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The sight of someone's back should not make me this scared! :(

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The sight of someone's back should not make me this scared! :(

Old 10-05-2013, 08:35 AM
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The sight of someone's back should not make me this scared! :(

I saw XABF today. I walked out of a shop near my house, I was very happy and looking forward to getting home to use my new purchase (a pull up bar ). Then BAM a few feet in front of me was XABF. He was walking the same direction as me so all I could see was his back. I couldn't see his face but knew it was him, same coat, jeans, trainers, build, hair. I slowed my pace to increase the space between us. I didn't know what to do, I thought about striking off in another direction, but the path was such that there was only one way to go and I was so flustered that I couldn't think straight. Not very long after that he and the guy he was with turned into a shop, so XABF was perpendicular to me and I could see his profile. I still don't think he saw me. I was worried he had seen me in the shop I had come out of as he walked by.

It was when he went into the shop that the fear really kicked in because now he had the chance to get behind me. To follow me, like he used to. To see where I live and use that knowledge to terrorise me. He has the skills to follow someone without them ever knowing and I have no idea how to 'lose' someone and was far too disturbed to think of what to do. I kept walking home, quickly. Checking behind me, but still feeling like even if I couldn't see him he might be there. My heart was beating like crazy and my breathing got hard. I got through the front door, locked it and burst into tears. I was so scared he might have found my safe haven, that I had been lulled into a false sense of security again. That everything I had feared would happen would still happen, it was just delayed. It took about an hour and a half to calm down and I'm still jittery. The cats came into the kitchen while I was making tea and I jumped out of my skin and burst into tears again. I felt stupid for not being able to do anything more clever than just walk straight home if he was following me.

Its horrible. Nothing happened. A man walked along with a friend by some shops and then entered a shop. That is all that happened. It happens every day, many many times! Its such a disproportionate and paranoid reaction. I don't know what's happening to me, its feels like I'm going crazy. A man's back should not be able to make me this scared! I though I was free from the fear

I don't know exactly what I'm looking for from this thread. Maybe just to get some of it out my head and for someone to tell me I'm not crazy and they understand
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:40 AM
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Has he followed you in the past, is that what you meant? Did he hurt you? Does he stalk you or did he stalk you? Did he terrorize you? Recently ? How long were you together? What started this? Tell more so I can respond. Are you safe now?
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:55 AM
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I am safe now as far as I am aware. I just reacted really badly.

In the past yes he has followed me and hurt me, hurt the people I'm near and effectively kept me isolated from everyone, but that behaviour had greatly reduced towards when we broke up and since breaking up about a month and a half ago he has apparently been very well behaved. He hasn't done anything recently to make me think he would be following me. I'm just so paranoid from the previous behaviour and it happening so close to my new home. Usually I have the comfort of being able to drive off in my car, but I was walking. Honestly I don't understand why my reaction was so extreme, like I said, nothing happened! That's why I feel like I'm going crazy!
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:04 AM
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You're not going crazy. I see reason to be fearful. Lock your doors. Keep your phone close. Tell someone when you leave the house and when you are to be back. Call them when you get back. Post here a lot. Let us know you are ok. You are afraid, it is understandable. Take precautions. Stay in touch.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:14 AM
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It hasn't been that long since your relationship ended. I think its less paranoia and more conditioned response. Pay close attention to how this feels, and keep it handy in case you ever waver and think "maybe this time he has changed!".

And be proud of yourself for handling it as well as you did. It could have been worse (pull up bars can be weapons, ya know!)

Peace,
~T
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:40 AM
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Hugs, Wavy.

You know, I've learned I need to listen to my inner voice when it's trying to tell me something. Every time I don't listen, I regret it later. Sometimes, though, it's just difficult to know what it means. I think when I feel fear, it's for a good reason. What it usually means is that I need to learn more - either about the thing I fear, or how I can better manage that fear. Do not feel bad or crazy for fearing this man. But, maybe take some self-defense classes?

Peace,
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Old 10-05-2013, 10:30 AM
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You are not crazy at all. What you had what a reaction to a very real and recent threat. Trauma conditions us. Without realizing it a seemingly benign incident can trigger a whole range of emotions. You had a very normal reaction to a very real threat. PTSD can be brutal to deal with on our own. It becomes an issue in and of itself. To me it sounds like you are more concerned about your reaction than about being in danger right now.

