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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Still confused, don't know what to call my situation, want to feel verified(lengthy)

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Author Topic: Still confused, don't know what to call my situation, want to feel verified(lengthy)
Solusipse
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Member # 48214

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Hi, I've been off and on here since 2010.
I posted twice about the topic, and I'm back because I have recently found a therapist and she's wanted me to talk about the "rape" for months, but I haven't been able to actually talk out loud about it or write something for her because it's really confusing for me still.
This is the final time I'm posting in here because 1.I've posted about this before, as recently as about two years ago, and 2.after I get a final answer, I'll know whether I can confidently relay things to my therapist and after I figure out how to talk to her I'm going to stop asking about the same things on here because frankly, I'm embarrassing myself. But I am confused.
Basically, my boyfriend admitted that he had raped me, but about a week ago he recanted that statement and said that he only said that to make me feel better. I never used the word myself until he did, but then I did look into it and thought about what I'd gone through and realized that he was probably right. I've been trying to accept it, but now that he says it wasn't, I'm unsure myself.
I don't know why, I just am. I don't remember what responses were on here years ago, and I feel so unsure about the situation myself that I have no idea what to call it.
So let me get this very lengthy story started, for the last time:


I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years. The first two were excruciatingly difficult, the remainder of 2011 I was being molested, into the beginning of 2012. I still have a hard time recognizing it as molestation, but it definitely was, and I will explain in a bit. After the sexual abuse stopped, I was being abused physically from mid 2012 until mid 2013. An incident took place a few weeks ago which I guess could have been considered abusive, but I'm going to leave that out just due to length.

Alright, so. I do have a therapist, and until a week or so ago, as I said, my boyfriend had not only admitted to raping me but was the one who first used the word to begin with.I used it to refer to my situation(I likely have PTSD) and he got angry and said "now that you bring that up, I don't really feel that way and you've just run with it.I just said that to make you feel better."
Considering he told me I could talk about it whenever I needed to and hasn't been getting upset at all but had been ACTING more understanding, I would've never seen that coming.

Initially he used it in maybe late 2011,beginning of 2012.I don't really remember. After the first time, he recanted and claimed that he had only said that to make me feel better.
Then again in the middle of last year he admitted it again and said he realized what it was and that I could feel comfortable talking about it whenever I really needed to, but again, recanted a week ago and said he was just trying to make me feel better, so now without "backup" I'm beginning to question myself.

I initially told my therapist that it was rape but it's been too painful to recollect the story in person, and so many things happened, I was in this situation for so long, so many times, I don't know what to leave out and what to tell her.
It's in such a gray area, I'm not only embarrassed for that reason but also because it's affected me so horribly and I feel like it could have been worse and I'm a bad person for feeling so terrible and confused.
According to him if I didn't comply(which I did not but he doesn't realize/remember), he said he was prepared to become angry and possibly try making me(which also happened, and I'll get to all that). But I'm going to try and write everything down, as much as it hurts, just so that I can maybe know what really happened.

The story starts in January 2010. I met my boyfriend at work a few months prior, he asked me to hang out early in January and asked me to be his girlfriend on January 18th, the day before my 19th birthday.

I told him when he asked me out that it took me a while to kiss and all that, so he would have to be patient. He said he was fine with that.

On about the 20th or 21st, he basically pressured me into kissing him, but I wanted to, so it wasn't all that bad. The bad thing was that he also started caressing my stomach, lower and lower and I had to stop his hand going down my pants several times. Then he said he loved me. Both those things were very off-putting. On the 24th, for some reason that I can't account for, I lost my virginity to him. This was the worst decision I had ever made because I really valued my virginity, but he seemed like the nicest guy I'd ever met. I just wasn't thinking.

On that night, he couldn't get it in the first try, so he claimed to be out of condoms(I'm still not sure if he was;later that year I went to his house and he said he didn't have any, but then when I helped him clean a few days later he threw out about 30 of them. When I asked why he lied about not having any he said he'd had them since his last girlfriend in 2007/8 so they were expired, but condoms I bought in 2010 didn't expire until 2015.)and I said that was fine and we were planning to just go out on a midnight drive for a little bit then instead, and I'd go home.

Instead, we went out into his car, he pulled his pants down and started stroking himself and said "something needs to be done about it", looking at me really seriously. I was clearly uncomfortable, but he just kept stroking it and then finally asked me to put my mouth on it. I was disgusted by the idea of oral sex, so I said no, but he still didn't put it away, so I said we could just try to have sex again at my house instead. He settled.

First..or well, second, really awkward experience. I ended up losing my virginity in the back of his car mostly dressed. It wasn't really what I had hoped for, being my first time, to say the least. He made some joke about me being a first timer and how he imagined some guy was watching from the empty car parked next to us.

About 1-3 weeks later we were laying in his bed watching TV(his bed takes up half his room so we have to), and out of nowhere he starts telling me about his fetishes and things he really wanted me to do for him. There was stockings/socks, feet, costumes, deep throating, and anal sex.

I laughed lightly and said I could do the first few but deep-throating and anal I probably couldn't do.

He never once asked me for the other things I said I could do.

After this, he badgered me whenever I saw him for oral sex. He'd pull his pants down, just like that first time, and beg me. When I didn't, he'd still keep it out and beg, then after a long time he'd roll over and call me selfish and then refuse to speak to me. The first time I did it, he laid on my bed and kept asking me, I said I couldn't/didn't think I could(I also had a negative experience with a "friend" trying to make me do it and he knew I was still distressed about it but would just roll his eyes at me), and finally he said "yeah, I don't think you can." but still didn't put it away. Then asked me more, so I tried it. I stopped, and he asked me to please do it more. I don't remember whether or not I did, and at this point, it doesn't really matter. He knows I hated the idea, but he would constantly wear me down.

Before I started getting worn down easily, he said he wanted to try and do it for me. I said no, because I hated the idea of him being down there, I just wasn't ready and didn't know if I ever would be. I tried keeping my pants up, but he pulled them down and just said he just wanted to try it/I would like it, and even though I repeatedly said "no,stop" pretty frantically(the explicit "NO" is what he always claims he was looking for and since he never remembers me saying it, he won't consider anything he's done "rape", he kept going. I eventually just layed there, squinting and clearly disgusted.

That was one incident that I consider explicitly rape, but it wasn't one of the times that's scarred me terribly. It's more disturbing to me than painful.

After oral sex became a "thing" just because he started refusing any normal intimacy AND he'd always say "let's make a deal" which would be something like...me just giving him bj's from then on, maybe 2-3 times a week or a few more times a month. They were never deals and I rarely ever said a word, he just assumed I had to oblige. They weren't deals, they were orders.

If I didn't do it, I would just be badgered about it constantly, get silent treatment, withheld affection, called names, etc.

In March, I chose to break up with him, and it was the best decision I'd ever made. But then we got back together.

I did forget to mention that initially I had a group of wonderful friends. My friends didn't know details, but they helped me feel better about getting away from him. I'd try and spend time with them but he would call me and claim to have asked to hang out earlier, call me repeatedly until I answered(even if I was on my way to somewhere I could talk more privately), it was incessant. He'd become angry, and I'd cut plans short with my friends, and then they'd get upset and began to dislike him. Throughout the years, I've fallen out of the group, but because I was too afraid to make plans with them anymore. Now he complains because I DON'T have friends.


When my boyfriend and I got back together, things were worse than ever.

Initially, they seemed like maybe they'd be better. They weren't. though. He began flirting with a lot of girls from work, and they'd invite him out places on weekends and no one of them would invite me along. One of the girls even had a birthday party thrown for his 21st and he told me I wasn't allowed to come because he didn't allow girlfriends to his parties because one year his gf came and "all the other girls were jealous and in a bad mood".

He also began talking to his ex and saying things like he was lonely at work, gave her his number,talked about missing old times, etc. Just shady stuff like that.

I did something wrong and logged into his Facebook and found all that sort of stuff, but to this day I am glad I did because my suspicions were correct.

This was also the time when he'd initiate sex once in a while and whenever it was over he would need to have "serious conversations" with me about how we might need to break up because he was going to another college and he wouldn't allow me to visit his dorm BUT he wanted to be permitted to date other girls and not feel held down.

The worst part was that during this time, he began telling me that he never liked vaginas(or boobs) and basically hated normal sex. He claimed that his only interests were oral and anal. I complied with the oral thing to avoid being called names and being held up for hours with him angrily stroking himself until I "do something about it".

But then the anal sex game came into play. This ruined my life.

I told him I would think about it a few times, because it wasn't something I was interested in, I was sure I wouldn't enjoy it, it grossed me out, and looked painful.

