Chit Chat

Living alone - self defense

spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
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edited April 2016 in Chit Chat
H is going to rehab here in a couple weeks and I'll be alone for awhile - I know he can get up to 60 days inpatient with his insurance and he may need every bit of it. I had ADT installed a few weeks ago but I'm still paranoid and wondering how you choose to protect yourself, whether you have a partner to help you or not. 

For the record, I did live alone for several years before moving in with my husband but one apartment was in a well-lit, police-patrolled apartment complex and I was on the 2nd floor so I felt pretty safe. The other apartment was a MIL/carriage house type thing in my friend's backyard so I wouldn't have been the main target to a potential intruder (if they noticed my tiny 400 sq. ft studio apartment at all). 

I have a very strong fear and paranoia about intruders - too much true crime TV as a child and Criminal Minds as an adult, probably. Sleeping alone without H is going to be very difficult for me. I am borrowing a TV to put in the bedroom so I can hopefully feel at ease once in bed. 

H has many firearms but I don't know how to use them and wouldn't feel comfortable doing so for self defense, even if I did know how. I wanted to adopt a dog but H said he wanted to be involved in getting it trained and have it be acclimated to him from day one, a totally reasonable request. So I asked for suggestions on facebook and got the baseball bat/tire iron/golf club recommendation as well as wasp spray (from my grandma, no less!). Just wondering what your experience and recommendations are!

EDIT - the 2nd to last poll option should say "Two or more," not one or more. Sorry. *dunce hat*

Living alone - self defense 53 votes

Firearm
5% 3 votes
Baseball bat/other blunt object
7% 4 votes
Pepper spray/wasp spray
7% 4 votes
Dog or other animal
11% 6 votes
Alarm system
15% 8 votes
Self defense training (martial arts, etc.)
7% 4 votes
One or more of the above
35% 19 votes
Something else
9% 5 votes
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Re: Living alone - self defense

  • IrishPirate60IrishPirate60 Clare Island member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    I'll toss in a simple thing: can you make your car alarm go off from your bedroom? Keep your keys handy. Flashing lights and a noisy horn will attract attention, which is what you're going to want.
    SP29
  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
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    I'll toss in a simple thing: can you make your car alarm go off from your bedroom? Keep your keys handy. Flashing lights and a noisy horn will attract attention, which is what you're going to want.
    Good point! It actually may not work for me because my car alarm goes off randomly 3-4x a day every few weeks. :| I think it's some kind of short or something. So my neighbors are used to it and would think it was one of the annoying incidents. But it's excellent advice for anyone who doesn't have a stupid car like me!
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  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited April 2016
    I lived alone for 8 years in my duplex.  I had an alarm system, but I also grew up with one, so was kind of used to it.  I never used anything else.  I don't think I've ever even thought it of.  I do have a phone beside my bed too, and did call 911 one night when the smoke detectors were going off.  

    I also took a self-defence class one weekend, called RAD (rape aggression defence).  It was put on by the University.  It's for women only and you can re-take the classes for free for life if you keep your book.  We got to practice on a guy dressed in protective gear too.  

    ETA - I'm so glad to hear your DH is doing better, even if he does have to go away for rehab.  Awesome progress!

    spockforprezSP29
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 2016

    Take a self-defense class, take a firearms training/hunter's safety class, take a tactical conceal and carry class.  The firearms class is just a good idea in general for everyone to have in the event they need to disarm a weapon for any reason, any type, any time.  Many stores offer these especially coming up here with hunting season not far away.  You never know, you might enjoy the class so much that you decide to volunteer for your local Community Service Officer (the people who help staff large events)...  Sleep with your cell next to you, keep a flashlight you can use as a weapon if necessary (Maglite makes an ultra-bright purse-size flashlight that fits perfectly into your fist - comes in pretty colors too!)..  The alarm system is great - but only if you use it and the power doesn't go out...

