There are times when I see how different I am to my abuser. Polar opposites, extremes of each other. Then there are other times, on days like these, when I am so badly triggered by the weather, the season and the dark light. When I feel so unsafe, even in my own home and when I have the sole responsibility of my children, that I fear I am more like him than I want to admit. I start to feel out of control and I yell and I shake with rage, just like he did. I look in the mirror and it is his angry eyes I see looking back at me.
Even though I feel terrible right now, I do not cry. He did not cry either, even as he told me heartbreaking stories of his life, there was nothing from him. He told it like a story, as I know I have many times since. I would cry for him back then, real tears, real anguish, real pain. He would remain numb, distanced, disengaged. I fear I have been the same way, numb and shut off from my own feelings, for far too long.
I try to remind myself of the ways in which he and I are so different. I carry shame and blame, for things I did not do. I worry endlessly about others. I scrutinise my own behaviour and reflect on things I have said and make changes where necessary, to ensure I am not hurting or upsetting anyone else. He would never do any of those things.
He wouldn’t care that I still suffer, in fact I think he would be incredibly smug that I still think and talk about him. The incident I have been struggling with recently.. if he knew that I still blamed myself, he would be thrilled. He told me it was my fault, he spoke of it so differently to all the other times. The constant reminders of that day, what he said I did, what he said we did together. The shame, the blame, all forced on to me. I was so ashamed, I am still ashamed.
I hate this, feeling so vulnerable and unsafe, fearing I am like him, blaming myself and feeling ashamed. This isn’t right, or OK. The impact of grooming and abuse is catastrophic, isn’t it?
Will I ever break free from this?