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Found 68 results

  1. We were kids, you presented it as a game and I joined. We played it for years. You wanted to stopped, so we did. You wanted to start again years after stopping we did start again. We you, I discovered my body, I discovered what I'd like or hate to feel. I'd learn my limits. I thought it was a game and then I was use to it. You manipulated me in order to get what you wanted. Maybe you loved me more than a friend, but if so why didn't you respected me when I said no multiples time. Why did I gave you my body and why did I gave you pleasure ? Maybe cause I thought it would end faster... maybe cause I was use to it. You had my very first time, you had my first kiss, you had my first experiences. My mind still remember, you are still taking too much of my time. You are still in my dreams making them nightmares. You no longer touch or abuse me, but most of nights it's almost if it was still happening. I just don't get it. I just want it to stop. On the top of it, I even fear you sue me for what you did to me. It would just end me. I dont know if I could show to court to explain it was you that abused me. I don't think I could keep the promises I did stating I would never do something stupid to myself. I fear you. You have everything or almost related to sex. Please let me keep my life and the nice experiences I can have sometimes. Please go away, leave my mind, give me back my body. I feel like you still have it. Now, I can manage to ask my gf to stop and we stop. It's like small victories. But without you, I wouldn't need ask her if it's ok if we stop... I wouldn't have memories with you when we are trying to have pleasure together without you. Oh please, PLEASE.. go away and let me alone. I suffered enough for no reasons. I gave you my body for what 10 years ? 13 years ? I gave you my mind for another 10 years ? Now, I just can't take it anymore, leave me please leave me; and give me back my body and mind.
  2. purge

    ...

    i think i should know, how to make love to something innocent without leaving my fingerprints on L-O-V-E's just another word i'll never learn to pronounce
  3. purge

    ....

    when i cried i cried alone and when i begged for help no one came
  4. It would be nice to have a chance to sit down and deal with my current issues without more shit piling on top of it. I know it’s life but this whole journey is becoming to much again. It’s like walking down a path of broken glass, your feet are bleeding and all cut up and you turn down another path only to find out there’s more glass on the road. You don’t have any other way to go so you have to keep going forward even though there’s glass on the road and if you go back there’s still gonna be glass on the road! To add to the bullshit I now might be a diabetic. I’m experiencing much of the symptoms since I was hospitalized on the 16th. I’ve missed quite a chunk of work the last two weeks because of it. Depression has reared its ugly head. I’m on meds for it but today it’s not helping. I feel like I’m headed for another mental breakdown. For the first time in a while I didn’t want to get out of bed today. I’m physically drained, emotionally exhausted and mentally...I just want to shut down again. I have fucking had it....😓😖 😪Maybe a shower, some tea and a good book to relax for a little while but first I need to meditate. I really am just so frustrated. Hopefully tomorrow is better.
  5. Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well in this strange time in history (pandemic and national BLM uprising!) I am new to After Silence. I am also new to the healing process. I am not sure how to go about this, but from what I have seen, AS is a great community where I will hopefully find support among fellow survivors. I am a college student studying history. I love to read and write, especially about politics. I hope that I can incorporate writing and reading into my healing process (I've heard that Body Keeps the Score is a good book. Any thoughts on this?) Anyways, I am here in quarantine with my family, and all this time alone has forced me to think. Memories flooded back and I finally came to the epiphany/reckoning with my sexual assault(s) which happened three years ago. I am now starting my healing process because these past three years I have simply been in denial and constantly burying my trauma under layers of justifications and refusals to acknowledge the truth. Thank god that forums like this exist! I am excited to conversate with all of you:)
  6. The first time I had some regardless of rape, it was with my gf. I wanted to wait to the marriage, but looks like it happened before. Our first time, I was cold as a rock and completely absent. I was in memories of r***. It took me some times to appreciate it a little. I'd say I ended addicted. I remember before losing my sex drive, it was almost annoying myself. If I would approach my gf and if she didn't wanted, I would m***** so it could clear the... need. I never wanted my gf to feel the need. So I hide to do it. When I met her, she thought it was the gf job to satisfy her boyfriend. I told her if she don't want, we would not have some. It's not suppose to feel as a job. I like to see the pleasure in her eyes. Now she know it's not a gf job. When I came back at my parents home, I worked a little, we were stopped by covid 19 and I saw him during the confinement. I started to have flashbacks, memories were and are back.. I sleep lot less. I remembered he'd touch me when I was gaming. Looks like I associated having an erection with this. Since, my sex drive is down. I came back at my gf home, so I could get better and I feel safer with her. I realised last week that my relation with sex changed. First I have no more or almost no more sex drive. Now I feel like loving and hating sex. I have problems with something I was appreciating a lot, chills out of sensual touches. Now, like a long time ago it triggers me a lot. It almost paralyse me. I try to get it better, but it doesn't seem to work well. There is a part of me that want sex and loves it and another part that hate it and doesn't want some. I think I started to use sex to hurt my feelings... I don't exactly know... Sometimes I don't want some, but I push myself, I love it, but it hurt some feelings. It's 6h14am, I haven't sleep yet and I just feel sad. I feel all mixed up. My life was go going so well before I went back there. I hate him. I don't want to give him my pleasures and my happiness, but I feel like I am... I feel like he own my body... It's a nice sunny morning with birds singing and I just feel like it's a dark and rainy morning. I.. I realise I ain't going well at all. I just want to cry in a dark corner, alone. I want to hide and to be seen. I think I'm broken again. I'll stop here I think I'm losing control on my mind. I'll save this and continue and publish it later. It's all mixed up. I'm all mixed up. Maybe I should erase this.
  7. Goldeneye

    April 2020

    Note to myself, new entry at top. 2020-04-28 I’ve sleep from around 1h30 am till 9am. A good night of sleep would be 10h and I know I didn’t sleep well cause I moved a lot and my blanket are all around. I remember a little of my dream. Today, I walked after diner with my mom and did nothing after oh a public chat and the nice chat with that good friend. The public chat went well, the first time since I’m using the new chat. I may not end chat mod, but I really want to help people in here. Today I feel like I don’t want to do anything. I almost went earlier to bed. But now it’s midnight minus 15 min and I’m not very tired. I think the good effect of seeing my gf is fading out. I’m, again, out of sexual desire, I barely can touch myself, I realise I actually almost feel nothing now. I’m just here, an empty bag. It doesn’t bother me since I feel nothing… or almost. 2020-04-27 I’ve sleep 14h, but I don’t feel that much rested. I walked with my mother during the afternoon and I felt good all day long. I watched tv after supper, a friend called and I had a nice chatting with a good friend since before I started here journal. She helps me a lot and she underestimate herself. I hope one day she’ll see herself like she is really. I went to sleep around midnight, it took around 1h or 1h30 min before I could fall asleep. 2020-04-26 I woke up afraid. I don’t remember what I dreamed of, but know I remember I tried to touch myself all over my body and I stopped when I realised it was still too hard. My boxers are like a line I can’t cross. After a certain time, I kicked myself out of bed so I could start my day. Thx I’ve done it; the feeling went away. I had 2 toasts as a breakfast and a coffee. After diner, I had a haircut and I look younger than yesterday. I found training weights in our house, so I used it. It was different than regular exercises, but it remembered me old souvenirs. I like the feeling after a workout and I like the shake I have. It’s not like the other one. That one is due to pushing my limits. 2020-04-25 Today there was a group chat on ‘’Self-Compassion & Forgiveness’’ and I thought it would be great if I’d join. I let a lot of place to others in these chats, because I think they need a lot more help than I do. I know I will continue to go forward. I never had a T. I’m still going forward even if sometimes, I have to admit, it’s hard. I joined it full of motivation and left at the end. I was, I am sad. I just want to cry and I don’t know why. Maybe I should of talk more of my own problems. I thought I had a problem if forgiveness. I just can’t forgive myself for now. It’s easier to forgive him than myself. Maybe because I have a high perspective of myself. I know I’m good, I know I have a great memories, I good at all I want to do. Maybe I ain’t the best, but I seriously don’t care. A lot of people have low self esteem, some have voices that say bad things on them. I have the opposite problem, I have high esteem of myself, that’s why I can’t understand I let that happen for that long. I knew I didn’t like it; I knew it was hurting me and it took years for me to make it stop. I needed someone to tell me I wasn’t going well during a few months I would cry all night long to make it stop one day… A month or 2 before my 18 yo anniversary. I just want to cry. I just realise before forgiving my self I need to accept I wouldn’t probably be able to change how it went and I could not take any other decision. It’s just so hard to release the anger. Even more when I have a flashback and I totally lose control over things I loved. I have enough of shaking that much. It feel like I was so scared, like if it was so cold... It bothers me. 2020-04-24 I’ve sleep for long hours and I felt was more rested than the last days/weeks. I took a good coffee, we cleared e-documents we had forgot to do for the bank to send docs to the layer for the land. I lunched, I helped my mother to move boxes of tiles and I made a wrong move. I didn’t bend my knees enough so I hurt myself. I felt a very big pain when I bend, and I dropped a few inches. I don’t know if I’ll train today, it hurt. I noticed I have no more sexual desire. I only have some with her.. How, I don't know. TRIGGER WARNING, Descriptions 2020-04-23 This morning, I went to my gf home to pick her and to go to the bank to sign documents. It went well and we went back to her home where we lunched. We hugged and I was shaking, she noticed. After, we made 2 cappuccinos together and we cuddled. It was the first time in 5 weeks. Then we went a little farther and it went wrong. I had no sexual desire for a few weeks and I was with her, it as different. I told her it could be hard cause I tried to touch myself and my body denied my own touch... Normally, it would have been sweet, but not this time. I thought, after almost 9 years and let say 8y of going well that my body was mine and I had full control over it. But it looks like I'm back to our first time, but I'd say it was worst... A part of me wanted it and another was afraid and disgust. Plus, physically I had some pains they disappeared when I left. What's wrong... I was shaking even more like very much like even my teeth were knocking. She was touching me and when she'd do chills on me, I would have a big uncontrollable rejection reaction. I no more like them even from her. If I'd be too passionate, I would start to shake even more. It wasn't a good experience; I was saying sorry almost every 2mins. Or she'd say sorry for being use of doing chills. I had a moment where I was calm and could... But after a moment I started to shake and she told me a few times I could stop whenever I'd like. At a moment I stopped and told her she was right. Sometimes during it, I would look away and she would bring me back. I'm so lucky to have her understanding me and taking her time. If she didn't know, I don't know how I would have explained her why I wasn't able anymore. That's how s*x became one of my 2 favorite things to something, for the moment, I somehow dislike. I loved to do, more than others, this and driving a car with a Manuel transmission. My gf told me at the end that she doesn’t want I to keep bad memories of it. I don't know why I waited that long to stop even if I was no more comfortable. Maybe I hoped it could pass and I would enjoy like before. 2020-04-22 Today, I waked up during night and with my alarm clock, because I had an appointment with the bank. It well and took half the time. I tried to practice trumpet, but I as offset in my sound. I was getting grumpy so I said maybe this evening and same result… It’ll go to tomorrow. After, I went to do my jogging. It took 25min and I gave all I had to give. The feeling after is ahhh thank you my dear brain to produce endorphin. It relaxes me and send my on a nice little cloud. A good day, I needed it. I hope it’s a new start. If it just lasts a day, well. It better than nothing. 2020-04-21 Yesterday during night, I had a chat with a friend and it helped to sleep better and it helped me to relax. I was feeling light at the end. She gave some tricks because I don’t know how my gf will react to some new things. She’s very supportive, but I was afraid. She’s intelligent, helpful and kind. I slept again on the ground, but today (22nd), I’ll try to sleep in my bed. 2020-04-21 I went to sleep pretty early but after around 5 hours of ‘’sleep’’ I was waking up and now I’m here, I’ve done a weird dream or I might say a nightmare where I was bullied. It remembers me old unpleasant souvenirs. When I woke up, I opened my eyes like if I was already awake… I woke up at 4am….. I’m so tired, I’ll go for a round 2 When I went to sleep, it was like yesterday, Fixing the dark and nervous at sleeping. I feel like I’m prepared and waiting for something to happen. But this time almost no memories and no flashback. It’s now been a few days I’ve realise I have no more sex drive (libido), I’m a little afraid of it. It never happened before. I’m tired... My gf is afraid of how I am and asked to let her alone again in 2 days. She knows it almost happened long ago, just before she was my lovely half. I had the knife in the kitchen aiming myself, but something didn’t let me end this. Looks like a part of myself didn’t want to die. I afraid to make my family sad and how awful it would have been for my mother to find me in a blood bath. I won’t let her alone. I a little afraid to see her and to feel no sexual will. A lot of times, when we see each other after a long time it ends… but I’m afraid to tell her I feel nothing at the moment. That I feel nothing for her nor for anyone else. I don’t want her to be worried about me even if I never been like that, I never not slept for that long, I was very sad at night, not afraid and nervous… It finally took 3 rounds to have around 7h30min. I went on the floor to try to sleep better… Because when I lay on my bed on my side like I usually sleep, it remembers when something was happening and I keep focusing. It's like if my mind was waiting for something to happen. So, in going down, it still remembers me something, but I put a box in font of my face so well, nothing could be there and it relaxed me just enough to sleep for round 2-3. I feel bad, tired, triggered, ashamed, anxious, scared. It's just getting worst. The only good thing I don't have any headache. Today, I played trumpet I was fully relaxed finally. I was in my bubble, in my paradise. I thought I could sleep... At the moment I closed my eyes, I was getting nervous. To relaxed, I' trained and took a bath after. I felt so safe I almost felt asleep. I'm so fucked up these days. I can't continue like that for the rest of the time I'm here, but I don't know hat to do. I told my mother about the police car in the path I was walking she told me you shouldn't go there. I said it's legal and what could happen there ? I understand what she's saying, it could be dangerous. But it looks like I don't care even if I should and I want to go there at night it's like a need... TRIGGER WARNING Since I have no more sex desire, it's weird. I tried to touch my body like just to do some chills all over my body but I do a repulsive reaction. It's not pleasant at all. Like when my gf and I tried it for the first time. I'm no more comfortable with that type of touch anymore. It's like if I was going back, but with new side effects. I feel like I'm totally losing control over my own body. I sleep less and less, I have to sleep on the ground with a box in front of me, I'm almost always anxious, scared, I'm no more comfortable with chills, memories are back, I have no more sex desire, patience is low since I don't sleep much or sleep but feels like I didn't. I'm ashamed, I feel guilty of just letting the ''one last time'' continued for so many times, I just can't forgive myself, never. He was saying ''it's just a game'' and ''it'll stay between us'', I just want it to stop… 2020-04-20 Slept for what ? I don’t remember but I think it’s like 9h and a half, but I felt like my brain doesn’t sleep. When I go to sleep, I fixed the dark and it can last long time and when I close my eyes, my heart beat accelerate and I get nervous. It’s like if I was afraid of sleeping. I had memories wile fixing… I lost my patience wile playing trumpet both times, but I was able to calm down the 2nd time. Wile I was walking I dark path in a mix of forest and plain, a car went on it with a huge led spot, I went on the side and it was just a cop. He totally scared me. He stopped and said you are walking ? I said yes and he continued. I've extended my walk in the street of the suburb after to relax a little... 2020-04-19 Last night wasn’t what I was expecting. Well, I did get in bed at the time I wanted after a short trumpet practice. But it took an hour to fall asleep. I had those memories/flashbacks. I even remembered new things I’ve forgotten a long time ago. So, it took me about an hour to be able to relax enough to close sleep a few hours. I was awake just before 7am. I thought I’d sleep for like 10 hours or 10 hours and 30 minutes. I’m now exhausted and cannot sleep anymore. Last night I was distressed, afraid, sad, not safe, I was shaking, my headache came back, it was just a long nightmare. It took myself an hour to calm down. Now, it’s too early and I feel sick, sad. I don’t know why, but I can’t cry. It’s like if I couldn’t release some pressure. Trigger warning --) details Flashback/memories When I go to sleep, I normally fall at sleep on my left side. But it’s facing his home. He’s not exactly the neighbor of my neighbor. There is my neighbor, a street that forms a T with our and his house is facing our street. It’s like if the wall of my bedroom would no longer be there nor my neighbor's house. I'd just be sucked in his house and see what happened in there. From the beginning to the end. It happened there for so many times. Multiple times a week for a long time. It went progressively from my 5-6 yo to my 17 when I made it stopped. Most of my memories are when we were in his wardrobe and I was sucking him and I remember the taste and the smell because it wasn’t clean. Well, it was after… Sometimes he would push on my head and it would hit my throat and would miss air and I’d have to push back to breath. There’s another one he almost came in my mouth; he was saying don’t worry I’ll tell you. There was a weird contraction so I removed my head and it went on the wall… and I’ve cleaned it... Another one that comes a lot, we would play a videogame, ask me to do something for him and he would use this to touch me and to unclothe me. Then, he would want to do a ‘’69’’. Though, I was sucking he would just a little and I would do the hour of it. At the end, I was managing to be facing the tv so it would at least change my mind. I remember the feeling after having my mouth wide open for a long time, it was hurting my jaws. He hasn't the smaller one... I remember me coming back feeling dirty even after cleaning myself multiple times. There are other things I don’t want to type. Maybe another day I’ll be more comfortable. I see them a little differently each time because it happened too many times. I know I was saying no multiple times sometimes, but this it’s not in there. I feel so disgusted of myself how could I do this and why the $%?&* I'd clean his mess... I think I'm going to be sick because of it, but I ate nothing since 8pm... I can’t get out of my bedroom because I shake too much, I hope it’ll stop, I just don’t want to explain it to my parents again. I’m tied, I need sleep, but I can’t. I thought it would be a nice sunny weekend home but it is turning into hell. The worst is I've mostly forgive him, but I can't forgive myself. Rest of the day: Even if I didn’t sleep much, I had a good day when I calmed myself. Parents said I looked a little nervous, but I’ve managed to dodge. My patience was shorter when I practiced music, but I've managed it. I went to the mail, I cleaned the pool and I practice Trumpet songs, I try to remember the music sheet I don’t have with me and I practice long sounds, this relaxed me for a moment. This evening, around 9pm I went for a run/walk cause I had to relax… I cried on a park bench out of sight beside a road for bicycle and for walking people. It’s in the dark, far from the look… Perfect for me to cry in peace. I’m back and I just wonder if I’ll ssleep tonight. I took a decaf coffee before sleeping. I've sleep around 8 hours, I've trained my back. I've practice trumpet and I've supper. I almost lost a good friend, she missed understood something and I've practice trumpet. She (my trumpet) was sounding so well. I'm getting better, I'm happy about that and I took news of my good friend and and we reconciled. I took a coffee and I line up to go to sleep, hoping for a nice night of sleep, like yesterday would be great. 2020-04-18 Last night, I prayed Wishes to thank her for her support. I don’t know why but I almost forgot her. I read a message I sent to Winter where I was saying I just heard the news a few years ago. But I didn’t remember the news, so I wrote a pm to a good friend, Field8, she explained me what happened. I don’t understand why I don’t remember… I think that I shouldn’t have asked her, its maid her cry and if I knew, I’d prefer never know than the make her remember her lost friend. 2020-04-17 Yesterday, I had a big headache… Been a few days it’s there. The light was hurting my eyes and I started to feel my heart beat so I decided to go to bed earlier than the earlier I was aiming. I took 2 ibuprofens and I went to sleep. So, I went to sleep around 11pm and I woke up at 11h45 this morning. I as still tired, but lot better. I’ve diner some soup and my mother realised I was abnormally shaking. She was looking at the soup getting out of the spoon. So, I told her oh that’s my normal shaking (I normally shake more than average but doctor says it’s still normal). Sorry for this little lie, but I didn’t want questions. I didn’t notice this morning since it was lot less than the two days before. After I took coffee and I was at rabbit speed. The headache was back around 2pm. I’ve cleaned my library and my room and I’ve workout today. The feeling was good. After supper I did a jogging and I walked in the forest. I was a little stressed but nothing happened and the place have changed in the few years I haven’t been around. A branch almost ended in my eye that is still ok just at like 6’ from the road. I’ve got lucky on that one. I don’t to damage that eye since other one received a little piece of metal which has needed a doctor to remove it and I’ve lost a bit of my perfect vision on that one. So, my left eye compensates and glasses wouldn’t change anything. So, it’s been a good day and I think I’ll play trumpet with a mute to not wake up everyone before going to sleep. Maybe I’ll dream of playing my trumpet in a big band like I was doing it 9 or 10 years ago. Now that I think about it, the headache left after workout. 2020-04-16 I’m back at parents’ home for five weeks now. I haven’t seen my girl friend since almost a month and it’s hard. She’s my super hero. She helped to get out of this manipulated life to satisfy his pulsion and his needs. It’s been 8 years and 9 months that we are together and without her it’s harder when I have downs. I sleep better when I know she’s near me. It’s like if nothing bad could happen to me. Until about a week from now, it was almost like if I never been… But since a few days, I feel myself sinking in the darkness. I have this headache that leave when I take pills for my head but that is back the next day. When I joined AS, I could take 2-3 bottles to control my headaches per year. Now, it’s around one bottle. That one doesn’t want to leave and it get stronger and I start to feel my heartbeats in my head. It’s perfectly timed with my down… I think it's the fact that I'm here and their are plenty of memories/trigger for me in here. What made it start, that's a question I'd like to answer. Maybe because I saw him a few times. Who knows. The 14th, I had a flashback when I went to sleep. Yesterday, I waked up shaking like a dead leaf, but I had no flashback before sleeping last night. Today, I waked up weak and shaking like a dead leaf again. I was tired even after 8-9 hours of sleep. I had no motivation so I drag my feet to the bath and I’ve lay in it for a long moment. I’ve finally pushed myself to clean and to get out to do my day. I’ve diner after it and I’ve chat with Samantha. She’s very supportive and is a great friend. The kind I’d like to have irl. Because I don’t want my gf to handle it all alone, I look for other support. I don’t want to worry her. Knowing I should get better soon. My mother and I went outside and we walked for about an hour. After, I took my car for a 5 minutes drive since we are confined so I wont end with a dead battery or other surprises. When I was back, I listen to a little of music and after I tried to play trumpet. But I couldn’t cause I was too triggered and I could not focus on my music sheets or even on doing the good notes. So, I took a nap. I almost felt at sleep, but my alarm rang. It was almost supper time. I was no more shaking and I was more relax with my head less in pain. After supper, I’ve played trumpet and a friend called for advice so I gave him. A good friend suggested I could do a blog like a journal since it’s my gf’s laptop and I don’t want to let the logs in here. At least the new pass protection is better than in the old time. Years ago (I feel old buy saying this), it was easy to bypass. Thank you for the suggestion.
