I’ve been going through my public college memoirs, which are published here, along with my private memoirs, to decide what to put in the public version that has not previously been there. Right now I’m going through the July and August 1994 chapter. And I must say…..
That part should include trigger warnings for people who have been raped, sexually assaulted or sexually abused.
Over the years since I wrote it all down (1994 through 1998), I completely forgot a lot of it. I remembered Phil’s attempts to guilt and verbally coerce me into anal sex, and the time he tried to force me into it and I tried to push him off me….
But I completely forgot there was more. That he repeatedly tried to turn me over, with a stern, angry look on his face like I’d better obey, but I’d refuse and resist his hands. Amazing what you can forget in 20 years.
It also amazes me because over the years, I started to fear that I was to blame for some of his abuse. You mature and start to wonder if you behaved badly at times in previous relationships.
But as I go through these old logs, I see the extent of his verbal, psychological and sexual abuse was even farther than I remembered.
It must have been some of his “time bombs” being planted in my head, going off years later, making me forget what really happened.
I begin to read and remember just how extensively he tried to gaslight me by changing history, telling people deliberate lies about me, yelling at me over things I could not help (like not being able to keep up with his fast walk), then complaining about me at work (smear campaign).
Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the hoax he kept up for some eight months, tricking me into believing that he was talking in his sleep and acting out his dreams, including his “subconscious” coming out to tell me all his little secrets. I forgot the extent of the “subconscious” hoax, as well.
I begin to see that, as painful as it may be to review these things and put them into the public, they serve an important purpose and must be put out there.
We need to keep educating each other about abuse, because despite decades of awareness campaigns, Lifetime movies and the like, people still get abused, people still feel entitled to abuse.
My story also shows that it can be survived, and that you can eventually break the emotional bond with your abuser.
Now, I can be friendly to Phil online maybe, but there’s no way in heck that I would ever get back together with him. I don’t WANT him. The love I once felt, is dead. The emotional bond was completely severed years ago.
My story also shows that I can eventually get to this point with Richard, too. The breakup with Phil was emotionally devastating to me, despite the abuse, and it took months and a new boyfriend to get over it.
But it was easy to get over the breakup, compared to the aftereffects of the abuse: They lasted for years. But I did get past them, finally.
Now it’s basically a short blip in my life, an episode of only nine months out of 40 years, which no longer affects the present. Well, except for avoiding certain people even on Facebook because they were his minions…
It also tells me that the story of Richard/Tracy needs to stay out there, too, even though parts of it might embarrass me because of my gullibility,
or discovering that some people still believe we should control the friendships of our spouses,
or discovering that some people actually think it’s immoral to be close friends with the opposite sex when one or both of you is married.
(Are you frickin’ kidding me? I thought we abandoned those ideas DECADES ago!)
Or that innocent, playful flirting is somehow immoral after you get married. (They’d have a conniption fit if they ever visited my old workplace, which was full of flirty married people, or met some of the SCA people I know!)
The full story must continue to be told, because abuse stories like this are desperately needed. They’re needed to warn the young and the naïve.
They’re needed to educate the public on what abuse is, that verbal and psychological abuse is very real, and that its damage to victims must be respected.
They’re needed to educate the public on narcissism and how severely it traumatizes its victims, even though it’s often not physical abuse.