A woman with a shadow over her face

When a coworker handed me The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker, I had no idea she was saving my life.

I was working in the diamond industry in Washington, DC at the time and Bethany was relatively new. One day, she came up to me and said, “Something is telling me to give you this book.”

When I scanned the back cover, I mentally shrugged. I didn’t see how it would help me, but I took it anyway (I never turn down books) and thanked her.

When I got home that night, I told my then-partner about the encounter and how scanning the book had revealed that the author was a security consultant. I made sure to mention that the book covered the murder of Theresa Saldana who’d been an actress I watched on a popular show when I was young, giving me a valid reason to read this book. He scanned the book and handed it back to me.

As I read, I made sure to fill him in on DeBecker’s discussion of how embracing your fear can save your life when you are in danger.

I never shared any of the things that Gavin DeBecker wrote about how to determine if someone is a threat to you. It was this information that saved my life.

After reading his book, I saw its contents playing out in front of me. It took years for my partner to display the overt behaviors that DeBecker said meant I was in mortal danger, but when he did, I saw it and was terrified. Having read DeBecker’s book, I did the thing he advocated: I embraced my fear. I followed my instincts. I fled.

Later, my partner wrote me a letter and admitted that my fleeing had absolutely been the right decision. He confessed to something bone-chilling.

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