I am in the long and painful process of learning to accept my past, what it really was, what I was a victim of, what he was, what he did.. all that horribly painful stuff. To get my head around it, I’m writing, avoiding, distracting, then writing again.
After writing “I didn’t know” today, it got me really thinking about my experiences of love, relationships and sex. What was done to me was none of those, I was not in love, he did not love me. We were not in a relationship, we never had sex. It’s something I need to continually remind myself of right now. I appreciate the reminders I get from those in my “Circle of Trust” too. I certainly need them.
I believe I’ve only ever loved one man, my husband. Prior to him there was a pretty serious relationship with a lovely guy, but I am positive I didn’t love him. I cared deeply for him, yet I wasn’t able to love him. It was similar story with who I consider to be my first boyfriend. I cared for him, I believed I loved him, but after experiencing the love I have for and with my husband, I don’t think I ever loved either of those guys.
I have no intention of getting into the history of my boyfriends nor my sexual history, it is helpful though, to compare my experience with the abuser to the experience with boyfriends and more importantly, with my husband now. The experiences are completely different, yet I’ve been lumping them in together for years. I believed my “first time” was at 14, I believed he was a boyfriend. I did not choose it, I did not want it, there was never consent, therefore it was not sex and so it was not my first time. It was violence, never sex. It was control, never a relationship. I was groomed into believing it was sex, love and a relationship. I was trained to respond in the way he wanted me to. I was so traumatised that I buried the reality, instead distorting the facts until I found a version of reality I could handle.
I’ve felt real love since then, I’ve been in good relationships and I’ve had amazing sex. Those experiences could not be more different from the abuse. Equal love, mutual intimacy. I have been and I am treated with respect, I am adored for who I am. I can’t say it’s all been plain sailing, particularly in regards to sex, it’s something my husband and I have had to and continue to work at. He has learned to read me, to recognise the signs that I am triggered (as my response is to freeze). This is true of every aspect of our relationship, not just with sex. He is in tune with me, almost all of the time. It’s amazing and wonderful to be loved in such a way. It is freeing to say I know what good sex is and I know what it means to be treated equally. I give consent freely, I am not controlled by my husband. Our love and our intimacy is for us, both of us, together.
What the abuser did to me, is such a polar opposite of what I have now. That was no relationship in any shape or form, there was never consent, it was not sex. He was the abuser, he groomed me, my responses were from his grooming, his training, his manipulation and his complete control. It was all abusive, not because it was a abusive relationship, but because it was “simply” abuse, “just” abuse. Nothing else. Nothing.
It’s painful, but it helps. It helps with the guilt and self blame. I cannot even begin to explain how this kind of guilt eats away inside. It’s been such a burden to carry, one that hasn’t left me, but it is lighter for sure. I have felt as if I have been carrying such a weight of shame, dirty secrets hidden deep down, poisoning my system. The reality is difficult, but it’s not like the alternative reality has been any easier to live with. It’s new, it’s scary, but it’s truth. Truth is the only way forward. So I will continue to remind myself of what he really did, who he is and what it was. I will continue to re process memories, to remove the distortion and denial until there is nothing but truth left.