The Safe Stance
and Presuppositions

In an emergency, when you don't have enough time to think or don't feel comfortable enough to use what you have learned, always go into Computer Mode, and stay there until you have a good reason to change.


  • is never angry or emotional or hurried or upset.
  • never talks in the first person singular (I, me, my, mine, myself) without a ton of modifying phrases.
  • always talks in abstractions and generalities.
  • say, "It is ______ that....;", for example, "It is obvious that there is no cause for alarm."
  • says, "One would..." or "Any reasonable person would..."
  • always looks absolutely calm and relaxed.
  • usually takes a single physical stance early in the conversation and maintains it from then on.
  • never commits him/herself to anything.
When things are coming apart--go Computer. There is no safer stance. Practice it in front of a mirror, if you have to, but make sure this defense is in your arsenal.

A presupposition is something that a native speaker of a language knows is part of the meaning of a sequence of that language, even if it is not overtly present in the sequence.

For instance:
"Even Bill could get an A in that class."
Every native English speaker knows the following presuppositions:
  • that Bill is not that great of a student; and
  • the class is an easy one.
Overall Strategy for Dealing with Verbal Attacks
  1. Identify the Satir Mode being used.
  2. Identify the presupposition(s) of the sequence.
  3. Respond in Computer Mode, with a neutral request for information about the presupposition or a remark about the presupposition.
  4. Maintain Computer Mode.

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