T O P I C ††† R E V I E W
Member # 17839
posted 12-15-2008 05:55 PM
A couple of years ago, a guy who at the time I thought was one of my best friends, started behaving really possesively towards me. Only now, in retrospective, I can understand that what I went through was abuse. He abused me mentally to the point I wouldn't hang out with anyone else but him, because I felt terribly guilty if I did. He also kissed me, touched me in a sexual way, and made me touch him without me wanting to - he made me feel I owed it to him, and while I told him several times I didn't want to, he would just keep... moving, on his own, if you catch my drift. This situation went on for some months. It was not violent, but it was unwanted. I could have voiced myself more clearly, but it was clear enough that I did not want to, for anyone willing to realize. But then, I left. It's been two years or so since this happened, and I haven't seen this guy at all since then, nor do I want to. He supposedly hates me and has told all his friends I'm a bitch but I couldn't care less about that.
My best friends (which are my current boyfriend and my previous boyfriend), know him personally and he stills talks to them sometimes. This means it's really hard to cut him off completely, even if he and I don't talk to each other or see each other at all, 'cos I hear about him from time to time and that brings back memories which I have buried as deep as I can. Still, I've come to learn to cope with that fact, because my friends know the whole story, know everything he did, and that somehow reassures me A LOT. However, this guy opened a Facebook account some weeks ago and started uploading photos of me out of the blue - even when he has told all his friends he hates me. I have no idea why he did that, but all his actions, even from back when he and I were friends, point towards the fact that he has some kind of mental disorder, so I guess that's as much of an explanation I'm going to get. My best friends have both stepped in and talked him into putting those pix away, but the fact that he somehow became present again in my life, when I was doing kinda well at forgetting him, crushed me. I could rant for hours... but it was a really complicated situation and the details of what happened are really hard to explain, anyway. I just want to put all this behind me. The two guys I've been with, ever since that happened, have both treated me with all the love, tenderness and respect I deserve... to the point I've almost gotten over the sick memories. However, I can't help but *keep* thinking about this sorry excuse for a living being, what he did to me, how he used to tell me all the wrong that happened was MY doing. Somehow, I think I can't put this behind me because in a way I DON'T want to, because I feel the OWES me something. An excuse, an explanation, whatever; I know I'm not getting it. But still... does it makes sense????? I'm feeling stuck ... I'd love to get some feedback on this...
Member # 33665
posted 12-15-2008 07:40 PM
Kotori, I'm glad you have some support in this. It's always so wonderful to have someone there for you in the tough times, and good support can often be a crucial step in the healing process. In addition to the support of your two best friends, who else do you have in your life that you feel safe talking to? Have you thought about or received therapy to help process and work through the abuse? If not, would you like us to help you find some local resources, say a support group or a therapist?
In terms of wanting some sort of apology, excuse or explanation, honestly, I don't think you will get one, and even if you do, it's probably not going to make you feel better. I don't say that to hurt your feelings or sound pessimistic, but speaking from my own experience, it doesn't really make up for things or make anything easier. With my last boyfriend who had been abusive verbally, emotionally, and sexually, I spent a good deal of time trying to make excuses for why he did those things (and to be honest, I still do it, and each time I do it, my therapist has to remind me that it really does not matter and it doesn't make what he did somehow okay or understandable; abuse is abuse, it's wrong no matter what your life story is or your mental impairments). I made theories about him having a mental disorder (which I backed up by thinking about how long he'd been in therapy and all the different medications he took; of course, that is BS because a whole ton of people have mental disorders and are not abusive), about his home life being bad (which it really wasn't; he told me a lot of stories about it, but when I spoke to other relatives, including his older brother, I realized that his mom was not the evil devil-woman he made her out to be, but was just trying her best as a single mother while juggling her own stuff), about how people never gave him a chance in life (also BS; a number of our high school teachers adored him and gave him lots of second chances), about how he just needed someone to love him (but when I did, when I did everything he wanted, he was still angry, and when he wasn't angry, then I just felt subhuman for having given up all of myself to satisfy him and keep him happy). In the end, it just does not matter why. I can't say that feeling goes away. I'm still dealing with that feeling, but I'm finding it gets easier little by little, and the more I focus on other parts of my life and do things that make me happy and feel like a better person, the less it matters why he did it. I want