New life, new challenges

This topic contains 9 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 1 month ago.

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  • #48591
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Hi ladies,

    I am in the process of moving house and it’s an exciting time but rather scary with new challenges so I thought I’d share some on here. I hired two men with a van to bring up my furniture. They were efficient and fast and didn’t cost much but when they turned up I suddenly realised they could, if they wanted to, attack and rob me and trash the house. I felt quite scared because one of them in particular had a dodgy rough vibe and the other kept looking at my body. I can’t help having noticeable breasts and hate having to cover my body up just to get respect.

    The rough one was the one that bothered me most though, I think he set off a lot of alarm bells. He was a bit overly friendly, was nosy asking if the current house belongs to my parents, and to my horror said he’d already been in my new place and the place next door as he used to be friends with the people who lived there many years ago! I really hope the area has improved since then as I would not like someone like him as a neighbour. I heard them both make a few jokes at my expense and both had a sexist, disrespectful vibe. It left me feeling that horrible powerless feeling because I couldn’t think how I could get them to treat me with more respect. I’m an educated professional but it seems some of these men treat you badly just because you’re a woman. I think I need to join some feminist organisations as I feel very angry and passionate about the continuing c**p situation for women and girls in the world. Big, big changes are needed so that our sons grow up respecting women and we dismantle this awful system in which men are allowed and even encouraged to be rude, crude, sexist pigs and still have successful lives while women are criticised and ridiculed whatever they do.

    I also had a local man call out of his window at me asking if I needed help moving my things. I thought ‘not a chance in hell mate’ but just said thanks but I’ve nearly finished. No way do I want a random man in my house. It reminded me of how abusers offer help then use it as a hook to attach to you and later use it against you. He may be a perfectly decent man but I tend to think normal men don’t offer help these days as they are worried about being accused of something so the ‘helpful’ ones are often the secret abusers?

    There is also a man that lives across from me who sat on his step with his dog while my mum was cleaning the yard which was a bit weird. My parents chatted to him briefly about the dog and he said he came out because dog wondered what was going on. I’ve seen him before, he seems to be taking a bit too much interest in me and I’ve learnt that is rarely a good thing. Oh dear, I hope I’ve not moved into a neighbourhood of crazy people! It’s not the best area but it’s much nicer and safer than many others and I have a few friends who are professionals near there so I’m hoping it can’t be that rough. I feel like I might already be being targeted by protential abusers, I still seem to attract them. I recently read in a helpful article that said:

    “Abusers target women who come across as unhappy, insecure, desperate, dependent, vulnerable, bored, ill, disabled, lonely, sexually generous, forgiving, meek, isolated, needy, domesticated and apologetic. Even if you are or do none of these things, be wary of appearing that way.”

    Unfortunately I feel I have quite a lot of those traits so no wonder they target me. I’m working on developing myself, my confidence and my social isolation so that I’m less of a target but it’s hard to change your personality and suddenly become super happy and confident after years of feeling depressed and anxious.

    Anyway thanks for listening, when I’m in my new place and feeling scared it’s good to know I have all of you looking out for me. Red flags still confuse me at times so it will be good to get your opinion on different behaviours I encounter.

  • #48622
    Profile photo of backtome backtome 
    Participant

    I’m sorry you had that experience with the moving men, that definitely wouldn’t have helped your recovery.

    Luckily I didn’t have to move as it was my house, but I’ve felt very jumpy since it just being me and my little girl now. I’ve had CCTV cameras installed that I can connect to from my phone so I can check on the house whenever I want to. That’s helping me feel a bit more secure. I would maybe get to know your new neighbours a little too if you can, so that you don’t feel quite so alone.

    Good luck with the rest of the move. x

  • #48647
    Profile photo of lover of no contact lover of no contact 
    Participant

    Good luck with the move and you are right you do have all of us looking out for you. Your posts are very helpful. You have highlighted the red flags we need to be alert to. Awareness is the most important thing to protect ourselves from the abusers we encounter. If we are aware and we keep close tot his Forum that is a good level of protection. I think you handled these various men well. ‘Thanks but no thanks’ is the right response. At the end of the day they are all strangers and they have to earn our trust and that takes time.

    keep posting about the new challenges it is so helpful we all have to tackle this on our own one way or another and we are learning from your experiences.

    You are paving the way for a lot of us.

