T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 45445
posted 12-28-2011 04:04 AM
I know I posted a few times and I feel like a bother. I would really appreiciate some help though.
I'm starting to date for the second time in my life but I still think about the last guy I was with even though it was more than half a year since we stopped seeing each other. We were only together for a month. The relationship was my first sexual relationship. And I was going through some family problems. My mom was suicidal, had come to realization she has a gambling addiction and took a hard look at her debt (she borrowed a $1000 from our neighbour and he was threatening to kill himself as well). And I had recently met my dad and his family for the first time who decided I wasn't worthy of being in their life. I had also found out a month before the police investigation I had opened found no evidence that what happened to me was sexual assault. I personally felt very depressed, suicidal and my self esteem was completely shot when I started dating the first guy. It felt like all the emotional problems I had from the abuse (abandonment, neglect, verbal...) that I went through in my childhood came back up twice as painful. I felt helpless and needy and alone. Part of me felt like giving up completely and being taken care like I was a baby but at the same time I felt like hurting everyone. I felt like anyone who helped me was lying and out to hurt me so I had to think fast. Or I was always in the wrong and never right. I knew I shouldn't get into a relationship. I knew it's wasn't right at all. But I wasn't talking to anyone. He was so comforting. He made me feel normal... at first. Then slowly my insecurities got the better of me. As well as my other problems. I felt like he could help me somehow be a better person. But he was going through some troubles as well. He began to only show sexual interest in me and push me away emotionally. He started drinking after four years of being sober. He started to talk about women, family members, life in general in a disrespectful manner. Overall he stopped caring about himself and life. Including me. I felt like we both crumbled but I wanted to help make him feel better. I also felt I couldn't even make myself feel better. I couldn't make my mother feel better. I couldn't make my best friend feel better who had just ended a long term abusive relationship and started dating a guy for the first time. She was abused by her father when she was younger and all that was coming up for her. She needed someone as well but I couldn't be there for her. I felt helpless. And useless. I thought it would be better for both the guy and I if we weren't together. Maybe it would make him happier. We weren't talking for a few months over the summer but I felt I missed him too much. I wanted him in my life. I began to talk with him. We hung out quite a bit. He had told me before he didn't want to date anyone for a while. But I convinced myself we'd only be friends. Nothing more. I found my self missing him and wanting to be near him more than when we were dating. He's recently moved to a small town. He says for good. I miss him. I know it's only natural. It feels like he's my crutch but I don't know what for. He wasn't exactly nice to me. Being around him made me feel calm for some reason. But I don't know what to do about this new guy. The relationship with the new guy feels good, balanced and healthy. Should I tell him? I also feel weird sometimes about how he's so kind with me. And generous. And honest. And wants to actually be around me. It freaks me out. I want to run away from it but sometimes it feels good. I don't know why I feel this way. I never talked about this with anyone. I feel it's too much... to whiny to say anything to my family or friends. But I really do want some help. Anything? Thank you.
Member # 56822
posted 12-28-2011 08:07 AM
I'm sad you've been through some very tough times. Truth is, whenever there are a lot of negative things happening around you, it can be very hard to be positive. However, make sure you take your time with the new guy, and let him know about the old relationship when you're ready. Before that you might just want to let him know that you've been through some very tough times, and you would greatly appreciate his support and understanding. Absolutely I don't think it would be very advisable to do anything sexual until you are in a different space than you are now. If you can, just thank the new guy for being so kind, generous, honest and understanding. From what you've said, he sounds like the kind of person you could open up to once you've had some time to heal your emotional wounds.
I wish you the very best, and congratulations for surviving through all the tough times you've had in the past! I think probably Heather or one of the volunteers will be along shortly to give you some more emotional comfort, but you can know I read your post and am sending some big hugs your way.
Member # 79774
posted 12-28-2011 05:45 PM
WildRice, from what you describe here, and some of your previous posts which I took a quick look at, you've been through some really, really big stuff. To me, any one of the things you mention here could easily need some considerable time for emotional processing, so I think it's really understandable that you feel like there's a lot going on.
