CONFESSION: He Groomed Me To Find Him Women

TRIGGER WARNING:

Descriptions of sexual acts, forms of manipulation and narcissistic behavior.

I think some people laugh at trigger warnings as the one above, however when you have been put through manipulation, grooming and emotional abuse, others stories can bring you back to that place. It’s a place that makes you question your sanity, and experiences and can be very hard to escape.

Though I have been very vocal about my emotionally abusive relationship, I have been fairly quiet about the grooming aspect of it. The reason for this is because I am ashamed of the things I did. I have a real hard time understanding how I could have ever put other people in danger, or sexualized people the way I did. The person who did this feels like a stranger to me – but as I have come to accept I did these things, and as I am working through the guilt, shame and hate I have towards myself because of it – I am able to shed the fear of sharing it with the world.

I HELPED HIM FIND OTHER WOMEN TO GROOM.

To be very clear, everyone involved in these stories are legal adults. 

When I met – let’s call him Dillon, I was, at the time, in a relationship where none of my needs were being met. My partner insisted he loved me but didn’t want to be my boyfriend, he would beckon me whenever he wanted but when I wanted to see him it was inconvenient, and he hated the fact I was bisexual. I was young and all of these red flags were “the compromises you make for love” – Trust me I am very aware at how stupid that sounds, but this is the vulnerability and lack of understanding I had on how to be treated . This is why I was a great target for Dillon.

When I met Dillon, I had a very fake tough exterior, but in reality I was sad and broken. I thought that if I could just find someone who would commit to me, be there for me and embrace my sexuality that I would be happy. AND DILLON COULD SMELL IT.

Dillon was 11 years older than me, and the day he met me at work, he asked me to join him at a party. My gut reaction was uncomfort – why is this much older man asking me to hang out? I declined.

He pursued me on Facebook – telling me how lovely it was to meet me, and asking me out. But I told him I had a boyfriend.

He was not happy.

He told me that women with boyfriends don’t act the way I do, and that had he thought I was cool – MANIPULATION TACTIC #1 – Make her feel uncool, so she has to prove otherwise. 

It worked. I felt like a bad person for speaking to him in the first place and so I set him up with one of my single girlfriends… at the time my thought was to rid myself of him – which is awful. NOT TO HIM – to my friend who I loved so much. IN WHAT WORLD do you set your beloved friend up with someone you makes you uncomfortable… I still hate myself for it.

They dated for a few months, and all the while he would contact me during their relationship reminding me how cool I was for setting them up…  and while complimenting me, in the same sentence he would tell me that she wasn’t “enough”. She didn’t measure up to me because she didn’t share his love for women like I did. MANIPULATION TACTIC #2 –  make her feel powerful and better than another woman. 

I never did anything with him while they were together, and I told him it was wrong, but I didn’t push back like I should have. I should have.  He knew I was longing to be seen, he knew my bisexuality was not accepted in many of my circles… he knew exactly what to say to make me feel wanted and shame for wanting it – which meant I never told my friends.

He called me one night to tell me that my friend was losing her mind because he had told her he wanted to have a threesome. He told me that they were not a good fit, and he needed someone who didn’t feel jealousy like that. Someone who had emotional maturity around jealousy and the needs of men. MANIPULATION TACTIC #3 – Setting up the precedent of expectations and what a “good partner” looks like.  I knew he was referring to me. I wanted to be all those things, and suddenly I longed for him, ignoring all the gut feelings about him to begin with. I am so ashamed for having wanted this, still to this day. 

They broke up and he continued to contact me.

I ignored him.

For 5 months I ignored his texts and calls, I focused on being a good friend to my friend and wanted to fix the damage that I had brought into her life. She ended up meeting someone and she really liked them and I felt like the whole situation was averted.

UNTIL…

All year my friends had discussed going camping, I had the gear, I was so excited. One August day I got a text from Dillon – he said: Are you on the camping trip?

I wasn’t… What camping trip? I looked and saw on Instagram that my friends had gone without me. I felt unwanted, sad, abandoned. When he found out I wasn’t there he called…and I answered.

He told he me he would never leave me out of plans, that those girls were superficial, (he should know, he dated one of em,) and that I was cooler, smarter and better than them. He invited me over and…

 I went to his house.

When I got there I made it clear I didn’t want anything to happen, because of my friend. But as we chatted, and the later it got, the more my need to be wanted grew. He heard me, he listened to my tales of woe, and he loved that I was bi – he thought it was SUPER SEXY. So when he asked if we could cuddle I said yes.

Within 5 minutes we were kissing and then it lead to sex.

He told me he understood women, he loved female orgasms and he loved how quickly he could get me there, unlike my friend who was insecure in the bedroom. He asked me about women, what I loved about them, my experience with them, and he made me feel, like for once my sexual fluidity wasn’t an issue.

“I WANT A WOMAN WHO WANTS TO HAVE GIRLFRIENDS WITH ME” he said

I was all for that. It’s kinky, it’s consensual and it’s fun. I had no issue with it as long as everyone was comfortable.

“I cannot be happy with just one woman, but doing this together will make it possible with you – though… this all sounds too good to be true.” MANIPULATION TACTIC #4 – by saying this he shows me that if I ever want any sort of monogamy I am letting him down. If I don’t want someone else in our bed, it’s over and I will have to continue to prove that it’s not too good to be true.

