Relational Abuse

CW- relational abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse

Now that Valentine’s Day has past, I can write about something that has been on my mind a lot. Granted, I could have written about it on or before Valentine’s day…but this is the timing that seems right to me.

Between these lines lies my personal story of relational abuse. If you would like to only read the suggestions for overcoming abuse, please read below the second line.

The ex-boyfriend of this story will be referred to as “MV.”

In my first year of college, while hallucinating from intoxication, I mistook the identity of someone I trusted- and brought an infidelity to someone whose life I had planned mine around.

Of course, no one ever believes in “mistakes.” They only believe in cheaters with basic story lines of evil intention. MV was no stranger to infidelity, and no stranger to this typical line of thought, either.

As punishment, I was sentenced to months of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of someone who said that they no longer loved me, but who convinced me that if I stuck around long enough, I could change that.

I whole-heartedly believed that I deserved whatever mistreatment I was delivered, and bore the weight of my guilt in isolation. I was angry at the person whom I had considered my friend for not stopping me, and for remaining confused when I had fled the situation upon realizing what was happening. I was angry at MV for using me as a sperm receptacle, (and for telling me things that I am hesitant to post here for the sake of triggering others.) I was angry at feeling as if I had no one to turn to, to relate to. I was angry that no one heard me when I screamed toward the sky in terror or cried down into my hole of depression.

Most of all, I was angry at myself for feeling as if I deserved all that I was served.

I began overworking myself to compensate for the uselessness that I felt. I was going to school, on an eboard for a club, on the club’s dance team, working on- campus, and working 2 jobs off- campus.

Eventually, during a dance practice, I had a panic attack. I blamed it on my low blood sugar, but knew that I was bearing too much stress in my body to handle the workload. I had told no one about what I was experiencing behind closed doors, because I believed that I would forever be the bad guy of the story.

So I quit the dance team… even though it had been the only activity that I truly enjoyed up until that point. I began smoking more to counteract the panic and anxiety that I had begun feeling. And my priorities began shifting to money- to working as long and hard as I could.

Not once did I ask for help.

I did the opposite- I began retreating from the lives of friends who I had invested time and attention in. I began feeling as if all of those who claimed to care about me would turn against me if I did the slightest thing wrong. And this fear drove me to further distance myself, and put up a wall of “otherness.”

The abuse ranged from sexual to verbal- from overtly lewd acts to gaslighting comments. After a particular session of forced intoxication and sexual abuse, I realized that I could no longer take it. I had reached my capacity of begging for forgiveness, and was spent. When I questioned MV as to why he did what he did that particular day, he replied that “I wanted to know how he had felt.” (“He as in, the person who had initially taken advantage of my hallucination.)

That was the first time I realized that I wasn’t the only monster in the story.

As we broke up, he told me that he was disappointed in me for giving up on us, right when he was starting to love me again. But I had had enough, and turned cold. The smoking increased, and my weight did as well. I was no longer actively dancing or actively doing much else outside of what I needed to survive.

I eventually told one of my friends about what had happened. Their shared anger and concern helped me begin to move from anger towards myself, to concern for myself. And I will love and cherish them as a friend until the end. They will never understand how much their kindness and genuine essence I still hold dear to my memories of those dark days…

Because the after effects of those months have followed me for years.

Within these years, MV apologized twice. When he found out about my following cases of prominent sexual assault, he reached out in concern. But that concern was tainted by a mind that can only understand abuse as an occasion between strangers. And that is only a small percentage of the cases it will ever be.

His understanding of his intentional actions had matured from “rightful revenge” to “guilty.” And I never thought I would see the day.

He was 24 at the time of those events, and I was 19. I put it in my mind at that age that maybe, when I was 24, I would understand why he reacted the ways that he did, and why he did not simply break up with me instead. It seemed like a logical solution for someone that no longer loved their partner, and could not see themselves ever forgiving them…

I turned 24, and reflected. And still came to the conclusion that if I was ever in that position, I would never go through the painful effort to further inflict pain on a wounded relationship. That I would never abuse someone to the point of losing their sense of self.

If you have been abused, you deserve the RIGHT to support. You DESERVE to have love. You are NOT unworthy, or evil. You are human, through and through. You will make mistakes in life, but understand that your boundaries and limitations should never be at stake for the sake of forgiveness.

I struggle to accept every sentence of the above paragraph, almost every day. And it is still terrifying to be in relationships, fearing that I will make a wrong step and cause a commitment casualty. It is still very, very hard to consider myself a “good” person when it was engrained in me that I was the worst.

Whats more, the people who have suffered inter- rational abuse are not free from feeling compelled to commit it. The boyfriend in this account had been through many relationships where he was emotionally and spiritually tortured. And for a while I used this background knowledge as a way to force myself to carry through with what was handed me. I tried to empathize with him as only the victim of both myself and others, and tried to see his actions as his only way to act out against it all.

But being hurt by others DOES NOT give you the right to hurt others. Other people DESERVE safe, consensual, loving relationships as much as you do. You are NOT entitled to play God, and deliver unlawful and immoral justice as you see fit. You are human, through and through. You will make mistakes in life, but understand that the boundaries and limitations of others should never be at stake for the sake of your forgiveness.

Be aware of the actions of your friends. Know their temperaments, know their personalities, know their stories. Check in on them, especially when they show changes in their behavior. Your attentiveness can go a very long way in pulling someone out of a dangerous situation.

If you feel helpless in not feeling able to help your friend, talk to them about it. Share your vulnerabilities. Make plans. Make A plan. Help them to see that the love they have in themselves is still there. Remind them that they have a RIGHT to having friends that deeply care about them. Remind them that they DESERVE proper, real love from people who do not use their power to manipulate. Remind them that they are NOT unworthy, or evil.

We are all humans, through and through. We make mistakes, but our boundaries and limitations should never be at stake, for the sake of forgiveness.

I hope that you never feel slighted to where you wish to inflict worse pain upon another, and I hope you are never at the hands of anger. I hope that if you have, you find the online/ in person/ familial support that you need. Much love to you all.

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s