Have you ever found yourself in a situation where what you feel doesn’t match what’s being presented to you? I have and I experienced it again this summer.
We’d been introduced to a new couple via mutual friends when I experienced something that gave me pause: A feeling of unease. Butterflies. A sudden upset stomach. Wooziness. (and no, I wasn’t ill and only had 1 drink).
I acknowledged my feelings but attempted to shelve them; they were insistent and kept re-appearing as the evening progressed. The hostess was lovely, their home was beautiful but it was him that I reacted to. I took note of my body’s reaction whenever he addressed me. He was agitated and trying especially hard to be liked. I felt for him in that moment but couldn’t help but notice how he frequently criticized and dismissed her .. in front of all of us. I saw the sadness in her eyes and soon I really saw what my body had already recognized: a bully.
And then I felt it again; a primitive tug, pulling me away. I wanted to grab my purse and flee, to get as far away as possible. Emotions washed over me. Grief, sadness… desperation. I had to get out of there and I found myself in the bathroom trying to compose myself. I remember thinking, “I am truly losing it!” But .. still, I listened. I’ve learned to do that.
Thankfully, the evening ended soon after and before we were out of the driveway I said to everyone in the car: “I don’t ever want to see or be around that man again.”
That’s fairly clear, even for someone as direct as me.
I didn’t say, “I am not sure I like that guy” or “He’s not my favorite.”
I said, “I don’t ever want to see or be around that man again.”
Not long afterward, I heard that she was injured in a household accident and a shudder passed through me. Because sometimes, in spite of the mask someone wears, sometimes I just know … better.
I am currently reading “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker and right after I started it yesterday, this post came to me.
In his book, readers learn how to:
- Recognize the survival signals that warn us about risk from strangers
- Rely on their intuition
- Separate real from imagined danger
- Predict Dangerous Behavior
- Evaluate whether someone will use violence
- Move beyond denial so that their intuition works for them