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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Think I Just Need Validation. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Think I Just Need Validation.
Fauna16Maude
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Hello, I apologize in advance for this message being very long and disorganized. I kind of just wrote everything as it all came to my mind. Iím posting this because Iím not really sure if I just got out of a sexually abusive relationship Ė Iím confused about what happened, and Iíd appreciate input from others who donít know me or my ex-bf (Iíll call him ďJĒ) personally. Iíll try and keep this as to the point as I can!

I met J in middle school. We became good friends, and 18 months after we met, we began dating. The relationship lasted 5 months. J confided in me in the beginning of our relationship that when he was younger, heíd been molested by an older classmate. Our relationship was extremely chaste Ė brief kisses on the lips were as intimate as we got, which we were both OK with considering the fact J was still affected by being sexually abused as a child and I hadnít begun to explore my sexuality yet, let alone even knew anything about it other than I was attracted to boys. It was the first serious relationship for both of us, and it was how we both had our first kiss. J broke up with me because weíd grown distant since he was in high school (I was still in middle school).

Two years after J and I broke up (we remained friends during that time, although our contact was only sporadic), I was in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship (my bf put his hands on me a few times, but it was primarily emotional and sexual abuse). He broke up with me about 6 weeks after we started dating. It was my 2nd relationship and my 1st sexual experience. My bf had used coercion to get me to do as he wished: he would guilt-trip me and threaten violence, as well as tell me it was ďwhat bfís and gfís doĒ (he knew I had only been in 1 relationship before, 2 years earlier at that, so I had very little romantic experience and absolutely no sexual experience). I told my family 7 months later what happened, and to make a very long story short, we werenít able to press charges, and I began trauma-specific therapy about 18 months after everything happened. Before my bf and I began dating, I still didnít really know all that much about my sexuality. I was almost 16 at the time, but considering I have an autism spectrum disorder, social situations are difficult for me Ė even though I did have a desire to go to school dances, date, etc., I found it too difficult to, so I didnít. Iím not sure if that had to do with why I still didnít know much about my sexuality or if I just happened to be a person who was meant to mentally sexually mature later on in my teens Ė or if both were factors Ė but I do know that regardless of whether or not my autism spectrum disorder played a part in my sexualityís development, I did not feel ready, let alone comfortable, to engage in sexuality at that time.

One day, two months after I began therapy (I wouldíve been getting ready to finish 11th grade), I started a conversation via email with J because I was having a really difficult day with my PTSD. Before I say anything else, let me just say that at that point in time, about 3.5 years wouldíve passed since J and I broke up. The only other experience I had in that time was my abusive relationship. J, on the other hand, had been in several serious relationships, almost all of which were sexual (some of them had been emotionally abusive, and J said that the last relationship heíd been in involved some sexual abuse). Iíd always envied how easy it was for him to date (even though we both suspected he also has the autism spectrum disorder I have). Also, Iíd never really stopped having feelings for him since our breakup. I did have a desire to date him again, and despite the fact he had had somewhat of a reputation for his romantic and sexual experience during his last year or so in high school, I was adamant that he was still the same person he was when we dated years ago. I wasnít totally wrong about that, but I would end up finding out I didnít realize just how much his romantic/sexual experience, which largely outweighed my own, had changed him in that time period. Anyway, back to the conversation I had with J. Iím not really sure if what he said and how he said everything was motivated by an intention to manipulate me, but I feel like he really kept in mind that I was very inexperienced and emotionally vulnerable. Iíll explain the conversation so you can see what I mean Ė Iíll try and sum it up and keep it as to-the-point as possible. J kept telling me he missed me (we hadnít seen each other in about 2 months and were trying to organize a date and place to hang out), and he acted way more affectionate than he ever had after our breakup. He also started saying things that I interpreted as flirtation: he called me sexy and implied he wanted to cuddle with me. Our conversation continued the next day. J continued saying things I interpreted as flirtation, even going as far as to say he was horny. When he said that, I told him I felt uncomfortable, and he immediately backed off and apologized Ė a little too much. It seemed like no matter how much I told him it was OK, he couldnít stop expressing his guilt. J suggested that perhaps having a ďpositiveĒ sexual experience would help me overcome my past, and I told him it wouldnít because I wasnít healed enough to consider engaging in sexuality. I explained why I wasnít: at that point in time, I was having a lot of difficulty with distorted sexual fantasies (mainly inflicting harm upon whoever it was that was my partner in my fantasy) and also was acting like a total slut. Yes, I know, being a teenage girl and having a sexuality as such doesnít make me a slut. But I would dress in ways that came dangerously close to violating the school dress code, and also Iíd allow boys to look at and touch me however they pleased so I could feel sexually of value, as I felt like my sexuality, which I never even really had a chance to know before things happened, had been ruined. But anyway, J had, by this point in the conversation, told me numerous times that maybe I shouldnít listen to what heís saying. After I told him about why I didnít feel healed enough to be sexual, J implied my distorted fantasies aroused him, and he said he hopes he hasnít upset me and that he hopes being my friend would be good enough. I explained to J that I felt like I would never be able to engage in normal sexuality because I was having such a big struggle with my sexual fantasies (it was just my PTSD talking, but I still felt pretty hopeless at that point in time), and J said he definitely was horny now and asked aloud how to solve that. He also suggested that maybe I could get a sexual release from him by acting out a violent fantasy with him, although he said he wasnít suggesting we actually have that happen. He went on to tell me he ďneedsĒ me and that he desired to be innocently physical with me: hugging me, cuddling me, kissing me, etc. He explained he didnít want to actually be in a relationship with anyone right then, though, because he didnít want to have to tell anyone he was dating someone; he also explained he has a hard time being in a relationship unless physicality is heavily involved because of how sexual his other relationships were Ė he claimed he could only feel love through physicality rather than emotionality. J said Iím the only person heís got, then he said again maybe I shouldnít listen to him. He admitted he wasnít really sure how he felt: he loved me as a friend and wanted to be physically intimate with me, but he wasnít really sure if he wanted me to be his gf. J flirted with me for a bit, then he began talking about sex. I felt uncomfortable, and I asked if we could change the subject, to which J said yes. However, he continued referencing sex for a little bit after that. I will openly and honestly admit that I was really uncomfortable throughout the conversation and was suspicious of Jís intentions. However, Iíd also had feelings for him for, at that point, 5 years, and I considered him a best friend. I was really desperate to not only feel romantically and sexually valuable, but also to get to be with J again. So I kind of brushed my concerns aside and told myself that not only did someone have romantic and sexual interest in me, but it was a best friend and someone Iíd had feelings for for 5 years. J knew that I had had feelings for him for 5 years and that I had wanted to date him again ever since we broke up. When I asked J considering everything he explained about how he feels love, his preferences about dating and relationships at that point in time, etc. what kind of a relationship we would have, he said we would be physically intimate without the official bf-and-gf title (although he said he wouldnít mind if I told my friends and family), then said later on in the conversation that we were non-sexual or, at least, yet-to-be-sexual, friends with benefits. Then J started to talk about sex very explicitly. He asked if I would perform oral sex on him, and I said that even though my abusive ex-bf had never gotten me to do that, I donít know if I would because I not only had been forced to be sexual before I knew what I was and wasnít comfortable with sexually, but also sex in general was something I wasnít comfortable with at all because of having been assaulted. J didnít really seem to get that Ė he asked me a few more times if Iíd perform oral sex, and I said each time I didnít know because I didnít know what I was and wasnít comfortable with, if I was comfortable with anything at all considering I was still really affected. He eventually gave up because I guess my answer wasnít as straightforward as he wanted it to be. I told J I didnít feel ready for a sexual relationship and asked why he was so pushy about sex. J said he wasnít fond of what he referred to as ďneedless restrictionsĒ but promised that if I wasnít interested in sex when he was, he would immediately lose interest, which would be a good thing for me because I wouldnít have to do anything I didnít want to. J continued telling me after he said that all about his sexual preferences. Also, I remember asking J if he wanted me just for sex, and he said no and that, when I asked, he did feel a little offended Iíd think that. So, this was the conversation in which J and I agreed to be in a relationship with each other even though I felt like I was the only one who thought of us as bf and gf. (Wow, this part of the message was way longer than Iíd anticipated!)

The first few weeks of my relationship with J were EXTREMELY sexual. We would talk via email, and every single day he would initiate sexuality. I did consent, and I admit there were a lot of times I did feel mental sexual pleasure. Whenever I felt uncomfortable, I would say so, and J would back off. I honestly donít know how long this went on for, but I know that by the time school had ended, we were able to have conversations about things other than sex. I just remember that our conversations were explicitly sexual and that since I loved and trusted J since Iíd known him for so long beforehand, I dismissed any feelings of discomfort as a result of my sexual assault and told myself the pleasure I got from the conversations outweighed the discomfort. I wasnít really ready to be or comfortable with being sexual yet, and I felt confused because I felt like what J was doing was contradicting what heíd said about us not being sexual yet, but I was so eager to heal and to be able to be sexual again Ė really, I was so eager to please J and so afraid of losing him again Ė that I told myself the pleasure I got from things outweighed everything. I admit that our relationship was, for the most part, pretty good throughout that late spring/summer. We shared our interests with each other, had meaningful conversations, spent time with each otherís families and just enjoyed each otherís company. But we also became sexual extremely early, too. In fact, J had touched me in a sexual way a few times on our first date, which was 3 days after we began dating. I was OK with it, but like I said about our first conversations, I didnít really get why J was so eager to be sexual so soon, especially considering what I was dealing with. By the time school started at the end of the summer (I was beginning 12th grade, while J was beginning his freshman year of college), weíd done everything my perpetrator had forced me to do, as well as other sex acts he hadnít. I consented every time, but I still didnít really understand why sex had to be such a big part of our relationship and why J was so eager to be sexual with me. I was especially confused because, as J would go on to say numerous times throughout our relationship, J said he would love me and be with me even if I never sexually healed and we never, ever had sex Ė heíd be OK if we never did anything sexual or had sexual intercourse. The way things happened were J would physically arouse me to the point I couldnít resist being sexual no matter how much I was thinking I didnít want to be sexual and how much I told J I preferred not to be sexual at that time. Yes, a few times I initiated things, and there were times I was OK with things happening. But it felt like no matter what excuse I gave J, no matter how I held myself in hopes J wouldnít find it too sexy, J always knew how to get me to say yes. For example, I would give J an excuse before he even came over Ė I usually said I was getting ready to start my period, I was ovulating, I didnít feel well, I was tired, I wanted to be available in case the elderly family member I live with needs help, I just didnít feel up to sex. J would say that was fine. But when he came over, things changed. Heíd touch me sexually a few times until I was so physically aroused that, even though in my mind I was still thinking I didnít want to be sexual, I physically desired it. It was so confusing to me Ė how could I become so physically aroused that I would willingly engage in sexuality while at the same time still feel somewhat uncomfortable with it mentally? J would, say, kiss my neck, and Iíd push him away and say no. Then heíd, say, touch my breasts, and Iíd push him away and say no. It would happen for a few times Ė you get the idea Ė until I just got so physically aroused I gave in. I know that in my mind I didnít want to 100%, but I didnít think anything was wrong because I physically desired it. I can even remember a time I was catching a pretty bad cold, and I told J not only no sex, but I just wanted to lay with him and rest up, especially since Iíd had a long day. But J wouldnít stop kissing my neck and sexually touching me. I finally gave in and became sexual with him, but it was only because I was so annoyed Ė well, so angry Ė he would do that when he knew I was unwell, and I did it so heíd finally leave me alone and let me rest. I did say afterwards that I didnít know he could make me feel such pleasure when I was sick, but really, I didnít want to do anything sexual and just wanted to lay with him and rest up. There were countless times Iíd kiss J a few times then decide to stop, and J would express his frustration and tell me I was ďteasingĒ him. No matter how I stood or held myself or dressed or laid down, J always found me sexy Ė a little more than I was comfortable with.