  8. Goldeneye

    Why...

    Sometimes, I wonder why did I go back there, I know I said I was use to it since it lasted around 10 years, but I knew I didn’t like it… I should of knew it would happen. Why would it been different than the day before? Why there’s a part of me that keep appreciating him ? He just used me. Did he knew what he was doing ? I love myself on a regular basis, but on that point, I hate myself and I’m far from forgiving myself. I was never drunk (except once but it was long after him, but I drank in his /$%?&* memories… Idiot I could be, I was sick as fuck that day, I don’t know if it was that or the sh*tty milk had turned and I just realised during my lunch). And I’ll never drink that much anymore. I never touched drug. So, I’ve done it being fully conscious on what I was doing but too idiot to stop before something broke in me or was it too late. I feel like if I would have been a junkie, knowing it was bad, but still going in case it would be different that time. Maybe I was liking if I was going there again and again… I'm sorry, I.. I... Maybe my mother was right long ago when asked multiple time if I was gay. I had to say I'd leave so she could stop, b but I love my gf but Idk maybe I'm just tired, but I stuck with these thoughts and I don't know how to manage them. It's like if I had pause for a few years and a train would hit and say do you remember me… ? Sorry s.. sorry I'd like to forgive myself but I don't know where to start. I'm scared, I'm exhausted and I thought I was out of it once and for all. Now I fall back exactly where I was. I realize that I still want a lot of it and that it eats my mind little by little. I lost faith in religion a long time ago, I only believe in myself and in a few people. Unfortunately, I am starting to lose faith in myself. I just know I lost my path and it's getting worst over time. I'm now losing things I thought I had recovered. Goldie
  9. Hello, I'm really unsure where to start. I've sought "help" before on hotlines, crisis centers etc only to be left feeling hopeless and frustrated. I've never gone to therapy after my assault. I've never told anyone what happened to me. I'm not sure if I ever will. I have no friends anymore (moving around too much). My family will never know. I have pretty bad PTSD but its been slightly better since I moved away from my old place where it occurred. Anything I write on here will be extremely vague due to him stalking and harassing me, that paranoia will always be there whether or not he's actively looking for me. I know I've been struggling a lot ever since it happened but I don't really have many options currently. I've seen the immense change in me, the feral animal I feel like I've become. I've isolated myself from people ever since it happened because I feel completely disconnected. I know I absolutely got through the worst on my own, the intense daily fear, panic attacks once a day, extreme paranoia, always checking doors, locks, windows, closets, parking lots, cars. Everything scaring the hell out of me. Checking everywhere. I still experience all of that but its way more manageable and not as suffocating now. My entire existence crumbled. I took too many days off of work and got myself into a constant cycle of debt. Every day is hard but unfortunately I don't have a choice and must keep on living. My life is a fake plastered on smile and constant distractions so I wont dwell on how terrible my life has become. I'm tired of it but this is how it is for now.
  10. I am new here. I was SA in February of this year, I am greatful to have this site. --+++Trigger warning++++++ It was done by a guy I was seeing and his cousin... +++++end of sensitive part... (I am not positive I did that right) Anyway...I have been really struggling with sleep, seems the memories all come when I'm trying to sleep. I have began SI behavior which I've done in the past. I am struggling with friends and family, its like the things I used to love, I don't want to do anymore. I have been keeping so much in and don't really have anyone who understands. Sometimes I feel like I'm a burden on friends because this is something I think about wayyyy too much. Just feel so alone...
  11. Even though it has been four years There are days where I can still feel his rough hands on me I said no I said no But he didn't stop His bitter words echo in my mind Over and over again. It's been four years The memories of him Won't leave There are days Where I ask why Why did he cause me So much pain? "You'll forget all about it" They tell me They have no idea What absolute terror is always looking over your shoulder all the time. The memories of him That won't leave you alone They have no idea What absolute terror is The pain I endured when he shoved me So hard that I lost two teeth How much I hate my smile Because of him. They have no idea Of what I went through How I don't trust anyone because of him. Because of the trauma by him I'm shattered yet I'm holding on. I'm shattered yet I'm holding on.
  12. Well, it’s Wednesday. I’m tired today. I was up late last night and early this morning and I’m ready to go back to my cozy bed and sleep away the rest of the week. Honestly, I haven’t blogged because there’s been nothing to blog about. Everything in my life is just heavy right now. There’s been little good and lots of bad and I just want to post something worth reading. That likely won’t happen today. I guess this blog will be a catch-up session. Since the last blog I posted was about my suicide attempt, I feel I owe everyone an update. I DID post a different blog after that one, but I decided to take it down. It was just…. too dark. I knew no one really wanted to read that. Even if someone DID want to read it, it wasn’t my best writing and I was ashamed that I even posted it. Although it wasn’t the best blog, it was pretty accurate in describing how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s hard to post about anything other than the big things that are right in front of my face. It’s like my feelings are in front of me jumping up and down, waving their arms, and screaming at me to acknowledge them. I’m not entirely sure how to get them to just shut up and leave me alone. So, I posted about it. It didn’t help and I felt bad about it, so I took it down. I’m sorry to anyone that read it. Today, though, will not be about my feelings. In a way, I suppose it will, but overall, I intend to just let you know what’s been going on. Maybe this will help ME in the process. We’ll see I’ve had 2 sessions since the session where I hugged The New Guy. The latter of those session involved The Wife, but the first one did not. This did upset me a little. I had told her a few days prior to the session about the suicide attempt and we talked about it. I also asked her if she would be at that session and she told me yes. So you can imagine my disappointment when I got there and found out she wouldn’t be joining us. That session was…hard. The New Guy started a new program with me that’s supposed to keep me from going to an inpatient facility. We started paperwork on that. I had to use a lot of scales and rate my feelings. On a scale of 1-10, how likely was I to kill myself or, on a scale from 1-5 how much did I hate myself. Then I had to write down my reasons for living and my reasons for dying. I had to tell him what I would do if I was trying to kill myself. Where I would go, what method I would use, what time I would do it. That was hard. This session took about an hour and a half to complete. It wasn’t the easiest session I’ve ever been in, but I was hoping it was productive. I started thinking about things after leaving and realized that I don’t think I was totally honest in some of the numbers I put down. I was terrified that if he knew how bad it was, he would still make me go inpatient. He said he wouldn’t, but…. I was still afraid. I didn’t trust him. He asked if I had a plan to kill myself. My first response was “I’m supposed to say no to that.” I don’t know why I said it – it just kind of came out. My other T has always told me that she wouldn’t make me go inpatient and she wouldn’t call the police as long as I didn’t have a plan. So, to me, plan = inpatient. I was trying to avoid that. After I blurted that sentence, I told him that I didn’t have a plan. He didn’t believe me. He kept saying I needed to be honest. I told him I didn’t have one. Then he seemed to get a little angry – he really didn’t believe me. After that is when he asked me to describe what it would look like if I DID have a plan. I’m not positive, but I’m guessing he put that I did and had me describe everything to him. I don’t know that for sure though. I told him the next day that I didn’t feel I was honest enough with my numbers and he said it was fine. I asked if I could change them and he said no. He said we would work with what we had and if I wasn’t going to commit to it, he would find me a hospital to go to. So, I said okay and left it at that. During the session, the paperwork had me create a stabilization plan. This plan was supposed to help keep me from cutting and also help me combat the suicidal thoughts/tendencies. It has worked for the most part. It’s just when I get super overwhelmed or when I don’t deal with the thoughts immediately, they add up and I end up hurting myself or getting close to another attempt. Which is what happened last night. I’ll get to that later. The next session I had with him was this past Saturday. I asked The Wife if she would be there and again, she said yes. And she actually was there this time. Things felt off from the very beginning. It may have partially been because I REALLY wasn’t wanting to go. I felt like The New Guy was upset with me about a conversation we had earlier in the week, and I felt like The Wife really just doesn’t like that she has to be there. I thought it would be much easier to not go. But, I went. The New Guy showed up almost 10 minutes late which made me feel MORE like a burden. Like he had other things he needed or wanted to be doing and I was just taking up too much of his time. I eventually went in and the room we usually have sessions in was filled with all kinds of boxes and things and wasn’t usable. So, we relocated to a different room. The new room we went to was one we had used for a session before, so I was okay with that. It felt comfortable enough. But for some reason, there was a smell. It wasn’t abhorrent, but it wasn’t pleasant. I kind of smelled like stale air and mildew, but it wasn’t too strong. It was bearable. Well, it was bearable for ME. The New Guy seemed okay with it too but The Wife… not so much. She wasn’t a fan. We decided to relocate again. At this point, we were running out of rooms that had the amount of privacy we needed. We ended up going upstairs to a cold room with dim lighting. There was no table, so we grabbed some chairs and sat in an awkward circle. My appointment was supposed to be at 3:00pm but the by the time The New Guy got there and we found somewhere to go, it was about 3:20pm. I only had 40 minutes and I knew he had someone scheduled at 4:00pm. Now I was feeling rushed because of how much time was wasted, I felt bad that The Wife was so uncomfortable with the other room because of the smell, I was uncomfortable because I thought The New Guy was upset with me or just flustered in general, I felt weird in the new environment and I was ready to go. I was set up for a bad session. I wrote a blog one time called Misconceptions of a Wandering Mind and in that blog, I talked about overthinking. I am an AVID overthinker. I read way too much into things, I try to find hidden meanings behind things that are said to me, I overthink assignments because the perfectionistic part of me doesn’t want to do anything wrong, and I always worry about what other people are thinking about me. You can imagine how this plays into my sessions and makes me more nervous. The New Guy has a way of asking questions that I don’t always know how to answer. The way he phrases things… I just never know what to say or how to answer him. I often times tell him that ‘I don’t know what kind of answer he’s looking for,’ and he will tell me that he’s not looking for anything specific, he just wants me to answer honestly. It’s just that I don’t always understand the questions. With my fear of being wrong, these questions often render me completely speechless and cause me to freeze. It makes for a lot of awkward time during sessions. So, we jumped right into the next part of the program we are doing. Session number 2. He starts asking about my attachments to other people. He asks me to describe what my relationship with my family looks like. I didn’t really know what he meant, and he asked me to start listing things I liked about my family and things I disliked. He had me grab a pen and paper and write this all down. I went on to write things about friendships, and other relationships in my life. This sounds like such a simple task when I write about it here, but my overthinking brain was on overdrive and I was struggling with this. The New Guy eventually says “this was meant to be easy. This isn’t a hard thing to do,” and I said I understood, I just didn’t know what to write. I could tell he was frustrated with me. I started shutting down. I was just trying to wait out the time until 4:00 so I could get out of there. The New Guy says we’ve hit a barrier and he doesn’t know what’s going on or where the resistance was coming from. I finally told him that I thought he was upset or mad at me and I didn’t know how to do the assignment and I was having hard time doing it right. He says he’s not upset, but his tone said otherwise. He said there was no evidence to show that he was mad and he didn’t know why I thought that because he clearly wasn’t. He just didn’t understand what was going on. The Wife chimes in and said there had to be evidence or I wouldn’t feel the way I was feeling. She asked if it was a tone or the way someone was sitting. I didn’t answer. I just looked down while I was crying. I didn’t know what to do. I was thankful she took my side though. The New Guy lets out a sigh, adjusts his sitting position, and says a bunch of things that I don’t hear. We start wrapping up and he asks me another question. I honestly don’t remember what the question even was, I just remember saying “I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know. I just don’t know.” The Wife kind of laughed but I wasn’t laughing. I said “I know you’re going to be mad because I’m just saying I don’t know, but I don’t know how to answer that question. I don’t know what you want me to say. I just don’t know what you’re looking for.” I had hit my breaking point. My words were more forceful that I intended, but I was done. I couldn’t keep feeling that way. He went on to say a lot of things but I was so dissociated that I have no idea what he said. He finally said, “are you hearing me?” and I responded with a slight nod even though I really didn’t hear anything at all. He gave me homework and I agreed to do it. I was saying whatever I could say just to get out of there. I left the building, got in my car, and I broke. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I felt like such a disappointment and I felt so defeated. I never wanted to see either of them ever again. I stayed in the parking lot crying for a solid half hour. When I was finally able to catch my breath, I tried to calm myself down so I could move on. I had a couple of errands to run so I put my headphones in, blasted some music, and got my errands done. The rest of the day was hard. I cried a lot. I was inconsolable. I got home and laid down. I was so low. My heart was broken and I felt like I was letting everyone down. I drew a bath, grabbed a blade, and headed to the bathroom. I closed the doors and sat in the tub contemplating the very existence of my being. What was the point in trying anymore? Things just kept getting worse. Obviously, I didn’t die that night or I wouldn’t be here typing this out. I wanted to though. I wanted to say goodbye and wish this life away because I didn’t see the point and living with all of this pain any longer. I got out of the bath, toweled off, threw on a t-shirt and got in bed. I was drained. I took my meds and went to sleep. The days following have been fuzzy. It doesn’t seem like it’s only Wednesday. It feels like that was weeks ago and I’m just missing the time in between. Luckily, tomorrow is Thursday and I can see my other T and release all of this. Last night was another hard one. I really don’t want to get into the details of what happened last night because I am embarrassed and ashamed. I feel disgusting. I was so upset last night after it happened. I let it happen because I didn’t care about myself – I just wanted to feel SOMETHING. I was so numb. I felt worse afterwards. I felt like I had no one I could talk to and nothing would make me feel better so I did the only thing I knew how to do – the only thing I thought would make me feel better and make me feel less numb. I grabbed a blade and headed to the bathroom. I didn’t draw a bath this time. I simply lifted my shirt and the side of my underwear and started sliding that sharp, silver blade across my right hip – my favorite cutting spot. I suppose it was because I was cutting over old cuts, but the bleeding was the worst it’s ever been. Those that are cutters know that when you cut, the blood makes dots in a line across where you’ve made the incision. For me, it pools, but never too much no matter how deep I go. This time was different. It was bleeding profusely. It beaded in a line like normal, but it just started dripping down my leg so quickly. I could see the blood pouring out and it was trailing down my leg onto my foot. It was scary. I’ve never bled so bad before. The cuts didn’t even seem that deep, I barely felt them. I’m not sure if I was just THAT numb, or if it was because I was cutting over old cuts that made it bleed so much. I cleaned up the cuts and the rest of my leg. My paper towels were soaked with blood. I put a band aid on and disposed of the saturated towels. I put my blade back up in the safe place and went to bed. I was so alone, so tired, and just so broken. Everything in my life feels so dark right now. I can’t see the way out of this hole that I’m in. I keep saying I’ll try harder, but I don’t know HOW. I’m doing everything I know to do. I’m trying my best. I’m trying to put in the work but I’m just not getting better. It’s exhausting feeling this way. Being constantly trapped in your own mind with negative thoughts that won’t stop. I know this blog hasn’t been fun, but I owed you an update. This is why I’ve been so scarce lately and why no one has heard much from me. I’m just so far into my own stuff right now that I haven’t been able to offer much for support. I haven’t even really been able to reach out for support for myself. I hope you are all doing well. I hope that there’s light and sunshine in each of your lives and you’re making it through on this journey called life. I know I’ll be okay soon – I’m just going through a rough patch. I’ll be okay though. Wishing you all the light and sending as many hugs as you’d like. My best, Poppy
  13. Whether we're talking about hindsight or vision, it seemed right to title this blog with something that's coming for us all. I'm SO ready for 2019 to be over. How 'bout you? While there have been some redeeming moments that it'd be unfair to acknowledge, this year has been overall shitty. There has been more sadness than happiness, more frustration than there have been genuine smiles, and more tears than....well, you get the picture. I've gained weight, I'm experiencing pain and discomfort in two areas of my body that I'm having to get checked out by a doctor before school starts back up, and both my heart and soul have taken a beating many times over during 2019. Physically, my ticker is still pumping but it's been through the wringer. While things have improved, I have emotionally taken significant damage and this tear may take longer to repair. I haven't been 'myself,' lately, but have been trying to come back to who I was - and as a bonus, be BETTER than who I was last year. Steps have been taken and the path is paved; I've just got to keep going. In order to do so, I need to slam the door on 2019 and step into 2020 with a renewed outlook. I need to set my goals and stick to them, I need to not lose sight of what I want (and we ALL know how easy it is to do that) and I need to take care of myself. That's one major problem I had this year - I let myself go, physically, emotionally, mentally. I don't know how I managed to keep it together, but...SHIT, it wasn't easy! I know what I need to work on, and I know how to do it....now I've just gotta commit to it! The stage was kind of already set for the holidays to be, by default, crappy. My mother was starting her shit after Halloween was over with, on who was going where for Christmas Eve, my fiancee planned (last year) to be out of town for Christmas this year, and I was already dreading the idea of being alone this year. And again, there were a few rare moments where there was joy, but for the most part, each day leading up to Christmas has left me wanting to isolate - and I did. I didn't want to be near anyone, didn't want to talk, I didn't want my 'bah-humbug's' to affect those who actually enjoy the 'happiest time of the year.' (Whoever coined Christmas to be this - is deluded, I tell you - because 'happiest' doesn't quite fit!) Even after Christmas was over - it didn't feel like it was 'over.' The sourness and bitterness lingered on - and it might, until I effectively dismantle the tree, take down my garlands that I effortlessly threw across the mantle, pull down the lights from the one window I hung them in, and throw everything up into the attic until next year's Black Friday. I actually wanted to do all of this on the 26th, but as my mother decided to come visit for my birthday yesterday, I left them up so that she could enjoy the Christmas decor before I ripped it all down and tossed it all, along with the rest of 2019. I've literally had NO time to myself for the last week. For the beginning part, I did - I spent much of it alone. In a daze, kinda just...existing. "Is it over, yet?" played over and over in my head, while just going through the motions and not really investing in all of the festivities. It was more of like, a chore, than anything else. My wife spent Christmas with her family out-of-state, and I chose to stay behind so that I could be there with my kids. I was having guests on Christmas Eve, so I cleaned. I cooked. None of it was for me. It was all for my kids and my ex - because when he's happy, the kids are cooperative and generally, everything goes smoother. I know I spoke about our holiday arrangements in an earlier blog and it's the same, year after year...I sacrifice a LOT during the holidays so that my kids can have both their parents present. It is VERY rarely what I want it to be, and this year was no different - it was just MUCH harder, with my better half not even being present. Having everyone