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Friendships

It’s not that I don’t care about this blog. I do. This blog has healed me in a way that nothing else has. But I haven’t had much to say on this front. So I haven’t been saying anything. I don’t believe in blogging for the sake of blogging.

 

But something happened and I just want to get it out of me. Potential Trigger Warning:

 

A few weeks ago, at work, a “friend” sexually assaulted me. I only use friend in quotes because up until that moment I had thought he was my friend. We have known each other for almost two years.

 

We were close enough that he knew some things about my past that I talk about on this blog. He knows, for example, about one of the times that I was raped. He knows about my abusive childhood and some of my abusive previous relationships.

 

For a short time he and I had a physical relationship. Which he ended. And I was more than fine with that. He is seeing someone now.

 

So he came by to hang out with me at my at work. I was alone with him in my office building. I did not feel unsafe. He comes to visit me regularly. We’re friends.

 

Until he made a joke about being allowed to touch me wherever he wanted to due to our previous ‘relationship.’ To which I very adamantly told him, NO.

 

He does not have permission to touch me anywhere. Not even as friends. I particularly did not feel like being touched that day. It happens.

 

I asked him to please not touch me. And he laughed a little. And that was the end of  it. Or so I thought.

 

We went to the break room to get sodas. As we were leaving he reached out and grabbed my ass. This is sexual assault. I did not want to be touched. I specifically TOLD him to not touch me. And he grabbed my ass anyway.

 

In the past I might have pretended to laugh it off and then gone home and cried about it. But I have come too far to let someone off that easily.

 

I yelled at him as I never have before. I told him he had no right to touch me. I told him that I had specifically asked him to not touch me.

 

He told me he had only been joking.

 

I got angry. Access to my body is not a joke. I have a right to not be touched. And I know he knew I hadn’t been joking when I had asked him to respect that right.

 

He did not apologize. I tried to compare my body to his young daughter’s body. How would he feel to have a man touch her after she said no? But to him, it was different, after all she was a child.

 

Apparently children have more right to body autonomy than an adult woman.

 

Besides, he told me, we’d had a relationship in the past. Again, I compared my body to his daughter’s. Would all of her ex boyfriends have a right to her body throughout the rest of her life? Even after they broke up? Even after she asked them not to? Would he be fine with them still touching her wherever and whenever they wanted?

 

Again, he told me it was different with us. See, he can’t be told no. He has to test boundaries.

 

I fail to see the difference.

 

He then asked me if I was still seeing my therapist. Because my reaction proved that I needed to be. I told him his inability to hear my ‘no’ told me that he still needed to be seeing his.

 

And then he told me he could tell how unhappy I was and he hoped I would find happiness someday. And I told him I was unhappy because one of my alleged friends had just sexually assaulted me.

 

He left. I did not report him. I still have not reported him. He never apologized in any way.

 

But none of that is the worst part.

 

Last week, another “friend” asked me how things were between me and the man that assaulted me. I gave him a very brief rundown of what happened.

 

This second alleged friend told me it was my own fault for still being friends with him. That I should know better by now that he would do that to me (though I am not sure how). That he hoped I would stop being his friend and had finally learned my lesson.

 

I don’t know if I have. The only lesson I am learning is that I still have terrible taste in relationships and friendships.  And I truly don’t know if I still see a value in either one anymore.

I hate to end on that note. But I feel it is a logical conclusion. A very small percentage of men are rapists or abusive or sexual predators. And yet, despite no longer being in relationships, I continue to find myself in friendships with them.

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Using my voice

Posted on

One of the most important lessons that I have been trying to learn (over and over like bashing my head into a wall) is that people don’t know where I am coming from.

I don’t know why I am having such a hard time learning this. I have always disliked those girls that act like their boyfriends should read their mind.

For example:

‘I know I told him that my birthday wasn’t important and that I don’t care what he gets me. But he should really know that it’s actually a big deal.”

Ladies, no offense, but that is so idiotic and illogical. If something is important then you need to say it is important.

Another time my sister told me ‘It’s unromantic to have to tell someone what to get you.”