It was a real struggle to perform sex acts on J the first few times because of how triggering it was, but eventually I got used to it. I always said he helped me place a positive connotation on sex and overcome my past, but really, looking back on it now, I think instead of helping me think of sex in a positive way by having it happen so much, he just got me desensitized to it because it happened so often and I not only didnít really always understand what was happening because Iíd never done those things before, but I wasnít sure if I felt ready/comfortable with doing those things. I especially felt uncomfortable giving J oral sex. I very strongly associated pre-ejaculate with my assault, and I told J that. I willingly gave J oral sex about 2 months after we started dating when he asked if I would, and Ė I honestly donít remember Ė Iím pretty sure I made it clear through my body language I was uncomfortable. I remember thinking ďThis is so gross and not my thingĒĖ I donít remember how I acted physically, if Iíd tensed or grimaced, even though I probably did, but I do remember thinking what I just explained. I stopped several times to make sure J wasnít having a pre-ejaculatory emission. I did that every time I gave him oral sex. But I donít think J understood it wasnít just because I was grossed out by pre-ejaculate. It was profoundly disconcerting to me because of the memories I associated with it. I think J kind of just thought I didnít really like it all that much. Also, in addition to disregarding any and every excuse I gave and sexually touching me no matter how many times I refused and pushed him away, J used physical force Ė sort of. I remember at least once when J was masturbating me that I told him I felt uncomfortable because I didnít know if/when I would orgasm, as Iíd never had one before. J said something along the lines of he wanted to make me orgasm. I reached over and tried to push his arm away, but he stiffened so I couldnít push him away. I donít remember what happened after that. Also, I donít know why I ever even said this to J. But I said that I *might* find pleasure in him holding my wrists down when he orgasmed during intercourse when he was on top of me, as I had had thoughts of it, albeit not serious ones. Any time J found me to be acting difficult Ė I donít remember, honestly, if it was because I was refusing his sexual advances or if I was just being affectionately annoying Ė heíd start to laugh and reach over to hold my wrists down, which heíd do for a few seconds even though Iíd start telling him ďnoĒ when I saw him reach over. A few weeks after we began dating, J said he felt really sexually frustrated because he wanted sex but didnít want to be sexual with me since I wasnít ready. I made it clear that I would not be sexual with him when I wasnít ready to or emotionally healed enough to because he desired sex so much. But then he said the only way he could think of to relieve his frustration was to cheat on me. He promised he wouldnít do that, that he couldnít handle the guilt/shame of it if he did. But, long story short, J had admitted to me he cheated on a gf with an ex-gf because she didnít want to kiss him. Sheíd said she simply didnít want to kiss him and didnít have a specific reason not to; she just didnít feel like it. I did feel kind of scared that J would leave me because I couldnít satisfy his sexual needs, and Iíd come so far to date him again and didnít want to have to cope with knowing heíd found another girl who was apparently better than me. A few months after that, J was talking about breaking up with me for a short period to solve some personal problems. He asked what if I had all his emotional love, but he got sex from someone else, while we were apart. I said Iíd have none of it and asked why he would ask me such a thing, and he said it was just to get our minds off breaking up and didnít really seem to understand why I was so upset. When I asked J why he was so OK with sex so often, he said it was because I placed way more sacredness on it than he did, and he saw it simply as an act of intimacy. I eventually told my therapist about how I felt slutty for being sexual with J so often and how I regretted how often it happened (I told J a few months before that that I wanted to talk to my therapist about it, but he said he preferred that I didnít because itíd make him look bad), and she said I was being too harsh with myself and that exploring my sexuality was a normal part of being a teenager. I told her J and I became sexual practically every time we saw each other and that I enjoyed it, but I didnít say that it was because J never really listened to my reasons why I didnít want sex or that he knew how to get me physically aroused just enough. She suggested scheduling sex ahead of time so it didnít happen so often. That didnít last. J and I continued to be sexual almost every time we saw each other. I remember a few times Iíd tell J when he was trying to seduce me that we hadnít scheduled sex, heíd say something like, ďWell, weíre scheduling it right now!Ē

The last 2 months of my senior year of high school were hell. Well, really, the last entire half of it was hell because I was struggling with depression pretty badly and was starting to have panic attacks every so often (Iíd been diagnosed with panic disorder about 7 years earlier, but Iíd been treated for it and only had a panic attack every once in a while, usually when I was triggered, i.e., extremely stressed out). By the last 2 months of 12th grade, though, my panic disorder came back with a vengeance. I had a panic attack or came close to having one every single day. IĎd almost had one on the football field during our graduation ceremony. My PTSD was also very bad, and it seemed unprovoked. I told my therapist about everything, and she couldnít identify a reason, nor could I no matter how much thinking and analyzing we did. In the end of July, J and I saw each other for what would be the last time. I feel like whenever J would arouse me, I had no control and would act really wild, and J knew and took advantage of that. On the day of the last time weíd see each other, J had gotten me aroused, and I suggested we have intercourse. I know I keep talking about me and J having sex, but I mean doing other sexual activities, not intercourse. Iíd never had intercourse before. Also, for what itís worth, we never used condoms, although I was on birth control for the last 3 months of our relationship Ė J had purchased a pack of latex condoms, but when I said I was afraid I could be allergic to them (there is a latex allergy in my family), J said heíd try to find non-latex ones. He looked at the store and couldnít find any, so he said heíd ask a trusted teacher at college who taught sex-ed where non-latex condoms were available. Iím pretty sure he never did, but the point is we never used condoms for oral sex. Anyway, J was going to be on top. He tried penetrating me, but he wasnít successful Ė I do suffer from vaginismus (Iíd had it even before things happened with my perpetrator), so that probably didnít help things, if it didnít cause it in the first place. He tried a few more times, but he was still unsuccessful. I kept telling him stop, it wasnít going to work, he can just give up, but he kept trying. Eventually, he did give up. That time, as well as many other times we became sexual, I felt, in addition to a little freaked out, emotionally dissociated. Not like I wasnít there or detached from my body, but rather I was thinking about other things, like homework I had to do or conversations Iíd had with friends earlier in the day. Basically, I didnít feel very emotionally connected because sex happened so often and it didnít really feel all that special for me. About 2 weeks after that, J and I terminated our relationship. Iíd told him how uncomfortable I was about our sexual relationship. Heíd said countless times throughout our relationship he felt guilty about getting us to have sex every time we saw each other and he accepted full responsibility and so forth. But things never changed. Heíd also mentioned that he prefers innocent/vulnerable girls because he likes, as he called it, ďcorruptingĒ them Ė he likes making them think they enjoy the sexual things he initiates. J had never put his hands on me or anything like that. But I happened to look over a topic on your message boards (The Abusive Partner Checklist), and while J wasnít as abusive as my perpetrator, I did feel uncomfortable saying ďnoĒ to sex: I never, ever, ever felt afraid to say ďnoĒ to sex, but rather, I felt it was pointless to because I knew it would end up happening anywayÖMy dad had me stop therapy sessions the week after J and I broke up because he was sick of taking me and didnít think I was getting anywhere in my recovery (I have my permit, not my license, so Dad would take me to therapy), and a few days after that, J emailed me. He said a lot of things about himself that made me feel like he was trying to guilt-trip me and feel sorry for him, and he said he still loved me, but what stood out the most was that he claimed heíd tell himself for hours before coming over he wouldnít initiate sex, but heíd do it anyway when he did come over because he was trying to protect himself from being emotionally vulnerable with me, as the last time he was emotionally vulnerable with a girl she ended up really hurting him. I never emailed him back.

Long story short, my gynecologist determined the chances of me having contracted any s.t.i.ís (oral or vaginal) was very insignificant, and also the pregnancy test she gave me was negative. I told my best friend about things, and she said in her eyes, J sexually abused me. I told a close family member who works in the psychology field (in fact, she deals a lot with teens with PTSD resulting from rape/sexual abuse), and honestly her response hurt very badly. I told her about how J wouldnít let me push him away when he was touching me, how he wouldnít listen when I told him to give up on trying to penetrate me, how he never listened to my reasons for not wanting to be sexual, how he would touch me sexually several times after I said ďnoĒ and pushed him away, how I sometimes became sexual because I knew itíd happen anyway and I wanted to just get it over with, how I felt confused because I physically enjoyed it even though I was thinking ďThis isnít rightĒ in my mind and felt regretful and guilty (and sometimes even ashamed) afterwards, how I felt like Jís attempts to say he knew he was doing something wrong was just an attempt to manipulate me into saying he wasnít and not to feel guilty so he wouldnít feel bad (since he never changed his actions after he said that), about what he said in the email after we broke up. She said it was an unhealthy relationship, but not a sexually abusive one, because I ďallowed myselfĒ to do things I wasnít ready to (I sacrificed my own wants/needs) to please J Ė it sounds like just a typical teenage relationship, especially considering I feel really regretful now. She said since J probably also has the autism spectrum disorder I have, he was very straightforward in telling me what he wanted/needed. She also said I should be more worried about getting my license, getting ready for college, etc. than relationships and sex.

This message is way longer than I thought itíd turn out to be, so Iíll finish by saying that even though I know J did manipulate me into things at least once (when I was catching the cold), I canít put any words like ďassaultĒ on it because Iím not really sure it even was. I think maybe my family member was right and this was just an unhealthy relationship and I engaged in sexuality when I just wasnít ready to. My memory about certain things is fuzzy, so I kind of feel like Iíve done some lying in this message and Iíve discredited J when really he didnít do anything wrong. But I will say my PTSD has flared up quite a bit since my realization a few months ago I had to get out of the relationship regardless of whether or not it was abusive, and I think the relationship was why my PTSD/panic disorder was so bad during the last few months of my 12th grade year (I think I mightíve been subconsciously thinking that since summer was coming, J and I would get to see each other much more frequently Ė that automatically meant sex; also, I was really afraid Iíd have intercourse with J when I didnít truly feel ready to, which was something Iíd always worried about but particularly worried about then because J had been talking about having intercourse). Iím not really sure how I feel, or what exactly happened, or where to go. So Iíll end the message here by saying I appreciate any and every bit of feedback you can offer. (Also, just so you know, I havenít talked to J since a couple days before that last email I talked about. Iím safe from him.)

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Sam W
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 108189

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Hi FaunaMaude

I'm sorry that you've had such a rough time. I'm glad that you were able to get yourself out of a relationship that was so awful.
The first thing I want to do was say that not answering the last email from J was a good decision. He is not a good person for you to be with, and I think re-establishing contact with him would not help you.

I have to disagree with you close family member. You get to call what happened between and J and yourself whatever name feels most right. If it felt like sexual abuse to you, then it's ok to call it that. Everything you describe feeling is completely valid, and you get to work through those emotions in the way that is the most helpful to you. Also, you did not "allow" these things to happen to you. They were done to you by a person who ignored your clearly stated "no."

What you described does NOT sound like "a typical teenage relationship." J consistently ignored any boundaries you tried to put in place and pressured you in multiple ways when you wouldn't do what he wanted. I think you are very correct when you identified his saying he felt bad as manipulative. Because people who feel bad about what they did to you and then turn around and do it again do not actually feel that bad.

You said your dad has stopped taking you to therapy. If you feel comfortable, I would ask him if you can restart, as being able to work through everything that has happened/is happening to you might be really beneficial. If he doesn't want to take you, is there a way to find a different therapist or counseling service that's nearby so that you'd be able to get yourself there?

I want to close by saying that we are always here as a resource if you want to talk through or vent about what you are feeling.

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September
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Oh, Fauna. Before I say anything else, I just want say that it sounds like you have been showing amazing strength through some really difficult situations. None of this could have been easy, but it sounds like you're really working hard to take care of yourself, and to ask for help when you need it.