We found one woman two months in. I wasn’t physically into her, but since this is what we agreed on and this is what he needed, I pushed away my feelings and we did the deed. I had felt it had gone really well, her and I actually became  really great friends by the end of the night. At one point she got up to go to the washroom, and I turned with a smile and said: Babe! You happy? This is awesome. 

HE WAS PISSED. He told me that I was acting like a man, and that he finds that energy in women to be extremely unattractive. He was the man in the relationship  and I should CURB IT.  MANIPULATION TACTIC #5 – You are unattractive – change. I burst into tears and he told me not to ruin the evening and to pull myself together – so, when she came back into the room, I did. I pretended everything was okay.

But of course it wasn’t. Within four months he was feeling agitated because no one wanted do join our bedroom again. He wasn’t happy.

He blamed women for being scared and jealous of me, and that I was the reason they wouldn’t sleep with him. “They aren’t going to sleep with me because I have a girlfriend” MANIPULATION TACTIC #6 – Blame. Change.

I felt bad, I wanted him to be happy… and since jealousy broke the “too good to be true” story.  I offered to allow him to sleep with women outside of us, as long as they knew about me and we could meet. We could have an open relationship.

He was on board…sort of.

He wasn’t comfortable with me seeing others, but “You’re a woman and don’t have urges to see others like I  do, so you would be fine being monogamous…right, otherwise we would have to reassess if this relationship will work.” MANIPULATION TACTIC #7– If you don’t adhere to his wishes it’s over – so follow the rules. 

Okay – Yes… he was all I needed… can’t lose him…can’t have it be too good to be true.

So we did that.

But then, the women weren’t coming in fast enough. They didn’t want to meet his “kinky” girlfriend. It was a big ask for hetro-sexual women to want to meet his partner. So he wasn’t happy. MANIPULATION TACTIC #8 – Asking for too much. Ask for less.

I wanted him to be happy. My needs were being met… he was my boyfriend. He liked me, I was happy… I guess I could compromise. So we agreed they would know about me, but never have to meet me.

This is when he started dating an 18 year old girl. He was 18 years older than her. He convinced her to take her first nudes, which he sent me, without her consent. He tried to groom her too – make her feel bad for not meeting me, or wanting a threesome with a woman she’d never met. He acted as if it was always on my behalf that he was doing things, make me feel wanted.  I was his girlfriend. I had her nudes too – we were a team. I hate that I relished in that power. Anything to feel some sort of control in this situation.

I felt like a predator, or at least an accomplice to predatory behavior, but if I told him to stop – I was jealous. Thankfully that 18 year old girl had more spine than I did and did not take his bullshit. She left him, to my relief…

Two months later – not meeting me wasn’t enough – having a girlfriend cock blocks him. He would have to stop mentioning me in entirety… unless I was willing to find people for him. Since I was the reason for these issues.

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THE SOLUTION:

GO ON TINDER, AND SCOUT OUT WOMEN FOR HIM.

You will be surprised how many couples do this. I want to believe that in some cases that this isn’t just women trying to please their boyfriend’s fantasy. But when I think of women looking for a third, it comes down to power, and I am not sure which is worse.

In order to make him happy and to be included I had to find someone to join us. I had to befriend ladies online, or in person, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, to save us.

I spoke to so many women. I pretended to be friends with women I met in the hopes they would want to join us. Thankfully, most of them could see  through my anxiety and desperate attempts to sway them – I am not good at manipulating people and the guilt seeps through. Maybe that was my saving grace. But there were two people who did fall for it, two people who trusted me and these two stories haunt me still.

STORY 1: NEW GIRL

I met her in a class, she was new, nervous and she came and sat beside me. She was pretty, she was nice.. and she was new to the city. She wanted to be friends. I did too, but I also could feel myself not wanting to subject her to my life, to my boyfriend.

The night I met her, Dillon asked me if there was anyone in my class that “would be good for us” 

I couldn’t lie. Yes.

He asked me to get to know her, and then ask her over when he was over to my place.  They became friends, he invited her to his house party, he told me to stay with her all night. He got her drunk… then he proposed a threesome to her… her drunk self was willing… (She was 19, 17 years younger than him)

Dillon got up to entertain guests after planting that seed and this lovely girl kissed me in front of everyone at the party and I felt so gross. He had groomed her – and I knew it. I told her she was drunk, and I couldn’t kiss her in good conscious . Thankfully she passed out on the couch, and nothing was able to happen. I am so very thankful she passed out, because though Dillon is awful, he would never put himself in a position of blame, or accusation. So rape was out of the picture and I knew that. The next morning when I woke up, she didn’t remember the evening and so I got the guts to tell her. I told her she kissed me. It made her so uncomfortable and it was enough for her to never want to see us again, and I was so thankful. But I still hate it even got to that point.

STORY 2: MY GOOD FRIEND

After 3 years,  he told me he was burdening me – that the pretense we started on was in fact to good to be true. That I was jealous and the “poly lifestyle” I said I could handle…  I couldn’t.

I felt unwanted ( a cockblock) and useless (couldn’t find women) and disgusting (a predator). I had become someone who wasn’t allowed to be myself (no masculine energy), I was consenting to be cheated on (which I know isn’t technically cheating) as he would just meet women, have sex with them and they never knew I existed.

