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Signs it’s time to dive for cover – The warning signs of danger

What makes you turn and look when you sense the danger of violence around you? It’s because you pick up on small non-verbal triggers indicating somebody has the intent to cause another person harm. Just like the gazelle at the watering hole looking up when the predators start licking their lips and thinking about dinner, you too pick up on cues, warning triggers.

Being consciously aware of the signs often seen in the build up to a violent attack enhances your ability to spot danger earlier, hopefully soon enough to get out of there before it happens. These warning signals will be referred to as Violence Indicators, and have been split these into the Revving of the engine and the Full Throttle, I thought it was apt to incorporate throttle in there, as by that stage it’s exactly what they are thinking of doing to your windpipe.

A trigger is needed for the fight or flight system to launch, but if they’re the one initiating the attack, there’s no external threat to cause the system to fire, meaning there’s a need to pump themselves up, working themselves into a frenzy to self-trigger. The aggressor uses different methods to cause a self-induced fight or flight hormonal release as they light the fuse on their own fight or flight system, and hope to simultaneously intimidate you to cause a flight, freeze or submit/posture, making you easier to hit. There will be various indicators of this happening, as their body language will be reflecting the release of the rocket fuel that’s happening in their body.

It doesn’t chronologically always have to progress through the stages I’ve identified. The aggressor may be influenced by either psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies, stimulant use, or socially conditioned factors, which can enable an aggressor to jump straight to the full throttle stage as a fast track. It’s worth noting some of the signs from the ignition list can be done internally, for example you will be unable to hear the aggressive threats being said in their own mind, ramping up their aggression levels and planning what they intend to do to you. Be vigilant in your awareness, look for the signs you can see, the ones which they are outwardly projecting whilst preparing themselves for battle, or sneakily using in the hope of concealing their intent whilst preparing to deliver a stealth attack.

The Revving

Hormones are starting to flood their system, creating external signals which give you a glimpse of the effects of their internal fight activation system shifting up a gear.

  • Sweating, preparing their own body for battle, they don’t want to be easy to grab, so the body starts to produce oily sweat, also using it as a cooling system.

  • Shaking, just like a space shuttle with full thrusters on before the clamps are released. The chemicals are quickly building up in their system.

  • Muscle tension and clenched fists, getting as much blood into the muscles as possible, feeding the troops before the attack.

  • Rapid breathing as the body tries to get more oxygen into the system to prime the muscles for some serious work. They’re preparing to pound you into oblivion.

  • Staring eyes, making sure they’re challenging you for the alpha status. Will you posture and submit, if you do, will this prevent the attack or encourage the attack?

  • Restlessness and fidgeting, the hormone accumulation is causing involuntary movement.

The Full Throttle

The more physically noticeable signs of impending aggression. There’s no more build up going on in their mind or body, no more psyching themselves up. They’re about to launch the missiles whilst trying to intimidate you along the way. Some people do the previous stages internally or out of sight from you, if this is the case, all you will see are these final signals as your initial warning signs:

  • Widening of the eyes and searching for eye contact, intimidating you, causing you to freeze, making you stand still to strike you easily.

  • Tightening all around the jaw and shoulder muscles as they protect their jaw and neck area. Knowing they’re going into battle and preparing by bracing for impact in case you fight back. Their chin drops and they look upwards under the eyebrows protecting their throat. The facial area changes, particularly around the eyes, scowling and looking up under their eyebrows at you, like a snarling dog, feeding their anger and allowing it to grow inside.

  • Their movement will change, a change of direction or a change of pace towards you trying to startle you. The intention is to cause you to panic, freeze and stand still.

  • They shift most of their weight onto one side whilst standing or walking. Loading the body ready to launch their weight quickly with a punch, head-butt, or stab etc.

  • They stop shouting or arguing and take a sharp intake of breath as they keep the air in the body for the final oxygen absorption into the muscles before attacking. (This is a great time to strike the jugular notch).

  • The chest area will expand, another piece of acting like a peacock to make themselves look bigger and intimidate you in the attempt to make you freeze and submit, it’s pantomime and illusions.

  • They shift away from the left hemisphere and all verbal communication ends and physical action begins.

Practice these with a friend, replicate them so you get familiar to seeing them and spotting them quickly, and if you see them in real life, don't hang around to see what happens next!

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