Instead of giving me time, he'd badger me about it like with oral.So basically he'd get one thing, go for another. Initially we had a problem because I didn't like my legs up during sex because I had never had sex before so it was painful.

Actually, I remember a time when I went out with him and tried desperately to explain that I wish I could do what he wanted, but I just couldn't. He said not to feel bad and it was ok, but then he would pressure me daily again for things starting the next day.

I'd like to note that I didn't walk up and out of the room in these situations because I would usually be put into a vulnerable state(he'd do something "nice" for me or sweet talk me) and when confronted it came as a shock to me and I also knew after the first time if and when I said no, his games would continue on until I obliged and I began freezing up in these situations.

He showed me a video of a side-by-side anal and vaginal comparison and how the vagina was "too big" and the anus was perfect because it was so small. He'd tell me I didn't please him(this seemed weird to me since he initially used to want to have sex constantly when we first started until he needed to make me think that he only ever wanted oral).I didn't know what I had done wrong. Initially when we began dating, he told me he not only wouldn't ever, but couldn't ever do anything I didn't want to because he wouldn't be able to enjoy it if I didn't. I kept that with me, and was confused for a very long time.

He began telling me that my vagina(and all of them) were too loose and could never do anything for him. He told me that after we had kids he might be able to have vaginal sex with me after I got my tubes tied, but then later when I brought that up he looked at me disgusted and said "I'd especially not do it after kids, vaginas don't go back to their normal size for 7 years after childbirth, I definitely wouldn't do it then!"

So after my self-esteem was ruined, I said we could try it ONCE. We tried it and I made him use a condom, it hurt too bad, we couldn't even get it in and he said it didn't meet up to expectations anyway.

I was happy.

He asked me the very next day. He had promised only once. But he said he wanted to try again without a condom. He badgered me again, telling me more that it was the only thing I could do, calling me selfish, etc. I eventually said ok but he had to promise again, only this time. This happened several more times. Once it was that he needed to tape it, and after that he would be "fulfilled". Then he said the video was bad, so we needed to do it again. Each time he promised was the last and would therefore say "since it's the last time can I go as hard and fast as I want?" I'd usually say ok. I've ended up with some pretty unfortunate injuries.

In between and later on he would do the "deal" and contract thing again.If I didn't want to, he'd just argue. He'd ask I'd say "not right now, maybe in the future, I don't want to, no,etc" I said so many things, I can't even remember them all. They all meant no. He claims that all he wanted was an explicit "no" and he would have either stopped or more likely become more aggressive and tried harder to pressure me. This DID happen. I'd say no, and he WOULD pressure me more. He would call me selfish or a bad girlfriend or say he would break up with me, say my vagina wasn't good enough, anything he needed to to make me feel horrible. If he didn't break me down and make me agree, occasionally he would later just act like maybe we were going to do something(like we used to), I'd be confused but go along because I was hopeful for some reason and because he never made his intentions clear until it was "too late",but then he'd pull my pants down and put it where I wasn't expecting. I guess I thought he'd have asked first. Again this wasn't ALWAYS the case;sometimes it was a surprise and I guess he assumed I was ok with it or much more likely didn't care, other times he would pressure me,insult me, threaten me with breaking up(he would constantly say during other times that he knew how afraid I was of losing him and not to worry about him leaving me.He also eventually admitted that those threats were empty, but I don't know what to believe.I just shouldn't have cared).
I was confused because in the beginning of the relationship he acted so sweet and gentlemanly and basically said that all he wanted was a sweet girl and a loving relationship, but during this time he started telling me that he needed a girl who would be his "sex slave" and if I wouldn't oblige then I wouldn't do. So I got into something that I was told would be nice basically, and got trapped with this new guy and I didn't know what to do or what was going on.

He KNEW I hated doing it. We fought about it all the time. He knew I didn't want to. He knew it was supposed to be a one time thing. He'd ask me and I'd say no in many different ways. I'd try lightly pushing his hands away, nothing worked. I don't even know if pushing him hard or anything would've worked.

Which brings me to my next point. He began fingering me anally very soon on into the relationship initially just during sex. The first time he did it, I stopped and asked what he was doing. He didn't really give an explanation, just sort of shrugged. Is this a sign that I didn't like what he was doing? Because he kept it up, and I even asked him to please not do that and pulled his hand away. He just put it back and said something like "I like doing this".

Then he began doing that just at random times. I remember one time in particular that really disturbed me was at his house, I was laying down on his bed and he came over and hugged me. I didn't think anything bad about it, but then he stuck his fingers deep in me while still laying on top of me and I sternly told him to stop. I began trying to push him off, but he's a bit bigger than me and with his arm wrapped around me it was more difficult.I kept telling him "seriously stop, I'm not playing around I'm being serious, stop it now" and he just laughed at me playfully and smiled like it was a game. I remember thinking "Oh my God I'm actually being (what I thought was) mean to him and he's still not stopping".

He continued doing that until 2012, when on my 21st birthday, we had another issue and I asked him to stop and he got angry with me. I begged him to stop because it was my body and I had the right to tell him what he could and could not do to me, but he just fought with me.

In October 2010 I was sick but hadn't seen him for a while, so I asked if I could go over to his house to say hi and give him a hug. Literally, that's what I asked. He knew I was sick. At this time, I'd also been so depressed I gained about 20lbs, stopped shaving and mostly slept.

I went over to his house and he motioned for me to go "upstairs,quick!" I assumed he was in the middle of a video game, because that was the usual thing he'd say before even stopping to look at me.

I said I wasn't planning on staying because I was sick, but I'd come up for a minute.

I went up to his room and he had a candle lit, this big movie poster that's usually on his wall covering one of his windows, and a painting sheet covering another. His bed was a mess, there was another sheet draped over his closet door which was in front of the window with the painting sheet over it. I sort of just thought he'd either lost it or was just being more messy than usual.

He shut his door and explained that his parents were gone and asked me to stay. I said I could stay for a few minutes, but I really wanted to leave asap because he was acting strange. So he put me down on the bed and started kissing me and I thought maybe this time he just wants to be loving towards me? But, no. He took my clothes off and I told him again I should go and wasn't feeling good. He grabbed two ropes from underneath his bed and asked if "it was ok". I wasn't really sure what he meant, but I thought "here we go" and knew I didn't have the energy to argue with him so I just said I guess. Then he got duct tape out and taped my legs to my elbows and at this point I wasn't really sure what was going on and thought I'd made a mistake. But then he started kissing me nicely again, so I thought, well maybe things won't be so bad even though this was creeping me out. He went down on me which again made me think maybe he was trying to do something "nice". But then he went to his drawer and got a red scarf and put it over my eyes and duct tape over my mouth. I became frantic so I would get the scarf off by rubbing my face on my shoulder and I'd try chewing at the tape and I told him "no way, that's not ok" but every time I'd get them off he'd put them back on. Until he finally did listen to me he was rubbing against my butt, but he finally took everything off and all I said was "just don't try what you usually do", and to my surprise he put his attention elsewhere, but not much better.He said "ok", smiled and just rubbed against my face instead. -_-
I was so confused by what was going on that I didn't know what to say.

He basically sat on top of my face and began rubbing his penis all over me and asked for oral. I just gave him a disapproving look and he asked again, so I let him because I figured it was better than a penis slapping me and pre-cum all over my face. Then after a while he got off my face and sat on my chest, grabbed my phone, went into my texts and I told him to stop, went to my best friend's texts(and ex crush, this guy also apparently liked me and he was one of my friends who utterly hated my boyfriend) and said "maybe I should text X. Maybe I'll say I'm having my way with you." and after I begged him several times he finally put it away, but then he started looking at my boobs and criticizing them for being "backwards."

This is just one creepy situation. I don't consider this rape, but I missed about a week of work because my thoughts and feelings over it bothered me so much, and then consequently quit the job.

On New Year's EVE 2010, I had been avoiding him due to increasing creepy attitude and pressuring, but we wanted to spend the holiday together. We were having a very good night when suddenly he confronted me and said "I know you've been avoiding me and avoiding anal, but you know you can't do that. I've been trying not to say anything but I have to bring it up. We have to make a deal."

I just sat there and listened to his demands and the "or else's". Nothing violent, just things he knew would make me feel vulnerable.

Eventually he gave a better idea: seasonally. He didn't stick to this, but he asked whether or not I wanted to do it that night or in a few days or weeks. I was confused since I thought I'd made it clear millions of times and by avoidance that I didn't want it EVER. But since I also didn't want it to be nearer to my birthday due to it making me more depressed each time and I didn't feel like I had a choice at the time, I said that night"I guess". Big mistake. New Year's are always hell for me now.