As for the relationship with J. you have described here, it certainly sounds like that was an unhealthy relationship, if not an abusive one. Not only were you uncomfortable with a lot of what happened, you also describe having explicitly said no on many occasions, and having had that no ignored by J.

The really important thing here, though, is how YOU feel about what happened and how you can go forward from here. So, how can we help you? What do you need?

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

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

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Fauna16Maude
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Member # 108805

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This reply is intended for Sam W.

I appreciate your feedback. I agree re-establishing contact would be a bad idea -- I don't think I've got the emotional strength to do that again, and also it would get me nowhere Ė if I might vent for a moment here, remember how I said in his last email J was saying how he still loved me? He said things like he still loves me and always had and always will, he'd love to try dating me again, he won't mess up again. He also said he would never have sex again (pffft!), as he'd been saying since our breakup, and that he'd never date again (once again, pffft!) because he'd never find anyone like me, etc. My abusive ex-bf had told me when we began dating heíd given up on dating because of how much hurt itíd brought him, but he was giving me his ďlast chanceĒ at dating. So I didnít believe J for a fraction of a second Ė in fact, when I read what he said, I laughed out loud. It's weird how 2 weeks later, when I never replied to J's email, he mysteriously began dating another girl, isn't it? Honestly, I had a gut feeling what J was doing could be considered unhealthy, if not abusive, but I just crammed those sorts of thoughts into the back of my mind, mostly because I didn't want to believe I was in another bad relationship and because I couldn't accept it was J who was hurting me considering weíd been friends for 6 years beforehand.

I disagree with my family member, too. It especially frustrated me that she said I ďallowed myselfĒ to do things I was uncomfortable with doing when Iíd told her J wouldnít listen when I told him to stop attempting penetration, and since he was about 100 pounds heavier than me I couldnít push him off me. Also, it really frustrated me she kind of used Jís possibly having Aspergerís (autism spectrum disorder) as an excuse for his behavior, as it not only isnít an excuse, but also I took a little offense to it because I also have Aspergerís Ė I donít go around coercing men into sex. Might be overreacting, but I feel like she honestly doesnít really support me as far as my having Aspergerís goes, so I guess thatís why I took that particularly personally. I totally agree with you that this wasnít a ďtypical teen relationshipĒ as my family member had thought Ė I think she may have just meant that coercion and sacrificing personal wants/needs to hold onto the other person is, unfortunately, common in teen relationships, but still, that doesnít make it acceptable. And honestly, about the whole knowing J was most likely just trying to manipulate me: I learned that the hard way through my abusive ex-bf. Heíd flipped out on me for ďkissingĒ one of my best friends in the middle of the school cafeteria when there were countless witnesses who saw my friend and I only hugged for a couple seconds, he called me the next day and apologized and talked very badly of himself and called himself all sorts of names, then a week later he did more or less the same thing. Usually, this ex-bf wouldnít apologize and usually thought his behavior was justified, but the point is I was smart enough to realize from prior experience that even though J had said how many times he felt bad and was guilty and ashamed (once again probably just to get me to tell him he wasnít wrong so he could feel better and feel his behavior was justified and accepted by me), it wasnít going to change. It took me a while to realize it, but at least when we broke up and he sent me that really long email, I knew he was, to be very blunt here, full of crap. In fact, I clearly remember that on the 6th anniversary of the day J and I met, I had made absolutely-completely-100% clear I was not interested in being sexual that day, and when I finally gave in and became sexual with him because I just wanted to focus on the movie we (or, at least, I) was watching and was really annoyed he wouldnít stop kissing and touching me sexually, he made a big show of acting as though he were about to cry because he felt bad heíd gotten us to be sexual when Iíd said earlier I didnít want to be. I said everything I could think of that I thought would convince him I wasnít upset and enjoyed what we just did (all the while, I was telling myself, ďYeah, right!Ē), but nonetheless, he kept sitting there acting like he was trying not to cry. I eventually got so frustrated that my efforts werenít working that I initiated sexuality in hopes itíd prove to J I meant what I just said (even though in truth I didnít). After that happened, J pretty much magically forgot about what heíd just done. So that really goes to show J wasnít sincere when he would say he felt bad about his actions.

As for the therapy issue: I prefer not to go into detail with this just because itís a very long and complicated story, but I donít think Dad really gets just how much what my first bf did to me affected (and still does affect) me. He has no idea what J did, let alone that he and I broke up almost 3 months ago (Iíve been blaming Jís busy college schedule), and honestly Dad and I have a very distant emotional relationship, so I donít even really know how to tell him that J hurt me. I donít think I can really tell anyone in my family because firstly, the reaction I got from the family member I did tell, and secondly, everyone was under the impression J was a really sweet and compassionate guy. I am unsure they would believe me. Dad did say, though, that if I wanted to restart therapy I could see a therapist closer to my house (the one Iíd been seeing was an hour away). I actually am going to get a rediagnosis of Aspergerís soon since my initial diagnosis was 10 years ago and I didnít really receive services for it since then, so to go to therapy and whatnot Iíd need a rediagnosis. I think once thatís straightened out, Iím going to try to get in with a therapist at a counseling center within walking distance of my house, as the center provides services for both Aspergerís and PTSD/sexual abuse/etc. The thing is, though, Iíd tried getting in with them before, and to be honest theyíre a bit pricey, so Iím not sure if thatís an option. However, as far as getting a rediagnosis of Aspergerís, I should know a little more about that tomorrow, so Iíll let you know as soon as I know more what my options look like.

I appreciate your being here Ė Iíve been feeling super alone with all this lately. Iím going to post another reply after this to respond to the other staff member who replied to me, and Iím going to say the same thing Iím about to say in that reply: since itís getting close to time for me to go to bed Iím going to leave off here as far as discussing emotional things go and discuss the other things that are on my mind when I am more awake and able to think a little less sleepily. But thank you again for being here.

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Fauna16Maude
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This reply is intended for September.

I also appreciate your feedback. Honestly, being strong throughout this all has been hands-down the hardest thing Iíve ever done. This is actually probably the most difficult time Iíve ever had in my life emotionally. But as I keep telling myself, I am still here and Iím still holding on, and thatís the most important thing at the end of the day.

Shortly after my realization J couldíve been considered as abusive towards me Ė in fact, it was within hours of my family memberís reaction to my telling her everything Ė I phoned a local rape crisis hotline Iíd used in the past regarding my first bad relationship. The volunteer I spoke to said the same thing: regardless of what happened, itís about my feelings, and so I have to deal with that as I see fit. Iíve been struggling with that a lot ever since then because like I said I wasnít even sure if I could put such words as ďabuseĒ or ďassaultĒ on Jís ignoring my ďnoísĒ and manipulating/coercing me Ė I still find it difficult to Ė but the bottom line is, I know how Iím feeling (well, in general, anyway), and I know that these feelings are really unpleasant, to say it in the most pleasant-flowery-candy-coated way I can. However, like I said in my response to Sam, Iíd rather not get into the details/more emotional things yet, but tomorrow when I have the chance I will say whatís on my mind and hopefully give you a better idea of how you can help me. Thank you sooo much for being here Ė really, it means the world to me. Iím going to go look at some cute and funny pictures now so I have something positive on my mind when I go to sleep.

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September
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I am glad to hear that you've also been given more helpful feedback and support fromt he rape crisis line. I know that sometimes just having your own feelings and suspicions confirmed from different places can be the most helpful thing for coming to terms with situations like that. Also because with issues of sexual assault and abuse, one can easily wind up feeling isolated, so it becomes all the more important to know that you're not alone.

Do take all the time you need, Fauna. It sounds like you know really well what you feel and what you need, and listening to your gut on this and going your own pace is a big part of processing and dealing.

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Johanna
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Sam W
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I'm glad to hear that therapy isn't off the table yet. I'm crossing my fingers that you get to restart. And I'm glad that you have been able to find places (both here and via the rape crisis line) that are helping you feel less alone and helping you confirm and the validate the emotions you are feeling.

I want to second what September said. You sound like you have a really strong grasp on what you need and how best to take care of yourself, and I think that is going to really help you as you move forward.

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello again,

As far as the receiving an Asperger's rediagnosis, it's going more slowly than I'd expected. Right now, though, I've got another concern. I know this is really late notice, but if you can offer any advice soon, that would be really helpful.

Tomorrow, my aunt and I are going out shopping. Then we're going to lunch, then we're going to visit my cousins and their newborn daughter (I'll be meeting her for the 1st time). Like I've said, I have told no one in my family about what happened with J aside from my cousin (I'd referred to her as just a family member when I explained everything in my first post). In fact, I think my aunt kind of thinks everything is picture-perfect for me right now...I've only gone out in public maybe 2 or 3 times in the past 3 or so months (ever since it started occurring to me J may have sexually abused me), and every time I did, I either had a panic attack or came close to one. I CANNOT tell my aunt about my panic disorder -- she will immediately see to it that I am put on medication to mask the problem, and that isn't something I either want or think will help (not that I'm saying medication isn't something I'll ever be interested in, but I would prefer to see a therapist in conjunction if I did take medication -- my aunt kind of gives me the impression she thinks taking an antidepressant will magically fix everything). So here's what I'm afraid of having happen: we'll be on a long car trip to go shopping and I'll have to pretend to be talkative and keep myself from breaking down and crying, which I've been doing a lot lately, I'll have at least one panic attack during the entire time, Heaven knows how things will go with my cousins, as I've barely spoken to my cousin since telling her everything (I know she was getting ready to give birth and everything, but I feel like, even if this just is a PTSD thing, she thinks differently of me in a negative way now because of what I did with J -- I feel like ever since telling her everything she's been cold towards me), and I certainly don't want to have a panic attack or break down crying with my newborn cousin in my arms. Also, I feel really paranoid -- even though I hold very reasonable and strong doubts J/his gf would be at any of the stores we're going to tomorrow, I can't shake the feeling I'm going to see him/him with his gf while we're out tomorrow and that will be an enormous, self-explanatory mess in and of itself. And also, even though I do everything I can to tell myself I will not have a panic attack and use every coping mechanism I know from receiving the diagnosis 7 years ago and from what my therapist suggested while I was still seeing her, it happens no. Matter. What. So...I guess I'm kind of freaking out now and feel terrified for something that should be one of the happiest moments of my life.

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September
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Oh Fauna, I am so sorry. You have so much on your plate already, a judgemental family member is the last thing that you need.

As you probably already know from experience, worrying about having a panic attacks is often one of the best ways to make sure we'll have a panic attack. So as impossible as this'll sound, the very best thing you can do for yourself is try to focus on other things and not worry so much.

One thing that might help with that is knowing that your aunt has absolutely zero power to put you on medication. The most she can do is make that suggestion to you. But she cannot force you to see a doctor and she certainly cannot make that doctor prescribe you medication they find unnecessary. And even if a doctor did think that anti-depressants would be a good choice for you, YOU would still have the last word.

So here's my suggestion: try to put aside your fears and focus on the fun parts - you get to go shopping and visist a brand-new baby. If you do start to feel panicky, don't try to hide or suppress. Just go through your coping mechanisms, and if your aunt or cousin notice, just tell them that you've been having a difficult time and have not been getting out much, and you're feeling a little overwhelmed.

I hope this helps a little, and you enjoy the outing!

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Johanna
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Fauna16Maude
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To September:
Well, my aunt should be here soon. It's already been a bit of a stressful morning, but I'm trying to focus on going out and having fun and meeting my new cousin. I don't know how this will go, but I'm trying to be positive and tell myself it's OK to have fun but it's also OK to ask for help if I feel panicky. So, thank you very much for the advice and I'll let you know how it goes [Smile]

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September
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Maude, I am heading out for the day now, but I just wanted to stop by and say that I hope you have/had a great day and everything went fine!