I assure you, needing to talk to family or friends about any of these things wouldn't be whiny at all. Do you feel like any family and friends would be likely to be supportive of you around any of these issues? Apologies if you said so and I missed it, but have you ever had any specific help/therapy around any of your mom's difficulties, the situation with your father's family, the abuse you experienced, the recent sexual assault or the recent relationship? Something else to remember is that, although half a year can sometimes sound like a long time, if we experienced the kinds of things in a relationship that you describe, it can often take more time than that for us to recover. It makes you a very caring, compassionate person that you want to help the people around you. When we feel strong and healthy in ourselves, it's good if we can offer support to people we care about or need it - but we can never "make something better" for someone else, no matter how much we want to. It just doesn't work like that. I want you to know that you are absolutely not helpless or useless because you couldn't be as much help as you wanted. We can certainly feel very helpless, but sometimes, just being a person who cares is a very important gift to give someone. The other thing for you to know around this is that you clearly have a lot going on yourself; when very demanding things in our own life take our emotional energy, we just don't have as much left for anyone else, and that's ok, it's just the way things work. With all the things you describe, it's absolutely ok for you to be the person who's asking for help and support.
Member # 45445
posted 12-29-2011 02:38 AM
Thank you both for posting. I felt a bit better and opened up about some things with one of my close friends. I hadn't seen her in four months and we caught up on the others life. Her boyfriend is best friends and room-mates with the guy who assaulted me. They're still together. She told me how her and her boyfriend are always fighting. He picks fights with her and takes the opposing position. Later on in the night, she asked me what my plans were for New Years. I told her I wanted to crawl into a dark whole and never come out. She asked if it had to do with the assault and police investigation. I told her it did. I don't want to drink and lose control ever again. She ended up telling me that's another thing her boyfriend and her fight about: whether or not I was lying the assault. Her boyfriend says I destroyed him. All he does is work and play video games. She said he gets upset at her that she takes my side in the argument. He brings it up sometimes and she doesn't want to talk about it. She said her boyfriend and his friends still talk about it. She told me her boyfriend identifies as a white supremacist as well... I know my race is thrown into the argument against me.
I didnt know what to say. I didn't really want to hear this but I didn't want it to affect me. I pretended to be detached, like it was about someone else and not me... I asked her some questions like... well what is his argument? and a few others. It kind of shocked me that she would bring this up... but it was weird because I obsessed about the guy who assaulted me for months. I wanted to know who he was, where he was in his life, and what he felt knowing I felt violated by his actions. I talked about a few of these things with my siblings before, especially around our mother but I couldn't talk about the assault after the police closed the investigation. They never asked. I never talked. Mostly because I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I wondered for a long time whether or not I was in the wrong for what I did. When I went to the police I was visited by a worker from a local women's centre. They helped me find a councellor and one with a specialty in native culture and history. I started to see in February, a little over a month after the assault. I remember the first time I went to see her she told me she was surprised I was there because most women wait at least 9 months before going. I know she didn't mean it as, 'you're weird for coming here right away.' But I still felt a little hurt upon hearing that as though I was some freak for seeking help so early. I didn't feel I could trust her after hearing that. I ended up seeing her once more before having a lot of miscommunication troubles around the dates and then she took medical leave suddenly. I began seeing another councellor who doesn't have a native cultural background. I personally find it ... different at times. I've grown up in a very cultural and community orientated household. She's nice but I feel I'm educating her a lot on my culture, values and beliefs which isn't a bad thing one bit. I don't know if this is triggering but... I began to remember a few things about the assault as the months pasted. Mostly they're feelings and not very clear images but I remember kissing him but wanting to stop. I remember asking him if he wanted to have sex but regretting the question. I remember getting naked but telling him I felt too tired. I remember asking him to preform oral sex on me but then asking him to stop. I remember my friend walking in on us. I remember asking her to wait twenty minutes. I remember passing him a condom. I remember being in pain. I remember crying. I remember after asking him if he wanted to have sex, I didn't feel I could take it back. I couldn't find any of my friends. I couldn't leave and go home because it was the first time I was at a party where my house wasn't five minutes away. I wonder if I truly did destroy him...
