Flipping the Script

In an interview with David Pulsipher I asked him if he could share some examples of when someone responded with love, rather than cowering or attacking back, and the result that it had on the circumstances.

The following are some of the examples he shared with me. Each example is valuable and worth taking the time to individually read or listen to and illustrates the power in “Flipping the Script” or to borrow a phrase from David Pulsipher, “Confrontational Compassion.”

“Flipping the Script or non-complementary behavior is doing the opposite of what the natural instinct is. This has the potential to transform a situation. Psychologists have noted that we’re essentially wired to mirror other people’s behavior. When people are mean to us, we have a tendency to act with the similar behavior, and when people are kind to us, we have a tendency to act kindly.”

“What confrontational compassion does is meet aggression and anger with a non-complementary response and do it in a way that’s unexpected. Because we’re wired to mirror other people, when someone attacks us they expect us to attack back or to cower, which is a complementary response to that aggression. But when we respond in a non-complementary way, when we respond with compassion to anger or respond with love to aggression, then that actually turns complementary responses into our favor, because the other person is wired to respond in kind. So when we respond compassionately, it triggers in them a compassionate response. It is possible to trigger that kind of response in a way that fighting or fleeing won’t. Of course, it doesn’t always work, but it has greater potential to work than fight or flight.”

–David Pulsipher

downloadJulio Diaz – Story Corps

Julio Diaz is a social worker from the Bronx.

Every night, he ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night, as Julio stepped off the train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn when he was robbed by a teenage boy.

At StoryCorps, Julio recalls what happened next.  Originally aired March 28, 2008, on NPR’s Latino USA.

flipthescript_final_wide-a4953fcbe08f86b0d77ed9fb47b80be74f16c8d0-s700-c85Flip the Script: Invisibilia – NPR

In this episode we look at situations where someone flips the script – does the opposite of what their natural instinct is – and in this way, transforms a situation.



9780764212635_custom-97ee7acf9de9cae7e165693d8d191f623dd62e16-s400-c85Antoinette Tuff: Prepared for a Purpose

True Story of Courage and Compassion in a School Under Siege

As 870 children waited in fear, their elementary school rushed into lockdown mode. As the nation faced yet another Sandy Hook story of tragedy, one woman rewrote the ending.

Yet the story doesn’t start with those first steps Michael Hill took into that Atlanta elementary school. It starts with Antoinette Tuff, a woman

who faced her own pain, hurt, and rejection, yet held onto grace, faith, and hope. A hope that anchored her in the most high stakes of moments, a grace that allowed her to empathize with a hurting young man, and a faith that gave her the courage to love him back from the brink.

This is more than just the amazing account of tragedy averted. It’s the evidence of what we can do when we allow ourselves to be used by God. And it’s a story of how God uses all of our life experiences–the good and the bad–to prepare us for our own moment of divine purpose.


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Dallin H. Oaks – Bible Stories

“The young man pushed the gun against my stomach and said, “Give me your money.” I took the wallet out of my pocket and showed him it was empty. I wasn’t even wearing a watch I could offer him because my watchband had broken earlier that day. I offered him some coins I had in my pocket, but he growled a rejection.”




200x136Stanley A. Peterson – Contention is Not of Me, Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional October 14, 2003

“He stood over me and began to shout obscenities. By the way, I need to tell you he had been a Navy Captain and his language reflected his acquaintance with obscene language. He began by attacking the University I attended, BYU-Provo, my church, my family, my youthful age, my philosophy of teaching, etc. etc. etc. To be honest with you, I was amazed at how much he knew about me. For about 15 minutes he screamed every filthy, negative and cutting remark about everything he thought would be hurtful to me. I’m sure he had rehearsed in his mind that speech for months and had waited for the right time to launch it.”