Potential trigger warning due to an unsafe situation. No violence.
It has always been very important to me that I feel safe. I need to feel safe in my surroundings and safe with those I talk to. Feeling unsafe causes immediate retreating in myself. With that being said, I realized that when it comes to being in a situation that feels unsafe, I have not made many strides to control it. I can say this because I was in this situation a few weeks back. I havent told anyone about it because I know what most reactions will be. Many will think I was foolish even to the point of being completely stupid and endangering myself. The situation happened when I went to the store after taking my sister to work. It was about 1130 pm and the store is less than 2 mins from my home by car, 5 mins if I were walking. There were 2 men, one about 50-60 years old and the other late 20s to early 30s. Both men I saw walking to the store as I pulled up and could immediately tell that they had been drinking. They were not fall down drunk but the smell of alcohol was intense. This is a major issue for me. The strong smell of alcohol just makes me feel uneasy. Anyway, they are right in front of me in line purchasing more alcohol and I cant wait to get away from them. The older man says 'Hey beautiful' to me. Again, feeling very uneasy and uncomfortable. They exit the store and I follow shortly afterwards. I proceed to my car which I am grateful is parked right in front of the door so I can make it safely there. I have a bad habit of unconsciously unlocking all of my doors when I get in my car. It is a horrible habit that I developed almost 18 months ago. Not sure why I began this but I do it. Anyway, the older gentleman approaches my passenger door and asks for a ride. Before I can respond with a no, he has already opened my door and is halfway in. he tells the younger one, who it turns out is his son, to get in the back. I am stunned but I do not say anything. The alcohol smell is overwhelming and now I can only pray silently that they are not going far. They are making conversation with the father telling the son to be quiet because he is the type of drunk that talks a lot and is very friendly. All I can think is I am now in a situation that could end badly for me. No one knows where I am. Everyone is asleep and my sister is at work with no vehicle. There is nothing anyone can do if this all went wrong. I pray silently for protection. I drop them off in a neighborhood not far from the storm but in the opposite direction of my home. Once they are out of the car, I can feel the panic and my body shaking. I take a few deep breaths and make it home and climb into bed and curl into a ball. This situation could have easily turned out to be something different.
What it showed me is that when it comes to being placed into an unsafe situation especially with men I have not changed at all. I still comply. I comply knowing all that I know now and knowing the world that we live in and the people that live in my area. I said nothing and did nothing. I didnt even text or make a call to someone that would be able to call for help if something went wrong. I just went along because I feared what would happen if I didnt. At first I thought that I may have purposely placed myself in this situation because I wasnt in the best place before going to the store. But I didnt feel as I normally do when I seek danger to cause harm to myself without doing it myself. This was a case of actual fear and panic that if I said no that it would make the situation worse and I just wanted to get home. So how well am I really protecting myself? When it really counts, I cannot keep myself safe. I had so many options in this situation. I could have said no and to get out of my car. I could have gotten out with my keys and went back in the store and told the store owner. I could have even called the police if they didnt get out. I did none of these things. I did what I always have done. I complied. Had this turned into a physical confrontation, I know I would have complied again. I would have never spoken a word to anyone about what happened. There would be no police involved. I would have never gone to that store again even though it is the closest to my home. I would have done the same as I did so many years ago and on too many occasions.
When I was hospitalized for threatening suicide at 13, it was the first time I told anyone a part of what happened. It was another girl, my roommate there. She told another girl who then mentioned it to me.The 2nd girl never mentioned it to any of the staff even after they came in to find out what caused the terrible screaming. The found me crying and rocking in a corner. They walked me out to a padded room for fear I would become violent. On my way out the room I saw the first girl and she seemed to be smiling as if she was proud of herself. While I sat in that padded room for 30 mins rocking and crying I realized that people are not safe either. I vowed that I would never ever let them see me that way again. The staff came to get me out and took me aside to see if I would talk about what happened and why I was screaming. I told them I was fine and there was nothing to worry about. I am sure they didnt buy it but there was no way I was ever going to tell them because they were not safe people. Although the staff told my psychiatrist at the time, I again refused to speak about it. She would surely tell my parents and I would be stuck in this place with these backstabbing people for longer plus having to deal with my family. They would never let me out if that happened.
This saddens me a great deal. I felt like if I was in trouble, that I would tell someone immediately. i would find the person I trust enough who can walk through the process with me. i would do things very different than before. I have slowly begun to feel safer with a few people.But that was all me living in a fantasy world. It was an illusion. I couldnt even prevent them from getting in my car. There is no way that I would have said anything if things had been worse. So now what do I do? What can I do? The only option I can see is to remain in my home unless I am with someone else. To not engage in any outside activity because home is the place I feel the safest. I can turn on the alarm and bring the dog in. I can keep a weapon near me if something were to happen. Aside from these posts, I have stopped most conversations about what happened. Right now it is down to one person and that is to keep me from doing harm to myself. Where I was starting to feel some safety, I feel like all of that has taken 2 steps back. I will never feel safe. The triggers have been more intense since this last incident. I am hoping to keep this detail up because this doesnt feel safe which makes the title of the blog a lie. How do you let someone behind your wall when you only feel safe because the wall keeps others at a distance.