Jump to content

Afraid of large men, what to do about it

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Lunafreya

Posted 02 November 2019 - 09:22 AM

This is from a childhood of abuse. My stepfather was a large man. Tall, broad shouldered. He would use his physical presence to intimidate me. Not touching, just looming like a shark and get in my face.

I’ve noticed that even with therapy, I’m still afraid of men who are bigger than me. Even if they are nice, sometimes especially if they are nice. I have this deep seated anxiety that I can’t dismiss or explain away to myself.

Very often I try and mask this, but I’m not sure how much my anxiety shows. And it’s also annoying that it’s there at all. I can’t watch the Sopranos because James Gandolfini plays an abusive man who throws his weight around like my stepfather did, same with Trump, very often him in TV gives me anxiety.

I’ve talked about this to my psychologist, she suggests talking to calm myself down. But it seems so deep rooted and irrational that I don’t have control over it. But I want to get rid of it as there are men in my life that are bigger than me, and have been very friendly (not in a romantic way) but I feel my anxiety just makes me come across as rude.

Any thoughts?

#2 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 02 November 2019 - 09:49 AM

I don't have any advice, but I can totally see how past trauma can be so insidious in the future.
And fwiw I am not a tiny person, I am strong and fit. I am still wary of random men, especially if I'm alone I out in the world (running/walking etc)

#3 Lunafreya

Posted 02 November 2019 - 09:51 AM

I’m not a tiny person either. I have a small frame but I’m fairly tall and fairly strong.

But with men larger than me, I’m like “Why am I feeling like this? He’s being nice to me.”

#4 Bono25

Posted 02 November 2019 - 10:12 AM

I feel the same way quite often, and I don't have your past. I have noticed those that, generally speaking, some men are aware they can be intimidating and take steps, such as sitting down, so they're not looming over you. I know of other people who enjoy using their bulk to women feel uncomfortable. I avoid those.
I think that ramble is basically too let you know that you're not alone feeling like this

#5 Lunafreya

Posted 02 November 2019 - 11:23 AM

Thanks. Many large men I know are gentle giants. It’s as if they’re aware of their large size and do their best to compensate by being nice. One guy I know is over six feet and is a wrestler.

#6 lizzzard

Posted 02 November 2019 - 12:57 PM

It is really hard to overcome past trauma. Sometimes reactions don’t even connect exactly to the trauma so rationalising them might not work. For example after I had an incident where my home was entered but I wasn’t touched (I confronted the person but he didn’t hurt me) I now can’t stand strangers standing next to me and if they touch me accidentally I become irrationally upset. I guess the link is invading my space but the reaction is automatic and unconscious. I’m sorry I don’t have any suggestions- you seem to be doing the right thing by speaking to a psychologist about it. I can only think it’s something you might need to work through by interacting with enough large men to learn they are safe...but you will need professional to help you with this I think. Good luck :)

#7 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 02 November 2019 - 02:01 PM

The thing is, it’s not an irrational fear. It’s grounded in reality. It’s just made worse by your experience.

Is it stopping you from doing the things you want in life? If it is, then it needs further thinking about. Some people find it helpful to name the feeling, (like calling it ‘the crow’) so that when you feel it, you can say hello to the crow. It’s a way of accepting the feeling rather than trying to run away from it. To just sit with feeling anxious/sick/whatever rather than ignore/push away the feeling.

#8 Lunafreya

Posted 02 November 2019 - 02:06 PM

Not a bad idea. Churchill called it the Black Dog

#9 ~Bob~

Posted 02 November 2019 - 02:11 PM

My counsellor has told me to stop and ask myself “what do you need to do to feel safe now”. And I do that. It normally means making more space between myself and the person, or putting a barrier in between us, like a chair, or even my arms. I find this helpful.

#10 CallMeFeral

Posted 02 November 2019 - 02:31 PM

Would you consider a therapy specifically targeted at trauma? EMDR is supposed to have good results, or schema therapy where they use imagery rescripting to construct a 'corrective emotional experience', which is supposed to help with rearranging the emotional associations that linger long after the logical ones are sorted.

In the end that presentation has become a danger signal to you, so you will probably always be somewhat sensitive to it, but maybe it can be reduced somehow if it's disturbing to you. If it's not too intrusive, then what Not Escapin Xmas described can be helpful, and if appropriate even a bit of opposite action - intentionally going against whatever urge that feeling brings up in you - e.g. if it makes you give short answers and move away, go closer and strike up a conversation. Usually our normal reactions are those that will confirm the association in our head, so flipping them around if you can is the thing that will eventually over time disconfirm the association.

#11 Lunafreya

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:38 AM

I’m not sure exactly what to do about the behaviour, so I mask and hide it.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


'My parenting style is Survivalist'

A helicopter or tiger mum, I am not.

8 mums reveal their favourite nappy bags

We asked a bunch of mums which nappy bags they love the most.

Why you shouldn't bother throwing a big first birthday party

If you're feeling the pressure to host an all-out, over-the-top shindig for your baby's birthday, I hereby grant you permission to throw the rules out the window.

The 24 baby names on the verge of extinction this year

If you're on the hunt for the perfect baby name and don't want a chart-topper like Oliver or Olivia, then do we have the list for you.

'My mum doesn't seem that interested in my baby'

Q: My mother and I have always been close, but now that I have a baby, she has not helped out as much as I thought she would.

New guidelines: "Bottle-feeding mums need support too"

Breast is best, but mums who can't, or choose not to breastfeed need support too.

Dads also struggle to 'have it all', study finds

Men and women both experience work-family conflict.

Language development may start in the womb

Study found babies can recognise foreign languages before birth.

Meet the baby born from an embryo frozen for 24 years

Experts say little Emma is a record breaking baby.


Top 5 Articles


From our network

Five things you need to know about flu and pregnancy

As the 2017 flu season begins in earnest, here?s what you need to know to protect yourself and baby.

Mum tips to keep your pre-baby budget in check

Money might be funny in a rich man's world (or so ABBA told us), but for the rest of us it's a major consideration – particularly before having a baby.

5 easy ways to make your maternity leave last longer

Maternity leave is a special time for you, your partner and your new little bundle. The last thing you want is for financial worries to stand in the way of that joy.

10 ways to keep your 'buying for baby' costs down

Becoming a parent is full of surprises – not least of all finding out that, for such small beings, babies cause a lot of chaos and expense.

5 ways to prepare to go from two incomes to one

Here are some ideas for getting that budget in shape, ready for being a one income family.


Baby Names

Need some ideas?

See what names are trending this year.

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.