    There's an old saying about baseball bats - if you must carry one, make sure you have a glove and ball with it - your lawyer will thank you later! 

    As for rehab -ETR - Stupidity and not realizing who OP is...

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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
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    MesmrEwe said:

    Take a self-defense class, take a firearms training/hunter's safety class, take a tactical conceal and carry class.  The firearms class is just a good idea in general for everyone to have in the event they need to disarm a weapon for any reason, any type, any time.  Many stores offer these especially coming up here with hunting season not far away.  You never know, you might enjoy the class so much that you decide to volunteer for your local Community Service Officer (the people who help staff large events)...  Sleep with your cell next to you, keep a flashlight you can use as a weapon if necessary (Maglite makes an ultra-bright purse-size flashlight that fits perfectly into your fist - comes in pretty colors too!)..  The alarm system is great - but only if you use it and the power doesn't go out...

    There's an old saying about baseball bats - if you must carry one, make sure you have a glove and ball with it - your lawyer will thank you later! 

    As for rehab - if insurance will cover the 60 days - he should take full advantage of every second as well as "Sober Living" type arrangement post-rehab.  Also, set up your home to help him be successful, go to the classes/meetings for you, drive him to the meetings when he gets out and encourage him to keep it up - a friend of mine still goes to weekly meetings and has been sober 32 years and says it still helps him through the rough patches! 

    Thanks! I really do need to learn how to discharge a firearm; I did turkey shoots as a small kid but never stuck with it. I still wouldn't be comfortable using it as self defense - not sure I'd be able to keep my wits about me, for one. And two, if I killed someone I think I would have a hard time living with that even given malicious/murderous intent on their part. Not that they wouldn't deserve it, I just think it would be too much for me. So I'd rather hurt them/stop the attack in ways that are less likely to kill them.

    Sorry for the confusion! My H is not an alcoholic; he's heading to inpatient physical rehabilitation after his injuries from a motorcycle accident. His leg was amputated so he'll be starting the prosthesis process and relearning to move from bed to chair, use the bathroom, shower, and walk, as well as building up his strength after laying/sitting around in a bed or chair for 75+ days.
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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    MesmrEwe said:

    Take a self-defense class, take a firearms training/hunter's safety class, take a tactical conceal and carry class.  The firearms class is just a good idea in general for everyone to have in the event they need to disarm a weapon for any reason, any type, any time.  Many stores offer these especially coming up here with hunting season not far away.  You never know, you might enjoy the class so much that you decide to volunteer for your local Community Service Officer (the people who help staff large events)...  Sleep with your cell next to you, keep a flashlight you can use as a weapon if necessary (Maglite makes an ultra-bright purse-size flashlight that fits perfectly into your fist - comes in pretty colors too!)..  The alarm system is great - but only if you use it and the power doesn't go out...

    There's an old saying about baseball bats - if you must carry one, make sure you have a glove and ball with it - your lawyer will thank you later! 

    As for rehab - if insurance will cover the 60 days - he should take full advantage of every second as well as "Sober Living" type arrangement post-rehab.  Also, set up your home to help him be successful, go to the classes/meetings for you, drive him to the meetings when he gets out and encourage him to keep it up - a friend of mine still goes to weekly meetings and has been sober 32 years and says it still helps him through the rough patches! 

    Thanks! I really do need to learn how to discharge a firearm; I did turkey shoots as a small kid but never stuck with it. I still wouldn't be comfortable using it as self defense - not sure I'd be able to keep my wits about me, for one. And two, if I killed someone I think I would have a hard time living with that even given malicious/murderous intent on their part. Not that they wouldn't deserve it, I just think it would be too much for me. So I'd rather hurt them/stop the attack in ways that are less likely to kill them.

