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Not again..... another smaller trauma and it's all up again.

pamcoco

Sponsor
I’m disappointed in myself. There was relatively small incident and I am so triggered I can barely function.

I am at my mom’s house in Oregon alone and have been working on it for a year to get it sold. Last week I had a glass repair company send a worker out for an estimate. He was a young, good looking guy in his late twenties.

I showed him the first broken window which was in the bedroom and as I was leaning into the window to demonstrate the issue, he leaned in and brushed up against my breast quickly apologizing. I jumped back and just gave him his spaced, I knew it was purposeful but it was one of those more difficult things to call out.

I showed him the window in the basement allowing him lots of space and when we came upstairs I asked him to grab a piece of the frame that was on the window sill in the bedroom window while I got the remaining frame from the garage.

He said “You’re really beautiful.” I said thanks, got the pieces and met him near the front door to encourage his departure.

He stood directly in front of me about a foot taller than me, explaining the repairs and then looked me directly in the eye while grabbing and squeezing one of my breasts. He didn’t back off at all and just smiled. I moved my arm to get his hand off me, jumped back and said “Don’t do that.” This is a pathetic response in retrospect but I was truly stunned.

He smiled again and left.

I reported it to the police and after the police left that evening decided to do a double check of all the doors and windows. I came to find he had dislodged the bedroom window so it would no longer lock.

I informed the police and neighbors. The police told me not to make contact with the company that they would, but the next day the company called me to discuss how they couldn’t do the repair. He was in the background making comments.

About ten minutes later there was a knock at the door that I immediately knew was him. I hid in the closet. He stayed about 3-4 minutes gently knocking. Then texted me using my first name, that he had left the parts at my door. Peaking out from the closet I saw him do 2 rounds by the house until he left.

I informed the police about this too, but have never heard back from the cops. He hasn’t shown up again but I am in PTSD hell. I am so alone, still, and feel all the shame associated with being groped.

I'm having nightmares, mood swings, short attention span, the whole works. Of course I am in close contact with my TX and Shrink but this is the last thing I needed. I’ve been slow to progress from multiple assaults in 2009, and now this feels like a huge step backwards.

Thoughts?
 
I am sad for you and angry on your behalf—what a shitty person! First of all, GOOD FOR YOU for reporting to neighbors and police and for protecting yourself.

What do you need to feel safe in the home? Regarding your symptoms and feeling alone: Can you call the crisis hotline and talk to them until your T gets back to you?
 
My shrink is very involved so it's been a couple of days and I have talked to him and my T several times. I fixed the window and have secured all the entry points. Luckily I should be moving in 3 weeks.
 
Oh, that is terrifying. I'd be doing terribly, too. No need to be so hard on yourself for this. A "pathetic" response is still a response. In the past when I've been through similar, I froze up and "let" it happen. It's normal.

As any professional will tell you, you never know how you're going to react in an emergency.

To not even touch on the nightmare that can be PTSD, ANYONE would be freaking out right now in this situation. I would be making a twelve-part plan to avoid my death, if it were me. Not because I'm afraid of being killed, kidnapped, raped, what-have-you, but because my anxiety would be through the roof. There is no worse feeling than feeling unsafe in your own home.

If you can, continue filing reports. Consider confronting the business itself, if possible (depending on how big it is). Consider staying with a friend for the remainder of the sale, even, if it will make you feel better. There may even be an emergency shelter that would find this type of situation applicable for a stay.

I mean, this was sexual assault with a clear attempt to continue to harass you. That's not only criminal, but deranged.

In other words, you're reactions aren't strange or pathetic. If anything, you ought to validate yourself and take your worries seriously, PTSD hell or not. THEN, when you're actually safe again, you'll be able to actually cope with the symptoms. Coping skills will not work if you are genuinely unsafe, or feel genuinely unsafe. It can feel odd to sit down and count tiles or numbers of blue objects to calm down when the house is on fire, or there's a tiger about to pounce, right?

Edit to add: By the way, if you're comfortable sharing your home country or country region, people might be able to help with specific steps or laws. I don't know how the legal system works or if you get a lawyer for something like this or not, but maybe someone would have gone through something similar enough or known someone who did and be able to offer something? Worth a shot, potentially, depending on your comfort level (especially since no one here works in legal and may not know shit about where to start with this, legally speaking).
 
Just wanted to add one more thing:

When something like this happens for me, instead of allowing my brain to catastrophize into oblivion like any PTSD brain might want to do, I try to imagine the best case in the moment. That kind of thing can help calm the nerves in a genuine emergency (even if the emergency is an emergency-level urgency because of my PTSD), and allow you to form plans based on how you want things to play out. And it can be adapted every day.

For instance, I was just worried about you to the point of being upset/stressor-ed, so I imagined that you updated us on this next year at this time with how much safer you are now that the house is sold and this freak is out of your life like he was before.

Better example: When my mom had a heart attack, I imagined that I got her to the hospital safely and they did what they could for her. That way, my plan was to get her to the hospital, with the goal being to get her help, because of the assumption that she could be saved. (Didn't mean she was GOING to, just meant I was working towards that in order have enough control over the situation to be calm enough to do something without being too overwhelmed).

When a tornado was coming towards the house, I could get underground or away from the giant 350-450year old oak tree right next to the house, which I feared might fall on us during the high winds. But, in the best case scenario, just being in the best shelter possible to me at that time was the best course of action. So, I sat in the hallway and was able to almost near-relax during a genuine emergency while waiting to see what would happen, because I was assured that I was doing all I could in a situation that would be tough for anyone, PTSD or not.

If that's helpful to you at all. Feel free to ignore, as always.
 
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