A lot of times along this journey (as you know and have seen), I’ve doubted myself.
“What if he was just some guy who truly didn’t understand? What if there was some kind of miscommunication? What if I read him wrong? What if… What if… What if… What if… What if?” a trillion billion bajillion quadrillion times over.
And one thing a good friend of mine told me, that I found really helpful, on a night I was crying and pondering if it was all my fault… He told me, “Aurora. We’re democrats. We listen to experts.”
My therapist is an expert in trauma/sexual assault/abuse. She knows it. She knows it inside and out. She knows how to recognize it. And she is as reasonably sure as one can be that sexual assault guy used gaslighting and manipulation and assaulted me, and all of that.
The trained crisis counselors were sure. All the books and literature (some written by doctors) about abusive and controlling men I’ve read describe him to a T.
And I was suffering from all of the signs of Rape Trauma Syndrome before I even knew anything about it. After describing everything to a friend and then the helpline, I learned I fit that profile to a T.
Every. Single. Thing. From. Every. Side. supports the idea that he’s a rapist and an abusive, controlling man (with maybe some other stuff going on, but we don’t even need to get into that).
Aaaaaall the evidence does not support that he’s just some nice perfect man who happened not to listen. There’s too much (including his own words!) that make it seem like it is exactly what it is – me getting involved in an abusive relationship, and then dealing with consequences of his varied abuse.
So, as I’m getting back in the woods with my friend about things such as, “But sexual assault guy guy said he would’ve left had I commanded, not asked him,” and other various silly (really), things that don’t actually matter and wouldn’t have actually made a good difference, my friend reminded me, “We’re democrats. We listen to experts… You believe in global warming, right?” “Well, of course.” “Mmmm hmm. And you know from a litany of evidence, and from experts telling you, this man is abusive.”
He also used this as a compliment later when I was falling into a low self-confidence hole after all the stuff sexual assault guy said… He was like, “Was he an expert on you, Aurora?” And we went through some people who are “experts” on me and what they think… They still think I’m imperfect (of course! As they suuuuper should), but they never try to take away my humanity.
So, he reminds me… Listen to the experts.