    Sorry for the confusion! My H is not an alcoholic; he's heading to inpatient physical rehabilitation after his injuries from a motorcycle accident. His leg was amputated so he'll be starting the prosthesis process and relearning to move from bed to chair, use the bathroom, shower, and walk, as well as building up his strength after laying/sitting around in a bed or chair for 75+ days.
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  • MesmrEwe said:

    Take a self-defense class, take a firearms training/hunter's safety class, take a tactical conceal and carry class.  The firearms class is just a good idea in general for everyone to have in the event they need to disarm a weapon for any reason, any type, any time.  Many stores offer these especially coming up here with hunting season not far away.  You never know, you might enjoy the class so much that you decide to volunteer for your local Community Service Officer (the people who help staff large events)...  Sleep with your cell next to you, keep a flashlight you can use as a weapon if necessary (Maglite makes an ultra-bright purse-size flashlight that fits perfectly into your fist - comes in pretty colors too!)..  The alarm system is great - but only if you use it and the power doesn't go out...

    There's an old saying about baseball bats - if you must carry one, make sure you have a glove and ball with it - your lawyer will thank you later! 

    As for rehab - if insurance will cover the 60 days - he should take full advantage of every second as well as "Sober Living" type arrangement post-rehab.  Also, set up your home to help him be successful, go to the classes/meetings for you, drive him to the meetings when he gets out and encourage him to keep it up - a friend of mine still goes to weekly meetings and has been sober 32 years and says it still helps him through the rough patches! 

    Thanks! I really do need to learn how to discharge a firearm; I did turkey shoots as a small kid but never stuck with it. I still wouldn't be comfortable using it as self defense - not sure I'd be able to keep my wits about me, for one. And two, if I killed someone I think I would have a hard time living with that even given malicious/murderous intent on their part. Not that they wouldn't deserve it, I just think it would be too much for me. So I'd rather hurt them/stop the attack in ways that are less likely to kill them.

    Sorry for the confusion! My H is not an alcoholic; he's heading to inpatient physical rehabilitation after his injuries from a motorcycle accident. His leg was amputated so he'll be starting the prosthesis process and relearning to move from bed to chair, use the bathroom, shower, and walk, as well as building up his strength after laying/sitting around in a bed or chair for 75+ days.


    OMGosh I'm so sorry!!!  I hear rehab and didn't connect the dots/screen name!!! <Falls on sword, stands up and takes a bow at the absolute level of blunder!>


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  • What you're describing for feeling of "could I"...  And I'd honestly say - when put in the position of primal "Do or die" that is when you fall back on your training, so make yourself elite.  Those same things are what an officer thinks when they put their firearm on each day hoping they're never confronted with that question in anything other than a training senerio.  The truth is, none of us know, but there's an old saying "Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war!"... 
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  • Honestly, the best thing you can do is talk to a therapist about this. Home invasion is extremely, extremely infinitesimally rare. You have a 0.00000027% chance of being murdered as a victim of home invasion -4 times more Americans are killed by falling out of bed than home invasion  You have just had a major trauma with your hisband, and probably have a lot anxiety and panic about it that is manifesting itself in strange ways. The last thing someone needs who self-declared they are paranoid and scared is a gun.  Even with training, you won't go after the underlying causes of this trauma and anxiety. If anything it will work you up more and make you more scared. Ask yourself: Do you honestly feel that you would have the calm and wherewithal to use it IF (giant if) it were to happen. Could you distinguish between police and the invader it would you just shoot the first person you saw? Would you start carrying the gun at all times in your house? Someone who is self-described paranoid this is just going to make you live in combat mode and is asking for accidental discharge. There was a story recently about a man who was paranoid and had a shotgun, and shot and killed a woman who came to his door when her car broke down. He admits he panicked. 
    You are smart to listen to your gut.  No matter how trained you are in its use, you are still going to have that extreme irrational fear unless you tackle it.

    You have an alarm, you live in a fine neighbourhood. Start talking to a therapist to get some coping skills, because a life in fear is exhausting. And life in constant fear with a gun is a recipe for disaster. I would say get a dog because their great, and also help you work through anxiety and are stress relievers. 72 days really isn't that long in dog training mode, so there will be plenty of things he can do with it when he is back.  I also think if it's to make you feel better, there is a good compromise here. It also gives you someone to cuddle :) But only do that if you are prepared to give it a lifetime home. 


