I saw a video several years ago of someone who specialized in the behavior of bull sharks. Standing hip deep in water, surrounded by bull sharks, he was explaining to the reporter how he was perfectly safe as long as he did nothing to provoke them. It was about that time that one of the sharks got a hankering for a snack and selected man-calf. Goodbye calf.
Animals, and people, are what they are. Some are psychologically broken in different ways, and one of those manifests itself as being physically or psychologically abusive to others. This happens in families, friendships, work and in almost every sphere of human life. Roughly one in thirty people have psychological problems serious enough that they cause significant problems for themselves and others. I've personally encountered dysfunctional people at every level of society; walking the streets homeless, in middle class families, from the smallest companies to the largest, Ph.D's and attorneys, even church ministers. Most are as abusive as they can be without significant consequence to themselves. Some don't care about the consequences.
Abuse, whether physical or psychological, comes down to the amount control that the abuser has over his victim. Bosses and family members can be the most damaging because the victim is dependent to some degree on them. Like the shark "expert" the biggest mistake we can make is to remain around abusive people; it is only a matter of time until they decide that you will make a good snack. And they will continue to feed on you for as long as they can.
So the first and most important step of dealing with an abusive person is to get away from him (or her). Permanently. Learning self defense, martial arts, or how to cope will not help. You cannot change an abusive person. You can make them understand that there will be personally-devastating consequences if they abuse you, or you can leave. These are the only two rational options, and the latter is usually better for everyone.
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