Co-worker Cut His Hair And Now Resembles An Attacker

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Usually, when I break why someone is a trigger down, it comes down to one thing about the physical appearance, especially if the appearance suddenly has been altered. Suddenly my boss is wearing a neck tie, was one case. My brain registers a similarity to my attackers that I don't, on a conscious level, register. I have to look for it as though through the brain's back door, and it's tiring.

I was up with my heart actually in pain from pounding all night fixated on this guy. I finally had to acknowledge that his hair cut makes me seem "dangerous" and scary and then go from there to why that is.

By shower time 5:45 am, I was crying and telling my husband how upset I am, the possible breakdown of the trigger, and how silly I feel for this, and then, when I saw this guy at work, the fear was just "gone." Replaced by just feeling on edge from no sleep and exposure to my triggers that overlap this guy. Fear of the flashback that I have to use to remember the guys' appearance and realize, bingo, it's the same look.

Both times, as soon as I told someone, the fear lost its mechanism over me. The Avoidance of PTSD means I try to not think about the attackers, so I don't connect that this man resembles one of them, and the one with the most distinct and memorable "look."

I have tons of triggers in ordinary life like this. I cannot always figure them out.

Today, I identified it like this:

A. Baseline fear of all adult males. No real need to explain this. I just have to cope with it every day. And I have to say that I've been very lucky to challenge my negative core beliefs about males in general and feel blessed to have gotten past my fears to realize there are some angels out there who happen to be men, my husband included.

1. This man introduced himself as being 20 years and retired from the US Air Force as a Security/Police prior to starting this new career in my field. I asked if he stayed at the base near my most recent hometown, and he had. But later, I was upset about the way he was proud of his career, which is silly, but I was stalked by a guy who lied about his service in a similar setting, which was enough to make me uneasy. I was not aware of this connection until I talked it through today. I realized how silly it was. If fact, this man clearly has reason to be proud of his service.

2. This man's head and face shape looks very like one of the men who tortured me, with his new shorter hair cut. Nuff said.

3. He is a Wrestling coach. Knowing he's had 20 years of cop and longer with Wrestling, and maybe other fighting, the violence element makes me wonder if he enjoys it or is a sociopath. Plus, there's this gleam in his eye that I can't be sure is there or I'm projecting it onto him, that is socio. That gleam is definitely not "normal" and tells me there is "something" in this guy that I don't want to find out about.

4. He very directly looks right at me and doesn't say hi, which is intense and makes me, as someone with PTSD, unnerved. I However, I have noted that ALL ex-military vets I have been around at work or neighborhood, like where they have to be around me and others, do this. So I believe with their training, they recognize my body language indicators are on higher alert than the general civilian public around us, whose body language appears ordinary, placid, like a school of fish. Me being on Orange instead of White/Yellow like all other civilians, is something they are trained to Orange into as a potential threat. It's plain we just show up in each other's training radar as something to be on the lookout for until further notice.

I've had police trainer/psychologist at work who just met me say I should practice staying more in Yellow than Orange. I decided it was none of his beewax that I'm PTSD. It's nice to have a label that works for Police/Military to see how we set off each other's alarms but for different reasons. My "training" was early on in life.

So I found at least 5 layers of trigger or anxiety sources with one man at work, in as many minutes. I was able to seize the day and not be afraid of him, just more aware. It took a ton of work and several days of avoidance and denial to the freak out point and then 12 hours to get out of Orange and back to Yellow.

I've been sick for two months, so this can't be helping my PTSD.

What level of PTSD functioning is this? I mean I was crying when trying to do my hair dryer, but I was able to make myself stop and just go.
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