Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is it me? You know that hypomanic charisma...

I'm not sure what's happening, but today two separate men at the studio where I volunteer and do my art at started talking to me about how I "have a sexy figure", how "hot" I looked in the clothes I was wearing....jeans and a t-shirt...go figure.

While it is nice to be noticed, I feel really uncomfortable with their comments. The Studio I go to is a place for people with mental illnesses to go and do their art in a safe and comfortable place. It is bringing up issues I have had previously. Issues that almost cost me my marriage.

A few years ago I was in group therapy and one of the men was coming on to me in a big way. I guess because I was having marriage troubles, and because I hadn't had that kind of attention in a long time, I played along with the flirting. I thought it was harmless and had no intention of acting on the flirting. Then it got totally out of hand and the person threatened to commit suicide if I didn't see them. My pdoc recommended I completely cut contact with the person for my own safety and well-being. I did, but not before my husband caught wind of what was going on and went ballistic.

Now I try to be more clear about my intentions and boundaries, but one of the people today seems to want to push the subject. I have made it clear that I'm married. As well, I do not think I am acting flirty or anything to attract this kind of attention.

I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I just want them to stop saying those things to me because it makes me feel a bit scared of going to the studio and I don't want it to stop me from going.

I'm not sure how to deal with it because one of the people has confided in me that he says things sometimes, pushes the limits in a conversation and then feels intensely bad about it afterwards. I do not want to make him feel bad. I just want him to understand that I am not comfortable with the way he talks to me. What do I say?

If he says something again I was thinking maybe I could say, "because I am married, I feel uncomfortable with that kind of comment from another man"...but then I may hurt his feelings as he might feel like he has done a bad thing. I think if he says something again I will just jokingly say...hey, that kind of talk makes me uncomfortable...please stop it...or I'll have to beat you up...ha, ha!!"....or something " he gets the point, but saves face.


jcat said...

I think you've been remarkably tolerant so far. It's one thing if you are comfortable with the banter, but you aren't. And they are taking away a place that you have regarded as safe, which is also unfair.

Just tell both of them straight out - you don't feel comfortable with what they are saying, and please will they stop. Leave it at that, and hopefully they will back off a bit.

It might be you, in that you are an attractive, and interesting person, and the hypomania probably adds a bit of an 'edge'. It's also not you at all, in that you aren't interested, and you aren't responding, and they are taking compliments just a bit too far.

Got your comment....I feel virtuous when I actually hand over anything, but that only lasts a day or two! Then I could kick myself!

Aqua said...

Thanks Jcat,
You are right. I should be straightforward and really clear about how I am uncomfortable. I tend to ensure others are comfortable, even if that means I get hurt...bad habit.

I get the feeling virtuous and then kicking yourself. In my last appt I told my pdoc I wish I hadn't given him my stash...cause if I hadn't I'd have something to help me sleep, or at least some valium to calm me down...he calls that my "unhealthy safety net"...but he's not the one who is anxious and not sleeping!!

jcat said...

Yeah - unfortunately my p-doc knows that it will have to be snowing here before I take any of my collection without trying really hard to get them from him first. I kind of regard them as untouchable....

Actually, us Joburgers are going to have to come up with something different as a metaphor, seeing as it did snow here sometime in the last two months! Admittedly, mostly only about 2 or 3 inches, and it was the first time since 1980-odd - but just in case someone makes us stick to what we are promising....!!