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Caution and Commonsense

We cannot protect ourselves completely against emotional rape. To guarantee such immunity we would have to stop loving and trusting others altogether.

We would have to exclude all higher emotions from our lives, which would be rather like holding our breath to avoid air pollution; the "means" would be far too damaging to justify the "ends." We would commit emotional suicide, or risk becoming totally paranoid.

Living life to the full involves risk-taking and this chapter is about reducing those risks - specifically those attendant upon any worthwhile relationship with another human being. For the survivor it is about protecting yourself as much as possible to avoid having to go through the same awful trauma a second time; about returning without fear to a life that includes love and trust.

Much of the advice is simply commonsense, much of it has been mentioned in passing in previous chapters. However, this is the first time all our "precautionary tales" have been brought together and this "concentration" may give the impression that to avoid being emotionally raped we have to lose all spontaneity, romance and instinctive love in our relationships; that feelings have to be buried under the weight of analysis, legal advice, prenuptial agreements and financial planning. This is not the case.

This emphasis is simply unavoidable. Any discussion of self-defense strategies has to focus on practical, cold considerations.

The intent throughout this book is to affirm all that is good in human relationships and to affirm the marvelous experiences that are possible when we base those relationships on honesty, mutual respect and fulfillment of our higher emotions.

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