I felt so much shame I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. At this point I was a shell of a person, I had set up my suicide twice, but never went through with it. A part of me couldn’t bare the thought of leaving this world feeling like a monster, and the fear of my story being told by him scared me more than death.

He told me I couldn’t handle him, and I felt awful for letting him down…. but he needed out…he was exhausted. So we agreed we would part ways. Part of me wanted out – but another part of me didn’t know how to live without him. For three years, I was his “bitch-finder”, I was the “cute-concubine-queen” … I was anything but me.

Upon our break up that “bitch finder” mentality was ingrained deep. I kept talking about him like he was a God – who had saved me from unhappiness. I spoke this way about him to women, and made him sound perfect. Most weren’t listening – but a good friend of mine, who had had terrible luck with men, was. I told her to go for it – I told him to go for it… and served her up to the devil.guilt-crouch

I PASSED HER ON TO HIM.

I essentially referred her to “the best relationship of her life”

Even though I knew:

– he would cheat on her, because she’s not bi.

– he would groom her to be loyal to him

– he would feel like a drug she was addicted to and couldn’t escape

– he would manipulate her into thinking his tantrums were her fault.

– he would call her awful names and make her feel worthless and yet indebted.

This referral haunts me everyday. I sent ANOTHER woman I loved into the arms of a monster. A monster who is incredibly hard to leave and lives in your head for years and years to come.

It took me years to stop seeing beautiful women and think “he’d like that” And my bisexuality feels very gross most of the time since it was used for predatory acts.

Yes – I was groomed but-

I want to take full accountability for the acts of predatory behavior I participated in.

I am sorry to the women I sexualized, and to the women I put in dangers way.  I am sorry to the LGBTQiA community for preying on bi women for his sexual fantasies. I am sorry for letting my lack of power become a power hunger… and I am sorry to my former self for not having the spine to stop it and get out before it was so bad my mental health was suffering.

Please – keep an eye out for these monsters. The groomers but also their victims who know nothing else but to prey in order to survive. We should be held accountable, despite being victims ourselves.

~Athena & Hermes ~

 

 

 

 

 

Life After The Vortex

In my last entry – I discussed “The Vortex”, which is what I like to call the emotional abuse experience that people go through.

If you haven’t read that entry – feel free to find it here.

What’s Inside the Vortex of Emotional Abuse

Over the past couple of months, I have found myself running into many people who have gone through similar experiences as me. Either they were currently in a emotionally abusive/physically abusive relationship or they had just been lucky enough to get out of one. I found myself listening to similar story lines, similar feelings and saying the same thing to every single one.  Out of all the questions, the one that came up most was – “When am I going to be okay?” 

It occurred to me that if many of those close to me are wondering this, than there are probably hundreds of other people wondering this as well. Perhaps you are one of them. This blog is going to tackle my personal experience of what happens after The Vortex, with some insight of what some of those close to me have also experienced.

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First of all, if you are out of the Vortex, you have dumped your ex, deleted and blocked their number and social media, congratulations. Really. You should be proud for having the strength, courage and determination to escape their manipulation, validation, gas lighting, and abuse.

If you haven’t, that’s okay too. Don’t be hard on yourself, you will muster up that courage, you will be able to get out and you will eventually stop talking to them, stop needing them and you will delete all their social media and affiliations. You will get out – and perhaps this article can you help you look forward to what’s to come when you do get out.

When I got out of my Vortex, I went through the typical stages of grief.

  1. Denial – A lot of agonizing crying. Deeper than any tears I’ve ever shed. I wouldn’t admit that I had been damaged by my partner, that I had their thoughts in my head, that I was afraid of being alone, that I could ever heal.
  2. Anger – I realized what I was put through. I rampaged around telling my abuser what they did. (if you can avoid this step, do so. It was dangerous). I wanted to get revenge, (I wouldn’t suggest it, at least not in the way you think about in this stage).
  3. Bargaining – This stage didn’t exactly occur for me, because I felt like most of the relationship was me trying to bargain for safety and sanity… so this wasn’t so prevalent.
  4. Depression: This is where I realized just how long it was going to take me to heal. How much I was hurting, how scared I was, how broken and how damaged my psyche was. I think I still sit here occasionally.
  5. Acceptance: … I have accepted that I survived it – but I have not accepted why it had to happen, or why I allowed myself to put up with it for so long. I am still trying to accept how I could have been so susceptible to brain washing and grooming.

WHEN WILL I START FEELING OKAY?

To answer this simply – it will take a long time.

But the sooner you start, the sooner you will heal, the sooner you can move forward.

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WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO GET ME TO HEAL?

This is obviously different for everyone, but my experience went something like this.

