[3-pargraph preface before we even get to the point of it all. (Feel free to skip, if you want.]
I know this is slightly confusing, because it’s like, “were you involved with him or not? You’re always talking about how you weren’t dating, but sometimes it sounds serious.” And it was confusing in general. I don’t wanna say we “dated,” because I don’t want him to seem special in any way. But he also was quite honestly very obsessed with me.
I know, I know, hahaha How ironic someone says that when she’s been breaking down his behavior on her blog for nearly a year… I am obsessed with understanding how abuse and assault and power dynamics and gender roles and all of that work and played a part in this – how to heal, how to notice red flags, how to change what we accept as “normal male behavior” and “boys will be boys” when they don’t listen to a word you say, and aaaaaall of that stuff. He was obsessed with me – of always knowing where I was and who I was with and every single bit of things I was up to. And it’s hard to explain because sometimes that’s fun at the beginning of a romance/fling/what have you – but this bordered on something scary, that I mistook as the normal excitement, constantly quieting my gut.
So, while I personally wouldn’t say we dated, it also got ruuuull fiery/passionate real fast. And they felt like they lasted forever, because their was a biiiig buildup in the friendship phase, and a very big weird build-down(?) in the whole silencing/feeling like I was being pushed out of school. So, you know he’s definitely in the group of men I’ve been “involved” with to some extent. Anyway! To the point of the post!
One of the things I have really really wrestled with throughout this whole ordeal is that I always wondered when people would talk about “nightmare exes” or whatever – I’d think, “How can they feel that way about somebody they cared about so much? Like, how can things possibly go that south? I’ll never remember the fight stuff from an end of a relationship. I’ll always remember the good! At the very least, I will remember the neutral. I won’t hold a grudge or anger. I will never get all wrapped up in whatever we dumb reason we ended things.”
And so, knowing that I do view this thing as a nightmare, I have felt this incredible sense of failure and loss – as though there is something inherently wrong with me – like I wasn’t good enough to get him to treat me better, or something… Or that I didn’t have a positive enough attitude (after he assaulted me and then made me feel pushed out of my small class at school)? Who is not gonna think of what happened as a nightmare?
My goal is to – within the next couple of months, hopefully – stop talking about it and not think about it much. But no matter how much time goes by, it will never have not been a nightmare. Sometimes you talk about awful things and you laugh, just thinking about how ridiculous it was that it all ever happened. So, I definitely hope that someday I laugh. That’d be nice. But it will still have been an awful nightmare.
And I need to learn to not take that personally. It was an exceptionally hard lesson that you can try to be so “good” and so “caring” and “thoughtful.” You can go above and beyond to go with the flow while this abuser keeps you on your toes – always trying to contort yourself to whatever it is he wants, as he moves the goalposts. (That in itself is not that great… Even the nicest people shouldn’t work their lives around their abuser. That’s not about being “nice,” just get out. But anyway…)
You can do everything sooooo more than right. You can be the most patient, and try SO hard. And sometimes it’s just not gonna be enough for an abusive person. (Again, just get out. Don’t live your life trying to make abusive people happy). I’m just saying even if you do do that, it’s not a moral failing when things blow up. You are not in control of the situation. The abusive person is controlling toward you – that’s kind of a big part of what makes it abuse.
It’s not a moral failing to have been abused. It doesn’t make you a bad person to accept, “This was a nightmare.” It happened to fast. I kept making excuses for him. It got out of control. It affected a bunch of facets of my life. And it was a nightmare.
And that’s hard for me to admit. I said I’d never be “that person.” And now, here I am.
Life is tricky.