In July 2011, he coerced me into anal sex for the final time. As with every other time, I kept saying "maybe some other time, not right now, I don't want to,etc" and he kept asking. Finally I gave in because I just wanted to have a nice day but it was being monopolized by his pressuring and making my anxiety worsen. At one time he told me that he really wanted to make me cry, and hoped I would because it would make the situation better for him. This time I did, but not for him. I just couldn't keep it in any longer. And considering that I had been injured multiple times due to his carelessness and persistence, it's painful enough, but it was just getting worse in different ways. Between my emotional state and physical pain, I couldn't contain it. He immediately backed off to my surprise and I went in the bathroom and cried for an hour. When I came out he said "never again". He begged me a few weeks later to do it again and said that he'd only said that to make me feel better and he would've never meant it because he "needed" it.

I could go on, but I feel like I have said enough.

I've read about coercion and emotionally tearing someone down/manipulation to be considered rape as well, and I believe I fit into this but I'm not sure. It's still confusing.

I did say he could do it a few times, more so, I was worn down and either he'd keep begging me and we'd be naked because I thought we were going to have sex because he'd act sweet with me and then he'd pressure me and rub against me even if I'd say no and he'd just stick it in or I'd say fine because I felt it was inevitable.

Even the first time he put himself in my vagina without a condom was like this. He was kissing me and took my pants off, I didn't really say anything except "um.." and then he fingered me and I was alright with that, but then he took his pants off and said he just wanted to try something. Without asking or telling me his plans, he just stuck it in. "Huh." he said. I asked what, "it actually feels good, but this is weird because the one time I had sex and the condom broke it felt horrible." But still. He didn't ask, I didn't know what was going on, I had no idea.

And the same with many times he had anal sex with me. It would be the same. He'd do something nice for me, lower my inhibitions, I would trust him a little, then he'd rub against my butt and I'd freeze up. I'd say "not right now,no, maybe some other time, I don't know, let me think about it," etc. I thought most normal people would understand that's a "hey, stop it." By the time I knew he would stick it in with or without an "I guess," "ok," or "fine" I would have already frozen up because I felt like it was inevitable. Many times I'd stay frozen until it was over.

I also think that he felt it was inevitable as well. He assumed he would always break me, so maybe that's why he'd put it in without waiting for the final " fine".

I just don't know what to call this. I don't know what happened to me, but I know it's affected me to the point where I have flashbacks and nightmares of many incidents.

My boyfriend just feels like since he never heard an explicit "no" which I did say, alot, then it's not rape. That only if it's an explicit "no" is it rape. He says I imagine things like I've said here and that "his old self" never knew I was saying no. He knew I didn't like it, but thought I'd get used to it and then like it.And everything about if I did give an explicit no then he was prepared to become angry and all that. Which happened.. He also says that since he didn't think of it as rape at the time, it's not.

I feel like this is my fault, I don't like what my body did to me by freezing and I feel like a horrible person for even thinking it falls under rape. I don't know. I feel certain that it is, but since I'm questioned and since it's a grayer area, I can't help but question it myself.

I need to know:

1.is what happened besides the obvious oral rape, rape?

For some reason my boyfriend thinks I obliged every time.

2.Would just beating me down emotionally still be rape?

3.Is this type of coercion rape?

4.Does a rapist have to know it's rape for it to actually be, rape?

5.Is it important for all victims of this type of thing to feel validated, or is it just me?

I feel like if it is indeed what I think it is, and have come so far to try and finally accept, then I can trust the situations that I know happened. My boyfriend loves to gas-light and make me feel crazy and like I have no idea what I'm talking about, denies things that he may have previously agreed to, says I make things up or imagine them, says things didn't happen, says if we disagree on what happened then it's safest to say that neither happened,etc. I feel like I can't trust my own experiences with him because he just takes what I experience and says it's all wrong. I feel like I'm losing my mind. I try and ask other people if I'm seeing things correctly, even my therapist, and he says they only agree with me because they're biased. Then I don't know who to trust... I try and tell his side of the story as well, but he says everyone will always side with the victim. I don't even believe that's always true. It's often not. But I guess family, friends and therapists may. I don't know..

I know worse could have happened, but honestly, this has ruined my self esteem. I've changed as a person. I guess it doesn't matter.

I'm just wondering if anyone knows what this situation would be called.

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read. I apologize again for writing about this again. I just don't feel like I can properly deal with it until I know what happened, if it was ok, if I'm overreacting, etc.

I guess I'm confused because some definitions of rape include "coercion and manipulation" and even besides that, there were many occasions where I really am sure I was blatantly raped(such as me saying "no" or basically "no", even giving him angry looks, I really think most people would feel ashamed if they'd gotten that look..but then still going for it anyway. But he doesn't believe those incidents ever happened, whereas I am certain they did. I'm just confused..

Also, I'm going to try my best to answer any responses this time around. I've either been scared to hear the truth or busy with work in the past,or a combination I guess, but I'm currently out of work and more importantly I'm ready to face this.

[ 01-15-2014, 01:21 AM: Message edited by: Solusipse ]

Posts: 11 | From: PA | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Oh, Solusipse. We are always glad to see users come back, but I wish that this could be under better circumstances.

I do remember our previous conversations here, and since you say you don't remember it, I am going to give you the links so you can read up on what we had to say: http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011726/p/1.html#000000 and http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/27/t/024176/p/1.html#000000

I am sorry to hear that you are feeling so confused. It sounds like your boyfriend is a master manipulator, and he's done a great job over these past few years of making you feel insecure and afraid to trust your own mind. Unfortunately, that is something that abusers tend to be really good at.

I can answer your questions 1 through 3 all in one go: Yes. It is still rape. Let me give you the link to an article on consent that should illustrate that: Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent

As for question number four: No, a rapist does not need to know that he is raping for it to be rape. Whether or not your boyfriend realizes that he has been sexually abusing you does not change anything about the fact that he HAS BEEN sexually abusing you. However, I am about 99,9% certain that your boyfriend knows exactly what he is doing. Most abusers do.

A respectful and caring partner is invested in making sure that all sexual activities are mutually wanted and enjoyed. If he earnestly thought that he was being a respectful and caring partner (and again, I am sure that he thinks no such thing), then he has A LOT to learn about human interaction, respect and love, and he has NO BUSINESS being in any kind of a romantic relationship.

So even if he did not know he was being a jerk? He was still being one, it still had a negative effect on you, and we would still advise you to leave asap.

And lastly, no, it is not at all unsuaul that you feel confused and are looking for validation. It is very common, especially in situations where the abuser is someone we know, or even a partner. I was here myself many years ago, looking for validation that someone who I considered a friend at the time had, indeed, raped me. This is a difficult thing to come to terms with and it usually takes time (especially time away from the abuser) to really start to process what happened.

I am glad to hear that you are in therapy again, and that you are ready to face this. What can we do here to help you get ready to open up to your therapist?

--------------------
Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Solusipse
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Thank you for the response. I was a little worried that since this is my 3rd time here I wouldn't have much luck asking the same question once more, so I appreciate that more than I can say.

I am glad that you linked the old posts back to me as well for multiple reasons. I feel more confident relaying my story to my therapist since I've seen that my memories haven't changed at all, and that makes me more confident in trusting my experiences.
Unfortunately, I do believe my boyfriend is very manipulative but he's been telling me lately that I'M the manipulator and that I can't remember anything basically, so I've been very confused.
I did talk to him earlier today and he said that I misunderstood him and denied ever denying that he remembered things that happened and also denied telling me I was a liar/making things up..more confusion..I can't tell if he's just saying this now to make me feel better again..

But he basically said that "his old self" didn't think of it as rape, so he has no way of knowing it actually was, but if I feel like it was then it was(but still not to him).
I guess it worried me because he refuses to think about it, keeps changing his mind/what he says and he won't seek therapy to assure me this will never be a problem again, but he tells me that he wants the relationship to work.

I go back and forth from wanting to be in the relationship because sometimes he is the sweetest, most understanding and patient person, but then I realize that things are still bad;he's lied to his parents about me, he's abused me a lot in the past and I'm unsure whether or not to trust him, he lies about nearly everything, and so on and so forth.

Anyway, thank you for making me feel validated and answering the questions I had as well. I feel like a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you also..

What you said near the end about a respectful ans caring partner is basically everything I have said to him in the past, and I guess I get the wool pulled over my eyes a lot because when I've said things like that he'll say something like "but I love you, just not everyone loves the same way." and things like that confuse me because everything I've known about a healthy relationship and try to relay to him, he will claim is actually either unhealthy or unnecessary and again, I begin to question myself, things I've learned and been told,etc. in favor of trying to believe him.
I'm just bringing this up because I AM glad that you mentioned it. I'm not going to try and convince him of things he doesn't believe anymore, but it's just good to feel like my previous thoughts have been validated and maybe I'm not as crazy as I've begun to think.

