— Non-escalating Verbal Self-Defense


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"Don't say hello or anything – just ignore us."


—But why?
—It must hurt.


"I feel like jumping. [From the 10th-floor window]


—Many things!
—No! You can't hurt yourself. Your superego is expressing your death wish. Everyone has these impulses. You can't hurt yourself!


"Nobody likes me."


—Very different.
—It may be my severe hatred of my mother's living room furniture.


"Do you think I'm blind?"


—A joke!
—"I think not!" René Descartes said, and disappeared! [He's the one who said, "Cogito, ergo sum." (Latin: "I think, therefore I am.")]


"Oh, I'm easy to blow off – That's okay."


—A joke!
—What Woody Allen movie is that from?


"I'm tired of talking about it."


—Just so!
—I'm on your side.


[Start at
the top]


"I'm not sure if that's a compliment."


—Just so!
—You can go by feel.


"You think I'm shallow, huh?"


—A joke!
—That's what you think!


["What culture are you from?"] "I'm Japanese." [Many Asians will say, "I'm Japanese," because they're ashamed they grew up in a slum in another country; sometimes you just have to assume the opposite of what they said, without interpreting, using a light touch, with care, reserve, and no undue familiarity; over time, the truth comes out]


—Just so!
—A little village outside of Hong Kong, right?


"Oh, fine, you're right ... I'm passive-aggressive."


—It's chilling.
—The entire thing might be a lie, you know? [They're so tough & mean (to themselves!) they don't even know they're hurting other people]


"Do you think I bug you all the time?"


—How come?
—Whenever anyone is carrying on like that, there's something under it – Fear of abandonment.


"You're making me schizophrenic."


—Networking, eh?
—And so am I!


[Start at
the top]


"Maybe it's because I'm an asshole."


—Since when?
—Teeth and all.


"I'm not a people person."


—Since when?
—We'll find out ... We know you killed Christ ... Don't worry about it ... A lot of people had a hand in it.


"I know I'm weird."


—Since when?
—You know what happens when you get three houses? (You get a hotel!)


"Oh! I dropped that. I'm a mess today."


—A joke!
—Not that.


"I'm being a pain in the butt, aren't I?" [From a four-year-old]


—A joke!
—Are you finished scaring me?


"I need an education; I just don't want one."


—Can't miss.
FuBuTuBe – "For us, By us, Teach us, Big earth!"


"I've got to kiss up to the sergeant." [At a Police Department coffee break]


—Who, me?
—Got any cherry pie? That's the blood from my broken heart.


[Start at
the top]


"I feel stupid."


—Until now!
—What you want to do is try a lot of things.


"It must be the Oil of Olay."


—A joke!
—I don't think so.


"No, no, no, no, no, no, no – I'm way too fat already."


—A joke!
—No one wants that.


"Oh, are you going to hate me for this?"


—A natural.
—Be brave!


"I haven't offended you, have I?"


—Wicked, huh?
—Not this side of paradise.


"Would you be offended if I sat next to you?"


—Wicked, huh?
—You don't have to think there's something wrong with you.


"I've been feeling kind of lonesome."


—Not forever.
—How do you think people feel when they die? You have to take care of yourself, right?


[Start at
the top]


"Don't you think we're a little old for this?"


—Not forever.
—The bad people always do better.


"Never get old!"


—Not forever.
—I might be an actor – You don't have to do anything.


"You better enjoy it while you can – That's all I've got to say."


—Any one.
—So many opportunities.


"I'm afraid!"


—By moonlight.
—I have on iron underwear.


"What do you want me to do?"


—By moonlight.
—You can have fun.


"What am I – chopped liver?"


No trouble.
—Too intelligent.


[Start at
the top]


"You make me want to be a better man."


—By moonlight.
—Well, I'm suspicious.


["You just don't know what I like to do when I'm alone."] "I don't want to go there."


—By moonlight.
—Many people have that decision made for them.


["What a nice car!"] "You want it?"


—By moonlight.
—It's good to see.


"Do you want these two kids?" [Teasing them]


—How's that?
—It's nice to like someone.


"If you really loved me, you wouldn't want to go bowling."


—By moonlight.
—If something else happens, I'll let you know.


"I'm confused ... as usual."


—Wild moments.
—It's that time of year!


[Start at
the top]


"I'm not sick."


—All along.
—Should we have a funeral?


