Threat Levels

Man. Ever tried to get through April Fools day with 120 11 and 12 year olds? It is not fun.

Work is taking over my life, as it normally does this time of year. Our state testing is coming up and I am stressing out big time. I'll be spending much of my free time tutoring kids after school in hopes of getting them where they need to be. I will be a mess until I get their results back in late May. I am worried this year... I know my numbers will not be as good as they were last year.

My session Tuesday went well. We talked about my reaction/responses/thoughts about men and how it affects my life. I'm always hyper-vigilant. I don't make eye contact, sit directly next to or across from men [I don't know] or instigate conversation. Avoidance is the name of the game with me. When I have the opportunity to observe people in a safe environment (church, work, with friends, etc) I eventually can tone down the hyper-vigilance and start incorporating normal interaction. How long it takes me to do this depends on their threat level.

Let's take the TSA perspective on this...

Low: Any male under the age of 21. Family members. The elderly.

Guarded: Male friends of friends, regardless of relationship status. Married male co-workers.

Elevated: Married men with strong personalities and/or large/intimidating stature. Single co-workers.

High: Single men, regardless of age. Older men (50's) with similar looks/build/personality of my abuser.

Severe: Single men with strong personalities and/or large/intimidating stature.

Obviously if someone is setting off a severe threat to me, I am very unlikely to respond/acknowledge them, especially when alone. While I did not have something as cut and dry as this to discuss with A, we both agreed that I need to start at the bottom and work my way up. Start trying to acknowledge and change my reactions with the low/guarded people quicker than I normally would. Still listen to my instincts, but push myself. I'm finding that my instincts are a lot more reliable than I give them credit for.


Between The Minds ~ The Beehive said...
April 1, 2010 at 9:20 PM

I totally could have written this post - this describes how I feel about males. Now that I am in a place in my life where I should be dating, this part of me really drives me crazy because I have this overactive part of my brain that almost fears any male coming within 100 feet of me. I hope that one day both of us will be able to overcome this and begin to trust our instincts. Thanks for sharing!

Bernie said...
April 1, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Lily this is the first time I have seen the chart used in this way. I think your t has a good idea starting at the bottom and work your way through that stage then on to the next. It will work out sweetie, just takes time. Most
men are wonderful creatures, not perfect by any means but really wonderful.....Happy Easter my young friend.......;-) Hugs

Paula said...
April 2, 2010 at 2:32 AM

Oh Dear, I can relate so much. I used boxes for teh same thing. Boxes in my mind. During recent therapy the t took out the boxes and with integrative bodypsychotherapy we worked our way to the core point. For some it is threat, for some trust for others it is another core point which makes this behaviour happen. Through many tears I learned it is trust for me, simply because this issue progressed and spread to friends, co-workers to men or women alike.Now I start to trust, actually starting with myself. So many areas effected, so man to do, but I am proof too that it works. I can be done. 4 months ago I never would have thought this would be possible. It works if oyu work it! Hugs to you.

Rhonda said...
April 2, 2010 at 7:10 AM

Oh girl how I relate to you!!! End of the year is almost as bad as Christmas time! The chart is amazing. It definitely makes us think. I pray you have a wonderful Easter and get through your testing! Hugs!

Anonymous said...
April 2, 2010 at 7:48 AM

This is a really good chart and insight that you have.

Just wanted to wish you a Happy Easter. :)


Colleen said...
April 3, 2010 at 12:32 AM

Wanted to come by and wish you a blessed Easter. Hugs.

Harriet said...
April 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Some men are extremely intimidating to me, not due to abuse, I guess just due to being put down and made fun of all through childhood by "popular" and good looking guys. My t is that type of guy, hence the threat level is high for me when I am with him.

Maybe we should volunteer in nursing homes?

sarah said...
April 4, 2010 at 5:38 PM

I hear you...boy do I hear you. I'm not as intimated as I used to be but you're definitely not alone in this. Hang tight. Your total honest inspires me. In your corner...Sarah

Anonymous said...
April 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Thanks for the TSA reference. I like the idea of stratifying people by how much we need to be program focused around them in thinking about our boundaries and what we might say or do. Thanks for the reminder!

Melissa Greene, LPC-MHSP said...
April 11, 2010 at 9:09 AM

I love this! Thanks for sharing it with us.