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Author Topic: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?  (Read 1542 times)

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ClementineDreamer

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STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« on: August 22, 2015, 07:29:29 PM »
I'm in my mid 20s and have struggled with my weight my entire life. A couple years ago, I lost close to 40 pounds, and had finally reached a healthy weight range. I've always had a bigger frame, however. Anyway, my friend and I were catching the train home from a bar one night. I had noticed this scraggly, almost homeless-looking guy pacing up and down the train platform beforehand but didn't notice when he got on our train. My friend and I were happily chatting away when I noticed him walking towards us on the train. I thought he was going to ask for money. He then snarls (loudly for all to hear) at me "How did YOU get so huge?!"

Now, my knee jerk reaction should have been that obviously this guy wasn't all there in the head and was more than likely affected by drugs. My friend, out of what she later described as a nervous reaction, burst out laughing. I just sat there staring at him in shock as he repeated insults and then started rambling. The "bystander effect" is often talked about and I didn't expect anyone on the train would come to my defence if he started attacking me/us, which I felt was possible. But I emember hearing a male passengers voice further up the carriage utter "That's not a very polite thing to say." which distracted him just long enough for us to rush off the train, several stops from home.

I'm still haunted by this incident 2 years on, and sometimes find myself in a state of panic in certain public settings. I'm expecting to be called out by a stranger at any moment and I won't know how to react??? 

I really like the "How kind of you to take an interest" but I feel like in this situation, it would have antagonised him further. I know this is just something I'll have to overcome but it is still affecting me to this day.

RubyCat

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2015, 07:55:30 PM »
I guess this would fall under "do not engage the crazy."  I'm truly sorry he made you feel bad about yourself. Sometimes things just catch you off guard, and I suspect your friend laughed because of nerves.  I'm glad somebody else had the presence of mind to call him out on it and to also divert his attention.

None of us have perfect bodies. Due to illnesses, I have been both underweight and overweight. So long as you are healthy and feel good, it really doesn't matter. 

Obviously, this man hit a nerve or made you feel unsettled. Unfortunately, there are many, far too many, mentally ill individuals living on the street.  I'm so sorry he scared you and/or made you feel bad. Please try to keep in mind that his comments had little to do with you and a whole lot to do with his disturbed state of mind. As somebody who grew up in a big city and had to deal with these types all too frequently, I would have mentally thought an ehell definitely not approved "bleep you" that I would dare not say out loud and have a story to tell later. I know this individual frightened you (and I would be shaken, too) but honestly, he is more deserving of your pity than your anger. It was a really lousy thing that you experienced. I hope it's okay if I send some hugs.

gramma dishes

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2015, 08:14:40 PM »
  ^^^  Everything Ruby Cat said.

I also thought "Don't engage the crazy" is more apropos to this situation than "How kind of you ... "

EllenS

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2015, 09:01:36 PM »
Some people reach the state that the only part of reality they can still contact, is the ability to get a rise out of someone.  If they get a reaction, it's like they are still connected somehow to other people.

I, too, have encountered many severely mentally ill individuals on public transit.  One spent an entire 30-minute bus ride explaining to the whole bus how he could tell that I was actually a transperson  (with bizarrely graphic detail, which IIRC was transmitted to him by his alien contact) and that I was trying to seduce him with my evil artificial b**bs, so that I could take over his mind, or something.

Another time, a drunk or high fellow berated me for about 100 blocks on the subway for eating when I was already so disgustingly fat. Since I was 38 weeks pregnant at the time, I informed him that in a week or so, I'd be dropping a lot of weight pretty quick. The rest of the train car was laughing at him. He never did figure it out.

Please just ignore this sort of thing. If you are having panic attacks about going into public places, I'd consider this event to be an inciting incident or trigger, rather than a fundamental cause.  Please get some care for panic attacks.  They are horrible, and they are treatable, and you should not have to just put up with them.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 11:00:38 AM »
I agree with EllenS that it might be beneficial to talk to someone about the incident.  I tend to internalize incidents like this and it takes me a while to get over them but 2 years is a long time to still be haunted by something some random bacon-fed knave said to you.

'Don't engage the crazy' is definitely good advice.  Wish I could take it myself more often.   :P
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jmarvellous

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 01:11:57 PM »
We were heckled by a homeless man recently "You walk with such hauteur! You think you're so important!" etc. because apparently we walk with decent posture. It's become a joke in our household whenever one of us is tired to tease the other for doing _____ "with such hauteur!"

You really can't let the random comments of strangers get to you so much. Since, in this case, it has really gotten to you already, I strongly suggest a session or two with a counselor. They can help you with coping.

In your case, coping strategies may or may not include snappy comebacks. I'm betting that's a way down the road for your with your current issue of internalizing this comment.

EllenS

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 02:23:21 PM »
I think "you walk with such hauteur" is a pretty darn awesome way to be heckled.

TootsNYC

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 03:15:27 PM »
I think part of why this is bothering you is that you felt *unsafe*. He was clearly on the other side of the line for acceptable behavior, he targeted you, and he verbally attacked.

Of course you felt unsafe.

And you clearly worried that he might physically attack you as well.

Having an incident like this haunt you and give you anxiety is actually not surprising. Throw in the emotions that often accompany weight, for women especially, and that gives the anxiety extra "glue."

I also suggest you talk to someone; there are many ways that pros can help you cope (cognitive behavioral therapy is one; there are others).

Twik

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 08:37:12 AM »
I think "you walk with such hauteur" is a pretty darn awesome way to be heckled.

She was lucky he didn't follow with "I find your je-ne-sais-quoi disturbing."
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Goosey

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 08:46:14 AM »
I went through something like this. When I was younger and overweight, I decided I needed to do something. I started running. The first few weeks were okay, then when I was running one morning a car full of rowdy young men paced me for a long time and kept screaming things like "run, fatty!" and mooing at me and laughing.

I was so humiliated and degraded that I didn't run again after that. I still can't exercise in front of anyone (including my husband) because I get so seriously anxious that I cry.

I have come to understand that my experience is not at all unusual for plus-sized women. It's kind of a double edged sword - everyone tells us we need to exercise more, but when we actually go out and do it we are opening ourselves up to humiliation instead of support from the public.

I am trying to put myself in more situations that make me anxious (I just signed up for yoga with a friend who is very supportive!). I think with issues like this, we almost need to retrain our brains to accept that all similar situations are not going to end up as the traumatizing situation our brains remember most. Most are just pretty boring like those first couple weeks of running.

It takes a lot to make us feel safe again and all I can do is wish you "good luck!"

Team HoundMom

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Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 10:50:06 AM »
The worst part is thinking of the perfect comeback hours after the fact. 

Random Stranger: "How did YOU get so huge?"
Me: "How did YOU get to be such a (bad word)?"

...but if you don't have the kind of confidence to shut down jerks then I can see how it would rattle you.

Human beings can be horrible sometimes.