Member # 56822
posted 12-29-2011 05:44 AM
Well, he was the one who decided to take those actions.
[ 12-29-2011, 05:50 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]
Member # 90293
posted 12-29-2011 08:52 AM
I'm just now reading through your posts, and I am seeing a lot of different things. You definitely have a lot to deal with. I'm glad you're reaching out here. I see you saying that you're worried about people, and want to help. You are entitled to help and support too. One thing that comes to mind right now is that you're not responsible for other people. You're not responsible for your ex-boyfriend's difficulties. You're not responsible for what the guy who assaulted you does or doesn't do with his life. I'm wondering if it might be time to set some boundaries with your friend whose boyfriend lives with the guy who assaulted you. You're entitled to be in conversations that are supportive and healing for you, not stressful and hurtful. I also hear you wondering about your current relationship, but I'm a bit unclear about what you're wondering about. You say that it feels strange to have him enjoy spending time with you, be kind to you, etc. Can you tell me more about that, and the relationship in general; that is, how you feel about your boyfriend and how you feel about the relationship? You've mentioned a lot of things--the assault, friendships, your current romantic relationship and your past romantic relationship--and I'm wondering what feels most pressing right now. We can talk about it all, of course, but we wantto talk about what would be most helpful to you. Robin
Member # 79774
posted 12-29-2011 05:41 PM
firstly, I don't want to get in the way of what Robin Lee said - obviously, it's up to you which things you feel would help you most to talk about with the volunteers here. I do really want to respond to a few things you said, though. You said your friend's boyfriend is a white supremacist - to me, that means that his opinion around you or anything involving you is absolutely meaningless about anything except revealing his own prejudice. If you need to talk about your feelings about anything he said, of course, go right ahead; but I think we can throw out his opinions and reports as completely unreliable. Also, he's a friend of the person who assaulted you, and it's absolutely typical that a friend of an assaulter will take their side, no matter what. It stinks, but I just want you to know that it doesn't say anything about what any situation actually was. If the guy who assaulted you feels bad, then he either feels bad about what he did or he's upset that someone - you - tried to hold him accountable for what he did. You had every right to try to hold him accountable. He is responsible for what he did. Unfortunately, it's very common for people who assaulted someone to not take responsibility for what they did and even to try to put the blame on the person they assaulted. You did not destroy him. You don't need to be concerned for his well-being (though it's not uncommon for people who've been assaulted to feel like they want to know something about the person who assaulted them). You said that you remember crying. There's just no way that crying can be interpreted as consent: it's a huge red flag that the other person Must stop and find out what's going on. Failure to stop at someone crying is either the assaulter not caring whether the other person consents or not, which makes it assault, or being incapable of noticing whether the other person consents - which equally makes it assault. A person is responsible for ensuring that the other person consents. Consent is something that is continuously given - it doesn't matter whether someone consented 5 minutes or 10 seconds ago, what matters is whether they consent right then. Crying is such a clear not-ok sign that ignoring it is actively ignoring and over-riding non-consent, and therefore actively assaulting someone. I'm sorry to hear you had a less than positive experience with the first counsellor. Just so you know, there are some responses to being assaulted that are more or less common than others, but there's no pattern that a person Should follow or should be expected to follow. Going for help sooner is a good thing to do, if someone can do that. The counsellor you have now, do you/ would you feel ok about talking about anything you need to about the assault with her, and does she have any specific background/training around sexual assault? I'm thinking of you, and wishing you the very best in all of this.
Member # 45445
posted 01-04-2012 02:00 AM
I want to thank all of you, WesLuck, Robin Lee and Redskies for replying. I feel like I've been heard and that really helps me with dealing with these issues. I'm really grateful for you guys.