I was sitting in pickup line without my phone when the bomb went off at the Boston marathon last year. I thought my brother was running and I know his finish tim.(he lives there and runs about 15 races a year, so I don't always know where he is running). I freaked. Completely lost it. I had to sit there for 25 minutes in line, 20 minutes from home, because i couldn't leave my daughter. My brother was ok. But I couldn't get over my overreaction to the event.

It wasn't until much later a therapist helped me realize that I was in the exact same situation when 9/11 happened. My husband works right there, I was trapped in a car with no phone and the announcer was screaming into the radio. It was like time stopped and everything went into slow motion.

I had no idea that that experience lodged in my brain. Hearing the radio announcer panicking over the Boston bombing brought an old experience front and center.

It doesn't always lessen the anxiety, but for me it helped to understand the magnitude of my reaction. My guess is that your reaction was as much if not more about the past as it was about the present. I hope that you have some counseling available to you, trauma can be difficult to deal with on your own. And I hope you take every precaution necessary to stay safe. Take care.
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Old 10-05-2013, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Raider View Post
You're not going crazy. I see reason to be fearful. Lock your doors. Keep your phone close. Tell someone when you leave the house and when you are to be back. Call them when you get back. Post here a lot. Let us know you are ok. You are afraid, it is understandable. Take precautions. Stay in touch.
Good advice.

Peace.
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Old 10-05-2013, 02:42 PM
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Wavy-

I agree with everything else that was written.

I just want to acknowledge that for me, even without any trauma/PTSD stuff as part of it, the first time I ran into anyone associated with my ex was a year or so after the fact....and it sent me into a tail spin for a while.

Add the other layer and it is exponentially harder.

I think what I am trying to say is this stuff is hard, it was only made harder when I felt like I "should" be over it sooner.
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:18 PM
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Wavy, hugs.
PTSD.
I can get panic attacks from hearing AXHs name mentioned. The sound of his name can't hurt me. My lizard brain doesn't know that. It just wants to panic and run.

It's a day by day work to conquer the pain and fear. I have a quote from Barb Dwyer who used to post here as my go to. I say to myself: "Right now, I am safe. Right now, my children are safe. Right now, we have a roof I've our heads. Right now, we are warm and fed"

I moved to another state because it was exhausting to live in daily fear.

It's difficult enough living in fear without beating yourself up for it. Be good to yourself.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:46 AM
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Thank you to everyone that replied, you have helped me feel a little less crazy and understand a bit more why I might have reacted that way.

Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
It hasn't been that long since your relationship ended. I think its less paranoia and more conditioned response. Pay close attention to how this feels, and keep it handy in case you ever waver and think "maybe this time he has changed!".

And be proud of yourself for handling it as well as you did. It could have been worse (pull up bars can be weapons, ya know!)

Peace,
~T
Thank you, it never occurred to me that I could have handled it any worse! I haven't once since we broke up considered getting back together with him and I can't see that ever changing, but that feeling will sure help keep it that way!

Originally Posted by jaynie04 View Post
You are not crazy at all. What you had what a reaction to a very real and recent threat. Trauma conditions us. Without realizing it a seemingly benign incident can trigger a whole range of emotions. You had a very normal reaction to a very real threat. PTSD can be brutal to deal with on our own. It becomes an issue in and of itself. To me it sounds like you are more concerned about your reaction than about being in danger right now.

I was sitting in pickup line without my phone when the bomb went off at the Boston marathon last year. I thought my brother was running and I know his finish tim.(he lives there and runs about 15 races a year, so I don't always know where he is running). I freaked. Completely lost it. I had to sit there for 25 minutes in line, 20 minutes from home, because i couldn't leave my daughter. My brother was ok. But I couldn't get over my overreaction to the event.

It wasn't until much later a therapist helped me realize that I was in the exact same situation when 9/11 happened. My husband works right there, I was trapped in a car with no phone and the announcer was screaming into the radio. It was like time stopped and everything went into slow motion.

I had no idea that that experience lodged in my brain. Hearing the radio announcer panicking over the Boston bombing brought an old experience front and center.

