A painting of a person huddled in a corner with their arms outstretched as angry-looking creatures labeled "voices" surround them.
The voice can be a strong tool of nonviolent self-protection, Bragen writes. (Dusk Delacour)

Being “fearless” is totally not the same thing as being “invincible.” But mastering some of your fears makes you more able to defend yourself through nonviolent strategies. One of them is the use of your voice.I have at times needed to deal with assaultive people. In general, an assaultive person uses the projection of fear as a weapon. One part of this is where the attacker prepares himself by amping up his anger. Then, he projects this, like a beam of energy. And this is propagated through voice energy. 

The human voice has more to it than most people realize. A person of any gender can learn to defend themself, at least to an extent, by learning how to use their voice. This can accomplish a lot, and not a single blow needs to be struck. A man can speak to me angrily, and even when it is quite clear he has a substantial physical advantage over me, I can speak back angrily. This is probably by some people’s thinking a form of violence. But it can nip things in the bud to where the situation never progresses into worse territory. Thus, it can be seen as prevention. 

Nonviolence really works. And violence really doesn’t work. Sometimes using your voice is the lowest level of “violence” that can be used to deal with a threatening situation. I am personally familiar with the potential power of one’s voice. I’ve had some issues with anger. Maybe not more than most other men who have experienced trauma. When I am angry, I often can’t help but speak in an angry voice. People don’t appreciate this. It affects them in harmful ways.

Mastering use of voice can be learned. It goes hand in hand with a limited level of mastering some emotions. In some instances, in my past, people have successfully used intimidation against me, and they were able to achieve their objectives. When I got older, I taught myself strategies to deal with situations like this. Often, when someone tries to use intimidation, I’m able to reverse the current, or at least keep the balance even. 

When my wife had first adopted our dog, about thirteen years ago, she didn’t realize that she was part of our family. One time she began to run away. I said, “Sweetpea STOP!” And she stopped in her tracks. I caught up to her and I put her leash on her. 

Fear is usually the least effective of defense mechanisms and often doesn’t help. Yet you can’t just let go of it and you can’t pretend you don’t have it. You must deal with your fear in such a way that problematic events, situations, and other things still get dealt with. Lack of fear can also hurt you when fear is the appropriate response to a situation. If you are in danger and your body is not connected to that, it puts you in jeopardy. 

These ideas above are gleaned from many years of dealing with somewhat hard situations. My life path has sometimes been difficult. I am not always the biggest, “baddest,”or strongest man, but I am usually able to face things that life presents to me. 

Jack Bragen is author of “Revising Behaviors that Don’t Work,” “Instructions for Dealing with Schizophrenia,” and “Jack Bragen’s 2021 Fiction Collection,” and lives in Martinez.