As a child of a covert narcissist, who spent every day breaking down any self-esteem I might accidentally grow, I was a prime target for my malignant narcissist of an ex-husband.
Keep in mind that there never has been and never will be an actual diagnosis for either my mother or my ex. Both fought like hell against any hint of therapy because there was nothing wrong with them, everything was my fault.
There are many stories, some I have already told, and this one, which I never thought would see the light of day.
I don’t even want to think about it, never mind discuss it with anyone. But people need to know that it exists, that it happens, and that it’s not OK.
I married my “high school sweetheart” AKA, a predator who targeted someone vulnerable 3 years his junior. Now, the age difference wouldn’t matter if we had been grown, mature adults. As a matter of fact, my current wonderful husband is 7 years older than me. But then, my ex was my first real boyfriend, and as I said earlier, I was raised in a dysfunctional family in which the normal was not normal.
I was taught to serve, to ignore my own needs in favour of other’s wants. I learned that I didn’t matter. I had no choices, no opinions of my own. I was a mirror.
And that continued throughout my marriage. I was perfectly broken and ready to be used.
From the beginning, he taught me that it was my fault if he was in pain. Physical, mental, financial, it was all my responsibility.
That continued into the bedroom.
Sex was not a loving act between two cherished partners, it was a power play. If he had a need, I was to fulfill it. If he had a desire, I was to play the part. Women were his enemies and only to be used. His porn addiction was out of control, and this was before the internet, so our bedroom was filled with falling down piles of the most degrading magazines he could get his hands on. I was only the receptacle, not the object of desire. I was too fat, too ugly and nothing about me was good enough.
He groomed me to be meek and accepting that he was the only one in the world who would ever put up with me and I needed to be grateful that I had him, because otherwise I would die alone. I was only acceptable as long as I did what I was told.
I was expected to be “ready and willing” at any time, any place, because you see, blue balls are fatal.
I bet you didn’t know that.
My sex education was brief at best, back in 1980ish and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t covered. As the years dragged on, I was barely even worth being a receptacle.
The worst part was when he…couldn’t.
That would bring the rage. That was when the worst times happened. If he couldn’t do it himself, he used whatever was at hand, including a police issued nightstick. He bought this illegally, as normal citizens aren’t allowed to have these in my country. This added to the thrill, I guess.
What it has done to me over the years has led to a deep fear of police. It’s not a straight line, there are many other stories involved, but that’s a biggie.
As a boring, law abiding middle-aged white woman, I actually have very few encounters with police officers. (Yeah, white privilege at work, sigh).
In the past few years, my PTSD has made me absolutely terrified of even the briefest encounter. Why it waited 20 years to fuck with my head like this, I have no idea, but my therapist does. I’ve been working on my fragile mental health for about 10 years now, one thing at a time, and she tells me that my brain will withhold things that I am not prepared to deal with yet. As I have gotten other things somewhat under control, my suicidal thoughts, my OCD, my anxiety, and depression have a little less hold on me. And then, slowly, over a few years, I found myself avoiding anyone in a uniform that might remind me. Whether a soldier, a police officer, or even a security guard if he has a nightstick or a gun, I will freeze and go into a panic attack.
This is interfering with my life dammit!
I am so angry at my stupid brain. I am absolutely terrified of getting stopped by the police, even for something benign.
What would I do?
My big fear is that I will bolt and not be able to communicate why I am acting erratically and get arrested. I fear my heart would stop, like a terrified rabbit caught in a trap. I
fear that I will have another nervous breakdown. I fear I would never recover.
But I’m working on it. I am going to beat it, I swear.
This particular mind-dragon is a powerful one, but not invincible. I have proven that over and over again in my recovery. I am worth the work, I deserve peace.
Session by session with my trauma therapist, day by day with my husband, we are all fighting for me. If you are reading this and you have experienced marital rape, you are worth it too! It’s not right, it’s not OK and it’s not your fault. Please use the resources here at The Band, and know that there are people who care and who can help.
At the age of 9, both my mother and father went to rehab for alcoholism.
At the age of 10, I finally knew what it was like to have a home after living in over 200 houses, more than 100 cities, fifteen states, and two countries.
At the age of 14, I was raped by a classmate my freshman year of high school.
