Today has been especially difficult and confronting for me. Starting in the most unusual and unexpected of ways. I had just walked my dog down by the local river and we were driving home before it was time to set off for my therapy appointment. I saw ahead a woman gesticulating wildly for me to pull over. There were no vehicles ahead or behind me. I could see a Toyota Camry pulled far away towards the river on the other side, this road is a state highway and as such the traffic is fast moving. But along the river are walkways. And at various spots spaces for cars to pull off and park safely out of the way. I assessed that it didn’t seem to be a break down as the hood wasn’t up on the Camry and no one appeared to be looking over the car. I saw one large male with two large aggressive dogs and he looked angry. I put the window down on the passenger side unsure of what I was driving into. The woman was shaking, clearly terrified, she told me the men were fighting. I asked if she was ok and if she had called the police. She was and she hadn’t. I told her to get inside my car to be safe. She was shaking too much to call the police. So I did it, as it’s the hands free kit it’s quite audible from the outside, so the male came storming over demanding to know if I was calling the police. Then the second man appeared from nowhere and they started off again. Occasionally coming over to my car to bang on the windows or at one point open the doors to shout their sides of the story. My newly acquired passenger was visibly shaken and struggled to give verbal observations to the police communications, for some reason I was calm and felt able to describe the men and their actions. When the police finally arrived on scene the woman thanked me and I left. It wasn’t until I’d driven about five minutes down the road that I suddenly felt like passing out.
I think of this poor woman’s face and body language. Her genuine terror and desperate need for help. She shouldn’t have had to witness that. I think about the out of control aggression shown by the two men. How instinctively I didn’t speak to either of them, look directly at either of them, just focused on giving the information to the police communications officer. I was able to stay present. Give the registration of the Camry quickly in case he drove off.
After I had dropped my dog home and driven to my therapy appointment I talked to her about what had happened. But quite rightly she told me that I wasn’t talking about the emotions attached to it. It’s difficult for me to identify emotions when things happen. Partly because I want to shove them deep down and not handle them or feel them. But also because I’m scared of my own feelings.
I was able to talk about how seeing aggressive men reminds me a lot of my abusive ex boyfriend. How there is an element of thinking when exposed to that anger; well, what’s the worst that can happen?
I talked quite candidly about how he was the first person I ever really talked to about what had happened to me. How I had trusted him to care for me and keep me safe. But somewhere along the line that relationship had changed. The way he treated me was uncaring and unkind. Unfortunately the more detail I went into, eventually I began to disassociate. But even then as my therapist said today, I have diminished those things. And I have. I can’t see the things he did as being ‘that bad’ – I just can’t.
Facing aggressive men is always going to be a trigger for me. I hate drunk men. I don’t even like it when my husband gets drunk. I try to avoid those situations. But it happens, especially as I’m an assertive woman and there’s still a lot of men that don’t like that. So I hold my ground and seem tough, but as soon as I’m alone I crumble and break.
Therapy was difficult today because I opened up more about some of my painful experiences. I might not have done that had I not have had that encounter on the roadside.
Tonight as I write this I feel quite numb and I’m writing to clear my mind of the jumbled thoughts. I can only think that in the next couple of days things will catch up with me. I just hope it’s not too rough.