  • #48657
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    SunshineRainflower, I would observe the neighborhood from the safety of your flat and when you are coming and going and see how people interact with their neighbours generally. Last place I lived was in a kind of rough area but on a really nice street and there was way more interaction between neighbours (in a nice way) than I was used to in a city setting. There was this old guy who watched me cutting my hedge and I was a bit weirded out by it until he called over to me that he had some heavy duty loppers that he could lend me – if I am not around when you are done just chuck them over the fence he said, and then went back to his gardening. And that was normal for that area. My neighbours would wake me up on the bus if they saw me asleep and thought I would miss my stop. The kids played up and down the street. Old men seemed to spend their lives in each others gardens and in that kind of context a man with a dog being nosy about people moving in is normal I think. But if he is the only person you see out and about and everyone else seems to mind their own business then I would be more wary. Of course he could be abusive or just nosy either way. You are the one who has seen him so are in the best position to judge.

    Also, I am not sure how helpful your article was. Obviously in the context of dating it might be useful to know these things, but assuming that you don’t plan on taking up with man and dog you are probably fairly safe. After all most abusers will try and gain our trust and instigate themselves into our lives before hurting us. And they have no way of knowing if you are lonely or unhappy or meek from passing you at the bus stop or whatever. I know it is a scary time, but I think that you are handling it amazingly. Remember time to breathe.

    All the best, Tiffany

  • #48772
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Hi everyone thank you for your replies,

    Backtome, thank you, I have some window and door alarms I am going to try out for security, and am going to sort out some yard lighting which I think will help. It seems most workmen these days are by nature sexist idiots, for future moves I will see if I can book someone with a word of mouth recommendation. I’m tempted to do an honest review online saying they were fast and efficient but could do with learning to treat women with more respect, it’s about time we started standing up to all this continuing sexism and disrespect.

    Love of No Contact, I hadnt thought of it like that, I’m glad that my posts are helpful to others, it’s great that the forum is here so we can support eachother as there is usually someone else around who has experienced something who can help another with the same experience. I will let you all know how it goes once I’ve settled in.

    Tiffany, yes I am moving from a very nice neighbourhood to a not-as-nice but not super rough neighbourhood so I am probably just noticing the different ways people behave there. Where I currently live, nobody would sit on their step or call out from a window in a million years, everyone keeps very much to themselves and there is much more privacy so it felt a bit alarming. I will just wait and see how the neighbours turn out and hope they are ok, but I’m not letting any unknown men do me any favours, I am learning that trust has to be earned not given because someone seems nice and looks ok, I made that grave mistake with my ex.

    Unfortunately I have read in several sources that abusers can identify us and our vulnerabilities very easily. A group of psychologists did a study on how offenders choose their victims after they noticed many offenders mentioned the way a person walks affected their assessment of their vulnerability. Disturbingly, they found that these social predators could identify a previously victimised woman from the way that she walked. It was published in a criminology journal. They likened it to the way predatory animals in the wild choose their prey. For me I find it helpful to be aware of what makes me vulnerable so that I can work on those things. I don’t want to be paranoid, but I have attracted several of these predatory types over the years due to childhood emotional abuse so it is something that definitely concerns me moving forward, hopefully counselling and working on my social isolation and confidence will help deter them combined with taking longer in my assessment of new people and not trusting them before they have earnt it.

  • #48804
    Profile photo of Freedoms Freedoms 
    Participant

    I’m afraid that I have heard all these things about how men can see we are vulnerable and seek us out, but please don’t think that this happens all the time. Studies are limited in their efficiency in that they are all carried out in a manner that means that they can be disproven. On my part, I have made a few men really angry by saying that I would never trust a man again, seeing as the love of my life hurt me so. I now give off total ‘don’t even look at me vibes’ which has funnily enough made me feel safe. Only problem is I’ve ended up with a weight problem that I want to solve but then don’t in case men start looking at me again.

    Please don’t let your initial experiences put you off. You know that you need to be careful who you let into your life, but try to have confidence that you are going to be able to live life once more. Its a long journey and you need to give yourself time to get used to your new situation. I do hope that once you have settled in you will discover that things are not as scary as you originally thought.

  • #48807
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply Freedoms.

    Unfortunately yesterday the man who had offered to help me unpack the other day suddenly appeared when I was bringing some things into the house. It was dark and I heard the same ‘excuse me’ and to my horror he had opened his entire front room window and put himself on the outside of the window. I could hear dogs barking in his house and smell canabis. He looked about 30. Again he offered to help, it gave me such a fright! It seems very inappropriate to stick yourself out of the window in the dark offering help, especially to a lone woman you don’t know when it has already been refused. When I said ‘thanks but no thanks’ he said ‘well you know where I live if you need any help.’ Maybe he’s just a bit socially clueless about approaching women in the dark, who knows, but it scared me again and made me jumpy.