  1. VALIDATION: I pin pointed that the biggest thing stripped from me during my time with my abusive partner is that I was never validated completely. I was pushed aside to be the “invisible girlfriend” while he promiscuously rolled around with others. My response: To sleep with as many lovely people I could get my hands on. I treated them with respect, letting them know early on that I wasn’t looking for anything serious, and that I likely wouldn’t stick around. I needed validation that I was beautiful and wanted, that my body was my own to do as I pleased and it belonged to no one. ESPECIALLY NOT MY EX.
  2. INDEPENDENCE:  After I got that out of my system, and realized that I was wanted – I realized that I actually didn’t want to parade around sexually… I got my fill and decided I wanted to be in a place where I was my own person, free of anyone. I did what I wanted when I wanted. Movies alone, restaurants alone. Stayed up until 4 watching TV, sometimes would show up to work late, sometimes early. I was my own boss and no one owned me. ESPECIALLY NOT MY EX.
  3. TALKING TALKING TALKING: I started to talk about it, first to my therapist, then to those I loved. I had to get the courage to admit what I had been through. I started commenting on Twitter threads, and eventually when it could come up in person, I would make a small mention to having survived it.Therapy is a huge one – not all therapy places are expensive, be keen to look up cheaper therapists in your area – YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS WORTH IT.
  4. FINDING SUPPORT: After talking to friends and loved ones, I never truly felt like I was understood. There was a lot of support all around me, but those I spoke to weren’t there to experience what I went through, in many ways it didn’t matter who I spoke to, I felt somewhat crazy. I needed someone who had experienced a similar situation, who knew what I meant when I said: “He groomed me.He brainwashed me. He manipulated me. ”  It took a lot of courage but I reached out to some of the people he had dated in the past. (I don’t entirely recommend this, but it worked well for me, and if you know the person is compassionate, it may work for you too.) The people I reached out to understood – not only did they validate that what I experienced, they told me their experience which was almost TO THE WORD, the same experience I went through. This person we all dated used the same tricks on all of us. It made me feel less stupid, and able to see that I was not alone.
  5. ADMITTANCE: I hate the idea of victim-hood. It rubs me the wrong way, however when I finally started to admit that I had PTSD from my partner a lot started to change.  Admitting that I had his thoughts in my head daily,  admitting that whenever I would hear his name I would tense up, admitting that I had dreams of him attempting to kill me… that’s when I started to come to a huge healing place. It was okay to be a victim, and it was okay to not be okay from all the emotional abuse. <A LOT OF TEARS HERE. >
  6. HELPING OTHERS: I started to see the pain of emotionally abused people everywhere when I got out of my vortex. I started to hear the jargon that I used to say come out of others mouths and realized what position they were in. I am now so much more aware of how to identify a manipulator and their victims. In seeing this, I started to listen, ask questions and offer advice and support to these people. In helping them, I was also helping myself.  Since in many situations we can’t reach out to our abuser’s next victim and save them, helping in a overall sense for others is a very good way to pass on this invaluable information. You went through it – you should be able to take something good from it and teach others, perhaps save someone else.

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WHEN WILL THIS ALL BE IN MY PAST?

I  think it’s important to understand that if, like me, you suffer from PTSD from your emotionally/physically abusive partner. You are likely to carry that with you for a very long time. I remember asking my exes ex how long it took her to heal from him, and she said “It’s been a decade and I still get anxiety when I am in the area where he works.” 

She had moved on, found a real love, gotten married and yet still a part of him still lingers.

That may seem grim, but it made me feel better – it meant that I was in no rush to heal, it meant I could still fall in love while healing, and I had all the time in the world to come to terms with what I had been put through.

So to answer this question – It is already in your past – but it may at times creep into your present, and there is no shame in that. 

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The image at the beginning of this article is the destruction of a tornado. I think a pretty accurate image to coming out of the Vortex. You will be a mess, and that’s okay. But you will get better, and you will heal and out of that charred and unsteady soil will sprout a better you – a stronger you – and a you that can go around and help others too.

I am proud of you for being strong enough to battle these wounds.

I know how hard it is, and you are one step closer.

~Athena & Hermes~

What’s Inside the Vortex of Emotional Abuse?

We are very clear on what “physical abuse” is.

Physical abuse is actually the easiest form of abuse to identify. There is evidence of it: a bruise, a scrape, a popped blood vessel, a swollen eye…etc.

It’s a form of abuse that doesn’t require someone to believe you on your word, because there is a whole lot of proof THAT YOU CAN SEE – now whether or not you come forward and admit that’s who the mark is from is an entirely different situation.

Often with physical abuse comes, that equally as terrifying monster: emotional abuse. This abuse is very hard to see, very hard to prove and even harder to walk away from.

If you know someone in this situation, I recommend you read Erynn Brooke’s blog on

Stockholm Syndrome & Emotional Abuse – Part II

It will give you the tools to help out your family member, friend or coworker stuck in this horrible vortex.

I call it a vortex for various reasons.

  1. The calmest place in a vortex, is the middle – which is where the abuser is. The emotional manipulation of your abuser will make the world around you seem blurred. They will manipulate your thoughts on your closest friends, your family and your allies  so that the calmest and least stressful place is with them. This is how they control you.
  2. If you enter a vortex, getting out is nearly impossible. You have to work your damnedest to escape. As stated in Erynn’s blog above, it takes “It takes 7-10 tries for a victim to fully leave an abusive relationship.” That is a lot of work, bravery and effort to get out.
  3. There is so much bullshit being thrown at you from your abuser, your world spins. Your thoughts are altered, your world view is skewed and you have very little control.

