From yesterday, finishing up the important men (or boys), up to my son’s father…
A few months after J1 left, I met J2. He was 20 years older than me. I was terribly attracted to his mind, to his sarcastic sense of humour. Yes, I adored his mind, but I didn’t love him. I know that. I even knew that then. He wanted more from me than I could give him. I was lonely, but I didn’t want a relationship. Hmm, let’s just say he ended up as a friend with benefits. It wasn’t great. I don’t know if it was even good, but he was good company.
He often tried to open me up, to get me to talk. That was usually a failure. I could rarely share. We did have fun together, we used to drive our 4WDs into obscure places and drink and talk until the small hours. The relationship was something I fell into, but when he began to push for more than I knew I could give I ran away.
Weeks later I met S, my son’s father. In some ways I always feel like I threw myself into S’s arms to make sure I couldn’t go back to J2. Remember, my relationship with R? Years of breaking up and getting back together? That was a pattern I didn’t want to repeat. Seems I was able to learn from some mistakes I made, even back then.
While we were still just friends, one of the first things we spoke about was J2. I spent my life carrying guilt for everything that happened. I always blamed myself for things. We spoke about J2 and I told him how guilty I felt about treating him the way I did, running away like I did. He listened to me. He didn’t judge me and there’s something that I didn’t realise before writing this… he never told me it wasn’t my fault.
This is important. Therapists, friends, boyfriends, everyone… whenever I would open up about something they would all tell me… it wasn’t your fault, you weren’t to blame for what happened. That never matched what I believed about myself. S never said that. He let me unload the past without trying to change what I believed about myself. Then there was the sex.
Unloading the past as I was doing allowed me to open sexually unlike I’d ever been able to before. It was a heady time for me. I didn’t slide into a depression while I was with S. He made me feel good about myself. Yes, He did. I know, I know, its past time I learn to do that for myself. Working on it *sticks tongue out*
Remember the rules about not talking? They didn’t exist with S. For the first time in my life I had found someone I could talk to. In my dysfunctional mind that made him better than family. That’s why I ignored everything that was happening, the control he was gaining over every part of my life, the warnings from my friends. Well, at least until the universe stepped in and forced me to see and move on.
Afterwards, I was devastated. I couldn’t understand how I could have ended up in a relationship like that, where I would give up the person I thought I was becoming. His abuse was emotional and I let myself sink into it deeper and deeper. Yes, abuse. It took me many years to admit even to myself that it was abuse. It had been insidious, sneaking up on me and slowly gaining momentum over time… and I know, I let it happen.
Afterwards, between being pregnant, being back with my parents and my confusion about the relationship with S… I lost faith in myself again and began to struggle against a slide into depression.
Believe me, I didn’t think this journey was going to end up this long! When I began I didn’t really know how far I was going to look, or what memories would come to me. We have finally reached the time prior to putting myself into my long self-imposed isolation. I used to always think that I put myself into my isolation soon after my son was born. Now, looking back and remembering… even though I struggled with depression, it did take a few years. Anyway, that is coming. Just maybe not tomorrow. It’s the time that brought all the feelings of fear with the memories, so we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.
Image credit: © Ami Beyer | Dreamstime.com