Pathetic

I sound pathetic. 

I never really confront my problems, to myself or anyone. I want to accept my life, but I cant.

My family is dysfunctional. I have accepted that. My mother has been isolated from 90% of her family, and my grandmother gave me a panic attack at my nana's funeral.

Family issues have clouded time for grief. I have only cried a handful of times over her death, but countless times over the problems in my family. There are too many to list, and yeah, every single one stings.

But there have been no family issues since Christmas time. I don't blame that for how I feel now.

No.

I dont even blame my family for their problems.

Everything is my fault.

I feel like I'm literally the cause of everything.

I have things going well in my life. I have a nice boyfriend, lots if friends who support me, and whatever's left of my family.

But I feel alone. Like there are people around me who are meant to listen, but I cant get the words out to them.

I guess it would be impossible for someone else to understand something I cant even get my head around.

They don't understand. They never would, so I wear a smile and push them away when they come too close. All I will do is hurt them in the end, anyway.

In the end I'm just another girl no-one cares about. No-one will remember me when I'm gone. No-one will know what eats me inside because it's my fault. They're my problems, and I should clean up my own mess.

I understand that I have a problem, but I dont know what it is or how to fix it. I want to talk to someone, but I'm alone in this.

Its like I'm alone on an island, screaming for help, but no-one can hear. If they could, I wouldn't deserve their help because it's my fault I'm on the island anyway.

And I cant swim.

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My Mental Block Has Crumbled

It seems that in the last month, the mental block I once hid worries, pain, and hurt has fallen away. My life has been a roller coaster of emotions and difficulties. 

When I was four, I was sexually molested by an older cousin; someone I trusted. The abuse corrupted my life and tore at me - I'd cry with guilt and shame. I believe it was at this time I set up my mental block.

When I was eight, my mother was diagnosed with a terminally debilitating physical illness and delusional paranoia. She'd just given birth to my sister and was so ill that I became the mother to my sister; I cleaned up cuts and cooked dinner. My mother didn't like this. When her mental illness reared its head, she'd abuse me physically and emotionally while my father was at work. Eventually, he had to stop working to look after her. 

As a teenager, I was severely overweight; I was paid no attention by boys other than disparaging remarks about my appearance. My best friend was the total opposite - pretty and bubbly, however she controlled and dictated my early years. She controlled a variety of sexual experiences that I wasn't comfortable with, but was too afraid of being called frigid or that our friendship would end.

I've been with my current boyfriend for five years and he is my other half - he's brilliant with my sister, kind and patient with my mother, and dependable. During our relationship, I've lost weight and look like a different girl. Still, my self-esteem is so low that I'll avoid a deserved argument, afraid that someone will pick my appearance apart - fearful that I'll be fat and fifteen again, crying in my bathroom. 

Last year, my life took a turn for the worse.

I was being intimidated by my roommate's boyfriend and felt so unhappy, lower than I'd ever been. My boyfriend and I were fighting and I was sure he was going to dump me. I'd found out that my father may have fathered a child with one of my mother's closest friends and the child is very very ill so the woman regularly comes to my house begging my mother for handouts and sympathy. My world had crumbled, so that when a friend - someone I considered to be like a brother - offered to take me out for a drink, I accepted.

At the bar, this friend of both myself and my boyfriend told me he'd broken up with his girlfriend and wanted to drown his sorrows. I got drunker and drunker so when he said he should go back to his place and get on Chatroulette (something we'd always done while drunk) that sounded fun.

When we got there, he realised he'd forgotten his laptop and mentioned we should probably go to sleep - I was too drunk to walk home, I should stay over. I had no issues with this - he was my "brother" after all - so I drunkenly pulled off my jeans getting ready for bed. On the verge of sleep and too drunk to know my own name, all of a sudden I was fifteen again, feeling pressured to allowing something to happen. I lay there not realising that what was happening wasn't right before shouting "stop!" He may have stopped, I think he probably did, but I was already unconscious.

I woke up later to him touching me, my pants pulled to one side. I lay for a second and the only thing I remember before I had the urge to vomit, was disappointment. Disappointment that he'd done this, for instigating this while I was drunk. Disappointment gave way to numbness. I stumbled to the bathroom and vomited. I looked at my face in the mirror - I wasn't connecting thoughts together, I felt I was a completely different person - lost and bewildered. I stumbled back the bed, still too drunk to walk home. Besides, I reasoned, he probably didn't mean to do it. I lay as far away from him as I could, my thighs clenched like a vice and my back to him. 

He wouldn't dare do it again. 