Now it’s very common, that those inside the vortex have no idea they are in it. This is because of point #1. They are so close to their abuser, the calm place, that they have no idea they are even inside this abusive situation. It’s also very common, that once you finally escape  that is when you realize you were inside it.  It’s when the pink coloured glasses fall off, when reality becomes clear, and when you are far away from your abuser that you realize just how far inside that vortex you were.

I’ve been there.

I’ve been deep inside the vortex and I had no idea.

There were moments when friends would crack the glass on my rose coloured glasses and for a second I would see clearly, but once back in his presence, he’d patch them right up and I’d be back in the middle again.

It’s those moments of clarity with friends or family, or when you are alone – THOSE ARE THE MOMENTS YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO.

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If you have had a moment of clarity where you have thought that perhaps you are inside this vortex – just a second where you questioned your relationship, or questioned the normalcy of what’s occuring, but aren’t quite sure.

Here are certain points and situations that if you identify with, will confirm that you are in fact in an abusive emotional relationship.

  1. You don’t really argue. Instead they yell at you – and you find yourself holding back on your opinion out of fear.
  2. They throw or break things in your presence, perhaps not at you, but it’s “because of you”.
  3. They make you feel guilty or stupid for having certain preferences. This could be a political, religious, sexual  (ie: monogamy/polyamory), or life preferences (ie: marriage/kids), food preferences (i.e. vegan/meat eater) etc.
  4.  They use power to make you feel special. They tell you things they’ve done to exes/others that they would never do to you. (They will do it to you, and they use this tactic on everyone.) This is a huge one – I would recommend reading about Stockholm Syndrome because this is one of the steps to get you there.
  5. They hold back on certain things, making it known just how special you are when they give it to you. This could be something as simple as sex, affection, or sleeping over, calling you a title, telling people about you, bringing you out in public.etc.
  6. They tell you it’s hard to find someone as good as them out in the world. This could be in relation to love, sex, communication. I’ll tell you what – there is and will always be someone else out there for you. Your abuser is doing this to keep you in the middle.
  7. They get angry at you for things you had no idea you did. It could be something as small as calling you “passive aggressive” or “belittling” when you didn’t think you were. Remember that if someone comes to you with an issue about your behaviour they have NO RIGHT to yell at you about it.
  8. They will make small retorts to being jealous about things that you do. Perhaps when you go out wearing a certain type of pant, going out with a certain friend, having a night out..etc. They do this in the hopes that you will decide not to do it, on their behalf. This is a high form of manipulation. If you decided to do it before they tell you not to, then it was “your choice”. The problem is, with manipulation and emotional abuse, your choice was stripped from you long ago.
  9. When you are alone you break down and cry and have no idea why. This isn’t a normal cry, this is a painful, panic attack type of cry that comes from being squandered.
  10. Your love to them feels like a drug.  If this is the highest form of love you have ever felt and you feel the lurking pain of withdrawals when you are not around them – run. This is not real love, this is you needing them. I know many will think that “honeymoon love” is this way, and there is an element of that. But,if you are unsure – take 7 days away from this person. If at the end of five days you feel like you don’t need them…this is a very sure sign that you don’t “love them” but you were manipulated to think that you “need them.” Another test is to journal your thoughts when you are away from them – do you resent them when you are not together? Do you have issues with your relationship? Are there things you think are unfair? Then journal your thoughts after you have been together: is everything amazing again? Is everything resolved? If this is the case – start that fight to get out. You are in the vortex.
  11. If your friends hate them. If your friends tell you that they don’t like how your partner talks to you, treats you, talks about you..etc. LISTEN. Your friend is brave to bring it up, because often when you are in the vortex you find a reason to excuse or attack their opinions about your partner. If you are getting defensive with your friends about their opinion about your partner – seriously question why.
  12. If you know of others who have experienced emotional abuse with this person – believe them. If you choose to ignore those facts, by thinking that you are different, I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not. This is a very hard realization to come to, but if you are being warned about someone’s emotional abuse take them by their word. They are simply trying to warn you about they pain they experienced.
  13. If you saw this title and are reading it because you thought it may pertain to you. When i was experiencing the abuse in my relationship, I googled “abuse” “dating someone abusive” “signs of emotional abuse” hundreds of times in the hopes that one of the articles would confirm what I was feeling. Deep down I knew, but my brain had been so manipulated I couldn’t think clearly on a conscious level.

If you have read this and have come to the conclusion that you are in an abusive relationship, reach out to a friend or family member close to you and tell them everything. If you feel like they’ve all been pushed away due to your relationship reach out to someone you respect, or call a domestic abuse hotline.

I hope none of you experience The Vortex, but if you are there right now – I am here to tell you it gets better. You will come out stronger, and you will be able to truly love again.

~Athena and Hermes~

Why Feeling Fat is Worse Than Being Fat

Before you jump down my throat about this title and tell me that it is in fact false. I just quickly wanted to let you know that it was more to get you to read the article than anything. Click bait, I suppose. Though I am going to touch on the topic of the title, I do not believe that being overweight or obese is less difficult than simply feeling it.

There are a lot of health issues that come with obesity, a lot of societal hate and pressure and a lot of mental health struggles. So no, it probably isn’t worse.

But naming this blog

I am fighting a serious struggle with my inner fat kid, and it’s causing me serious distress, especially around Christmas

was way too long.

