“Get them before they get you.”
“Why wait until after you get screwed over? Practice prevenge, you will feel better.”
To name it is to tame it.
Every once in a while as a Lover of Words I am surprised when introduced to a new word or a new context in which a word is used. When such an event happens I am again happily (and with much contentment) reminded of how much of a love affair I have with words and the stringing of them together to express what our hearts and minds know.
Being taught a new word recently also taught me behind that word is a theory involving human nature and behavior that I knew but I never had a word for. A theory about the human behavior of agendas and motivations. I understand IT.
I believe IT’S employed more often than we realize. IT leaves a bitterness in my throat I have difficulty swallowing. But IT is a reality. I have first hand experience with walking through life in a state of prevenge, and with those too who like me have used the tactics of prevenge.
As I understand “IT” aka “Prevenge” is an effective way to deter and deflect away from becoming involved with someone or a situation that comes with the risk of being hurt. In premeditation prevenge entails erecting emotional walls and defenses in preparation of being hurt – preparing to do the
attacking hurting first…Prevenge. In the act of prevenge the person perceiving there is a possibility of being hurt engages in hurting first. In deciding to strike first the prevenger’s hope is their act will preemptively discredit and render impotent the effect of a hurtful act upon their self.
Apparently, although rarely recognized for what it is, prevenge is used frequently because it works. It works because most people are kind and wince at the thought that they are doing something unkind, immoral, or inconsiderate, we are reluctant to believe not all walk through life the same. The claims that there are those who are not alike in kindness melts our resolve, and we become receptive and surrender to feelings of self-doubt.
Prevenge is employed through all kinds of exchanges. When the prevenger suspects feelings are at risk of being hurt or feel disappointment they engage in tactics of prevenge, trying to deflect from being the one hurt…..first.
Tactics of Prevenge via deflection & deterrents. Attack.
The Wounded (“Why do you have to be so mean?”)
The Exasperated (“Oh boy, here we go again.”)
The Preacher (“C’mon, show some respect.”)
The Weary (“Sigh. . . . “)
The Cold Shoulder (“Well, that’s YOUR opinion.”)
The Misinterpretation (“Well, if you hate me, why didn’t you just come out and say so?”)
The Strategic Adviser (“You should have told me differently, at a different time, in a different place, with a different tone.”)
The Analyst (“You’re misguided.”)
The Upper Hand (“Oh, grow up.”)
The Well-Adjusted Humorist (“Geez, can’t you take a joke?!”)
The Mute (……… The silent treatment)
. . . among many others. There are situations certainly in which every response on the list is perfectly honorable, heartfelt, and appropriate. But it’s precisely why these responses can be counterfeited and used for prevenge.
Prevenge is among some of the most powerful and pervasive rhetorical human behavior tactics. Meaning “rhetorical,” in that it adds weight to any argument regardless of the argument’s intrinsic merit, but it’s a general-purpose, passive-aggressive persuader and a generic influencer. Rhetoric in that although effective going through life in a state of prevenge is disturbingly sad.
Quite effectively prevengers get a good grip on others and their actions and finding the threat of their emotional response credible. Credible because often their proffered emotional response seems natural or justifiable. Prevengers react first and without validation, their ultimate goal is to hurt before they’re hurt. Risking being wrong in their assumptions is simply collateral damage they willingly accept.
I can’t say prevenge is or is not necessarily wrong, every person and circumstance being different, but it certainly is strong – strong, persuasive, and inherently compelling. So….when someone uses these tactics attempting to strengthen even their most indefensible demands the word wrong enters my consciousness.
This discovery (through a friend) of a word describing a prevalent human behavior has given me an awareness I didn’t have before. I recognized the behavior as soon as the word was explained to me, but prior I would have been hard-pressed to describe it in a word. Consequently I will be proactive at learning how best to avoid prevengers as well as (maybe more importantly) work to curtail my need for prevenging tactics.
I don’t want the bitter taste of prevenge keeping me from swallowing life, and I don’t want to miss out on life’s possibilities because they might be hard to swallow.