I fell into unconscious or a heavy, deep sleep again and woke up to him doing it again. I was afraid he'd say something mean about the way I look or emotionally blackmail me into silence. So I just lay there, my head turned to the wall, my eyes glassy, my face pale as I vomited until I bled and my friend molested me. I was a child again, not understanding what was happening, merely knowing that it was outside my comfort zone and that I wasn't enjoying what was happening. 

I gathered the urge to say stop in a way that I knew would draw his attention. I don't know why, but I knew that something was holding me back from telling him that what he was doing was wrong; a hunch that he would turn nasty. I told him to stop. He replied, "come on, no one will find out," to which I replied "no!" once again. 

My memory is fuzzy with pain, drunkenness, violation, numbness. I don't think that he stopped, despite keeping my back to him, despite saying no, despite showing my discomfort. My brain told me that it might be over sooner if I pretended to play along, but I couldn't keep up the act beyond a few seconds. I lay there, shivering, clutching my stomach while he rubbed his penis along my back. 

Eventually I woke up feeling well enough to get away from him. Numbly, I informed him that as far as I was concerned that nothing happened; that I wanted to forget the whole thing. In my mind it was true, during those horrible few hours I never kissed him, touched him, or was in any way sexually excited. 

Six months later my numbness is fading - now I'm having panic attacks and crying every day. What happened as a betrayal I see as a betrayal of my boyfriend. The guy who molested me was his friend. He assures me that he forgives me but that he wants to know who assaulted me.

I can't tell him.

I want to. So badly.

I want him to know that the person he smiles when he mentions was my attacker. I want to come clean to him - tell him everything. The logical side of my brain tells me that if I do, my life might be over. I'd lose a lot of friends, my abuser could say that what happened was a fling - anything but the truth. My family and his would be at logger heads; not a good idea in our small community. 

I hate him, but I miss the friend he was. I'm writing this because I'm sick of feeling depressed, full of guilt and shame. I'm sick of looking at my male friends and wondering would they hurt me like that? would they touch me while I threw up?

I worry I'm victimising myself when I wasn't actually a victim; my memories of that day change like crazy - I can't be certain what actually happened. One minute I see I was sexually assaulted while the next an evil voice at the back of my head cuts me down. 

How do I even begin to move on from this?

My life feels like a black hole that's physically and emotionally destroying me. 

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A Letter You'll Never Read

Dear psychopath,

I loved you effortlessly. I was trusting, giving, and naive. I loved you before I knew your true nature. Your smile, your ease, your power put me at peace. We talked for hours about God and His goodness, Jesus and His love.

It was love at first sight. We talked and walked in the summer sun, we laughed and ran to avoid the Florida rainstorms. I thought in my heart that a man who feared God would be the man I would be with forever. Before I knew what I had done, my heart was yours. I would follow you to the ends of the earth.

Little did I know that to you I was a tool; you had always manipulated to get your way and were a seasoned abuser, skilled at stabbing and twisting at just the right moments. You said God told you to take my virginity away from me. Did He also tell you to shame me after my first time? You named me a whore, a temptress, a slut that lured you into hell, and then you pulled me close and kept me for yourself.

Did God tell you to scream at me in public any time you were trying to get your way? Did He tell you to publicly humiliate me, throw things at me, to make me bleed, to make me suffer? Did He tell you to use scripture to shame me, to make me feel less than human? Did He tell you to throw me against walls and scream at me? What did I do to you? All I gave was love ...all you gave was abuse.

Before I knew it you had moved me in, you had planned my schedule. You controlled everything. I wasn't allowed to talk to my parents, to leave you for any amount of time. I was either on the phone with you or next to you. You knew what you were doing. I was fulfilling some sort of sick fantasy of control, of dominance, and you weren't going to let me go. You loved to see me shamed, you loved to break me down. You were convinced I was full of demons, convinced I was a slut who was dragging you down. I couldn't stop myself from believing I was a slut.

One day, I stopped trying to make you happy. I became numb to it. I just phased out and let you do whatever you wanted. You raped me ...like it was nothing. I was just lying in bed, and you forced your way on me, and did whatever you wanted to. When you got off I could see it on your face, the same look that I had had for almost a year: shame.

You only liked me when I was trying to please you, trying to love you. You liked the challenge of subduing, controlling, defeating, dominating. Now that I was numb and apathetic, the challenge was gone. You had broken my spirit. It was time for you to move on. You went to the church we attended every week, you told all our friends about what a slut I was and how you needed help escaping my clutches. People I trusted told you to break up with me. They encouraged you and tried to help you.

