content warning: trauma, stalking, emotional harm from a former partner, mention of rapist
I was looking at old photos and saw a pic of me and my most recent ex. When I broke up with him, he harassed me, then briefly stalked me.
I’d definitely been harassed before, but it was my first time getting stalked. It was a scary feeling–new trauma. It didn’t last very long, but I never know if he’s really done. That’s part of what hurts.
Also, it hurts that the whole second half of our relationship, I was telling him what wasn’t working for me. I told him how I felt, explained what was going on inside me. I was honest and fair–super patient with him, generous, wording things carefully, in a way that I hoped wouldn’t set him off.
Bringing things up was hard, because he was always so mean about it. But I was trying to collaborate on solutions. I wanted to stay close to him and work it out.
He would have none of that! Every time, he insulted me for feeling too much, being too attached, being angry (usually I wasn’t angry–he was angry), not speaking up soon enough, being afraid. He said I was wasting his time. He scared me, then blamed me for being scared.
It was weird how he could twist anything into me being bad and him being good. I wasn’t trying to talk about bad or good–I was just trying to find solutions for specific challenges.
He had 95% control of the relationship and wanted the other 5%. When I couldn’t do it anymore and finally broke up with him, he freaked out. He couldn’t handle that he’d lost control of the relationship, lost control of me.
I had been quiet about what he was doing to me and how things were going. But when I broke up with him, he set out to defame me, despite all the kindness I’d given him. He considered my breaking up with him a cruel injustice and total surprise.
Or at least that’s what he told people. It was hard to know what he really thought or felt. Over time, I began to doubt everything he said. Most people, I hear what they say and mostly believe it’s true or what they think is true. This person, no. Seemed like he would say anything for a desired effect. Manipulation was the only reason he used language.
I would try to analyze something he said, to figure out what he really meant, then remember he’s a person who uses language in a totally different way from most people. Lying is nothing to him. I actually had no access to his truth.
I think he believed my emotions and needs were irrelevant, and that I was addicted to his body forever. He thought he could treat me however he wanted to, and I would keep coming back for more, because of his touch, charm, intelligence, or whatever.
Also, he said some weird things about being in my head. This is the extra-creepy part. He told me we were connected forever, and there was nothing I could do about it. He said he could read my mind and enter my dreams.
Yuck–that scared me a lot. That’s an understatement. I said no–he was wrong. He was not connected to me forever. Maybe he thought he could read my mind, but he was mistaken. He was guessing and wrong. My mind is safe.
Yeah, I had worshiped him. But as time passed, every person I knew told me “get out of this relationship.” Even as I worshiped him, another part of me could add up facts and understand what was going on. I’m a very smart lady.
Despite how he’d tried to isolate me, I had great support. I’m supported by a bright spouse, and we know how to communicate. We talk every day, and my spouse was helpfully insightful about what was going on. I also have an experienced therapist who told me what my ex was doing, even when I didn’t want to hear it.
He has the title of my most recent ex. But when he stalked me, he got the title of My Stalker. Which is sad to me. Why should such a craptastic harmful ridiculous shit get a special title?
It reminds me of my rapist. I hate that my rapist gets that title. I wish he was nothing to me–just a vague memory. The role feels like I’m going to puke. That a rapist is important, and I don’t want him to be important.
I don’t want to deny what happened or rewrite history. Those things happened. I just want to defuse it, like a bomb. Yeah, that was a bomb. It’s not anymore. It’s just a weird paperweight now. I cut the right wires, and it’s trash.
I want to take away the language. Healing and language go together. I want the stalker ex to be nothing but a sad, faded memory, and I want my rapist to be the same.
Long ago I would pray for my rapist, remembering his wife and children. I didn’t want to pray for him or his other victims. But that family was in my head, in a big way. I couldn’t stop thinking about them–prayer was automatic. I guess that’s part of the harm.
So many harms. Body, mind. Someone needling me still, 24 years later. I’m just on a list of his conquests, one victim of many.
What do you think I should do? Does it bother you, to have people in roles like that? How would I cut the right wires, to defuse all that. Therapy, EMDR, self-care, DBT, journaling, art, love, ritual, BDSM. I’ve done all that. Writing about it, like this blog post.
I feel like a bank full of trauma. A worker opens the vault to find the bricks of gold, but I’m stacked with trauma instead. They’d have to cart it out in wheelbarrows.