Trying to change patterns. what is it about me?

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I hesitate to write this because it screams of #metoo and that's not the point.

All things considered I don't consider this a "me too" moment. I consider this problem associated with ME. Something wrong with how I live, how I work, how I respond to people on a regular basis that puts me in a place where people like this person feel that they can act - however slyly they think they are doing it- in an inappropriate manner.

Let me start off by explaining:
I'm the only woman in a sea of guys. I put up with a lot of BS because I know that's all it is: BS. It's harmless and because I tend to allow for a certain level of BS the guys feel free to pull out the 'that's what she said' level of jokes and relax a bit. It helps with the ease with which I can interact with them. That stuff might be inappropriate or labeled as sexual harassment by most of the world. For them, I know it's like telling a knock knock joke. They don't even think about it. It's just something to say that makes everyone chuckle for a second. If I start down the road yelling sexual harassment, I KNOW how it plays out (too many of us in this industry have dealt with that kind of thing) I get labeled as a troublemaker both by my HR department and the local. I need to keep the local on my side.

You'd think working in an environment like this my entire career that I wouldn't find myself so confused and at a loss about what to do

There is one older guy: he's one that my male BOSS said he didn't trust (for different reasons). I have caught him looking at me, and it was this funny sort of look that I couldn't place so I asked him what was wrong. He said nothing. He was just taking it all in and added 'you know you like that'

I turned red, I heard myself laugh a nervous laugh and smile and he grabbed my arm (why do people ever think it's ok to grab someone's arm?)and I know I stiffened and walked away. Since then, there's been a number of times that he's given me a look that made me uncomfortable but never did anything OVERTLY inappropriate. It's been things like, sliding up beside me and standing too close. Anything to get in my 'bubble'. And looks that make me feel like I need to take a shower.

I've gotten to where I just avoid him entirely.

The thing is, this isn't the first time: even here at this new place. There's been a couple of other guys who have made me terribly uncomfortable. Historically, there's the guy who worked at the convention center, the donor who cost me a job, and a number of other interactions that weren't as long lived and onerous.

Forget 'Me Too' for a moment. There's plenty of blame to shove at people for their behavior. What I want to do is to make me appear as less... vulnerable? easy a target? less likely to retaliate? I want to understand what I did to make this person feel that they could start behaving in this manner. How to make it stop. How to never let it happen again. It's a pattern in my life that I'm beginning to see and I can't figure out how to make it stop. I honestly feel like I have a target painted on my forehead or a sign pinned to my back that says 'you can f*ck with this one'

My therapist insists that I make it clear where the line is. The thing is, the damage has been done. In that one interaction. And I know it. He's already sized me up and drawn his own conclusions about what he can or can't get away with.

So what is it about ME? How do I change this going forward? How DOES someone change things here without making a scene? Or is that all that's left to me now?


I know for me, I call it when it first happens.. I have a quick wit, but it has some power and meaning behind it.. and that boundary is set. And it usually comes down to some men seeing kindness or not being ball busters, as weakness... we are not responsible for how they see us as women... we are responsible for setting a very firm boundary. ..

You can practice things you would like to say. You can write things down for different situations, and see what you feel would be you speaking your truth, and then not giving a damn what the reaction is... It's the world we live in... I would rather be seen as a ball busing bitch, as opposed to easy prey... it doesn't always have to be ugly or aggressive, but your words can get your line to not be crossed again, over to the person making you uncomfortable...

We rarely get to make a stand, regardless of how nice or aggressive we have to get, without being called names and certain pushback and gossip... eventually your boundaries will start to be respected, if not respected, then at least adhered to... it's rare to set a boundary with anyone that it's met with joy and happiness on their part.. that is not your concern... saying NO means NO... how ever it is right for you..

Just practice what you would like to say and how you would like to do it... you have a right to be around people and not feel you need to take a shower !!!!


I struggle with a pattern in another type of setting where I know I’m not responsible for other’s behavior and yet I do something to run into the same pattern over and over. I don’t have great answers myself.

But, I read this article recently by the New York Times recently that talks about this a bit. Basically, they link to 6 commercials about what is sexual harassment were made to help the public understand what is and isn’t not harassment. The New York Times then put together a handful of experts to analyze one of the examples of sexual harassment, and what someone can do or say to stop it. The suggestions are pretty good.