over for Christmas Eve was similar to setting a kitchen timer and counting down the minutes before everything was over with. I threw myself into an end-year pause; because I really didn't want to feel. I just watched everyone else enjoy, I fake-smiled my way through it. Inside, though, there was a huge, significant void. I was hurting, and I was sobbing, but I'd be damned if I let anyone see that. I just told myself that once it was over, I could just 'flush' it all and hope for the best next year. The holidays just weren't something I wanted to deal with this year, but alas, there's simply no choice where that's concerned - they show up every year, whether you're ready or not. I do hope, someday, some of that holiday spirit will return and I don't have to feel the need to scowl at the little Christmas displays at the store, despite the sheer prettiness of it all. It is just genuinely HARD to care, when those around you don't seem to care, either. If it wasn't for me, there would be no tree up in my house. There would be no presents under the tree. There would be NO decorations, no lights in the windows. I've always been the one to haul down all the decor on the day after Thanksgiving, and to 'Christmasize,' and the kids would all laugh at my OCD while placing the lights and trying to ensure all the little multi-colored bulbs were facing the right direction, and none would really even offer to help with the decorating or the preparing....I used to think that maybe it was because they all had things to do to keep them occupied - school, work, etc - and I was the one who was always home, so who better to do it all? They all knew that I had it handled, and that I could be relied on to do it all. But now, this year, I'm in school, too. I bust my ass every day to make sure I turn in my best work, my best efforts. I pulled a 3.8 last semester, so that puts me 15 credits closer to my bachelor's, which is one good thing having happened in 2019. The next year and a half will be a continuation of my education, and at some point, I may start working. What's going to happen, then? Who's gonna bring Christmas to my house, because this year, if nothing else, has been a real eye-opener on who it all falls on, who's the glue, who's the one who pulls it all off when it comes to the shopping, the wrapping, the stoking of holiday spirit, when there simply is none IN me to begin with. And, in the end, there's thank-you's, there's 'you did a great job,' and 'you cooked a delicious meal,' but there's still that lingering feeling that I'm truly the only one who gives a shit. My one and only love was not here with me. Neither one of my kids asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Of course, I would have told them, 'nothing at all,' because I don't ever want my children worrying about what material item they could give me - I'd know the thought was there and the sentiment alone would have been satisfying, but they didn't even ASK. Instead, there's lists of what they WANT on my desk, in my text messages....new XBOX controller, new sneakers, LED lights for their room, cosmetics, money, gift cards to whatever-the-fuck-it is, and that stings, too. Yet, I took their lists, threw everything on my credit cards, and pulled it off - because as always, others' happiness is more important than my own. Maybe I need to not give too much of a shit, anymore...something's got to give. As of right now, I've not said anything to my family about how much I didn't enjoy this year's Christmas, and I probably won't....because it's over with, it's done. What's the point? It will just make J feel guilty for not being here (but she wasn't here for a lot of the rest of this year's struggles, so it's probably best she spent Christmas with her family) and it will cause guilt in my children, something I never want to do. And so, I shall flush this emotional turd, and look forward to the brand new year, where MUCH will be changed up. Fewer fucks will be given (and not just pertaining to the holidays), and I'll bet things will be happier and will go a whole lot smoother. Originally, I wasn't going to blog, today, but, really, what kind of a blogger am I if I don't put out an end-year reflection of sorts? I know that my writing was yet another thing that I kind of 'slacked' on, but I'm hoping to get some of that, back, too. And now, to you all, my AS family: If you're struggling, I wish for you, lots of comfort. When times are dark, I wish you light. If you're in pain, I wish for you, relief. If you're feeling lost, I wish for you, clarity. For each moment of sadness, I wish for you a million small moments that make you smile. If you're lonely, I wish for you, friendship and companionship. If you're all of the above, I wish for 2020 to show you all that good things are possible, and that all of the work we do on ourselves, will pay off. I also send you strength, positivity and all of my love. Happy New Year, - Capulet
  14. This post contains very graphic references to sexual abuse. I ask that you would not read ahead if you are not in the mind to do so. Please proceed with caution. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Poppy, this isn’t a Friday! Speaking of Friday, where the heck were you this week?’ My apologies to everyone that keeps up with my blog entries weekly or those of you that were looking forward to a post from me. I was taking a small break from AS after some events that transpired and caused me quite a bit of emotional and mental pain. I don’t feel that I really have the liberty to go into much detail, but I was very hurt, and I needed some space to heal. I am back now and hoping to be as active as I was before my mini vacation. I’ve missed you all! Now, there isn’t much to update on as far as my dieting endeavor. I have lost more weight, though, so I am headed in the right direction! My glutes are also very sore right now and I’m tempted to stand up while I type, but… my laziness outweighs the pain so, seated I shall stay! Aside from that, I have no more lighthearted news to fill you in on. This weekend has been a lot for me to process and I’m hoping that by typing this blog, I can get some big chunks of this stuff processed and I can feel better. There have been some new realizations coming to light recently, and it’s been a lot for me to take in. I started seeing a second therapist this weekend. The reasoning for two is that my main therapist specializes in EMDR and my new therapist is really experienced with DBT – both are therapies I need right now. So, I am seeing the male therapist as a supplemental therapy along with my main therapy. I know – I’m all kinds of messed up. I was very nervous about meeting with The New Guy. I already knew him and his wife before I started seeing him for therapy, and I was already pretty close to his wife, but still – I was so nervous. Also, seeing a male kind of freaked me out. I have personal issues with most men, especially men that are in some sort of authoritative position, so I was very apprehensive to tell him about everything. I was so nervous, in fact, that when we first spoke about me doing counseling with him, he mentioned that his wife could be present if I wanted her to be and I immediately said yes. I found comfort in knowing that she was sitting right across the table from me. She already knew most of the information I gave, but not all of it. The conversation took an unexpected turn and I told him things I never thought I would tell anyone. I will get to that stuff in just a minute. I’m going to go ahead and insert a trigger warning here for references to sexual assault and CSA. Please don’t read ahead if you don’t feel like you are in the mind to do so. You can always come back when you feel you are in a better place. My appointment was set for 1:15pm. I arrived at the building and parked my car at 1:14pm. I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be there, but I saw other vehicles and got nervous. I was texting The Wife and telling her I was nervous because of the other vehicles, but she didn’t respond. At 1:20pm, I finally worked up the courage to go inside. I got to the door and it was locked. I called The Wife and she came to let me inside, then proceeded to tell me what office The New Guy was in and that she had to use the bathroom. I mean, of course she did. My only source of comfort was leaving me so she could pee. I walked into the office, which was a conference room with a long table, and The New Guy told me to sit wherever I liked, so I sat across from him. A safe distance and The Wife could sit on the end to next to me. We started on preliminary paperwork and The New Guy says he can’t sit so far away from me and moves to the seat I had reserved, in my mind, for The Wife – my safety blanket. Had she not decided she had to pee, she could’ve already been sitting there. I inch a little further away because, well, a male presence so close to me made me more nervous than I already was. The Wife finally comes in from her potty break and sits across from me. Although I had named her my source of comfort, I was immediately MORE nervous. My legs wouldn’t stop bouncing, my hands would stop shaking, and my breath was shallow and rapid. I finish all the paperwork and The New Guy says to me, “So, what’s up?” I had no words to use to respond. I mean, what do I say? Do I just spit out all of my secrets, or do I say, ‘not much?’ What answer was he looking for? I responded with a “you have to ask something more specific than that,” and he did. He asked why I was there. Truth is, I was there because The Wife said she thought he could help me. I told him that and he asked why she felt that way. I darted back an “I don’t know, ask her,” and, well, he didn’t. Instead, I told him that the first 5 sessions with main T, I barely said 4 words to her, and he said he didn’t want that to happen here. He switched gears a little bit and opened up an actual conversation. I don’t remember exactly what he asked, but I remember it got us on the topic of self-harm. I told him that I am a cutter and have been since I was 10 or 11. He asked what happened to me that made me hurt myself for the first time and why I was doing it. We talked about that for a little bit and then landed on my eating disorder. After that, we moved to alcohol abuse. This is where things took a turn that I didn’t expect. He asked me about the rape. He already knew I was raped, but he knew no details of it – just that it happened. He asked if it was violent or if there were weapons involved. I said no, but that I was very intoxicated and possibly drugged and consciousness was drifting in and out. He asked if the monster that did this to me, also took my virginity – I told him no. I lost my virginity when I was 11 or 12. He seemed taken aback by my response. I guess because I was so young when it happened. He asked if the boy was my age and if the sex was something I had thought about before or if I had been exposed to any pornography or anything else like that prior to my sexual encounter with the boy when I was 12. I told him he was my age, but it wasn’t my first sexual experience. He asked me to describe my other sexual experiences to him. This is the part where it gets pretty graphic and uncomfortable and BELIEVE ME, I was BEYOND uncomfortable when I had to talk about this out loud. I was also really ashamed. This isn’t a part of my past I wanted to relive. I proceeded to tell him about the boy I knew in 4th or 5th grade. The boy that wanted me to sit with him in the back of the daycare van after school and give him handjobs. The boy that would convince me it was okay and knew I couldn’t say no. The boy that only talked to me to get his fix. The New Guy asks how I knew what to do. I say I don’t know. Then he asks if this is my first sexual encounter. I tell him no – but the other one was with a girl. He asked for details. I told him about the girl I knew when I was 7 that was mt best friend at daycare. I tell him that we were watching TV while the younger kids napped, and she leans over and asks me if I’m horny. I tell The New Guy that 7-year-old Poppy didn’t know what that meant, so that girl explained it to me. I told her I didn’t feel that way, but she said she did. We went over to lay down beside the vending machines in the corner. I tell The New Guy that we put coats over ourselves and touched each other. I don’t remember if I told him that this became a regular occurrence, or perhaps he knew from the way I spoke about it, but this became something we did every day at naptime. It was routine. Prior to this, I had told him that I didn’t remember anything from before age 6. I really don’t. My memories there are completely blank. He thinks I may have been sexually abused before then and I just don’t remember. There were more situations like this when I was young that I negated to tell him simply because it didn’t matter. He knew the base of what he needed to know. I didn’t tell The New Guy about my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter when I was 10. I didn’t tell him about how she was much older than me and when I shared a bed with her, she would give me candy to kiss her and let her touch me. I didn’t tell him about how no matter how many times I said I didn’t want to do it, she pleaded with me to say yes. I didn’t tell him about how we got caught, and she didn’t get punished. I didn’t tell The New Guy about the other guys that I obliged with handjobs and lap dances and sex. I kept to myself all the other girls that touched me because I touched them back and I knew that meant it was consensual and it didn’t matter. The New Guy tells me this was all sexual abuse. That I was abused and taken advantage of and that people have been using my body for my entire life and it makes him so angry. He said it infuriates him. I told him that I told my other therapist about this and she told me it was normal. It was normal for kids to explore like this. The New Guy says, “it is not normal for 7 and 8-year-olds to be doing things like this,” and I was confused because I was told that it WAS normal. The New Guy says even now, my body is being used as an object for other people’s enjoyment or pleasure. I’m hurting all over right now. The weight of his words sits so heavily on my shoulders that I can barely hold my body up. I didn’t know that any of this was wrong or that I was abused – I thought it was normal. I feel dirty. I feel disgusting. I feel broken. I feel so, so alone. I’m too afraid to try to uncover the memories before age 6. There must be a reason why my mind has blocked this out. I thought it was because I had a crappy memory but now.. I don’t know. I never thought much of this stuff until The New Guy asked me how I knew how to touch the boy on the daycare van. I can’t remember if he told me what to do, or if it was my idea, or if I just ‘knew.’ I don’t know where I learned it – I only remember doing it. I don’t remember if at 9 years old, that was the first penis I touched. I don’t remember if the boy was old enough to get hard, but I knew he wasn’t old enough to cum. He couldn’t ‘finish,’ so we would stop when we got close to being at the daycare. I had several memories come back to me while I was typing that out. I had to put the writing down for the rest of the day so I could process. I am here now, and I’m going to share the new memories I have. Funny how that happens, right? New memories just come flooding in. Anyway, here’s what I remember now. When I was typing about the boy on the daycare van and how he couldn’t ‘finish,’ I was thinking about how there was no ‘clean up’ to get done before arriving back at the daycare. That made me remember that there WAS clean up to be done, but it wasn’t cum – it was my saliva. At 9 years of age, I was giving a boy blowjobs on the daycare van. That thought didn’t sit well with me. In fact, it made me so uneasy that it brought back another memory almost immediately after. For a while, I couldn’t remember if this was something I wanted to do or if it was something he told me to do. I know I’ve already mentioned that, but now I remember. I remember that every day I would get on the daycare van and hope to God that the boy wasn’t there. If he wasn’t there, I was free. On the days he WAS there, I remember my heart sinking to the bottom of my chest and holding back the tears because I didn’t want to touch him, but I felt like I had no choice. I HAD to do it, or he would be mad at me. I have always been a people-pleaser. My whole life has been about making other people happy. Aside from that, I HATED getting in trouble. I have always been a rule follower because I hated it when my parents were disappointed in me. This is another reason I KNOW that there’s no way I would have voluntarily put my hands on his organ in the back of a daycare van. It’s another reason I could never tell anyone and I lied about it when my parents asked me what was going on. I didn’t want them to be mad at me. I was talking about this with a dear friend of mine last night because I was trying to process everything. It seems the more I try to process, the more parts come back to me. It was hours after I decided to put the blog down, but there was another new memory. I remembered that not only did this boy want me to put my hands and mouth on him, but I remember that he put his hands down the front of my pants and into my panties. I can’t remember if I wanted this or if I asked him to do it. I don’t know if he thought he was being nice because of what I was doing for him. I don’t know if my 9-year-old blowjobs were too stale for him and he needed a little extra play to get himself going. I have no idea if I protested this. Perhaps that will come to me later along with more puzzle pieces that I can fit together to get a full picture. I don’t know if The New Guy was right. I don’t know if this was sexual abuse. I don’t know if I can claim that I am a survivor of CSA or not. Maybe this is something I’m rejecting because it hurts or maybe I still haven’t fully processed it. I DO know that I would not like any comments to reflect that it was NOT sexual abuse. I will gladly accept the support or your opinion on if you think this was, indeed, abuse, but I don’t need the invalidation right now. This is all still very new to me and I’m still processing things. My mind is too fragile to accept any negative feedback as it will impact my thoughts too heavily right now. I feel like I should go ahead and end this post because I could probably type all day. I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every person that read this and is sitting here supporting me. Your kindness means the world to me. I’m happy to be back on AS and to be surrounded by such wonderful people. Thank you all for everything you do. Soon, Poppy
  15. I think it’s time. Let me back up a bit. First, I want to say hello to all of you and say that I hope you’re enjoying the impending holiday season! I love the holidays and I’m looking forward to my mini vacation next week. That being said, I want to let you all know that I am taking a few days away from AS. If you’re someone that I see around a lot on the boards, or talk to frequently, just know that I will return! I am leaving next week to drive to Nashville, Tennessee for a church conference. I am SO looking forward to this! I’m going to meet new people, see old friends, and enjoy a break from the normal struggles life presents. Yes, I will be away from home on Thanksgiving and I will not see my family as they are not going with me on this trip, but I really am okay with that. There’s been a lot of brokenness in my family lately and I’m looking forward to not having it rubbed in my face. Being away will let me escape the fact that things are bruised right now. I’ll be gone for 5 days but will be back by December 1st so I can participate in the Holiday Buddy Program here! If you’re a member here and you don’t know about the Holiday Buddies, you should check it out! It’s an amazing way to get and give support during the holiday season. You can find the information as a pinned thread in the News and Updates forum. I would recommend looking into it if you’re even just the tiniest bit intrigued! You never know what kind of relationships you can make here and this is a great way to get to know someone. Now, I know you’re wondering about that first sentence up there. You’re probably thinking I’m referring to Thanksgiving, or my trip, or Holiday Buddies. None of those are what I’m referring to. I think it’s time for me to share my story here. I’ve shared fragments of my childhood assault, but I have yet to share the story of my rape. I posted it a couple of months after I joined this site, but I immediately had it hidden because I was too ashamed and afraid. I felt too exposed and I wasn’t ready for the opinions or backlash that I was sure I would receive. I feel like I am in a different place now than I was when I posted it the first time. I’ve done quite a bit of healing and I know my truth now. The self-doubt is fading little by little and the self-blame is slowly dissipating. I’m not saying that I am fully okay with what happened and that I will never struggle to think this was my fault again, but I am saying that I know my truth for myself now. I know this was rape and I know better than anyone else how it made me feel. I’ve dealt with the aftereffects of the trauma, I’ve lasted the nights with the nightmares and flashbacks. I’ve sat through EMDR sessions that I couldn’t handle because the pain was just too much. I know I was hurt and I know what he did was not okay. Because I’ve come to terms with this now, I can share my story in hopes that I gain more power over it. In hopes that in some way, this might help someone else. Before I get started, I want to issue a trigger warning here. I am not planning on holding anything back. I want to tell this story as my truth and I want it to be told the way I want. This happened to me, and I want the freedom to tell it as I would like. So, PLEASE don’t read ahead if you’re feeling sensitive. There are very graphic depictions of rape and sexual trauma. Take care. This story begins when I was 21 years old. I am 22 now. It’s been 1 year, 5 months, and 5 days since I was raped. I was very naïve and I never thought something like this would happen to me. I had just turned 21 three months prior to this and had just started going to bars. It started off simple. I would meet up with an old co-worker after work and we would have a couple drinks, then I would go home. Alcohol was new to me and I wanted to know more about it. I tried several drinks during my first few visits to this bar. I always went to the same bar with the same person. I drank quite a bit on these nights but never felt much from the alcohol. Turns out, I’m not a lightweight! One Friday night, I had several people cancel plans on me. I wanted to go for drinks, but I had no one to go with. I was frustrated and mad and I decide that I didn’t need anyone to go with me – I would go alone. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I had been here many times before and I wasn’t going to drink a lot. During some of my previous excursions to the bar, I would make sure I was prepared for sex. Just in case I met someone that I wanted to have fun with. I never ended up having sex with anyone I met in the bar. While it was something I anticipated, it never happened. On the nights I thought there was a possibility of it happening, I would make sure I was freshly showered, shaved, and my bra and panties matched. I would wear something a little revealing and I would put myself out there. This night was not one of those nights. I remember that I didn’t shower again after work, I remember than I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. I remember that I didn’t care what bra and panties I wore, I actually had on a sports bra, and I didn’t put on anything revealing. I told myself that I did not want to have sex that night. I wanted to have a few drinks to take the edge off, and go home. I wasn’t even in the mood for conversation. I made my way to the bar, ordered a drink, and lit a cigarette. I was content with being alone. I stared blankly at the wall or the TV. I made a couple of casual remarks to other people there. But above all, I wanted solitude. There was a man sitting to my left. He kept trying to talk to me, but I politely gave him one-word answers and directed my attention elsewhere. I did not want to speak to him. He continued to push. I relented and figured some conversation wouldn’t hurt and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. He was older than me. I would guess maybe late 40s or so. He had greyish hair that was all messy and out of place. He had quite a bit of a beer gut, but he was not obese. He looked as if he had just rolled out of bed. I think he was wearing sweats and a sweatshirt or something similar to that even though it was the middle of June and not cold outside. For the sake of the story, we will call him Clay. Clay was annoying, but he was also nice. He was drinking beer most of the time and decided he wanted a shot of fireball because he loves it. He asked if I wanted a shot and I declined. Not only had I never taken a shot before, I had also never tried fireball and I wasn’t sure if I would like it. After this, he continued to drink his beer and push conversation on me. I don’t remember anything we talked about aside from the alcohol. He would ask what I was drinking, and he would tell me what he liked and didn’t like. I was VERY careful to always finish my drinks before going to the restroom. I had read about people being drugged and I didn’t want that to happen. Although Clay seemed harmless, I wasn’t taking any chances. After about my 3rd or 4th drink, Clay offers me a shot again. I take it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe because I already had some alcohol in my system, or maybe because I really like fireball, I don’t know. I can say that I’ve not had fireball since this night. Before he ordered the shot, I told him I would take it and then I was going to have a beer and be done. I didn’t feel drunk, just a little tipsy. He ordered our shots, we took them, and I went to the bathroom. When I was coming out of the bathroom, I remember hearing the bartender ask Clay if I said I wanted a beer. He was double checking, I guess. I made my way back to my seat and the beer was there. I drank it and at this point, was feeling a little drunk. Not wasted, but drunk enough. Clay decided we would have one more beer. I told him no, but he ordered it anyway. This is where my memory gets fuzzy and I only remember fragments. I remember him ordering the beer and the female bartender going to get them. Right after this, a male bartender comes over and asks if we need anything. Clay tells him that we ordered 2 Corona’s but we thought maybe she forgot because it was taking a while. The male bartender goes to get us one right as the female bartender brings over the ones we ordered from her. The male bartender decides he’s going to stick the others in the freezer to keep them cold and we would drink those too. I felt bad because Clay was buying these and I knew I HAD to drink them. I didn’t want to waste his money. Somewhere between my second and third beer, I quit remembering to finish my drink before going to the bathroom. I left my drink unattended at least once that I remember for sure. I remember coming back from the bathroom and Clay was talking to another guy. We’ll call him Adam. Clay and I had been taking turns going to the bathroom so the other person would watch our seat. I came back and Adam was in my seat. He got up and let me have my seat back, likely because I was getting a little unsteady on my feet. I don’t know this for sure, but it seemed like Clay and Adam knew each other. I remember Clay introducing me to Adam and I don’t know if they had just met or if they knew each other. Adam was by himself – he didn’t come with friends or anything and neither did Clay. I remember that now, it was loud. There were suddenly so many people in the bar and I didn’t remember any of them coming in before I went to the bathroom. Adam was 23 and was wearing the ugliest pastel yellow polo I’d ever seen. His hair was black and curly, but still messy. He had some facial hair, but not a lot. He was slim and kind of tall and he had just ordered his first beer. Clay says he needs to go to the bathroom and I tell him I will watch his seat. At this point, I can barely keep my eyes open, I’m swaying, the room is spinning, and I know I’m not okay. Adam sits in Clay’s seat and starts talking to me. I remember giving him my phone number. Then I remember that he kept running his hand up my thigh under my skirt. I had my hand under my head holding myself up on the bar. I felt really off. I couldn’t hear anything or see anything. It was all really fuzzy. Clay came back and I remember him saying something about wanting his seat back, and then he left. But he kept his eye on me from a distance. He never wandered off too far. The next thing I remember is ordering water. I knew I needed to sober up so I could drive home. After I got my water, Adam took it from me and said, “don’t drink water, it makes you more drunk,” and I knew this wasn’t true. I ALWAYS drink water to sober up. I listened to him anyway and stopped drinking the water. I remember sitting there a little longer and he asked if I wanted to leave. I think I said yes. I’m going to pause to insert my thoughts here, then I will continue with what happened. This is where I feel like it’s possible that I was drugged. I was so out of it and yes, I had a lot of alcohol, but I’ve been super drunk before and this is not how it felt. It was different and I know I was leaving drinks unattended. I also think it’s possible that this was planned. Not toward me specifically, but in general. It seemed like Clay and Adam knew each other and Adam didn’t show up until after I was already pretty gone. Clay was too quick to leave after I met Adam and he seemed to linger after Adam started talking to me. I’m thinking it’s possible that Clay put drugs in my drink, and then Adam sweeps in to take me home. I don’t know any of this for sure, but this is stuff I have thought about since the rape and these are things I think could have happened. Or, it could all be coincidence and I’m making it into something that it’s not. I really don’t know. Anyway, back to the story. I remember paying my tab and not being able to see the lines to sign my name. I’m not even sure I actually signed my name. I remember trying, but everything was spinning and I couldn’t see straight. We got up to leave and I couldn’t stand. Adam had his arm around me and basically carried me out. My eyes were mostly closed and my body felt really heavy. We made it outside and he took me to his car, put me inside, and then went to my car to get my phone charger. I was texting a friend through Snapchat – it was the friend I usually go to that bar with – and he said he was coming to get me. I told him no. He was almost an hour away. I don’t remember how I convinced him not to come, but he never came. Adam drove me to his house. The entire time I was in the car, I was falling over onto his shoulder. I just couldn’t hold myself up. I think he thought I was doing this in a flirty or loving way, but I was just so tired and my body felt so heavy. We made it to his house. He came around to my side and got me out of the car. I still couldn’t walk and I was stumbling across the lawn. He carried me inside and took me down the hall to his bedroom. I immediately fell onto the bed. I just wanted to rest. I physically couldn’t hold myself up any longer. He plugged my phone up to the charger and then tells me that he needs me to get up. I stand up and he pushes the mattress back on the bed – I guess it was falling off. It seemed like something he was used to doing. His room was messy. I remember navy blue sheets on the bed. I remember the room was small and there wasn’t very much room to move around. His nightstand was covered with empty water bottles, a bong, and other things that I didn’t take special note of in my head. I think the wall opposite the bed was like a bookshelf. Maybe it had books, but I think it was filled with video games, DVDs, and other things like that. At the foot of the bed was a television on a TV stand and all kinds of clutter around it. I remember there being clothes on the floor that he tossed aside and I think there was a window by the bed. It wasn’t very appealing. After he fixed the bed, I asked for the bathroom. I walked down the narrow hallway, made a left, and found the toilet. I pulled my skirt down and sat down. I almost missed because I was still so out of it. I held on to the counter and somehow managed to not fall over. I have no idea how long I was in there. Time seemed to stand still and everything was moving in slow motion. I made it back to the room and he was laying in the bed. He had no shoes on, but was still fully dressed in his jeans and ugly yellow polo. I fell onto the bed beside him and started drifting. After what seemed like a few moments, I had to go to the bathroom again, only this time, it wasn’t to go pee. I made it to the bathroom and knelt at the toilet. I proceeded to throw up bright red while swaying and holding my entire head into the toilet. I got up, rinsed my mouth, and stumbled back to the room. He asked if I was okay and I honestly don’t remember if I answered. I was feeling better having thrown up which is another reason I think I could have been drugged. Being drunk and throwing up has never made me feel more sober. It doesn’t change the blood alcohol level, but I’m thinking throwing up if it were drugs would make me feel better, but again, I don’t know. This is just speculation. I laid back down on the bed wishing for sleep. I had my head on his chest and he had wrapped his arm around me. He was watching New Girl on Netflix. I had kind of fallen asleep at this point. I was in and out of consciousness but never fully gone because I knew I had to get home. I remember resting my hand on his abdomen – maybe just to steady myself. The next thing I remember is him lifting up his shirt and unbuckling his belt. I was just catching glimpses because I was still not fully conscious. I think he was asking me questions. Maybe he was asking if I wanted to have sex or maybe I was asking if he wanted to. I don’t remember. A lot of my thoughts I can’t remember if I said aloud or just in my head. The voice in my head was so loud that I don’t know what was verbalized. He proceeds to unbutton his pants and expose himself. He guides my head onto himself and makes me give him oral. I didn’t fight him off, I never said no, but I was also not fully aware or conscious. I also knew that I wanted to go home and to do so, I had to have sex with him. Even in the state I was in, I knew that I wasn’t getting out of that house without giving him what he wanted. The oral seemed quick maybe because had me stop because I wasn’t doing a good job. I was still drifting and I wasn’t aware of what I was doing so I’m sure it wasn’t good for him. He removes himself from my mouth and gets up. I remember losing my shirt and bra at this point. I was on autopilot – survival mode. I was doing what I had to do so I could get home and sleep. I was tired, I didn’t want to be there, and I wanted this to be over. I laid back down on the bed and closed my eyes. I don’t know how much time passed but when I opened my eyes, I looked to my right and he had completely undressed and was standing there looking at me, fully erect with a condom on. I will never forget this image. The picture of him standing there naked, staring at me with a grin on his face. He makes his way back over to me and gets on the bed in front of me on his knees. I closed my eyes and drifted. I remember my legs being in the air and resting on his shoulders. I don’t think I had shoes on, but I don’t remember taking them off. I don’t even remember what shoes I had on that night. He didn’t bother to undress me the rest of the way. He was seemingly uninterested in my breasts or seeing my naked body. It was like he just wanted somewhere to stick his penis so he could feel some pleasure that wasn’t done by his own hands. To my memory, he never made comments about my breast size or the tattoo on my ribs. He never made mention of the way I looked while he raped me. The lights were still on and there were no blankets or pillows around. He pushed my skirt up to my waist, lifted my bottom off the bed, pushed my panties to the side, and inserted himself. I felt nothing. No pain, no pleasure, just the feeling of something happening. I could feel him inside, but I was numb. I was frozen and I wanted it to stop. He leans over me while my legs are still on his shoulders. His face is right in front of mine and I can feel his heavy breath on my face. I could hear the way he panted like a dog on a hot summer day. I don’t remember how rapidly he moved in and out of me. It seemed like it was in slow motion, but his breath made it out to be like he was going fast and hard. He moved his head down onto my shoulder, so his face was right next to mine. I wasn’t in pain from my legs being pulled so close to my face or from him ramming himself inside me. I was still numb from the alcohol or dugs or maybe just from fear. I remember staring at the ceiling while my body moved up and down and wishing it would stop. I wanted to go home. I never wanted to have sex that night. I remember making it a point in my mind before leaving my house that night. I actually told myself that I was NOT looking for any sexual activity. Yet, here I was. He stops. His penis is still inside me as he lifts his head and looks at my face. I don’t know what he saw in my eyes. I don’t know if he saw pain or fear or even a blank stare. I was completely frozen. I was breathing hard but not from physical exertion – I was panicking. He removes himself from inside me, takes my legs off his shoulders, and strokes himself. My legs are folded and tossed to my side, my underwear is still out of place, and I’m frozen on the bed. Stuck. I can’t move. He moves to my left and gets next to me on the bed while continuing to rub his penis with his hand. I thought it was over. I close my eyes and try to catch my breath and calm myself down. I look to my left and he’s looking at me, smiling. I start to get up and me moves my hips to where I’m straddling him. He puts me down on his still erect organ and moves my hips up and down. I do as he showed me. I want him to finish so I can go. After a few minutes of me moving up and down on him, he says, “I’m not going to cum again,” and stops me. He lifts my hips to remove himself from me again and tosses me to his left toward the wall. He gets off the bed and I start to get dressed. I’m still on autopilot. I find my bra and my shirt. By the time I have my shirt on, I look over and he’s fully dressed again in that hideous yellow polo, sitting in a chair, and watching television like nothing happened. He no longer cared to help me with anything. Before the rape, he helped me walk, carried my phone and made sure it was charging because I was worried about my dying battery. He would touch me in a seemingly careful way like he actually respected me or cared about me. Now, he wasn’t even looking at me. He was silent. As I fixed my hair, I asked for some water. I still didn’t feel well. He grabs a mostly empty bottle of water from his nightstand and offers it to me. I tell him I don’t want it anymore. He sets it down and goes back to watching television. When I’m done, I stand up to put my shoes on and he’s already left the room. I grab my things and follow him. We walk down the narrow hallway toward the living room. When we make it to the living room, I see his roommate sitting in there on the computer. I only saw him for a split second but in that moment, my only thought was ‘this guy just heard everything that happened and he won’t make eye contact.’ Adam let me walk out the door first and he followed. I stumbled across the lawn toward his car. I was still unable to walk straight but I was feeling more alert. I fell into his car and we drove away. I don’t really remember the drive back to the bar. I don’t know if I was still fuzzy from the alcohol/drugs, or if I was just dissociating the whole time. I never knew what dissociating was until after this, but looking back, that could be what happened. We made it back to the bar and he stopped in the middle of the street and dropped me off. He didn’t make it to the parking lot where my car was, he didn’t help me out, he didn’t even say anything. He left me in the street knowing that I was not coherent. I made my way back to my car and got inside. I knew I had to puke again but didn’t want to do it outside because there were 2 men behind my car talking. I had no choice. I opened my car door, leaned outside, and vomited on the ground. One of the guys outside came to me and asked if I was okay. I told him I was fine. He offered to give me a ride or call me an Uber but I refused. I couldn’t leave my car at the bar. He brought me a Vitamin Water that was cold and unopened. I’ve never been so grateful. I was still so thirsty from before and now my mouth tasted like vomit and I needed the drink. I told him thank you and he left. I was feeling even more sober now that I had thrown up again. I drank the water and sent a message to my therapist. At the time, I was doing online therapy and my therapist was always online in the evenings. I told her that I had sex and I was freaked out. I didn’t know that I was probably just in shock about what happened. She told me to let her know when I made it home, and she made sure I was okay to drive. I stopped at McDonald’s to get some food to help soak up the alcohol. When I made it home, I let my therapist know. It was a little after 1am at this point. She stayed up late waiting for me to get home. She said goodnight and said we would talk later. I changed clothes, ate, and cried myself to sleep. I wanted to die. It took me some time to come to terms with what happened. It took a lot of time talking to my therapist. She was the one that told me I was raped. I told her what happened and she apologized to me for not being there the night it happened. I was confused because she WAS there. She said that she thought I had consensual sex, she didn’t realize I was raped. In all fairness, I didn’t know either. I talked with her a lot about what happened and eventually had to stop seeing her because she wasn’t specialized in trauma. I sought out a trauma therapist and I see her now every week. I’ve done a lot of work on my healing since this happened. I am still struggling and I still have days where I feel ashamed and disgusted. I still have days where I feel like this was my fault and there were so many things I could’ve done differently to prevent this from happening. There are even still days that I don’t think I can call this rape. I have lived this. I have survived this. I know this was trauma, and I know I was taken advantage of. There was no piece of me that wanted to have sex with him. I’m still working on forgiving myself for what happened, but it’s getting better. To anyone that has struggled with their own story, or anyone that doubts or deals with self-blame, just know that you are not alone. I wish I could go back in time and heal this before it happened, but I can’t. So I’m looking toward my future and I’m trying my best to move on. It’s the best I can do. Thank you for your time and for reading this. As always, I appreciate you for listening to me and hearing me. I will be back soon. Until then, keep your head up and let your voice be heard. Hugs, Poppy
