Panic attack?

Between Sat May 23 & Sun May 24, something very odd and concerning happened.  I was house-sitting for the Parental Unit (my dad & stepmother), and it was about 1:30 am (so technically very early Sunday) when my stepbrother came by the house.  He wasn’t living here because Dad had kicked him out after one too many transgressions, but I knew (know) that he’s still got a lot of his stuff here.

The problems begin with the fact that apparently he still has a key to the house.  We live in the boonies and lock all the doors at night, so the only way he can get in is with a key.  (The other half of this problem is when he doesn’t lock the door again when he leaves.)  Also, he’d brought a female friend with him, and a 12-pack of beer.

If they’d come by during the day, that would’ve been ok.  If they’d just picked up some of his stuff and left again, despite the late hour, that would’ve been ok.  If I’d known the friend, it would’ve still be weird but more ok than it was.  Instead, they’d settled in to watch TV (I hope that was all they were intending) while he was running at least one load of laundry.  (Sir, that’s what laundromats are for.)

I was about to go to bed at 2 am, and wasn’t comfortable with them here, so I politely asked them to leave & come back during daylight hours.  He responded by asking if I’m paying rent to live here (which I’m not, but that’s none of his business AND had no relevance to the issue at hand), and I said that Dad had left me in charge while they were gone and that I’d like him to leave.

Well, things escalated.  I threatened to call the cops on him, because he doesn’t live here and wasn’t leaving when I asked him to.  He flipped his shit, yelling at me and dropping F-bombs and calling me a bitch.  I tried to stay rational and have a discussion like civilized adults.  He was making angry gestures, including the “come at me, bro” arm wave (after which I briefly contemplated slapping him, but realized that he’d press charges against me if I did).

I was not-crying by the skin of my teeth when he finally snapped and went to retrieve his laundry.  The girl he’d brought over said that she’d gone to high school with him & had recently reconnected; she thought it was sad that, as family, we couldn’t get along better.  I informed her that I had tried to have at-least-neutral interactions with him, but the only thing we have in common is liking banjo music and that’s not enough to build on with everything else going the opposite way.

It was 2:45 am when they left (he was so pissed that he almost left without her).  I held it together until I was in my room, before completely falling apart.

I was crying, and shaking, and almost hyperventilating.  I told my bestie over Facebook that I thought I was having a panic attack (that sobered him up quick); he drove over with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s because I needed a hug real bad.  Even after I’d calmed down a bit, my chest felt really weird under my breastbone; my bestie said it was probably fading adrenaline.

We ate ice cream and talked about general stuff to take my mind off what had happened.  I didn’t get to sleep until 4 am.

So all that mess happened.  Since then I’ve tried to analyze what happened a bit…

Thought 1:  Usually when I’m involved in an argument and end up crying, it’s because I’m angry and frustrated.  I definitely wasn’t angry this time.  There was some frustration, but I think there were also elements of flashbacks to growing up with a parent with an explosive temper.  It was kinda frightening, because I didn’t know my stepbrother’s tics, or if he would threaten or attempt physical violence.

Thinking about it now, there was definitely a background thought of, “This male is angry with me.  I’ve had bad experiences with angry males.  I don’t want this situation to end up like previous ones.  But at the same time, I refuse to roll over because that would mean that he’s right, and he’s not.  I’m in the right.  I cannot show this angry male how nervous he’s making me.”  I’m pretty sure my voice was shaking, though, just like my high school graduation speech.

Thought 2:  I really hope that girl isn’t considering dating my stepbrother.  He’s already got a 2-year-old son with his previous girlfriend.  He’s proven to have an explosive temper, and once he starts yelling there’s NO dialog.

Thought 3: I really wish Dad would change the locks on the doors now, so that someone has to actively let him in.  Since this incident, my stepbrother has come over multiple times, especially when the Parental Unit is still at work, and I’m even less comfortable around him now than I was beforehand.  He hasn’t apologized for any of this mess, and I worry that he’s poisoning people against me.

Example – A few days after they’d returned home, Dad asked me if he’d been by, to which I said yes and gave a brief overview of what had happened.  Apparently somehow my stepmother had heard that I’d said that my stepbrother wasn’t a part of this family anymore; this was a  totally bogus claim.  My stepmother apologized via text the next day and said that I’d acted rightly & she’d handle it from there.  (I actually got an apology; still kinda surprised about that…)  But the fact remains that I was painted as worse than what had actually happened.

So I guess at this point I really should look for an EMDR therapist, because having bad stuff sneak up on me & bitch-slap me when I’m trying to appear confident really needs to be fixed.

Also, my bestie is the bestest in the evers.  ❤


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