    Etf: said fi, meant husband!


    Completely agree. I said something else but the answer is really nothing. When things that go bump in the night scare me, I read a book or sip tea. Treating your anxiety and stress with more guns sounds like a terrible idea to me. Do you genuinely live some where with extreme violence? If not, lock the doors, keep your phone nearby, and carry on. 
    scrunchythief[Deleted User]
  • I lived alone in a house for 7.5 years, it wasn't' in a bad neighborhood although the last few years things got worse and lots of houses were broken into (mine included). I had an alarm system which sort of helped, but had some false alarms that then made me super paranoid (a battery dying in the middle of the night causing it to go off, a lightbulb falling and breaking causing it to go off). I still felt better having the alarm system but it wasn't as calming as it should have been!

    I also had a blunt object, like a crowbar type thing by my bed although I'm not sure I'd have ever thought to grab it if I had to. I never felt unsafe although I was a bit paranoid and a couple times my doorbell was rung at night 9-10pm and I couldn't see who it was which would then freak me out a bit

  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    I have been living alone for the last five years. I do get a little nervous periodically. I have a panic alarm in my night stand (and I told my neighbors if they ever hear it so call the police) and I do have a bat nearby. I always make sure all my windows and doors are locked before bed. What helped me was to stop watching SVU and reading the unsolved mysterious threads on Reddit. Seriously, my anxiety has gone down once I stopped doing those things.

    I do want to get pepper spray but in MA you need a license or a firearms ID card and it's kind of a pain to get it.


  • arrippa said:

    I have been living alone for the last five years. I do get a little nervous periodically. I have a panic alarm in my night stand (and I told my neighbors if they ever hear it so call the police) and I do have a bat nearby. I always make sure all my windows and doors are locked before bed. What helped me was to stop watching SVU and reading the unsolved mysterious threads on Reddit. Seriously, my anxiety has gone down once I stopped doing those things.

    I do want to get pepper spray but in MA you need a license or a firearms ID card and it's kind of a pain to get it.


    Oh yeah living alone puts the entire family of Law and Order/Dateline True Crime stuff off limits for me!
    OurWildKingdom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    If you want, you should definitely take a firearms class to get more comfortable, but not for personal protection.

    My H has a lot of guns and a few are loaded and ready to go in a hidden quick access safe. I've shot them and I know how to use them, but I am not comfortable with them. I do not have access to the safe they are in. If there was some sort of home invasion and the intruder didn't have a gun, me getting this gun that I am not comfortable with brings a gun into the situation. It's not ridiculous to think that I could be overpowered and the gun taken from me. Plus I'm a terrible shot.

    My H is HUGE into home security and he just bought some sort of water/humidity resistant knife that we now keep in the shower. He read somewhere that intruders have watched a victim's routine, waited for them to get into the shower and then broke in and robbed him. Which makes sense, you're pretty vulnerable in the shower.

    Also, you could switch up your routines. Don’t always come home at the same time at night and don’t always leave at the same time every morning. Maybe ask a friend to park a car at your house every once in a while. It will be harder for someone to plan a break in if your routine is all over the place.

    Pepper spray is a great idea, but in a room in your home, it could just as easily get into your eyes. Are tasers or stun guns legal in your state? If so, you might see if you can take a class or something to get comfortable with one.

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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited April 2016
    No, I do NOT trust myself to safely discharge a firearm during a hypothetical altercation in the house which is why using one for self-defense isn't an option for me. I thought I made that clear above but I'm sorry if I didn't! All of H's guns are unloaded and locked in the safe which I don't know the code to (although I really should, I guess!). I talked about it with him and he said he wants me to learn but respects my decision not to use them for self-defense.

