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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Repression

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Author Topic: Repression
Saffron Raymie
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I'm feeling really raw at the moment. Just wanted to check in with someone about some things.

This is going to be pretty triggering, just a heads up.

So, from my past abusive relationship with my ex boyfriend I realised I've just pushed it all down inside and never thought of the abuse. I dealt with the emotional abuse, but not the sexual or physical. We broke up in 2007. Last year, I managed to come to term with the fact that he raped me once. I few weeks ago, I remembered that he tried to set my hair on fire quite a few times. Yesterday I remember that he'd actually raped me at a different time.

However, I re-wrote all that history in my head, I loved him for years after the break up. Is it common to repress stuff like this? Or to totally romantisize it all and think of the absuer as lovely?

[ 12-06-2011, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

Posts: 1285 | From: England | Registered: Oct 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
thumb tack
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Hi Rae Ray,

I don't know if it's normal, or common, but I did the same thing. It took me about three years before I was ble to remember any sexual abuse from my ex-boyfriend, and then it felt like it was happening all over again, only worse because this time I was acknowledging how bad it really was. It took me even longer to identify any physical abuse... Only then was I able to cut off all contact with my ex.

I'm not sure about this, but I think when you are living through an abusive relationship you kind of have to lie to yourself in order to survive it. Then it starts coming back to you when you aren't in danger anymore.

I'm really sorry this is happening to you right now, let me know if I can support you through this in any way. I appologize in advance because I don't come on the boards very often, but I'll make an effort to check in later.

Posts: 126 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Saffron Raymie
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quote:
Originally posted by thumb tack:
only worse because this time I was acknowledging how bad it really was. It took me even longer to identify any physical abuse...

I'm not sure about this, but I think when you are living through an abusive relationship you kind of have to lie to yourself in order to survive it. Then it starts coming back to you when you aren't in danger anymore.

Hi thumb tack, thank you so much for your support with this. I'm sorry to hear you went through the same thing. It's even worse when people say things like 'how can you love them, they're stupid/bad etc'. However, you're right, I totally coulldn't have coped with it at the time; he was my first bf so I would have felt really crap about it at the time.

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Kachina
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This is definitely a common reaction that many victims of abuse have. thumb tack is right that it is a method your brain uses in order to survive.

It's often very hard for outsiders of the abuse to understand why the victim still loves their abuser, when to them the abuse seems so obvious. This is why you hear things in the news like, "She must not have been raped/abused/attacked, because if she was she wouldn't have seen him again/continued to date him/married him." But actually seeing, dating, and even marrying a rapist/abuser is very common. This same reaction is also why many victims don't cooperate with police, and will defend their abuser.

Once you are safe for awhile, and starting to realize you were abused, it is not surprising these memories you were hiding from yourself are coming to the surface. I know that process can be hard, but it is an important part of healing. If you are starting to remember these things and are coming to terms with it, that is actually a good sign.

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~Kat
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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thumb tack
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I agree with Katwa, I would say these memories are a sign of moving forward and healing, and that doean't mean this isn't really hard to go through.

The first person I told (about my boyfriend raping me) told me it was impossible for a boyfriend to rape his girlfriend. When I explained that it IS possible, he then asked why I didn't just leave...

There's a bunch of reasons why I didn't leave, one of them being that I loved him. Also, partner abuse is about power and control. I'm sure you know it's not so easy to leave and abusive partner. Part of the power and control is that the abusive partner makes a concerted effort to get you to fall in love with them BEFORE the bad stuff starts.

For most people, the abuser WAS lovely (sometimes). That's what makes it so hard... If he had been horrible 100% of the time, it might have been easier to not love him.

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Redskies
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RaeRay, I'm very sorry to hear you're going through this.

Seconding what Kat and thumb tack have said, really.

I think it is very common to re-write history in our heads, go on loving the abuser, go on for a long time thinking that they're great. I did that with the first person who abused me. I wouldn't say I repressed the abuse, as it was no surprise to me when I finally thought about it again, but I really didn't think of it at all for years. As said above, I think it's a common and very understandable coping mechanism for a bad situation that we don't understand and have no way of dealing with. I think that we probably romanticised the abuser before the abuse started, so that we never had a chance to see what was going on for what it was. If we romanticise them beforehand, then if they abuse us, we're so much more likely to think that it's us or our perception that's wrong, and not what they're doing. We're in the abuse cycle before the abuse even starts, so of course we can't, or struggle to, accept it and get out.

I also would not have heard someone outright saying that my first boyfriend was being abusive. Of course that's so very hard to accept. I think it's also that if we haven't had a vaguely healthy relationship before, we don't really have anything to go on about how a relationship with genuine, healthy, give-and-take is different to an abusive one. We get pulled into the abuser's version of a relationship, and their control makes their vision stick strongly.

You know that it's not our fault that we struggle to recognise what's going on, don't you? How much we love them, and then them abusing us, is all set up and done by the abuser. We then cope however we can with a tough situation. I'm very glad that you are no longer in that relationship.

Do let us know how we can help, if you need it.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Saffron Raymie
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thumb tack, Redskies and Kat; thank you so much for what you've said here.

Redskies & thumb tack: thank you for sharing such personal stories with me. I feel a lot less alone. thumb tack - your story about telling that person is exactly what people said to me. I'm so sorry both you two went through those things, too. Redskies, that stuff about the cycle makes perfect sense, and yes thumb tack, you're right: hee was beyond lovely, said he wished he could marry me and that I was part of his family.

You've all been brilliant help. Thanks for the kind wishes, Redskies - I'm glad I'm not still with him too!

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

Posts: 1285 | From: England | Registered: Oct 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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