Problems in Group Therapy

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
I go to a group therapy program. There is a man there who has a history of harassing me and crossing my boundaries. This started a few years ago.

He stopped for awhile but has started up again. He has been told TWICE (this go round) to leave me alone, by two different staff members, but he will not stop. Both staff members have told me that it’s now on me to tell him to stop. I do not feel comfortable doing this for a number of reasons, including not knowing if he has a violent history and not knowing his diagnosis and stability level. (Plus, women get killed for rejecting men, so it’s not like I’m just pulling these reasons out of my ass here.)

Last time this skanky-ass man was hitting on me even though he had a FIANCÉ! Ugh, so disgusting. He was saying shit like “I’d ask you out, but I have a fiancé.” Ok, dude, go back under that rock you crawled out from underneath. I don’t want to deal with your shit.

If they cannot get him to stop, how am I going to have any power to get him to stop? They could boot him out of the program (ACTUAL power). What can I do? Plus, again, I have no idea how stable he is, how violent he is, etc. I DO know that he gets too close to me, won’t abide by reasonable boundaries, and is passive aggressive towards me in reaction to staff telling him to leave me alone. I do NOT want to confront this man as I fear for my safety. Staff knows his diagnosis, his medical history, and so on.

Plus, ITS THEIR PROGRAM! Why in the HELL are they saying that it’s ok for one client to harass another?

THE ONLY DAMN THING I AM ASKING FOR IS TO BE LEFT THE HELL ALONE!

IMO if you cannot leave another client alone you should lose the privilege of even being in the program. Allllllll I am asking for is to be ignored like I don’t even exist.

I am not the first person who has issues with him. He had issues with someone else and they made them come on different days. My therapist says to not let them do this as this would be punishing me.

I am prepared to escalate the issue and file a formal complaint. My dissociation is off the charts and I have an important deadline soon, so this may have to wait until next week. It’s a pretty big statewide system so I can escalate this pretty high if I need to. Plus, I don’t think they’d like the negative publicity of a woman saying their program allows men to harass women.

I guess I’m just looking for any kind of support and feedback. Thanks.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
And this sucks majorly because I don’t have much else in the way of support right now. This was almost my last safety net and POOF GONE.
 
C

Cherchez

Both staff members have told me that it’s now on me to tell him to stop. I do not feel comfortable doing this for a number of reasons, including not knowing if he has a violent history and not knowing his diagnosis and stability level. (Plus, women get killed for rejecting men, so it’s not like I’m just pulling these reasons out of my ass here.)
Sounds like the perfect chance to practice standing up for yourself, beginning to unlearn some learned helplessness, as well trust building.

Instead of waiting to be rescued, or demanding to be rescued, or needing to be rescued because you’re a child incapable of rescuing themselves? You can take advantage of the fact that highly trained staff is there to help both you and him with the process.

Unless you’re wealthy enough to always have a proxy to stand up for you? Learning how to say ‘stop’, and what to do next depending on how they react, seems like a pretty important part of therapy.

Justifying a fear of being killed if you say ‘no’, or reject a man? Doesn’t sound like good therapy.

Interceding a couple times, to show you it can be done, then creating space for you to find your own voice, define your own boundaries? To learn by doing that you aren’t helpless, and have value? Does sound like good therapy. Even if you’re wealthy enough to have staff present 24/7/365 to reject men for you.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
I spoke with the director of the program and she said she would talk to him again. She said something along the lines of if it doesn’t get better then she’d have to resort to making us come on alternate days and I just thought OH HELL NO. I’m not going to be punished because he can’t leave me alone. I’m just pissed.

I will be talking to my therapist (not affiliated with group therapy, separate company) tomorrow and she will advise me on how to proceed. I hate feeling like I am in the wrong here. I did NOTHING wrong and yet I’m being treated like I’m at fault. All I want is to be left alone, and I can’t even get that! 😡
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Sounds like the perfect chance to practice standing up for yourself, beginning to unlearn some learned helplessness, as well trust building.

Instead of waiting to be rescued, or demanding to be rescued, or needing to be rescued because you’re a child incapable of rescuing themselves? You can take advantage of the fact that highly trained staff is there to help both you and him with the process.

Unless you’re wealthy enough to always have a proxy to stand up for you? Learning how to say ‘stop’, and what to do next depending on how they react, seems like a pretty important part of therapy.

Justifying a fear of being killed if you say ‘no’, or reject a man? Doesn’t sound like good therapy.

Interceding a couple times, to show you it can be done, then creating space for you to find your own voice, define your own boundaries? To learn by doing that you aren’t helpless, and have value? Does sound like good therapy. Even if you’re wealthy enough to have staff present 24/7/365 to reject men for you.

You sound like a man or a woman who is so privileged that she has never had to deal with the violence of men. Self preservation isn’t “learned helplessness”. I AM standing up for myself. Learned helplessness would be doing nothing.

I know I’m right because you don’t care about my safety and reference staff helping him, too. ABUSIVE MEN DO NOT NEED “HELP” THEY NEED TO STOP ABUSING WOMEN.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I am prepared to escalate the issue and file a formal complaint
I'm very sorry you are feeling unsafe in a place that is supposed to be safe. I would definitely file a formal, WRITTEN complaint!
You sound like a man or a woman who is so privileged that she has never had to deal with the violence of men.
I know you directed this to someone else, but I want to comment because *I* have had to deal with the violence of men all my life and I initially also thought it might be a good opportunity to practice saying no or stop. Sometimes, men think that if you don't say NO or F*CK OFF, you are ok with what they are doing. Not always, of course, but in my own experience, men stopped bothering me when I told them directly to back off. It's so scary, but it really does help.

I do think, though, that it is the responsibility of staff to make sure the program stays safe!
 

Sues

MyPTSD Pro
I've been through a lot of abuse, and I can relate to not wanting to confront this man. I also agree that you shouldn't have to. It's so scary to do that when you've been abused and you have fear of being hurt because of it. Yes you'll need to learn to stand up for yourself, but it's incredibly difficult when you have this trauma history. I get you! The program directors should be doing more to help you and you escalating this sounds like a great idea. I hope you get this resolved quickly and are able to feel safe again.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
My therapist volunteered to inquire about the issue. So far she has not been able to connect with the group leader. My therapist goes on vacation next week so I wont hear back about it for another two weeks, which stinks but it is what it is.
 
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