    I’m just going to practice keeping firm boundaries up with these people. Unfortunately I seem to scare off the normal men by looking a bit hostile, but this seems to actually attract the predatory types and weirdos. I think I’m too polite too. Time for a different aproach, I have had it with these creepy men approaching me, there is no way he’d have done that had I been a 6 foot big burly bloke. I have been stalked three times now, once while at university (followed around, waited for outside the bathroom, roses and notes left outside my door by a total creep, then by a former work colleague who used to email me late at night asking me weird questions about my ethnicity before asking me out in a creepy covert way by email, and most recently by my ex who harassed me by phone, email, text, social media and the post and only stopped when the police got involved.)

    Really hoping that by going through therapy I can heal my core wounds and mend whatever it is that attracts these creeps to change this pattern once and for all.

  • #48816
    Profile photo of Ladyglittersparkles Ladyglittersparkles 
    Participant

    I think there’s some men who are attracted to the rabbit caught in the headlight look.
    Some men are put off by it.

    Your guard is up and rightly so. You’ve been through a traumatic experience. And your doing something that’s a big step for anyone. Moving is not easy.
    I was a rabbit in the headlights for a long time.
    I still have moments, as apposed to days or weeks of it now.

    It’ll take time to heal. Recover.

    I’m steering clear of all outsiders till I’m more emotionally resilient.
    And do things to aid my healing process.
    I’ve friends and family for support.
    I suggest you welcome your support network round with open arms.
    Feeling safe and secure is priority. Do what you feel is needed to attain it

  • #48823
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply Ladyglittersparkles,

    Your post reminded me of another article I read about men who like to ‘chase bunnies’ and how its important not to be a bunny if you don’t want those sorts of men to be attracted to you.

    I think I was taught and socialised to be a bunny/rabbit in the headlights when I was young and it’s a hard thing to change. Growing up I remember hearing my brother and dad discuss women. I remember that my brother would be horrible about girls who were fat/had short hair/wore glasses/were masculine so I internalised that I needed to be slim, have long hair and be pretty and feminine at all times to be liked and accepted. Because I was always bullied by my brother and boys at school, I desperately wanted them to like me so I became the slim, long haired pretty girl and sure enough started to get attention from boys/men and approval from girls/women for my conformity. Unfortunately I then noticed that even being like that meant that men wouldn’t respect you, treat you well or even like you, they just wanted to f**k you. I was so confused by their warped mindsets and their hypocrisy. It always felt (and often still feels) like a lose-lose situation for women. For example, you can be the young slim pretty girl, but that doesn’t mean they won’t cheat, and as soon as you get fat or old then you will be replaced. It has always made me so depressed because I’ve always just wanted one, faithful man to love and who loves me but I often wonder if someone like that doesn’t, exist, that maybe they are just all unfaithful, cowardly hypocrits deep down.

    I’m not quite sure how to stop being a bunny/rabbit in headlights but I agree that I need to because it keeps attracting these dreadful predators and repelling any decent men. Unfortunately I don’t have a good support network at the moment which is adding to my vulnerability, just a few old school friends who operate on a mostly shallow level and are impatient with me if I talk honestly about things, but I plan to try out some new social groups as part of the fresh start. It’s good to have awareness of this sort of thing now, and the next steps is to go about changing it as I can’t bare for the pattern to keep repeating itself the way it has my whole life.

  • #48826
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    Oh SunshineRainflower, how I can relate to that conditioning into looking feminine. I never got it from my parents but my abuser put it on in spades. I cut my hair short when I left and this week I had a panic that men wouldn’t be attracted to me now my hair is short. I had to be firm to remove that voice from my head and remind myself that if the only reason a man is attracted to me is because I have thick waist length hair then I don’t actually want anything to do with that man. Dresses are harder as I really do find them much more comfortable than trousers, but I am trying to make the effort to dress more for myself and less for others at the moment.

    Good luck with building your social networks. I can recommend highly saying yes to every offer (within reason). You may find that more people like you and want to spend time with you than you expect. It takes a bit of guts to put yourself out there, but it is so rewarding. When I first left my abuser I said yes to absolutely everything and I had so many fun experiences – from watching roller derby, to playing board games to going to the park with three year olds. It’s been harder since moving in with my parents, but I have played music with world class musicians, gone to yoga classes, and accidentally gotten a second job! I have also started reaching out to friends who I lost in the abusive period and am amazed at how many of them have made so much space for me in their lives.

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