I am clearing the decks in preparation for writing actual positive posts!
* He picked up almost all of his stuff on Thursday, with the police escort. Shenanigans included trying to leave half his furniture in the room/on the curb/in the garage, arriving an hour late, and trying to get access to the cats for unknown reasons.
* He has not deliberately shown up where he knows I'll be to test the restraining order yet. I have not seen him in the wild yet and thus still don't know what he'll do when we're in the same place at the same time. Legally he has to leave immediately, but rape and assault & battery are also illegal, so who knows?
* It's weird that I don't miss him. I guess the thing is that once I knew what he was and what he'd been doing, it became really clear to my brainmeats that the person I loved never existed. It still feels odd to be in spaces I'd always been with him and yet not miss him at all.
* I have been doing all the things! I got a text from a friend the other day asking "How was the party?" and I had to ask "Which party?" because I have been to more than one party in the past month. That never happens! I'd developed this huge resistance to leaving the house that simply isn't there anymore, and I figured that out - it's because every time we went to a party or dancing or whatever, I would never get to relax. I always had to be making sure the spotlight was on him. And if he didn't feel glorified enough, he'd get cranky and we'd have to go, or he'd get cranky and insist on staying and use my desire for interaction as a metaphorical stick to beat me with. Now I can go to a party and just go to a party. I can go dancing and and dance. And leave when I want to or when my ride wants to.
* I went back to BARCC! I went to Peer Supe last week, the volunteer-group meeting. It was good. A bunch of New Kids who didn't know what happened, but also a bunch of old-timers like me who felt very affected by it all but handled their interactions with me well, as I knew they would. Really glad to be getting that community back.
* I have had two dates with a nifty person. :)
Okay! Your questions answered!
Do you have any advice for someone who, over many years, has developed an inner dialogue that only serves to self-injure?
This is one I don't know about, so I'm putting it first and throwing it out to all of you. Advice? Assistance?
Is there anything we (generic we, meaning person outside the relationship) could have done that might have gotten you out sooner/before it escalated to rape and assault?
*hugs you* This reads as you blaming yourself, which you SHOULD NOT DO.
Many survivors of childhood trauma learn one thing before they learn anything else, and that thing is "HIDE". The abuser will tell you all the terrible things that will happen if anyone knows what's happening, and you will believe them, because even if they're a monster, they are a Trusted Adult. And for all you know, all adults are monsters and there is no help, there is only you deciding what you can live with.
That button is really hardwired. So when he threw Victoria, I covered, because terrible things would happen if anyone found out. When he cheated, I thought we worked it out privately, and I didn't tell. The other times he groped me when I was unconscious and able to consent (May was the first time he penetrated me that I'm aware of), I didn't tell.
There is nothing you could have done because *I* didn't even see it, because I was hiding on autopilot.
If you ever wonder why so many survivors of childhood abuse are abused again as adults?
Know that abusers know this.
Do you still identify with being an alchemist?
I have been wondering and you are totally allowed to refuse to answer this but did you have a sub-let / rental agreement / contract with Judah? If so, how long before you can evict his stuff?
He's on the lease. See above for rest of answer!
If this is too painful for you to answer, don't. But I'm curious ... why was he attracted to you, when (it appears) that his value system and worldview was so different from yours? And why were you attracted to him?
He was pretty.
He was pretty and shiny and intense in his affections. He flattered me, he showered me with adoration, he treated me like a princess when he wasn't stomping my boundaries and being abusive. (This is part of the abuse cycle: the honeymoon or hearts-and-flowers phase.) He made me believe only he could love me like this.
I was sicker when I met him. I was on anti-seizure meds that were messing with me, and I still had high levels of chronic pain, and I felt discouraged and awful and ugly and tired and he told me I was beautiful.
None of this makes me look good, but I am determined to be honest. (He told me that too, repeatedly. "If you tell, it won't make you look good." I give zero fucks. It is the truth. I will tell the truth.)
Why was he interested in me? I think that requires context.
Prior to moving here, he was in a seven-year relationship back in Cincinnati. With a woman twice his age. Who he lived with. Who took care of him, who ran his life, who he cheated on and lied to, who always took him back.
So why was he interested in me? It fits what is now clearly his MO. Older woman with organizational skills who'll put up with his shit, who'll run his life for him, who'll take care of everything so he can just fuck around.
Which I challenged from the start. Because I demand that people be their best selves, and I thought that's what he wanted. I helped him with his business, which he never did anything with. I found him lucrative opportunities doing what he said he wanted to do that he never took.
Because what he actually wanted was just to skate by doing the minimum and let me be his sugar mama. Just like what he actually wanted was cheating, not poly.
There are parts of me I think he never really saw, or simply chose to ignore.
What should I be prepared for when I share my own story of sexual assault?
This one is hard to answer, because it depends so heavily on your community. I was surprised at the absence of negativity in response to me talking about this. I don't know your community. I don't know what that's going to be like. I recommend calling your local rape crisis center to talk about how you want to go about discussing your assault.
But I can tell you some of the common reactions.
* Support. Either well-trained awesome support or awkward I don't-know-how-to-do-this support. You will have this. I already know one person who I know totally has your back.
* Disbelief is a common community reaction. I don't know how entrenched your rapist is within your community, but it's common for people to think their friend could never be a rapist. It is statistically likely that you will encounter this. I am so sorry that it is likely. Stick to your guns. It is incredibly common for a rapist to have been the survivor's friend, dating partner, or acquaintance, and we're seeing that get talked about more and more, so depending on your community's rape culture education level, this may not even be a thing. I hope it's not.
* Awkwardness. People may be thrown and have a hard time figuring out how to act around you, either because they're trying to process your rapist being a rapist or because they're afraid of hurting you. Oftentimes these are people who genuinely want to support and help you but have no idea how. Refer them to your local rape crisis center as needed - RCCs are here for friends of survivors too!
You'll find out a lot about people. Some may disappear. Many others will come out of the woodwork to support you and ask what they can do to help. You aren't alone. Many of us stand with you. Know the people you can call on when this becomes Too Much, and call on them. They love you and want to help.
You're not alone.