Triggers

I had a pre-employment polygraph back in December.

It was horrible.

I was so nervous. Sick to my stomach, sweating, can’t sit still kind of nervous.

I had another pre-employment polygraph in October and I was fine. Nervous, but fine.

In December, not so much.

It didn’t help that from the beginning I wasn’t comfortable with the examiner. He blew me off every time I shared something with him that I thought might cause some kind of noticeable reaction. That’s the whole point of the interview. He’s supposed to ask me questions, I’m supposed to answer and give him any kind of information that he might need to know in order to accurately phrase the questions and judge my answers.

When it became clear that no matter what I told him he was going to tell me “That’s not what I’m asking, answer what I’m asking” I just stopped explaining.

I did the test and felt horrible. It was the worst.

I got a letter 3-4 weeks after that saying my results were inconclusive and I needed to re-do my test.

I scheduled it and then got sick. I rescheduled and we had a huge snow storm. The office is so backlogged that I finally had my date this week. Two months after it was rescheduled for the third time.

I got there any the examiner was very nice. It also wasn’t 85 degrees in their office this time which helped. He asked me if the previous examiner had explained why my results were inconclusive, he asked if I knew which set of questions gave me problems, he asked if they had explained the scoring. Finally, after answering nope to everything I clarified that the only thing I knew was what the letter stated, my results were inconclusive and there was a need for me to retake it.

Then he explained, they look for positive 3s for truthful answers and negative 3s for deceptive answers. All of my answers for my previous exam were between positive 1 and negative 1. About as inconclusive as you can get. Except for my emotional response to 1 set of questions.

And then he told me “you had a strong emotional response to the questions about sex crimes.”

In that moment, I almost wanted to laugh. Of course I did. I mean really? No shit Sherlock.

So I explained to this examiner. He asked me a few questions, we talked about it. He explained how an emotional response doesn’t show up exactly the same as a deception, but if it’s unexplained they treat it as such.

He showed me after the exam was finished what my spikes looked like. Every set, without fail I had an emotional response to the question. When he rephrased the question a second time in the set I was better. Still a response, but better.

I don’t know what the results of this one will be. It’s possible that I won’t pass. I really crazy hope that isn’t the case. But if it is I can deal with it knowing why.

Because of course I had an emotional response to the topic of sex crimes. How could I not?

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Well that went well…

Writing usually helps me. I thought that writing about the events of this past fall would help me mentally process and move past some of these things.

While I was typing about them I felt myself getting nauseous. My hands started shaking and my head started pounding.

Rather than helping me quiet my brain and keep it from worrying over and rehashing the events of last fall, writing about it brought it all to the forefront of my mind.

It doesn’t help that something crazy happened to my sister the same week I tried to write about my cousin.

My sister is my best friend. I absolutely adore her. She is a brainiac and she’s trusting. Our whole life (we’re only 19 months apart) I have been looking out for her, trying to protect her.

In college (several years ago now) she was sexually assaulted. I felt like I failed her. I looked out for her her entire life and then I failed her. I failed because I had the opportunity for us to go to the same college. And I chose not to go there. And that left her alone.

Yada yada yada it’s not my fault, it’s not her fault, I never could have known. Except my precious sister was hurt.

And that kills me.

And I think all things considered, she has been freaking amazing. There are not even words to describe her strength.

She is not a victim. She is a survivor. She has used what happened to her to help so many people.

But there are days that are hard for her. And there are days that the reality of what happened hits me hard.

About a month ago at 7:15 a.m. there was a knock on her door. She looked out and saw a guy dressed basically in the clothes that the maintenance guys for her building wear. She opened the door and he identified himself as maintenance. He said the apartment above had had a leak in their bathroom and he needed to check the ceiling in her closet (under their bathroom) to make sure there wasn’t any remaining water.

She let him in and showed him to the closet. She has two long closets with a hallway in between them. He pulled out a flashlight and poked and prodded around the ceiling. Her closet has high ceilings and he asked if there was anything he could stand on. He was in the closet to the right. She turned her back to him and from the closet on the left pulled out her fireproof box which is about 1.5 feet high. He thanked her, took the box, stood on it and poked around a little more before thanking her and telling her it looked good.

He left and she went back to her studying. Within about 20 minutes her phone rang and it was her credit union fraud detection unit saying they had frozen her card for fraudulent charges. She walked back into her bedroom and looked in her closet (the one the “maintenance” man had been working in). Her purse which had been on a shelf in the closet was gone. In the 30-45 seconds it had taken her to turn around and pull the box from the other side of the closet for him to stand on he had taken her purse and shoved it into his tool bag.

She knew right away it had to be him and called the police. Fortunately all she had in her purse was her wallet with her debit cards, her ID, a used chapstick and a broken earring. Within 45 minutes of him stealing her cards they were cancelled.

The police arrived and took a report. Her building is controlled access with video monitoring everywhere. The police watched the video surveillance footage and got perfect shots of the guy riding in the elevator and strolling out the front door.

Apparently this guy has been doing the same things at other apartment complexes all over the city. No one is suspicious when he comes knocking on the door at 7:30 a.m. We all know bad guys come out at night.

That whole event though brought back to the forefront of my mind everything that happened to my sister.

I had a physical reaction to the events that happened a month ago. My jaw started locking up randomly. Periodically my hands would start shaking or my heart racing. The fact that she was taken advantage of and put in the position of “victim” again was too much.

And it also was hard not to think about all the other horrible things that could have happened. I will always be grateful that he just wanted some cash.