Going into my college memoirs and publicly exposing the abuse that my exes put me through (without revealing their names because this is not about revenge)–This does seem to be helping a lot. There’s just something about getting it all out into the open. Going through the Phil files to post them has been draining and exhausting, but it’s good to get it out there. As I do so, I see new things I did not know before, based on my research into abuse, and I can validate that former, scared self I was 20 years ago. And I know that countless readers could identify with my story.
The same thing is happening with posting the Richard/Tracy story over here. I did that already, a year and a half ago, but it got few hits. My blog wasn’t so big back then. It’s on my website, but except for a few pages, my website doesn’t get many hits in general. But now that I’m rewriting the story and posting it here in little chunks, the writing is improving, and people are starting to read parts of it because they can see the chunks are relevant to their own experiences. I’m also adding things and making connections which I didn’t get before, because I had not yet done the research into abuse which I have done since I finished it in 2012.
Exposing the story like this is scary–the usual, “What will people think of me?” It wasn’t quite as scary when few people were reading it. But writing our stories of abuse is not about being judged by others, or about vengeance: It’s about the healing journey. The first part is to get out the story, and not worry about what others think of us.
We MUST tell our stories in some way. Keeping it secret will kill our spirits, even if not our bodies. We must expose what our abusers did, not keep the secret for them, as if we owe them a favor.
This extensive rewriting and posting of both stories has been very draining and exhausting. But I can feel the healing come into my spirit. I see new connections and insights which I did not have before, from three years’ distance and research. I see red flags and lies which I did not see before. I see that I can forgive myself, both for fleas caught from my abusers, and for falling for the lies of the narcissists.
I see how I was being used and manipulated from early on. I see that my theories of what happened with Richard and Tracy, make a lot of sense, answer all the questions. The more I rewrite and revisit these experiences, the more I see how Richard and Tracy both manipulated, used and deceived me, how their lies were woven. The more I see that my husband and I do not need these people back in our lives, no matter how much grief I held over losing my supposed “BFF.”
I see that it’s not my fault I was abused by Richard and Tracy. I see that it was not my fault I was abused by Phil, or that he lied to and manipulated his flying monkey Dirk, and then sent him to break my spirit and get me under Phil’s control at last.
And hopefully I can recognize such people if they come into my life again. And help others recognize such people as well, after they read my stories and get validation for their own experiences.
I have also read of people telling their abusers what they have done to them, and how healing that is, even though normally the abusers call them crazy and refuse to apologize. We can’t expect apologies or depend on them for our healing, though we do deserve apologies and they would be a healing bonus. We can’t let the abusers keep us under their control, as if they get to decide whether or not we can heal. Well, my abusers have been reading my blog and website for the past year and a half. Let them read what I’m posting now. It’s healing for me to lay it all out here, and in small chunks, hoping they will actually READ it this time. (They went over it so quickly last year, and got such bizarre interpretations of what it said, that I doubt they truly *read* it.) Maybe now they’ll finally GET it.
Or not, because that requires empathy, and the willingness to admit to doing wrong, abusive things to me and to others. I saw very little of that when I knew them, but a whole lot of justification for every nasty word, every act of vengeance. They’ll probably just find some way to call everything I write “baloney” again, or say it never happened that way, or that they never did that, or that they were justified, even though everything I write is true and this is how it all happened.
Which is exactly why we broke off relations with them.
That’s how abusers act when you confront them with the abuse, so you can’t expect apologies or even acknowledgement that you tell the truth. It’s extremely common for abusers to call their victims “liars,” “crazy,” and continue the abuse, even when faced with documentation proving their abuse.
It also helps a lot that they no longer live in my city and just a couple of miles away from me, but on the other side of the state. They are no longer this ever-present physical or emotional threat. I no longer have to worry about them showing up at my church, on the street, at the store, at the voting polls, at my house if they get violent….
I hope that the current bitter cold weather, which must be even worse where they are now, will inspire them to say as soon as Tracy graduates, “Screw this, we’re going back home where it’s warm!” (You know it’s been cold when you consider 15 degrees and an above-zero wind chill “springlike.”) Then they’d be thousands of miles away from me. They’re banned from the Forum, I don’t see them on my other forums anymore, and I dropped mutual friends on Facebook to protect myself. While I do see the mutual friends sometimes on the Forum, or on Todd’s Facebook, there’s no chance of interacting with them in the same threads as Richard/Tracy. So even online is much safer now.
The emotional pain of seeing them at my church and fearing what they will do there, or what they will say to whom to smear me (such as my priest, which they did already do), no longer happens. It’s the same as when Peter and Shawn stopped going to my college two years in, so I no longer saw them around every day. Or when I graduated and moved away from S– and to Fond du Lac, so I no longer saw Phil, Persephone or Dirk every day. Not seeing your abusers around, and not hearing their names all the time, is incredibly helpful when you can manage it.
It also feels like the events I write about here–even though they still can stir up anger at times–are becoming just another part of my past, something that happened long ago. The more I write, the more it seems like just words and pages on a screen, and no more real than fairyland. I spent the 90s still smarting over the things that Peter, Shawn, Phil and others did in college, but the more I wrote about it, the more it seemed to fade. And then so much time passed that, even though I can channel old feelings long enough to write a blog post on abuse, after I’m done writing about it and tweaking the posts, it fades away again as if it never happened. Now that the threat is gone and Richard and Tracy have finally turned into nothing but an IP address in my blog stats, I feel like revising and re-posting the book I wrote about that experience, is all I need to do. Maybe even publish it on Lulu for those who prefer that form. Then after that, it will all fade as if it never happened. Much faster than it did with the exes, because I didn’t have a blog back then, just a private journal and occasional e-mails or forum posts…..