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Author Topic: The Gift of Fear - Gavin De Becker  (Read 10680 times)
JoannaK
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« on: August 28, 2008, 05:07:17 PM »

The Gift of Fear
by Gavin De Becker




Book Description

de Becker runs a consulting company that attempts to predict and prevent violence against individuals.  In this book, he shares his insights on enhancing personal safety. He believes that violence is part of the human condition and that America is increasingly a violent place - for example, homicide is now the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.

A date won't take "no" for an answer. The new nanny gives a mother an uneasy feeling. A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers unsolicited help. The threat of violence surrounds us every day. But we can protect ourselves, by learning to trust—and act on—our gut instincts.

Here he writes how he learned to sense and move away from dangerous situations. According to him, it is possible to develop survival skills based on intuition that can protect us from people unable to control their violent instincts. De Becker argues that the tendency of TV news programs to air stories of unusual disasters as immediate dangers interferes with our ability to discriminate between real and manufactured fear. A practical if pedestrian guide to enhancing the safety of yourself and your loved ones.

People raised in families with personality disordered members often never developed or lose their self-protective instincts. The Gift of Fear provides critical information and strategies for fostering in adulthood this life-saving awareness that may have been underdeveloped in childhood.

About the Author

de Becker 200-member consulting firm advises government agencies, universities, police departments, corporations, and media figures on the assessment of threats and hazards.  Mr. de Becker is the designer of the MOSAIC threat assessment systems used to screen threats to Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, members of Congress, and senior officials of the CIA. Along with the U.S. Marshals Service, he co-designed the MOSAIC system used for assessing threats to Federal Judges and prosecutors.  MOSAIC systems are sometimes used by police departments for assessment of spousal abuse cases.

de Becker is a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and, a Senior Advisor to the Rand Corporation on public safety and justice matters. He was twice appointed to the President’s Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Justice, and he served two terms on the Governor’s Advisory Board at the California Department of Mental Health.  Having suffered an abusive childhood himself, de Becker has a special empathy for victims and an acute awareness of the signs of criminal intent.

# Paperback: 432 pages
# Publisher: Dell (May 11, 1998)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0440226198
# ISBN-13: 978-0440226192
# Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 1.4 inches
# Price: $8.00
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Kattgirl
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 08:56:33 AM »

    I just love Gavin DeBecker's book The Gift of Fear.  I believe it should be required reading for all  nons!  The book discusses how to deal with stalkers and potential attackers, and delves into the nature of fear and our instincts and intuition and how we can tap into them to survive.

    He talks about how potential attackers or stalkers try to get past our boundaries.  One term he uses that I think is great: loan sharking.  This refers to a person giving you something or doing something for you to manipulate you into being indebted to them.  It seems on the surface that the person is being kind to you, but they are setting you up emotionally, in order to weaken your defenses.  This is what BPD's do, with their "gifts with strings attached."

    I just love the loan shark terminology - it is spot on.  Think about it: loan sharks get to you (or you seek them out) when you are desperate, they offer something that seems too good to be true, but then the repayment is a b#tch.  "Sharks" also implies the lack of consciousness, the predatory nature, of a BPD.

    Thoughts?  Comments?  Anyone read the book?
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 10:29:04 AM »

I am currently reading/skimming the book on my lunch hours. A co-worker brought it in and has left it in the break room. Judging from the bookmarks now in it, at least 3 of us are enjoying it. The book is incredible, and I think teenaged girls should read it asap!

love the book!
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 02:53:31 PM »

I haven't read the book, but I think this is spot on. My SIL used to give me junk I didn't want and then mention multiple times what she had given me.  It was never anything good.  Once it was a broken cement garden statue.  Once it was a wooden shoe rack.  I would say, no thanks, I really don't want/need that and then she would bring it over to the house and I'd be stuck with it.  I had that damn shoe rack for a couple years before I finally hauled it out to the curb on garbage day!   

It made me think of another habit of my NPD/BPD SIL which is kind of the flip side of the coin of "loan sharking" where I or my husband have done some huge kind of favor for her, and she immediately has to give some little gift or gesture that is completely worthless or below the value of the favor done for her to kind of "make us even" so she doesn't have to feel guilty about what we do for her when she does nothing for us.

I spent a whole day helping her to clean out her kitchen, which was incredible filthy and full of garbage. She's a hoarder and clean up involved a tremendous amount of work like carrying broken chairs out to the road for garbage pickup, etc.  So as I'm working, she hands me this little tiny box of hard candy (the kind of thing you might get next to your place setting at a shower or wedding as a favor) with a few pieces of old candy in it and tells me it's for "helping her" clean up.  (I did most of the work. I was stupid then!) I was doing it out of the goodness of my heart, I didn't expect a gift or anything, but she managed to make me feel really crappy by giving me this incredibly small gesture of what she thought my help was worth!  Lunch would have been nice, since she never offered to feed me or anything all day, which is sacrilege according to my mother and the way I was raised.  smiley  Maybe the old candy was lunch?  lol

