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Involuntary reaction at work

One-in-a-millionOne-in-a-million NoobPosts: 574 Incredible Poster
I don’t know if calling this a trauma reaction is the right thing to call it but I guess it’s the closest possible thing. So due to a past experience at school I have always had an issue with being touched in certain ways. It has gotten a little better over the years although recent events have put me back on high alert meaning I’m a little more jumpy then usual I was at work washing paint pots when a worker was trying to get passed me and accidentally touched my waist. I shouted “No!” And jolted my elbow back which hit her in the stomach…

I didn’t mean to it was an accident and I obviously apologised, it just caught me off guard. The worker was fine with it but I’m worried about if anything will be said as everyone keeps asking “how come you reacted like that? Are you ok” up to now I’ve just played it off saying I’m fine and changing the subject.

But I’m half expecting to get spoken to by the manager. I’m worried that she will be concerned about the fact it could have been a child… I didn’t mean to react that way but had it been a child it would have probably been their head and would have left a mark.

Can I get into trouble for this? And what action can be taken?


  • Laura_tigger82Laura_tigger82 Moderator Posts: 2,860 Boards Guru
    Hi @One-in-a-million

    Thanks for reaching out to us. I always appreciate how much courage it must take to reach out.

    From the sound of it, it sounds like your employer understands and is just concerned about you. The same as we are concerned about you. How confident would you feel in discussing this with your manager?

    Are you receiving any support for what you have previously experienced? And has this been reported to the police?

    Take care for now and I will look forward to hopefully hearing from you again soon. We are here for you and we care <3
  • BrookeeBrookee East Midlands Posts: 1,331 Wise Owl
    Hey @One-in-a-million

    I'm really sorry to read about your experience! Thank you so much for opening up to us, I understand how difficult this can be. I just wanted to say that trauma affects everyone differently, so it's important to understand that this isn't always in your control. Trauma massively impacts our bodies, so it's understandable that you reacted that way. I think we can often overthink a lot when under distress, particularly after trauma has caused a specific reaction, that may lead to further ramifications for you. However, be kind and gentle to yourself, this isn't something you could've controlled, and it's important to be kind to yourself whilst dealing with this.

    If you're very worried about your manager approaching you, it may be best to approach them firs if this is something that is possible for you, of course don't do anything that will cause you further distress or upset. They may be able to refer you to some sort of therapy or something where you can be listened to in a safe and non-judgmental environment, allowing you to work through this and find ways to recognise triggers and reactions to these.

    I wonder, as Laura has already asked, if you've ever been offered support or spoken to any professionals about this past trauma i.e. GP's, they may be able to refer you to some services that can help you cope with these.

    For now, please be kind with yourself, you're doing the best you can, sending you lots of love <3
  • One-in-a-millionOne-in-a-million Noob Posts: 574 Incredible Poster
    Sorry for the late reply but thanks for answering

    Thank you, it hasn’t been brought up since so I think they have forgotten about it, I never reported it because at the time I didn’t know what happened was sexual harassment. Although I did receive some consoling at college a while back which has helped some and for a while I thought I’d moved passed it. Recent events which has involved someone bringing the subjects up has made me more alert now but being touched has always been a tricky thing for me although I’m better than I was. In a recent CBT session it kind surfaced over a particular thing we spoke about which made me think that it’s possible that it still effects me without realising it does.

    Thanks for replying, I’ve been trying to talk to myself like I would someone else who has been through the same thing and like you say it effects everyone differently and like you said it wasn’t something I could have controlled as it was a response to the fight or flight reflex which is hard wired. My manager thankfully hasn’t approached me and no one is asking questions anymore which I’m glad about. As for Therapy I used to talk to a lady at college but that was a long time ago. I am sort in therapy again (CBT) and as it lightly came up during a core belief moment I think it’s something we might be touching on but I’m not sure

    Thank you
  • Laura_tigger82Laura_tigger82 Moderator Posts: 2,860 Boards Guru
    Hi @One-in-a-million

    Thanks for your response. How have you been more recently?

    It is understandable that you may have thought you had forgotten about it but then something happened which made you think it still impacts you.

    I like to think of these things as coming in waves. That means that things may get better some days and worse some days and then better again.

    It is a situation that takes a lot to process and I am really sorry to hear you have experienced it.

    On the difficult days, I think it is worth remembering that there will be better days, that it is tough but you are tougher, and that people care about you and are here to support you.

    Would you feel comfortable talking to your CBT therapist about how it made you feel? I think this could be a great step forward in enabling you to access the support you need and deserve.

    Though, I also appreciate if this is something you don't yet feel comfortable with and need more time. Please only reach out to who you feel comfortable talking to and when you feel comfortable talking about it.

    I am really glad to hear college was able to support you and I know others (including us!) will also be here ready to listen to you and support you when you want to talk :3
  • BrookeeBrookee East Midlands Posts: 1,331 Wise Owl
    Hey @One-in-a-million,

    You're always welcome we're always here for you. That's a really helpful strategy to use, so well done for trying to be gentle and kind to yourself during this time, that's really incredible! Exactly, I know it's hard not to believe the negativity bias our brain expresses every time we react some way that others may not have, but we're all unique and trauma effects everyone so differently. So it's really great to see that you're aware of this, and trying to be kind to yourself.

    I'm so pleased that it's been left alone, and I'm sure that's been a big weight off of your shoulders. Just remember you're doing the best you can, and that's all that matters. Do you feel like talking through it with your therapist will help you? I think if it's come up during a core belief moment, it must be something quite important and difficult for you to process. I think it's wonderful what you're doing, and how hard you're trying, because I understand how difficult this can be, so I'm really proud of you, and all you're achieving. <3
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