My friend sent me an email today that made me feel amazed that she understood me so well. Here are parts of it-
you will get thru this! i think you moved to la to move thru it all....to cleanse in this dirty place...if that makes sense...just breathe, trust yourself. you purged a lot in your blog-a-thon, of course you are going to be fucked up for a minute! this is not light shit you are dealing with!
And...always remember..."Healing hurts!" always! it hurts, that is how you know healing is taking place!
I need to keep saying that to myself- this is not light shit I am dealing with! I felt when I was writing about the coping mechanisms, I was purging them, and assimilating them. Understanding why I needed them at the time and what I don't need (most of them) now. Shame is so strong when you grow up feeling that you are causing yourself to be abused, and then you feel ashamed of all the ways you tried to deal with it. The shame can get so deep into you, make you so ashamed of everything about you. I've tried hard to control what I others saw of me, because I had so much darkness inside me that I thought was my fault. Even my brother, who I didn't want to know about the sexual abuse. The rest of it was bad enough. I thought he thought I deserved it too, so I was mortified of all the abuse he did see.
I'm keeping myself from going back and reading this. I would delete it all. I'm just writing.
I was in corporate housing when I first moved here, but that was just for a month, and I hadn't saved up enough money to get my own place. I temporarily moved in with the boyfriend. I thought it was a bad idea at the time since I didn't know him very well, having just moved down here. I didn't see that I had a lot of options. Almost immediately he started yelling at me. He would lose his temper over something that didn't make any sense at all, and just keep screaming and screaming at me. The more upset I got, the more belligerent he got. When I'd start crying he'd accuse me of trying to manipulate him. I was afraid to leave (during the yelling) because I thought he'd kill my rats if I left him alone with them. He seemed capable of anything- there was terrifying cruelty in his eyes.
That fear did strange things to me. Instead of leaving, I went into survival mode. I acted as if I couldn't leave. I felt like I was a kid, with my dad. I had unbelievable flashbacks; flashbacks that took me away from reality. I felt that I was in real danger, but I tried to manage the situation. I tried to get him to stop by being really nice to him, really accommodating and obedient. I was totally cowed. I felt like I didn't know myself anymore- I blocked out everything I was feeling. I was numb. I tried to talk him into letting me leave, but when I mentioned it he would start crying, saying things like he couldn't live without me. Then he'd accuse me of being abusive towards him. That accusation became more and more frequent, along with others- that I didn't respect him, I was just like his dad (who beat him), my attempts to defend myself were childish temper tantrums, I was telling people he was abusive, I wasn't contributing to the household. This was punctuated with telling me how perfect we were for each other, how he could never be with anyone but me, he would go crazy if I left him.
I already thought he was crazy. I thought he was totally mental. But I regarded him as a sick person, felt sorry for him, but didn't feel sorry for myself. Instead, I felt ashamed that I had gotten involved with someone like this. After all the books I read, after all I had been through already, and I had already had an abusive boyfriend. One that I stayed with for five years until I sure he was going to kill me. I kept thinking I could fix it. I kept thinking I was causing him to act that way. I was sure it was me, that I made guys act crazy. And I couldn't admit to myself that I was in the situation I was in. I wanted so bad for it to be something it wasn't. I couldn't tell anyone because I was sure they would blame me, and think I was the crazy one for getting involved with him, that our fights couldn't possibly be as one-sided as they seemed. That I must be egging him on, I'm an adult after all, how could I not defend myself? How could I be so intimidated by this guy when I was a grown woman? Even worse, if I'm an adult and I choose to be with someone like that, it almost seems like I'm at fault for the abuse that happened when I was a kid. I went back for more.
I look back and it seems that I was not thinking at all. My brain was so dominated by fear. It seems so illogical now, yet, I understand it. The scary thing now is that I see how it is situational- if I am reminded of the abuse and that fear, I can flash back to the survival mode I was in as a child, and act like a child instead of an adult. Not make adult decisions. I haven't talked about this because I feel so disgusted with myself over it.
I did decide to leave after six months, in part because I told a co-worker a little about what was happening and realized how bad it was, and because he was treating me with more and more contempt and becoming more physically intimidating. I was afraid he would start hitting me. At the same time I decided I had no choice but to leave, I was afraid of his reaction, of what he would do. I was pussyfooting around, acting as meek as I could so he wouldn't get angry and decide that since I was moving out he had nothing to lose. The night before I moved, he demanded I have sex with him. I refused, so he forced himself on me. I don't think I'll forget what it felt like when he pushed me away with disgust when he was done with me, and rolled over and went to sleep.
The next day as I was trying to pack my things, he yelled and lunged at me, more angry than I'd ever seen. He slammed the door so hard it bounced open as he was leaving, while he screamed for me to get out. I was shaking so hard I could hardly pick things up. The apartment manager came and said he had to get the key from me because I had been kicked out. I called my friend (who I quoted above) and she helped me move everything and unpack my apartment. I was in shock for days. I felt like I wasn't in my body, numb all over. Relieved, too, that me and the rats had escaped.
I had flashbacks about that night for a year. I felt disgusted with myself. I didn't want to write about it on my blog because I was so ashamed of myself, and he knew about my blog and I thought he would attack me. I couldn't even talk to my therapist because it seemed to freak her out when I told her how disgusting I felt. I haven't had sex with a guy since then. I couldn't even masturbate without thinking about it. When I tried to just do other stuff with someone else, I felt afraid and kept disassociating, felt disconnected, had flashbacks. Felt sickened by myself. I felt really alone.
Last week I got an email from him. No apology- just wanted me to know he didn't hate me and wondered how I was.