    I did actually see a therapist specifically for anxiety related to this issue in 2013, I was having trouble turning my back to the door in my house (this was in the studio apt mentioned above), was scared to get in the shower, and had a few fear-driven panic attacks. The main solution at that time was a cold stop on all crime-related or otherwise spooky/scary media. I used to be a horror film addict, and watched Criminal Minds constantly, and read articles and books about serial killers, etc. Had to stop it all overnight. It worked for the most part, and then a few months later I moved in with H and didn't have to deal with it anymore. I guess it's back. (I still rarely consume that type of media, although I listened to an audiobook about the Zodiac Killer with H last year.)

    It's totally a valid piece of advice, so thanks.

    Whoops, this reply was to @LondonLisa, don't know why my quote didn't work.
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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
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    kvruns said:

    I lived alone in a house for 7.5 years, it wasn't' in a bad neighborhood although the last few years things got worse and lots of houses were broken into (mine included). I had an alarm system which sort of helped, but had some false alarms that then made me super paranoid (a battery dying in the middle of the night causing it to go off, a lightbulb falling and breaking causing it to go off). I still felt better having the alarm system but it wasn't as calming as it should have been!

    I also had a blunt object, like a crowbar type thing by my bed although I'm not sure I'd have ever thought to grab it if I had to. I never felt unsafe although I was a bit paranoid and a couple times my doorbell was rung at night 9-10pm and I couldn't see who it was which would then freak me out a bit

    Yeah, I seriously questioned installing it in the first place, for that reason. I know as soon as it goes off I will be paralyzed with fear and it will probably be a damn false alarm anyway. It's the kind that will call the police if it doesn't receive a response so that made me feel better, but then I read that in some cities the false alarm rate is so high they don't respond to the ADT calls. So now I don't know if it will even do what it's supposed to lol.

    I think if I watch some Big Bang Theory once I'm in bed to bridge the gap between turning off the house (so to speak) and going to sleep, I will probably be okay, fear-wise. But I was thinking a metal baseball bat might help me feel better too. :P 
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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    No, I do NOT trust myself to safely discharge a firearm during a hypothetical altercation in the house which is why using one for self-defense isn't an option for me. I thought I made that clear above but I'm sorry if I didn't! All of H's guns are unloaded and locked in the safe which I don't know the code to (although I really should, I guess!). I talked about it with him and he said he wants me to learn but respects my decision not to use them for self-defense.

    I did actually see a therapist specifically for anxiety related to this issue in 2013, I was having trouble turning my back to the door in my house (this was in the studio apt mentioned above), was scared to get in the shower, and had a few fear-driven panic attacks. The main solution at that time was a cold stop on all crime-related or otherwise spooky/scary media. I used to be a horror film addict, and watched Criminal Minds constantly, and read articles and books about serial killers, etc. Had to stop it all overnight. It worked for the most part, and then a few months later I moved in with H and didn't have to deal with it anymore. I guess it's back. (I still rarely consume that type of media, although I listened to an audiobook about the Zodiac Killer with H last year.)

    It's totally a valid piece of advice, so thanks.

    Whoops, this reply was to @LondonLisa, don't know why my quote didn't work.
    We all have "things" that freak us out and cause anxiety that we beat ourselves up over.  Recognising we have something we want to change in ourselves and anxieties we want to overcome is so strong.  We also all have triggers that cause it. You almost lost your husband, so I bet you are dealing with a lot of triggers adding up on top of each other into a complex web: Your initial home-invasion phobia (that never really resolved itself, just that the situation changed with hustand and not being alone), your trauma with your husband, now new anxieties around being alone. You were smart to go see a therapist about getting strategies to cope with that. 

    I think speaking to someone now to help you get some strategies and perspective to manage these fears will be really, really helpful. Not just with this specific home-invasion phobia, but with a lot of the overwhelming stress and anxiety you are feeling in general from the trauma you just went through.