you to know, though, that it's perfectly okay to feel this way, to want some kind of answer, and that may be a feeling you will have to struggle with for some time. It's natural when something happens that we want to seek out a reason for it. That's the whole reason science exists, to find out why things happen. However, you also have to remember that you may never get an answer, and that answer may not make the hurt he caused you go away or easier to deal with. It's also important to remember to take care of your own emotional well-being, so if this desire for an answer or explanation starts taking hold of you and keeping you from the rest of your life, it might be good to take a step back and re-evaluate, see if this is worth all the effort, time, and emotional investment it's taking. It sounds like youíve been focusing on those other parts of your life, too, and Iím glad that you have and that youíve been gaining strength and self-esteem. I understand how difficult it is when you get to that point where you start really loving yourself again and then all of a sudden, that person comes waltzing back into your life and you start doubting yourself again. My ex tried to come back in my life back in September, and for a while, I was really not okay. I doubted myself, I felt weak, and I feared Iíd go back to him. But I reached out to those around me, those people who care about me, and I found my strength again, and I was able to keep him out of my life. I know some people may view it as cruel to push someone out of your life like that, but when that person causes you to feel so horrible and wretched about yourself and does nothing but bring you down so they can pull themselves up, then itís time to keep them out. You have to do whatís right for you, whatís going to make you feel good and healthy. You canít move forward in your life when you have to see that other person and interact with them regularly. One place you might want to start is by talking to those best friends of yours and explaining the situation, and asking them that they not talk about him in front of you, and say that you do not want to have to be around him in any social or private setting ever, so if they want to hang out and heís going to be there, then they should warn you so you can decide whether or not you still want to hang out. So what else can we do for you? Would you like to talk about this some more? And I want to say that you should give yourself some big congrats on getting out of that situation. Itís always hard to do that, and itís definitely not a small feat. [ 12-15-2008, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: orca ]
Member # 17839
posted 12-16-2008 03:55 PM
Most of my friends know he didn't treat me right, but I don't feel comfortable or close enough to them to tell them the actual extent of what happened. Telling my parents is not a good idea - I'm not close to either of them, I've grown up in an abusive household myself, and my father would probably end up making me feel worse about the whole thing. I'm not a big fan of counselling either - I don't feel I could explain such an intimate thing to somebody I don't know, it's not the same as posting this, anonymously, on a message board, even if I don't know any of you personally anyway. So I guess that leaves me with few people I can talk to about this for real , ie. my two friends. I was ok with that, and they were as well - it did take its toll on them some time ago... but it wasn't that way anymore since I had managed to stop thinking about the whole thing, more or less. Also, as I said they know the full extent of what happened and despise this guy for it, so I guess I didn't explain myself clearly - it's him that talks to them sometimes, through instant messaging apps and such, but it's not that *they* hang out with him or have any sort of "friendship" with him - they know hearing from him hurts me and not only do they avoid him completely but also try to never bring him up in conversation. They've been such a wonderful help and I love them both so much...! I can't stress this enough Anyway when I said I felt he owed me some kind of explanation, I didn't mean I wanted him to give me one of his pathetic excuses... I meant I want him to KNOW he made me feel horrible ('cos he doesn't), I want him to realize what he lost when he treated me like that, I want him to feel he's *worthless* to me now, that I despise him, that everyone who knows what happened does. I want to know how he really feels inside, and I want that feeling to be HORRIBLE. What I feel he owes me is some kind of *suffering* about this whole thing on his part. I know it doesn't sound exactly nice when I say all this but I do not feel guilty either. I fully realize, though, that all this will probably never happen. I'm also worried about this: quote: It's also important to remember to take care of your own emotional well-being, so if this desire for an answer or explanation starts taking hold of you and keeping you from the rest of your life, it might be good to take a step back and re-evaluate, see if this is worth all the effort, time, and emotional investment it's taking. Even if I was feeling better about the whole thing lately, ever since he somehow "reappeared" in my life, he's been doing that exactly... taking hold of my thoughts. So I guess you could say I'm divided between the desire to somehow take revenge (even if that revenge probably never takes place, I can't help but desire it), and my need to forget as much as I can to be myself once again...
