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My mum is terrified(58 Posts)
I don't know what to do, and if this is normal or of she needs help.
A week ago, my mum was away from home, driving from a restaurant to a hotel. She got a bit lost and was on a pitch dark country lane. She realised there was a vehicle behind her. The vehicle overtook her and then kept braking in front of her. After a bit it suddenly stopped, blocking the road, and a man got out. Pitch dark country lane - my mum was terrified. She didn't stop (thank God) and drove up on the grass verge to get past him. He yelled something at her (she didn't hear what) as she drove past. She then drove off shaking and numb and took a turning, down an even smaller lane, panicking that she was getting herself into a dead end and that he'd follow her. She says she can't remember the drive back but thinks she may have switched off her lights so he couldn't see her. She saw him go past the entrance to the road she'd taken. She got back to the hotel and was badly shaken up.
Two days later, she drove home (a couple of hours away).
I saw her at the hotel and suggested perhaps her brake lights were out and he was trying to warn her. She's had the car checked and it's all working fine, no problems.
I just phoned her, a week later, and she was in floods of tears saying that as a result of said incident she is now terrified in her own home, scared to go out in the garden after dark. She said, 'The truth is, that man meant to murder or rape me'. I get that it's a very frightening idea.
She went to the police but they were a bit as she couldn't remember the make, model or colour of the car, didn't get the reg (was in a panic so understand this). She said the police 'made a fool of her' but it sounds like they were just trying to get her to entertain other possibilities (i.e. they suggested that the other driver's car was breaking down and they needed assistance).
She is adamant this person meant her harm. She said she is scared she has angered him by driving off and that he will somehow trace her and come and 'get' her. I reassured her that this is not possible. She said she keeps replaying the incident over and over in her head, that it's there as soon as she wakes up, that she can't sleep, that she wants to sell her car and move house (but can't) and that she 'doesn't want to go on living like this'. She said it several time and it sounded suicidal, but I don't think she'd kill herself. She lives alone. I do not live nearby.
Does this sound like a normal reaction to what she - an older woman - found to be a very frightening incident, or does she sound like she needs a doctor? Not that I'd persuade her to see one - but I really don't know what to do.
I think there is a balance to be struck between acknowledging & validating your Mum's feelings, and providing so much mitigating support that it actually starts to reinforce her fears.
A close relative of mine is a clinical psychologist, and they have always been quite matter of fact about needing to move on and put things behind you.
FWIW, I think it was road rage - some arsehole who didn't deem your Mum's driving to be fast enough. However, even if it was an opportunistic rapist / murderer, she dealt with it really well - she got away. And if she lives some distance away from the incident, it is extremely unlikely that they will make attempts to track her down.
I wonder if you could contact DVLA and discuss with them your Mum's fears about checks being made on the system. I am aware that they can set it so that if a request for info is made, it will create a flag.
This happened to a friend of mine, she was chased and blocked by a car. Her adult son was asleep next to her with his seat flat. She woke him, and he sat up and as soon as he did the other car drove off.
They definitely meant her harm.
I'm so sorry this happened to your mum.
This may sound a bit OTT but I am sure I've read that you can buy the equivalent of a 'blow up doll'- a fake passenger- to put in the passenger seat so that from a distance it looks like a bloke there. Or just buy the doll
How can anyone say it was almost certainly a road rage incident? None of us knows why it happened.
In a typical road rage incident one person believes the other person has done something to cross them, such as cutting in or undertaking. That's why they get out of the car, to insist they were in the right. If someone's just going a bit slowly, they tend to try to push the car out of the way so that they can overtake, but don't tend to get out to argue the point.
This man braked sharply in front of the OP's mum and got out in the middle of a country lane. I don't think that's road rage, personally; I think the driver knew there was a woman on her own.
But in the end none of us knows and that's the problem for her poor mum.
I read your OP and the same episode of crimewatch your mother must have seen came straight back to my mind. Her description is exactly the one of the woman then. It was a good seven years ago. The poor lady was in her late fifties and was driving to work very early was stopped by a van overtaking her vehicle forcing her to stop.
I would be shaken as your mum is now.
I would get her to speak to someone about her fears. I expect it was opportunist rather than about her, but I would be shaken.
Pass her an online well wisher's (((hugs))).
Not long after I started driving I suffered a similar incident, although mine was on a 3 lane road similar to a motorway. The driver waited until I had passed the only garage and one onto a rather desolate stretch. He was wearing a white shirt and a hat like a policeman (I was about 18 at the time, nearly 25 years ago). He steamed up to me, drove alongside me pointed me into the side of the road, when I ignored that, he pulled in front of me and braked. I drove around him (3 lane road) and continued my journey home.
I told my older sister (I had taken her and her son home) and she called the police. They never took a statement. That was a shame because a week later a girl did stop for him.
Please tell your mum how wonderfully she dealt with the situation.
Try to get her to consider some of the measures suggested above.
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