Two Perspectives

You tell yourself that you are showing restraint and offering concessions to the bully in order to help him save face, thereby perhaps preventing him from acting rashly in his humiliation. He tells himself that your boasting of restraint and your concessions are merely your means of saving face as you surrender to him, and that he may therefore be more certain than ever of his ability to act against your interests with impunity in the future.

Who is being honest with himself, and who is lying to himself?

He tells you that he wants the world — your world — and that he will kill you if you do not give it to him. You reply that if he wants your world, he will just have to wait, because you will only let him have twenty percent of it this year. You walk away proud of yourself for standing up to his intimidation. He walks away pleased with his new gains, and scheming for next year’s twenty percent.

Who is viewing the situation with more sobriety?

You reason that from his many losses he will learn the folly of his outsized ambitions. He reasons that he has lost nothing that matters to him, and that such losses as you imagine him to have incurred are merely the easy bargain of progress.

Why do you assume a killer’s priorities and concerns will be the same as yours?

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