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Johanna
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Fauna16Maude
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Hello September,

There are a few other things I think I should discuss, but I'm going to save them for tomorrow since I'm pretty tired right now. But for now, I'll just say that today went OK -- actually, a lot better than I expected -- and even though anxiety/a near-panic attack was involved I still think today was more good than bad when considering my expectations. So thank you for asking, and thank you very much for your support [Smile]

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September
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That's awesome, Fauna! Glad to hear it! [Smile]

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Johanna
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Fauna16Maude
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I just want to say really quickly here that I think tomorrow might be a better day for me to discuss what I want to discuss, especially since it's really late in the day for me [Embarrassed] (I think that can be interpreted as a sleepy face?) I had a really long day today and am physically and mentally exhausted, so I'll try and post tomorrow instead when I'm feeling a little better. But I wanted to say I'm OK, just tired [Razz] and once again I appreciate your support so much [Smile] (Sorry for the Instant Graemlins attack; I just think they're really cute and spice up a post really nicely, ha ha)
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Fauna16Maude
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Hello again, I know I said I was going to try and discuss the other things I wanted to discuss, but thereís something else I kind of need to vent about. It does in a way tie into some of the things I want to discuss, which Iíll do when I can bring myself to do it since thereís more to the story than Iíve talked about here.
What I wanted to talk about is my situation with J and my best friend. Because Iím lazy [Big Grin] , Iím going to abbreviate ďbest friendĒ as ďbfĒ in this post just so you know and donít interpret it as ďboyfriend.Ē

Like I said, J and I broke up in mid-August. I told my bf in the beginning of September that I thought J could be considered to have been sexually abusive towards me, and she agreed as I said before. We hung out one day towards the end of September, and I told her in detail about some of the things that happened with J. She once again agreed he could be considered to have been sexually abusive towards me. We also discussed her own romantic situation: my bf, who is openly lesbian (aside from a few family members), had broken up with her gf for what she said was ďfor good.Ē Theyíd been dating since around the time J and I started dating, but my bf had broken up with her gf a few times and described her relationship with her as more negative and stressful than a source of happiness. She described her gfís behaviors towards her as emotionally abusive (she would call her ďfatĒ and say things we both interpreted as her encouraging her to self-harm), and she also was generally emotionally unsupportive and seemed indifferent towards how strongly my bf felt about her. Anyway, my bf seemed to take the breakup really well and said she didnít intend to talk to her again and she knew she deserved so much better. I honestly kind of envied how well my bf was handling things Ė she was maintaining a healthy social life and really enjoying getting used to going to college. I, on the other hand, (if I could sound sorry for myself) had pretty much no one else to talk to or spend time with, and I canít go to college until I get my license, which probably wonít be until January at the earliest. I have basically been stuck in the house since graduating high school almost 6 months ago. However, I had a strong feeling from my own experiences with dating abuse that my bf would go back to her gf and allow herself to feel guilty over her own feelings.

After that, my bf seldom spoke to me. She knew how upset I was over J, but I think she thought I was handling it a lot better than I was (even though Iíd said Iíd been doing tons of crying and my cousin didnít really realize how serious things were when I tried talking to her, as well as how nervous I was about getting my s.t.i. test in a few weeks). My bf kept telling me she thought I was mad at her because I didnít talk to her, and when I did, she felt like I was being distant and curt. We have sparsely spoken since then Ė aside from the 2 times she talked to me in-depth about her renewed relationship with her gf (and, of course, when my baby cousin was born). 2 weeks or so after my bf and I hung out, she told me she got back together with her gf and that she seemed to be making a lot more effort than she ever had in the almost 18 months theyíd dated. Then, 2 weeks after that, my bf told me she and her gf had made a promise to be together in the future and her gf had purchased a ring for her Ė she described it as ďpre-engagementĒ but referred to her gf purchasing the ring as ďproposingĒ to her. I have barely talked to her since then. I admitted I did feel a little jealous she is happy with her gf again, but I also said Iím genuinely happy for her (even though Iím scared her gf will go back to her old ways and start being emotionally hurtful again, once again from personal experience). I feel bad about admitting to my feelings of jealousy Ė I donít think my bf understands the jealousy wasnít because sheís happy, but because sheís ďpre-engagedĒ to a person who was abusive towards her but who, at least for now, has changed her ways while I have to fight with everything I have just to get through the day because of how things played out with J.

Anyway, not too long ago, my bf asked me if a classmate could ask me some interview questions about my bf. I agreed, and I received them last night (email). I was expecting them to be along the lines of what is my bfís favorite color, what are some characteristics my bf has, etc. I wasnít totally wrong about that, but honestly, a lot of the questions were really upsetting Ė even triggering. My bfís classmate asked me what her gf (actually, she referred to her as her fiancť, which was, in a way, news to me) is like (I donít know how to honestly answer that), if I felt my bf has met her soulmate in her gf (or fiancť) (I DEFINITELY donít know how to honestly answer that), how Iíve helped my bf through her anxiety/depression, if Iím as supportive to my bf as she is to me, when Iíve seen my bf at her most vulnerable. Honestly, a lot of the questions Iím uncomfortable with just because theyíre touchy questions Ė I donít know if my bfís classmate knows my bf has self-harmed and has attempted suicide or if she lives with an alcoholic parent, so I donít know if I should answer those questions and inadvertently give out information about my bf she thought Iíd keep secret and thereby betray her. Also, I feel a little insulted, too Ė one of the questions dealt with my bfís strongly rooted religion. My bf knows Iíve identified as atheist for years now, so I donít really know how to answer a question about something I donít have any feelings/beliefs toward or donít take part in and canít understand because I donít participate in it. I donít think my bf realized these questions could be sort of triggering for me Ė I donít want to sound sarcastic, because Iím not being sarcastic, but I doubt she wouldíve taken the time to think: ďMaybe asking [Fauna] about how she feels about me becoming engaged to my gf just barely a month after I broke up with her because sheíd been emotionally abusive isnít a good idea because it might get her thinking about her own past.Ē I was already fairly deep into a crying spell when I got my bfís classmateís email containing the questions, and then a few minutes after that, my bf emailed me and said her classmate told her to tell me she prefers I have them answered and sent back to her tomorrow (today). So last night was not a good night, sigh [Frown]

I do want to tell my bfís classmate Iím not comfortable answering these questions (which is an understatement if you ask me because I feel triggered just by reading them, so I donít know how Iíd handle writing in-depth answers to them). But the thing is, I donít want the classmate to have to get in trouble or have to redo the assignment especially when she expected them answered and returned today, and, more importantly, even if I just say ďI donít feel comfortable answering these because I donít want to disclose information Iím not sure youíre already aware ofĒ my bf probably wonít be too happy Ė Iím scared she might blame me for getting her classmate in trouble or say I'm acting weird by responding that way. That said, Iím certainly scared of telling her the main reason I donít want to answer them Ė because theyíre triggering. If I do that, Iím not sure sheíll really understand (Iím scared sheíll say something like ďJust because you just got out of a bad relationship doesnít mean itís OK for you to avoid the fact other people can be happyĒ) or Ė groan Ė inadvertently guilt-trip me by going ďOhhh I feel sooo bad that you were triggered I feel like the worst bf ever Iím so sorry!Ē The fact that my bf hasnít really been there for me (and, since I just realized I havenít mentioned this, kind of ignored me when I did email her crying to tell her about my negative feelings regarding J) *really* doesnít help. I know that my recently getting out of a bad relationship doesnít mean itís justified for me to avoid the fact others can be happy, but on the other hand, I feel like the opposite goes for my bf: just because sheís really happy doesnít mean that my emotional pain magically vanished or became ignorable/taboo to discuss. Iím not even really sure sheís been intentionally avoiding me; however, I feel kind of disappointed in her since she knows (a little too well) that regarding my traumas, I really, really need support from others to talk about it, and also I have a bad habit of bottling a lot of things inside. I feel like ever since she renewed her relationship with her gf (or fiancť or whatever she refers to her as Ė I donít really know what to believe because my bf said it was a ďpre-engagementĒ but her gf proposed and is now her fiancť and Iím not sure what she wants me to think), sheís had even less time to talk to me because I *know* from what things were like in the past that she spends all the time she can with her gf Ė indeed, weíve barely spoken since she got back together with her. I feel even more afraid than I did before to open up to my bf because I know if I do sheís probably going to go ďOh, me and my gf are soooooooo very happy together and she doesnít emotionally abuse me anymore and things are just grand!Ē which, like I said, doesnít upset me because sheís happy, but because I donít think she realizes what a struggle Iím going through. Also, Iím kind of scared about how much regarding me and J sheís told her gf (who, as far as I know, is friends with J) since I really donít want to get rumors started or have him retaliate against me, and the fact my bf goes to college with him and sees him on a regular basis doesnít help my concernsÖ

Grrr a very yucky feeling this is [Mad]

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

No worries on the venting, this sounds like a stressful situation. As far as the interview stuff goes, I think a good place to start, if you haven't already, is to get in touch with you bf and say "hey, I got the questions, and some of them are on very touchy matter. I don't want to disclose anything super personal about you that you don't want disclosed. And, some of the content is really difficult for me to answer given the situation with J. What do you think we should do?" My vote is that classmate either modify the questions or that they find someone else to answer them, as having you do so may put you in a very uncomfortable place.

As for your worries about her disclosing stuff about your feelings to her partner and/or J, I think that's a topic for a separate discussion. But I think it's totally reasonable for you to say, "hey, I know you and gf both see/speak to J, and I just wanted to say that it is really important to me that the things I tell you in confidence don't make it back to him." BF sounds like she's on your side, so she may already be consciously doing this, but mentioning it might still be good.

Finally, as far as your feelings about her current relationship go, I have a few thoughts. I think the best course of action is to be happy for her when she brings up the engagement (as it sounds like you are) and remind yourself that she isn't having this relationship AT you. However, I also think it's OK to process your feelings of jealousy. And, if it feels like every conversation with bf turns into her gushing about how great it is that gf has turned over a new leaf, I think you are allowed to say "hey, talking about this is making me have unpleasant feelings due to the whole J thing. Can we talk about something else?"

Do those sound like conversations that you think will be helpful?

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello Sam,

Well, I directly told my bf I wasnít sure about answering the questions because I didnít know how much about her her classmate knew, but I also implied I was uncertain for the other reasons I discussed by telling her Iíd feel better if another friend answered (I know that canít exactly be interpreted as me saying itís triggering for me, but my Asperger-y mind thought maybe sheíd get the hint by me suggesting she have another person answer). She asked me to just answer them the best I can, then before I could get another word in, she told me she was ďdepending on me.Ē So I felt guilty and answered them and emailed them to her classmate. To be very honest, I felt kind of dissociated all day Thursday after that, and Friday was also particularly hard to get through.

My bf has never said that sheís telling anything to her gf about J, but I suppose I feel concerned because of how close they are, and even if sheís telling her for her own safety (like if she feels concerned J might try hurting her even though Iím not even sure theyíre still friends anyway), considering the fact her gf is possibly still friends with J, Iím just scared word will get back to J. I just donít know what my bf wouldíve told her gf about me and J breaking up or, in the event J and the gf do still speak, if she wouldíve felt suspicious because what J said probably wouldnít match up with what my bf wouldíve said. Iím not sure if Iím just being paranoid about that or what.

