As a person I can appear to others to be fragile and vulnerable. M says I do specific things that invite attack by others, that I could stop. He cannot quite understand why I do these things--look beseechingly at others, stand too close, eyes locked on theirs, as if I need reassurance, an almost cringing demeanor. He says I look like I want people to hug me with reassurance. He cannot understand it. Thank you M for sharing. Actually, I brought it up to him today, as a topic of conversation. To be honest, I wanted to hear what he had to say. I am trying to have the intention to be stronger or more to the point, appear stronger. Because I think I am already strong. It is just to manifest it. I am highly competent in my work, respected, in demand, and actually completely confident about my work. M thinks I am actually terrifying when I get angry. Which leads me to believe that I may try to conceal my own power. It seems like this prey-like demeanor may to some extent be subterfuge, something I learned when I was young, as a survival mechanism, which is now unconscious on my part. It seems as if I may act this way to look like I am a less-dominant person, in order to throw people off--i.e. not appear threatening to them. Like it is some kind of adaptation on my part, which makes sense because both my mother and sister tried to be very dominant and demanding of any resource or advantage there was to be had. It was like I achieved anything I ever got by being that insect or bird or small animal that developed spots to blend into the forest. The problem is I do not any longer want to be an animal whose only defense is subterfuge and camouflage. I want vivid colors and plumage. I want to crow and to fly. So, that is the problem. So, what would be the nature of the solution, that is what I need to know. I know a woman who said she was like me, and she changed. She demanded respect and she came to absolutely love confronting people who treated her badly. She had been an abused wife and she changed. I am no spring chicken, but I believe it is still possible for me to change. What I want is to feel I do not let people walk on me, deliberately insult or disrespect me to gain advantage, or believe that I will not fight back. I know I cannot change other people but I can remove the sign, open season, from my forehead and I can learn to take a swipe so that there is some deterrent to attack. So, if I did a thread, I would ask for support in the following: One, I am afraid. Two, I need to have some mantra on the ready so that I know I can defend myself and how. Some time ago on FOO, Cedar came up with a response that we could use, when people were verbally aggressive. "What do you mean?" So simple, and yet so perfect, to put the onus on the aggressor not on the victim.