The Myth of Loneliness and Tips to Jumping back in Post-Vortex.

In my last entry I wrote about how I was going to write about things I enjoyed writing about. I had imagined that I would be writing about nothing in relation to abusive relationships. But as the weeks have passed, I have been bombarded with messages from friends, and friends of friends saying how much my blogs have helped. How they find strength in these blogs…

If I am honest with you, I never had really intended for these to be seen by many. I had no idea that I could help people with my experiences. So as I write again, knowing I am helping someone heal – I am thrilled to be writing on this topic.

I was speaking to someone I didn’t know recently, he was referred to me through a friend. Let’s call this referral Ashton*

Ashton: Athena, my mother keeps telling me I should break up with my girlfriend and be alone to figure myself out.

When I heard this, I had a few questions come to mind.

  1. What is your relationship with your mother?

As I mentioned in the SPEAK UP AND TELL YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER POST https://athenaandhermes.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/speak-up-tell-your-friend-you-hate-their-significant-other/ If someone close to you is telling you to end things with someone you are dating – it is worth listening to. However, I still asked because there are toxic child-parent relationships where parents like to get in the way of their children’s dating life. If this isn’t the case, and this is not a habit that occurs – it is worth listening to.

2. What do you think of being alone?

Some people fear being alone – sometimes it’s what propels them into toxic relationships. They are so lonely they would rather settle with someone who hurts them, then be alone. If that resonates with you – then it may be worth considering.

However, there is a huge societal misconception that one needs to be alone to heal. I have had girlfriends tell me that I should “take a year to myself” to “find myself” before I start dating again. And though I am a huge advocate in understanding oneself, I don’t believe the narrative that people need to be alone to heal. You need to do WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO.

This is what I told Ashton – and this segues me into the real meat of this entry.

In Carl Jung’s book Memories Dreams and Reflections he discusses the power of being alone and how one can discover their own personal individuality. Often times this is boiled down to the idea that one must be secluded with their own thoughts to find who they are.

Sure, I mean it’s quite a boiled down idea… one that has made itself known to the societal expectation that if one breaks up they MUST take time for themselves.

I call bullshit, and I’ll tell you why.

The mind of an abused person is one of the scariest places to be, and put that person alone in a room to “ruminate” with their thoughts (which are more the thoughts of the abuser than their own)… good luck. Not only that, but most often, the abused person has felt alone DURING the relationship. They have had to fight tooth and nail to find the reality of what is happening to them, and ALL BY THEMSELEVES pull themselves out of this abusive situation. Since it takes 7-10 tries to escape an abusive relationship by the time they have gotten out, they’ve already likely moved on.

So – before you tell your friend that they should “take some time for themselves” after being in an abusive relationship. Take into consideration that they may very well need to be around someone healthy instead.

LET ME MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR:

there is no right answer to healing.

If you want to stay single for several years and focus on yourself – DO IT.

If you want to jump into bed with several people, to shed off the ownership of your ex – DO IT. (please be safe)

If you want to get into a serious monogamous relationship with someone who has been waiting for you, or who has helped you escape your abusive one. DO IT.

Despite what you might think, you actually DO know what is best for you. And before you scoff or roll your eyes I have proof for you:

YOU GOT YOURSELF OUT OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

If that isn’t enough proof to show yourself that your inner voice knows best… I don’t know what is.

If you do decide to jump into another relationship, or into bed with someone else, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • The healing that you are experiencing from your past relationship is mainly around TRUST and AUTONOMY. This is a really great place to start slowly testing your boundaries with someone new. See how they listen to you. Make sure to assert yourself, and speak up when you feel your boundaries are being crossed. See how patient someone is with you – if they aren’t, this is a red flag and a sign to move on.
  • Your personal thoughts likely aren’t your own. Before you start telling this new person what you think about things, take some time to really think about them. It is very likely that you have thoughts about yourself that your ex has planted, that maybe don’t nessisarily resonate to your authentic self. (Anal sex is a huge one that comes to mind here. Very often toxic partners will force anal and talk them into liking it. There is no shame in liking it, but be sure that you truly do, and this isn’t some pleasing tactic.)

