On Guard: Layers of safety – boundaries and self-worth

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

Where is your ‘line in the sand’? When do you say, so far and no further?

Following on from the last few columns on layers of safety, I would like to wrap this subject up for now by chatting about what I feel is probably the most important layer before we get to physical techniques, which are an absolute last resort.

Self-worth is a commitment to yourself, it is the sense of one’s own value; it is the knowledge that you will not allow yourself or your loved ones to be placed in harm’s way. It is also knowing when you are justified to make a decision.

When you are dealing with a potential assailant, you must remember you are being confronted by a self-absorbed individual who is not afraid to use violence.

Verbal boundary enforcement is communication. It is letting a would-be assailant know that you are aware of what is occurring and that you are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect yourself. This is neither about being threatening nor bluster; it is a clear-cut message to cease and desist. This is about being assertive, not aggressive. You are doing what it takes to get him out of your boundaries, but not chasing him down the street. Before you vocalise, know how far you are willing to go.

In previous columns we have spoken about Choice – knowing what your options are and that there are only three, and knowing what you are capable of and what not. It’s about rather leaving a situation if you can and that, if you can’t, doing whatever you do need to switch your assailant off, or it is probably going to piss him off.

All of that really means nothing if you have no self-worth and no boundaries though.

Where is your line in the sand?

When do you say this far and no further?

When do you make a decision?

Or do you wait for someone to make that desision for you?

So … you are out and about and you find yourself in a situation where something feels wrong, something is out of place, but you don’t quite know what it is .

You’ve arrived at that line in the sand, so what do you do?

What you should do is leave, because when something feels wrong, it normally is wrong.

Then you say, “No I’m being silly, I’m imagining things. I’m being oversensitive. I don’t want to cause a scene.”

So you step over that “line” and make another one, saying to yourself: “Let me see what happens, I’ll make a decision then.”

So the situation escalates and you arrive at the second line in the sand.

And even then you say: “It’s not as bad as it looks.”

So you step over that line and make another … do you see what is happening?

You are changing the Rules.

When something feels wrong, it is wrong … leave!

Next minute, all hell breaks loose and what you have been sensing all along happens. If you are fortunate enough to survive this, you will probably end up telling everyone: “I knew something was wrong.”

My question to you then is: “What the hell were you still doing there?”

If you can’t leave, there are only two things left: you can “fight”, or you can do nothing.

Doing nothing as a Choice as opposed to doing nothing because you don’t know what else you can do are two completely different scenarios.

Value your self-worth, know where your line in the sand is, and don’t move it.

Alison that evening in 1994 did exactly that … she moved the line. She knew something was wrong, but she chose to ignore it. He said to her, “Don’t worry, I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to use your car for an hour,” and she said, “I chose to believe him at that moment, still not accepting the reality: this doesn’t happen, this can’t be happening, I repeated to myself like a mantra.”

Personal protection guru Mark Grobbelaar.

Mark Grobbelaar is the Founder of INpowered, incorporating WIP (woman INpowered) and GRIP (Guy Responsibly INpowered).

He holds a 6th dan in karate and has over 45 years’ experience in the personal protection field.

He does talks and hosts INpowered programmes to corporates, schools and small groups.

Reach him with your question about personal protection at mark@inpowered.co.za and he will try to answer you in future columns.

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