“Noncomplementary behavior” is a somewhat awkward term that’s gaining currency in psychological circles. Which is great, as it accurately describes the choice we can make and benefit from in the face of fear. Rather than “mirror” any given aggressive, fear-based action that presents itself to us, we can choose to respond with the “noncomplementary behavior” of genuine empathy and thereby increase our chances – not guarantee, but improve the likelihood – of a positive outcome.
To learn more about how noncomplementary behavior works in the real world – during a robbery, a terrorism crisis and a dating dry spell – check out this podcast from Invisivibilia on NPR. The main story, about how two policemen in a region in Denmark are dealing with local ISIS recruiting, is truly remarkable.