  16. Well, folks, I think I’m making progress! In some areas, it seems things are really regressing and I feel like a failure. In other areas, I can feel healing happening and trust blooming and progress being made. I took a HUGE step with The New Guy this weekend. I mean – huge. It may seem insignificant to some of you, but for me this was a really big deal. I was going to keep this private, but I’ve decided that I want to share. I haven’t updated you all since I posted my story and it’s long overdue for me to post. I’m going to start at the beginning of this weekend. No, actually, I’m going to go back to last Thursday. I don’t know if the events of Thursday REALLY influenced the activities of this weekend, but it may be important to include them anyway. As always, I’m going to submit a trigger warning early because this WILL get graphic. If you’re sensitive to self-harm, this may not be a good post to read. Take caution reading ahead. So, Thursday. For me, Thursday is Therapy Day. I see my trauma therapist every Thursday and this week was no different. After posting my story here, I decided to share it with my Thursday T. I shared this before Thanksgiving and had not seen her since she got to read it, so I was already a little on edge going into the session. She didn’t even really bring it up, but later she mentioned some details from the story and I felt okay about it. We decided that it would be a good day to do some EMDR processing. The last time we tried this, it was too much for me to handle and I freaked out so I was a bit nervous. I was able to push through 2 sets, but the last one we had to stop. She said she was proud of me for pushing as much as I did and then she helped me to center and re-focus before leaving. All in all, it was a good session. She even gave me a hug (which she rarely does) at the end of the session because she knew it was a hard thing for me to do. For the remainder of the day, I felt pretty okay emotionally. I had a lot of stuff to do so my brain was constantly busy and focused on something. It was later that night when things settled down that everything hit me. I started having impulses to hurt myself or do something very self-destructive. I don’t know if it was related to the EMDR but that was all I felt that I could tie it to. I messaged one of my friends to talk it out and she told me I should email my T. So, I did. I sent Thursday T an email and told her what I was experiencing and told her that I thought it was related to the EMDR processing and maybe I was just feeling too much after that session. She told me that she wasn’t sure if it was related to the EMDR, but gave me some guidance and told me some things to do to keep myself safe and cope with the thoughts. I felt better by the time I went to sleep that night and Friday I was feeling a lot better. Still a little drained, but better than I was feeling the day before. Friday night, though, things changed. I don’t really know why I made the choice that I made. I’ve thought about it a lot and I don’t know what it was that made me want to do this. I decided to go out drinking with a friend Friday night. I made a promise to myself a little less than a month ago that I was not going to drink anymore. I use alcohol as a way to be self-destructive and put myself in danger. I’m not really supposed to be drinking anyway because of the medication I’m on. I was feeling reckless and decided I didn’t care – I wanted to go out. After making the plans to go, I almost cancelled. I had his sick feeling in my stomach and I knew it would be better to stay home and have a quiet evening to myself. I ignored my gut feeling and I went anyway. The night wasn’t fun. I didn’t have a good time. The whole night, I just kept thinking about how sad I was. My T has told me that I really shouldn’t be drinking because alcohol is a depressant. Mixed with my already lingering feelings of depression and my medication, alcohol is likely to push me over the edge. At some point through the night, I thought about cutting. It was a quick thought. It just popped in my head and I tried to dismiss it, but I couldn’t. It stayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the night. I put on a happy face and acted like I was having fun. I danced, I smiled, I laughed. But once I went to the bathroom and I was alone, I just sat there in sadness thinking about how all I wanted to do was hurt myself. The more I drank, the worse I felt. There was no pulling myself out of the hole I had created for myself. I couldn’t wait to get home and just be done with this. Done with myself. I got home around 2am. Everything from here on was done without even thinking about it. It was like I was a robot doing what I was made to do. It all happened so fast and without a second thought. I made it inside and set my stuff down in my bedroom. I immediately turned around, grabbed the shed keys out of the drawer, and made my way to the backyard. I unlocked the shed, walked inside and found the toolbox that I knew was holding the boxcutter I had placed there less than a month ago. I grabbed the tool and went back inside. I walked into the bathroom and grabbed my roll of paper towels from the cabinet. I tore off 2 towels, ran one under the water and kept one dry. This was how I always prepped. I walked back into the room, took off my pants, pulled down the side of my underwear to reveal my right hip, and sat on the bed. I picked up the boxcutter, opened it, and removed the blade from inside. I knew this was a clean blade because I had put it in there not too long ago. In hindsight, there’s no way that blade was sterile. The inside of the boxcutter was filthy. The blade LOOKED clean, but that likely wasn’t the case. I proceeded to put the cold blade against my hip and slide it across. I was anticipating a rush of relief – to feel the weight and heaviness lifted from my shoulders as it has always done in the past. That didn’t happen. Instead, I started feeling worse. So, I repeated the process. It still wasn’t working. I tried again, and again, and again and at this point tears are flowing, I’ve lost control and I just can’t stop. I was feeling so much worse. There was blood running down my leg, soaking through my damp paper towel. The cold, wet cloth felt soothing over the stinging cuts that were now covering my hip. I continued to push the sharp blade into my skin and pull. At this moment, the thought crossed my mind. The thought of how EASY it would be to move the blade to my wrist and just be completely done. To end it all. The pain, the hurt, the shame. How easily I could forget about the rape and the sexual abuse in my childhood. How easy it would be for me to reach that sense of peace that I’ve been longing for. To end this race that has exhausted me in every way possible. I didn’t do it. I stopped. I set the blade down and I cried. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. There was blood everywhere, on my hip, my hand, my arm. The paper towel was no longer white, it was bright red and I was still bleeding. I cleaned up and tried to get the bleeding to stop because I didn’t have enough bandaids to cover what I had done. I pulled the side of my underwear up above the cuts so they could breathe while I cleaned up the mess I had just made. I returned the blade to the boxcutter and set it on my nightstand. I grabbed my paper towels and walked to the trashcan to toss them. Once I felt I could go to bed, I checked the cuts to make sure they weren’t bleeding too much. There was still some blood so I cleaned it up and then placed the side of my underwear back over the top of the cuts. It hurt. I grabbed some shorts off my bedroom floor and carefully put them on so they wouldn’t move my underwear that was protecting the fresh wounds. I hoped that with two layers of clothing covering them, if they opened in my sleep, the blood wouldn’t get on my sheets. I crawled into bed, laid my head on my pillow, and silently sobbed until I fell asleep. The night was restless. I barely slept at all. I had to work the next morning so I got up, got dressed, and headed out. It felt like there was a cloud of shame over me the entire day. I was a mess. While at work, I had to excuse myself because I couldn’t stop crying. I felt awful about what I had done and I was feeling so unsafe. I just wanted the nightmare to end. I made it home, slept for a couple of hours, and cried some more. It was like, no matter how much I cried, I was never out of tears. I had no energy to do anything. I talked with one of my friends for most of the day and that was helpful – she was the only person that I wanted to talk to that day. Aside from that, I just wanted to sleep and do nothing. I felt so broken. My heart was hurting, my hip was hurting, I couldn’t keep the tears from clouding my vision, and I was truly regretful of everything that happened the night before. I was wishing I would have taken my own advice and moved the blade to my wrist so I could be done feeling like this. There was no relief from the pain I was in – nothing was helping. I felt like I could barely breathe and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t keep my mind off of it. I was drowning. Sunday wasn’t much better. I was still in a lot of physical pain and I just felt like there was this weight on me. Everything felt heavy. The only motivation I had that day was knowing that I would be seeing The New Guy and I would be able to tell him what happened. I knew I would be seeing his wife and while I felt she would be disappointed in my actions, I needed comfort – especially from her. I needed to hear that I was okay and that I was safe and that the moment had passed. I wanted her to reassure me that I was loved and cared for. And above anything, I wanted someone to tell me that they were happy that I didn’t end my life that night. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. The New Guy had just gotten back to town from a trip and I KNEW he was exhausted. I could see it on his face, hear it in his voice, and I know that he only slept for a couple of hours the night before. I offered to let him cancel my session and move it to next week. As much as I did NOT want him to take me up on my offer, I insisted that he take the time to rest if he needed it. Luckily, he declined and I was able to have my session that day. The New Guy’s Wife was absent from the session. Part of me knew this would happen, but I asked about her anyway. The New Guy informed me that she had other things going on and would not be present. I was sad, but I knew I would still be able to talk to The New Guy so I was okay. This in itself is progress though. This is only the second time I’ve had a session alone with The New Guy and I wasn’t afraid. I felt comfortable being in the same room as him without The Wife being present. This was a first. He asked me how things were going like he usually does. Instead of my normal ‘everything is great’ line, I told him things weren’t very good. I wasn’t doing well. After he asked what was going on, I did some beating around the bush but eventually told him what I did. I barely got the words out before the rivers started flowing from my eyes. He talked. A lot. I listened and I cried. I was so overwhelmed, but I finally felt that safety I was longing for. Being there with him – it felt safe. Talking about what happened and knowing that I made it through that and it was over, it made me feel that rush of relief that I needed. I was finally feeling all of the things I was missing, and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. It was like a breath of fresh air. At the same time, I was still feeling that brokenness. The need for him to wrap me in his arms and tell me I would be okay was strong. I knew it wouldn’t happen, I just wanted to feel that kindness and the compassion that is shown with a hug. It was nothing inappropriate that I desired, I just wanted to feel whole. During the session, he mentioned hospitalization. Yikes. That’s not something I ever wanted to do. Honestly, I never thought I was to the point of needing it. It seems that things may be worse than what I can really see right now. I spoke about this with a friend of mine last night and she agrees with The New Guy – she thinks it’s a viable option. That scares me. I told her that inpatient is for people with real issues. People that are truly at risk for killing themselves or are very depressed and I’m just not in that place. She told me that I WAS in that place. To me, it seemed like it was just one bad night where I got a little carried away and lost control. But I’m OKAY. I’m fine. Nothing happened. But, it would appear that I’m not as okay as I’d like to believe that I am. I suppose, from the outside, I’m doing a lot worse than I realize. Yeah…that’s terrifying. The bottom line is that I don’t want to go inpatient. That scares me. I just can’t see that I am to that point yet. I’m hoping to get control of this now so that doesn’t happen. I’m also very nervous to tell my Thursday T about what happened. I don’t know what she will say about it. But, I suppose that’s a story for a later date. I know I said in the beginning of this blog that I was making progress. Everything I’ve told you up to this point was the opposite of progress – I realize that. What I’m about to tell you is the part where I feel I’m making progress. At the end of the session, I tell The New Guy that I need to ask him a question. He tells me to go ahead. I preface my question with telling him things he already knows. I told him that I don’t trust men and I don’t like to be alone with men which is why I always have his wife present. I also told him that men make me nervous and I don’t like physical contact. I barely even hug my own father. Men scare me. Then I asked if he would give me a hug. He said yes. It was the most sincere, healing, safe hug I have felt in such a long time. He was so kind to me and he said he was so honored that I trusted him enough to ask for that. He said he knows my feelings towards men, and he was so grateful that I opened up to him like that. There was a time not too long ago that if we were talking and he took a step closer or inched towards me, I would back away. I never wanted to do therapy with him because he was a male. I’ve been so hurt by the men in my life, I didn’t trust that someone could be kind and gentle with me and be so sincere. I am so glad that I asked for that hug and I’m so glad that he was so receptive. It was safe. So, I guess in closing, I want to say that I’m proud of myself for trusting The New Guy the way I did. It has taken a lot of work for me to build this relationship. I’m just happy that he’s been so constant and didn’t leave when I was apprehensive or when I tried to shut him out. This feels...safe. I don’t know where I stand emotionally right now. This weekend was a roller coaster and I have tally marks on my hip as a constant reminder of the darkness that consumed me Friday night. I don’t know WHEN I’ll be over this. It’s still pretty fresh. I know this blog wasn’t very friendly and I apologize for my sad story saga. I will try to post something a little more lighthearted next time! I hope that you’re all doing well. Hugs to everyone! Love, Poppy
  17. This post contains graphic details of sexual assault. Please take caution reading ahead. Well, happy Tuesday, everyone! I’ve gotten over the idea of posting once a week and always posting on the same day. While in theory that was a good idea, my life demands my attention to other things and sometimes I need to write about the stuff that I just can’t get out of my head. Today is one of those days. My mind is swimming in thoughts and ideas and memories and until I get them out on paper, I feel as though I will drown in them and not be able to breathe again. I’m longing for that breath of fresh air so I’m writing the thoughts down. Clearing them. Purging my mind of the details that plague me and render me completely useless in life because I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t properly function. I’ve been avoiding writing for about a week now. I’ve had things to write about, but I guess I just wasn’t ready. My Thursday therapy session revealed some new information that had me in shock for a while, then the shame came. It felt like something I COULDN’T tell anyone. It still carries an undesirable amount of heaviness, but I can’t get it out of my head. I’ve only shared this with one person after discovering it in therapy, and then I shoved it way down and decided it was something I didn’t want to deal with. Not now, and not ever. I was fine before pulling it out of the depths of my twisted brain and now it’s just sitting here, and I can’t get rid of it. This knowledge I have that I wish never would have revealed itself. It’s not something I even shared with The New Guy. Partly because it didn’t feel relevant, and partly because I was just flat out afraid to. I don’t even really know how I feel about sharing it here, but my writing has become my safe place. This feels like somewhere that I can truly open up and share what I need to. Since I’m having trouble functioning as a regular human being, I decided I needed to write it out. I need to process it. I’m not typically one to keep things to myself, so that tells me that this thing I’m about to tell you, is a thing of great magnitude and it’s something so very private. I’m hoping you’ll bear with me as I expose the inner parts of my very being. I know you’re probably tired of me beating around the bush. I guess I’m avoiding my own writing. Part of me DOES want to write about this, but the other part of me wants to continue to keep it locked away forever. I’m also tired of my brain being such an unsafe place for me right now…so I need to get it out. For those that read my last blog, you know that I am in the process of uncovering some disturbing sexual experiences from my childhood. The New Guy opened a door and it’s like I haven’t been able to stop the influx of painful memories that are barging in and interrupting my life. Funny that he was the one to open this door and he’s the one I DIDN’T tell about this new memory. I should probably tell him as it might be important for my treatment, but I just haven’t worked up the nerve. I see him again in two weeks. I MIGHT tell him then. Anyway, he opened this door and all these memories came flooding in and as I was processing, more memories came up. I’ve already written about all of this. What I have neglected to share is what came up after. I didn’t tell about what happened with my other therapist at my Thursday appointment that week. I told Thursday T about my session with The New Guy and everything that came up with him. She proceeded to pull out a timeline I made for her when I first started seeing her. She calls it a “timeline of bothersome events.” The stuff I talked about with The New Guy was on that list, but I had neglected to share something with him. It wasn’t intentional, I just didn’t think about it until Thursday T pulled out that list and asked me about it. When she mentioned what I wrote down, I remembered that specific part, but the more we talked about it, the more I remembered. I’m going to share this with you in the same way it came back to me. Thursday T asks about the time I was in the backyard and I pulled my pants down for a boy. He was a neighbor boy and he had a younger brother. Right after I pulled my pants down, my mom saw it and the boy had to leave. I remembered that I had touched his penis before. That was the extent of my memories. I then remembered that I was only in second grade and I didn’t go to daycare yet. This was before the other boy that I gave blowjobs to and the girl that asked if I was horny. This was different. I started to remember that the boy was older than me. He was maybe 12 and I was about 7. I remembered that he made me touch his penis when I didn’t want to. I remembered all of the times we were outside playing, and he would take me to the side of the house where no one could see us, and he would touch me and make me touch him. I remember not wanting to do it. Then I remembered the big thing. The part that was hidden from my own brain and I wasn’t even sure WAS a memory, but maybe something I made up. Thursday T reassured me that the way it came back to me, meant it was definitely a memory. It did happen. I remembered that we would all play house upstairs in my younger sister’s bedroom. Me, my sister, the boy, and his younger brother. I remembered that because the boy and I were the oldest, we always played the mom and dad. When it was time to sleep in the game (which seemed to happen often), the mom and dad would go into the closet to sleep. I remember that in this closet, the 12-year-old boy tried to have penetrative sex with me. A 7-year-old girl. The memory stops there. I don’t remember if he made it inside, I don’t remember if it hurt, I don’t remember if I cried. I do remember him trying to insert himself inside me. I also remember that nighttime in a game is usually not very long. I remember him telling the others not to come in the closet and telling them it was still nighttime. I remember that I wanted the night to end. Right now, this is my earliest sexual encounter that I remember. I don’t have much else to say about this. I just needed to share this because my brain couldn’t take anymore. I was also kind of hoping more stuff would come back when I put this down on paper – that didn’t happen. But then again, maybe that’s for the best. I need to clear some of this out before I take on more. In closing, I’m sorry this hasn’t been the uplifting blog I hope to someday bring you. I’m going through a long, hard depressive episode right now and I can’t seem to find my way out. I’m on medication to level out my episodes of depression and hypomania, but it seems the medication has left me in just a depressive state and the other medication isn’t helping with that. But, that’s a blog for another time. Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back soon, I’m sure. XO, Poppy
  18. Hi there 😊 I'm from the UK, and I just needed some place to feel safe to talk about my experiences. ❤️
  19. Thank goodness it doesn't affect me the way it use to!!! There use to be a lot of shame around sex/masturbation. A lot of the sex I had was for the other person, not for myself. Even if I wanted to be sexual as well, once we started, it was as if I removed myself from it and just went through the motions of whatever the other person wanted to do. And even though I've had many giving partners who were looking to take care of me, not just themselves, and I wanted it/them too, once, we were in the act, I would regress. When I was younger, I had a lot of sexual triggers. Waking up to someone touching me sexually was a big one for a long time. My partners learned that one real quick. Giving oral was definitely a trigger. Receiving oral would cause me to regress. And again, even though, I enjoyed it, there was always this underlined checkout/regression/timid side of me that would come out. For many years, I felt as if I were numb, sexually. My sexual body parts did not feel the sensations like it does today. I was unable to orgasm — I think when you train your body to not respond for so many years, it takes a lot of recovery to get it back. The sexual abuse caused me to be promiscuous for many years of my life. Having sex with someone I just met or didn't even like was not unusual for me. If someone was persistent enough, I'd go along with it. For many years, I would have to think of the abuse/my abusers to enjoy masturbation/sometimes even sex. I think this may have been a control thing for me. I am now at a place where I can enjoy pleasuring myself without all the negative tapes. I am also able to enjoy being sexual with my partner. I enjoy doing things, I don't just do them. I look forward to it. I think I have a pretty healthy view of sex and a healthy sex life today.
  20. Thank goodness it doesn't affect me the way it use to!!! There use to be a lot of shame around sex/masturbation. A lot of the sex I had was for the other person, not for myself. Even if I wanted to be sexual as well, once we started, it was as if I removed myself from it and just went through the motions of whatever the other person wanted to do. And even though I've had many giving partners who were looking to take care of me, not just themselves, and I wanted it/them too, once, we were in the act, I would regress. When I was younger, I had a lot of sexual triggers. Waking up to someone touching me sexually was a big one for a long time. My partners learned that one real quick. Giving oral was definitely a trigger. Receiving oral would cause me to regress. And again, even though, I enjoyed it, there was always this underlined checkout/regression/timid side of me that would come out. For many years, I felt as if I were numb, sexually. My sexual body parts did not feel the sensations like it does today. I was unable to orgasm — I think when you train your body to not respond for so many years, it takes a lot of recovery to get it back. The sexual abuse caused me to be promiscuous for many years of my life. Having sex with someone I just met or didn't even like was not unusual for me. If someone was persistent enough, I'd go along with it. For many years, I would have to think of the abuse/my abusers to enjoy masturbation/sometimes even sex. I think this may have been a control thing for me. I am now at a place where I can enjoy pleasuring myself without all the negative tapes. I am also able to enjoy being sexual with my partner. I enjoy doing things, I don't just do them. I look forward to it. I think I have a pretty healthy view of sex and a healthy sex life today.