The thing is, like I said, I havenít seen my bf in 2 months last Thursday actually, and we barely even have talked since then, so I know when we do see each other again or have a serious conversation sheís going to want to go on and on about her gf ceasing her abusive ways. I donít want her thinking Iím not happy, but I donít think she realizes itís triggering for me or how itís triggering. Honestly, it can be something as simple as thinking, ďOh, my bf is in a relationship with someone sheíd been friends with for years. Like J and I had beenÖĒ or, ďMy bf has been dating her gf since spring 2012. Which is when J and I started datingÖĒ You get the picture. It isnít even that Iím purposely allowing one thought to lead into another; itís that some things, like the fact a years-long friendship existed between my bf and her gf or the fact they started dating around the same time J and I did Ė the connotations Iíd placed on certain things long before I even started realizing J was hurting me Ė I kind of automatically think about along with the basic facts, if that makes sense. I think my biggest concern here is that my bf thinks Iím doing OK, but the truth is, not only does she not know Iím not doing as OK as she probably thinks, but I donít think Iím doing well at all. Like I was saying before, she thinks Iím mad when I donít feel up to talking, and to be honest I have a hard time opening up as it is. I feel a little scared to broach the topic of whatís sheís disclosed to her gf because Iím scared sheíll think I am mad and I donít trust her or something considering we havenít been speaking. Also, even though my bf was supportive around the time J and I broke up, there were things that happened between us that made me feel even more uncomfortable talking to her about things. For example, when I admitted that Iíd had a self-harm relapse in the end of July the week after the last time I saw J (not just because of that, but because my family was going through an extremely difficult time), she didnít understand (she got pretty mad at me) and even said in response, "*I'll* cut you."(even though she has struggled with self-harm and Iíd done my best to support her -- I guess I felt confused why she'd react like that when she herself has self-harmed and I never got angry with her, and also she'd never acted so angry when I'd self-harmed before and she knew for the most part what was going on with my family and that my relationship w/J was disintegrating). I guessÖIím not mad at my bf or blame her for anything. I think Iím subconsciously afraid that the impact of J and everything else I will discuss soon is way bigger than I thought and itís affecting me and my life in more adverse ways than I thought, for example, my relationship with my bf. Iím scared itís affecting my life way, way more seriously than I realize or than I can handle. It doesnít really have to do with my bf at all when I think of that, if all of this makes sense.

Iím taking a break from helping out with housecleaning and doing some other chores, but I think when I finish with everything Iím going to sit down and type out a big venting session about all the other things on my mind. Maybe things will make more sense then since I feel like Iím having a hard time expressing my thoughts/feelings right now, ha ha.

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

Ok, before I mention anything else, I want to say that your bf's reaction to your self-harm relapse was really not cool. I could see why it would confuse you, and why it would make you unwilling to bring up other sensitive topics with her.

While I do think it's accurate to say that your relationship with J is having negative effects on other parts of your life, I don't think your BF's behavior is without problems. If you don't mind my asking, did your bf and you start to drift apart right after your break-up with J, or was the relationship already changing prior to that?

It sounds to me like you really don't want to re-start hanging out with your bf. What do you think would happen if you kept your friendship with her scaled back and started focusing on building up other friend groups?

If you do end up in a heavy duty conversation with her, and her relationship (or anything else that triggers you) starts to come up, I think the best bet is to be direct and say "hey, I am really happy for you. But talking about this is flashing me back to unpleasant thoughts about J. Could we talk about something else for a bit?"

She may be a little taken aback, or a little angry, but those are her emotions. If she wants you two to be open with each other, she needs to accept that what you're feeling may not be exactly what she wants it to be.

Has the situation around counseling changed? I think a counselor will not only help you cope with the effects of J, but can also give you some mental tools to help push thoughts of him out when they start to float through your brain.

You can always vent away. And believe me, from my end you are expressing your thoughts and feelings very clearly.

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello Sam,

I think since I didnít realize just how involved my situation with my bf is, Iím going to respond to your message about that before I do any other venting.

Well, after she said that, my bf said she did understand because she knows how overwhelming emotions can be, but honestly she said it in kind of a dismissive way, at least that is how I felt. What hurt/confused me even more is that about 3 weeks before that, Iíd stayed up with her for a while talking to her because sheíd cut. (In fact, she was cutting while we were emailing.) Like Iíve said before, sheís been through a lot herself what with self-harm and having an alcoholic parent, but to be brutally honest, while it might just be because I hold things in, I feel like Iím there for her more than she is for me. From spring 2012 up until when she split with her in September, I did my best to be there for my bf when she was having a hard time/was being abused by her gf, as well as when sheíd self-harm. So I donít really get, after telling her everything that happened with J, why not so much she isnít there for me as much as I was for her, but more sheís giving me the impression she is just assuming Iím OK because I havenít said anything when firstly, she knows to a degree what I went through, secondly, she knows I hold things in and am good at putting on a fake smile. To me, having known my best friend for close to 15 years, that seems really odd that sheíd react in such an angry way to my own act of self-harm and that sheís just assuming Iím OK when she knows how much I was affected by just 6 weeks of dating my perpetrator compared to almost 15 months with J (Iíd had a stay in a psychiatric hospital about 16 months after things with my perpetrator happened Ė it was before I began therapy).

When things were happening with J, i.e., throughout the week or so from the time I told him Iíd had enough to our actually breaking up, my bf was really supportive. Iíd email her and vent, and she always got back to me. Honestly, since, like I said in the previous paragraph, I donít usually open up about things and I feel like my bfís getting more out of the friendship than I am, it was probably the most support sheíd ever shown for me, at least in a short period of time. I seriously think her deciding to get back together with her gf was the catalyst for all the things that have been happening between me and my bf lately. As Iíve previously mentioned, my bf would spend every minute she could with her gf throughout their whole relationship Ė in fact, I even remember at least once my bf told me she felt like we were drifting apart because she was now in a serious relationship, and I agreed with her. And I think that spending all the time she can with her gf is what my bfís been doing, especially considering sheís claiming her relationship with her gf has never been better. I might sound like a jealous little kid, but I feel almost like Iíve been replaced Ė well, thatís the best word I can think of. I feel like, since my bf spends so much time with her gf, she tells her a lot more, and her gfís more aware of whatís going on in my bfís life. I personally believe your partner should be someone you consider a close, if not a best, friend in order for the relationship to work out, and thatís what I want for my bf to see in her gf. But Iíd think that sheíd at least check up on me every so often since she knows what Iíve gone through in these past few months Ė I just feel like considering all the things Iíve been through recently, my bf just abandoned me when she resumed her relationship with her gf, that sheís so preoccupied with her gf and the fact her gf has changed so much that they became engaged within barely a month of starting dating again that she doesnít want to have to deal with my concerns because sheís finally found happiness. And to be honest, I think maybe thatís a subconscious reason Iím keeping myself from opening up to my bf in addition to the other reasons Iíve discussed Ė I feel like, considering weíve both been hurt by the people we love and came so far for, by opening up to my bf about my feelings regarding J, Iím just souring her finally getting happiness with the person she loves. Might I just add as an ending note for this paragraph: I have a very strong feeling my bfís gf will resume her abusive ways eventually, if not soon, as sheís exhibited the treat-you-really-well-then-abuse-you-again cycle Ė I donít want to sound mean, but not only will it hurt me a lot, but itíll be something I know I canít handle if/when my bf comes to me in need of support when she hasnít exactly done that for me.

If I might sound mean for a minute, I kind of laughed a little when I read what you said about scaling back my relationship with my bf. Thereís no scaling back to be done. Aside from me answering the interview questions for her assignment, the only times my bf and I have seriously talked in the past 3 or so months are when she told me about how sheíd resumed her relationship with her gf and things were a lot better, when they became engaged, and when my baby cousin was born. I really do feel as though my bf abandoned me. I think the reason I feel so abandoned is because honestly, at that point, she was the only friend I had left (I have another close friend Iíd told everything about J to aside from the s.t.i. testing part, but she lives in another state than me, so we can only talk so often; also, while she agreed it was best I got out of my relationship with J, she didnít really seem to get that it was traumatic for me, not just painful in a breakup-y kind of way, and I donít want to have to push the issue any farther than I already have, at least not anytime soon). Iíve started talking to 2 friends I lost contact with over time, but to be honest, I can only talk sporadically with 1 friend, and the other friend, who is also a rape/dating violence survivor, comes to me a lot when sheís upset and is in a relationship sheís described as unhealthy and actually quite similar to how mine was with J. And also, since I have Aspergerís, socializing is EXTREMELY hard for me. I was always kind of a loner throughout middle/high (and even elementary) school, not so much because I chose to be, but because despite my efforts I could never really form close friendships, let alone relationships I could consider friendships. Like I said, college is still a while in the future for me yet, and since I already have a hard time opening up as it is, Iím not really sure how to make friends even though Iím in my late teens and only really develop lasting friendships when the other person makes the moves (since I donít really know what said moves are or how to make them). Also, (another vent here, ha ha), like I said Iím scared J has impacted my life more than I realize Ė Iíve been trying really hard not to admit this, but I think my agoraphobia is coming back slowly but surely. Going out in public, whether it be to the store or for a walk, is really difficult because not only do I feel like Iím on guard in case J appears (I already have run it through my head several times how I would avoid eye contact and get away quickly, if not by running away, so J wonít have a chance to approach me and try talking to me), but as Iíve said, Iíve been dealing with panic disorder again for several months now. I feel kind of alone with that because like I said in a previous post, my aunt isnít exactly supportive Ė when we went shopping a few weeks ago and I started feeling carsick, she said it was probably anxiety and I did much better when I was on sertraline. My dad isnít really someone I feel comfortable talking with about my panic attacks because of how emotionally distant we are Ė broaching these sorts of topics is awkward and difficult Ė and so my auntís kind of the only person I can go to. (sigh) OK I donít want to go on here, but making new friends is something I not only have always had great difficulty with, but also something I honestly feel afraid of because Iím more afraid than I ever have been of opening up to anyone, particularly people I donít know well/at all. Iíd had to do weeks of mental/emotional preparing myself to start this thread and thus open up about all this.

Well, to be honest, thatís what Iíll have to do Ė Iím kind of anticipating a whole ďjust-because-youíve-been-hurt-doesnít-mean-others-canít-be-happyĒ speech and for her to be angry. But once again being honest, I donít even know when that conversation will occur, if it does occur, since my bf doesnít talk to me unless itís about her gf Ė she doesnít really seem interested in talking to me anymore.

Iíve been meaning to mention this, but I contacted my stateís vocational/rehabilitation center, and Iím waiting to hear back so we can schedule a meeting and I can undergo Aspergerís testing. From there, I can find a counselor who can help me with both my Aspergerís and my feelings regarding J. I know I donít have to wait for an Aspergerís re-diagnosis to get counseling for my other concerns, but itíd be easier for us that way, especially considering Iíd like to be re-diagnosed for other reasons, e.g., possible training for a job, specialized emotional/learning support in college, etc.

Iím glad youíre able to interpret my expressed thoughts/feelings well Ė as Iíve probably made pretty clear here, ha ha, I honestly donít really have anyone I can discuss this with, and opening up is difficult and really terrifying for me to do as mentioned. So thank you *very* much for being here and letting me vent my heart out. And also, thank you for being very tolerant of my chronic overuse of the phrases ďhonestly,Ē ďto be honest,Ē etc. [Razz]

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

I just wanted to let you know that I'd seen your message. I am really, really glad to hear that you've been able to take steps towards getting counseling and support. And as always, I am glad that you feel comfortable and safe talking about stuff with me and the other volunteers on the site.

I am going to hunt around in the next few days and try to come up with some resources and tools you can use until you're able to access counseling, as well as good resources for making social connections. I just want to give you the heads up that it may take a few days due to my work/family schedule.

I do want to mention that I think that keeping contact with BF scaled down will ultimately be good for you, and that it was a good call to try and re-connect with some other friends. I will say that, for some folks I know who have been diagnosed with Aspergers, the transition to college was very positive in terms of them being able to make new, positive connections with folks (colleges tend to have better access to resources, and more and varied social things going on than high school does). So while that is not super helpful to your situation now, it can be a good thing to keep in your head when you think about the future.

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello again,

I understand, Sam, youíve got other things to take care of Ė please take your time. Thereís no rush. I myself am taking my time with my big vent session since itís difficult for me to think and write about things. Right now, Iíve got yet another concern Ė you have to love how I keep throwing issues at you, right? [Big Grin] I wanted to post this in the Questions and Answers section of the main website, but I prefer to have an answer soon since I know receiving answers on Q&A can take a while. So I thought Iíd ask it here since it's related to J.