    Plus, if husband is ok with getting a dog in the future when he is back from rehab, there is no reason why you can't have 2 dogs- one for now for you and one later for husband to train :) There are so many dogs in shelters wanting forever homes after going through trauma, that maybe it will also be something to help you feel less alone and that you can get over these issues together. 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    First, I think it would be good to get training on the firearms that are in your home.  Everyone should be able to use the weapon, in case of emergency.  My MIL bought a gun, keeps it loaded next to her bed.  WORST THING EVER!  She has no training and I'm not even sure if its licensed properly.  It was purchased in KY, but she resides in NJ where we have some pretty strict gun laws.  People who have valid permits in their own state have been arrested and jailed for driving through our state with the gun (even when the gun was in the trunk).  She is also not a very steady on her feet person, I know that if she fires it once, she will probably fall.

    But for you, I would look into a self defense class.  I took one similar to what WinstonsGirl took.  I took mine in college and it was free for us.  I have since learned some better techniques from my H.

    When I met H, he was a 3rd degree black belt and doing karate for almost 20 years.  I didn't really get involved with his karate at all, it was his thing.  But then he came up for testing on his 4th degree.  I attended his test for support and holy shit!  I couldn't believe the stuff he knew how to do!  Now, obviously, going out and getting a 4th degree black belt will take some time! 

    But he taught a self-defense class in addition to the karate classes.  Together we actual would do it at our County library system - free for all residents.  He taught me the moves he teaches in the classes, to show that a layperson can do them and you don't need a 4th degree black belt to fight someone off.  When H tries to tickle my neck, I actually use one of the techniques! 

    So look into some of the local karate schools to see if any offer a self-defense class.  His class was geared more towards women, but the information he taught was good for all people.  I actually found the techniques H taught for self-defense were so much easier than what I had learned during the class in college.

    I do have a dog, I got her while still living with my parents, I wanted to have a companion when I moved out.  She never really barked all that much.  I moved into a small one floor home.  I always tried to keep the windows open instead of using the a/c, to save money.  One day, I came home to a big mess from the dog.  After getting it cleaned and looking around further, I realized that someone tried to break in during the day while I was at work. (Turns out that summer there were many break-ins and caught the guys after a few months)  My dog scared them away.  From that moment on, she barked at every person who walked past the house.  So I very much advocate having a dog, I know that she is the reason those people left my house that day. 

    Even from that event, I did not have any anxiety or paranoia that someone was going to break in.  So I think Lisa's advice about seeing a therapist is a good idea.

    Also, look into installing motion sensor lights outside of your home.  They also make plug in timers for lights.  They have gotten more sophisticated so you can time them for something different everyday, so that the on/off schedule isn't the same everyday.

  • arrippa said:

    I have been living alone for the last five years. I do get a little nervous periodically. I have a panic alarm in my night stand (and I told my neighbors if they ever hear it so call the police) and I do have a bat nearby. I always make sure all my windows and doors are locked before bed. What helped me was to stop watching SVU and reading the unsolved mysterious threads on Reddit. Seriously, my anxiety has gone down once I stopped doing those things.

    I do want to get pepper spray but in MA you need a license or a firearms ID card and it's kind of a pain to get it.


    Oh yeah living alone puts the entire family of Law and Order/Dateline True Crime stuff off limits for me!

    I only watch those shows during daylight hours haha

  • kvruns said:

    I lived alone in a house for 7.5 years, it wasn't' in a bad neighborhood although the last few years things got worse and lots of houses were broken into (mine included). I had an alarm system which sort of helped, but had some false alarms that then made me super paranoid (a battery dying in the middle of the night causing it to go off, a lightbulb falling and breaking causing it to go off). I still felt better having the alarm system but it wasn't as calming as it should have been!

