Aggression from random strangers
August 4, 2012 6:28 AM Subscribe
I seem to draw aggression from random strangers. I don't know why. I don't know if I'm imagining it (but I don't think I am). And since I don't know why it happens, I don't know what I can do to stop it.
posted by anonymous to society & culture (42 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
What to tell you. I'm an adult male, not a member of a visible minority, typically dressed for the office though on off hours usually casual. I'm a bit of a loner and suffer from near-crippling social anxiety but (I think) I hide it well. I also don't presently have anyone I could ask “what the hell is this” and get what I know to be an honest answer. My most fervent wish second to being able to mind-read for a day would be to have someone follow me around and videotape me going about my business, so I could see what that looks like. See if I'm doing something... oddly. (my brand of social phobia is of the “I'm a freak – surely I look like I don't belong here” variety. Yeah, I'm seeing a therapist.) So maybe I stand out. Maybe my nervousness about standing out is what makes me stand out. Or maybe I don't stand out at all. No way for me to know.
I used to think I was imagining the aggression thing but over time I've had witnesses. I was sitting on a park bench with a woman I was seeing and a jogger was passing us by. I glanced up at the jogger and she looked over and said [incomprehensible thing in angry tone]. The girl I was with looked up suddenly and was like “What was that?!” and I shrugged, saying, this is just something that happens. I notice a panhandler being maybe a little forceful with others. I walk by and suddenly he's shouting, angry, cursing. And most recently (precipitating this question) I'm on the bus seated in front of the back doors headed home from an evening out and as we approach a stop and people are milling about behind me suddenly I'm sprayed with droplets of... something. A drink perhaps? (I hope?) So I go home just completely bummed out because again it seems like a random stranger has decided that I'm someone who could use some picking on.
Is this something everyone experiences now and again, and the difference is that I'm not confident enough to be sure I'm not the problem; they are? Or is it possible that people are so book-by-its-cover that people see me and a subset think: asshole (or something – it disheartens me how easily people judge others by appearance). This has gone on for years. Not with frequency, but it's not a fun addition to the social anxiety I already carry around. Thoughts? Theories? What can I do?