I will also consider spending some time away from him, if not breaking up then maybe just A break. I would like to see if this can help me as well. I do believe that staying with him and being together all the time has clouded my own opinions, which is why I'm having such a difficult time being sure of my own experiences. I begin to think that I'm either crazy and imagining everything or if those things did happen, I must be overreacting. And I know this is a product of too much influence from my boyfriend. I just need to find a way to snap out of that type of thinking at times.

As far as getting ready to open up to my therapist, I really think the validation has made me feel more confident in itself.
I've been very afraid because, though she's told me she won't judge me or anything about what I say, I did already say he raped me and she did already ask if he physically forced me and I said no, she seemed a little lost and that in itself made me feel a bit less sure that I wanted to talk about it.

It's also a very embarrassing topic. I know all types of abuse are, but I feel really ashamed about this in particular. I also don't want to have someone tell me it was my fault, but at the same time, I still question whether or not it was and what I could have done differently and I feel like if she were to tell me that, I guess I could at least try to find ways to cope with it being my fault.
On the opposite end, I simply feel embarrassed about what happened, stupid for staying in the relationship(but I continue because I feel like I love him and things can be great), but I feel like if she agrees that it was rape, at least I can finally let myself experience emotions over it instead of trying to stifle them because I currently have wondered whether or not I have the right to feel the things I do.Even when my boyfriend admitted it, I wasn't sure if he was lying(which he turned out to be) and I wanted a few more opinions besides ours, so I never let myself feel what I needed to or to really mourn over what I've lost. It's just been that an emotion arises, I push it down, and I'm confused and the only thing I do feel is frustration over the confusion.

But to my original point, I have no qualms in admitting to have had vaginal sex, and even though it didn't affect me horribly, admitting that I was orally raped makes me uncomfortable and especially the thing(s) that had the most impact on me, I'm just really nervous and ashamed to mention any of it.
I'm not really sure how anyone could help me to prepare myself for that talk.
I've been thinking that I might just take some of what I've written here and give it to her to read instead. That's what I did about the first thing I wanted to let go of, which was the abuse I'd received from my father. I actually asked her what she thought had happened and she told me what I had thought it was, and since then I feel like since I've been able to acknowledge it and think clearly about it and just accept it and my feelings about what happened, it hasn't plagued me anymore. I even saw my dad about a month ago and felt fine, because the validation let me feel what I needed to about the situation. I'm never going to look back on my childhood with fond memories, but at least now I don't dread looking back, thinking that I'm perverted for realizing what was happening to me. I'm not ashamed to acknowledge it anymore. It happened, it's over, and it hurt me deeply but it's not something that I'll get myself drunk over anymore. I know that sounds bad, but I did used to drink a lot over that to avoid thinking about it.

Do you think that taking some of what I wrote here and giving that to her would be a good idea?
I don't really know how therapists treat PTSD, she just told me that she needed to know what happened in order to make me a treatment plan and considering that it's worsening, I know that I need to at least tell her out loud on my next appointment(which is the 21st) or have something written about it and let her ask questions.

[ 01-16-2014, 03:08 AM: Message edited by: Solusipse ]

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September
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I am glad to see you back and responding again! It is good to see you facing this, and I am very glad that seeing your older posts has made you feel more sure of yourself. You really are not going crazy or making things up, solusipse. You are dealing with a whole lot of abuse, sexual as well as emotional, and that is wearing you out and making you doubt yourself. But you are not going crazy.

Just from what you have written here, as well, it sounds like your partner is still engaging in classic abusive behavior: being sweet and admitting guilt, only to then deny it again and tell you that you are making it up - that is part of a classic abuse cycle. Abusers are not terrible 100% of the time. If they were, they would never get anyone to stay with them. Instead, they tend to give in and play nice just long enough to make you feel like you are the crazy one.

How are you doing in terms of outside influences? Who are you spending time with besides your boyfriend? If you are not spending a lot of time away from him, maybe a good way to start would be to take up a new hobby or join a club or register for a class - anything that can distract you, give you something new to focus on and, most importantly, lets you spend time with other people.

I also think that it would be a good idea for you to print out what you have written here and show it to your therapist. Sometimes we just cannot say the words, and that is okay. It takes time. But once your therapist knows what is going on, she can help you much better.

Another important thing that I would like to say to you is you do not really need anyone's permission to feel how you feel. You feel how you feel - those feelings are there, and as you've learned, trying to push them aside or ignore them won't change them. Our feelings are always valid, and always something worth accepting and dealing with. Now, how we process them depends on the situation, but that very first step - acknowledging that a feeling is there and accepting it and taking it for what it is - that is always the same. Your feelings are never "wrong". They are simply your feelings.

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Heather
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Btw, if you would like a short-and-sweet answer, what I would call your situation -- and pretty much every rape and interpersonal advocate I can think of would call it, too -- is a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship.

Nothing murky or unclear: you are describing both kinds of abuse again and again and again.

And if you would like help connecting with a center or counselor particularly educated on those issues -- and/or a shelter, if you are living with his person -- please let us know, and we will be happy to help you find those resources.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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zeitvogel
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Hi Solusipse. I just want to let you know that I've read the whole story and I really feel for you. And I'm not at all an expert on abuse, but simply as another person I can tell you that your boyfriend has been treating you terribly, and you're not overreacting.

I think the consent issue can be stated very simply:
1. He knew you didn't want it
2. He did it anyway
All that talk about whether you said "no" clearly enough, well, that's just him confusing the issue. He's talking about the wrong question. The question is not "Did you say no". The question is "What made him think you wanted it?". And I think we both know the answer is "nothing".

While "No means no" is a reasonable starting point for rape prevention, it's not really good enough because it contains a weird assumption: namely that you're walking around always consenting to everything with everyone, unless you make a specific exception in a specific case. And that's just not a reasonable assumption. The basis of consensual sex is doing things you both want, and it's his responsibility to make sure that the things he does are things you want. It sounds like he wasn't even trying to meet that responsibility.

In fact, I think you're smart to spot the pattern that he always seems to want the things you don't want, and becomes uninterested in the things you've accepted. So that's like... anti-consensual.

But I don't think you have reason to be ashamed to be confused about this. He's had a long time to find your vulnerabilities and insecurities and really work on them. There's no shame in having those, because everyone does. If anyone should be ashamed, it should be him for taking advantage of them.

Well, I hope this post is of some help to you. I'm not a volunteer here so if anything I wrote seems odd or wrong then please wait for someone to correct me [Smile]

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Solusipse
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September-

Thank you. It really is good to get things out and be able to get another opinion on things. I really do feel like my spending so much time with my boyfriend and trying to believe him over myself so much is what's caused me to begin questioning my sanity.
Also, I can see how what he is doing currently is also abusive. I think I have a tendency to overlook things or not realize how bad they are because in comparison to the other types of abuse, it's just hard for me to recognize that those things(like gaslighting) are abusive and serious as well. I feel like I've overlooked a lot of abusive behaviors or instead of recognizing them as abuse, thought of them as just another relationship problem, simply because I don't feel like they're "as bad", but I know that's an unhealthy thing for me to do.
As far as outside influences, I've pretty much become a shut in. I've had social anxiety issues my whole life, but I had begun to flourish in 2009/early 2010 until all of this happened. Since, I have had a lot of trouble holding a job(and I do love to work and keep busy, I just feel like I have no energy and I've been too consumed by my problems),my friends have sort of all drifted apart due to new jobs,relationships and more so, because they haven't supported my decision to stay with, or break up with and then return back to my boyfriend. I was attending college in fall 2012, but again, my depression and flashbacks and such interfered with my school work and I failed two classes, so I couldn't get aid anymore and I can't afford to go without aid.
I think what's going to help me most is finding a good job and possibly moving out and being able to support some of my old hobbies again and go places. For now while I'm still looking for jobs, I'm going to at least attempt to reconnect with some old friends, and if that doesn't work I do have my brother and sister in law and their kids who I'm sure I could spend time with.
Thank you for the last bit as well. I am glad that you've brought this up because I feel as if my feelings and reactions are wrong so often, but it's good to know that what you feel isn't wrong.
I'm not 100% certain why I do feel the need to be validated and told that I'm reacting properly. I think part of it is because I'm told so often that I'm overreacting and I become unsure whether or not that's true; I don't want to overreact, but I only hear that from the same person who's done things that cause me to "overreact" in the first place, so maybe I should try and keep that in mind. But thank you again, I will try my hardest to keep everything you've said in mind.


