This post has been in my head for a long time, and I never really knew how to put it together. I’m still not sure if I know how to put it together, and I’m afraid of it being taken the wrong way. But I also need to write it. And I hope that if someone needs to read it, they can find it.
I’m very angry. I wish I could have done something to the boy (now a man, by some definitions) who abused me.
When I was 14, I met an older boy at church. It was complicated in the beginning, but I believe he broke up with his older girlfriend for me. In hind sight, it was probably because he couldn’t control her like he could me. Because I met him at church, and because I trusted everyone there, I thought he was right, that he must have been right. This was the basis for two years of emotional and sexual abuse.
I should have known something was wrong when we began dating. He told me he was afraid he would end up hurting me. It started with emotional manipulation, late nights on the phone convincing him that I would try harder and that the world wasn’t as bad as he felt it was. One day during the first few months, I said something that upset him, and he grabbed my arm, twisted, and left a bruise. He told me that he wanted to hurt me the way that I’d just hurt him.
Every sign was there. I stopped getting along with my parents and most of my friends – he didn’t like them. I was anxious and depressed because I was constantly monitoring him, feeling like I had to somehow be better.
When he wanted to start doing things sexually that I didn’t feel ready for, that didn’t seem to matter. He would either keep going past my “No” or guilt me, sometimes even raise his voice at me and berate me. He used misattributed scripture and the words of his church leader against me. (I later got a chance to talk to that leader alone – he never said any of the things that my abuser used against me, and felt terrible that he had no idea what had been going on.)
For two years, there were increasingly sleepless and tearful nights spent convincing him I would try harder, that I knew I was wrong, and that I was sorry I hurt him. I never knew what I was doing to hurt him, but was convinced this must be the case. My mother didn’t trust him, but that just drove me further from her. When he would touch me, I would drift off and physically become tired so that I could at least try to get him to stop. I was scared.
Finally, he graduated, and at the last minute was accepted to a school about an hour and a half away. I didn’t have my license, so visiting him was blessedly difficult. This was when the sexual pressure and emotional abuse skyrocketed. I visited him once, where the entire day was spent in his room, trying to convince me to go farther. I think it was at this point that he started wanting to break it off.
That January, just after our second anniversary, he told me that he met a girl and she came onto him. Within days, he wanted to take a “break” and decide what he wanted. He broke up with me a week later, telling me that I’d been a bad girlfriend, that I didn’t love him, and that this girl knew how to take care of him. I begged him not to. For days, I received barrages of texts and phone calls, all telling me how terrible I’d been, and how much I’d hurt him. How I needed to be a good friend and be there for him through this. After two years of hearing these things, I believed them – they were all I’d known in a relationship. I thought this was love. This continued intermittently for weeks.
Finally, I told my mother something that he told me, and she lost it. My mother is my hero. She sent me to the movies with a friend and made me give her my cell phone. She called him and told him that if he ever tried to contact me again, he would be facing a restraining order. She called the phone company and had his number blocked. And when I came home, I slept with the greatest peace I’d known in years.
I began dating one of my best friends, who was patient and kind and is to this day one of my favorite people. He treated me like a princess. He helped me get through therapy, which I started when I began having PTSD and depression symptoms. I finally understood that the way my first relationship had been was not normal – it was abuse.
I am angry that this happened. I’m still angry. I’m not one of those people who has found peace with the situation, who has the grace to forgive her abuser. If I saw him again, someone would have to hold me back.
It took me years to sort this out, and to figure out my own sexuality and my own independence. I was afraid of it for so long, and I felt so guilty. But I’m writing this, and writing it under my actual name, because it was not my fault.