  • Take some time on your own. UM WHAT?! ATHENA YOU JUST TOLD US THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO!! I know I know but read this section until the end. This is where individuality comes in. The societal idea of being alone is not wrong.. it’s just implemented incorrectly. What Carl Jung talks about is taking time out of your day, everyday, to be on your own with your own thoughts. Very often we get pulled into toxic relationships because our abusive partner wants to bombard your focus so you can’t think for yourself. It is very important to disconnect (this can be anyone in your life, friends, lovers, parents, etc.) and take time to think alone on a topic. (**TEXTING IS STILL TALKING!!) I personally take this time while walking my dogs. I tell my partner that I am going alone, so that I can ponder and think on the day. If it’s his turn to walk the dogs, I will take the alone time in my office to journal and think. This makes it possible for me to keep my individuality within my thinking.

  • Misery loves company. You have been through a lot. You are vulnerable and very susceptible to others like this. It’s not to say that you can’t surround yourself with people who have gone through the same thing. There is great connection and support within that but be aware that your goal is to heal. Many people who have gone through trauma are also trying to heal and your company (or theirs) can be triggering. If you are spending time with others who have been in toxic relationships or are healing from something traumatic be very aware of setting boundaries for them, and yourself. Communicating while one is trying to heal, and trying to assert oneself can be difficult. It is often helpful to make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who have healed already, or who are also understanding of your struggle.

  • This new person could be a rebound: It is important to acknowledge that this new person may not be around forever. They could be there to help you heal, they could be there to be a support while you try and find yourself again. They could just be the person who makes you feel clean again. Personally, the first person I jumped back into bed with was someone I needed to cleanse me of my exes body. I wanted to make sure he was no longer the last person I slept with. It’s okay if they aren’t around forever. People come into your life sometimes just to help you with your next journey, knowing this is a huge part of your healing. It’s also important to know so you don’t hold onto them like some sort of medicinal fix. Sometimes, they do stick around and that is also just as wonderful.

  • Toxic behavior can create more toxic behavior: If you have been put through the ringer, it is very likely that you can regurgitate that behavior onto someone else without wanting to. Acknowledging this possibility allows you keep an eye on it, particularly when you feel scared or angry. Just like an abused dog, when we are put into a corner we can lash out, especially when we haven’t been able to express ourselves in our abusive relationship. Lashing out on a new person is our egos way of showing ourselves that we are in control – unfortunately it can be very damaging not only to relationships but to our self esteem. Just make sure to keep an eye on this.

Remember. You know best.

~Athena and Hermes~

Escaping Harpocrates: Breaking My Silence

It’s August.

August was the month this whole thing begun, August was the month I received the letter. August is the month I end this, now – for good.

On August 11th 2018, I received a letter in my mailbox. I was stunned as I read the words

“You’re not a victim”

in the letter.

We had been broken up for half a year at this point, and what is weird is I hadn’t once even considered I was a victim until I read those words in his letter, telling me I wasn’t.

I’m going to take you through this letter… word by word.

I’m going to walk you through the incidents of this relationship.

and then I’m going to lay it all to rest – because I am sick of carrying this bullshit around with me.  I am going to leave this all here…and then move on with my life and write about things that interest me. maxresdefault (1)

THE LETTER

I received this letter on August 11th 2018 – Six months after we had broken up. And four months after the first time, I expressed just how much pain he had caused me.

Dear A, 

I hope this finds you well! Our last exchange has left me pensive and a little restless. I appreciate that you shared your pain with me and I am very sad that you had to go through it.  I’m writing this because I feel there’s been a great deal of focus on your end of this tumultuous journey and I’ve done my utmost to be as helpful as possible, but in doing so, I feel my own needs have been neglected, or at the very least, diminished in importance. As you have gotten something off your mind (and a mighty volley of punches it was!) I would now like to get something off mine. I don’t want to roil the waters or burst any sutures, so I’ve been hesitant to do this, but after our discussion, I feel compelled to reach out to you.  

In my opinion, he should have stuck to the idea of not sending this, as you will see as the letter goes on, his intentions are very much to burst sutures, and in fact, this letter betrays him.

Here’s my concern: Do you remember what happened with {insert his ex girlfriends name here} How she wrote an article maligning me, having invented offenses that never took place? How she re-wrote history? I’m concerned that, in your grief, you’re going to re-write history. And I don’t believe you’ll ever stoop to her level, but I’m already seeing signs of redacting…

This ex-girlfriend, as described by him, was an insane feminist out to get him. She had made up all these horrible things about him that never happened. I actually ended up reaching out to her, and we spoke. Suprise Suprise… my how coincidental it was that all our stories of abuse lined up. She was in fact the strong woman who aired out his wrongdoings, and as such, was a threat. His maneuver was to paint her as crazy and paint himself as the patient man who put up with her.

