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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Update, and more of your questions answered. 
2nd-Jul-2013 02:59 pm
Hearth
I am clearing the decks in preparation for writing actual positive posts!

Judah-stuff status:
* 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.

Me-stuff:
* 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.

And: no.

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?

Yes.

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?

Heh.

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.
Comments 
2nd-Jul-2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
- He picked up almost all of his stuff on Thursday

Did he leave anything behind that you want to get rid of? I assume that if he didn't take it on Thursday, you can consider it legally abandoned and that you can destroy, sell, or give it away as you see fit.

Edited at 2013-07-02 07:48 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Jul-2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
All of this. One other thing that helped for me was to name the inner voice that is pushing for self-destruction (I called it Evil Me, because these are not circumstances that inspire creativity) so that when that voice starts in on the same old path again, I can use one of those other voices to say "That's not you. That's Evil Me. Evil Me does not have your best interests in mind. You do not have to listen. You can distract yourself from Evil Me the way you would distract yourself from any other bully."

Admittedly, explaining this to a therapist was a little complicated, but conceptualizing it this way helped me to feel a little more like I was fighting with something external, even though it isn't external at all.
2nd-Jul-2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Mine was/is Depressive Brain, and when I started learning how to argue with it some things got easier to deal with.
3rd-Jul-2013 04:39 am (UTC)
I have one friend who argues with her Demon, and another who yells back at The Weasels.
4th-Jul-2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
I also use "The Weasels" or sometimes "The Brain-Weasels." Since my friends and I are... not fond of Twilight, sometimes we imagine our negative head-voices as belonging to Edward Cullen.
2nd-Jul-2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
Do you have any advice for someone who, over many years, has developed an inner dialogue that only serves to self-injure?

What sqwook is saying. What I want to further say is that people now teach this, specifically. This is what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and even more, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (which I think of as CBT: The Next Generation -- it includes CBT and adds other things, too), basically are. Many of the techniques that sqwook is talking about are things which DBT also teaches.

So, in order to do what sqwook is suggesting, find a therapist who works with DBT, and he or she might be able to help coach you through learning it.
3rd-Jul-2013 04:28 am (UTC)
The comment thread above is good, and I want to second the recommendation for CBT/DBT (though I've only used the former). I've had good luck with the Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders through BU, in Kenmore square (obviously this info is only useful to locals, but I always feel that more info is better).

I'd say my best overall advice is that some weeks are harder than others, and the hard weeks do not mean that everything is ruined forever, or a permanent backslide is happening. I had to remember that it was okay to be okay again, and that I would & could be okay again.
2nd-Jul-2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
You rock.
2nd-Jul-2013 11:07 pm (UTC)
Something I picked up in Clutterers Anonymous: "Don't should on yourself."

On changing your thought-habits: I think it's most difficult if the way you are seems to fit. If you're trans-mindstate, you can make noticeable changes.
3rd-Jul-2013 03:17 am (UTC)
"*hugs you* This reads as you blaming yourself, which you SHOULD NOT DO."

~hugs back~ Maybe a little bit. ~shrugs~ I thought we don't tell people what they should or should not do? (~is teasing~)

Mostly, though, it's a "what could I possibly do in the future, for other people, or should (Deity forbid) something like this happen to you again?" Because it should never get that far, ever ever. And if I can figure out what might-possibly-maybe help, then I can try it, and maybe it won't get that far. I want a magic wand for that.


3rd-Jul-2013 07:04 am (UTC)
The self-sabotoge voice: I have two solutions, they work equally well alone or together. They are both a sort of CBT as mentioned above, a rewiring of neural pathways. They are so simple that one can hardly believe that they work at all; they are life-altering.

One is this book. Sum of which is the mantra: I love myself. The recommendation is like 5 minutes of focused meditation daily but seriously, just say it to yourself ALL THE TIME. When the self-sabotage voice speaks, say a dozen times in a row. Every time.

One is Ho'oponopono, the Hawaiian forgiveness prayer.

Best of luck.
3rd-Jul-2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
In no particular order...

You're so made of win, with extra shiny on top.

For the friend with the self-injuring internal voice: I found that something that works pretty often for me is the "best friend" scenario. Would I say that negative thing I'm telling myself to my best friend? If not...well, don't I deserve at least as much kindness and consideration as my best friend?

(This one usually gets me out of the loop quickly. It reminds me that I deserve good treatment, even from myself. I can still criticize myself when I gotta, but I don't have to beat myself with the "I suck" stick when I do.)

I will tell the truth.

This one hit me way hard, in a good way. Long story short, a difficult encounter last week led to a bunch of cascading epiphanies for me, each one sort of superseding the last, and "I need to tell the truth" was the one that seems to be at the root of it.

I haven't been teling the unmitigated truth to a lot of people about how sick I've been. I've been pretty gorram sick, and if some of my other friends think I've told them horror stories about my health struggles...well, I've been softening it for them.

'm as isolated as I am, not simply because I'm sick, but because I haven't described for them in explicit detail what it's like to be this sick and why I can't often join people out in the world. They might make more of an effort to meet me where I am if I did.

Your dogged insistence on telling the truth about your life inspired the hell out of me. The truth is often messy, contradictory, and uncomfortable. It can depress the shit out of you. But it also made me feel relieved, a lot less encumbered, to recognize it in all of its messiness.

Is there a seekrit handshake or something for Those Who Survive Shit? There should be.
4th-Jul-2013 02:19 am (UTC)
Do you have any advice for someone who, over many years, has developed an inner dialogue that only serves to self-injure?

Two bits:

1. I realize this may be impossible, but... find an authority figure with a positive voice. A good therapist, a teacher, a wise friend, etc. Find someone you respect, who says good things about you and to you, and absorb, absorb, absorb. The best way to fight bad things that have been internalized is to internalize good things.

2. While the concept of the Inner Child is one that has been made fun of and twisted all out of proportion in pop culture, I honestly found this the most helpful thing I have ever done: I pictured myself, completely separate, as a little girl. And I pictured the voices saying those awful things, not to me, but to her.

And I stepped up, and I stopped them. Because she didn't deserve it, and none of those things were true of her, and they were hurting her.

Seeing myself from the outside has been my most powerful therapeutic tool for years.
9th-Jul-2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
re: why were you attracted to him

A lot of what you describe sounds like Judah is a narcissist. If you've not looked at that, you might want to - it might help. Just a thought.
22nd-Jul-2013 06:14 pm (UTC)
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.

This entire paragraph is why I stayed with my abuser/rapist for so long. The "good times" seemed so good.
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