    I also had a blunt object, like a crowbar type thing by my bed although I'm not sure I'd have ever thought to grab it if I had to. I never felt unsafe although I was a bit paranoid and a couple times my doorbell was rung at night 9-10pm and I couldn't see who it was which would then freak me out a bit

    Yeah, I seriously questioned installing it in the first place, for that reason. I know as soon as it goes off I will be paralyzed with fear and it will probably be a damn false alarm anyway. It's the kind that will call the police if it doesn't receive a response so that made me feel better, but then I read that in some cities the false alarm rate is so high they don't respond to the ADT calls. So now I don't know if it will even do what it's supposed to lol.

    I think if I watch some Big Bang Theory once I'm in bed to bridge the gap between turning off the house (so to speak) and going to sleep, I will probably be okay, fear-wise. But I was thinking a metal baseball bat might help me feel better too. :P 


    My city (Indianapolis, so not a small city) responded each time. They did say you are allowed one "free" false alarm per year and then they may charge you after that. Mine were all in different years so it didn't matter.


  • I also recommend that anyone with guns in the house have some training/experience with them. FH has guns and when he got his new one we made a date night of going to the gun range. At first, I was scared to even touch the thing. Now I am pretty confident that I will not shoot anything I don't intend to, which was always my biggest fear.

    Dogs are great deterrents for break ins. Maybe you can foster a dog while your H is in rehab and get one together when he gets out. I imagine, martial arts are fantastic for confidence and getting your mind off things. Yoga might help too. 

    I agree with PP though. It sounds like you have some anxiety issues that should best be dealt with by a therapist.
    charlotte989875
  • I have lived alone before, and at the moment H works graveyard, so I am home alone at night a lot. I have pepper spray on my nightstand, a billy club next to the bed, and the dog sleeps on the bed when H is gone.

    H keeps a pistol in his nightstand, and I have had a lot of practice with it. We also have a shotgun in the closet, which I am much more comfortable with. Pretty sure the sound of a shotgun cocking is enough to scare most people. H and I are going to take a firearms course in the next couple of months - he needs to for his concealed carry permit, and he wants me to do it too, which I think is a great idea.


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  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The alarm system is a great start and definitely keep your phone nearby in case you needed to call 911 asap.  I took a self defense class shortly after I started living by myself, it gave me some extra confidence.
    Also I was MIA for a while and only just read your whole story a couple of days ago.  You're an absolutely incredible person @spockforprez , wishing you and your H the best!
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    I think that anything you keep for defense, you need to feel comfortable with and practice with it. 

    If you have a gun, make sure you are trained and proficient with it, otherwise there is a higher risk of it getting turned against you. If you aren't comfortable with a gun, don't get one.  It's okay to not want a gun for first choice in self defense. @madamerwin said the sound of a shotgun can be a good deterrent and that is true.  During my CCW class, that was one of the things our instructor mentioned, that just that unmistakable sound of cocking the shotgun will scare off most people.  He told us the story of an woman that lived in a rough area and said she could never shoot anyone, but wanted protection.  He told her to get a shotgun and a 5-gallon bucket filled with sand to keep next to her bed.  She ended up needing it.  But, when they broke in she cocked the gun and fired into the bucket, instead of at the intruders.  They took off running real quick.

    We do have guns readily available for protection but both DH and I have taken substantial training with them, practice regularly, and feel comfortable with them.  Our nightstand also holds a flashlight (important), pepper spray and a stun gun.  The stun gun was originally bought to use while walking dogs after one of our neighbors dogs got attacked by a stray.  We ended up just attaching pepper spray to our leashes and the nightstand became our default location for protective devices.

    Like I said, I would say that the biggest advice I could give is to be comfortable with whatever you keep for protection and practice with it.  If you keep a baseball bat by the bed, do you have enough space/clearance to comfortably swing it?  Where are the points that you don't have space and could get into an issue?  Is there an area where the furniture or walls would restrict use?  Make sure you know those spots, so if someone does come in, you know to avoid getting stuck in those areas in a defense scenario. Even with pepper spray, take it outside and test it to make sure it works... and test it every few months.  An emergency is not the time to find out that your can of spray is a dud or clogged up.  Plus, that gets you used to the act of using it.