I can assure you, I will not be re-writing history. No need to. All the evidence lies in this letter.

I was astonished by your confession of anger in April during my {show}. I’m glad you came to me with it, but I was utterly baffled about why you could be angry, even despite your explanation, because it just didn’t seem to be consonant with the reality we shared together. It was as though you hadn’t heard anything I’d ever said to you about how much I love you, especially around the time of the breakup. But, intense emotions, life upheaval, and grief can do much to paint how we see the world, and I didn’t follow up about my shock because you said you felt better.

He was glad I went to him with it, because he knew I hadn’t gone to anyone else, which meant he could nip this in this bud. Begin the accusations that I was crazy. I had heard him say how much he loved me. His words however didn’t match his actions. But I don’t have to tell you that – you will read it.

But then you told me what you told me the other night how “you lost it” after we broke up because you believed that I told you “the novelty had worn off” I denied every using this words with you, but I didn’t push too hard because you needed to tell me something, and I know that must have been hard for you. I also know you needed to tell me to continue on your journey.

However, I’ve let that conversation sit for a few days, and it isn’t sitting well. I still vehemently deny ever using the words “novelty has worn off” about you because I didn’t. and wouldn’t. 

At this point it’s hearsay, isn’t it? I say he said it, he said he didn’t. The argument that he wouldn’t say that isn’t exactly a strong one. This is the same man who yelled at me: “You are second-hand trash”  who told me “do you know how emasculating it will be to be dating a scarlet?” the same one who angrily scolded me for three hours for guessing his number wrong. If you can say all that… saying the novelty wore off isn’t such a jump.

Did I not mention he would begin to paint me as crazy: i.e. I lost it.

Not only do I hate the phrase itself, because it’s in the same camp of detested cliches as “quality time” “living my best life” and “you do you”, but I would also never say that about you, nor would I say it to you, unless I was out of my mind drunk, which I wasn’t in the associated context. 

I am exceptionally careful about the words I use all the time. My entire life is a matter of reigning myself in for the comfort of others – and you know this more than anyone else. 

I do. This is why he is writing this letter to me in the first place. He felt he could let himself go with me and not reign himself in. This is why he could go on drunk tirades against me, scare me until I had to run to the bathroom, and still feel like that was excusable because he was “out of his mind drunk”.

He had me believing that he was the only man in the world who “Vino Veritas” didn’t pertain to him… I was a fool.

While I was very open with you – more open than I’ve been with anyone – I still always curated and expressed my thoughts carefully, especially when it came to matters of your self-esteem. This was true from the first day to the very last (and persists today). I may have uttered a phrase similar to the one in question with regards to how I feel about women generally but I always made it clear that it wasn’t what I felt with regards to you.  Because it wasn’t. 

I will say he did take care of my self-esteem. He made sure I had none, though would mask it with compliments. But my self-esteem was on a fast deterioration while we were together, and I think that speaks louder than compliments. He also would make comments about how women over 30 were old and undesirable. This wasn’t about me either, but you can imagine how much I dreaded my thirtieth birthday.  If I had spoken about men how he spoke about women in front of me, I surely would have been scolded and yelled at.

And to reiterate with us, nothing “wore – off. I wore out.  At the time I didn’t know why and I didn’t have a solid answer aside from “its the hardware” or “it’s genetics”. I can see how these responses can leave a maelstrom of doubt in which one’s worst nightmares are born, but “worn out” in no way equates what you’ve expressed – the “novelty wearing off” I was explicit about this, repeatedly, because I wanted to avoid precisely what has happened. I’m also terrified of “gaslighting” you on the matter: I don’t want to cause further doubt or invalidate your feelings, but I believe you’re inadvertently projecting my thoughts I never had, and are hurting yourself with them. 

I actually believe that this letter was to try and invalidate my feelings and gaslight me. In fact, if he truly feared that he would be gaslighting me I don’t believe he would have written it. I also don’t feel he would have put quotations around the word if he truly was worried about it… His use of quotes around gaslighting seems to be used somewhat like air-quotes. in other words ironically. The bizarre part is the focus on this one thing of the novelty wearing off but, not the other terrible things he said to me during our relationship.

