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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hostage Takers

What exactly is a hostage taker?

A hostage taker is a person that is willing to exploit others for their own selfish needs. For our purposes we will limit our discussion to emotional needs. Hostage takers employ various deceptions and strategies but their ultimate goal is to get what they want and very often, that means taking something from you. Since they know that ultimately they are using others, a key part of their strategy is never disclosing that agenda. If caught, to avoid shame and embarrassment, they will invent any number of face saving justifications and rationalizations.

Hostage takers are controlling people. Completely fear driven, they are incapable of self scrutiny. They will often cast blame or even invent some seemingly palatable excuse for their behavior. Their agenda is all that matters. Over time, that agenda slowly gets revealed. And eventually, the game must end. The hostage taker must go find another hostage. That's what hostage takers do. The hostage is freed.

The hostage taking game is the only losing game in town. The hostage taker will always lose. All that changes for them- are the hostages. The hostages lose because they have invested time in their deceptive captors until they are fully exposed. Once freed, they are no longer forced to be hostages.

In as much as some bank customer does not want to be a hostage, people willing to love and be loved back, do not want to be hostages either. Given an opportunity to escape, hostages do not rush back to their captors to get some more threatening and diminishing behavior or some more captivity.

To do that would be insane.

We cannot completely escape the dangers of hostage takers, they dwell among us. As long as we yearn to love and be loved we accept that risk. We learn and we move on. We accept our roles as unwitting victims in as much as we simply can't avoid all of the deceptive moves of the hostage takers. We have choices and to those unwitting hostages here's a piece of advice.

First of all, prefer hostages to hostage takers. And,

Next time you drive to the bank and you spot an idling car out front with a nervous guy sitting behind the wheel, take note. It might be time to use the drive up window or find another bank.

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