(This came out way longer and more confusing than I intended... sorry) [ 12-16-2008, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: Kotori ]
Member # 33665
posted 12-16-2008 04:10 PM
Kotori, I have to go take care of a few things and I won't be back for a couple of hours, but I wanted to say that I read this and I appreciate you sharing this here. One of the other volunteers may step in here, otherwise I'll answer more thoroughly when I get back.
How you are feeling about wanting him to know that what he did was wrong, wanting him to feel bad for doing it, is completely justified and understandable (and something I've been feeling, too). However, oftentimes abusers will never know that what they do is wrong because they find ways to justify or excuse their behavior. It's frustrating, and it makes you wish there was some cosmic force or karma, but in the end all you can do is take care of yourself. Have you thought about journaling some of these ideas and feelings you are having?
Member # 3
posted 12-16-2008 04:33 PM
I was about to write near exactly what orca did with her second paragraph.
My personal advice on that would be to recognize that your feelings of wanting acknowledgment are valid and important, but to also accept that no matter what you do, unless that person -- on their own -- has a very serious epiphany and does very real, hard and long work to change his own behavior and the way he relates to others and himself after GETTING that he is abusive, it is highly unlikely you will ever get that acknowledgment. And that has nothing at all to do with you, and everything to do with what people who abuse think like. Anything you were to do would also be very unlikely to hurt him or to cause him to feel the kind of pain you have, because to feel that kind of pain, we have to make ourselves vulnerable to someone, and that is the literal opposite of an abuser's mentality. ...and I know that that seriously stings and really sucks. That it insults anyone's innate sense of justice. And that it feels horrendous. But my own experience, and often that of other folks healing from this kind of stuff, is that if you can accept that reality, and know it has nothing at all to do with how much you deserve justice, not getting what you want in that regard begins to be a lot less painful.
Member # 17839
posted 12-16-2008 04:51 PM
quote: Have you thought about journaling some of these ideas and feelings you are having? I once thought about journaling my thoughts, but decided against it as I didn't think that would help me put things behind me, but rather would mean I'd keep thinking about them all the time... At first I also thought about writing this stuff down and send it to him, so that he knew, but I didn't want him to be in possession of my most intimate thoughts like that, so I didn't do it either... quote: Anything you were to do would also be very unlikely to hurt him or to cause him to feel the kind of pain you have, because to feel that kind of pain, we have to make ourselves vulnerable to someone, and that is the literal opposite of an abuser's mentality. ...and I know that that seriously stings and really sucks. That it insults anyone's innate sense of justice. And that it feels horrendous. How true... I am aware of the fact that I can't hurt him. Even if I want him to feel bad. Because I'm scared of confronting him, but also because he just wouldn't be hurt. He'd turn the situation around the way he always did and in the end I'd be the one to blame once again. So I'm also sensible enough to not go and try to settle stuff with him. It just doesn't make sense. I've assumed that I'm not getting what I want... ... but I really really really can't help but have him and these thoughts in the back of my mind, most of the time. I might desire revenge, but what I desire MOST is to be free of him. That's why I wrote: quote: Somehow, I think I can't put this behind me because in a way I DON'T want to, because I feel the OWES me something. But since I'm not getting that *something*, and I'm fully aware of that fact, how can I overcome all this? I know there's no "overcome-this-in-5-easy-steps" answer, but as I said before... I'm feeling stuck
PS: Anyway I just want to say thankyouthankyouthankyou for your support and your kind answers, and the same goes for anyone who reads this I consider myself a strong girl, but support from others who've been where you are... it feels great! [ 12-16-2008, 05:08 PM: Message edited by: Kotori ]
Member # 3
posted 12-16-2008 05:06 PM
Actually, I find that journaling has always helped me let go of things I need to better. Something about writing them down, seeing them made real, valid, inarguable... seems to make accepting things and moving forward.
So, it might be worth a try just to see if that's something that will or will not work for you, especially since if you don't have many people to talk to about this, I'd say it's important you find SOME way to speak your truth, if you know what I mean. (But no, I certainly wouldn't advise sharing them with him. You know very well this is a person who cannot be trusted and who is either unwilling or unable to treat you or your feelings with respect. And again, someone like this is only likely to see something like that as a tool for their arsenal, rather than being able to feel for you or take responsibility.)
Member # 17839
posted 12-17-2008 02:48 PM
Hmmm... I'll start writing letters to myself then
who knows, it might help, so it's worth it to try at least...