"I've turned into the kind of person I'd never be friends with."


Not crazy.
—"Be!" –Plato; "Do!" –Aristotle; "Do-be! Do-be! Do!" –Sinatra.


"I'm always in the wrong line."


Nowhere near.
—No wonder you look so happy.


"I'm indecisive today."


—I'll bet.
—I'm secretly ironic.


"I know you hate all my friends." [Spoken in front of them]


—I'll bet.
—It's only a few, right?


"Well, you said you did."


—All over.


[Start at
the top]


"You said I was crazy."


Socially challenged.
—And everything's nailed down, I suppose.


"You're stressing me out so much I can't think straight."


—I'll bet.
—Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!


"Sounds like me."


—Very different.
—When people are desperate, then they do it.


"I'm honored, I think."


—I'll bet.
—I'm just preparing you, okay?


"You're embarrassing me."


—Very different.
—Because of our foreign policy.


"It isn't easy to be me."


—Totally destroyed.
—No matter what stage you're in, it's right for something.


[Start at
the top]


"Help me, I'm going fucking crazy."


—Sure, boss!
—Woof! Woof!


"I'm scared to drive with you."


—Very different.
—It doesn't scare me.


"We all do stupid things when we're young."


—So foolish.
—You can't be fresh.


[Someone whacking themselves on the forehead]


—That's enough.
—Whatever you get going, you've got to get out of it and stop.


"This is too good for the likes of us!"


—Sure, boss!
—People have a right to live.


"Oh, and I suppose I don't?"


—Very different.
—At least you know what you're doing.


[Start at
the top]


"I'm being mean, Steve."


—Very different.
—It's not that.


"Well, what do you want me to say? — because everything I've said so far is wrong."


—It's ridiculous.
—I know just how you feel.


"I'm so confused – Will you fill me in?"


—Different things.
—All you have to do is stick to your wish to live.


["Are you an industrialist?"] "No — Insurance asshole."


—It's ridiculous.
—'Cause you find yourself doing these weird things.


"Aren't we all?"


—Missed out.
—It's inconceivable.


"Don't mind me! – I was standing here waiting."


—Missed out.
—That's our only chance.


[Start at
the top]


"How far can I get on a penny?" [If I took your taxicab]


—It's ridiculous.
—What are you going to get out of it?


"It's too far!"


—It's ridiculous.
—Let's not.


"I don't know what I did."


—It's insane.
—You look like a human being to me.


"Did I say that?"


—It's insane.
—The world will never know.




"What did I do this time?"


—It's insane.
—Just the roses.


"What did I say this time?"


—It's insane.
—I'm singing in the pain!


[Start at
the top]


"Follow me to certain death."


—Thank you!
—I've been reading Great Expectations.


"I'm just funny that way – That's just something that I do."


Never far.
—Always wait until tomorrow.


"You win some and you lose some."


—Do less.
—I wouldn't say that's killing you, right?


"Even when you win, you lose."


—Do less.
—Maybe you'll move to a higher plain of sophistication.


"You can't win."


—Why not?
—Ask my assistant.


"Do you think I'm the troublemaker?"


Au contraire.
—Just wade in.


"That stuff doesn't turn me on."


—Do less.
—Delusions of grandeur and happiness don't mix.


["You know what's really good? – McDonald's coffee!"] "I've never had any."


Never far.
—It's the glitter.


[Start at
the top]


"You don't love me."


—Do less.
—Do you know who Lochinvar is?


"Now what are you crying about?"


Never far.
—A knight in shining armor.


"Do you love me?"


—All around.
—It's like a beast riding at night.


"To complete the bond ..." [Reciprocating a pair of Indian Friendship Feathers]


—It's mutual.
—We just think things, and they happen.




—Carry on!
—You've got the right clothes.


["What's your profession?"] "I don't work."


—Do less.
—You're not under the gun.


[Start at
the top]


"I'm a housewife."


Never far.
—It's a wise person who knows what they like to do.


"I'm blind. I'm very sensitive to light and no one knows why. It's very frustrating."


Never far.
—That's a treasure of energy.


["What's your profession?"] "I work in a bank."


—That's life!
—Don't deny it!


["What's your profession?"] "I work for UCSF."


—That's life!
—Otherwise you obliterate everything that's you.


["What do you do for a living?] "It's not interesting."