Heather-

Thank you, your answer helps me. As I have said, I just question myself and my experiences too much. I guess deep down I feel like I know the truth,it's just hard to ACTUALLY realize that this is real and I am in this type of situation. It's been 4 years, and pretty long now since the last rape, or whatever it was but I still feel like I'm in somewhat of disbelief that I'm in, and have been in this type of relationship.
I do have a question that I feel is a little bit awkward, and I've always been embarrassed that this happens to me/I do this, but I feel like I should ask. In the three worst situations I've been in 1.with my father who apparently molested me, 2.with a "friend" who molested me, and 3.the sexual abuse from my current boyfriend, I feel like the worse things get, the more approval and love I begin to seek from them. I don't know why this happens. I feel like I'm so attached to my boyfriend, for one because we've been together for so long and have experienced some very pleasant things together, but also because since the abuse began, I've felt like I'm constantly trying to regain the approval, "love" and admiration from him that I once had. If any of that was even real, which is what the parentheses were for..With my dad it was the same; he once treated me special, and then things got weird and I felt trapped with him and I just wanted to be loved again. With the "friend", I don't think he ever treated me right, but even so, the more he hurt me, the more approval I tried to gain, the more attached I became. I'm aware that I should talk to my therapist about this, but I thought that since I'm here talking so openly, I might as well add it and try and find some clarity about it. I've always felt really strange that I become attached to people who severely hurt me. Like I feel like I've done something wrong and I'm desperately trying to regain respect,approval,love,etc. I guess I feel like that's partially what keeps me from breaking up with him.


Back on topic though, I would actually really like connecting with some type of center or a counselor who is educated in this area. I'm not living with my boyfriend, so I am safe there. I do like my current therapist and I would like to continue seeing her, but I would also like to see someone else. I'm sure that's not something people normally do, but I would really like to talk to someone who knows more about my current issues as well as try to continue seeing my current therapist. It's almost impossible to get in to see her more than once a week, and since right now I feel like I need a lot of therapy, maybe I should try seeing two per week? Or see who I prefer, even.
So yes, please, I would appreciate that more than I can tell you =)


zeitvogel-

Thank you as well. I feel like it's good for me right now to be receiving outside opinions, so expert or not I appreciate everything you've said.
I've been trying hard to think about things clearly, and I do believe that you are right that he's trying to confuse the situation. I do also like the question that you brought up, it makes more sense that way. And there really wasn't anything that I did to ever make him think that I could have wanted that.

And no, he was not trying to meet that responsibility at all. About wanting the things I don't want, I also agree, I feel like you're spot on.

I have to say, I am a little confused about that with him though, because that goes beyond sex with him and always has and not only with me. His mom tells this story about how his grandmother would dote on him hand and foot until he started this "I want it/I don't want it" thing and also disagreeing just to disagree(like he'd ask what color the sky was or something silly like that and she'd say blue so he'd say "no it's not" and start an argument with her just to argue and get her riled up), and she got so fed up that she threw him out into the snow. lol That's a story they love to tell, but really, he's never grown out of that and as an adult, it's become a much larger problem than just arguing about what color the sky is.

Even with my friends, he told me to make him a priority and stop hanging out with them so much, so I did just that and afterwards once all my friends were pretty much gone, he actually started complaining because "I" always wanted to spend time together. That wasn't the case, I was just doing as told.

Anyway though, thank you again. As I mentioned, I think it is really good for me right now to receive as much outside support and opinions as I can. I appreciate yours and everyone else's input very much. Talking this out a bit more and receiving input is helping me to try and see things more clearly.

[ 01-17-2014, 02:13 AM: Message edited by: Solusipse ]

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September
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Some types of abuse are harder to recognize for what they are, all the more so if you do not trust your own judgement. Maybe you will want to take another look at the Abusive Partner Checklist, to remind you of all the ways in which someone can be abusive.

I am sorry to hear that you've become so reclusive. That is sure to make things even harder. If you are having trouble in social situations, it might be best take it easy and start out slow by reconnecting with old friends and with your brother - people you already know and feel comfortable with.

Have you brought up your social anxiety with your therapist? If not, it would be a good idea to do that - they might also have some ideas for how to cope and get out more.

I will leave your other questions for Heather and Zeitvogel to answer, as you addressed them directly [Smile]

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Johanna
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Heather
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In terms of utilizing more than one kind of helper or help, like seeing a counselor specifically around abuse while also seeing anither therapist, know that is just fine. It is exactly like, for example, someone who sees more than one kind of specialist for a physical illness.

If you can give me an idea of where you are, either by posting a zip code here or via email I would be happy to see what may be available to you locally, or get you connected with someone who is local and knows.

With what you are asking about the dynamic of seeing approval more and more with abusive people, for one, I hope you realize that is quite a bit of insight you have there. It is really challenging to see any of this clearly when you are not only still in abuse, but have such a long history with it, espcially since, as you know, abusive people work hard to keep people they are abusing from that kind of awareness. So, my hat is off to you.

You reacting that way is not atypical. In a lot of ways, it is just how cycles of abuse tend to work, and one of the ways abuse impacts those being victimized by it. It is very easy to get the message that we can " earn" love or care from abusers, esoecially since they tend to send that message loudly. The trouble is, as again you know, it is a lie. That is just a void we cannot ever fill. Ultimately, that is a huge part of them being successful at control. I know it can feel like crap to realize we have been successfully controlled when and if that happens, and that feels all the more heavy when it has been a pattern. But I do think you having this insight is likely a pretty big key to breaking that pattern, especially if you can perhaps take a step further and realize that in a lot of ways, this probably is not about earning love, but about just trying to survive and keep yourself safe. In other words, if you follow whatever " the rules" are, and seek to be who these folks want you to be, that often puts off that violent parts of cycles of abuse.

Of course, you are only ever safe for so long, and the only real ay to be safe is to get away and stay away. And the only real way to love and be loved not only does not involve anyone having to earn anything, it is also something we are only going to be able to experience with people who are capable of, or willing to, love us. Someone abusing us is showing us, clearly, they are either unable or unwilling to love.

I also want to make sure you know that when abuse is our normal, we are far more vulnerable to it, and it can also be much harder to see coming. Abusive people - like other kinds of predators in the animal kingdom, of which people are a part - also are often highly attuned to who is and is not likely to be vulnerable, so they can see us coming, when we are, sometimes a whole lot better than we can see them.

[ 01-17-2014, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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zeitvogel
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Hi again [Smile] I'm glad to see your reply, and glad to see you're beginning to work through this already.

One thing I've been particularly thinking about in what you wrote was the bit where your therapist asked if he physically forced you and you said no, and how that made you nervous about your therapist's opinion.

(Trigger warning for domestic violence)

The reason I bring it up is that I think you have good reason to answer "yes" to that question. In your previous post here (from 2012), you described how you were arguing in bed, then when you tried to leave he grabbed you and choked you. You also said that the choking was very scary for you, and (this is my interpretation) he was doing it as punishment for you trying to leave.

If he pressured you into sex that same night, then that was a very clear, no-gray-areas case of a physically forced rape. The straightforward safe response to being pressured is to leave the area, and someone who stops you and hurts you when you try to do that is using violence to make you submit.

Even if he didn't pressure you into sex that night, the incident still created a threatening background. You said he choked you on several occasions, and also sat on you to keep you from moving away. So every time you were arguing with him about sex, you knew in the back of your mind that saying no and walking away might end badly. If you ended up having to choose between submitting, or being hurt and then submitting, it wasn't much of a choice and your options were limited by physical force even if the force didn't get used that day.

Now, I want to re-emphasize that, as September said in the first reply, it was rape even without that element of physical force. The reason I'm telling you what I think about that point is that it might help you to have an outsider's opinion about just how bad it was. If my description makes you go "Aha!" then hold on to it [Smile] But if it doesn't ring true, then go with your gut. I want to help you find your description of what happened, not just give you mine.

[ 01-17-2014, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: zeitvogel ]

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Solusipse
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Hi everyone, I wanted to post something quick because it was my birthday this weekend and I've been a little busy so I haven't been on in a few days to respond.
I just wanted to let everyone know I've read all your responses, I'd just like to take the time to post meaningful responses, so I'll be back some time after my appointment with my therapist tomorrow.
Just didn't want anyone to think I'd gotten cold feet again. =)

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September
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Happy Birthday, Solus! Take all the time you need [Smile]

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Johanna
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zeitvogel
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It's nice to hear from you [Smile] I hope your birthday was a good time.
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Solusipse
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September & zeitvogel,
Thank you both, I had a great day =)
I'm sorry again for taking so long to respond.


September-

Thank you for re-sending me the checklist.
About the becoming reclusive, it definitely does make things a lot more difficult. And it's not helpful that the friends I had and even my mom who has known about just the choking, have stopped talking to me or blatantly call me stupid for staying in the relationship. I already feel that way, but for some reason that I need to figure out myself, I feel stuck in the relationship, and when things get better, I no longer think about exiting.
I feel like it would be wise not to confide in anyone I want to keep as a close friend, at least not about this type of thing.