I was shunned. Outcast from everyone except one person, my best friend. She was the only one who had spoken up at all to me, voiced her concerns, the only one who cared.

Our relationship was still on and off. You said I was too much to resist. I had given everything to you, so I was still looking for a semblance of love and hope. I was convinced I needed to marry you. 

You had taken everything from me, and I didn't know who I was anymore. What did I even believe? What was there left to live for?  Now that I was apathetic I could see everything for what it was. We had sex one last time before I went home to Texas. Afterwards, you put on your clothes, called me a whore, and told me to leave. I was empty. There was nothing left, and yet you took some more from me. You were never satisfied.

I tried to kill myself by just not getting out of bed anymore. My best friend and roommate kicked me out of bed after a few days and forced me to eat, to live. She loved me. A week later I contemplated drowning myself in the ocean. The Lord intervened on that night and it didn't happen.

When I got home to my family and to support I was a shell of myself. I just slept during the day, but I couldn't sleep at night. I started chain smoking. I had severe anxiety. I saw death coming for me in a shadowy figure everywhere I went. I had left real life and entered into an altered state of reality. I was consumed by fear. I often forgot what I was doing, where I was going. I had severe flashbacks and severe panic attacks.

You but you still weren't done with me. You called me up accusing me of cheating on you. You texted me horrible things, verses in scripture condemned me to hell.  You had to keep on hurting me. I had to change my number.

You wrote me a letter, and an email, both listing Bible verses about how I was a whore. I believed I was nothing because you told me so often. You used brainwashing techniques and extreme manipulation tactics to bond me to you. I was your slave for a year.

You are not a man of God. You are a psychopath, a devil, my deepest fears realized. You broke every belief I had, but in a way, I need to thank you. My relationship with God has become real. I no longer lean on religious stigma, and I no longer care for pleasing others. I only care for my God, His will, His love, His word. The God I know will never welcome abuse, will condemn a heart filled with hatred, and will cast away manipulators and evil doers.

The Lord my God heals the broken-hearted, lifts the meek in spirit, saves those who have been crushed, and redeems any who call upon Him. I may have been broken by your hands, by your words, by your deeds, but God has built me up stronger than I ever dreamed of being.

Although I struggle with forgiveness, my anger is well placed. I will always be changed by what you did to me and took from me, but I hope God changes you. If He can take emptiness and create fullness, He can change hatred into love. I will continue to heal, to be angry, to find a voice in me that needs to be heard.

Now that I have God by my side I am no longer afraid. I need to tell of the darkness turning into light. It was a miserable journey for me, but by the grace of God, I am so full I am overflowing. I am filled with love, strength, purity, and identity.

Genesis 50:20 WE ARE LIGHTS IN THE DARKNESS. WE SHINE BRIGHTER EVEN WHEN YOU TRY TO PUT US OUT. You will never take away my freedom to live abundantly.

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New Relationship Needs TLC

5 years ago I finally was able to get myself and my two children out of an emotionally abusive relationship. It wasn’t easy, and definitely took a toll on all of us. However, the kids and I WERE able to move on, and although life isn’t perfect (is it ever?), it’s decidedly BETTER.

Today, I find myself in a non-abusive relationship with a really great man. He takes care of me and my children and is wonderful in so many ways. Yet he can’t seem to understand why I am often sad and moody, sometimes depressed, and why I am constantly asking for him to validate me, our relationship, and his love for me. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed that I can’t even explain to him how I am feeling or why.

Sometimes I cry for no reason, or get overly upset. I find myself not trusting that he REALLY loves me and fearing that he will leave me. He doesn’t understand my behavior, and sometimes, neither do I. It frustrates me because I feel like something is wrong with me. It frustrates him because he doesn’t understand what is making me act this way.

My behavior is ruining the only stable relationship that I've had since my divorce. Does emotional abuse really do this? Is this why I can't figure out how to function normally? I feel so lost. I want to be "normal". I want to trust that this man will love and care for me. But I CAN'T. I feel like I don't know how to act, and I'm afraid to do or say the wrong thing. It's awful feeling this way. I know in my head that this man is great & supportive, but I can't control the negative thoughts and feelings that I am having.  

Has this happened to anyone else? Is there any kind of support group or information for someone who is in a relationship with someone who was previously verbally abused? I want so badly to help him understand me.  And I want to be able to trust someone again.  

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Loneliness Got The Better Of Me

This is the first time I’ve stumbled onto Band Back Together and found much strength in your stories. Thank you, The Band.