I know my posts have probably looked like thought vomit-all scattered-but I think the most pressing issue is the current relationship I have. I really like the guy. When we were just friends, he was honestly the funnest person I've ever been with. But now that we are dating, I feel like I'm shutting down and shutting him out of my life. I feel more worried about doing the wrong thing and therefore don't try and do anything at all. I feel like I've become more introverted. This upsets me because I feel every time I try and get close to someone I shutdown. No matter what context the relationship is-family, friends, other. I withdraw and it makes it seem like I don't want to be around that person. But I do. I care about them deeply but there's something... it's almost like I want to run away from them. And about my friend whos boyfriend lives with the guy that assaulted me. I feel really guilty about something. I can't seem to escape it but she used to date one of my very best friends. They were together for three years. But my friend was emotionally and physically abusive to her. I couldn't stop it. I didn't know what to do. My friend was difficult to talk to even in daily life. It felt like we were walking on egg shells all the time to the point that I stopped being her friend. But that was only after they broke up. I feel unbelievably terrible. I knew what was going on but I never said anything. She's going through a lot because of that relationship, the relationship with this guy and the abuse that happened with her father. I don't want to end a friendship with her. I know it's not my responsibility but at the time they were together I was reading up on domestic violence. My uncle who I lived with from age 14 to now (I'm 18) has a substance abuse problem and would abuse his girlfriend who would come to me looking for help and someone to talk to because she had become isolated. So I began to read up on the options she had and the psychology of abusers. I would help her look for jobs and apartments. My eldest sister was in a abusive relationship as well who would also talk with me about her situation. I knew the work that people were doing and organizations in my city. But I couldn't help my friend. I couldn't speak up and say what was happening to her was wrong. I know I'm going into the possibly the exact same territory as the other problems I've posted but... it really, really makes me feel terrible.
Member # 49582
posted 01-06-2012 09:49 AM
About your current partner, is it possible to explain to him that it isn't that you don't want to be around him, just that you feel you're emotionally shutting down right now. Do you think you'd feel okay telling what you told us about shutting down? After what you've been through, it's not suprising you react in that way at all.
Honestly, we are never responsible for the ways in which people abuse others. That was your friend's previous partner's fault and choice alone. I hear you that you felt you had to 'walk on eggshells' with your friend back then - dealing with your own hurt and feeling scared are reasons you didn't speak up. Only she could make the decision to end the relationship, and only her previous partner could choose to stop his abuse of her. It was okay to have been afraid of her back then, as you've voiced the 'eggshell' feeling. "Your boyfriend is abusing you" is sometimes a very difficult thing to hear; especially when we're in a volatile state. You were very seriously hurt then anyway, so it's wise not to be too hard on yourself here. We still live in a rape culture. We still live a racist world. Sexism and racism are forms of oppression that can go hand-in-hand. Rapists most commonly find excuses for themselves, because they want to avoid any guilt that comes from raping somebody. You honestly weren't to blame for pressing charges: rape is a very serious crime. If you commit a crime, people press charges against you. (Just FYI, holding down a job and playing video games in your spare time really doesn't to sound 'destroyed' to me, and this coming from a white supremacist? To be straight with you: he's talking a load of racist, sexist trash.) Baring these things in mind, do you think there's any way to have a talk with your friend about setting a boundary to never talk about your rapist together? I'm talking specifically about what he thinks and what he's doing now? Those things really don't matter. [ 01-06-2012, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: Seashy Rae ]
Member # 3
posted 01-06-2012 12:08 PM
You know, you also can just apologize to your friend for not doing all that you could at the time. The past? It's in the past. But you feel some responsibility for some bystanding, and you can take that responsibility now by just voicing the things you've said here to your friend. That really does tend to go a long way. Heck, I know personally that I'm still waiting for some people from my life to do that who were bystanders, and while I certainly know they can't do things over, just an acknowledgment would give me the resolution I needed.
With the relationship, it just sound to me like you might not yet be "at" that level of intimacy with someone, and that's okay. Or, like Rae suggested, maybe this is just something you need to talk out with them in order to put it all on the table and make some progress?