Really? Is it less romantic than being upset and disappointed and not getting what you actually want? You have a voice. Use it.

And yet, I seem to expect people to read my mind about certain things too. Like, people should know to not make rape jokes around me. But honestly, other than it being in extremely poor taste, why would someone know?

I’m not handing out business cards with it printed on them. I don’t have a ‘I was raped’ t-shirt or tattoo.

If someone does something that I don’t like, my first instinct is to ignore it. I figure if I let it go, they will just stop on their own. But why would they?

How can a man know I hate it when he kisses the back of my hand if I let him get away with it even one time? What part of me not bringing it up would ever clue him in?

I guess I think that I am so damaged that it is immediately noticeable to everyone I meet. But it really isn’t. My past is not written on my face, it’s not coded into my body language, it’s not a stone that I am dragging behind me.

Nobody knows my past unless I choose to tell them. Nobody knows my preferences unless I choose to tell them. And, most importantly, nobody can possibly know that they are doing that one thing that reminds me so much of one of my abusive exes.

And they don’t know that when they remind me of one of my abusive exes I totally freak out because I think it means they are going to turn out to be abusive too. But it doesn’t actually mean that. And I have dated so many men at this point, there is bound to be some overlap in some of their behaviors. The only true predictor for abuse is abusive, disrespectful behavior.

If a new guy likes eating pizza with ranch on it, it doesn’t mean he is going to turn out like the ex that also liked to do that. All it means is that he likes to eat gross things. Also, the fictitious new guy has no clue why him doing that others me so much.

And that’s why I need to start explaining to people where I am coming from.

Valentine’s Day

TRIGGER WARNING

I’m so afraid to admit this to people. I don’t want to be a total downer for everyone in love and happy today. I hate Valentine’s Day.

All the hearts and cherubs and flowers are an annual reminder that I was raped 8 years ago today. It’s all I can think about for the two weeks leading up to today. And everywhere I look people are talking about love and relationships. And all I can think about is that.

I should not have gone to work today. Everyone kept touching me. I hate being touched, but apparently it’s supposed to be okay today. It isn’t. It’s less okay today for me than any other day.

People keep asking what my plans are for tonight. I don’t know how to ask them to stop. I don’t know how to say these words out loud. It’s bad enough being a normal single person on a day like today. Having everyone asking about your love life.

Emotionally I feel so brittle. I wish it had happened on some random day. Or not at all. I wish I didn’t have an annual reminder. The same day every year. I wish I didn’t associate all these sweet decorations with such a horrible thing. I wish it was some other day instead of the day that is supposed to represent love and romance and relationships.

I wasn’t even going to mention this but I just sat down and it all came flooding out. I rarely post something the same day I write it, but I just want this out of me. And I am bawling as I type this.

But I also know that if I had gone to therapy 8 years ago I would probably be closer to dealing with this than I am today. I know part of the reason it is so hard all these years later is that I never talk about it. Very few people know. I’ve barely even spoken to my therapist about it.

By this time next year I will have worked through these issues. And in a few years I will have found someone that will help me to make new memories on Valentine’s Day. I hope.

I am sorry for the roughness of this post. I literally just wrote this and am afraid if I edit it at all I will lose my courage to post it.

Crying x2

I feel like my parents have really taken away my ability to have a satisfying cry. I hear other people say how crying can be a release.

Not in my experience. I know I probably feel this way because my parents used to punish me for crying. But that doesn’t make me able to stop beating myself up for it.

I feel like I am weak when I cry. I feel idiotic and childish. I feel like a total wuss that can’t manage my own emotions. I feel like I am not a grown up.

So not only am I upset about whatever is making me cry. But I am totally beating myself up the entire time.

I usually feel even worse if I am crying in front of someone else. I feel like they are thinking the same thing I am thinking about myself. Even when I know they aren’t. Even though I don’t think those things about someone else when they cry in front of me.

I also beat myself up because I never think my issues are ‘bad’ enough. It’s an issue I have also discussed with my therapist. Like, maybe I don’t have ‘enough’ problems to need therapy. Or bad enough problems. And that I am just kidding myself. But my therapist has assured me that my issues are very real and bad. So that’s good. I guess.