My story began when I moved to a small town for a job – the furthest I’ve been from home. I tried hard to fit in, but I'm a quiet person which can make friendships difficult. My boyfriend and I had been doing long-distance relationship for two years. It’s tough, but worth it. In the meantime, I wanted to keep myself busy.

This fall, I joined a choir and after our Christmas concert, I was introduced to a guy in the choir. He asked about my after-concert plans – I’d planned to go home, but gave him my contact information. Soon, he dropped hints about how pretty I looked when I sang, that he’d admired me during choir rehearsals, he spent every week looking forward to seeing me again.

I told him that I was flattered, but that I had a boyfriend. Could we be friends? He agreed that we could be friends, which made me happy. We started getting to know each other. When he suggested we hang out, I said yes – no harm in that. He came over and opened up to me.

He disclosed a major tragedy he’d been through two years before and the major depression he’s experienced since. He shared every detail, how it affected him, and how rare it is for him to trust enough to disclose. He said that since we’d been talking, he felt  happier; more optimistic. How difficult remaining friends is but he’d have to figure out a way. I supported him as he spoke, reminding him I could only be there to support him as a friend and if he couldn't handle it, I'd understand.  

He never left.

We found ourselves talking more as my relationship with my boyfriend became distant. My friend took me out of social isolation and introduced me to new things. One evening as we watched a movie, he rubbed my ankle. I’d not had physical contact in such a long time and it was comforting. Part of me thought, this will lead me down the wrong road. When he asked me if it was okay, I said a guilty yes.

He offered to drive a girlfriend and I to the city to catch our plane home for the holidays. We were staying in a hotel overnight and I didn’t want him to stay the night with us so I asked if he’d be okay if we had “a girl's night.” A few days prior, he’d offered to stay at a friend's place that night so I didn’t feel awkward. He was hurt, manipulating me. He said I was tossing him aside like he didn't matter. When I offered to drive alone, he maintained that he’d drive. So I allowed him to stay in our room.

At the hotel, he tried to touch me, which made me uneasy. I’d shift my weight away from him but he’d inch closer. I reminded him that I’m with someone else; I can't let these things happen. It's not right. He made the comment, It's not like you have a ring on your finger. I reminded him that I’d committed to a long-term relationship, and even if I wanted to be with him, I couldn’t give up on my boyfriend – even if we were going through a rough patch. He refused to look at me or talk to me. I left, hoping he’d understand.

I returned to the room, uneasy. I’d wake during the night to him entering and leaving our room. I hated to see him hurting. I didn’t know where he was or if he was safe. I was up all night worrying. What if something had happened to him and it was my fault?

He drove me to the airport. He didn’t say much but it was clear he was devastated.

The following day he told me that he needed to talk to me; he couldn’t do this alone. I said I wanted to be here for him and help as much as I can. We discussed his troubled past and when we were done, he said that he felt better and went to sleep.

I tried to get the past few weeks out of my mind during the Christmas break, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I worried about him. Finally, I broke down and told him. We messaged back and forth, as I was enjoying my Christmas with my boyfriend.

Sometimes, he'd ask inappropriate questions, was "I with my boyfriend now? Is he sleeping next to me?" I told him the truth. He was fixated on my return and he kept asking for clarification about our relationship - what was I to him?

He knew I was starting to develop feelings for him. I told him that right now, I saw him as a friend, but I didn’t know what would happen in the future. If something were to happen between us, let's let it happen naturally. Let's just enjoy our time together." He accepted that. He knew while I was having doubts about my boyfriend, I wanted to let my heart guide me.

Once I returned, things got tangled. I tried to remain faithful and honest to my boyfriend. When my friend tried try to kiss me, hold my hand - any of that stuff – I’d turn away, which hurt his feelings. My feelings were getting stronger – I knew I’d feel badly no matter what happened - if I stayed with my boyfriend or if I fell for my friend. It was getting harder to resist him. I’d only speak to my boyfriend a few times each week.

Watching a movie one night, it all went to hell. My feet were sore so I asked him to rub them for me. When the movie was over, I realized his hand was traveling up my leg. My head said no, my body said yes. I was so nervous as he tried to take my pants off. He stopped when I asked him to, but then he kissed me and ended up on top of me.

Afterward, I was disgusted with myself – how could I let this happen? We promised it wouldn’t happen again, but it did. I wanted to tell my boyfriend ... but would he blame me?

He asked me to make a commitment to him and I told him it wasn't that easy. Clearly, I loved my boyfriend and the stress of our friendship was causing me emotional harm. I asked him to back off – we could still hang out and be friends, but no more physical contact until I got my mind straight.

