Drunk is a Trigger

Drunk is a trigger for me. Has been probably all my life. It is almost all due to my father, the alcoholic and all his drunk alcoholic work buddies. I recently had a memory of one of them trying to sexually offend against me once when I was in elementary school, so that might be a big issue in that as well. Perhaps there is more there than I have been able to remember so far.

To me my father always seemed to be at work, asleep, or drunk all weekend, so there was few incidents of parenting and even less of kindness or expressions of love when I was a child.

He was often emotionally wounding and cruel to me. I never could figure that out as a child and I often wondered why he couldn’t manage to be kind and loving to me, except rarely. Perhaps more surprising was the fact that I knew how to be loving and kind and that I was always seeking it from others. I guess that says something about my heart and nothing about my parents’ hearts.

So my weekends were often one big drunk fest. My father would come home late on Friday, drunk, falling down, and screaming at people, sometimes just screaming at no one. It used to terrorize me. Saturday and Saturday night were often repeats of the same, except often with drunk friends over at the house, with Sunday being sport watching while drinking constantly.

I blame my father for a lot of the responsibility of protecting me. He married a sexual offender and and then he stayed drunk most of my childhood. My mother, being a child sexual offender, hardly cared about keeping me safe from other predators. If he hadn’t been an alcoholic, he might have been a better human being, though perhaps not. Perhaps he would have been even crueler and cared even less for me or about me. Perhaps his obliviousness and self-pity would have been even worse. Nothing guarantees that he would have chosen to be a better person and a better parent.

So I suppose you can all see why drunks would be a trigger for me. In my childhood the triggers often accompanied terror and feelings of abandonment, followed by bursting into tears that were uncontrollable, often I tried to do my crying alone. This would happen even when I was a teenager.

I’ve been very upset to find that living downtown the last couple of years means that a lot of drunks hang around, all times of the day or night, apparently, because I have been running into them a lot lately at all hours of the day or night. There are a lot of bars downtown and that seems to be a draw for drunks, but also a large number of drunk men seem to hang out downtown, some are obviously homeless and others homeless and alcoholics. Despite my avoiding them as much as possible, giving them dirty looks when they get too close or avoiding eye contact, they still seem to think it is okay to street harass me. They come up to me and start talking to me, asking for money, staring at me like they are eye humping me, or trying to insult me.

A few weeks ago I was downtown near the Target store at seven am Sunday morning. A white guy came up to me and tried to start talking to me, couldn’t walk straight or talk without slurring his words. This after my avoiding him and avoiding eye contact with him. He said, hello my dearie, hello my miss, hello my ma’am. I told him, fuck off. I had to say it four times and threaten to call the cops before he finally walked away.

So instead of walking away or avoiding me completely since I had more than adequately communicated my dislike and distain for him and his condition he stood there and wanted to know what it was about me and my ” past experiences” that would lead me to conduct myself in this manner. Rather than blaming himself and his drunk condition, and his conduct at 7 am on a Sunday and going up to a woman and talking to her like she is a vulnerable female who wants to be around a drunk he chooses to believe that her vulgar phrases are due to her and have nothing to do with him.

I told him, I’m not your dearie, I’m not your miss, I’m not your ma’am, fuck off! And then I still had to say fuck off two more times and threaten to call the cops until he walked away, pretending to be really concerned with what it was about my life that leads me to act this way.

My response to drunks who insist on inserting themselves into my life is anger, to be triggered, and a fuck off attitude. I hate men who have no boundaries and refuse to read body language. If a woman is refusing to engage with you from ten feet away and then from five feet away, she wants you to go away. If you smell and are dirty and drunk on the street, and can’t walk or talk straight, she does not want you in her life.

I realize that drunk and invasive men have a long tradition of getting away with a lot of shit downtown, but I am not that woman. It happened tonight a few hours ago. I was sitting downtown, having a snack, and minding my own business. A drunk guy was coming towards me, I looked in another direction while tracking him in my peripheral vision, he slowed and stared at me at ten feet away, he continued going slower at five feet, he got closer to me and started to talk, I ignored him and looked away, while listening to my headphones. He tried to get me to talk to him. I told him, I don’t want to talk to you, he stared at me and continued talking, I ignored him, and he moved away.

About twenty feet away he decided to come back to me to lecture me. I got out my pepper spray so that I had it handy in case I needed it. He continued to talk to me, gesturing that I pay attention, repeating over and over can you hear me, you need to listen to me. I refused to take off my headphones and told him to fuck off. I had to tell him several times.

I know that it wasn’t hugely about me, because I heard him a half block down yelling at another woman, probably demanding money, while she was sitting at an outdoor seating area of a restaurant/bar. She was screaming back at him loudly and repeatedly until he left her. When I finally left the area he was half way between me and the bar, staking out the sidewalk area and waiting to approach women.

I think that this is happening so much because women are not calling the police and these men are not facing any consequences. I don’t understand why more is not being done about this problem. I see them doing this to women day or night. I see women being nice and polite, I’ve done that as a self-defense technique myself for a long time in my life, but it is not something that I choose to do any longer. If I don’t feel safe I just get on my bike and ride away.

Of course there are police cars downtown all the time and usually more than a few other people around, no matter what day or night time it is. I still can’t figure out why someone wouldn’t leave when it is obvious the other person doesn’t want them to be around them, even if they are invasive, rude, and without boundaries. I know I would leave if someone told me to fuck off. I certainly wouldn’t wait around for someone to say it four times.

2 thoughts on “Drunk is a Trigger

  1. Wow…I’m so sorry that you (and women everywhere) have to put up with this disrespectful, invasive, insulting, ridiculous, and threatening nonsense. Drunk people are often scary and unable to understand appropriate boundaries; your reaction seems perfectly appropriate to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you David.

      I think drunken sexual attention is the norm in certain circumstances but think it should never be normalized or accepted in all public venues. It is bad enough in a bar or music venue or party.

      Mostly I see other women trying to be “nice,” but that is not something I will do anymore. If someone is drunk in public I don’t want to interact with them and my body language is saying so loud and clear. They go up to women who are minding their own business, just because they are sitting outside and taking a short break from work.

      I have been shocked and appalled that panhandling has become the norm in so many parts of my hometown as well as very common to me in the suburbs as well. It used to be a rare thing, but it is a daily thing now. If it happens to me, it must happen to most women. I see the panhandlers avoid men and harass women by design.

      I do still give out a few dollars to people in the streets, but try not to, because there are so many of them and they harass people if they don’t have money to spare or don’t want to give them something. To me, that goes beyond panhandling and is definitely street harassment. I believe in helping others, but have little to give away to others, actually none, but I still do sometimes give money out to others, and most of the time end up regretting it within a minute due to their conduct. I have a long tradition of giving to others, mostly with my time and energy through volunteering, but I have drawn some very necessary distinct lines/boundaries. That is good for me.

      While I prefer others have good boundaries I understand that is not as common as I would prefer, still I refuse to let them walk all over mine. I would prefer to be this sweet airy fairy gal, but it is obvious that drunks walk all over that kind of woman, and I am over and done with being treated like that. I wish it was better, but I also think that we all need to do better before it gets better, and that is just the reality of the world that we live in and I accept that. From what I have heard on tv news shows, it is much much worse in even larger cities.

      Thanks for your kind words and kind sentiments. They are much appreciated.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

      Liked by 1 person

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