Another time, we were picking her up to take her to the hospital for surgery for a relatively common but pretty major surgery.  We had already been to the doctor with her multiple times, held her hand through the process, made plans for her to stay with us after the surgery if she needed help, etc., everything you would want a family member to do for you when you're facing something like that.  We go to pick her up to take her in for surgery, and she hands us a dusty old basket with two dirty old mugs in it that used to belong to Hubby's family and that SIL insisted on taking from the estate and keeping after Hubby's Mom died. The basket was filthy, and there was actually a big dead spider in one of the mugs!  She gave it to my hubby and told him she knew he always like those glasses and she wanted him to have it.  I threw it in the garbage when we got home. No verbal thank you at all for our help or support after she was recovered from her surgery. I guess the dead spider was assumed to be enough thanks on her part.
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2009, 10:53:24 AM »

    As an enmeshed non, I was a victim of continuous loan sharking for several years, I'm ashamed to say!  I could probably write a book on the subject.

    My momster did not give shabby gifts, though.  They were, as gifts go, "good" ones.  It's just that the terms were intolerable.  The price was my soul.
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2009, 01:34:18 PM »

The gift of fear is awesome.  I've gotten copies for just about every woman who's important in my life.
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2009, 03:36:08 PM »

Have not read it but wish I had years ago. My evilsis is a 'loan sharker' and toyed with boundaries in a very sick way.

Instilled her drama and maniupulations (tried, at least) into my husband's employer ~ tried to make trouble there. Has 'proven' to me for decades there would be NOTHING in my life she did not ingratiate herself into, including my therapist, friends and my employer (and my H's hobby related associates) and even military duty. Did I leave anything out? Like my trash bins? Oh yeah, she snooped there too. Oh, yeah, almost forgot the 'biggie'. My cancer Dr's (long story). And of course there were the weekends she'd stalk me and DH at lounges ~ drive terminally ill Dad through the parking lot(s) then call me and berate me. Making Dad believe I was the 'bar whore' that she was ~ one of Dad's only complaints about her.

I think I am going to order a copy. Thanks for the referral, Kattgirl.
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 02:34:44 PM »

I've never heard of the book until this thread but both my mom and FMIL are like this.  I will look into the library about this book.

Prior to NC, (mainly in HS)my mom would "borrow" money from me all the time and I never saw it again.  And I could never ask for it back; I could and did a few times but it was fighting an uphill battle and the reward was not worth messing with all her crap.  However, borrow a few bucks from her and she wanted 3 times as much back.  Things like that.

FMIL is worse than my mom.  She sold her house for many many reasons other than what I'm about to say but she likes to bring up that she sold her house for my FI as manipulation.  The place we live now?  She thinks she owns it and tells us all the time "I got you that house!"  Uh, no you didn't.  FMIL loaned FI a few thousand dollars for school a few years ago; he's paid it back and a lot of 'some' rather than 'then some' and she says he still owes her.  Borrowing $5000 to pay her back $10,000 with a 30% interest loan?  GMAB.  According to her, we owe her over $200,000 for raising FI.  She did not physically do this, but who hands their kid a statement with how much they owe them for raising them?  JMHO, but you don't raise kids to reap some financial reward.  She usually brings this up when FI wants to do something she doesn't want him to do.

I hate debt but I would rather be in debt the rest of my life than to have to borrow anything, especially money (which doesn't work out anyways because she doesn't have any), from her.  You are forever indebted to her and it's just not worth it.
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-MIL who shows BPD tendencies (manipulation, twisting of words, control issues, black and white sons)


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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 04:49:08 PM »

Kattgirl and all,

Oh yes. Great topic.

I read The Gift of Fear and the loansharking section (as well as many others) just lit up all the bulbs in my brain. My mother is the Queen of Loansharking. There are so, so many examples of this, I don't even know where to begin. But one good one is that at one point she bought a house as an investment and begged me to move in, with some roommates, when I was a young adult. Aware of the potential issues, I had a very detailed conversation with her about boundaries, how I would be paying rent and would expect privacy, a businesslike arrangement, etc. She immediately started filling the house with cast off furniture she didn't want so that she had an excuse to buy new furniture for herself--I didn't ask for or expect the place to be furnished. Then she furnished one bedroom, next to mine, with particular lavish attention and announced that she planned to use it as a "crash pad" for when she needed another place to stay. Not sure why she would need another place to stay, as she lived alone. I insisted that we fill that room with a roommate. Mightily peeved, she sent in a handyman and required reports from him on my activities. Then she paid somebody to spy on me, in the guise of doing some yard work. I know this for a fact because I knew there wasn't any need for the yard work and I confronted this person, who confessed. Then, when I was traveling, she rented out my room, with all my personal belongings in it, without my permission. When I asked, horrified, how she thought that was okay (still paying rent all this time, by the by), she said that since I'd been so unwelcoming, she needed to make up the rent to afford the mortgage. Try to parse that logically if you dare.

All of this based on the "favor" she did me by allowing me to be a tenant in this house.

