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Help With This Reaction to A Man (E. Abuse related)

(14 Posts)
TreesAreGreenSkyisBlue Fri 17-Feb-17 16:27:38

Work means I am forced to have dealings with this person. I am unable to not deal with him so pls just take that as read. For lots of reasons, it is not an option to avoid dealing with him.

So as not to drip feed, this is an ex bf/fwb who was emotionally abusive to me and caused me a lot of tears, pain and upset.

Whenever he calls me or I have to see him I feel slightly sick and panic-ridden. I'm not like this in life normally at all. In fact no other person has ever affected me like this.

For example, when the receptionist calls my phone and she says "X on the phone for you" in that moment my heart starts racing and I feel sick. I dread speaking to him.

This is all from a long time ago. I am happily married and this is not a "still in love with him thing" at all.

In a work sense it is very unhelpful, because I find it difficult to think straight when dealing with him.

I'm scared of him kicking off and being verbally cruel to me (as he used to do) but he hasn't done that in a work context for a long time.

What is this reaction? Does it have a name? And what can I do to get rid of it?

Greaterexpectations Fri 17-Feb-17 16:49:34

I could be wrong but look up trauma bonding

category12 Fri 17-Feb-17 16:58:28

Is there anyway you can take more control over the interactions? I understand you have to deal with him, so can you -

- tell the receptionist you will call him back (only if it would help to have a little time to compose yourself) ,
- plan set responses?
- can you go to email instead?
- can you preempt his calls?

You do have the right to end any calls were he to be anything but professional, so picture yourself doing that smoothly and calmly.

It's a work dynamic now, so allow nothing that wouldn't fly between any other work acquaintance.

Heratnumber7 Fri 17-Feb-17 17:03:38

Can you change jobs?

TreesAreGreenSkyisBlue Fri 17-Feb-17 17:34:37

Can you change jobs?

No and it wouldn't matter if I did. I would still have to deal with him as I said in my OP. I can't go into the reasons why but as I said I have to deal with this man and will probably have to do so for easily then next 5 years probably longer.

trauma bonding

Thanks I will look this up.

Is there anyway you can take more control over the interactions?

Category12 - it doesn't make any difference. The reason I posted was precisely because he'd called yesterday. I'd put him off and knew I had to call him back before end of business today. I felt sick when I was waiting to be put through to him.

You do have the right to end any calls were he to be anything but professional, so picture yourself doing that smoothly and calmly

This is great - thanks - I will focus on this - but I do really need advice as to how to control my internal reaction, what is doing on with me and to get help with it.

It's very abnormal because he hasn't been verbally abusive to me in a work context at all - or for a very long time. I'm not sure why I am still gripped by this feeling -it comes over me like a wave.

I think I'm very scared of him. People talk about "walking on eggshells" in emotional abuse context. This is worse than that that. It's like almost being too scared to open your eyes to even see the eggshells you have to walk on.

category12 Fri 17-Feb-17 18:01:50

I kinda know what you mean. I am expecting a massive angry screed from my ex at the moment, and I keep having rushes of adrenalin. Not the same extent, but a bit like. flowers

I think you might need a bit of counselling or support to deal, but remembering you Do have power in this now - and him behaving improperly would reflect on him badly, not you - and you no longer have to listen to a word of it, might help.

Squirmy65ghyg Fri 17-Feb-17 18:02:34

I think the only thing to do would be counselling OP.

I can't even imagine how hard this is for you. EA ex h was a hugely abusive fuckwaste of space and when my own thoughts randomly turn to him I hate it. It's like this twat is intruding on your space.

CheckpointCharlie2 Fri 17-Feb-17 18:09:45

The only way I've dealt with this from the two people I've had that reaction to was to talk to my counsellor friend about it and to think about all the great things I have in my life that they don't have and all the skills i have worked very hard to perfect that they are lacking. Sounds petty but it really helps me feel more confident about my interactions with them.

Mindfulness may help you but you might need some more professional help. Sounds rough though op.
Could you imagine your DH standing behind you whilst you deal with him? That helped me on more than one occasion when I have had difficult people to face.

SmileEachDay Fri 17-Feb-17 18:14:33

In terms of your internal reactions, some CBT might be helpful.

BottleBeach Fri 17-Feb-17 18:21:00

It sounds like the professional contact you are having with this man is triggering distressing memories which is causing a physical response for you. There is a type of therapy called 'Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing' (EMDR). I don't have any personal experience of it, and it sounds a little strange, but it has a good evidence base for use in helping with the symptoms of PTSD. Might be worth looking into?

MusicIsMedicine Fri 17-Feb-17 22:21:23

AB reaction. Decline the calls and say you are in the middle of something. Then ring him back when mentally prepared. Do this every time he calls and that puts you back in control and will reduce the AB reactions which are traumatic in themselves.

TreesAreGreenSkyisBlue Mon 20-Feb-17 15:13:37


What is an AB Reaction please?

Stormtreader Mon 20-Feb-17 15:23:17

Could you maybe put in strategies like requesting all contact be via email, or sending his call through to answerphone to deal with it later?
If its the possibility of him being verbally abusive to you then either of these will vastly reduce the chances of that happening.

MusicIsMedicine Tue 28-Feb-17 00:32:04

It's a trauma reaction.

Find a way to alter the working practices so that you do not have to take his calls out of the blue.

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