At the age of 15, I started working two full-time jobs and single-handedly supporting my family because my parents flat-out refused to work.
At the age of 16, my parents decided to start drinking again. I took on a third job to support their alcoholism.
At the age of 18 I graduated high school at nearly the top of my class.
After my first year of college, I was told that I was not allowed to continue even though I had scholarships because “I wasn’t raised to think I was better than anyone else.”
At the age of 21, I was rapedagain … by the man who had betrayed me seven years before. My parents told me I deserved it, and was lucky that a man had paid that much attention to me since I was worth nothing. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
My birth certificate says that I was born on April 2nd, 1987 at 1:25 p.m.
I was born on March 30th, 2009 at roughly 9:45 p.m. when, at nearly 22 years old, I decided I had been through enough.
My father suffers from Bipolar Disorder and severe Anxiety. My mother is a Paranoid Schizophrenic. Neither one has any sense of reality beyond their immediate perception of the world, and both are Compulsive Liars.
The man who raped me intimidated and frightened me into a silence I would not break for almost ten years. When I ran into him again, he introduced me to his wife and child as if we were old high school friends.
He contacted me after getting my information through old mutual friends and asked if we could meet to reconcile and so that he could apologize for what he had done. He never had any intention of doing so and in my own foolishness, I met with him and he forced me into the back of a car and raped me … again.
My parents told me I had to be lying, and that if I had been raped then I should consider myself lucky because that was more than I deserved from anyone. When I insisted that I was not lying and needed their help, my father smacked me across the face and broke a chair over my back.
I was almost twenty-two years old at the time and the only thing I remember after that was my youngest sister’s face. She was staring in horror and fear trying to figure out what to do.
I had stayed for years thinking that I was protecting them. In that moment, I realized that if I showed them that all you could do was take the abuse and not actually do anything about it … then one day my little sister was going to be in my position … and no one would be around to help her either.
I didn’t have anywhere to go. I had nowhere to stay that night. I called up a friend and grabbed a ride, and crashed on a couch while struggling to find somewhere to live.
I went through months of endless torture and doubt while going through the trail that put my rapist in jail for what will be a very long time. I changed my address, my phone number, and all of my information so that I could cut ties with the life I didn’t deserve and start living a life that was not filled with fear, or doubt, or regret, or abuse.
Today, I am 23 years old.
I have a home of my own for the very first time.
I have sought counseling for the traumas I have been through in my life.
I have struggled with body image, self-esteem, guilt, and an intense lack of trust in people I care about.
I have cut all ties with my family, stopped supporting them financially, and moved on to start a life of my own.
I have found love in a man who is the best thing to ever happen to me. A man who would never raise a hand to me, who loves me in spite of my demons, and who has already supported and seen me at my absolute worst.
I have found peace.
I am not sharing my story to shock, horrify, or scare people. I am not sharing my story seeking sympathy although it is graciously received.
I am sharing my story because somewhere out there is a man, woman, or child who has faced demons that linger in shadows all around them. They may not feel that they are able to overcome them and they are utterly alone.
I am telling you my story to tell you this:
You are not alone. Ever.
No one is ever alone. There were moments when I wanted to give up and give in. Just tune out and wait for the worst to come so that nothing else as bad could happen. I figured there was nothing that could help or save me. I have been there.
I made it out and I am waiting for you with open arms on the other side. There’s plenty of room here.
The first time I was molested, I was 6 years old. My step-dad was a controlling, abusive asshole and had been grooming me over the few years he’d been married to my mom. It started as tickling, then moved to a touch here, me touching him there, and everything you can imagine in between.
At 6, I had no idea this wasn’t normal interaction. He was the only dad I knew.
At 8, I knew how to give a blow job, at 10 he was attempting penetration (poorly), at 12 when I got my period, I got worried. A substitute teacher covered a chapter on sexual abuse in health class and I realized that this wasn’t normal at all. I told my mom that afternoon, he moved out that night, I got lots and lots of counseling.
I remember he had big speakers under his mattress and he put on something with a shit ton of bass and it made me so nauseous that I spent 20 minutes puking on his back porch. I didn’t tell anyone. In fact, I continued to date him for an additional 6 months.
