Am I unreasonable?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Am I unreasonable?
140
Sat, 08-18-2012 - 3:51am
So this kind of scenario happens often where I live. I will be out somewhere in public and some random stranger, nearly always male, will say hello or otherwise attempt to engage me in conversation. I will respond minimally, if at all, and nine times out of ten the person who spoke to me berates me for being rude.

I think they are the one who was being rude by trying to engage me in conversation when it was completely uninvited and unprovoked. I think it's rude to do so with the expectation of full reciprocation. I think if you are going to randomly try to chat up strangers you should be able to accept that they may not always WANT to talk to you, and may not appreciate feeling forced to. I am not an outgoing person. I especially do not feel comfortable around men having been a victim of rape and sexual assault several times. It takes a lot for me to trust people, and being addressed by a stranger feels like an invasion of my personal space and is frankly kind of scary. I once had a guy follow me off a bus and for several blocks, yelling at me for not responding to him. (I had headphones on, but I didn't want to talk to him anyway.)

One might say, well how hard is it to just say hi back? Well, sometimes when you do they take it as an invitation to engage you further, and I have no desire to encourage that. To turn it around, how hard is it to leave someone alone if they obviously don't want to talk to you? It really makes me not want to ever leave the house.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 12:23pm
Yes, they call me rude, bitch, stuck up, etc. And it's most definitely out loud.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2004
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 12:34pm
Wow. That's crazy.

If it's mostly all men, as I think you said earlier, then maybe they are trying to hit on you. I've never heard of such a thing. Must be terrible.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2011
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 12:50pm

From whaty you have described of yourself is that you have always been socially awkward. Having difficulty reading people and difficulties in expresing yourself. Does that sound about right? And I mean even before your being assaulted.

Because what you seem to be describing is an adult who is most likely on the Autistic spectrum. Meaning I wonder if you have Asperger's Syndrome. Alot of adults have gotten  the diagnosis later in life. They were usually the quirky kids. You might be very interested in one thing and be the expert in that field. Be very brilliant and yet have no clue how to interact with regular people.  Think like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theroy. He of course is the extreme..LOl. But many times it is much more sutle.

This is not meant to say you deserve what happens to you of course but it may give you clues into things. And if you are an Aspie. there are groups online and other places where you can learn more about yourself and even how to deal with others.

Try talking to a counselor because I think it may help. Ask them to help you get tested to see if you are on the Spectrum. There are no meds to help cure it but there are things you can do to help make it easier.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 9:01pm
I am somewhat familiar with Asperger's Syndrome and I am pretty sure I don't have that. My brother and sister both have some degree of social anxiety too though, and yes I've pretty much always had it.

I have some theories as to why it's usually men that react this way too, and probably the biggest is that I am less likely to percieve a woman as any kind of threat, and have an easier time responding.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-18-2006
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 9:38pm

I live in the very friendly Midwest where everyone talks with everyone else, about everything under the sun. I love living in such a friendly area, but it can admittedly get old after awhile.

Normally I'm a friendly, talkative person and don't mind at all chatting with strangers. Lately I've been having some major anxiety issues and I don't want to talk to people I DO know, let alone those I don't. Lol.

Usually, if you just keep things to a polite minimum people will take the hint and leave you alone. It astonishes me that people would be so vicious to a stranger for not wanting to talk. Just weird.

Angie

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 1:07pm
You know, even my husband says, "They are probably just being nice/polite. Why can't you just say hi back?" Well, the men who assaulted me were nice at first too. But there was something that made me uncomfortable and I ignored it because I didn't want to be a bitch. The one who raped me looked like he wasn't capable of hurting a fly. He was ten years younger than me. Said he was lonely and he just needed a friend. I felt sorry for him. I can't ignore feelings of alarm or discomfort anymore. Even if I'm wrong.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 6:30pm
Dear Age of aquarius, please go and get some help in dealing with your fears. Not every man who says hello to you is going to assault you. A store clerk asking you how your day is going is only doing his job. A man walking down a busy street, who smiles at you, could be very well just walking down the street. Neighbors could just being friendly (and it is actually safer to know your neighbors.) The counselor will help you deal with your feelings of powerless and learn to put overtures of friendless in context and to help you assess the situation. You sound like you do not trust your own assessment of how dangerous a person is so you have shut down completely. I also suggested earlier that you take a self-defense course for women. That will help you feel empowered and in control. That could help. Good luck..
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 9:27pm
I've already seen a therapist about this. I was actually in therapy when it happened and it took me three months before I would even tell my therapist what happened. I do my best to work on this every single day. The rape was three years ago. It doesn't get fixed over night.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 11:16pm

I happy to hear you are trying to work through everything.

I just want to add, I hear a lot on this thread about being polite to strangers, they are just being nice, not everyone is out to get you and so on. Aside from all this and aside from what age is trying to cope with ..... these strangers are being rude. It's very easy to look at this from the strangers point of view and if they were just walking away, I might agree with people here. But, it sounds like they are mouthing back to her. IMO, that makes them very rude and probably not very trustworthy. Not that they would harm anyone physically, but put yourself in their shoes. You say hello to someone and they don't respond .... is it right to verbally attack someone or mutter under your breath? I don't think so.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Tue, 08-21-2012 - 7:27am
I have to wonder, if this is an ongoing thing, whether the OP is unintentionally doing something like shooting dirty looks at people who approach her? To where people would be offended? It is not normal for people to consistently react so visibly to merely being given the cold shoulder. Something else must be going on.

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