We hung out with friends that weekend and he stuck to our agreement – most of the time. Occasionally, he’d try to initiate sex, but I reminded him that I needed to get my mind straight. After the weekend was over, I stayed the night at his place. I was afraid of being alone. I woke up to him making advances on me. This time, I let the sex happen. I felt so much hate – hate that I’d given in, hate that he’d continued pursuing me.

It happened again few days later: I went to his house after work to watch a movie and we both fell asleep. We went to his bed and I awoke to his advances I just let it happen. I was on autopilot, going through the motions. I even ended up on top. Afterward, I felt violated, like he didn’t respect me. He felt sad that I felt this way, so he apologized to me.

I left.

The next morning, I had a panic attack about what we’d done the night before. That’s when I decided to call my boyfriend.

I woke him up and told him what had happened the night before. 

I was afraid he wouldn’t understand me or believe me, so I painted a violent picture of the sex the night before, making it sound like an attack; a rape.

He told me to go to the police.

Initially, I refused. He said that if I didn't call them myself, he wouldn't believe the sex wasn't consensual. He threatened to call them himself. Again, I was put into a corner again by someone I trusted.

I went to the police to report my attack.

I told the police I didn’t want to be there, but that my boyfriend needed me to go to believe me about the sex. I was clear - I did not want to press any charges. He’d been through enough, and I didn’t want to add to it. He’s my friend, he’s not a bad person.

None of that mattered.

The police questioned me. I can't remember half of what happened or what I said, I just wanted to get it over with so I could tell my boyfriend that I'd gone to the police. I didn't want to do this to my friend. After investigating for a few days, I was asked to come in for further questioning.

Unfortunately, this was so, so traumatizing for me.

The police asked me a number of questions:

"How long had I been with my boyfriend?" Two and a half years.

"Have I had sexual relations with another man during the summer?"

Yes.

(After all her questioning, I started to understand why victims were afraid to report a rape)

She went through the text messages that me and my "abuser" sent back and forth during the previous week and pointed out the ones I’d sent that didn’t support my story:

"I really like feeling connected to you.”

"I know it's going to be difficult, but we have to have no contact for a while."

She was implying that I’d enjoyed the sex we’d had. I started crying. She asked me the final question:

"Did he sexually assault you? Yes.

She asked again, clearly not believing me, “did he sexually assault you?” Again, I said yes.

She sighed and asked again, "Did he sexually assault you?”

After asking after the truth three times, I realized that I wasn’t going to win. I felt broken down - I wasn’t going to win.

This time, ready to be done with the police, I said, "no.”

The lecture she gave me felt like I being kicked!

She told me by reporting the rape, I’d wasted her time, the doctor’s time, my friend’s time, my boyfriend’s time.

That I’d just made it harder for real victims to come forward.

She was appalled that I could do such a thing.

She asked why I was still with my boyfriend - I’d made it clear I don’t know what it means to love someone.

That I am emotionally unstable and the damage I’ve done to the accused and his family is beyond repair - the only thing I can do now is to be honest with everyone and tell them that nothing happened.

I had a friend who drove almost two hours to stay with me after my “rape.”

She asked my friend to come in and said to me, "Now, what do you have to say to your friend?" I sobbed knowing that she wanted me to tell my friend. I couldn't admit it. The cop told me she wanted me to see a counselor and she would call me in two weeks to check up on me to make sure I was seeing someone for help.

It's been three weeks and she hasn’t called me yet ...

A week after the police report about the rape, my abuser sent me a message, stating that he couldn’t believe that I’d tried to ruin his life by accusing him of rape after consensual sex. I was furious with him: When did I say "yes"!? When did I out-and-out say that I wanted to have sex with him?

I’m still really upset about the cop having the audacity to accuse me of not knowing what love is; that my abuser actually believed that I’d said yes, to the sex.

I’ve told my boyfriend the full details of that night and he doesn’t understand. Of course he was mad that I lied to him, but he wants to move past it and wants me to heal from the rape. I feel I don't deserve the kindness he shows me.

Choir starts next week, and the man I accused of rape will be there. I don't want to stop choir because it is something I’m proud of - I wanted to share my talent and my light. The light that I had before though, I feel it's burnt out after all that I’ve been through. It takes so much effort to smile and pretend that I’m okay inside when I feel nothing but pain, hate, shame. I want to be that girl – the one who had so much hope – again, the one who wanted to do all that she could to help anybody that needed. I don't know where she is now.

I am thankful I got the opportunity to write all of this down without letting anyone know who I am. I don’t want to be judged for what I did and what happened. I’m returning to my community in a few days and am terrified of the judgment I may get.

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