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With Christmas around the corner, I am anxiously dreading the unified “I’m fat” conversation that comes up each year. The chat where everyone goes around and publicly shames themselves for weighing too much after Christmas dinner, followed by a series of praise for how much they work out. Then someone goes and grabs the scale and we all weigh ourselves and call ourselves “Fatsos”. Healthy right?

Growing up with this,  instilled a great fear in me and a serious body complex. One I have struggled with my entire life. Some years I can handle it, others I see the number on the scale and I just want to peel my skin off.

As I’ve gotten older, I look back at when I used to weigh 10, 20, 30 pounds less than I do now and I cringe at how I have just accepted the number on the scale as reality.

That saddest part is I am not fat.

I am a healthy, normal and average weight for my age and height. I am beautiful, I am healthy, I am fit… and yet I see myself in the mirror and I hate what I see.

This years dread has started much earlier than most years, and it’s because I stupidly stepped on the scale to see how much I weighed. I did it because it had been 6 months since I had been on it last, and in those past 6 months I made a very conscious effort to work out 3 -5 times a week.

To my utmost fear and dread – I weighed 10 more pounds than I did the last time… this is the heaviest I have ever been in my life!

So what did I do?

I got very upset and it set forth my binge habit. I went to the corner store, picked up 6 bags of candy and chocolate and downed it in 2 hours. Guilty, ashamed and even angrier at myself I then went to the pharmacy and bought a light laxative. I then vowed, I would only eat when I was around people… that way no one would know I was starving myself.

A huge part of me wants to starve myself until I am at the weight I want to be, and then go back to my ordinary life, but my logical brain knows that starving myself is not the answer. So I set forth a plan to eat healthy… but this is where my INNER FAT KID comes to play.

He loves food. He loves eating it, he loves tasting it, he loves making it, and he especially loves going out for delicious restaurant foods. And when he is being ignored he makes a point of reminding me. Instead of just eating the healthy lunch that I made for myself, he craves more.  He wants UberEats, and candy, he wants extra sauce, and slushie drinks.

I tell him no. He pushes harder. Everything in my being says: “No this will make you fat” which oddly  weakens my self control, and I find myself eating all those extra foods, and hating myself later.

The self hate that comes with body image is incredibly powerful.

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You can be bigger, obese or overweight and still feel amazing. You can walk around with confidence because at some point you figured out how to love yourself and not care what people thought of you. With all the self love in the world it wouldn’t matter if you were fat.

But when you think you’re fat – that comes with binge eating, starvation, self harm… and when you aren’t actually fat and you feel these things… no one believes you.

Bigger people roll their eyes at you.

Those close to you tell you you’re beautiful and don’t understand how you can possibly feel that way.

There isn’t an easy solution, like work out and eat healthy like there is if you actually are obese… because the reality of the matter is this isn’t a “fat” issue. It’s a mental health issue.

So perhaps I should have named this blog: Being mentally ill is worse than being fat  because then it would be true.

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You may be wondering what the point of this blog post is…

Honestly? It’s to keep my mind off a bacon cheeseburger that my inner fat kid has been craving. He says I deserve it – but I know if I order it I’ll hate myself even more. So I am sitting here trying desperately to get my mind off it.

My hope is, in the act of writing this, I can let anyone feeling the same things I am that you aren’t alone. And maybe, perhaps, start the healing process once and for all. The first step is admitting you have a problem right?

Maybe my advent calendar this year will be kind thoughts, instead of chocolate. Maybe by the time the “fat conversation” comes up, I will proudly get on the scale and say:

WHO THE FUCK CARES?!!

 

~Athena and Hermes

 

Why You Should Stop Telling People Your Age.

I’m going to ruin something for you, one of those “can’t unsee”, or in this case “can’t unhear” moments: Have you noticed how often people ask you how old you are?

I hadn’t, until recently.

I was meeting up with an old friend for coffee, mainly to meet her new girlfriend, and within 20 minutes of meeting her I asked her how old she was.

Her response was awesome. “I actually don’t tell people my age.” 

Instantly, I was embarrassed because I felt that I had crossed a line, but she went on to tell me that I hadn’t but age simply doesn’t matter.

“What difference does it make if I was 47 or 25… why did you  need to know that to continue having this conversation?

After saying our goodbyes, I pondered about it… why did I ask?

I realized it was because I wanted to justify the advice I wanted to give her… if she was younger than me I could impart my wisdom, my life experience. If she was older however, my advice probably wasn’t as sound. In short, my asking her her age was some weird roundabout way of finding justification to belittle her, or talk down to her. In another light, it was a form of disqualification of my own advice, as if my lived experience was only useful if she was younger and that it wouldn’t be to someone older than me.

It was a real mind altering moment for me.

I told myself I will never tell someone my age again. Not because I am ashamed of how old I am, I’m not. It’s because it really doesn’t add anything to the conversation, nor to a friendship, or a relationship (unless of course it comes to being underage, in which case it’s a legal issues but I’m not getting into that.) 

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I have met 17 year olds who know more about politics, life, love and loss than some 50 year olds. I have met 30 year olds who have the maturity of 18 year olds and 10 year olds who have the maturity of  70 year old wise monks.

AGE IS BUT A NUMBER.