During that time he fantasized about moving to Alabama (where 14 is the age of consent) getting married and having babies with me. At the end of those 6 months he nearly got arrested for threatening a secretary with bodily harm for not allowing him to bring me flowers to my class… in middle school.
At 15, I walked over to a boy’s house that I had a crush on to “hang out.” We were making out and he got my pants off. I let him know I wasn’t interested in having sex so he decided that putting his belt inside me was a better option? I was known as “belt girl” (probably still am, honestly) for a number of years after that, to our group of mutual friends.
These are of course only the major offenses. I’m not including the literal hundreds of unsolicited dick pics, “accidental” gropings, catcalling, and unwanted sexual advances that occur from randoms quite often.
Why didn’t I report it at the time?
Well it depends on the occurrence. The first time I didn’t know any better, the second time I was in love, the third I was embarrassed and ashamed, the fourth I was terrified of ever seeing him again. I definitely didn’t want a court case. I never filed charges on any of them. Even the long-term ones.
I remember vividly talking to a counselor who warned me of the long court process to press charges against my dad, how it was my decision (AT 12), and whether they should file charges with the DA. Seems like something an adult should’ve decided, no? That stayed with me through all of my assaults. I felt powerless and guilty. I blamed myself for my poor decisions. Surely, I mean, it was my fault, right?
So now PTSD is a real thing I live with every day as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. The triggers are never expected or convenient. Depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand with that. Once, a psychologist mentioned her surprise that I didn’t have a personality disorder, so there’s that, I suppose?
This is why the #MeToo movement is so vitally important.
The shame, the bureaucracy, the headaches, the guilt, it’s not worth reporting. This is what I’ve been told time and again as a victim. Maybe not in those words, but certainly with that intent. Someone didn’t want the paperwork and i didn’t want the trauma of retelling my story time and time again.
Once you understand what is bothering you, it can be fixed.
When I was a little girl, around the age of 6, I looked up to my uncle. He’d take me to the store all the time to pick out whatever I wanted, he let me eat candy when my mom wouldn’t have been okay with it, he stood up for me if I was in trouble, and he showed me attention when most of my family didn’t at that time.
I loved my uncle, and he had gained my trust. He was the kind of guy you could count on. He was always being there for everyone. He was the man who you could call at 3AM if your car broke down, and he would come help you – maybe even buy you a new car.
Well, little did I know, being so young, that it was all nothing but a setup … a setup that took years of gaining everyone’s trust, going to church every Sunday, gaining a reputation as a well-known man of the community, with many people who looked up to him.
I don’t recall the exact day the child sexual abuse began but I do remember being told that I could trust him.
He’d say things like, “I’m helping you,” and “I’d never hurt you.” For a while, he didn’t touch me, but he’d gained my trust, expecting that I wouldn’t tell anyone about the child sexual abuse.
I didn’t tell a soul.
At first, I was so young that I felt as if something was just kinda … off, but I wasn’t sure if it was wrong or not.
The child sexual abuse went on for years.
Every time the kids’ cartoon Tom and Jerry would come on TV, he’d have me go into the den and lay on the couch. His wife would normally be cooking in the kitchen or off doing something during that time.
There were glass mirrors in the TV stand that he would open a certain way if his wife was home, so he could see her reflection off the glass if she was coming that way.
He would make me lay on my belly while he touched and rubbed my body. He never had sexual intercourse with me.
This would go on for years, almost every single day. He always complimented me while he would touch, and after a while I finally started to realize that what he was doing to me was wrong.
Even then, after years of having dealt with that man, I still was scared to tell anyone … mainly because I knew the family loved him.
He’d won everyone over, and I thought nobody would believe me so I had to act like everything was fine.
I remember running from him the last time he tried to sexually abuse me and I told him I was going to tell the woman who lived across from him as his wife was gone that day.
My mind will not allow me to remember what he did or said but I didn’t leave. I didn’t go back to his house after that day. I talked my mom into letting me ride the school bus to a friend’s house instead of my uncle’s.
I didn’t explain why.
I still held in what happen to me, and I didn’t tell until I turned 18 years old. I was working at a new job, in which I had to be around new people and older men, which gave me flashbacks to my childhood. I called my mother and finally told her the truth. We kept it to ourselves, it felt better to at least tell someone what happen.