—Many things!
—It doesn't have to be.


"I don't know – I'm not a numbers guy."


—Chapter Eleven — It's right after Chapter Ten.


[Start at
the top]


"I'm the most boring person in the world."


—Someone might.
—We can be terrors on the planet, and we can wear T-shirts.


"That really hurts my feelings."


—Half of it dropped in the toilet.


"Jesus! – Take my head off!"


—But why?
—It comes in handy, doesn't it?


"I've had it up to here."


No trouble.
—Things have changed so much.


"Everybody's avoiding me."


Clean slate!
—That's a talent.


"Is it my fault?"


—Like crazy!
—Keep checking.


[Start at
the top]


"Oh, it's all my fault!"


—Totally different.
—You can believe what you want, but I don't believe that.


"I'm not having much luck, then, am I?"


—Mostly that.
—It could be worse.




"Does that mean you're going to send us hate E-mail when we get home?"


—Networking, eh?
—One cruel thing or another.


"Today is not my day."


—Says who?
—The little star.




"I'm the only one – I keep saying something wrong."


Go on!
—In just the right way.


"Please don't despise me."


—You don't want anyone to like you better – That's the secret.


[Start at
the top]


"I'm cold! Can you close the window? I'm really a wimp."


—Forget it!
—It's just a memory.


"Too much excitement for me!"


—We'll manage.
—My nose is itching; it must be the truth.


Mental health starts with self-esteem.


"By no means am I perfect."


—The opposite.
—And I don't care what you say.


And when self-esteem leaves, mental illness begins.


"I hate it! – What do you think?" [About her haircut]


—Spare me!
—I don't care what the angels say to you.


"You hate me, don't you?"


—I'm one step away.


[Start at
the top]


"Don't go into the kitchen – It looks bad."


—Just normal.
—I've seen worse.




"Do you think I look fat in this?"


—Big family!
—Everything but!


"A little coffee with my sugar."


—Stick around.
—That's the sign of a delicate nature.




"What's wrong with my truck?"


—Stick around.
—We don't want to overdo it.


"Richard, it's not sexy!"


—Nothing complicated.
—This is a horse of another color.


"I'm starting to curse myself for being too cautious."


—Must you?
—This is a test to see if you're anti-authoritarian.


"So, you'll never talk to me again?"


—Very different.
—Very refined.


"I look ugly."


—So foolish.


[Start at
the top]


"Everyone hates me. The world is against me. I hate it!"


—Totally destroyed.
—Why should I identify with people who hate the human condition when I can identify with the human condition?


"Knock on wood." [Wrapping her knuckles against her own forehead]


—Family values: No matter how smart you are, your mother is smarter.




"I'm just a whore, what can I say?"


—A joke!
—You can do anything if you love your mother.


["The people from Japan are the nicest people in the world."] "Maybe I'm the exception!"


—Since when?
—You're out to pasture.


[Start at
the top]


"Are we that ugly? – He's hiding."


Fait accompli.
—That's not fair – I wouldn't worry about it.


"You're too good for me."


—Totally destroyed.
—It's like when you steal at work, and your hands start sweating.


"I'm not that smart."


—The reverse!
—Stop saying you're not that smart.


"Put yourself in my place."


—Wild, huh?
—Clean, clean, clean! Order, order, order! Control, control, control!




"And I suppose my work isn't as important as yours?"


—Says who?
—You're your own Walt Disney!


"I'm not a good person at all." [Grumpily]


—Since when?
—Oh ye of little faith.


[Start at
the top]


"I know I'm being neurotic."


—Networking, eh?
—Do something nice for yourself and you'll feel better.


"You're going to hate me for this."


—Totally destroyed.
—What do you need a mother for?




"I am not an artist; I have no talent."


Clean slate!
—You just want to do a little less than your best.


"I'm going the wrong way, I know." [Attacking themselves]


—Like crazy!
—You're a diamond in the rough.


"I was mortified!"


Socially challenged.
—See if you can step back a little.




"Why did you let me do it?"


—That soon?
—That's the danger of a strong person – You can do anything!




"I'm warped."


Nothing more.
—You're free.


[Start at
the top]


"It's a shitty job, but somebody's got to do it."


—It's powerful.
—It's not a game for children.


"It makes you want to move to Des Moines, doesn't it?"


—It's powerful.
—I am the master of my fate – I am the captain of my soul.