On a very positive note, this weekend I did get to spend time with one of my friends who I have managed to stay in contact with. His birthday is two days before mine so we went out and celebrated together =)

Other than telling her I'm afraid to leave the house a lot of times, I haven't really brought the social anxiety issue up to my therapist. I do think that would be a good thing to tackle though, being as it's only gotten worse. I will add that to my list of things to talk about at my next appointment. =)


Heather-

Ok, I'm glad that the two therapists idea isn't as strange as I thought it might be. That makes me feel better about looking around for a second. =)

My zip is 18951. And thank you. I'm glad that it isn't abnormal to seek approval from abusers. I started to recognize it when I was about 13, and again when things happened when I was 18, again when I was 21 and now, but I've always thought it was strange and I've been embarrassed about it.

I hadn't actually thought about it not earning me love until you mentioned it, but really now that you have, I can see that it's true.

It does make me sad to think that the people who have been abusive towards me, especially my boyfriend who I did trust more than anyone else, are either incapable or unwilling to love.

When it comes down to it, there have only been brief periods of time when I've really felt loved by him. So, it's like I know this, but then I do the stupid thing and ask, he obviously says of course he loves me, but simply by the amount of abuse in the past(which he thinks doesn't count anyway) and even emotional abuse now along with lying to and about me and blaming me for things to his parents without a care about how this affects me, I feel like deep down I can feel that he doesn't love me, but I want to believe what he says so by asking or just listening to what he says rather than what he does, I put myself in a confusing place.

I feel like I'm going in circles by saying this, but considering how good things can be, the thought that things "can change" hasn't ever left me. I just often forget that even when things can be good, they can still change again. Maybe not to the degree that they were before. Really, I guess things have "gotten better", but only because the abuse shifts, in my opinion. It started out emotional, then sexual, down to physical, and down to emotional again. I try telling myself that it's not as bad so I can handle it, I know that's not a good thing to tell myself though and I have no way of knowing if things will ever get "worse" again. I don't think they will, but since I feel like much of what I'm told is based on lies, I'm unsure.

About the last bit you wrote, that makes a lot of sense to me. I was also thinking earlier how naive I was when I met my boyfriend, and I guess that would fall under me being vulnerable as well. I saw everyone with "kid vision". Like when you're little and you don't assume anything bad about anyone,are happy and mostly trusting with everyone,etc. Now I have a hard time trusting anyone. I'm a little afraid that I'm going to have to try to figure out how to initially spot and evade these types of predatory people my whole life.
Also, I'm going to admit that's another fear that keeps me in the relationship.
I'm aware that it's ok to be alone for periods of time, if forever if I choose, but as dumb as it might sound, being with someone is important to me and when things are good with him, they're ideal.For a period of time I always start to think that maybe he loves me again, and then something really bad usually happens.
I'm worried that I'll just be stuck with jerk after jerk, just as bad as he was initially or even now if and when we break up.
I know that's stupid and a bad reason to stay. I feel like I can either be alone or be in an abusive relationship, and that's how my whole life will be. I wish that I could free myself from that type of thinking. But again, I think this is something I desperately need to bring up in therapy.


zeitvogel-


Hello =) I suppose one of the reasons I have been nervous about my therapist's opinion is because the physical abuse didn't start until early 2012, shortly,if not immediately after the sexual abuse had stopped.

For the incident in 2012, we had an argument and he rolled over like he was going to sleep, so considering that I didn't want to lay there upset and unable to sleep, I thought it'd be a wise idea for myself if I would blow off some steam by taking a walk outside of the room, or even going to read a book in the lobby or something. I just wanted time alone.

I went to put my daytime clothes on and he came up behind me and grabbed me by my neck,threw me down and pushed down on my neck. I was really confused about his reasoning for this, so I asked the next day and he said that if I had gone out and "gotten raped" or something he wouldn't have been able to look at me the same way/would've thought it was my fault for "storming off" and wouldn't be able to sleep with me anymore.
Weird reasoning, and it obviously could've been approached very differently.

Though the physical abuse didn't start until 2012, I do feel(and he admitted) that I was forced in different ways, but not often in a physically aggressive manner.
He said that he was going to beg until I gave in, which happened a lot, and if I didn't, he planned on trying to force me but he hadn't planned on how, which, during the times that I wouldn't give in, those were the times that he'd basically seduce and trap me(those times that I thought we were about to do something else and he would usually get me relaxed and vulnerable and then say if I didn't do what he wanted right then and there he would break up with me, so I didn't have time to think about it at all) or just go ahead, I guess assuming that I would say ok eventually even though I didn't on those occasions..or maybe, that since it had become so "normal" for him to break me down, that he didn't need to ask anymore. I'm not sure.

I still feel like saying I was forced doesn't sound right, but for some reason, I guess I'm also a little afraid to acknowledge if it was.
I felt like if I said no, I would just deal with his pressuring all day, then he'd start name-calling or giving me the cold shoulder until I felt bad or on some occasions he'd just do what he wanted eventually anyway.
Force doesn't sound right to me, but I did FEEL forced, if that makes sense.
In the situations where he wouldn't ask or would "trap" me, which I'm sure looking back, was done purposefully, I could have found out if I would be physically, aggressively, forced to stay in the situation by kicking at him or pushing him or something, but I was too scared to move most of the time. And shocked, because by us talking, as I said, he knew I never wanted it. Or should have known by how much we argued about it. He still says that he thought I would eventually want to do it and when that time came he would've just asked for it once in a while, and that he didn't know at the time how much I didn't want to do it because he doesn't think I said anything, but I know I did. It makes me wonder if he heard anything I said. But he had to have because we would argue.

I figured that he knew I didn't want it ever, so the idea of just doing it whenever he wanted scared me a lot.
But since it was a slower process and seemingly unaggressive and didn't seem like the typical image you get when you imagine someone being "forced", I guess that's why I'm still confused about whether or not I was.

Sorry for making that a bit long.

Also, I do still feel unsure about calling it rape, though, I do also feel like it does fit the definition, without the physical force.

It does help me immensely to hear outside opinions, so I appreciate yours and everyone else's very much =)

Even though I still feel somewhat unsure, I think it is partially because I am afraid to reflect on how bad it was considering I'm still in the relationship and I don't think anyone wants to look at the person they're with and even think that they'd ever be capable of something like that. And when it's directed towards yourself, it seems unreal.

Another reason is because I've been being told(by him though) that it wasn't that bad, or I'm lying,etc. Though I will say in the past two weeks, he denied ever denying remembering certain incidents or saying that I lied/was making things up or crazy.But he certainly did. After he told me that story, I've just made up my mind to start trying to believe my own truths over what he says, because they can change at any time he needs them to.

Since I have come back here though, I've also joined a few support groups online, and between that and having support and outside feedback here, I don't feel nearly as bad as I did for calling it rape. I felt like that's what it was but since the only other person who knows about the situation had vehemently recanted the statement that it was, I feel like I couldn't help but question it myself.
Considering that I've begun to distrust my own feelings and everything so much especially lately, this has really helped me a lot.
So again, thank you and September and Heather also. Talking here has been very helpful for me =)

[ 01-23-2014, 01:07 AM: Message edited by: Solusipse ]

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zeitvogel
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You sound happier and more confident already [Smile] I hope you also feel that way.

I'm sorry that I misunderstood your timeline, but I'm glad that you found my post useful anyway.

I understand about being unsure about calling it rape. You have every right to call it that, but you don't have to if it's uncomfortable or not useful for you. You can use descriptions like sexual abuse or assault, and you have some basic facts: he did things to you that he knew you didn't want, and he manipulated you into not resisting. No matter how you describe it, what happened to you is serious and you deserve to get help in dealing with it.

When I say he manipulated you into not resisting, I mean it. Feeling too scared to move or complain, feeling caught by surprise and not knowing what to do, feeling guilty about resisting, feeling hopeless about preventing it -- those feelings don't happen by accident. Abusers know how to make that happen, and they use it to get what they want.

One thing that I think hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread is that penetration with fingers also falls under the definition of rape (at least the definitions used by the World Health Organization and the International Criminal Court). It's sometimes called "digital rape", from the latin word for fingers.

About the hotel room incident, you're right about his reasoning being weird. It's the kind of thing that someone would post to tumblr and then add "what is this I can't even". But it may be useful to you if I unpack all the wrongness I see in what he said.

