A couple of weeks ago, my stepdad ended up having to pay in full for a medical bill of mine because I hadn't talked to the insurance people about it in time. He seemed pretty frustrated, so I asked if he was mad at me. He said yeah, he kind of was. Note that A) he's never been violent or verbally abusive and B) I acknowledge this is a situation where he had the right to be angry. I freaked out. I backed away from him and started apologizing in a terrified voice. And blubbering, and taking a defensive posture. On a rational level I knew I had no reason to do this. But I just kept going even though he kept saying it was fine. I ran down the stares and said "please don't hurt me!" I thought maybe I was afraid because when mom was mad, it always meant bad news, and I tried to explain through a few frantic metaphors like "if you got stabbed every time you opened the door, you would be afraid of doors." The whole time, I kept backing away until I curled up defensively on the couch and it took a couple minutes to calm down. He kept telling me it was okay and there was nothing to be sorry for the whole time. I knew consciously that I shouldn't have been acting like that. But I didn't feel like I could stop. Other people have the right to be angry at me without me pulling this bullshit. Any suggestions?