I know I said when I visited my GYN a few months after breaking up with J she determined the chances of me having contracted any STIs, orally or vaginally, were extremely small. But what I didnít mention is that she said that even though J was unsuccessful at penetrating me, since there was genital-to-genital contact, Iím at risk for having contracted herpes and HPV. (Which, thanks to my frantic reading and researching on this site prior to my exam about what my highest risks were, I already knew.) The thing is, though, she canít test me for HPV (Pap test) until Iím 21, and a herpes test would be useless because since sheíd test to see if Iíd been exposed to the virus rather than had it in my body right now (specifically from having caught it off J), Iíd automatically test positive for herpes because I used to get cold sores as a child but mustíve fought the virus off. Other than that, she didn't say much on what to do if I were to develop symptoms of herpes/HPV.

So anyway, about a month ago, I found a small bump on my genital area while showering, on my right labium majorum where the ďregularĒ skin and mucous membrane joins. It was of considerable size, and while it was only a little sore, it did cause some itchiness. It eventually went away in about 2 weeks or so. Then, a few days ago, I found another bump. This time, the bump is right next to my vaginal opening. It is sorer than the last bump (kind of a burning/stinging pain), and while I might just be imagining it because Iím a little scared, Iíve been getting similar pains throughout my vulva, although the bump I mentioned is the only one Iíve found/am aware of. Both of the bumps Iíve had are the same color as the skin surrounding them and didnít have any drainage going on. Also, I noticed a small white spot under my clitoral hood, directly next to my clitoris. Itís not sore or itchy or anything, but Iím not sure if itís related to the bumps or even if itís normal. I maintain regular hygiene and take care not to ďoverclean,Ē so Iím not sure if my hygiene habits couldíve caused anything.

Iíve read over your articles on STIs, specifically the ones on herpes and HPV/warts. Iíve only had singular bumps, not bumps in clusters, and while I wasnít really able to get a good look at the bumps with my trusty-but-nonetheless-dinky hand mirror, Iím pretty sure theyíre just little round bumps that donít have heads or are cauliflower-y in appearance. I know those symptoms arenít necessarily set in stone for the infections they may indicate (I know genital warts donít necessarily always look cauliflower-y or occur several at a time rather than just one at a time, for example), but, wellÖto be very honest, I knew pretty much nothing about sexual health, STIs, and the like until after I broke up with J and realized the many things that had gone wrong/shouldíve happened, so only then did I start looking into sexual health matters like STIs. So I still don't know *all* that much even though this site has helped a lot.

I understand diagnosing medical conditions isnít something youíre authorized to do, but I suppose my biggest concern about all this is that Iím not sure who to turn to in the event these bumps keep appearing/get worse/etc. I have an annual GYN exam scheduled for the end of January, and also, Iím planning on receiving my first dose of HPV vaccine then (Iíd told my GYN when I visited her in October for the STI concern that was what I was planning on doing.) But thatís still nearly 2 months away. My cousin, as I said before, kind of brushed everything aside as just a typical teenage experience and doesnít know/understand how much everythingís affected (and is still affecting) me, and sheís my first go-to person with these things. Itíd be hard to open up to her about this since in addition to how she reacted when I tried telling her, she hasnít discussed the topic of J since I did in early October to tell her about my GYN exam, and also sheís still adjusting to having a baby to care for. My next go-to person, my aunt (who is also my mother figure, since I donít think Iíve mentioned that before), doesnít even know I broke up with J (unless she figured it out, which I donít think she has), let alone what had happened between us or the health concerns Iíd had. I told my dad the reason I had to see my GYN in October was because my annual exam in January didnít go well Ė Iíd seen a different GYN who was really insensitive about my having been sexually assaulted Ė not because I was concerned about having contracted STIs from J. My familyís always been weird about sex, so I never got a talk about condoms or birth control or anything like that in my relationship with my abusive ex-bf or in either of my relationships with J. (Actually, no one ever gave me ďThe TalkĒ at all; I had to learn about sex and anatomies and all those sorts of things on my own.) The only thing my auntís really ever said to me about sex was about 6 months after I started dating J the 2nd time, when she said something like ďYouíre a legal adult, so you know what youíre doing.Ē So I donít know how on Earth to broach this topic with her should I need to. I suppose you could say I feel kind of alone with this and scared since Iíve got what my own health professional told me to corroborate my fears/concerns. And yes, Iíd probably look like a very good freaking-out-er if these bumps arenít really anything, but itís still a scary feeling since herpes/HPV is a very real possibility and my GYN herself said so as mentioned.

To finish this post on a bright but also unrelated note, I have a meeting in a week and a half with a counselor from my stateís occupational disability center (or whatever theyíre called) to make arrangements to see a psychologist and potentially get a new Aspergerís diagnosis [Smile]

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hooray for positive news on the counselor front!

You're right when you say that it isn't our place on this site to diagnose what the bumps you are having are. As you've said yourself, they don't match the descriptions of herpes and you don't sound like you're having other symptoms. However, if these bumps are starting to be painful and are making you stressed, it might be a good idea to go in to see your OB-GYN (or another health-care professional) sooner than your appointment.

I want to add that a pap smear can detect precancerous conditions that are usually caused by HPV, but it isn't a direct test for the virus itself. That's done via a tissue sample taken during an exam. So, if your OBGYN thinks there's a risk of HPV, that may be an option to test for it.

Now, when you ask about broaching the issue with your aunt, do you mean the desire to go see someone about the bumps, or a worry about how to talk to her should you discover that you test positive for HPV or herpes?

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello Sam,

Yes, very positive Ė thank you [Smile]

Youíre right Ė Iím not having any additional symptoms asides from the weird bumps and pain/itching even where there arenít bumps. Iíve had the occasional little bump appear every once in a while before I had ever been sexual with anyone at all, but they were usually smaller and went away quickly. When I told my cousin about those, she said they were probably just irritation or something like that even though they didnít hurt or itch. But the fact these ones appeared one after the other and are causing a little discomfort kind of has me concerned, especially considering the fact my GYN herself said herpes/warts are possible.

I have heard that HPV can be detected in females through blood/urine tests, although I donít know if thatís true. The only thing I do know is true is that like I said, my GYN said she wonít start doing Pap tests on me (which she indirectly referred to as an HPV test even though I already knew it tests for abnormal cells caused by the virus rather than the virus itself) (not to be smart, ha ha) for another few years. She said I really shouldnít be worried about HPV/herpes because they are so extremely common and my body would probably have fought off the HPV, if not the herpes as well, but like I said she didnít really explain what symptoms to look out for. I probably shouldíve asked, but I was already really nervous and not in a very positive mindset since I more or less went to the GYNís office already convinced I had at least one STI considering Jís considerable sexual history/experiences. (sigh)

Well, I can pretty much give you one answer to both your questions regarding my aunt. Iím scared to tell her about wanting to see a doctor about the bumps Iíve been having not so much bc it means I will have to tell her Iíve been sexual with J, but rather because I feel scared sheíll blame me for us not having used condoms (even though they only offer a certain degree of protection, especially from herpes/warts) Ė which will then lead me into having to explain I had my wish to use condoms ignored by J (which sheíll probably find a way to shoot down and make me feel bad about), which was because of a) how he was aware I had very little (forced) sexual experience and knew almost nothing about safer sex and took advantage of that, at least I feel like he did, b) I didnít really think about the relationship about condoms and STIs and wasnít exactly in a position where I could purchase condoms myself, and c) because of how he was treating me, which I didnít think was wrong because I felt kind of powerless and also didnít know much of anything regarding safer sex or STIs or even what could be considered as consent/coercionÖyou get the picture. The point is, Iím scared to tell my family what happened with J not just because I still canít really accept J couldíve been considered to have been abusive towards me (ignoring my wishes and trying to arouse me anyway no matter how many times I tried to say no and stop him, the occasional use of force by pushing back when I tried to push him away, etc.), but bc Iím not really sure theyíll believe me. My cousin has given me the impression she doesnít believe me/doesnít know how much this has affected me, and so if I tell my aunt and my aunt believes me, Iím scared my cousin will try to say otherwise with her views on the matter, maybe even make me feel bad by saying Iím just trying to make an excuse for my own behavior I now regret or by saying Iím crying rape when sheís seen others go through so much worse. And also, Iíd done lots of praising and speaking highly of J throughout our entire almost-15-month relationship even though Iíd felt uncomfortable since Day 1 of our 2nd relationship, and my aunt told me several times how highly she thinks of J, so I guess I feel scared that since my aunt (and the rest of my family) has very high views of J, sheíll think Iím trying to get back at him for breaking up with me a 2nd time and/or Iím trying to cover up a sexual experience I feel ashamed/regretful about by making it Jís fault. To be honest, I feel like if I do try and open up to my aunt, I *will* be just getting revenge on J or trying to make something he didnít do his fault to justify my regret. So the point is, Iím scared to talk to my aunt about this because Iím scared to have to tell her what really happened Ė for reasons of not even feeling certain Iíve got the right to say I think I mightíve been abused, and I donít want to do this to J, and I really do feel ashamed and embarrassed and Iím not sure anyone in my family would believe me. I just feel really guilty and ashamed and embarrassed and dirty and generally just bleh about all this, so even though I may sound like Iím thinking way too far ahead or overthinking things, Iím just really scared to have to tell my family in the event these bumps keep happening or get worse because I feel really embarrassed and ashamed, and my aunt will probably blame me and make me feel even more embarrassed/ashamed. I guess I feel like I shouldnít have to feel scared of my aunt blaming me because I feel like this is partially my fault since I didnít really think about STIs, and my aunt will probably ask me if it didnít occur to me I couldíve caught all sorts of infections since J hadnít been tested before we starting being sexual and didnít I care enough to use condoms. Grr I just feel guilty and ashamed and dirty about all this so thatís why Iím scared to open up to my aunt about my health concerns, as Iíve rambled about here for a while now -- I'm sorry I tend to go on and on about things, ha ha. [Frown]

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Molias
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It really sounds like you're second-guessing yourself a lot here. If it helps to hear it again - you absolutely have the right to say that you think your relationship might have been abusive or coercive. You saying that to someone else doesn't mean you're trying to get revenge; it's you being honest about your feelings. I don't know how your aunt might react if you do talk to her about any of this, but if she does react poorly, or blame you for what happened in your relationship with J, that's all on her, and not on you. I realize it means you're still dealing with her being unpleasant and victim-blaming in that case, but it really doesn't mean she's right, even if she says those things to you.

But certainly if she says things like "if things were so bad, why did you talk about how great he was?" you can have a conversation about not wanting to lose J as a friend, or your conflicted feelings, or how it's taken you a while to really put the pieces together. Maybe if you talk to her, you can say that what you really need from her is support and not judgment (or even the specific kind of support: "you can help me by taking me to the doctor" or whatever fits the situation). And actually, the new psychologist you see might be a great resource for more ideas of how to talk about some of these issues with your family.

I am a little confused as to why your GYN doesn't want to start pap tests until you're 21, but you'd be well within your rights to ask for one now. I agree with Sam that if the bumps you're noticing start to be painful you could try to get in to see your doctor earlier, but if talking to your aunt in order to get there will add another layer of stress that you don't want to deal with, you could hold out and just see how it goes to wait until January.

