I have been intimidated in so many situations in my life. When I was younger it seemed that every man in my life was mean, angry, and abusive. When it wasn’t them it was someone else. 

As an adult, I just let people walk all over me. I never knew how to stand up lest there be a confrontation that could turn ugly. Something I desperately wanted to avoid. The times I had been in fights it always turned really ugly and I rarely gained control of myself until things had gone far to late. I never just got into a fight, I created victims. I hated that. 

For other people it may be different. Many people don’t know how to end being taken advantage of from aggressive people or those who employ manipulation tactics. Whatever the reasoning is for you not standing up for yourself, know this, you are not alone and you do not have to become this angry person who is totally comfortable with confrontation in order to do so.

Over the past few years in prison I have ran into so many situations where I have had to learn the hard way what it means to be taken advantage of, in almost every way…

In prison, we have nothing. We are practically just a number and those who are supposed to protect us typically despise us. So when someone takes something from you, you react differently. More aggressively. When someone takes advantage of you once you are not quick to allow it to happen again. Call it “paying for the knowledge”.

The first step to standing up for yourself is to just set your mind to do it. The things that keep you up at night are not suppose to be other people. It’s suppose to be your own problems, your own dreams. So set your resolve that you are going to talk to people that you need to. No matter what the consequences may be. 

This environment can be very hostile. The “natural” thing to do in here is to react violently to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and then ask questions later. But I have managed to stay away from most violence with some careful planning.

You have to set boundaries with people from the get go. You need to know the word “no”. Then you need to use it, frequently. This doesn’t mean that you don’t help people, as your feelings lead you you should help people as often as possible. But remember that the things that help people the most is rarely material, almost always its emotional.

Just set the standard for yourself with every new person that you meet and every person that you have in your life currently, its okay to reinvent yourself as you go. In fact, most people do this frequently in their lives and its always a great time to do it, its never going to be a bad time.

With Love

Jeff Utnage