Getting Over Being Assaulted By An Intimate Partner Is Not Like Getting Over A Breakup – Part 2

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Picking up from yesterday –

I love the people who are there for me. And I soooo appreciate the gracious empathy of people trying to understand. But even some of the people who are trying to understand are making the same mistake as I am. They’ll compare what’s going on to a crunchy goodbye.

For instance, someone said something along the lines of, “I know how hard it was after my break-up to even go to our favorite restaurant alone. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you.”

And again, I so appreciate that empathy. And I so appreciate them making the comment insinuating sexual assault is at least on a grander scale. And I don’t ever in 1,000 years wanna shut down or attack someone for feeling empathy and being kind and understanding…

But this is just not really like that

It’s like that in the sense that the sight of him makes my stomach churn, so I don’t wanna see him… Just as someone might not want to see someone they’d been with before…

It’s like that in the sense that a lot of things make me think of him and reminders are painful… But they’re painful in a different way. It’s not like, “Oh, I miss him. It’s sad to think about this.” It’s like a triggering thing sometimes. And for me, it’s this idea of, “If I’d never gotten involved around him, I might feel comfortable around men still. I might not have crying spells. I wouldn’t have to spend all this time in therapy and make various concessions about my time and money and schedule.” And on and on.

And I’m not in any way trying to diminish anyone’s pain about a crunchy goodbye. I don’t wanna take anything away from people’s horrific “breakup” stories. I’m not trying to say, “Well, if you weren’t assaulted, you don’t get to complain.” Of course you do! A) I’m not the boss of you. B) I know all your feelings are valid. Your pain may be different, but of course it’s still valid and real. So, please, complain and feel all the feelings.

And while I believe that’s true, I also think we need to stop comparing fallouts or “breakups” (if you will) after assaults to “normal breakups”. It’s like we’re comparing being the victim of a traumatic crime to heartbreak – and it’s not that.

Both are hurtful. But they’re not the same kind of hurt. So, we can’t treat them the same.

The feelings aren’t the same. The intensity of the feelings aren’t the same (to me). The timetable isn’t the same (for me, at least). The way I deal with it isn’t the same. And that’s okay.

And I’m sure I will possibly make this same mistake and fall back into this rut again, because they seem so comparable in various ways. But they’re not reeeeeeeally.

I think I need to learn that however I choose to heal from my assault, and however I choose to deal with it, it’s not going to look like any of my crunchy goodbyes. And it probably shouldn’t. And that’s okay.

They’re two different things, and it’s important that I treat them as such.

(And I appreciate you here reading, being on this journey with me, as I try to figure all this craziness out.)

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?