It doesn't always lessen the anxiety, but for me it helped to understand the magnitude of my reaction. My guess is that your reaction was as much if not more about the past as it was about the present. I hope that you have some counseling available to you, trauma can be difficult to deal with on your own. And I hope you take every precaution necessary to stay safe. Take care.
You are right I am concerned about the reaction rather than any threat and the reaction was about the past, since there was not really a present threat as far as I could tell. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, it was very very helpful.

Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
Wavy, hugs.
PTSD.
I can get panic attacks from hearing AXHs name mentioned. The sound of his name can't hurt me. My lizard brain doesn't know that. It just wants to panic and run.

It's a day by day work to conquer the pain and fear. I have a quote from Barb Dwyer who used to post here as my go to. I say to myself: "Right now, I am safe. Right now, my children are safe. Right now, we have a roof I've our heads. Right now, we are warm and fed"

I moved to another state because it was exhausting to live in daily fear.

It's difficult enough living in fear without beating yourself up for it. Be good to yourself.
Thank you, I will try to remember to repeat something like that if this happens again (hopefully it won't!).

A couple of you have mentioned PTSD, is that what you think this might be? I don't know much about it really. I have been resisting going to the Dr's for a long time about my depression, PTSD sounds even scarier! I am having counselling and will talk to my counsellor about the incident during our session tomorrow. I've shared it here, to an AlAnon friend and to a RL friend, to try to get it out. The worst of the abuse happened long before we broke up, I didn't realise I was still so very badly affected by it.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:49 AM
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Your reaction is normal. He was not a safe person. Just because he's acting safe now, doesn't mean he's safe. You need to stay safe, and one of those ways is not to let him find out.

They can change at any moment. For example...

A section from the last email I got from my ex-boyfriend:
I don't hate you. I'm not sure what you think of me, but I only want you to be happy. I handled things all wrong and I'm an ass for that. [Snip! Bunch of rambling about some drama in his life.] I know you don't care, sorry. I can never thank you enough for helping me save this place. Thank you. I'm sorry I'm rambling. Good luck with your New Home! I'm very happy for you. If you need to borrow any tools, ever, just ask, I deliver too. ;-) Good night.

An email a ways before that:
I'm probably having neck surgery within the next few weeks. And I'm being told I'll be out of work for 2-4 months. I am not sure how I'll be able to make payments [on the money I owe you] when that happens. I'd really appreciate any ideas you may have, so I'm not hurting you financially during that time. You don't have to respond to this email and I'm sorry I'm bothering you. But this has to happen as I can no longer move my head at all. Again sorry, but I figured you should know this ASAP.


All nice and polite and generally inconspicuous for a normal person, right?
The problem is that this one came in the middle, after I responded to the one above with a suggestion on how as long as he paid me his regular payment through September so I could use it for buying my house, that I'd be okay if he skipped the next few months after as long as he kept me up to date on his doctor's notes about him working:

I need to start by saying my surgeon and I agree that my surgery will be put off as long as possible. I will not be having surgery anytime soon. Neck injections and painkillers for now...
I completely understand about getting on with your life... I don't want anything to do with you. I don't want you around my daughter at all... I am considering getting a restraining order to keep you away from me. And the district attorney has told me I could press charges on you for terroristic threats. I've done nothing but try to be your friend... The only emails you will be getting from me will be regarding money. I hope you understand.



So... I hit a nerve, and he lashed back to try and hurt me instead. And that's how he does it. It has nothing to do with me, but he's nice and polite when he wants something from me (LIKE MY NEW ADDRESS!) and cruel and hurtful when I attempt to hold him to any semblance of responsibility. He doesn't have surgery scheduled! And so how could he provide the doctor's information I requested to get out of paying me? And so he lashed back, like a cornered snake, because that's all he is.

Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. Just because he's nice now doesn't mean he'll be nice later. Do not beat yourself up about your reaction - you are staying SAFE!


I strongly recommend a book, The Gift of Fear. CAUTION: There are some rough subjects in here, so I would not read this book if you are easily triggered by such (true!) stories yet. But when you can, read the book. It's about trusting our instincts rather than trying to talk ourselves out of it "to be nice."

As another note, if you take your set of keys in your pocket and slip a key between each finger, it makes a rather convenient weapon that you'll always have available (as long as you don't lock yourself out!) - and you can slip your thumb through the keyring to make sure you keep a good grip on them.
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