Fear and VulnerabilityThis week two people yelled at me. With the first incident, the scariness dawned on me slowly in drips and drabs until in a few days I was soundly in its grasp. Idly wondering what kind of violence for which yelling was a precursor.
The scariness was in the dawning reality of my vulnerability. That guy yelling at me could physically hurt me. I couldn't understand the depth of cruelty in his verbal attack, but I understood that if his anger had spilled over from mouth to muscles I would have been helpless and hurt.
Fear. That's what I was beginning to feel. I'd never before felt afraid to be around these guys, but now I felt as though my eyes were newly opened and I wondered what I was doing in their company.
Yes, I had as much right as the guys to be here, but right and reality could be different things. Philosophy versus reality. It took me awhile to get over that feeling and just as my mood brightened I had a verbal attack by a student at my job.
This attack revealed a new kind of vulnerability. Besides all the thoughts associated with workplace physical violence, I realized how vulnerable was my job, my livelihood. This girl cursed out my whole office and then went to the school's president and said I'd been bad to her.
Of course that wasn't true and actually I had several witnesses to back up my story, but still, in this hostile anti employee environment, I could be seen as a liability. Enter more fear.
I hadn't felt this vulnerable in decades. It's unsettling.