Picking up from last time –
Yes, technically he was being reasonable in this moment.
But for one thing, I knew him too well. I knew that in the very fleeting moments where he seemed to be okay with doing something I needed, that later I would pay for it in some way. I also knew he lied a lot and rarely kept his promises. So, the idea that things would actually be okay and he’d actually leave me alone and it wouldn’t devolve into this thing of him being super nice to me in front of other people and then acting like I’m a crazy b*tch later when I’d inevitably say, “Remember our conversation? Could you please leave me alone?” Because he’d say something like, “I’m being nice and being inclusive of you. Why are you acting like this?”
[I know I’m maybe sounding a bit paranoid… But I guess that’s what happens when you can do nothing right ever, and every time it looks for one second like things are gonna get a little better, they actually get way worse.]
Anyway, let’s also think for one second that maybe he actually does, in real life, really respect my wishes. He never starts a conversation with me at BMI. Let’s say I never have to sit next to him…
…But what if I get assigned to work with him? I either have to deal with that or tell the administrators I can’t. And they make it very clear that they don’t take requests or get involved in “drama.” If you have an issue with someone, too bad. Deal with it. I’m sure it’s almost certainly different with assault… But after working so hard to not tell them (to not put them between a rock and a hard place, to not be the “assault” girl, to not “stir up any trouble” or whatever), I’m gonna potentially tell them in the middle of the school year, if I get assigned to him?
Or also, what happens as far as presentations go? I have to listen to his stuff and be engaged? Am I gonna comment on it? If I say something positive, am I building up my assailant? If I say something negative, am I only some “jilted girl” (“assaulted girl” is more like it, and still sucks)? If I don’t say anything at all, am I gonna be docked as far as class participation goes?
Is he gonna raise his hand and critique my stuff? I don’t mind critiques (after all, I want to go to school for a reason). But to be critiqued by the man who already consistently critiqued everything about me – who even critiqued how I should’ve prevented him from assaulting me – if only I’d been more “commanding,” instead of asking if he’d go. (etc. etc. etc.)
Is it gonna be easy to take that?
Even if I shut my mouth during his stuff and he shuts his during mine… Am I gonna be comfortable seeing his face? The handfuls of times I saw him after he assaulted me, I always had nightmares leading up to it and the night I’d see him… So, is that how I’m gonna spend every Sunday and Monday for an entire school year? Nauseous nightmare city?
Also, he’s charming and likable. I could easily see him being liked by another group of people. He’s very smart about it all. Even – remember that first time he had dinner with me? He even told me later, we’d only had that dinner ’cause he was “checking me off the list.” He was going down a list of everyone new to BMI and doing something with them. He has plans set out of being liked. I’m not gonna argue whether it’s good or bad. It just is and he’s methodical (and in some ways kinda brilliant).
So… he goes to everything and I have to decide if I wanna see him or yet again feel pushed out of my class? He throws another waffle party at his house and I have to decide if I go to something he hosts (or if I’m even allowed to go… how’s he gonna feel if I go to his house after asking that he leave me alone)… So, I deal with going to something he hosts, or I let another thing go by where I don’t try to connect with the people in my class.
BMI is largely about networking. How – how – can I truly be networking and flourishing and doing my best work if this guy is around?
And I hate sounding so “dramatic,” partially because I know that sometimes you have to work with people you don’t like. And I know I sometimes talk about, “Well, this is different than someone I just don’t like!” And that is true. But I also don’t want to seem like I corner the market on trauma or something. I know it’s really hard for a lot of people to see a lot of people, and they all do it. I’m not trying to act like what happened to me is literally the worst thing to ever happen to anyone… I do not think that – or anything even close to that…
But I also do think that it’s not being crazy paranoid or ridiculous to not want to see a man who was abusive in multiple ways, very-gas-lighty, and who sexually assaulted me. I just don’t think it’s an insane ask to not want to see your assailant day in and day out.
I know some of what I talk about here is just anxiety getting the better of me. But some of it are really real concerns that are okay to think about and wonder about.
I just hate this whole situation, and I hate that when it seemed like maybe just maybe I could stay away from him – no. The situation got even worse (somehow). It’s compounded because now I’ve been put in between this insane rock and hard place… Go back and deal with him, or don’t?
And I will finish that up in the next post about this.