B&W
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 01:08:00 PM »

I really enjoyed that book, and reading the comments makes me want to read it again, as I read it about 10 years ago. What I've learned from this book is to follow my gut feeling. Unfortunately for me, it took me a long time to put into practice. Having being raised by a uBPDm, I was trained to disregard my feelings completely. I was so confused it's like my "internal compass" was broken. Thank God I'm recovered now and I recommend this book very much.
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 03:14:46 PM »

Me too, would like to re-read it.  I remember several points it made being eye-openers for me; I must have read it when it first came out, quite a while ago now.  I remember that part about learning to trust my instincts; if someone made me feel uncomfortable, there was an actual reason for that, that I wasn't crazy.  Very good point about the "loan sharking" tendencies of a lot of bpds, too.  Mine does that, or used to.  Still tries!
-LOAnnie 
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2010, 08:44:17 AM »

Very helpful book.

I think I'd like it more if he talked a bit less about celebrity stalking, though.

All in all, I highly recommend it.
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2010, 11:03:27 AM »

I want to read this book because the topic struck home about having a gut feeling that can save us and we may not know what we're feeling. Young women should definitely read it. I felt uneasy with a new boyfriend once although we had worked together, but he went to Korea in the Army for 2 yrs and wrote to me occasionally. Back home, he asked me to dinner. Everything was congenial, but he did the strangest thing when he was leaving by kissing me when I didn't expect it. In a week or so, he called and said he was outside the evening class I normally attended at a college. How did he know which classroom? I was sick and had skipped class, but he said he wanted to come by my apartment then. My head turned to the exact spot in my living room where he'd grabbed me that first date! Fear or something made me avoid him and the next time I told him I was seeing someone. I think this book would help me understand what happened and I sure want to read about the loan shark I think I'm married to.
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2010, 11:08:10 AM »

Quote
discriminate between real and manufactured fear.

I haven't read the book but I'm a big believer in that there is a lot more fear out there than there is things to be afraid of.
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2010, 03:05:30 PM »

Maybe our subconscious tries to help us distinguish between anxiety disorders and things that don't make sense.
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2010, 08:41:31 AM »

I think there's a happy medium between the extremes of abject naivety/childlike trust at one end and paranoia at the other. 

There is healthy, self-protective rationality and skepticism.  Its the ability to objectively evaluate a person or situation without sliding into cynicism/prejudice/blanket suspicion or puppy-like adulation automatically.   

Its being open-minded about a person or situation but having the ability to look past the surface appearance and see the person or situation objectively, using facts and feelings and asking questions instead of just accepting or rejecting something or someone at face value. 

I do believe in gut feelings, myself, and I think a person's gut feelings (or intuition, or whatever you want to call it) is a valid tool to use along with the intellect to evaluate a person or a situation. 

I think "The Gift Of Fear" helps a person understand how to utilize that tool quite effectively, in a rational way.

-LOAnnie

Quote
discriminate between real and manufactured fear.

I haven't read the book but I'm a big believer in that there is a lot more fear out there than there is things to be afraid of.
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2010, 01:51:48 PM »


I bought the book last week but I didn't get through the first page. I just can't deal with any of this kind of stuff lately and I really censor my tv shows too. I used to watch CSI and and cold case etc but now I feel like I'm just overloaded with murder, abuse or crime altogether. That's not entertaining to me at all and just makes me feel worse and triggers all kind of old memories. Even some posts on this board are very hard for me to read and I think I have to take my time with this.  I don't want to feel scared anymore.  Hopefully I'll be able to read it one day because I'm sure it has some good advice.

justhere

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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2010, 08:59:04 AM »

Even some posts on this board are very hard for me to read and I think I have to take my time with this.  I don't want to feel scared anymore.  Hopefully I'll be able to read it one day because I'm sure it has some good advice.

justhere



Listening to yourself, taking care of yourself, are actually the key messages of the book, and you're doing that! It's really smart. I also went through a time of limiting my exposure to things that would trigger strong responses. I think it helps with healing. Just wanted to let you know that your approach makes a lot of sense to me, from personal experience.  xoxox

B&W
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2010, 01:13:18 PM »


 I was pleased to even get the book as there has been little choice in my local book store so I ordered it but was surprised by my strong reaction and that I couldn't continue reading. Thank you blackandwhite your post helped me to feel better about this because I wasn't expecting a 'trigger' from a book that was supposed to help with my healing.  I've just put it aside for now and will try again in a couple of months or so. 

justhere

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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2010, 05:47:50 PM »

I know what you mean; I could not get through "Understanding the Borderline Mother" at one go.  I found parts of it very triggering and upsetting.  But I think in my case the upset was due to finally allowing myself to see and accept the truth: that my life-trajectory had been badly skewed way off of "normal" by the abuse I'd had to endure as a young person (not my fault) and the unproductive, maladaptive way I chose to handle the damage done to me, (definitely my fault).  Reading that book, I began to experience the long-repressed anger and grief I'd been storing and denying, and it scared the crap out of me.

So, yes, sometimes the healing process hurts.  But the good news is that you have the option to delay parts of it, stop altogether, and/or go through it at your own pace; you have the control, now.

-LOAnnie
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