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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. Wanted to open a new thread since I can't accept more

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Hey Kate. Wanted to open a new thread since I can't accept more than one answer per. I don't know why I let the stuff with church irritate me so much. I guess because I normally spend so much time with all of them. I understand people's curiosity to a point, but it's not like everyone doesn't miss church at some point. I know I come across as very open because I tend to speak my mind and am pretty clear about my opinions. But that's not an accurate perception of me (although it is how I present myself). But this is private. And I think that I should be able to put an "unspoken" prayer request on the prayer list and not have people bug me to death about what it is, as I have dealt with or the past 6 months. I also think that if I want to take a break, it should be fine and I shouldn't be subjected to badgering and either should other people. And why do I have to act happy 100% of the time? I think that some people think they are better friends with me than is the case. But Jim takes it to the extreme. Why does everyone think something is wrong anyway? I don't think I acted like it. I'm just feeling encroached upon. And I'm sure I just upsets me more because of what it is and the fact that I am self conscious. But with Jim, he's been offending me for a long while now and I don't appreciate his attitude. He finally mostly stopped saying sexual things to me. But for instance, he's on the praise team and so is his wife. His wife is good. He not that good but thinks he is. If c doesn't want him to sing one week (even of its not his week), he gets mad. He is always mad at c and calls me the "chosen one.". I am mad about my feeling invaded by Jim right now, but I am also creeped out about his misinterpretation of things. And it upsetse that he is being territorial about me with other people. I just need to stay away from him. C already told me, earlier this week (don't remember why) that of I come back to praise team, he will make sure I'm not on the same weeks as Jim. And now that Debra is back, I don't have to do every week. Oh well. I'll just stay away from him for now and when I go back, I will let p, c, Debra and Jamie run interference for me. He's not on any of their A lists right now. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe it's because I am just angry in general, or maybe because I feel so vulnerable and I feel like he is threatening. I don't know. But when he does something, I will do what you said. I think that's a good idea. I didn't want to give him the while stressed and busy excuse, because I don't want a lecture from him (of all
people) about God and priorities. And I wa afraid if I just said "thanks for your concern, it's nothing I want to share," he would badger me.
I will pay attention to what I feel when I watch those shows. I do think part of it is that I want to be or show myself I can unaffected by it and desensitized. Plus, I just like the forensic stuff and the investigations and have a particular heart for the wrongly convicted or accused. I work led on death row appeals when I was in law school for the state public defender. But watching those things and hearing about that kind of violence doesn't make it seem real usually, or it used to not. Plus, when I hear about what things happen to people and they die, I think it helps me believe that what happened to me couldn't have been that bad because I didn't die. And even when the women didn't die, they obviously reported it and I am amazed they can just talk abou it - and on tv. But it also seems like my Experience wasn't real or wasn't serious because I didn't report it. Also, it may be part of what ive been doing since that happened - focing myself to do (or in this case, watch) scary thibgs to show myself i coyld be brave Does any of that make sense? But I will pay attention to what else I feel.
Well, I'm pretty tired. I think I'll try to go to sleep.
Talk to you tomorrow.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I think Jim's behavior and the interactions at church bother you because it's normal to be bothered by such behavior. Most people react to having someone invade their space, even if it's psychological. He is crossing boundaries by invading your privacy and trying to get information about you that you do not want to share.

People usually have physical and psychological boundaries that are set by what they feel comfortable with. With strangers, we have strong boundaries because we don't know them and therefore protect ourselves. With friends and family, our boundaries are less defined because we have a measure of trust with them and we share a lot more of ourselves (if the relationships are healthy ones, that is). With Jim, you may have opened up initially thinking that he may be a potential friend. But his behavior shows that he lacks the respect needed to maintain the boundary you wish to have with him. You set a friendship boundary and he has turned it into an invasion of your privacy and assumptions about what you are willing to accept from him.

He has crossed a lot of lines, including the sexual boundary, privacy boundary and judgment (psychological) boundaries. He is also crossing them with other people. His behavior with others is a good sign that Jim has serious issues, including possible mental health issues.

So your feelings are very legitimate. Being upset by what Jim is doing is normal. But add to that the feelings you have about your past, being attacked. There could be an added factor because you know what can happen when someone crosses your boundaries and hurts you. I'm not saying that this is a factor for you for certain, just a possibility.

It sounds like watching those shows on TV helps you put a distance between you and what happened to you. TV tends to dramatize and cut out a lot of the struggle that goes with trauma. It makes things seems clear cut and neat. And it can take the most traumatic of situations and make it seem distant, like this happened to someone else. Also, it introduces a drama to what happens but at a distance, like witnessing a car accident. It's fascinating because it is happening to someone else. It also adds a measure of control. You can witness a horrible attack and be totally safe.

It may be that seeing the drama on TV is something you relate to. Although you have accepted that this has happened to you, you may not have accepted it completely. You might be keeping a lot of the emotions at a distance to protect yourself. Seeing these shows can reinforce that feeling, that this is not something that really happened to you or if it did, it wasn't that bad. Letting in the fact that your attack was horrendous and that you could have easily died that night might be too overwhelming right now.

You mentioned that you wanted to know how long you will feel angry. It is hard to tell. It depends very much on how you process what you feel. Anger is a defense. It protects deeper feelings like fear and vulnerability. So as long as you keep working with your feelings and are able to feel fear and vulnerability, you will work through the anger.

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