She Cat

Policy Enforcement
It’s never too late to start with boundaries. I don’t care what he thinks or how long it’s been. If it were me, I wouldn’t have put up with it from day one, but had I and I got sick of it..... I’d have no problem setting things straight with him....


For me, it’s been developing a seriously “Dont f*ck with me” look, I can literally stop a man at 10 paces and most don’t realky try it on. If that doesn’t work and he’s getting too close I’ll make a jokey “personal space” type comment and if it continues I’ll simply tell him to not touch me.

There’s not much you can do about “those” looks, except develop a withering look of your own, I find a slow full up and down body scan with a very straight face does the trick. And in response to “you know you like that” I’d be saying something like “not so much” or “actually I don’t”. Not screaming sexual harassment but setting a clear boundary. It’s hard because I know what workplaces can be like but if you’re uncomfortable it’s ok to pull up the shutters a bit.


I want to understand what I did to make this person feel that they could start behaving in this manner
My fellow control freak!!! :inlove:

Let’s look at this statement right here for a moment.

You didn’t.

Doesn’t matter if runnin from a predator kicks in their prey response. It’s THEIR prey response.

Or let’s go back to my favorite bank analogy ;) Doesn’t matter how tempting a target the bank is, it still takes a bank robber to rob it.

So he’s an asshole, & you didn’t make him that way, you simply have to deal with him.

Some days? Will be better than others. You work with this guy, so there are going to be days where you’re backing him down left and right without blinking, days where he’s not up to the effort of being a jerk (or minding his manners, and being extra prickish), days where you don’t have it in you to deal with him. Everything in between.

Over time a pattern will develop. And you’ll be backing him down for most of it. Because you’re you, and you kick ass & don’t take shit.

Just because you have a bad day or bad moment? DOESNT make you responsible for his behavior. He is. 100%. You ain’t his mama, you didn’t raise him, you are not responsible for his choices. He was a jerk, it got to you. He saw that. He liked it, rather than -oh shit, I went too far, dammit- that the rest of your crew would probably knee jerk into. Because they’re decent blokes, and he’s not.

Just because he got to you once? Doesn’t make him all powerful. He’s just a prick. And it doesn’t mean that the next day, or the next moment, you won’t be right back to putting him in his place.


I was working back when it was expected to be groped and harassed at work, but one day someone grabbed my boob and I said, "Would you like to remove your hand, or shall I break it off for you?" I was very fit and everyone knew it at work, so even though it wouldn't fly today it did then. Another time I was sitting at the roller skating rink and this older guy with tight pants kept thrusting his pelvis at me. I told him in a bored voice, " You don't impress me, I work with horses". Everyone laughed at him and he went away. You know, most of the time I took it, but when it got to a certain point, my mouth took me places I wouldn't normally go.


Maybe I’m just a complete pansy, but in the workplace? I shy away from provocative responses to provocative behaviour. Sometimes (not often) it stops the behaviour, often it just gives the person motivation to keep egging you on. Or fodder for gossip at your expense.

But after the fact? In the workplace I always like to behave, well, professionally. Regardless of how childish or inappropriate the people around me might be.

I don’t have to respond to looks. I don’t have to give them any attention at all.

When someone goes beyond that, and starts saying things that are inappropriate? “Don’t talk to me like that”. And move on.

It’s not the stuff of action movies. But in the workplace I just want to be recognised as being professional and good at my job. Confrontation isn’t really my bag, and even though maybe it makes some people feel like a bit of a hero in the moment? It’s not always a great idea to match inappropriate behaviour with more inappropriate behaviour when you’re in the workplace.


I’ve been around this bush a few times: it happened so many times that there must be something about ME. I must send off a signal about being an easy target. My therapist doesn’t tolerate blaming myself for the choices and actions of others. But once we can peel back that relentless scab, there are some things I work on. We discovered that my experiences with developmental trauma stunted my education in healthy boundaries.

Though I can feel/sense my boundaries being crossed, by the time I can identify and articulate it, many more have been stomped. When I “see” what I understand to be the first boundary violation, other people have already seen 10+. Folks don’t always use that language and they’re frequently unaware of lifelong boundary training they naturally uphold. This makes it difficult to communicate about!

It’s never my or your fault when someone violates our boundaries! And...we can work diligently on learning the healthy boundaries skills we somehow missed along the way. This can help us deflect at least the laziest predatory behavior in early stages.


Is this not pretty much exactly what the Times up movement IS about? Discomfort is workplace?
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