Thought experiments are reserved for situations in which other people would/could/should react differently.

I'm scared of OLD, therefore I won't date at all.

I'm scared of change I won't take this new job.

I'm scared of what happens if I fall in love, first dates only for me.

Fear exists for a reason. All emotions exist for a reason. My D19's fear of flying bugs comes from getting multiple wasp sting when she was 6 after accidentally disturbing a wasps nest on a playset in her cousins' back yard. It's irrational to me because not every flying bug will bite or sting her. It's irrational to me because the likelihood of that happening twice is so beyond slim. But she was 6 it was the worst pain she probably felt in her little life and even though she's broken bones, and had a lot worse bumps, bruises, scrapes and scarier situations happen in the time since the fear of that happening again is very real. It's not my job to tell her she's being crazy or ask her to dig into why she's giving in to that fear. My job is to let her know she's secure, she's safe, and reminder her that it's unlikely to happen again. I tell her what kind of bug it is so she doesn't like swat a poor bumble bee or carpenter bee or something that doesn't deserve it, because she'd feel terrible if she did. Mitigating fear doesn't = acting like all fear is unwarranted. Mitigating fear doesn't = ignoring real feelings for the sake of "not living in fear."

Own, it wasn't your personal history that made you scared regardless of your personal history. It was you listening to yourself. You were in a scary position. You are a diminutive woman alone, with a stranger who knows you're alone and single. He also knows where you live. He can't take a hint and said some completely unprovoked lurid stuff. Do not talk yourself out of this being a bad situation because of your thought experiment. This was pretty blatantly a bad situation. To a stranger. To people who are following you closely. To pretty much anyone this is a situation that would make some one anxious. This would not have been the time to dig deep or reassure yourself you're safe. If any other woman on here came with the same story would you tell them what you're telling yourself?

When we try to dig deep and reach more evolved versions of our selves were often pushed to dig under those "big" feelings and find the root. Find the "real" feeling. Find the trigger for lack of a better term. Find every building block of minutia that put you in that exact position in that exact moment to feel that way. But sometimes the big feelings are exactly what they present to be. As evolved as we try to be we are animals whose instincts will kick in and will override any of our higher thought especially when we are in a situation where our brain and body feel we aren't safe. Those moments do not need to be dissected. They are exactly as they present themselves, your fight or flight instincts kicked in and your ability to process at a higher level allowed you to stay aware and level headed, keep things light, move things along and get that threat out of your house.

Sometimes big feeling like anger and fear have nothing further to reduce to. Sometimes you're just angry. Sometimes you're just fearful. Exactly as one finds joy and doesn't find the need to dig in, under or around it for it to be a fully formed, fully fleshed out state of being.

DNJ, I have a 19 year old too. And I don't live in the fear that something will happen to my daughter constantly I can't. No one can. Every parent would collapse into a puddle and be locked in a padded room forever if they lived like that. But that doesn't mean I don't prepare her for the world she lives in. That doesn't mean I tell her there's nothing to fear but fear itself. I raise my daughter to keep herself safe, and alive. To keep her friends safe and alive. And yeah she was raised being far more aware and probably in more fear of the world than I was raised in, but my mother let a lot of bad things happen to me because she thought the world was made of gumdrops and rainbows. And bad things don't happen to her or the people she loves. And if they do you can't stop it so might as well just live life. I had to learn a lot of things in the worst ways possible because of that thought process. I know I'm not alone in that. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying every women every where will have to go through any of the things I went through but I am saying I know more who have gone through it than ones who haven't. And I know my kid is going to do some dumb risky ish like all people without a fully formed frontal lobe do, but she has tools both mental and physical to do what she needs to do to not find things out the hard way. And telling her to listen to her gut is a lot more useful than the police standard pepper spray.

There's a definitive line between survival instincts and irrational fear. And it's isn't a fine line. I do understand you meant well. I do understand where you were coming from. I do understand the underlying intentions here and what you were trying to do which has/had no malicious intent behind it all, but just a probing thought process to see what was underneath. That being said when there's a gaggle of women telling you there's a difference between irrational fear and survival instincts and sometimes it's not the time or place to dig deep, maybe don't double down.