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Tag Archives: relationships

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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Ex Memories

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I know I have been away for a while. I have been writing a lot. Just not for this blog. I am beginning to feel like this blog is going to be less and less a part of my life. Which is good. So much of what I talked about on here was negative. Now that I am doing better, I feel I am needing it less and less.

But I did want to write about something today. I started thinking yesterday about all the men I have dated. And how important they used to be in my life. And how I don’t even talk to any of them anymore (for good reason).

I knew them very well once. Better than most people did, I think. I knew their preferences.

I remember the way this one liked his coffee. I remember a favorite song. I remember childhood stories. And childhood enemies.

You see, they aren’t just in my mind as the memories I have of them. They aren’t just the time we watched fireworks in the rain. Or once when the car broke down during rush hour traffic and we were so hungry!

They are memories of their memories too.

I wonder if I will always be carrying those memories with me. I don’t mind remembering them. I just want to stop remembering their personal tastes, their memories, their life experiences.

I want to make room in my head for other things that have more relevance in my life now. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to remember.

But I also don’t know how to stop.

And I feel like all those memories I have of them, that seemed so important at one time, are completely insignificant in my life now. Was it all a waste of time?

I don’t know the answer to any of that. I know I will eventually meet someone new. And I will start a new catalogue in my brain for them. It will have folders with their food preferences, music taste, the way they hold a fork, the way they walk.

And eventually, when it ends, I’ll be haunted by those same things for a while. Until I can think of them without pain. Or regret. Which is usually what I feel when I think of exes. Not regret that it’s over, regret that I ever gave them a chance to begin with.

And when I eventually start forgetting someone, where do those memories go? Does my brain clear them out to make room for new? Or do they fade into the background of all those memories that are more important, more relevant to who I am now?

I really don’t know. In a way, I wish I could get rid of all those memories. But in another way, it is nice to look back and remember that not everything with those bad men was bad. We laughed and had fun sometimes too.

No matter how bad someone was, there was always some good in them too.

The Whys of Love

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I have been thinking about relationships and being single a lot lately. I have been single for over a year. I haven’t had a date in almost a year.

It’s the longest I’ve ever gone without a date. I’ve been asked a few times, but I either wasn’t ready or wasn’t interested. I’m tired of wasting my time on people that want to play games with me.

At this point in my life, I need someone to offer me something better than what I am offering myself alone at home. Or, if not better, at least worth the trouble. And thus far, that hasn’t been happening.

I’ve stopped feeling a need to date someone. I’ve stopped wanting to feel wanted by someone. I’m not bitter or angry or sad about it. I have just been spending a lot of time thinking about relationships.

I know a lot of people that are in various stages of relationships. Just meeting, just getting serious, just moved in, just married, married for years and years. I only know one couple out of all of them that is happy. Just one. And they are a new couple.

I’ve never known a couple that had a relationship I envy. I’ve never seen a couple that made me wish I was in a relationship. I’ve certainly never been in a relationship that has given me something worth missing.

I do believe good relationships exist. I know happy and healthy is a possibility. It just doesn’t appear to be the norm. And I’m no longer willing to settle for less than that.

When I look at all these relationships I know, and I look at my own past relationships, I wonder what it is that makes me even want to be in one. In my own personal experience, they involve nothing but control, manipulation, games and abuse.

So why do I want one?

I don’t need to be with someone. I am happy being alone. I take good care of myself. I treat myself right. I buy me nice things. I take me out to dinner. I love me. I show myself care and concern and respect. I cheer myself up after a bad day. I make myself dinner. I run myself baths. I make me feel safe and calm myself down when I feel overwhelmed.

So why do I want one?

Society tells me that I need to be in a relationship. It tells me that I need to get married and have children. It tells me that I need someone to take care of me when I am sick and old. It tells me another person will make me feel complete and fulfilled.

But I am not having children already. I don’t need to be married (though some part of me would still like to be). I take care of me when I am sick. And I already do feel complete and fulfilled.

So why do I want one?

I am running out of reasons. I’ve stopped understanding why people get into relationships. My own reasons in the past were the wrong reasons and I have no right reasons to replace them with.

I will admit that I sometimes feel lonely. But that loneliness is much less now than it ever has been. There is no lonelier feeling than being with someone that won’t connect with you. Or being with someone that wants to abuse you instead of love you. I would rather feel the occasional loneliness of being alone than the constant loneliness of sharing a life with someone that doesn’t want to share.

And at the end of the day, I will be alone, no matter who I am with. I am alone with my thoughts before I go to sleep at night. And when I die, I will be alone. We all die alone. We all face death alone. And I am not afraid of that.

So why do I want one?

I am honestly starting to wonder if I do. I have spent so much of my life taking it for granted. That I am supposed to meet a man and fall in love. I have never fallen in love. I have never met a man worth loving.

