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The 3 Ways Of Reacting To An Aggression: Avoidance; Fight; Tetanization

Conflict is a daily reality and there are always several ways of dealing with it. We can sometimes confront it, avoid it, and as a last resort we can become tetanized by it. Each of these ways of reacting has been brought to us by nature. Our survival so far has been made possible by the use of one of these evolutionary responses. The problem is that we sometimes react inadequately to new circumstances.


The best fighters are those who can win without fighting. In most cases, avoiding conflict is the best strategy. The Russians succeeded in defeating Napoleon and his troops not because they confronted them but because they cleverly avoided combat until the trap of the Russian winter closed on the unfortunate French. Avoidance can take various forms, it can be the silence that one imposes on the person that one does not wish to see again: “not to give sign of life”. Some will say that this is cowardly, but it must be said that it avoids unnecessary justifications or drama. This technique is widely used to get rid of telemarketers, pushy salespeople and other sales consultants. Another way to practice avoidance is to anticipate the conflict and develop a ploy to avoid confronting it. One might think, for example, that it is more effective to change cities or subway trains if one knows that it increases the likelihood of encountering recurrent crime. This fact explains the recent urban exodus from cities like New York. Another way to practice avoidance is to make a strategic retreat. Retreat is not flight, it is a pillar of the art of war. The one who retreats can continue the fight, which is not possible for the one who allows himself to be defeated or subdued. Avoidance has the advantage of conserving valuable resources while allowing the development of an attack strategy later, if necessary.


If you can’t run away or avoid a conflict, you have to fight. Fighting is what allows us to express our life force, because it exposes a person’s panache and can turn the tide of a situation: the torturer becomes the repressed. Fighting is learned and so is the fighting spirit, even if it is more difficult. You become a fighter by fighting, you acquire technique, strength and spirit at the same time. Your capital of time, energy and attention is limited, that is why it is wise to select your fights well at the risk of being exhausted or weakened. There are several ways to fight: intimidate, attack by word or gesture. Intimidating consists of being threatening, through your body language, words or tone of voice. It is sending a signal that you are ready to escalate the situation and take action if the person does not comply. Fighting is a force of resistance. While avoidance can be similar to a form of judo in some cases (using the opponent’s strength to kill him), fighting is less flexible and involves a greater expenditure of energy and can be emotionally taxing.


If the balance of power is too much against you and you can’t avoid the situation, fighting will not lead you to victory but on the contrary to a shattering loss.

Some animals play dead and that saves them. A feline is not a scavenger and therefore does not like to eat prey that is already dead, so playing dead can save the skin of rodents. Tetanization is not recommended in most cases because you are trapped.

However, this situation should be avoided and used only when all your cartridges are exhausted. If you need to play dead to survive on a daily basis, I don’t give a damn about your skin.

Avoid Making Survival A Lifestyle

Fighting and avoidance is the life drive. Tetanization is the death drive. In rare cases, you can act tetanized, but if you are forced to live like this, you are already dead. To live is to risk dying. To survive is to stop risking your life, it is equivalent to living like a rat, an animal that hides to avoid the yoke of predators.

What To Remember?

– There are 3 ways of reacting to hostility: avoidance, fight or tetanization
– The most frequent way to react is avoidance
– Fighting is the most admired way to react
– Tetanization is the riskiest way of reacting, it is primarily when you can neither avoid nor fight
– To be happy, we need to adopt a way of life that is closer to life and not to survival

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