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  • There have already been a lot of good suggestions. Honestly, guns make me very nervous and I do not want them in my house. However, if they were in my house I would want to know how to use them, even if they were always kept locked up. 

    When I lived alone I kept mace by my bed. I never used it or had reason to use it but I think feeling you have some defense helps, so whatever works for you. I lived alone for years and got very used to it and rarely to never got afraid. However, after living with my now H for six months or so he went on an overnight business trip. I was totally freaked out that night and had trouble sleeping. It is really hard to transition back to being alone at night when you're used to having someone there. Believe you will get less anxious about it because you will. 
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  • SP29SP29 member
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    I also cannot watch crime/ murder mystery shows/ scary movies.
    I would also not be great at living on my own- I would DEFINITELY have a dog. Right now I'm only alone if DH is away for business or whatever, which is not often, and while I'm OK during the awake hours, I do find it harder to fall asleep and I sleep very lightly waking up to regular noises. We don't really have anything "set up" for protection. I have my phone in my bedroom. We live in a rental, and there is a tenant in the basement, so that eases my mind a bit too. 

    So dog is my first choice ;).

    I think taking a self defense class would help you feel more confident.

    Motion sensory lights can be a good idea- someone is less likely to try and break in through a window if they realize they will be illuminated. The only thing about the lights, is to realize they will turn on if an animal goes by as well- that would also freak me out a bit, "why are the lights on?!?!"

    A house alarm can help, but it also relies on you being able to call 911 if there is an intruder. One thing I did like about the house alarm my parents had in one of our houses (it was a new build, and came with the house), was it had sensors for each room and would light up based on movement, so you would be able to tell what room someone is in (i.e. call the police from your bedroom that someone is in the living room downstairs). The BIG down side, was once we set the alarm and left the house, it went off with ANY movement. We had 2 cats. It went off EVERY TIME we were gone- the neighbours loved that ;). Could only use it at night, setting it only after all entry doors were closed.
  • Nothing made me feel safer than the alarm system I had at my old apartment.  It had to features: away and stay (it even factored in cat movements so the cat that lived upstairs never set it off).  If the alarm wasn't shut off in X amount of time it would alert the alarm company who would call you and if you didn't answer and give them the code word they would send police.

  • I'm personally against guns, I believe bringing more guns into the world makes us less safe. Yes definitely have a baseball bat around (I personally have a pickaxe at home :P) and a dog. Self defense as well! I practice Kung fu because it's good to know some sort of self-defense and it's an art that helps you feel at peace (It's like tai chi). Unfortunately we live in a terrible world where women are taken advantage of so it's important we know how to defend ourselves in some way and we won't always have tools or weapons around to use or equip. I seriously recommend you and every woman learn a few quick self defense techniques that will help you get out of a situation fast. I also recommend the alarm system, but it's really expensive to pay it every month so an alternative is to use the sticker and lawn sign they have and install a fake camera on your front door to give the illusion you have a security system. My fiance's parents used to own a Chinese restaurant and apparently a lot of them do that, ha. 
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  • Ultimately, I think you will be okay if you have home security set up. But just in case, for peace of mind, here's my two cents:

     I got my first dog, still a puppy, while my FI was away for 3 months, but she took to him and loved him more than me once he came home, and he did most of the training of her. Even as a puppy tho, she kept me company and quickly became protective and would bark at strange bumps in the night, etc which made me feel safe. 

    When I lived alone before having a dog, however, I had a baseball bat that I kept in my bedroom. I got a real wooden one (they are easily found at Goodwill or an antique store), not one of those lightweight aluminum ones. Never, ever used it. But it was there just in case I ever needed it. 

    My uncle, who has always lived alone, is one of those people who has a "beware of dog" sign displayed in his window, even though he has never owned a dog. It may seem a bit crazy, but I remember reading somewhere once that homes that even suggest there may be a dog are less likely to be broken into. 


                        


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