I used to be bossed around a lot by people and their bodies. I mean this in a certain way. Well actually in every way, but for the purposes of this post, I mean it in a certain way. I would be on my bike, or walking, or in a store and someone would want to push me along, out of their way, move, quick, quick, quick. I think this is a survivor issue.
So many times when I have been on the bus I have had people trying to lean or rest against me, repeatedly bump into me, or plop their fat up against me and with my chronic back issues and chronic pain, it is excruciating. I am not a Barcolounger! I spend most of my bus time trying to avoid others and sit in the couple of spots on the bus where I don’t go through this. With the smaller more energy-efficient buses that is a hard thing to do.
So many times I cannot count I have had drivers in cars get in my way, get too close, cut me off, honk at me, all at times when I am legally walking or driving my bike. Often it is very scary and I feel as though they are trying to kill me, because they are so self-obsessed and so uncaring for others. Let me say I have such road rage and routinely swear out drivers. I am trying to stop doing that. The best I can say that I have stopped yelling I hate drivers, I hate you all, over and over.
I have often speeded up to get through an intersection and sprained or pulled a muscle. It has happened to easily. My health issues are such that it can happen. I still worry about it, though I don’t get injured so much now that I am gluten free. After the last injury, biking fast through an intersection while a car was trying to turn where my bike was, caused me to decide not to ever go fast again in order take better care of myself.
I’ve been in stores when I was shopping for groceries and been told to move by staff and customers. This has really gotten to me lately. There were two incidents that were the end of my patience in this area.
One memorable incident was at a Target store by a staff teenage boy with some apples in his hands who insisted that I move so that he could put the apples down at the apple area where I was standing. Well if you have ever been in an apple area in a store you know there is usually plenty of room to get at things without making a customer move. There was. I went to find a store manager and let them know that I was not going to buy apples and why.
Another was when I was downtown at the Target store, with a store cart, near the milk section trying to find the 2% milk so I could grab a gallon of it and put it into my cart. In that store they have pillars in the way and only one cart can go by at a time. This man, who acted like he did not know English very well, gestured for me to move. I thought he wanted to get through and since I have moved for everyone all my life, out of courtesy, even though I was trying not to move for others anymore, I moved. He didn’t want to get by me, he wanted milk, stopped where I had been, looked over the milk and picked out his choice, while I had to wait, fuming. I said to myself never again.
Since then, I refused to move. I am in a space, I am taking up that space, I refuse to be more kind to someone else than I am going to be kind to myself. I wait many times at the grocery store for others, they can wait for me as well, or go somewhere else, or shop another aisle or walk all the way around. I know that I have done all the above many times.
One incident was at a used store and a guy trying to get by the used cds where I was looking, a space of about six feet long. He wanted me to move my cart, so he could look at the cds as well. I moved it a bit, but he soon wanted me to move again. I told him no. He grabbed my cart and tried to move it out of the way. I held onto it and said no. He said surely you don’t need it there. I said yes I am disabled and I need to lean onto it. I told him he could go or wait.
Then there was this grocery store incident here.
That is when I started to notice that I was often at the grocery store between six and seven pm and deciding not to go there at that time anymore. I believe that people are angry, tired, and hungry and that comes out with some of the rudest behavior I have seen in the last two years.
I was at Target again recently and a staff person was walking towards me very fast. I was standing still in an aisle looking at things. She got behind me and I hate that. She leaned over and pressed her body against my back. Being touched by people is a big trigger, especially when they come up behind me, touch my back or butt, and especially when they are staff.
I got really mad and told her I had a back disability and did not want to be touched. She did not say she was sorry, she did not act like she cared. I swore twice at her and was very very upset. It is not okay for staff to act like this. I was so mad and really I am still mad. I am going to call and complain.
I shouldn’t have to say that I have a back disability to get people to back off. It is none of their business and I don’t want to share anything with people with no boundaries. They should know to have better behavior in public.
So I don’t move quickly or jump out of the way for others.But that seems to be provoking even worse behavior from them. I want to figure out what to do about this. Because I know that others do not treat everyone like this. What this has all taught me is that so many people have no personal boundaries and have no respect for others. Sad, they are so sad.
Having a back disability makes it hard for me to look strong and empowered. I want this to get better. I want others to give me my body space. I would walk pulling the cart behind me, but with my back injury I need to push the cart and rest some of my weight on the cart handle. I need to review what Cesare Millan, the Dog Whisperer, says about personal space and try to implement that more in my life.
It sounds as though you have come across some less-than-decent folks in your shopping experiences, but it also seems like you are moving in the right direction and beginning to be more aware that your space counts too!
Thanks. I did call today and complain about that person. Yes my space counts too. I just haven’t figured out how to communicate that to others. Though I still believe that it is their job to be aware of that and not mine to point it out to them. I really hate being space invaded. Thanks for your comments. It means so much.
Good and healing thoughts to you.
This is so distressing, Kate — I can imagine how you feel, and I agree completely that it is unacceptable. One thing that occurred to me, as far as your experiences in stores, etc., is that you might consider, before leaving your house, really focusing on envisioning yourself surrounded by an energy shield or personal space force field. I had to do this myself a few years ago, and it really changed how people did or didn’t see my spatial boundaries. Might be worth a try.
Thank you. I used to do that, though I don’t think that it made much of a difference. Things have changed and so it might have more of an impact now. I need to start doing it again and see if I need to alter or add to that method. There are a couple of Reiki things that I think I can add to help with that as well. Thanks for the good reminder to do that. I really needed it.
Good and healing thoughts to you.
Hi Kate, I’m sorry about all the A-holes you’ve been encountering. I do understand how important your personal space is… it’s a huge deal for me too. I know it’s not a big deal to everyone.. For instance my husband and my son could care less about having personal space. It doesn’t bother them at all to have someone right in their face or practically on top of them. Me, on the other hand, most of the time I can’t take it. Of course, it would be more of a problem to those who grew up having their personal space constantly violated to the point that it couldn’t even be claimed as their own. Your post reminded me of something my therapist always tells me “you deserve to take up time and space”. I have to remind myself that often and make myself speak up. Just wanted to say I can relate and I enjoy your blog very much.
Thank you for your comment. My mother used to tell me that I don’t deserve the food I eat, I don’t deserve the air I breathe, I don’t deserve the space I take up. So being treated with disrespect in these areas are particularly triggering for me. I understand how unwanted touching can be a trigger for survivors. As well as the added pain and potential injury surrounding this type of behavior to my body.
I just cannot imagine living a life where I am so dissociated and disconnected from my own body that I slam into other people. I have never done that. I cannot imagine behaving like that.
I like what your therapist says. I am glad that you remind yourself of that and speaking up. That is great.
Thanks for reading and commenting. It is great to get to meet and talk to another reader here. Good and healing thoughts to you.
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