Then, as I got older, I was put on medication to cope with depression and anxiety. I never understood why until I went back to his house to get my closure with him; to FINALLY him how I felt.
By this point, I was an adult with a child of my own and a fiancée. I went into his home by myself, while a close friend waited in the car. I walked in ready to get it over with.
At this point the man was now 80 years old, yet still was aware of what he done to me. I started my conversation by telling him that I wanted to understand why he did that to me, and I told him that what he did was wrong.
He actually admitted to what he did, yet wouldn’t apologize.
He told me that he saw nothing wrong with it. He also said me, “Well, you’re engaged, about to be married soon, so I see nothing wrong with it.“
Once he said that, my mouth dropped open.
He actually expected a thank you from me!
His eyes confirmed that. He had the audacity to explain that he’d groomed me as a child; that he prepared me for my future husband. I explained how wrong he was.
I made it very clear that he had nothing to do with my engagement, nor my life, aside from my anxiety issues. It seemed to surprise him that I’d said that. It seemed, in a way, to hurt him.
I never got my apology from that man, which wouldn’t have been a meaningful one anyway. However, I did leave that day feeling as if a weight was lifted off of me.
It made me view life better after getting to stand up for myself.
It may sound crazy, but just breathing felt good again. The trees looked more alive and beautiful than before. I could actually laugh with my friends and family without feeling like I was faking it all the time.
I realized that the sexual abuse wasn’t my fault. It’s never the child’s fault, no matter what. Adults know better, a child is still learning and understanding. It’s always wrong for any man to preform any sexual act on a child, whether it’s verbal or physical, it’s always wrong.
It’s going to cause you to think; it might out bring feelings you’ve hidden for years, that just come out of the blue. And yet, I firmly believe that you can overcome the madness.
You’ll probably never understand why it happened. Being abused as a child makes the saying that “everything happens for a reason” feel untrue. I believe there’s an end to all bad.
There’s also karma, which I believe will be much more powerful then him answering to me.
There is a definition for “grooming.” Being groomed for child sexual abuse does exist, and it is wrong.
Never be afraid to speak, run, tell your doctor, teacher, someone you know can – and will – help.
There can be a stop to the childhood sexual abuse. Never believe the lies of the ones who want to bring you down or hurt you.
In the United States, every 107 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted. Four of every five sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 68% of all sexual assaults go unreported to the proper authorities.
Why? Why do so many sexual assaults go unreported?
Shame. Self blame. Embarrassment. Fear that no one would believe their story. Fear that they may have caused it. Not wanting to be the victim. Wanting to move past the sexual assault. There are a multitude of reasons why sexual assaults go unreported.
Just as there are a number of types of rape (gang rape, date/acquaintance rape, intimate partner rape, statutory rape, sexual assault), there are a multitude of responses to sexual assault. Each of which is completely normal.
This April, The Band Back Together Project is shining a light into the darkness of sexual assault. Please share your story of sexual assault so that we can Light the Darkness.
All are welcome.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven months. He moved into my university house, and it wasn’t long before we fell in love with each other. He is the most incredible, caring and loving person I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and I love him so ridiculously much.
He has tried so hard (and it has been hard) to help me become my own person. I’m only 19, but I have been through a lot in those 19 years. I used to live in a women’s refuge, I have been raped by several people, including my uncle who groomed me and coerced me when I had nobody else to show me love. I was 15. Due to all this, I had very very little self respect or self worth.
A few days after he moved in, the evening of our first kiss, I raped him. It was my 19th birthday, and I was so drunk I can’t remember it in the slightest. I didn’t even find out until a month or two afterward. Apparently, I was pulling him onto me, trying to take both of our clothes off. He kept saying no, but in the end, gave in and had sex with me. He did it because he knew I’d never been fully accepted by anyone before, and he wanted to give that to me. Even if it meant giving that.
For seven months, he has felt totally okay with it. Until this morning. He keeps saying he’s sorry because he loves me so much and wants so much for us. He knows it wasn’t really me, but he doesn’t know if he can be with me. He doesn’t know if he can forget. He won’t even let me touch him anymore.
I don’t know what to do. I want to be with him so badly. I’ll never love or be loved like that again. How can I help him to move on from it? How can I help him rebuild his self worth?