Perhaps if there was a level-of-experience-measurement in life that we could throw at each other, then it would be worth asking. But how long you have lived, isn’t really a measurement on how much you know or don’t know. It isn’t a measurement on how valid your wisdom is.

There are other really good reasons not to tell people your age.

1. Certain careers, (modelling, acting, singing, sports) will force you into retirement once they feel you are too old to represent their brand. By not telling people your age, you can go ahead working due to your talent and not your “expiry date”

2. No one will force you to get on their schedule. Ever been told you have to settle down or have children, or hit a certain job milestone? Has anyone ever told you that “you still have time, you’re young?” They can’t do that when they don’t know your age! And all of that is a form of belittling, by the way.

3. No one will ever tell you, “WOW YOU DON’T LOOK (your age)” This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I realize it’s meant to be a compliment, but the truth of the matter is, in fact you do. You do look that age, because you are that age. What they’re really saying with this bizarre compliment isyou don’t look as old as I imagined people your age look”. Weird Flex but okay. 

4. People don’t encourage bad habits by relating to your age. This happens on either side of the age spectrum. When you are “young” you can make excuses for partying, eating too much, making stupid decisions, and you will meet someone of the same age who can justify all that. “We’re 17, we’re still young, doing a little coke won’t hurt.” I realize that’s super dramatic…but it’s the drug of choice in high schools at the moment. When you are “old” you can make excuses for being tired and not wanting to exercise, not going out, not enjoying yourself. “We’re 60, our backs are going to ache, it doesn’t matter whether we go to the gym or not”… I won’t get too into this, but working out while you age is so important for bone health!

5. You never have to be subject to the feeling of uselessness. This is particularly for women, mainly because we are essentially told that after 30 we are unseen, and don’t even get me started with after 50!  It’s this odd phenomenon. Many women believe it and I have dated a handful of men who swear by it. Which is disgusting. If no one knows your age, they can’t make you feel invisible, ugly, unwanted, less than human. If no one knows your age, you can parade around as the perfect person you are without judgment (at least in that respect).

There are many more, but are you starting to see my point?

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Since keeping my age to myself I am happier. I am more free, open minded, and much more willing to accept any advice, and trust my own. Oddly, it has helped me to become more mature. I would encourage anyone, of any age to try it. I’m not saying you have to do it – but maybe try it out and see how it feels?

You may find yourself a whole new world.

~Athena and Hermes~

 

What Do You Mean I Get Triggered?! Oh…

Here I was thinking I was better than that.

I’ve always associated “being triggered” as somewhat of a choice, and a weaker one at that. It reminds me of people who cannot have a diplomatic conversation, people who are deeply offended if you disagree with them, people who… okay okay… I’m just going to say it – social justice warriors. 

The term SJW is incredibly negative and is a definition that many people give others who they deem to be illogical – so naturally I don’t want any association with that term or any remotely close to it.

I also always assumed that being triggered was something people chose to do. It was something they understood, a feeling they enjoyed and an a form of attention seeking.

I WAS WRONG.

 

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Turns out… TRULY being triggered is emotions and reaction first and then logic second . Plus on top of that there is absolutely nothing you can do to control it. It is a lash out, or a emotional break down, or instant fear that happens way before you can reign it in and calm yourself down.

I have experienced flash backs where a location will bring back traumatic events. I have experienced traumatic childhood memories hit me out of the blue when a specific word is said – but all of these I have a handle on. I  know what is triggering me, I can logically rap my head around my reaction.

It wasn’t until just recently I experienced a triggering experience and I didn’t even know I was being triggered. I lashed out, started trying to control my environment, was rude, and passive aggressive and hilariously…. thought I was completely correct in doing so.

Feel free to laugh at this one….

I freaked out because my boyfriend didn’t wish me goodnight….

and it get’s worse… because he actually did wish me goodnight, but I had already gone to sleep and at that point it was too late.

I messaged him in the morning telling him we needed to “figure out how we communicate” and that “there should be rules on how we text with each other”

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Meanwhile, I am sure my poor Hermes was siting there wondering what the heck he had done to deserve this! I am sure the thought of “crazy girlfriend” entered his mind, because I know I would have thought that if the roles were reversed.

As he tried to calm me down and explain to me that we communicate just fine, and that we respond to each other when we are able, and we don’t need to check in to tell each other where we are because we trust each other, I had to reassess my reaction.

WHY ON EARTH WAS THIS SUCH A BIG DEAL?!

I was troubled by this…

I had no idea why this upset me so much.

I decided to walk it off, and really ruminate to figure out why this “GOODNIGHT TEXT” was just so “gosh-darned the biggest deal ever.”

I sat on a park bench, in the middle of downtown Toronto, and cried. As I cried I realized why.

The only time my ex wouldn’t text me “goodnight” was when he was sleeping with other women.

We had an open relationship, where I would celebrate him while he sought out casual encounters, and he would veto me ever seeing anyone else other than himself.  (A toxic relationship, and one I should have never allowed to happen but that is a story for a different time)

Of course, when you have an open relationship agreement you want to be supportive, and at first I was, not knowing that the offer for me to experience the open side would never come. But as I remained monogamous and the years went by waking up to you  “I successfully seduced and screwed her brains out” texts, I was struggling to say the least.

Every night he had a date, I would try my hardest to stay up to receive a response to my “Goodnight babe, I love you.” and every night I was disappointed. I knew he was too busy sleeping with someone else to wish me goodnight.

