matter what steps you are taking, have a plan, I eventually began to develop one, as I was not going to acquiesce to my harassers' whims and quit school, flunk out or do something out of anger or emotion that would get me kicked out. I saw that they used specific strategies and tactics, thus, I began to develop my own. I did this, in part, by looking at the main players, their personality types as best I could assess their backgrounds and their strengths and weaknesses. I would then plan based around that.
What I noticed was that after a while I began to rack up the wins, and being as my harassers never saw it coming, they hastily prepared strategies in hopes of making up ground in quick short bursts, or based plans on events that happened before certain other changes had happened. Thus, after a while they were put into a position of being set back on their heels and fighting off balance, always playing catch-up. When this would happen, and I would rack up another win, I noticed my harassers begun using distraction to cover up their wounds. More catch-up.
One of the methods of distraction so they could buy time to plan, would be to try and say that they had just scored an amazing victory and were doing greater than Tony the Tiger, when it was more like Tigger on morphine. And I knew that to be the case by other reactions they were presenting – tells, like facial expressions, turning red, becoming pale, thinned lips, sweat, a look of momentary shock, shoulder positions, a loss of confidence on their face and of course the eyes. Another method they would use to create a momentary distraction would be to immediately begin saying “yeah we got him right where we want him, everything's getting better,” in order to cover up a stinging counter shot I had just landed to their unprotected sides. They may even pause to catch themselves, giving themselves a beat to pull out a quick cover-up. I could clearly see they had just been hit like a target in a video game slightly lighting up once struck. Things were not progressing as they hoped, but they wanted to project an image that what they told people in the beginning, that they were incapable of defeat, big or small, was a falsehood.
They did this over and over and it happened the more victories I racked up. Mine of course were not victories for the ego, as were theirs, but ones for my sheer survival in that situation. It would be like a person saying they thought another person looked gross or disgusting, because they donned an appearance of showering in raw sewage for the mere pleasure, which they really did. Then, the person that made the initial criticism being rebuffed by others, claiming that criticism alone was because of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, etc, when it was anything but. In the face of the fact the person that made the initial criticism had friends, loved ones and family members of various races, religions, sexual orientations, nationalities and genders the accusations would be rendered untrue. They would simply be defensive posturing; using lies as distraction to cover hurt.
One of the people involved in harassing me was named Ed and he did this quite a bit, and then would mumble under his breath something to give away the fact the very opposite had just occurred under his breath. Either that or the expression on his face would say it all. He couldn't help it after a while. So I nicknamed it “Ed's light,” because every time the people harassing me did it, it was only an indication that I had just landed another successful counter launch after effectively evading what was coming at me. It was like a neon light going on under Ed's feet letting me know I was doing better than ever, and that was the key to knowing the truth. However, in such a situation there is no time for hesitation, even when you make a mistake. Just go. As illegal as what they were doing was, it was definitely interesting to learn and tally the responses and reactions of each and every individual in every new level. It made them seem less out of reach and more vulnerable. They have weaknesses.
So, just as people always tell you what they are going to do before they do it, they also tell you what actually happened no matter how hard they attempt to use distractions to confuse. The higher their opinion of themselves, the more they believe themselves to be incapable of losing. When the hit comes, the shock is palpable. Know you too can make the facial expressions, etc when you slip also, and you will, but know this happened, take it and move on. Be most interested in keeping going.
Knowing these things can definitely help to shine a light on what's really happening when things seem confusing to read at first, and trust your inner self, as it is designed for such situations. The more money, more time and more resources they put into harassing you, the better you are doing at evading them and hurting them. The more you see that light shine, the more you know they are playing catch-up, and are farther and farther behind. It's the proverbial sound of the lumbering beast squealing from pain and trying to make it sound like a ferocious growl … or a mating call …:D
To read about my inspiration for this article go to