I have taken it for granted that I am supposed to want a relationship. That I am supposed to want love. That I am supposed to be good at emotions by virtue of being a woman. But I’m not. And I’m not sure if I do want those things now.

I have spent so much time and energy in my life thinking about someone else. Thinking about a boyfriend. Thinking about a crush. Thinking about meeting someone. And I don’t know for what purpose. I have nothing to show for all that time and energy and effort.

I think I am afraid if I stop wanting a relationship that it will be like giving up. But in a bad way. Like the universe will never send someone worthwhile to me.

And I would love to have just one good relationship. Just to prove to myself that they can be good. And maybe also to help make up for all the bad ones I’ve been in (even though nothing ever really can). It might be nice to experience, just once. Even if it’s only for a short while.

And, I guess, that’s why I want one. To prove that I can have one. Maybe just to prove to myself that someone not abusive would want to be with me. And that I can have one relationship in my life that is good and worthy of my time and effort.

I guess that is also why I don’t want to give up. I want to know what it feels like to fall in love. Just one time in my life.

It’s sort of like a life experience I want to put in my collection that I haven’t had yet. Once again, in writing this, I figure myself out. Now I know how I feel and why I feel that way. It actually gives me a bit of hope.

Anxiety

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I don’t know why I am suddenly feeling so anxious all the time. I never had anxiety issues before. Or maybe I did but didn’t realize it because of all my other issues.

I know it is mostly the PTSD, but lately I have been having mini panic attacks. It feels so stupid to be feeling this way. I am actually ashamed of myself for not being able to handle things.

I look back on all I have been through and I think: I went through all that and now I am afraid to answer my door? Or go grocery shopping at night? Or talk to another human being?

It feels idiotic and paranoid and silly. So silly.

I know I am just being hard on myself. The truth is, I’ve always felt this way. It’s just that now I have resolved so many issues, this is one of the last few left. It seems to stand out.

I am embarrassed to mention it to my therapist. I am afraid she thinks I am making all this up. I am afraid she will think I am just trying to get medication. I am afraid that she thinks I am self diagnosing myself. I don’t want medication. I just want to stop feeling so anxious.

It has been so bad a few times that I can’t sleep all night. Every noise has me jumping. Exaggerated response and all that. I have been sleeping with my baseball bat again.

I’m not sure where it is coming from. Except, that is a lie. I do know.

One year ago this month I was battling my ex in court. Getting a restraining order. It was difficult and scary. The things he said and did…

And I have recently ended a casual relationship with a man. I am worried he will take it poorly. I am worried he will retaliate. I am worried that every relationship I end from now on will be a trigger. I am worried I will never truly know someone or truly trust ever again.

I am so tired of having so many problems. Some days I just want to wallow in self pity and wonder why it all happened to me. But that is pretty useless. It doesn’t help me. And it never makes me feel better.

Using my voice

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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.

Explorers

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I have been thinking about being alone. Not loneliness, some of my most lonely times were when I was in a relationship. But actually, just being alone.

In a weird way it helps to think about other people being alone. Like, I know we are all alone, but we are alone together. I know none of this is particularly insightful.

But when I am falling asleep at night, I lie in bed, and I stare up at the ceiling. And I think about the thousands of times that I have laid in bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to someone breathing and asleep next to me. And I realized that I was just as alone then as I am now.

No matter how happy or serious my relationship is, I’m always going to be lying in bed, awake, and alone with my thoughts. And sometimes, I like being alone with my thoughts. Some of them aren’t even things I can share anyway.

And that also got me thinking about dying. Lying in bed alone in the dark makes me think about dying fairly often. I’m not afraid of dying. Mortality is just an interesting subject to me. And I enjoy speculating.

What if you are still self aware after you die? But you have no ability to influence your surroundings. It would be like being a table. It would be like lying in bed, alone in the dark forever.

Which brings me back to the point I was originally wanted to make. Ultimately, we are all going to be alone in the end. Death is a journey we will all have to make alone.

I don’t mean this to sound scary or depressing. In fact, I think it is just the opposite. I like to imagine it as an adventure into the unknown. Not something to be afraid of. Even if there is no consciousness there, I’m fine with that.

Nothingness won’t hurt. Not existing didn’t bother me before I was born and it won’t bother me after I die. But we won’t know until we get there.

It’s one of the absolute last unexplored frontiers. We’re all like Lewis and Clark on an expedition to discover America. (I’m Lewis, the depressed one). We just don’t have a way to report back our findings the way they did. Death is more unknown that the deepest oceans of planet Earth and more mysterious than the universe.

I am fascinated by the idea of something so unknown and mysterious. And knowing that someday, I will 100% know what happens with absolute certainty when we die. I may not be able to report back to anyone else. But I will know for me. And while I am not in any rush to find out, I am very curious to know. Someday.

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.