  21. This is also posted in Share Your Story. The three installments are now posted in order there, and the board is now open to responses, but you may respond either here, or there, if you wish! As always, please heed the trigger warnings above - and thank you in advance for reading! Normal blogs will resume very soon, as my OCD self wanted these installments to be in order, without 'interruptions.' And so, without further ado: Installment Three: After It might make the most sense to say that this third installment began when I opened my eyes on the morning of October 5th in 1996. I’d gone to bed only hours earlier, but still hadn’t slept long. I still felt sore, my head still ached, and my eyes burned whenever I blinked. I needed the bathroom again but remember not wanting to get out of bed just yet. I was in my room, but scanning through all of my familiar surroundings and belongings only made me uneasy and made everything seem ominous. I didn’t know who I was, anymore. Everything that I knew – wasn’t the same. That realization sat with me all through the rest of the weekend, the rest of the month, the rest of the year of 1996. After the week of school that the ‘stomach bug’ caused me to miss, I’d gone back and auto-piloted my way through the rest of the semester. I went to class, sat quietly through lectures. If there was a break in between classes, I would get a meal at the cafeteria and find a quiet place to sit. That was a challenge, but I’d managed. Then, when it was time to go home, I went home and usually retreated into my room, only coming out to eat, drink or to use the shower or bathroom. My father, not a very emotionally present man, didn’t question anything, which I was glad for. My mother was a little more involved, but I’d managed to pull the wool over her eyes, too – something MUCH easier to do when there is minimal contact. I made my best (also minimal) efforts to stay afloat, and by the time 1997 had rolled around, I’d managed to finish my first semester of school with a solid 2.7 GPA. I don’t know if there was pity on the professor’s end, but I probably deserved to flunk at least half of my classes. Everything was half-assed. I did not participate in the in-class discussion, I really couldn’t focus too much on any of the reading without glazing over and eventually throwing the book aside. My papers were shorter than they should have been. Yet, I’m grateful for the C’s and D’s – they simply meant to me that I wouldn’t have to sit through these classes AGAIN! That was just one of many lucky breaks, though. I’d known that moving into my Dad’s house for college would make it very difficult to maintain my now long-distance relationship, but now, there was even more reason to avoid seeing Matt. The shame was too great; I couldn’t help but think of my ‘non-virginity’ whenever I’d see a photo of Matt and I together. His words would repeat in my mind, “we’ll do it on our wedding night, it will be SO special!” First, I wondered if I could hide it, could I just pretend that I still was a virgin? How even would Matt be able to tell? It wasn’t something that would come out in flashing lights…as soon as we’d done it. Everything in my brain, though, told me he would know, and images of him looking at me with disgust – took over. So, my responses to Matt’s emails (daily!) began to falter and shorten. Eventually, he began to ask when he could come see me, and my excuses that I was busy with classes only worked for a little while. He missed me, he said, and wanted to see me. He’d seen me for Christmas the month before, when I’d gone back to Mom’s for the holiday break – there were a couple of brief visits with Matt during my trips home, but I’d definitely been distant, and to avoid kissing him, I’d told him I was either sick, or I’d make sure we were only around a bunch of other people (his family, my family) so that there was NO opportunity for ‘alone time.’ I am sure Matt wondered what the reason was for my being distant, but he’d never pushed, either. In hindsight, I’m not even sure I would have wanted him to. There was some hand-holding, though, which was probably nice for him but uncomfortable for me, especially because of all the remaining guilt I was feeling. I felt unworthy of Matt’s love and affection – holding this HUGE secret. I knew that I needed to break up with him, and just didn’t have the heart to do it. I think, though, it was my hope that HE would be the one to walk away from me. He wasn’t budging, though. Despite my telling Matt not to make the 2.5-hour drive to my father’s house, he still decided to surprise me with a visit. My Dad was out when he showed up, holding flowers. When I’d gotten through with yelling at him for not telling me he was coming, I agreed to go for a drive with him. THAT’s when he pushed. We were eventually parked outside a restaurant and he’d been telling me about his own classes, his friends, his band that they were trying to form. I’d listened, done a lot of nodding, ‘hmm-hmm’s’ and had thrown in a few automated responses of ‘that’s nice.’ “Okay…what’s wrong?” He finally said. I PROBABLY could have broken down and told my boyfriend what had happened just a few short months earlier, but at that very moment, I literally SAW the walls rise up. It wasn’t safe. It was dangerous. Matt, who had NEVER raised his voice to me, NEVER touched me in any way that was not gentle, NEVER had gotten angry with me – Matt, the saint – now scared the hell out of me. It made NO sense, whatsoever, to want to run away from him, but I did. I think I remember vaguely, my hand clasping the car door handle when he began to say he’d noticed a change in me. I don’t even remember the half of it, even though the words and memories swirled…. I was caught completely off guard when Matt’s lips covered mine – it was one of those unexpected last-ditch effort at romance, I think – kinda like in one of those old films when the man grabs the woman and plants one on her in the heat of the moment. While I might have appreciated the sneak-attack kiss months earlier when Matt was the one who was keeping a distance, it didn’t sit well with me at the moment, and I shoved him away almost as quickly as the kiss had come on. He backed off, stunned, and just stared at me. And that’s when I told an incredulous Matt, without making eye contact, that I just didn’t love him anymore and that we needed to break up. Through the corner of my eye, though, I could see his heart break into a million pieces. He stared at me for at least a minute, which seemed more like several, before he began to plead. He asked me to look at him, which I couldn’t. He asked what he’d done – I couldn’t think of a single thing that he’d done wrong, but at the same time, I couldn’t explain that this wasn’t about him at all. I provided one-word answers, mostly, and let him bawl, I let him take my hand, thinking momentarily that maybe, just maybe, this could be fixed? Maybe the truth wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it would be – but still couldn’t get past the notion that it STILL might be seen as a betrayal. I’d already said what was hard enough to build up to saying, and there was no turning back, now. I finally asked him to take me back to my Dad’s house, and he put the car in gear and drove. He declined to come in when we got back to the house, and instead sped off – likely heading back home. I went inside, sat down, and cried, tears of relief, tears of shame, tears of self-hatred for having done what I’d done. Matt hadn’t deserved any of that. And here, I’d done a horrible thing and had sent him home upset – I HAD told him to let me know when he got home but was sure he’d be too angry to. I understood that, too, and was surprised to actually receive an email later on that evening – an email that I left unanswered because there had been more pleading, more ‘talk to me’s’ and more questions I couldn’t answer truthfully. I responded a few days later, with ‘glad you made it home safely, will talk to you soon.’ I gave him no hopes of us reconciling. Matt was too good for me, he deserved so much better than me. Eventually, he stopped emailing, and our breakup sank in – and the next time I’d see Matt was by running into him at Party City years later, where he and his fiancée were picking up their wedding invitations. I had my son in tow as I walked in, needing to buy paper products for a party his pre-kindergarten class was having. We’d locked eyes after not seeing each other for nearly a decade, and we’d exchanged a very, VERY awkward ‘oh, hi!’ before walking away from each other. No conversation. Perhaps it would have been different if we were both alone. There was a sigh of relief, I must say, for it was nice to see that Matt had found love again. At this point, I was married too, but my original plan (as well as Matt’s, as we were supposed to have married each other!) had been unfairly foiled. I still resented myself for not having been able to salvage what Matt and I had, but knowing that he’d found someone that he was soon to marry was relieving. At least he was happy. But was I happy? At the time, no. Probably not. I had a husband, three children (the youngest of the three being ours) that I was raising, a part-time job and a whole lot of baggage that LOVED to resurface from time to time. It was day-to-day, there were smiles whenever one of the kids did something wonderful, or during the occasional times my husband would smile…but genuine happiness? That remained a foreign concept. I suppose I should talk about the ‘BH’ (before husband) time period, though, before I delve into the rest of the issues that hold significance. It just seemed to make more sense to discuss Matt, first, as he was my first failed relationship, and the first example of what unreasonable decisions that the after-effects of trauma can drive a person to make. Although Matt’s and my breakup was my decision, it was a choice I’d made without fully considering what it all meant for me. Matt had been my anchor; the guy I’d been saving myself for. My not being able to tell him the truth (about how it had been TAKEN from me and that I’d not given it willingly) was a weak moment, built on fear – and moments like this are built up on even further as time goes on. One weak moment triggers the next. I don’t have any other explanation for the shameful subsequent behaviors that I’m going to be sharing next. Before I get into that, it should be noted that I felt, in a way, freed of my promise to Matt. There was nothing left to save, nothing holding me back, anymore, to the idea that Matt was my one and only. I wasn’t a virgin, anymore, and I’d had sex. The adult version of me can certainly say that virginity was MUCH more than physical; but the eighteen-year-old version of myself wasn’t able to form that conclusion. So, now that I was no longer ‘pure,’ a new perception of myself was born; a self-image that although inaccurate, proved to be the driving force behind the poor choices I’d make next. The men (I guess I can call them all ‘men’ as they, as well as I, were all over the age of 18 and considered ‘adults’) started out being close to my age, if not a year or two older than me. It was 1997, now, and it was around the time when AOL (America Online) was the hottest new thing. The internet, the world wide web, dial-up connecting with that familiar high-pitched screech at the end - was all brand-new, very exciting, and ALL people talked about. I was introduced to chat rooms rather quickly, mostly because I had a clunky desktop computer that my father had given to me for school use, and for some reason, the internet (by 'internet,' I mean primarily the world wide web 'searches') never worked properly for me. I got to exploring one evening and discovered that there were so many OTHER benefits to AOL than simply the ‘You’ve Got Mail!’ announcement upon log-in, and surfing the information superhighway – I don’t think I even knew how to do this until later. For the most part, my online visits were used for the purpose of sending emails back and forth, and for browsing the chat rooms that were themed. There was a teen chat, location-based chats, and, I was shocked to see, a Rape Survivors chat. When it came to the latter chat, I kept a distance for a while. I’d go in but for the most part, I’d just sit and observe. These were the days when instant messaging was insanely popular, and there were many, many conversations with men who were, sadly, visiting the chat room for the wrong reasons. I did very much want to share my story, to talk, to speak with someone who could relate, but AOL’s chat rooms were NOT monitored, and the members were WAY out of control. Questions were rude, and very few people actually spoke IN the chat room. Instead, everyone was pinging each other privately, asking for sordid details and hoping to ‘hook up.’ Each room held about 28 people at a time, and of the 28, perhaps a small handful were actually survivors. The rest, I believe now, were voyeurs or simply people who were curious or got their jollies from hearing of others’ pain or horror stories. As an adult, I know and understand now that people like this exist – but being an 18-year-old who wanted so much to talk, to make connections, to be listened to – it didn’t matter who a person was or what their curiosities were based upon. They were there, they were listening, and responding to me. See, offline, I had nobody to talk to. My parents remained oblivious, the very few friends I had in my classes only really knew the ‘me’ I was post-rape – so they really didn’t notice any ‘changes’ in me. In a way, it was nice to not have to explain what had become different. At that point in time, moving forward was important, and leaving things in the past, where they would be forgotten. (Yes, we can laugh at that thought – it wasn’t until much later that I’d realize that this kind of thing wasn’t able to be forgotten!) Now, I’m not saying everyone was like that. I’ve met and still am in contact with some very genuine people – people I’ve known for that long. Those were the lasting friendships. But while there are lasting friendships, there were other lasting impressions made, although not favorable ones. My first consensual encounter was with another deaf guy. It wasn’t even a good experience – it was more memorable simply because it was the first time I’d said ‘yes.’ And I remember thinking when it was over – wait, THIS was what all the hype was about???? Not only was it a little physically painful (whether it was due to body memories, or simply inexperience) but it was also over in seconds. And that night, I said to myself, ‘I’m not a virgin anymore.’ I guess there was more expectation of losing virginity than what I was seeing, though. Pre-trauma, I’d heard sex was supposed to bring pleasure. It was supposed to be special. It was supposed to be something people LIKED to do, something that kept people going for more. It was what my friends, (at least, the very few friends I had at the time) talked about doing with their boyfriends. All I had to show (or tell) for it was a ten-second experience that left me overall unimpressed and unsatisfied. It’d not occurred to me that this was something I had to build up to, something I had to be comfortable with in order for it to work – not now and not at this time. Instead, I became increasingly convinced that there was something wrong with me, and it had to be fixed. I continued to sign into AOL and to enter chat rooms. It was more so for the connections and wasn’t really for the purpose of finding in-person companionship, but I still got asked on dates by men in the location-based chat rooms. One was a boyfriend for about a month, before he decided that there was someone else he wanted to date. In hindsight, I recall seeing that as a rejection because I likely wasn’t an exciting date. Yes, there was sex, but there was also that inability of mine to invest emotionally. I wasn’t finding pleasure there, either. I guess there was MORE expected of me than sex, especially with someone who was a potential boyfriend, and relationship-wise, I just wasn’t measuring up to HIS expectation. Our breakup was quick, he was distant for a while and eventually sent me an email saying he wanted to remain friends. There was a lax ‘okay, that’s fine,’ response, and I never saw him again. I did eventually (MANY years later) Facebook-search him and saw he’d settled down with a girl who LOOKED as if she were more into him than I ever was. There was love in her eyes, there was joy. There had been NONE of that in mine when we’d dated. Oh, how could I blame him for turning elsewhere? Honestly, maybe that was the problem. Emotionally, my heart perhaps still belonged to Matt – or it possibly just didn’t belong to anyone. It makes sense to assume it was just being kept to myself, it was chained up, and to solidify it, there was a brick wall in front of it. I’m sure this was another after-effect of the rape – but it wasn’t something I was working on at the moment, either. Not with therapy, not with counseling, nothing beyond browsing the self-help section at the bookstore because I’d heard ‘The Courage To Heal’ workbook was worth buying. I had a block in place when it came to interacting with others about my trauma and my reasons behind this particular wall – because I simply didn’t want to, I didn’t want to have to un-barricade my heart and make it privy to being broken again. And so, I chose to just not care, moving forward. I made horrible choices. I didn’t care about my personal safety. I met man after man online, and I’d end up meeting and sleeping with most of them. They weren’t in it for the emotional connection. They just wanted sex. And being that I was avoiding emotional attachments at the time, I usually obliged – even if one seemed to want a date first – we’d almost always end up in bed, in a hotel room, in the back seat of a car, and it was the same thing, every time. They’d initiate sexual activity, and I’d allow it to go as far as they wished. I didn’t care if they used condoms, I didn’t ask them to. Most times, they did, but sometimes they didn’t. I didn’t stop to consider STDs, pregnancy, none of those things mattered. I wanted to feel SOMETHING, even if it was occasional pain. It was all a part of my self-destructive plan. I felt numb during the actual sexual activity – there was a bit of shame after the fact, but it wasn’t enough to make me cease behaviors. It instead fed into my desire to feel something…ANYTHING…even if it wasn’t favorable. Over time, my depression got deeper and my behaviors became more risky. I drank heavily, with the goal of being too drunk to feel anything afterwards, should things become physical. It was now an expectation, for all of these random men (and women) were the opposite of Matt and always were ready to go. Perhaps I wasn’t admitting it to myself, but I would secretly hope one of these several partners of mine would finish the job that my rapist seemed to have started. The job of just ending my life. In a way, they were, I was just dying slower than I wanted to. The guy who was into bondage…would he just kill me when he was done? The older, fifty-something car salesman – would he take his enjoyment of rough sex a little further and finish with snapping my neck? The sex itself wasn’t painful most of the time – and even if something were being done that I didn’t especially enjoy, I still kept my mouth shut and allowed them to finish, to satisfy themselves. There were a couple of ‘generous’ partners who wanted to reciprocate, and I’d end up faking it because it wasn’t happening for me, and I was honestly ready for it to be finished. Truthfully, when they were done, I’d be too disappointed that I was still alive and feeling no satisfaction. Just more numbness, more shame, more self-disgust. And these feelings were what drove me down a very dark path consisting of self-injury and more recklessness. I wasn’t in a safe place with all of these thoughts – and it scared me to realize that I’d be disappointed time after time again when none of these men wanted to kill me – they were GETTING what they wanted, which was an easy lay. I was getting absolutely nothing. Yet, the behavior continued – I’d meet people, we’d hook up, and 95% of the time, there would be a sexual encounter. Not all of them were the same, but I’m fairly positive that some were questionable as far as consent was involved, but because I wasn’t the one to initiate, I was also the one who never actually said ‘no,’ either. When things didn’t feel right, I still allowed them to happen. There was almost ALWAYS that memory of what had happened the last time I DID say ‘no.’ It wouldn’t be until MUCH later in life that I’d understand that being silent doesn’t equal consent. At this time, though, I viewed my actually being there, in whatever situation it was, and willingly – as consent. It didn’t matter if it started out comfortable and finished with my feeling the need to hurt myself in some way in the near future – I was there, and I’d let it all happen. It was very, VERY rarely that any of my partners would stop and ask me if I was okay – most all of them were simply too caught up in the moment. This was behavior I was used to when the wasband (if you’re a follower of my blogs, you know that this is how I refer to my ex-husband) entered my life for the first time. He was 29, I was 20. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend who knew a little bit of my depression – she realized that he and I lived 20 minutes away from each other and thought that since he was a police officer, he would be a good resource and someone who could find me ‘help.’ We talked online for several weeks before agreeing to meet. He’d been told of my self-injury tendencies (by our mutual friend) and he did know a little bit more about my past by the time we’d planned to meet at a small corner diner near where he worked. The plan was to have dinner and get to know each other. I remember the first time seeing him – he was pudgy, had a rounded, boyish face, he had hair on his head – although thinning. He was in the middle of a separation with his wife. He had a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son, that I wouldn’t meet until a bit later. I’m not even sure what it was about him when we first met. He wasn’t without flaws, but then again – neither was I. He was a heavy smoker, something that I KNEW my father would despise. By this point in my life, I’d tried occasional cigarette smoking and never really liked it enough to form a habit. He listened. He talked to me. He didn’t judge anything. He would notice the scratches, bruises, burns on my arms, and ask about them. In a way, it’s a good thing that our mutual friend had supplied him with some background information – I don’t think I could ever FULLY explain to a non-survivor the reasons behind these self-inflicted injuries. He seemed to understand, though, and eventually disclosed that he, too, was a survivor – not of sexual abuse, but of neglect and physical abuse at the hands of his parents. His mother was a drug user. His father was both into drugs and alcohol, and the wasband had left home at the tender age of 15 – he’d moved in with a grandparent and then straight after High School, he’d joined the army. He was someone with a tough façade, but, for a while, (likely for as long as we were still in the ‘dating stages,’) his interior was smooshy. He held my hand when we went for walks, he was gentle, he was kind. He didn’t judge me for any of the marks I’d made on myself. And I think this is what made some of those walls begin to lower – but he was the very first man (since Matt) who held my hands in his and asked my permission to kiss me. I granted him permission, and from that point on, he asked for permission to proceed any further. We didn’t sleep together right away – it wasn’t until we’d been seeing one another for at least a month. This was new to me. While I was ‘getting to know’ the wasband, I had stopped entering chat rooms. I would just talk to him, day in and day out – while he was at work and I was in school, I’d write him letters to give him when I saw him, even if it was going to be later that same day. He became someone I looked forward to seeing, connecting with, sharing with. Kissing. I was starting to enjoy it. I was feeling something. Physically, also, there was a connection that I’d not felt before – not even with Matt, because I’d simply not gotten that far with Matt. While I’d gotten that far (and sometimes further, if that’s even possible) with complete strangers, this was all new to me – this was with someone who seemingly WANTED for me to feel safe with him. He took things slowly, he took his time, he was patient when I needed to stop. It’s possible that what I was feeling wasn’t accurate, though. Because I was now dating the wasband, I was no longer ‘hooking up’ with anybody else. I wasn’t putting myself into risky situations any longer. I was now with ONE guy, who seemingly cared about me, about how I felt. There was no longer a need to find these things elsewhere – it felt NICE to gain this sense of security that I’d never felt before. Then he proposed – we were out for coffee – at a coffee shop that no longer exists today. He presented me with a ring – and asked me to be his wife. I accepted immediately. I’m not sure if it was love, though, that prompted me to say yes – perhaps it was the idea of prolonged security – a safer path to be on than the one I PROBABLY would end up back on if this didn’t work out. And it wasn’t a bad alternative path, not at this point. Here was a guy who seemed to genuinely care about me – a guy who was considerate, a guy who had his own faults that I knew I could accept….he was, after all, accepting of mine. It meant I would become a step-mother. I’d met his children at this point and had such love for them, for spending time with him and the two of them. Despite my mother’s hissy fit when she learned of my plans to move in with him, I left home at 20. She’d never liked the wasband. At least, not in the beginning. “He’s been married before,” she’d say, “why did he break up with his first wife? What went wrong?” (I’d not be able to truthfully answer this until MUCH later, but these were questions my mother had thrown at me, since the day I came home with the announcement that we’d gotten engaged.) I told her that I loved him and was moving on with my plans to live with and marry him. Shortly after moving in with him into his apartment and going to school from a new ‘home,’ things began to change. The changes were slow and gradual, though – in ways that were too minuscule to really make a big deal out of, and I was not seeing the waving red flags. First, it was the small things – he’d take notice of the fact that I didn’t really know how to make coffee. Or how to do laundry. My parents had always done those things, I’d never been on my own. He’d already been married once, had experienced married life once – he’d had a partner in which to run a household, parent children with – things I had absolutely NO experience in. I seriously lacked in life skills – but what I DID have, though, was credit. His debt piled up on MY credit cards, from the very beginning. There was always the promise that he’d pay this bill when he got paid, that one next month, etc. I didn’t think much of it, because really, they were for US. For things we needed. Food, stuff for the apartment, clothes, gas, etc. I paid no attention to the charges – as long as there was a ring on my finger, whatever was mine was his, too. His responsibilities were now also mine – and I thought nothing of putting things onto my credit cards. This, in hindsight, was another HUGE mistake, as it made me file bankruptcy before I was 25. There was one day he’d asked me to wash one of his shirts for work – and I’d had to admit that I didn’t know how. Not one of my finer moments, no, but the look on his face then, DID make me feel about two inches tall. But then we’d both gone down to the laundry room and he’d shown me how to operate the machines – how much change to use, how much detergent, the works. But, now, this became MY job. I did ALL of the laundry, from that point on. I was to ensure he had clean shirts for work – if he didn’t have one, it was my fault. There were times he’d say he loved me, but it still felt as if we were worlds apart – he’d experienced so much more in the course of his nearly 30 years – he’d seen combat and I’d only seen the inside of a classroom. He’d been married before, had children – I’d just left my parents’ house. There were no deal-breakers at this point but it was clear he wanted me to step up, to step in where his first wife had failed to do so. He wanted me to grow up, wanted me to skip ahead, catch up, be where he was in life. He didn’t say so using exact words, but there were little actions of his – little looks, little comments. Including one day, when I’d just gotten out of the shower, “I’d like to have a child with you, soon.” Make no mistake about this – our son was NOT unwanted. He was perhaps rushed, but never unwanted. I was still in school, with two years or so to go – and when the wasband had mentioned having a baby, there WAS a part of me that felt that although I DID want my own child one day, if I didn’t agree to it now, it would become something else that he would view as further resistance toward the life he wanted me to share with him. We were already engaged to be married – there was already commitment, there was job security on his part, there was no real reason not to agree to having a child with him – at least not one good enough to present to him. It would make him happy, after all. He’d said he would let me think about it, and there were a few more sexual encounters in between my ‘nod.’ See, it hadn’t been discussed beyond that day in the bathroom, I’d not thought about what having a child at 21 would mean for me – I thought nothing other than how happy it would make him. I didn’t think I’d be entirely unhappy with having my own child, either. I’d worry about being a mother – I was already becoming a stepmother, but being a mother to my own biological child was a terrifying thought. It was a thought, though, that I was sure plenty of other women shared, at least, until they had their first baby. There were also thoughts of what any baby the wasband and I made together would look like…and that was admittedly nice. Girl or boy? Maybe they’d have his blond hair? Maybe they’d have my freckles. He already had an adorable little girl who looked just like him – and son….would our child look like his or her siblings?? So, that night in October, he’d paused during an intimate moment – a sign that he was ready to finish - and I knew. He was again, asking permission. I didn’t want to spend too much more time over-thinking, over-analyzing, so I gave the nod. When we were finished, he kissed me, and said, “you’re pregnant.” I don’t remember saying anything. I do remember thinking, though – HOW? Was it really this easy? I didn’t know too much about my ovulation cycle at all – I’d also had a LOT of sex – although mostly protected, there was ALWAYS that possibility that it hadn’t worked. Maybe this, too, would take a little time? I did already know from hearing others talk, that sometimes it took a while…maybe this, too, would take several tries? But, sure enough, I WAS pregnant. Whether it was that night, or the within the few times afterwards, I conceived VERY quickly. The wasband, to this day, jokes that our son was a ‘one shot, one kill’ deal. At the time I’m writing this, he’s fathered five, in total. Perhaps there are others from his military era – but there are currently five biological children that we know of. My mother, several years later, would joke that the wasband could get a piece of furniture pregnant. And if furniture could reproduce – that would be true. Our son was born in 2000 and instantly became the love of my life. Any doubts I’d had before – gone. The Son, however, was NOT an easy baby and challenged me in every single way – he was colicky, he had a lactose intolerance, he had to be in my arms CONSTANTLY, which was never an issue for me as much as it was for the wasband – I loved holding my child. This perfect little extension of the wasband and me. He had soft golden hair, beautiful brown eyes, rosy cheeks, tiny little lips and ears that stuck out in an adorable Yoda-like way. He was most peaceful whenever sleeping, and I could stare at this image of perfection for hours on end. Sleep was already hard for me, but now even harder, as the Son VERY rarely slept when he was not in my arms. MANY nights were spent in our living room recliner – for any time a transfer from the arms to the crib was attempted, he’d wake up and scream for the next amount of time it took to get him back to sleep. I was sleep deprived fairly soon – and there was absolutely NO help from the wasband during the day – he worked within walking distance from the house, but rarely came home for lunch. My days were spent tending to not just our son, but also to his daughter and son from wife #1. They needed picking up and dropping off from school. The stepdaughter was sick EVERY other week – it was like clockwork and continued until she was eleven and had her tonsils removed. But she needed to frequently be picked up and brought to the pediatrician, with both boys usually in tow. Their mother usually wasn’t able to take them to the doctor, which, to this day, STILL irritates me – it was enough that my husband was expecting me to take care of his children in his absence, but you’d think that the real mother of these kids would step up whenever needed – especially since I now had an infant. I made the mistake of complaining to the wasband ONCE when the stepdaughter needed to be brought to the doctor in the middle of the day and the baby was napping – it was actually more of a vent than anything, but something to the tune of, ‘why can’t her mother take her?’ I was now ‘lazy.’ I’m sure he had more reasons built up to call me lazy. Time went on and raising three children who had NO concept of tidiness, the housework piled up. The laundry was delayed. Dinner was NEVER ready when he got home. We were now married – we’d tied the knot when the Son was nine months old. I was a horrible wife when it came to keeping everything running smoothly. I was in my very early 20s, and EXHAUSTED. I was ending up doing emergency loads of laundry in the middle of the night, with the Son, who still wasn’t sleeping like a normal child, in the Snuggli thingy that you wear on your torso. You know what they say about exhaustion bringing forth additional stressors, and I was no different. I began to see my husband in a different way than I had a year earlier. Especially when the nightmares, the restless nights, the stray memories started up, again – likely around my traumaversary-time. He was very rarely kind to me anymore – whether that was because now he viewed me as lazy or it was because he was stressed out, too – either way, he was not the man he used to be. He was more critical than he was pleasant, he would joke around (and not about the typical things worthy of joking around – his jokes were hurtful, mean and of the bullying sort) and when his jokes weren’t taken well, he’d shoot me the look of disgust – why couldn’t I take a joke? I had no sense of humor, I guess, and was constantly made to feel badly about it. My depression sank in again. I gained weight, and this was yet another thing that he would chastise me for. I began to spend more time online again – not for the same purpose of my previous online encounters, of course, but more so for friendship, for conversation where I didn’t have to be judged for whatever I might be feeling. For the kindness that I was no longer receiving at home. For connection, for there was none of that, either. For commonality, for I now felt alone in a house FILLED with people. I was an army of one, the ONLY one who knew what I was dealing with, and the only one who cared, too. Although I was not entirely verbal about these things, a LOT of time was spent within the confines of my own mind, while I tried to balance everything else. The wasband was NOT pleased with my being online, though. He’d read over my shoulder, question me about whomever I was speaking with. I’d made the mistake of telling him that one of the people I was speaking with was also a rape survivor and that we were talking about things that had helped her deal/cope. You WOULD have thought I’d told him I was having an illicit affair. He said some pretty hurtful, disgusting things, and pretty much accused me of everything in the book. “Why are you trying to make other people feel sorry for you?” “Your sharing stuff of such a personal nature can be viewed as an emotional affair.” “Nobody wants to hear about these things.” “These personal things need to stay private. It’s not anyone else’s business.” And my favorite: “You’re supposed to talk to ME about these things. Not strangers.” Okay. Fair enough, on the last one. Yes, perhaps he was the one I needed to go to for support, but he wasn’t providing it. Maybe, though, NOW he would ‘step up’ and into a more actively supportive role? Now that I was seeking it elsewhere? You see, I never shut him out. I WOULD tell him about how I was feeling. I HAD. I’d told him a few things while we were still in our dating stages, and he’d been supportive and kind. The problem here, I think, is that he felt this ‘support’ he had given was a one-time thing. It was not something that should continue beyond the initial giving of support. I should now be over this. I should NOT be letting this consume me, anymore. I should be focused on being his wife, being a mother, our home. To him, it was frustrating that I couldn’t do this easily, and to me, it felt as if I was truly broken because of my inability to ‘move on.’ At one point, I suggested going to a therapist, and he’d made this face – one that my daughter, to this day, calls ‘the Trump face.’ Eyes narrow, lip curled upwards. Even better when he’d say, ‘Therapy??’ and refer to it in a tone that was nothing short of belittling – of both me and of the idea of my taking my issues to a therapist. It was enough to make me decide against it entirely; and further paved the way toward option number three – which was to completely withdraw and self-isolate. I stopped reaching out for support, whether it was online or it was offline. I still maintained ‘platonic’ friendships (people from my bowling league, online friendships) but made sure to keep walls up - it seemed to make him the happiest when I did that. He’d ask how I was doing, and my response, if not ‘fine,’ would be met with the ‘you don’t need therapy, do you?’ I became increasingly miserable, but tried to focus on remaining as engaged with his and my children’s lives as possible. I carried on this way, for years. I ignored whatever uncomfortable triggers might have arose along the way – during everyday life, during the night when the nightmares would revisit, during every October that would come and go, during sex with him, which while it wasn’t forceful, it WAS almost ALWAYS initiated by him, emotionless, and devoid of feeling. He had his ‘bedroom routines,’ that I cared nothing for, but like with anything else I didn’t particularly agree with, it became yet another thing for me to remain silent about – even if it was just for the sake of avoiding an unnecessary argument. He was a man that needed consistency in the bedroom – and while I could honestly go for weeks without sex, this NEVER would have flown for him. I never refused him, though I would feel HORRIBLE afterwards – dirty, disgusting, tainted. It didn’t seem to be the right way to feel after sex with your spouse – but like anything else, I ignored these feelings, too. I chose to keep my mouth shut and shoved ANY negative feelings down almost as quickly as they’d surface, because I felt that if he saw me struggling with any of it, there would be MORE looks of disgust, MORE criticism, MORE comments on why I’d not moved on. MORE reason for him to not see me as the perfect wife he’d THOUGHT I’d be on the night he proposed. There was just NO sparkle in his eyes, anymore. In me, there was only emptiness and a yearning for more, for something that seemed impossible to find. And I’d doomed myself to all of it, I’d chosen to adopt his mindset, even if I didn’t necessarily feel there was anything ‘right’ about it. We had our daughter in 2006. I’d have liked to have her sooner, but after how difficult a baby the son was, the wasband had always said he didn’t want any more children. (Yes, laughable now, that he’s got six – five of his own and one belonging to his current wife!) I’m not sure if he’d sensed my overall unhappiness and that was what changed his mind, but he did eventually ask if we should try again. Thinking this would make a difference; even the smallest bit of a difference, I agreed to it. I DID want more of my own children. Where there was a VERY noticeable void with HIM, there was never one when it came to my son. He had unconditional love, he cared nothing about what I might be struggling with, he’d just climb into my lap and I’d instantly feel comforted. I loved NO ONE as much as I loved him. And the idea of having someone else to love, to nurture, was certainly appealing. I DID want a little girl, and knew that whe opportunity likely wouldn’t present again if I’d passed on it now. It took three months of trying before we conceived the daughter. There were times where he was overly loving and sad to say, it’s likely because I was pregnant. He was more gentle with his words and his touch. He did some stuff around the house, mostly when I’d hit my third trimester. He’d barked at the rest of the kids to clean up their rooms, their toys off the floor so that ‘your mother doesn’t step on them and hurt herself or the baby.’ I knew this change in him was likely temporary – and that what had happened after the son was born, would likely happen again after I’d had the daughter. I was right. The daughter was not as difficult as the son was. She was not colicky, she was fine with being put down into a swing or a rocker, she was content with being placed in front of the television while I went about normal chores. But, now, I had FOUR children and a husband who worked from seven in the morning until five in the evening – and his expectation that I’d have to (flawlessly) hold down the fort, remained the same. With three out of four being school-aged, there was ALWAYS the chance one would have to be picked up, one would be home sick and have to be taken to the doctor’s office, one would forget a science project was due until the NIGHT before…there was absolutely NO help from him when he got home. He’d have his dinner and retreat into the living room and sit in his recliner for the rest of the night. He’d complain (from his chair) that the house was untidy, there were dishes in the sink, dinner wasn’t ready, laundry was piled up, kids’ rooms were a shambles, the floor hadn’t been swept, vacuumed, etc. There was that occasional ‘what did you even DO around here, all day long?’ I’d shoot back, ‘taking care of a baby is a full-time job!’ He’d scoff and rattle off a list of things he’d gotten accomplished before noon – and top it off with, ‘I bust my ass all day long, so when I come home, I want to not have to handle anything at home.’ Yes, he actually thinks that’s how a household is run. That duties are separate. The man goes to work and the woman does everything at home. So, because he works most of the day, (and let’s not forget, he gets MOST of his heavy work done before noon!) anything having to do with the house and with the kids, is on me. Where’s the partnership, here? Are we forgetting that two of these kids aren’t even biologically mine? And don’t get me wrong – I NEVER treated his elder son and daughter any differently than I treated my own. I even LOVED them as if they were my own. Whenever I told anyone about my kids, I never said I had two children – I said had four. There was just ALWAYS a shred of existing resentment, toward him and toward their mother – for not stepping in when things were noticeably overwhelming. Knowing that I was not only taking care of what was REQUIRED for me to take care of, but also going above and beyond that to make sure HIS elder two children had stability and security in their lives, even if it meant compromising my own happiness. What did I want? A thank-you? No. That’s not what I wanted. A little recognition would have been nice, though. I did it all without a complaint. These kids shouldn’t have to suffer because their mother was stupid and and their father preferred for ME to be the more attentive parent. I wouldn’t have minded it so much, either, if he would have just occasionally said, “I appreciate all you do for my kids, for me.” Those words NEVER came. Instead, the criticism came. The put-downs, the consistent mention of where I would fall short. He also NEVER had my back in any of it – he would undermine me – CONSTANTLY – and in front of the kids, too. If I complained that one didn’t clean their room properly, his response would be, ‘that’s where you have to step in and supervise.’ These kids could do NOTHING wrong – it was always MY fault if they didn’t do what they needed to do. Even his eldest, who at the time was 12-13 years old – whenever I complained to him that she wasn’t doing what was asked of her, his response was, I’m too hard on her, I’m not willing to help her. At 13, my mother was NOT helping me clean my room, or perform simple chores. I was doing that, myself, and when asked. My mother did do me an injustice by not making me do my own laundry – but that wasn’t even what he was complaining about. And this was just plain bullshit – I was to drop everything else I had to deal with during the course of a day, and help a pre-teen clean her room? I didn’t make the mess. I shouldn’t have to assist anyone over the age of six in the cleaning and tidying of their bedroom. But I did – and this push was now coming from the man who stated that I had absolutely no life skills? What favors was he now doing his children? His children, who, currently and in present day, now have absolutely no life skills??? (and YES, this includes my two, who, over time, have become lazy slobs!) Rather than things improving with the arrival of our daughter, they seemingly became worse. He’d come home in a cranky mood, EVERY day. There was less frequently a smiling moment. We were both miserable, despite sharing four children, having a (very small and cramped) home and our physical health intact. We rarely spoke to one another, and when he DID speak to me, it was not usually gently. I began to ‘rebel,’ in very small ways. I waited until he left for work in the mornings, and I’d boot up the computer. Again, I felt the need for connection, for friendship, to feel less alone. While I didn’t care too much about what he wanted, as far as reaching out ‘beyond the home,’ I was still careful to NOT allow him to see what I was doing online. My internet browser history was promply deleted as soon as his car pulled into the driveway. Anyone I spoke to through messengers, was informed that my husband could not ‘see’ us speaking, so if it was later in the day, they knew to let me make the first contact. There was absolutely NOTHING inappropriate about my conversations – I was never unfaithful to the wasband. I, however, knew that It would make him angry to learn that I’d 1) started talking about my past trauma again, meaning I wasn’t 'over it,' yet, and 2) it was with people that ‘had no business knowing about my personal life.’ In hindsight, I do wonder if a small part of him feared being pegged as the one who was unreasonable and irrational – but I suppose that’s something I’ll never know the answer to. I knew there was absolutely nothing that I should be ashamed of, but there was always that fear of being MADE to feel as if I were doing him an injustice by spending my time the way I wanted to spend it. I didn’t want him questioning my conversations or online activity – so I made sure to hide it all. It was simply the path of least resistance. While I didn’t fear any physical blowback, should he ever discover how I was spending my days, it was the emotional response that scared me more. My husband NEVER struck me in anger – let that be known. He, however, had a way of battering someone with his words and his often unreasonably strong opinions. Regardless of my ‘rebellion,’ I still tended to my baby/toddler. I balanced the cleaning and childcare and dubbed the half-hour before his arrival home the ‘crunch time’ and would scurry through the house, making it look as if I HAD done some cleaning. It was SIMPLY just a matter of there being clothes on the floor, or stuff on the table that needed to be put away, or a quick sweep of the kitchen floor. I began to put in as much effort as he’d previously said I was. Why not, right? I might as well REALLY be the fat, lazy wife he’d always said I was. It was, in fact, a spring day in 2007 when I found After Silence. I’d been conversing with someone else, a fellow survivor that I’d told the wasband that was a parent of a child with a hearing and speech impairment (because THAT commonality was okay to have) and it was she who provided me the link to AS – saying, ‘try this place.’ I registered an account with AS and began to look around. The interactions between the members, the staff – it all was so wonderful to see. I quickly felt compelled to become a part of all of it. And so, every day, in between feedings, diaper changes, housework and errands, I was browsing AS and making the connections I’d been denied for so many years. As time went on, I felt MUCH less alone and I cared less and less about what he’d think about the whole thing. I carried on with my ‘plan’ and he was none the wiser. I made friends here, and looked forward to spending time on the site. It was a Godsend to me – a home away from home. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when he, after a while, came home from work and asked me while I was preparing dinner – ‘what do we have in common other than the kids?’ For the life of me, I couldn’t answer. I thought about it for a full minute, though. We didn’t like the same TV shows. We didn’t share views. Well, we WOULD – mine would be ‘stupid,’ while his was right. Every time. We didn’t see eye to eye on ANYTHING. He might’ve thought we did because whenever there was a heated debate, he’d turn to me and ask, ‘am I wrong?’ and for the sake of avoiding an argument, I’d shake my head in silence. Even if yes, he was wrong. Even if none of it made sense. Even if it meant that something I believed to be right would be dismissed. There was NOTHING in common in the bedroom. He liked things I despised. He was hard, I was too sensitive. When I’d come to the conclusion that the only thing we likely both equally enjoyed were certain foods. “I don’t know,” I finally told him. “I was thinking, maybe we should get a divorce,” he said. I don’t know whether he expected to hear that we REALLY had nothing in common or he’d expected me to surprise him with my answer. “Okay,” I shrugged. Perhaps I’d answered too quickly and surprised us both. Either way, it was an out…and one I needed to take. An opportunity. I’d been imprisoned within this loveless marriage for FAR too long, and I was NOT seeing any ways that this would change. Not anytime soon. He’d never change. He’d remain this horrible bully that I’d grown to despise, despite being married to him. He nodded and retreated into the living room and I sobbed silently as I continued to prepare dinner. Not because I was upset over this marriage ending – but because this, like everything else – was on HIS terms. Although it was best, and I knew it – I still wouldn’t have left him first. I was loyal, to the end. I cried for my children, who loved us both equally…especially the son, whom I knew would take this news especially hard. And he did. Days later, we sat him down and explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were getting a divorce. We were, however, both still going to remain a constant in his life and that he’d be spending an equal amount of time with us both, and that we’d still be ‘together but separate.’ The wasband did most of the talking – I was unable to do much other than nod in agreement. This was all just so surreal. He had become a different man. At first, I suspected he knew he’d been the one to turn my life upside down, and he was the one who was going to be walking away. So when I told him, yet, again, that I wanted to go see a therapist, he surprisingly agreed. ‘Go ahead,’ he said, ‘I think it’s a good idea.’ Two weeks went by. Now that we had a ‘plan,’ he said very little about my therapy, my online activity, or even about the housework not being done. I questioned that, honestly, especially for the first few weeks following his request to get divorced. It all made sense when he casually mentioned that there was a woman that he’d like to begin to get to know. He’d met her online, playing poker. She lived an hour or so away from us, and was a single mother, having just gone through her own divorce. THREE weeks after he’d told me he wanted a divorce, he was wanting my blessing to go see someone else? He did add, ‘If you’re not okay with it, I won’t.’ We hadn’t even gotten OUR paperwork started. I wasn’t okay with it, no, but I wasn’t going to hold him back, either. Especially if it meant he would be around less. And even more especially if he’d been seeing this woman for a little while already. That’s what my gut instinct was telling me – THIS was why he asked me for a divorce. He’d already proven he couldn’t be alone, couldn’t do his own laundry, couldn’t do his own cooking or cleaning. So he’d waited until he had his third wife (she’d eventually become his third wife) lined up before asking me to grant him the divorce. He was going to make sure HE was all set. Of course, if I were to ask him today, he’d deny that. He’d deny ALL of it. Upon my ‘do what you want,’ he began to see her, and spend a lot of time with her. I did put my foot down, though, and made it clear to him that this woman would NOT be meeting my kids – not anytime soon. He agreed, although reluctantly. He would come home after work, spend a few hours with the kids, and then sometimes drive an hour away to where she lived – sometimes he’d spend the night there and go to work from there in the morning. He’d made plans to move out, but eventually realized that he couldn’t afford first, last and security. So he approached me again, and asked if he could stay at home a little bit longer, until he was able to come up with a little extra money for an apartment. As is, he was only ‘home’ a few nights a week. I told him that was fine, but he’d have to sleep on the couch. You’d have thought I told him he had to bathe in his own shit. “I work every day. You’re going to kick me out of my bed and make me sleep on the couch? I’m the one who should be more comfortable.” I looked at him. There he was, again, looking down at me, with that narrow-eyed look of disgust. I was, once again, completely wrong. What I’d said to him was appalling. So, like always, I’d backed down. “Fine,” I told him, “You can sleep in the same bed. But we are NOT having sex.” “Why not?” He smirked. “We’re still married, after all.” I just looked at him for a minute before walking away with no response. For a while, he adhered to my wishes. He’d come home from seeing her, or on nights he wasn’t seeing her, and he’d go to bed on his own, usually after me. I was even more exhausted those days, more so than when I was when I was a teen. I was spending more time on AS, too, for he now no longer asked any questions about what I was doing with my free time. He no longer cared – as long as he was free to do with himself what he wanted. I’d secured a staff position by then, on AS, as a chat room moderator. It was where I spent most days and nights – it was where I felt happiest, most wanted, most needed, most valuable. I was still cautious, especially on the nights that he did come home. I didn’t want him to know much anything about AS, so whenever he was around, I kept my distance from the site. There was that one night when he’d came home late from being out with her. I was already three-quarters of the way asleep. Nearly down for the count, but not enough that I didn’t feel him get into bed as he normally did. Moments later, he was on top of me, and was having sex with me. I didn’t protest, I didn’t say no. I, for the moment, felt that the best course of action was to do nothing. A sense of familiarity sank in. This was the father of my children, we were still legally married, even though he was no longer ‘with’ me. Maybe I WAS being ridiculous, after all. Even though none of this felt right, it felt a little too familiar to be considered wrong. He was not rough, nor did he move to reciprocate – when he was finished, he simply rolled over and went to sleep. The following morning, he had a smile on his face. I want to say this was likely a weekend – for the kids were home, and I remember being in the kitchen. “You know – I can still see us doing what. Ten years from now. Even if we’re with other people.” Again, there were no words. I simply stared at him. I’m not sure if I was expecting him to say he’d made a mistake, that he no longer wanted his other woman, he wanted me – he didn’t want a separation, that he wanted us to go to counseling, to fix this, fix whatever had gone wrong in our marriage. At that point, I’m not sure if I’d have agreed to it, but it was, at least, something to hope for, even in the slightest bit, the morning after sex – something different than what I was getting from him now. But no, here he was, basically saying he wanted his cake, and he wanted to eat it, too. He was now cheating on his mistress – with his wife. Imagine that? When I’d finally managed to ask him what she’d think of it, his response was, ‘she won’t know...she’d kill me if she did know. You won’t tell her, right?’ I sat on that for a couple weeks. He’d not tried again to have sex with me – I think I feigned a period in order to keep him at bay for a few days, but then there was a time where opportunity simply didn’t present, or I’d kept my distance. He was now in the process of LOOKING for an apartment – but likely wasn’t going to find one that would allow for his specific needs – he was a heavy smoker, he wanted his dog with him, his credit was shit, he needed extra space for when the kids came to visit. Although I wanted him gone, so that I could move on with my own life, I still felt that I owed it to the kids to ensure that their father wasn’t homeless. If I were paying anything toward the house, the bills, I certainly had more leverage in order to eject him – but I didn’t have a penny to my name. I had absolutely nothing. There was one additional time when he was in the shower, and called me in. Thinking he needed a towel or toilet paper, I poked my head in asking what he needed. He whipped open the curtain and asked me to join him. Saying no seemed to take too long. I remember staring at him, thinking to myself – what is wrong with him? Doesn’t he SEE that this is wrong? Doesn’t he see what this is doing to me? CLEARLY, I’m not into it and I’d said nothing to allude to wanting any of it to continue. But – the words did escape my lips – somehow. “No. I can’t.” With that, I left him in the bathroom and locked the door from the inside behind me so that I couldn’t get back in, should he call me again. I then went and tended to the kids – half proud of myself for having done what I did, and half terrified. Was he going to yell at me, was he going to verbally harass me for having told him no? In the eight years we’d been married, I NEVER told him ‘no.’ Never. Whatever he wanted, I agreed to. Whatever he asked, I did without question. Whatever he believed, even if it seemed a bit unreasonable, I said I believed, too – even if I didn’t. I didn’t want him angry with me, I didn’t want there to be an argument, I didn’t want him to continue to tell me how lazy or stupid or fat or otherwise undesirable I was. Imagine my surprise when he came out, fully dressed, and pulled me aside. He leaned in and said, “thanks for keeping me honest.” Another silent nod on my part. I’m glad to say he never again approached me for sex. While this was a good thing, it was also VERY damaging – and I’ll explain why. You see – it was the one time that I had the nerve to say no to him. A time where it WOULD have been easier, although equally as damaging, to give in and do whatever it was that he was asking. And now he was okay with my response? He wasn’t going to treat this like any of the other arguments we’d had in the past, and resort to nastiness and belittlement? Were all of the past issues I’d had with him – now my fault? Had I said no to him in the beginning, would I still be in this position? Would a ‘no’ any other time have been listened to, as this one was? What about that other night? Would he have stopped if I said ‘no’ to him? Was ALL of this entirely my doing?? The mind is a relentless, vicious machine when it wants to be – and for a while, I allowed it to continue to run, to allow myself to self-blame, rather than shut it down. He was still living at home, I didn’t feel safe enough to ‘shut down’ this machine, yet. And so, I carried on as I normally would, while he began to spend less and less time at home. Around this time, was when J entered my life. You all know J from my previous posts, my blogs. She’s my better half, my best friend, my lover, the one I trust the most, the one who is my everything. And at the time of this posting, she is my partner of ten years. I had met her here on AS – and we were friends first and foremost. After talking with her daily for a while, I realized how much we had in common. There was much more to our friendship, and we were both beginning to slowly realize it. I’d never been with someone who had similar trauma in her past. There was a connection here that I’d never felt before. I found myself talking about things I’d never discussed before – and felt safe doing so. This, too, was new. I felt understood, I felt validated. I did worry about what the wasband would say when I found myself becoming attracted to her – but surprisingly, he said nothing negative…unless you count, ‘you were always a lesbian,’ negative. He instead smiled, and said, ‘it is what it is.’ Granted, it was probably because he now had his new woman, and was glad to see me considering ‘moving on.’ And, so, I did. I suppose there’s more to the story relating to my marriage and after it ended, but I’ve now reached the point where fast-forwarding is a little bit easier. Perhaps installment three will be due a re-do in a few years from now (or 12?) but, for now, there SEEMS to be further processing to do. I thought I'd be finished at the end of this installment, but as I sit here day after day, I'm realizing that it's not as easy to reflect upon these things, and my writing is not as 'flowy' as the previous two installments. I am getting stuck more often than I want to, and I'm feeling more need to put it away. In the beginning, I was putting this away for days. Now, I've realized that I've put it away for weeks - and if I don't finish it now, it'll likely be forgotten for another decade. To summarize what I've been up to lately: I’ve restarted therapy, after several years, as there are now things that have come up more recently for me – things I know I’ve not had the time or even the desire to deal with. At least, properly. I know that I’ve recognized that I am a victim of not only CSA and of rape – but also of domestic violence. I’d always thought of DV as the beatings, the punching, the broken bones, the visits to the hospital…this is not what was happening to me. My ex’s abuse of me was not physical – it was emotional. It was verbal. It was mental. Before returning to AS after a lengthy hiatus, I didn’t even KNOW what gaslighting was. I do now, because that was, also, what happened. This realization has floored me - because I'd been so blind to it. All of it. I've come to realize that I'm not completely free of his grasp; of his influence. There IS still difficulty saying ‘no' to him. There is still that fear of letting others in – because that was once not allowed, or acceptable. I am not, by any means, where I want to be. Not yet. In some ways, not all of the puppet strings have successfully been severed and I'd be lying if I said I was 'healed' from this. Safe to say, though, that this is a healing process that I've restarted and have been diligently working on, especially recently. I'm starting school one week from today - after taking a 20-year-long vacation...a break that HE encouraged me to prolong. I can't entirely blame this on him as I did agree to have our son and the desire to go back never really presented itself - but even after I'd married him and born him children, he'd made sure I was too busy to focus on anything other than him, the house, the kids. I never came first. It NEVER mattered what I wanted - THIS was my purpose in life. I was secondary to everyone else, and I believed that this is how it should be. I don't believe it, anymore, though. Going back to school is just one of the first steps toward my getting to where I want and need to be. I think it is safe to say that I am where I am now because of the events of the previous installments, and that recognizing this has been yet another step in the right direction. I don't know where I'll be in three years, and I know that question has been asked...but I CAN say that I am a little closer to answering that than I was a year ago. So, perhaps, this is why I should end on the note that I’m still healing, and why I must admit that I still have quite a bit of work to do. But for now – I want this to be where installment three ends – and hopefully there won’t be a fourth installment to write, but instead a more confident ending could be added to this one. Let's just say, for argument's sake, that my next installment is simply yet to be lived and experienced. And it'll all be shared via blogs! In closing, I'd like to thank you all for reading each of these installments. I've unlocked this board to responses, and do hope to hear from anyone that can relate, that understands, that can validate who I am, and the reasons for being who I am. I am sending my love to each and every one of you - I've so much appreciation for those who choose to walk this path alongside me. There is indeed strength in numbers. I believe this, 100%. - Capulet
  22. Step One — Question One: Did you keep your abuse a secret. Part II (Trigger Warning) After processing the first half of this question, I started to see the different levels of secrecy. Not only did I keep the abuse a secret from outsiders, but I also kept it a secret from my perpetrators. As a teenager, my brother's sexual abuse always happened in the middle of the night while I was asleep. I would wake up to him touching me, while touching himself and verbalizing his fantasy. I would pretend to stay asleep through the whole thing — as if I had no knowledge of what he did to me. My dad, a lot of his abuse happened while I was awake, but one of his MO's was to carry me out of my bed during the night and bring me to his where he would abuse me. During these instances, again, I would pretend to stay asleep and to be oblivious of what he had done to me. My uncle who abused me on several occasions when he got me alone, had other ways of using me in everyday situations and again, I would pretend to be oblivious to what he was doing. One example would be of a time I was at his house, standing in the middle of the living room holding and petting his cat. He walked up to me, started talking to the cat and then petting it. After petting the cat's head a couple of times, he began to pet the cat on it's side that was pressed against my chest. Sliding his hand between the cat and my chest and petting me more than the cat. He would always wear short shorts with no underwear and let himself hangout and watch me to see if I would look. He had a lot of odd ways of being openly sexual towards me. Again... I would pretend to be oblivious. By pretending to not be aware of these things, I kept the abuse a secret from the very people who were abusing. I protected them. I took all the guilt and shame that should have been theirs and made it mine. Part III will touch on two other layers of secrecy...
  23. This is something I've gone back and forth on over the years. Was this sexual abuse?? If not, what was it?? Any personal stories or feedback would be greatly appreciated. If you have not read my previous posts/blogs, I have an extensive history of abuse/sexual abuse leading up to the summer of age 14. I know the previous abuse was the fuel for what happened. There was a family that lived by us when I was about 7 or 8, they were good friends with my dads girlfriend, that is how he met her. The couple had a little girl who was 6 years younger than me. My dad and his girlfriend partied a lot and fought a lot. I started spending a lot of time with the family and when they moved about 20 minutes away, I would spend the weekends, and most of the summer at their house. When I was 14, they moved to Florida. That summer, they flew me out to spend the summer with them. At the time, the mom worked at a office, the dad worked from home, and the little girl continued to attend her daycare that she would attend while the parents were working. So during the week, it was just the dad and I at home. One day, when I was bored in the house, I went out to the garage where he had his wood shop set up. He was working and I was standing there talking to him. When he asked me to hand him one of the tools that was next to me, I took it and put it behind my back refusing to give it to him. He walked over to me, asking me to let him have it. I proceeded to tell him that he had to get it from me. Well, this turned into a whole game of grabbing, teasing, and the next thing I know we are making out and all over each other. Things progressed quickly. For the remainder of the summer, we did everything (but sex) every chance we got. To the point where he would come out at night, when his wife was asleep, and we would mess around. He never had sex with me because I was a virgin and he did not want to take my virginity. In my sick and twisted mind, the more he refused to have sex with me, the more I would do and carry on. At times, I have struggled with calling this sexual abuse. I was 14, I knew what I was doing, I instigated it, and continued it. At the same time, he was somewhere between 32-36 and should not have given in from the beginning. I don't think I would have done this if it wasn't for the previous abuse. This person was the only male in my life who had not abused me in anyway, sometimes I wonder if this is why I did what I did. Could I not allow a male in my life without him using my body?? Did I need him to be sexual with me in order for me to accept him as loving and caring for me as a person?? I think the moment he would have had sex with me, I would have been over the whole....I don't even know what to call it...affair...situation...seduction....???
  24. My ex and I called off our wedding nearly two years ago. Before I met her I truly believed that I would never be able to have an intimate relationship. With her help I moved forward and I had hopes and plans for my future instead of looking back on my past. I'd learned to manage my triggers. Then everything came crashing down. For once, it had nothing to do with my past trauma and I think that almost made it worse. My entire future was planned around one person. Believe me, I know that's not healthy but at the time it didn't matter because I'd convinced myself that's what you did when you got married. Since then, I have been drifting through my life. Deciding the abuse didn't happen as I'd convinced myself it had, that it truly was just two friends playing, was a coping mechanism. I couldn't afford to fall apart more than I already was. My health was deteriorating. I was depressed, anxious, and struggling with my job and the last thing I needed was to deal with my past trauma. I'd finally managed to get treatment that helped with my depression and anxiety. I quit the job that was dragging me. I'm still getting migraines every day but I think my psyche decided that I was ready to process the trauma again. One of the few enjoyments I've had in my life is reading and writing. Even when I have been at my lowest I have been able to find comfort in the escape of a fictional world. It seems, however, that when I began processing my trauma again that's been taken away from me. I can't read a sex scene without feeling sick. If there's any mention of abuse of any kind I can't get away fast enough. It frustrates me that I'm letting someone else control my happiness again. I just wish I knew how to get it back.
  25. I spent 10 years telling myself it didn't happen how I remembered it. I had a tendency to exaggerate the truth when I was young. I grew to become so convincing with my lies that to this day I still second guess whether a memory happened the way I think it did. I was in a behavioral health center for attempting to kill myself when I was sixteen. I was in a room with nine other adolescents eating an afternoon snack when a nurse began to recount the story of a neighbor and friend who molested her. As she was telling her story I had a memory shoved into the front of my mind. The trauma I told myself didn't happen. My story so closely resembled hers and I now had the knowledge that what N (my attacker) did was wrong. My ears began to ring and my vision began to black out at the edges. The next thing I know I am speaking with my social worker and sharing a story that had never left my lips before that moment. My SW was very kind but I could tell from her questions that she wasn't sure if she believed what had happened was abuse. My "friendship" with N didn't end until I told my mother she stole something from me. She asked me why little aemcee knew that stealing wasn't okay but didn't know that molesting wasn't. Of course, SW wasn't the first one to doubt that what occurred was abuse. I was in group therapy for my anxiety, depression, self harm, and suicidal tendencies and made the mistake of sharing with the group just the general story of my trauma. I remember so clearly one girl saying, "Well, it's not really assault. She was just a kid and didn't have a d***." I didn't share any details with anyone after that. I knew from my mother (who is a survivor) that telling my partners that I was a survivor before getting intimate was important. So they got a vague "I was molested when I was 5-6." Then I heard more and more stories about children who explored each other's bodies at a young and began to think maybe I had exaggerated the memory. Maybe it was just children's games. It wasn't until my sister took a psychology 101 class and talked about how some psychologists believe it's not possible to repress memories of abuse that I finally decided I'd imagined the whole thing. I was not a survivor of sexual abuse. It took two years before the repression finally caught up with me. Admittedly, I did have occasional flashbacks and nightmares but I forced myself to shove it into the back of my mind and that it wasn't real. Then one day I was watching a video. I'd had a migraine all day. I was exhausted. I was stressed about work and moving. And I just cracked. I began doubting everything I'd ever done. I found myself wondering if it all went back to N. Was I ruined for the rest of my life because of perceived abuse? All of the hard work that I'd had with controlling my anxiety and depression crumbled within a matter of hours. I began having flashback after flashback. Now I can't help but feel like I'm 16 again. Aching with pain and scared of my own shadow. The worst setback yet.
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