I rarely cried at all in the past 20 years. Like, less than 20 times. Even through losing friends, getting a divorce, being abused, being raped, having surgeries, and facing my own death. And I could barely cry.

I’m starting to think that this was one of the worst things my parents ever did to me. Denying me the ability to cry. To express my emotions. To feel the release of tears. Even now, when I actually can cry.

Touch

Despite all my complaining. I still know I am not ready to meet someone on my own. This guy today was hot and interested and I wouldn’t even look in his direction. Because I am not ready to test myself. I’m not ready to choose someone. I am not ready to see if I am better.

For all my big talk, I am still not ready to trust myself. It’s like a Catch-22. I can’t trust myself to make good choices because I haven’t in the past. But I can’t prove that I’ve changed because I’m afraid I’ll keep making the same dumb mistakes.

If I don’t check, I won’t know where I stand or if I am better. I’m letting myself get paralyzed by the fear of making another mistake. I have to keep reminding myself that not making a choice is still a choice. But it’s also living my life by default. Things may be happening, but I am not really living or participating in my own life.

And I wanted to bring up the idea of waiting too long. I feel like I always have such good self control, that I don’t properly care for my needs. I wind up neglecting myself for so long that I latch on to someone that is nearby and isn’t actually worthy.

I’m so ashamed of needing someone, of needing sex. That I let it go and let it go and then it all comes pouring out inappropriately. And that poor person can’t always handle it.

I’m trying to take care of things myself. But I can’t give myself physical intimacy. It just builds up inside me and every little touch just twists the screw tighter. Until I become this tightly wound bundle of energy with no outlet and then I find some horrible guy and have horrible sex.

And I don’t even know why I waste my time because it only barely relieves the tension. Because I am not craving sex, I am craving intimacy. And I’ve only recently learned the difference between the two.

I didn’t and I still don’t know how to get physical intimacy. But I know I have to stop settling for sex. I need to start figuring out which one I need, being able to tell the difference, and making sure I am always getting the correct one.

That also may be part of the reason why touch is such an issue. I only let people touch me for sexual reasons and it turns every kind of touch into a sexual thing. Especially with men. Though I also think the sexual abuses made touch sexual. And I think my parents not touching me growing up turned touch into a ‘thing’ with me.

If I am only ever getting hit or molested, then touch is bad. But I also crave touch, because all humans do. I think I can only get it via sex. Which makes platonic touching even more awkward. Then I want people to touch me even less than I already do because it causes inappropriate thoughts about the wrong people.

So, touching has become a source of abuse, awkwardness, bad feelings and confusion. No wonder I don’t like people touching me.

But I also feel like I am getting to the intimacy breaking point. I need physical affection so badly it hurts in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know what to do about it.

Childhood things

I keep wondering if I would have had so many problems if my childhood had been better or different. I know there are people out there with eating disorders and anxiety disorders and depression. And they had relatively good childhoods. Their parents weren’t abusive. They weren’t raped. They weren’t married to men that abused them.

How much of my problems can I realistically blame on my childhood and how much is my own doing? Did my parents cause my issues? Or did they make them worse? Did I get the double hit of psychological issues and an awful childhood?

Why do people that weren’t abused as children wind up in abusive relationships? It’s easy for me to see why I would do it. I don’t have the same cues as other people. It’s hard for me to recognize normal/abnormal behavior. I thought all families and marriages were like my parents’. I’ve been conditioned to accept abuse. I didn’t even think there was better, let alone that I would deserve it.

I can’t even imagine myself or my life without my childhood. I can see where it has made me who I am. I can see that it made me a good person. But it’s hard to not wish my childhood was better. It’s hard to not wonder who I would be were it not for that. It’s hard to not regret that I’ll never know. It’s really hard to not feel jealous of other people that didn’t go through so much.

I can’t help but wonder, if I am just experiencing these issues because of my childhood, will I get over them easier? Will I be “fixed” some day? Or will this always be a regular struggle for the rest of my life?