YES I DID THIS TO MYSELF.

I could have left him. I should have left him much earlier than I did. So yes, letting myself go through that was on me. But regardless, it wore me down and hurt me greatly… AND APPARENTLY caused some emotional trauma I didn’t know I had. giphy (1).gifSo this now brings us back to my freak out to my current boyfriend.

Upon realizing why I freaked out, tried to lay down texting ground rules, and scolded him for something he did not do – I APOLOGIZED.

I now know this is a trigger for me. I now know that it has nothing to do with my current boyfriend. I now know I CAN BE TRIGGERED. Shit. 

I didn’t know that this past relationship harbored such baggage in me, and I didn’t know I hadn’t dealt with it all. If I had known all this when it happened I never would have lashed out, but sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn about ourselves… life is after all trial and error.

~Athena and Hermes~

 

Speak Up. Tell Your Friend You Hate Their Significant Other.

That’s right. I said it: TELL YOUR FRIENDS IF YOU HATE THEIR PARTNER.

Alright, I may be jumping the gun a little bit – but let me explain.

We live in a world where: we tend to sugar coat things, we tend to appeal to everyone’s feelings before we speak the truth, we struggle to tell people things that may hurt. Now in many ways this can be useful, because speaking in the name of honesty as a way of being cruel is not right either – HOWEVER….

We are avoiding conversations that need to be had among our friends because we fear them.  

One of those conversations is the “I don’t like your partner” conversation. Many feel that it is not their place to judge someone’s significant other. That may very well be true when it comes to your boss, your colleagues, your teachers, etc. etc. etc. However it is important to be honest and candid when it comes to your close friends and your family (dependent on your relationship with them).

I don’t mean when it’s something superficial like the way they dress, their class, their education, or their looks. I mean when its serious things such as: the way they speak to your friend, they way they talk about their friends, they way they treat others, their outlook on life, their values.

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If you disagree with me hear me out.

I dated a man who I thought made me happy – but all of my close friends despised him.  They hated how he spoke to me, how he interrupted me, how he expected me to act a certain way around him, how he never showed his affections to me, how he would scold me, how he would often propose I leave my field of work… the list goes on and on and on.

I couldn’t see any of these things because I was “in love”. By the time it was all over, I realized I had been manipulated, brainwashed and emotionally abused. They all saw it within the first few months but they never told me how much they hated him until AFTER WE BROKE UP! 

I had all of my close friends admit to me they desperately wanted to tell me just how terrible he was to me, but were worried it would ruin our friendship.

Three of HIS friends approached me after we broke up to tell me they wanted to broach the topic, but were worried it would make it’s way back to him.

My aunt, who only met him twice, told me after it was over that she despised him upon first meeting, but didn’t want to tell me as she didn’t feel it was her business.

My exes mother even told me her son was not good enough for me and  she wished me the best in finding someone better, after it all ended.

I WISH THEY HAD TOLD ME THOUGH.

I realized I am an adult and I can make my own decisions, but had nine people told me that there was something off about my relationship, I may have slowly had the rose colored glasses fade sooner. Perhaps I could have seen what was occurring and escaped a bad situation a year sooner than I had. Naturally the choice would be in my hands, but being offered another perspective is always useful in any situation.

If you are a friend of someone who is dating or married to someone awful, you are in a very difficult position. You have to risk the friendship in speaking the truth, which is why many people avoid it.

My advice is to 1) either send them this blog and let them figure it out or 2) breach the topic from a place of love and not of blaming. Ask them questions, allow them to realize they deserve better, they are worthy of true respect and love. You can even bring up the fear of losing the friendship over this conversation and make it clear you care about them and just want to make sure they are truly happy. If your friend is truly happy your comments will not affect them. If they aren’t however, the seed you planted will grow and they will eventually see the truth.

When I was in this toxic relationship one of my closest friends asked me: “Are you happy with this arrangement?” and I said to her “… yeah I’m okay with it.” and she said: “Okay Athena, if you are then I’m happy for you. Just keep checking in and making sure it’s constantly true. If it’s not, that’s okay – just ask yourself why.”

I went home that night and cried… it wasn’t true.

The truth was that I was miserable and trapped and believed that he was the only one who would ever love me. That belief is what kept me there. It wasn’t until she asked me that question that I woke up from my trance and started to realize there was so much more past the relationship. I was capable of so much more and deserved so much more.

Three months after that conversation the seed she planted grew and I was able to dump my toxic boyfriend.

Some of you reading this may be thinking:

“MY FRIEND WON’T LISTEN THOUGH. “

They may not respond positively right away, they may not take your advice right away, they may not accept what you are saying right away… but the key words here are: RIGHT AWAY. Your words will seep into their mind, they will digest it and they will dwell on it. When it is all said and done, they will thank you for it.

If you care about your friends, SPEAK UP. 

Just remember to do it with kindness and not judgement.

(Let me be clear, if you don’t like your friends significant others for reasons that are superficial, or judgmental that have nothing to do with treatment or abusive behaviors this article is not promoting a conversation. Tune in with yourself and your thoughts on this person before you have the talk to be sure you are doing it for your friends safety and well being and not your own issues) 

~Athena and Hermes~