Hi Ron - yes, this is unfortunately one of the harder aspects of language when the mapping between two languages isn't straightforward. Chris is right that the only way to deal with this is to try to detach yourself from the English (which is only really there to ensure you understand the meaning quickly).
In general, French is more precise than English, so that may help here. Consider that the same expression is used for trains and cars, whereas we use two completely different expressions for the same thing in English (why do we get out of a car, yet get off a train? The action is almost identical - but the act climbing down, say, a bean stalk is clearly different and we see that reflected in the French).
Prepositions (and prepositional phrases, in English) is one of the areas where there is no logic or rule to help. You just have to learn and become familiar with each in each context.
However, the main take away from this lesson and the related lessons is that if the verb takes a direct object (a.k.a. 'transitive') then we use avoir not être in le passé composé.
Hope that helps!
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