I have become very anxious around Men.

The only men I have been able to be around and be ‘normal’ (socially) have been my eldest son, my brother, my best friend K’s husband J, my friend T and another person I have known for many years and who is extremely nonthreatening. I’m ok at work, in a professional context, although not so much with men I work with.

I am fairly sure this is, in part, a reaction against the extreme ‘maleness’ of my ExP. Although I felt ‘safe’ with him outside the house, and more than safe, protected ( A random man was once pretty rude to me on the bus and my ExP swung round and was actually rather excessively defensive of me) inside the house I was afraid of him. I was afraid of his unpredictability, aggression and cutting remarks. I walked on eggshells so as not to provoke any kind of outburst. This simply reinforced my earlier experience with my former husband who was also unpredictable (due to drug taking) and had absolutely NO boundaries. On one occasion when I fled the house, leaving my children asleep, I had to return very quickly because I was afraid he would kill them to get at me. That sounds ridiculous, but the fear of his completely unboundaried behavior and non logical or rational thinking, made that fear very real.

I am also afraid to be around unknown men because I do not trust myself. I know that I have dived into relationships in the past to escape the unbearable feelings I have to live with. The newness of reciprocated attraction, the delicious excitement of the early phases of falling in love are the perfect way to avoid all the uncomfortable emotions you do not want to face. My head knows perfectly well that were I stupid enough to embark on a relationship with anyone right now, i would almost certainly fall right back into those old behaviour patterns that have caused so much trouble. I doubt my baggage and tortured soul would be very attractive to the kind of man I SHOULD be looking to make a relationship with, no, the vulnerability and poor boundaries I still have would make me a nice target for a further abusive partner. And despite all my work and reading and reflection I’m pretty sure it would go right out the window if confronted with the heady rush of limerance.

So avoiding ‘men’ is also a defense mechanism. My gut and my head are clearly screaming at me “Just don’t go there, don’t even allow a tiny spark or flicker of interest to distract you from the stuff you need to deal with”

Having said all that yesterday evening it was really odd,  When I met the man who took me to AA on Wednesday, I felt very at ease even though he was a man. I didn’t find him threatening in any way. It wasn’t a sexual thing, it was more a ‘safe’ and contained feeling from him. That he knew and trusted himself and so I could therefore relax. Odd. But quite nice. However despite my relaxed feeling with that one man I did find some of the men at that meeting a bit ‘uncontained’ and that felt threatening and scary to me.

That’s why I’m went to a women only meeting last night. I feel safer with women.

it was awesome. I don’t really have the words yet to describe how amazing the connections felt. All that fear, over a group of people who have the same problems, the same experiences and the same wish to be sober…. women like me. A lady , very early on in her recovery said to me “your one of those amazing people – (who have been sober for ages)” and my reply “no, i am just like you ” was 100% sincere. I am just one drink away from the same anxieties insecurities and horror that are so recent for her. I know that all the things I am feeling better about, all the stuff I have been working on a reflecting on and trying to assimilate. All that depends on my sobriety.

And I have one more thing to stay sober for !


  1. I totally get your feelings around men. My guess is that as time goes on and you become more grounded in who you really are, not only will those insecurities go away, but you will attract and be drawn to a different type of man. But what strikes me most in your post is the statement “All that fear, over a group of people who have the same problems”-It’s so true! What is it that makes us so afraid to be with the one group of people that will really “get” what we’re saying? The one thing that comes to mind is that being with that group-really is an admission that we have a problem..I think you did go at the right time for you. When you are more grounded in your sobriety..more secure in it..and open and okay with admitting it’s part of who you are now.. I think that’s how it’s gonna be with men:)

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  2. I have the same reluctance to be around men when I’m sober. I don’t even like workmen to come into the house when my boyfriend isn’t home, even though we have three dogs. But yes, strangely, some of them feel “safe” and some of them do not! So I’m in the same boat as you. It’s all trauma-related for me, too, from a past abusive relationship, and from my general past habit of allowing a man take advantage of me one too many times. I prefer women-only meetings too. I attend a different kind of recovery meeting than AA, but I’m still glad it’s women only!!


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