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello Molias,

On one hand, I want to say, ďYes, thank you for recognizing my second-guessing myself!Ē and on the other hand, I feel bad/afraid about doing that. I think the reason Iím doing that isnít even because Iím afraid of my aunt having the kinds of reactions you described. Rather, itís because by telling someone, itíll mean Iíd have to go through that whole process again when I already did that 3 years ago even if it was with another bf, and itíll kind of make it more real for me that it was J, a person Iíd loved and considered a best friend for years, who did all these things to me. I suppose I am a little scared my aunt will react in a way similar to how my cousin did: she wonít realize how serious it is, or sheíll say it was just something I wasnít really sure or comfortable about what happened between me and J. I think, though, what Iím really afraid of is, in the event my aunt does believe me, how she and my dad will react considering their reactions regarding my other ex-bf: my dad talked about going after my ex-bf and hurting him, and my aunt said some things that werenít too pleasant. I know my dad wouldnít actually go after J and hurt him (I hope not, anyway!), but the fact he would have thoughts about hurting J and my aunt would say things about J upsets me because as mentioned, J was way more than just a bf to me, and in a way, I still do love him for having been a friend for so many years (although I have NO intentions of reconnecting with him, and honestly thoughts of talking to him or seeing him make me feel afraid). So if that clarifies anything, those are the reasons I still canít really accept how I feel and what happened. I basically canít accept it happened to me again or that it was J who did it to me.

Iím hoping that whenever I do open up to my aunt about things that sheíll have a reaction more like the 2nd one you described Ė sheíd be a little more understanding and supportive. I think another reason Iím scared to open up is because considering the fact my cousin is, after all, her daughter, and theyíre very close, if/when my aunt says something to my cousin, my cousin will have some of her own opinions to offer. And even if my cousin does accept that I feel like J was abusive and manipulative towards me, she wonít exactly be supportive because she doesnít see how Iím able to view things as abuse/manipulation even though I explained things in detail. I donít know; maybe Iím thinking too much/too far ahead, ha ha.

I know other girls who had their first Pap test when they were 16, and they hadnít requested one and just had it as part of a routine exam, so I donít know if itís some policy my GYNís office has or what. I shouldíve mentioned this before, but another thing is, as Iíve mentioned earlier in this thread, I have vaginismus, so even pediatric-size vaginal speculums donít like me too much. My GYN did try to insert a pediatric speculum when I went in October (I honestly donít remember if she just wanted to look at my cervix/inner vaginal tissues or if she was going to do a Pap test; I was really nervous and donít remember), but it wouldnít work. So regardless of whether I told my aunt about things and the conversation went well and I was able to see my GYN for a Pap test before my annual exam in January or whether I had to hang in there until January, a Pap test probably would be impossible, or, at best, extremely painful and difficult for me (Iíd talked to my GYN about possibly undergoing sedation/anesthesia to have the Pap test done, but she said her office doesnít do that, and I donít know of any other GYN/womenís health clinics in my area, at least not any who take my insurance, who could do that). Either way, Iím thinking at least for now since I donít know if Iíll be ready to tell my aunt about things any time soon Iím going to just try and tough things out until January (unless the bumps worsen, but Iíll cross that bridge when I get there).

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi faunamaude,
Not wanting to have a re-do of the unpleasant emotions from your first ex is a totally reasonable reaction to be having, especially given how stressful it sounds like it was. I think, ultimately, you get decide when/if you tell people about J. You have the best sense of anybody about what info is relevant to a given situation. And, you get to decide what info is even relevant to a given conversation.

As rough as it is, accepting what J did to you may be a longer process than you wish it was. It can really, really suck to be hurt by someone you care for, and that hurt can leave you with a lot of emotions to sort through. I think this is where counseling is going to be helpful, as your counselor can help you work through your thoughts and feelings around what happened with J.

As far as being worried about your dad/aunt having negative reactions when you tell them what happened, those emotions are theirs to deal with, not yours. However, if you tell one of them and they start to go on about how angry they are with J or what they want to do to him, using Mo's tactic of being very direct about what you need from them. For instance, if your aunt starts saying negative things, you could try saying something like "I understand that this is upsetting to hear and that you are angry with him, but negativity directed towards him is not going to help me. What I really need from you right now is support/a ride to the doctor/etc."

One question you might ask your OB GYN when you next see her is, given that she nixed the sedation option, how she proposes to do a pap smear if it proves necessary, just to see what options you have available.

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello Sam,

Like you said, being hurt by someone you love isnít a very pleasant situation to find yourself in to say the least, so that, combined with my ill feelings regarding having to redo telling my family I was hurt and my concerns about my familyís reactions, is why Iím having a really hard time with bringing myself to say anything, at least that is what I think. However, as both you and Molias pointed out, Iím in control of who I tell, what I tell, when I decide to tell, etc., as well as stating what I need/want, so that does bring me a sense of comfort, especially since itís about something that happened in which I didnít really have a lot of control (if any) over what was happening.

I think my biggest concern about my familyís reactions when I tell, whenever that time comes, is my cousinís reaction. Yes, my dad might go a little extreme with his reaction and make all sorts of threats and whatnot, but heís also the type who plays the ďif-we-ignore-it-it-will-never-have-happenedĒ card when heís stressed out, so even though that probably wonít be a good thing for me in the long run, at least I can sleep at night knowing thatís how he is so he probably wonít act upon his threats. Anyway, like Iíve said in the past, I might be overanalyzing or looking too far ahead into the future, but Iím just scared my cousin will tell me again what happened wasnít really abuse or something like that and the reason Iím so upset is just because Iím regretful now. So Iím kind of scared of what sheíll say or do whenever the time does come for me to tell my family in the event word gets back to her. However, Iím trying to keep in mind that the way I feel is most important, and since *I* know how *Iím* feeling, I best know what I need to handle these feelings. (Iím sorry I like to put words in stars a lot, ha ha Ė I canít figure out how to use italics in my posts.)

Also, I have a question about counseling Iím not sure you would know more about. Like I said before about the medical thing, I know you canít exactly offer legal advice or anything and anyway it probably differs from state to state (I live in the U.S.). But I was thinking that, since when things first started with J I was still a legal minor (although above the age of consent) and J was a legal adult, whenever I seek counseling they will be mandated by law to report what I tell them. (According to my state laws, what J did would be considered corruption of minors considering our ages Ė I think Ė regardless of whether I consented.) So as you can imagine, Iíve got all sorts of concerns about that. I DONíT want to press charges against him, whether it be because of our ages and how our stateís age of consent law works or because he actually forced me into sexuality or whatever. Like I said, I know it probably depends on the stateís laws, but would you know if itís possible for me to tell them when they report what I say that I prefer not to press charges? Itís not only because I donít want to do that to J; itís also because considering how emotionally taxing it was to go through the legal process of reporting my other ex only to find out we couldnít press charges, I really, really, reaaally donít want to go through that again. And also, another concern I just want to state is that Iím scared to have to have what happened reported. Not just because Iím still trying to tell myself itís OK to call it abuse, but because of how J will be affected. He is studying to become a teacher, and if itís on his record I reported him, heíll never get to become a teacher like heís wanted to since he was very young. Also, Iíll keep this short, but letís just say he had a family member who was reported for illegal sexual actions, and that really took a toll on J and his family, emotionally, financially, pretty much in every wayÖso it isnít just the fact I still love J in a way thatís making me feel scared to have this reported, but also the lasting impact itíll have on J and his family really scares me. That said, about how J might react Ė my other ex would threaten to beat me up, have his friends beat me up, kill me, etc. He never acted upon those threats. J never made threats like those. However, he did admit he considered posting explicit pictures of an ex-gf online after they broke up, and also, he kept talking about having some people he knew (I donít know if they were his friends or what) see to it that my abusive ex-bf was punished no matter how much I begged and pleaded to just let it go and let me heal. So Iím scared that J might send someone after me to hurt me or humiliate/blackmail me in some other way. The fact that J, assuming he didnít delete them, has emails from me containing explicit sexual material (note: he doesnít have any explicit pictures of me) puts a very intense fear into me because I donít know what he is able to/would do with them. Iím scared J himself might contact me when he finds out, since he has to have regular background checks to be eligible for his classes at college, and I donít know what heíd do or say. Iím just really, really scared of how J will react considering he has sort of done (or at least considered) revengeful things towards others before, and he certainly very rarely had nice things to say about his exes, to put it as kindly as I possibly can. Like I have said many times before, I might just be overthinking things or thinking too far ahead, butÖI feel these concerns are very real and possible. [Frown]

And also, about the GYN issue: she did mention I might want to consider using vaginal dilators for my vaginismus in the future, but that was really all she said about that. The bump Iíve been talking about has *just* started clearing up, but Iím thinking that if another develops or I get other symptoms, Iím going to call my GYN and ask what she can do regarding my being physically unable to have a Pap smear. If I donít get any more symptoms between now and my exam, Iíll ask when I go in for my exam what my options are.

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

As far as your cousin is concerned, I think you're right that worrying about it right now may not be useful. Tell who you want to tell, and ask for whatever degree of confidence you like. If someone speaks to your cousin about it and then tries to relay what your cousin said back to you, you can try saying, "Cousin is aware of the situation with J and my feelings on it. She has already made me aware of her thoughts on the matter clear to me, and I'd prefer not to hear them again."

In other words, if she or anyone else tries to go down the path of "this wasn't really abuse," shutting that line of conversation down as quickly as possible is a good plan to have.

As far as your fears about mandatory reporting, you're correct that it will vary by state. The best bet is to simply ask your counselor about what's required of them during your first visit. Generally speaking, mandatory reporting is for behaviors that would be a harm to you or others (e.g self harm or saying that you are planning, really, truly planning, to hurt someone else). They tend to also focus on ongoing or future incidents, rather than on events that have already occurred. But, like I said, the best approach is to ask.

I do want to comment on your worries about how any actions of yours will effect J and his family. Remember, J made the decision to do what he did, and that those actions could carry consequences. It's not your job to shield him (or his family) from any results of his actions. I know that you care about him, but ultimately you need to focus on what will be best for you in terms of helping you deal with what happened and heal from it. So, if you feel that reporting of any kind will help you , that's what you should do. And if you feel like reporting will not help you, then you don't have to. The choice is yours.

However, it sounds like you're worried about the possibility of retaliation from J. Are you worried that this will happen only if you report, or even if he decides he is angry at you for cutting contact (or something else)? Because it might be good to find out, either from your counselor or from a sexual assault survivors organization, what steps you can take in the event that he decides to try and retaliate.

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello again,

I agree that trying to get out of any "wasn't abuse" conversations that might come up when I do finally tell my family is a good idea; I honestly think it's just that I'm so scared of having to go through this again (my aunt holds very strong opinions on women and abusive relationships, and her reaction to my abusive ex-bf kind of made me feel like it was my fault because she had a "Why did you put up with that and why didn't you tell someone?" type of reaction), especially considering it was for almost 15 months, not 6 weeks like my abusive ex-bf.

I'm concerned because every time I even had contact with any counselors (when I called my county rape crisis center to set up an appointment, when I talked to my counselor, when I called the rape crisis hotline) they automatically reported me (the rape crisis center even directly contacted the county detective). It was because I was a legal minor. So, considering that the stuff w/J began when I was still a legal minor and didn't become a legal adult until 6 months later, I'm scared I'll automatically get reported without being able to ask any questions again. Honestly, I understand it's just my state's law and the counselors, etc. are just covering themselves, but the fact they got detectives involved and the authorities were notified any time I spoke to any counselor, it's just really overwhelming and something I prefer not to deal with if I have any power to say so since I'm now a legal adult. I know I shouldn't have done this, but when I called the rape crisis hotline in September after my cousin emailed me telling me it was just a teen relationship and I need to go to college and get a job and not worry about dating and sex, when the volunteer asked me how old I was when things began, I lied and said things were fine until after my birthday (and I was thus a legal adult) because I didn't want to have to deal with any of that. So like I said, I know they'll probably automatically report me since I was still a legal minor at the time things began, but I'd kind of just like to leave it at that and not press charges or go any further.

