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Something Set Me Over The Edge At Work, How Do I Recover?

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Sometimes I'm afraid of therapy because I'm terrified of what emotions it's going to unleash I'm afraid of being an emotional unstable mess. Sometimes I just think it would be easier going on the way I've always gone on, it's all I've known for my adult life and some of my teen years. I had a slip up last night at my job where I was bar tending and today I've just been in a miserable shakey fog I can't focus I barley slept last night and I guess I just need some validation so here is the story of what happened....

I work at a family run restaurant, I love my boss and my co workers I don't normally deal with rowdy patrons as its a family spot or cozy date night spot, lots of elderly people too. Last night was different, towards the end of the shift 3 men came in, one who is a regular that usually comes in with his wife, one who I didn't recognize but he was very nice, the other was a 6 foot 3 weathered faced 40 something with a pony tail and crazy eyes, I know of him more then I know him personally and what I know is not good. He is an unhinged man, a landlord a drinker and a coke head.

I've seen him at the bars and my ex abuser was friends with him. Now I have a laundry list sexual assaults and rape and physical violence that I have endured but I'm on my way to getting better as I have not been revictimized in a large way in some time also I don't feel connected to the persons like I used to be when the different traumas happened, I feel brand new.

The second I saw him I felt a bad vibe and I wanted to cry or run away or both idk. I got his friends drinks first and when I asked him he knew my name his friend was joking about wrestling and looked me up and down and said you should try and wrestle her. My stomach dropped but the crazy eyed fellow locked eyes and said "no man she's not a fighter she's a lover I can see the love in her eyes" I've always been told I have sad eyes ever since I was born which I feel made me a good victim in bad men's eyes. I pored him a shot of whiskey and a beer and every time I heard him in a breathy voice say "yeah that's a good girl" which made me want to tear off my skin but I stuck to it I tried to be brave. He kept engaging me in strange conversation and telling me what a great girl I was because so many people don't talk to him like a person that they're scared but I wasn't I was treating him like a human and that most people think he's bat shit f*cking crazy which he paused and told me ....he was crazy. When ever I spoke he responded like he was teetering on the edge like if I said the wrong thing he would snap, he had me on my toes he switched between asking me for hugs to getting defensive when I responded to his questions (maybe I didn't have the answers he was looking for.) when I asked him for another drink he asked me if I did want to wrestle with him and shot me a wink and I quickly dodged the question but I felt my stable strong footing starting to slip. I felt dizzy I felt like my coworkers were strangers I forgot they were even there and every time I'd go back in the kitchen for some type of comfort amongst friends and maybe some grounding I couldn't, it all seemed so strange I wanted to cry I wanted to yell but I was just frozen, I was lost in that bubble of fog. I came back in the bar asked him if he wanted another and he said yes and he wanted me to hug him, his eyes were getting more intense as he drank more and his eyes told me that if I said no to him he may flip thenf*ck out. I gracefully averted the situation again but by that time I was in panic mode. My boss told me to cut them off but I couldn't I just couldn't say no to him because I had this feeling of panic that if I denied him something bad would happen.

I texted my boss that I couldn't do it, he was upstairs with the cat and I guess he thought I Was talking about the other guy, the regular and told me that he wasn't a bad guy and seemed annoyed and said he'd be right down. I felt completely over dramatic and insisted that I would just handle it, I felt alone and invalidated like some stupid scared little girl. Boss came down and He stood behind the bar and chatted with them for a bit to get a feel and then he did something out of character he started cleaning up the bar for me while he spoke to them, I rushed over to help him and he smiled nervously at me and said my name and said just go away please I got this go awAy....he never does that so I wondered if something tipped him off or if they said anything while I was gone to make him tell me to leave while he cleaned up. As they were leaving crazy dude locked eyes with me again and walked away but held eye contact with these bugged out angry eyes but he left, and I looked at my boss and I said, thank you. He said its all good kiddo and that was the night.

I just had to get this off my chest I know it's long and I know that what happened wasn't even that bad but it's just everything else that has gone on with me it threw me. I didn't sleep last night I kept waking up to noises and in my half sleep half dream state feeling like maybe he was on the roof like he found where I lived. It was like I was on guard all night and I drove to class this morning in a fog like haze and usually I listen to my music and have my iced coffee and enjoy my ride, this time I was completely numb and anxious, I still can't shake this feeling. i wish I was normal but it's times like this that give me a jarring feeling of his completely damaged I am. Any insight is really appreciated, thank you.

He also asked me if I was married, when I told him I had a boyfriend he quickly glossed over that and asked where I lived, I just told him "in town"
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Fantastic that you followed you instincts!. I'm sorry it has triggered you so bad but I do understand.
Do you have any grounding and self care techniques you use? Use them and try to calm yourself down.
Be aware of your surroundings and don't think of it as being paranoid.
Think of it as taking care of yourself.
Hope he was just trying to intimidate...and you handled yourself very well with him.
Give yourself credit for paying attention to your feelings.
Maybe your boss will let you work in the back for a little while.
Make sure you tell your T and see what suggestions they make.
Very proud of you!
Thank you everyone. I just feel it was a slip up because I always feel like I'm over exaggerating or being too sensitive I wish I could just blow it off. I feel weak and I feel like everyone at work saw me as weak and dramatic I know I'm probably projecting what I feel about myself onto others. I just carry a lot of shame and I'm really ashamed that this happened.

His friend came in last night again and when I saw him my stomach dropped and I felt sick, luckily the pony tail man wasn't there and the other guy just came in to check if he payed his bill the night before. When I felt sick or react in anyway about something related to my trauma i notice my inner voice is always telling me that I'm faking and it's not real and I'm overreacting. I don't take care of myself I guess.

Thank you all for helping me validate my feelings and that most anyone would be weird about his behavior.
You might feel weak but what you did does not demonstrate that at all.

  • You identified a problem.
  • You recognized a threat.
  • You helped diffuse the situation.
  • You recognized your limits and asked for help.
  • You did right by your employer and yourself.

You did all that despite the fact that you felt weak and fearful. Do you know what that is called?

Courage, ˈkərij/, noun - the ability to do something that frightens one.
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