1. He greatly exaggerated the danger of going out. It's not like hotel corridors are some kind of well-known Rape Zone.
2. Also, rapes by strangers are relatively rare. You would have been safer outside the room than inside it.
3. Which he promptly demonstrated by attacking you.
4. He didn't express any care about you. It was all about his feelings and a possible decrease of your value to him.
5. Your value to him seems to be measured only as a sexual possession.
6. He sounds as if you "getting raped" would have been something you're inflicting on him, instead of something happening to you.
7. He didn't tell you this reason until after the attack, so that smells like excuses.
8. In order to allegedly prevent this exaggerated threat, he directly harmed you. Even aside from the psychological damage, there is no safe way to choke someone. You were right to be scared.
9. And why put aside the psychological damage? That's real too.
10. By stopping you from going out, he was preventing you from managing your own risks. Even if walking around in a hotel was dangerous, you have a right to take risks for the sake of your happiness. (Ask anyone who plays sports!)
11. As you said, he could have talked to you. He jumped directly to violence and never gave a reason for that.
12. Even if he did have a reason for stopping you, he could have stopped you and then talked. Instead, he went directly to choking you.
13. There are many ways to get someone to settle down, and choking is not known to be one of them.
14. You didn't need settling down to begin with, because you were leaving calmly.
15. If he was truly concerned about your safety, he could have offered to go with you. (Which of course has its own problems, but he didn't even offer)
16. If he was truly concerned about you leaving, he could have stood in front of the door for as long as it took, without hurting you. (Also has problems, but it would be a non-choking option)

I'm sure there's more, I just ran out of steam here.

On another topic, I'm curious how the progression in abuse went. Of course you don't have to answer any question that you're uncomfortable about. But I'd like to know, when the sexual abuse stopped, was it because of something you did, or did he seem to lose interest? Similarly, how did the physical abuse stop?

Where you said "I feel like I can either be alone or be in an abusive relationship, and that's how my whole life will be", I definitely agree that this is something to work on in therapy. Because even if you stay with him, you'll be in a much better position to negotiate about the relationship if you feel deep down that you can leave if you want.

Also, I'd like to assure you that most guys are not abusive, or even jerks [Smile] I think you need not worry so much about falling into the same trap again, now that you're aware of it and know what to look out for. It'll also help to get more friends, so that you get a better sample of non-jerks, and have a source of companionship, love, and validation that doesn't depend entirely on your boyfriend.

[ 01-23-2014, 02:48 PM: Message edited by: zeitvogel ]

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Solusipse
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zeitvogel-

I do feel a little happier. Talking things out has helped a lot =)
And it's ok about the timeline, I think I might've written things a little bit jumbled up.

I wasn't aware of "digital rape". I actually always thought that fell under molestation, which is still horrible but I understand how it can fall under rape, I guess I;d just never thought of it before.

I think another reason that I've been asking others their opinions on what happened and what it is, is because as I said earlier, I do feel like most of what happened falls under that word, but saying it and accepting it is difficult because it's such an intimidating, more accusatory word in my opinion. I hope that makes sense.
But having talked it out a lot now, I do feel certain that's what happened to me, I'm just unsure of how to deal with really accepting it and moving on.

Also, I agree with all of the points you made about the hotel incident. I still feel strange about it, especially because it's like one minute things will be fine and the next he turns into someone else.
Even now in much more subtle ways. Like I had originally written back here because he was telling me that I was lying and making things up and now I really just think he was plainly and simply gaslighting me.
But yesterday, I accidentally left a page up on my laptop from one of the support groups I had joined, and I told him to please not read that, but instead of being angry or annoyed like he has been recently, he acted more understanding.
He even hugged me and apologized and said that I didn't have to keep that stuff from him and I could feel free to talk about it any time I want but that he didn't want me to feel like I had to. That's wonderful, but he's said that before and then that last incident happened where he said he didn't believe any of that was real and got extremely angry with me.

As for the progression of abuse, I had been begging him to stop since it began, but the last time was in July 2011.
The "deal" he told me we were going with(which again,isn't really a "deal") was seasonally, or 4 times a year.
That didn't sound too bad to me, so I initially got talked into it AND since he always tried to make "deals" it made me feel like it wasn't all his decision, even though I was never allowed any input. I'd ask to just stop or to wait and let me think about it and he would just be like "so we have a deal?". It was very confusing. But I did let him know soon after that I felt tricked into saying ok and I didn't want to do it,ever.

He even told me the months that I should expect it, but then July came and he'd done it recently but he said it was "that time again".I really think was just because his birthday is in July and until recently he thought I was supposed to do anything he wanted all throughout that month.
So the usual pressuring happened, and as I said in an earlier post, I started crying partly because of pain and partly because I felt so warn down emotionally and because really, I had no choice whether or not I wanted it to be done.

So after that he promised "never again" and then a month later he asked me again and I blew up at him for the first time.
I couldn't believe he would ask me after what he'd done and seeing what happened to me. I really couldn't believe someone could be so heartless.
So really, the last time was July 2011, but what solidified it was that night in August when I told him almost entirely in one breath how I felt about everything he'd been doing to me and how I felt towards him because of that. I don't know if I ever told him how what he was doing had made me feel about him before, and I know I said some things that might have sounded mean, but I really wanted him to know how I felt about what he was doing.

He said recently that he asked because he wanted to "make sure" that he wasn't going to ever have it again and it was something he needed to do for himself to know it was over.


The only abuse that continued was the whole fingering deal, which, initially he begged to "keep" and in that case I said ok because 1.I wasn't fully thinking about myself and 2. I felt grateful that he was going to stop the other thing which was much worse.

After I realized that he still didn't understand boundaries and wasn't stopping during times when I'd tell him to, I told him that he couldn't do that to me anymore because he didn't respect my boundaries and I couldn't trust him, and more so, I didn't like it to begin with and it made me uncomfortable and hurt at times.

I told him that in November 2011,and shortly afterward he gave me a promise ring which at the time he said symbolized his love for me and that we would be basically starting new because he had previously been abusive towards me,so all that was going to end. And again the next day, that issue was supposed to be done with, but he did it again without asking and wouldn't stop when I said to. That didn't stop until around my birthday in January 2012.


The next phase was choking,and random lashing out if I would accidentally do something, which started around January or February 2012 and continued randomly throughout that year and into April 2013. The last incident was this past December, but he says he didn't know he was choking me and that it was his elbow, so I don't know. I remember he said "I'm sorry I have to do this" and pinned me down and choked me, but I honestly was so upset that I don't remember if it was an elbow or his other hand. I thought it was his hand, but I don't remember. He says he was "resting" it there or using it to pin me down, but that just seems weird to me because why pin me by my neck and not the other arm? It doesn't seem to add up to me, but I could be wrong.
Lol it's good to hear that not all guys are that way =) Deep down, I think I know that, I guess I just fear that those are the only types that will be attracted to me(as has been the case so far),I'll continue the pattern and be easily led in by those types,etc. I feel like I mostly know what to look for, but until things started getting more serious, which was unfortunately far too soon, he acted like such a sweet,supportive guy. He has this charm about him, and I didn't know at the time that it wasn't real. I'm still unsure when he starts acting sweet. I did have a few indications that he wasn't a great guy before we began dating though, so I guess I just have to remember that.

And yes, I completely agree about finding more friends. It's hard because I feel scared of people now, but I'm going to try nonetheless. =)

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zeitvogel
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quote:
He said recently that he asked because he wanted to "make sure" that he wasn't going to ever have it again and it was something he needed to do for himself to know it was over.
Hmm. Of course I'm interpreting a conversation secondhand here, but it sounds like he flat out told you that he didn't intend to keep his promise unless you held him to it. That's not what "promise" usually means.

But the good thing, the really great thing, is that you did hold him to it and he stopped. This is significant, and it's something you can be proud of: you set a boundary, and it stuck. That's a skill you can build on.

You had to be very angry to do it that time, and I think that in general, anger protects us from manipulation. (This is my own, unresearched opinion). Your anger helped you cut through all the guilt and expectations he'd built up, and by showing it, you showed him how serious you were. Unfortunately it does take real anger to get through to some people. There's nothing wrong with being angry when someone tries to hurt you, though whether to show it or hide it can be a strategic decision. So please don't worry that you might have sounded mean [Smile] You had a right to, and anyway if you stacked up your mean against the mean things he did you wouldn't even be able to see yours.

About the physical abuse... I'm glad the choking has mostly stopped, but honestly I wouldn't count on it yet [Frown] Pinning you down against your will is also not okay, and saying things that make it sound like it's your fault and he can't help it is a typical abuser's excuse.

Do you think you can set boundaries on that, too? (Even if it takes a couple of tries, like with the fingering). Being able to stop everything he does to you that you don't like will be an important factor in this relationship if you choose to continue it.

About the r word... yeah I understand how it's hard to accept it even after you believe it. Your boyfriend is someone who raped his girlfriend. That's hard to look in the eye, and how do you go from there?