I think my concerns about J and his family/how they will all be affected is because of my fears of retaliation. I don't think J is going to retaliate any time soon because we don't talk any more like you suggested (to be extremely blunt here, even though we'd been friends for several years beforehand, it doesn't matter to him if we don't talk anymore because he's already found a new gf, if you know what I mean), but the fact that even just having it reported as per state law can affect him -- it'll show up on background checks, and he might not be able to become a teacher -- that's what really scares me. I think J is aware that what he was doing was wrong -- like I said when I started this thread, he sent an email after we broke up saying he'd initiate sexuality with the intention of emotionally distancing me from him -- but still like I said, he'd considered putting explicit pictures of an ex-gf online (he was showing me pictures of different places he'd been on his tablet on our first date in spring of last year, and he still had pics, although non-explicit ones [at least none I got a glimpse of], of both that particular ex-gf and other ex-gfs, so I don't know if he just still had them or had malicious intentions) so I think my fears of him posting our emails online somehow are reasonable. And also I'm scared he might contact me in a threatening way or try to make me look guilty or beg me not to go any further something. Although I'd think that if he did find out I reported him, he' be smart enough not to do that because that would be a blatant suggestion of guilt if he did...I think whenever I do begin counseling (my meeting to get a referral to a psychologist and hopefully get a rediagnosis of Asperger's is tomorrow, so hopefully that'll get things moving) I'll ask my counselor what to do if J does retaliate before s/he reports me.

Btw, my big ugly vent session I've been meaning to post forever now is almost finished, so I'll probably post it soon. But now I've got something else to vent about especially since my blood sugar's low and I'm just annoyed [Mad] I've been trying to keep somewhat of a distance from my best friend (she has sparsely emailed me anyway, but once when she did she said she feels like she has to email me bc I never want to talk), and my aunt called not too long ago. She said my bf called her right before then in a hysteria, asking what she did to hurt me and saying "[she] thought we were good friends." I suppose I'm going to have to email her to let her know I'm OK, but I will have to think for a while to come up with some way to say that... [Confused] I'm going to get something to eat too, ha ha.

--------------------
Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

Like I said, since I am not familiar with the laws in your area, I am not sure what will happen when you speak to the counselor. However, I think the mandatory reporting protocol for a therapist may be slightly different than for the other organizations you've dealt with. Still, the best approach is to simply ask what she is obligated to report and then explain your situation and your reasons for wanting to avoid reporting. I think it's absolutely a good idea to talk to your counselor about your fears of retaliation and what your options are to either head off any potential push-back or deal with it if it occurs.

Again, I want to reiterate my point about your worries over any consequences J might face. It's not your responsibility to try and shield him from them, although it may feel like it given how close you were. It might be helpful to consider whether or not you think someone who a)has been coercive and abusive to at least one person that we know of and b) is vindictive enough to consider/threaten posting an exes photos online is someone who, at least in their current personality, is someone who ought to be a teacher. That's just something to think about. I mostly want to reiterate that, when it comes to worrying about J/J's family well-being and your own, you get to take care of yourself first.

As far as dealing with bf's phone call goes, would it be helpful to you if we helped you come up with some possible email responses?

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello again,

I would think that a counselor's reporting protocol would be different, but I'm just concerned because some of the stuff happened when I was still a minor, so I don't know if reporting would be imperative -- I think it would be, I'm not really sure because of how my state's laws work, but I definitely want to voice my concerns before any reporting gets involved.

I'm starting to realize a little more that shielding J and his family isn't my responsibility, but I think maybe I didn't make myself clear enough (not to yell at you or anything). It's not that J will never get to be a teacher that makes me feel worried about reporting him. It's that J will never get to be a teacher, and it'll be because of me, and he'll want to retaliate against me for making his childhood dream permanently impossible that scares me. He'll be really upset with me that I did that to him when I knew he'd wanted that for years and had to give up a lot of time and money to pursue his dream, and considering what he's said (and what he did or considered doing) about other exes, I'm scared of retaliation from him. So if there's any concerns about how J and his family will be affected, that is becoming more and more the primary reason why. Although I will say, your pointing out in so many words his desire to be a teacher probably not being the most fit choice for him because of his actions, i.e., considering posting explicit pics of an ex online and his treatment of at least one gf (me) so far, is something I honestly never considered. The fact he wants to be a high school teacher is also arguably concerning, as he's said he prefers inexperienced, naive/"innocent," and/or vulnerable girls (so he can do what he calls "corrupting" them).

Well, I sent a very curt, to-the-point email telling my best friend that I haven't been checking my email a whole lot, and I'm fine and she didn't do anything wrong. She apparently thinks everything's hunky-dory (or however it's spelled [Razz] ) now and was talking about seeing me soon. It might've just been because my blood sugar was low at the time, but I was really mad she'd call my aunt, who has no idea at all about anything that's been going on, and not only get her involved, but ask my aunt "what she did" and tell her about how she was under the impression we were best friends. I just feel really angry she'd not only try and get my aunt into the middle of things (my aunt even voiced her discomfort about getting involved), but she'd also imply resentment against me when she knows what I've been dealing with over the past few months. I suppose my main source of negative feelings about this is I want to tell my best friend that I'm not fine, not at all. But I don't know how to do that, or even if I can considering her recent behavior. And as mentioned, my blood sugar was low at the time and I'm already hormonal as it is to be honest, so I'm admittedly a bit on the cranky side for now, ha ha, but it does hurt to know she would imply resentment ("I thought we were good friends") against me when *she's* been ignoring me despite the fact she knows what I've been dealing with.

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

No worries, I certainly don't feel yelled at. I totally understand your concerns over J retaliating out of the belief that any consequences he faces are your fault (rather than his). It's a scary thought, especially when you already have some many worries on your plate.I think your idea to talk to your counselor about your options should he decide to retaliate is still your best option. When is your first appointment with them? And, as far as your concerns, is it primarily a fear that J will do something like release emails, or that he will come after you physically/verbally?

I think a polite, to the point email was a good approach. I do think it was out of line for her you call your aunt and drag her into this, and to also make something that she took a moment that could have expressed genuine concern ("I am worried about faunamaude because I know she has been having a rough time and I haven't heard from her.") and made it about her feelings rather than your friendship. I'd say, at this point, wait and see what her response is. It might help you decide whether you want to try talking with her or continue your plan to scale back.

PS: Totally get the low blood sugar crankieness. Was there myself earlier today.

[ 12-11-2013, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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Fauna16Maude
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Hello again Sam,

I'm glad you don't feel yelled at, ha ha. First and foremost, my meeting with my state's occupational vocational whatever-it's-called center is tomorrow (they help people w/various disabilities with college, find work, start counseling, etc.) and after we go over all the formalities I'm (hopefully) going to get a referral to a psychologist who will test me again for Asperger's. It's probably just going to be a one-time thing just to get a diagnosis, but I think if I do get another AS diagnosis the occ. voc. center will help me find a therapist. I had a friend who also has Asperger's go through this whole process of referral and diagnosis with the occ. voc. center, and even though he decided not to receive counseling/therapy, he said the process was pretty quick. So I shouldn't have to wait very long to get my test results back. I know I am referring to getting a new AS diagnosis as possible, not something set in stone, but that's mostly because nothing's guaranteed here. If I don't or can't get a re-diagnosis, I'm planning on contacting my insurance company and seeing if they know of any therapists near me who deal with trauma and who also accept my insurance.

Anyway, to answer your question about J retaliating, it's both. Not only am I scared he'll post our emails publicly as though to say, "Look, she clearly consented" or something like that, but also, I think I mentioned him talking about having my perpetrator punished in some way and would not drop the issue even though I told him I not only didn't want that happening because the law would be against me, not my perp, but also I wanted to move on from it all and just heal? It scares me that (even though he claimed he'd wait 10 years before he did anything) since he was very adamant about seeing to it that my perp was punished somehow and only said, "Fine, in 10 years I'll have something happen" because I'd begged and begged him not to do anything, he may come after me/have someone else come after me. He's got friends who he told about us (and I think our sexual relationship), so that scares me; also, I couldn't find it in my emails, but I remember him saying he'd have a group of acquaintances go after him, so I'm scared if my memory holds true he could have those people sent after me. I'll explain this further in my big ugly venting session, but also, J's under the impression I left him for someone considerably younger than him, so that probably will have something to do with his retaliating should that occur as well. [Also, if it's worth mentioning, when I was looking through my emails to see what exactly J said about having my perp punished, there was a conversation in which he was being very pushy about seeing my breasts. It was very shortly -- probably not even a week -- after we started dating. I kind of broke down and said I'd push my feelings/wants aside so he could see them if it'd make him happy, and he said something along the lines of he wouldn't force me to do that like my perp did; rather, he'd "butter me up" (his words) until I gave in. If I said no because I didn't feel like it, he'd drop the issue; if I was uncomfortable, he'd "butter me up with something else."]

Also, just for the sake of throwing this out there in case it might be relevant: remember how I said J had in been in many relationships, some of which were abusive, before we dated, and one of the relationships he claimed was sexually abusive? I'll try and write as objectively about this as I can. But at least 2 times very shortly (i.e., a few days/weeks) after we began dating, J said he drank because of that particular ex. He called her some extremely derogatory names but said he genuinely loved her. I didn't see any wrong in this since I was a recent survivor myself and could relate to those feelings, even though I'd never consumed alcohol to cope (I had, though, resorted to self-harm, i.e., cutting, a few times). Several months after we began dating, J said this ex raped him. He wouldn't explain what he meant, and he said he didn't tell me until then because he knew I was a recent survivor and he was more focused on my recovery; anyway, he said, it didn't affect him unless he thought about it. Very shortly after -- in fact, I think it was the same day -- he told me about how he got back in contact with an old coworker after over a year I believe, and when she inquired about the ex, he told her right off the bat she'd raped him. I remember one time I asked J why sex was so important to him, and he said, "Maybe [the ex] rubbed off on me."

It also really annoys me that my bf would call my aunt about this, almost like (well, she kinda did) she was trying to say, "Fauna won't talk to me so *you* need to do something so she will!" And also, like you said, she made it more about her feelings than us and got my aunt involved in something she didn't want to be involved in as she said to me when we talked. I think my bf really was genuinely concerned, but honestly, it really isn't like her at all to go to that extreme, especially the "What did I do, I thought Fauna was my friend" extreme. In my email, I said something like, "I haven't been very social lately. I'm fine. You didn't do anything." She said she was really relieved, then right after she said "Oh we really need to see each other soon!" Maybe it's my Asperger's, but it really annoys me that as soon as I say I'm fine (the response she wants to hear) she acts like nothing is wrong and then goes back to ignoring me. I wish I could tell her I'm really not fine and I wish she'd realize that, but that sounds a bit harsh to me, and anyway scaling back is probably my best bet, anyway, even if just for now.

And I hope you ate something to help your blood sugar [Smile]

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Fauna16Maude
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Also, since I didn't mention this, I feel kind of stuck regarding my bf: I really don't feel comfortable with her behaviors/actions lately, but I feel like I can't really keep the friendship scaled back because, well, look at how she just reacted to me simply trying to be a little less socially available. I'm scared if I go back to being a little less present she'll try again to accuse me of having a bone to pick with her, when really it's because of how she's been acting and also because honestly being social with any of my family or friends is extremely difficult and draining given my feelings/emotions lately.

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Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.' --Dr. Hans Asperger

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Sam W
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Hi Faunamaude,

This is really a tough situation to be in, and I ma sorry you are going through it. I am glad to hear the process of getting to a therapist is looking like it will be efficient. My one recommendation with your fears around J is that if he manages to slip through the communication blocks you have set up with him, document anything he says (or just hold onto the emails). That way, if you decide you need to set up a more formal protection from his contact, you'll have extra stuff to back yourself up with. If you don't mind my asking, how did you hear that he thinks you left him for a younger guy?

Also, those comments about buttering you up? So many levels of not OK.

As far as your bf, I think explaining how you're feeling to her in the same way you did in you most recent message might be your best choice. So, mention how you feel conflicted, why you scaled back, that you're finding social stuff draining at the moment, and that you're finding certain behaviors of hers difficult to handle in your current circumstances. If nothing else, it might help her get a clearer picture of where you stand with each other, and her reaction might help guide you forward in terms of how you want to handle the relationship.

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