It may help if you strictly separate thought from action. First figure out how you feel about everything, then put it all together and decide what to do. Don't let any single thought make your decisions for you.

Some of the factors you might consider:
- What do you still like about being in the relationship?
- What do you like about him, specifically?
- Do you love him? (Not can you or should you, but do you?)
- What kind of sexual relationship do you want with him? How close are you to that now?
- If the relationship were to continue basically the way it is now, how would you feel after another year? Another five years?
- What are you afraid of if you end the relationship? (You already mentioned one thing, but there might be others)

Feel free to answer these only in your mind, I'm not looking to pry [Smile]

quote:
And it's not helpful that the friends I had and even my mom who has known about just the choking, have stopped talking to me or blatantly call me stupid for staying in the relationship.
They probably mean well, and they want to get you out of a situation that is harmful to you. But if they do it by pressuring you like that, then they end up basically telling you that you're stupid and you can't make good decisions and you're not seeing the situation correctly and you deserve the abuse you'll get and does any of this sound familiar because yeah, even if their motives are good, they're just reinforcing the kinds of things that your abuser is already telling you and it's harmful.

What sometimes helps -- not always -- is to tell them directly what you need. "Please don't tell me what to do, I just need you to listen and help me work this out". Or "You say I should get away from him. If I decide to do that, how can you help with <specific problem>?". If they respond badly to that, then they may not be safe for you while you're dealing with this.

On another topic, did anyone link you to the Abusive Partner Checklist already? It may be helpful in spotting problem behaviors in other guys. Another thing that may help is to watch how he treats other people. And maybe think "If I behaved that way, how would I feel about myself?"

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Heather
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Hey there, Solusipse, just wanted to check in to see how you're doing with this, and where you'd like to move the conversation from here. [Smile]

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Solusipse
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In response to zeitvogel(but this is also just an update in general for Heather and September as well)-

I do also think anger protects from manipulation. At least a bit. I'm glad that I finally allowed myself to become angry instead of just being hurt and confused.

And yes, I saw my therapist earlier and told her absolutely everything. Finally. But she agreed that I shouldn't count on him to ever stop abusing,especially considering the current gas-lighting. I'm still not sure how I feel about that, but I did talk to him earlier and he admitted to denying things because he feels badly about what he did and when I start talking about it at times(even though he says occasionally that it's completely open for me to do so) it becomes overwhelming for him and he goes into denial mode. That makes sense to me. I understand that's no excuse and he said he did also, but to know that he's at least(hopefully) serious now because he was talking clearly and calmly, rather than when he starts denying things, is reassuring for me and I want to keep it in mind even though it's hurtful when he does do that.

I also asked him if he was going to talk to his therapist about everything, and he said of course, which really surprised me. But he said he wanted to because it's contributing to his own self destructive behavior and he doesn't know if he can ever forgive himself. Which also, helps me understand his anxiety over me talking about it sometimes. We've already developed a safe word for fights to stop things from escalating(so I don't have to say "calm down" and he'll say he is calm and things will get confused like last time we had a really huge fight) so I'm going to attempt to create a larger list with him concerning when I feel like I need to talk as well, but when he can't handle it.
But yeah, even though it's sad, I was happy to hear that he had some guilt only due to my previous thoughts that he had no feelings about the situation at all. I know that wouldn't be normal, which has only scared me more, so I'm glad to hear that he is capable of feeling remorse. That seems like a positive sign to me. There was more to the conversation, but to avoid making this even longer I'll leave it out and just say that it was pretty reassuring. I just hope things stay that way and he follows through.


I'm going to try my best to set boundaries with him on everything that's currently taking place, even if it does seem small to me. My therapist said something that rang pretty true for me, which was that every time he does something nice it's like I'm giving him a sticker for niceness and forgiving most of the bad, and that's something I learned from my childhood because I haven't been able to experience a fully loving relationship, so any sort of love I get, I cherish and I try and forget any or all of the bad. But that did make me think a bit, and think back to before I started dating this guy. Would those things I consider little now, have been so little then? They wouldn't have been;they're only small now because he's done so much worse, and it really is like I'm giving him stickers for niceness lol. So I am going to stop that type of behavior/thinking on my end.


And again about the r word and seeing my therapist, she validated this for me further and told me that it was rape because I said no in many different ways and any intelligent enough person would honestly realize that, and not only that but he basically held me hostage in a few situations(pulling his pants down and telling me to do things, thus making me afraid AND embarrassed to leave/open my bedroom door with him naked would have been inappropriate or walking out of his car when his alarm would have gone off and I would have had to find a way to walk home or continue to face him anyway) and he's larger than me which is clearly intimidating(I didn't mention that, but that is one of the things that scared me a lot), and I only agreed under duress, which is not truly consent;it's more like holding a gun to someone's head and telling them to do something. They aren't going to not do it if they value their body or their life.

And in an attempt to make me realize how bad it was(because a large fear of mine has been that I was overreacting), told me that she was going to keep my letter if I ever decided to press charges because he apparently committed multiple felonies. Which I was unaware of, but since she named them I wonder how I missed them.
For the record, I'm not going to. At least not as of now while he's finally begun therapy as well and things are ok. If, unfortunately, in the future, a rape does take place again,which I really don't think will happen but according to absolutely everyone I've spoken to about this, it could- I will most definitely press charges immediately. Considering that I also want to stop looking at things as "somewhat bad/really bad" and deciding what to do from there, I will try and press charges for any future physical abuse as well, but I will admit that I know that will be really hard for me.


I was also recommended a book for future work, and for now recommended that I purchase a book with definitions in it so that I can relate my experiences to those definitions because she was afraid of my boyfriend making me feel invalidated again, and I guess for what I'm going through it really is necessary for me to feel validation and accept what's happened.
I didn't find the type of book she recommended at the bookstore closest to me, so I'm going to get one online but I did find the other book she recommended to me and it's already helped me and my boyfriend out a little bit as we were looking through it earlier, which is great. It's a workbook(mainly directed towards childhood sexual abuse but can be used for this case also) called The Courage to Heal by Laura Davis.

Also zeitvogel, I will take your advice on how to deal with my family and friends. And I have read the checklist, but thank you for referencing it again, it's been helpful. I'm planning on looking through it every once in a while if I decide to stay in this relationship, to try and be absolutely sure that the worst things that can happen are not presently happening and I'm not just overlooking things. I don't want to focus on the bad, but I'm aware of my tendency to overlook and minimize. And if we breakup, I do think it'd be a great idea to refer back to that.

And in response to Heather then, I think I feel pretty accomplished here(besides any responses to anything anyone else might add in response).

But really, this has helped me more than I can tell you guys. I've been seeing my therapist since last July and I've finally made some progress as far as getting help with my PTSD related problems goes.
I actually feel hopeful for once. Thus far I haven't ever felt hopeful about getting rid of PTSD. I know it's dumb, but I feel like I'm allowed to feel what I want about what happened, experience it instead of holding back out of shame and minimizing, and even though the feelings are painful and scary, hopefully feeling and reflecting on the reality of the situation will help me to finally process it and leave it behind as far as I'm able to leave it. I know it's still going to take a lot of work and there will still be times when I question myself, but for the most part I feel more positive about the future outcome.
So yeah, thanks to everyone again. You've all been a really great help. [Smile]

[ 02-01-2014, 02:24 AM: Message edited by: Solusipse ]

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zeitvogel
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Wow, there were so many good things in your message [Smile] I'm very happy for you. And it sounds like your therapist is full of good points. Hold on to that one [Smile]

Pressing charges is a hard decision for many people, so don't feel bad about that. There's no general right answer. I just want to say that if you've just been assaulted, you have the moral right to make the choice that helps you the most. You're not responsible for anyone else at that point.

I'm glad that you're hopeful and that you're getting more support [Smile] It sounds like you feel done in this thread, which is great, but I hope you'll come back some time to let us know how things are going. Or if there's more you want to talk about, of course.

I've also been thinking of some notes I want to leave for future-you if you stay in the relationship, and I didn't know how to work them in to my message so I'll just put them here at the end.

1. It would be excellent if he can learn to be a decent boyfriend, but he doesn't have to learn it on you. You don't owe him this chance, and if he spoils it it's his problem.

2. It's my hunch that the process of becoming a decent boyfriend will go better if you're strict than if you let things slide.

3. The things he'll have to "give up" in order to treat you well are not sacrifices he's making for you. They are important lessons you're teaching him. You don't have to give him anything in return or make any more "deals". He can learn to be non-abusive all the time just like he's potty trained all the time.

4. You are a wonderful person with many good qualities. If he tries to convince you otherwise, don't believe him.

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