Maybe I should just let myself be demonized to assure your recovery and comfort, but, as with {ex girlfriend name} I see where this can lead unchecked, and I also don’t feel its fair to me. And again, I’m not saying you’ll ever do what she did, but… who the hell knows what a few years will bring is this isn’t corrected? I won’t lean to hard on this either, because i don’t want to activate any guilt!

Corrected? You mean to shut me up? Well, this letter actually pushed me to publish this. He should have let me demonize him as I was healing because had I not received this letter, I probably would have healed up just fine, but never would have been given the gift of seeing clearly, and just how terribly treated I was. So in many ways, I am thankful.

As for guilt, I carry it every day on how he allowed me to treat the women he chased after. More of his grooming and manipulation can be seen here.

This next bit is actually redundant, it reads of somewhat of a university essay of him trying to prove his point further, but I will let you read it as it is a part of the letter.

I want to share another example of how easily this sort of “projection” and “reading between the lines”  can happen. In February, as {colleague name} and I were ramping up for the show, she sent out an email to the ensemble essentially asking them to go out and get local sponsors for the program. Now, the program sponsor slots were for {company name} only and not for {other company name}: the ensemble technically worked for {other company} She went ahead and sent this email – containing not only a clear conflict of interest, but also a dubious exploitation of my cast – without consulting me. I sent her a kind, albeit firm email outlining these issues ad saying that, in the future, I’d prefer it if she consult with me first. At no point did I ever mention the words “you crossed the line” or even scold her. It was written as a soft correction. She then called me up, heaving, weeping and hysterical, and repeatedly saying that I told her she’d “crossed the line” Which I had not. She replied “Yes you did! Yes you did!” I encouraged her to pull up the email: after doing this she reluctantly admitted that I hadn’t. She had “read between the lines and chosen her own interpretation. In the email I made it clear that it indeed had been a mistake – but one that was my fault for not being explicit. In reality, it wasn’t my fault because it’s an obvious error, but as always, I accept the blame for the behaviour of others because I didn’t properly manage it. This is what I’ve always done. I’m not so sure this tendency is helping me in the belong run with personal relationships. My indulgence seems to be returning to injure me. In {colleagues} case she allowed her fears – making a mistake- to completely colour her view of my reaction to the even, and projected on to it a level of anxiety that it didn’t merit. Not only that, but she ignored everything else I expressed and fixated only on crossing the line. I feel that this is at risk of happening with you and our history. 

My therapist says if you have to reiterate over and over again, you don’t trust in your argument. Or as one would say “the lady doth protest too much, me thinks”.  It occurred to me when I read this the first time that as an actor he should be much more aware of what subtext is. Subtext is the emotion that is put on the words. One can say “Have a nice day!” with different subtexts and it can mean different things. Knowing the colleague, and her hard work ethic, I can only bet that the subtext in the email he sent her WAS in fact ” you crossed a line”

But, most of us know subtext, as we are careful to put emojis, when conversing in text nowadays, so feel free to read the subtext in the essay example above… (or even in this sentence)

When I look back, and when I remember our time together, I recall that I did and said everything I could to be honest and more importantly, kind with you. I know this to be true because it was part of my mission to do so. There were errors on my part definitely! And you handled them with a grace that always impressed me, and for which I’ll always be grateful. We can safely say that the majority of our time was shared in harmony. 

The grace I handled most things with was simply ignoring everything and not holding him accountable. The harmony was because I would take anything, mean words, glasses were thrown over my head, drunken berating and forgive it as if it never happened, or affected me.  THIS IS MY FAULT. This is where the healing has been hardest, trying to forgive myself for allowing this behaviour.

I spent our years together trying to build you up; from your feelings about your appearance to your career to your mental health, and even to helping you assert yourself with your family and friends.

I tried set up my suicide twice while being with him. One time I even called him because I was in a dire mental spiral and he refused to come over because he was tired. My mental health was not good.

The friend and family assertion meant ditching most of my friends, losing them or leaving them because they were too stupid, or not good enough for me (in his opinion). I almost lost two of the most important people in my life because of him and lost several others.

Even though he tried to put a wedge between my family and me, he thankfully did not succeed. But he did manage to meet with my father after we broke up to explain to him why he was still a good guy, and why my father should still fund his show.

And you were there for me too through my professional woes, and my relationship entanglements. I haven’t forgotten that. But it seems like my  contributions have been forgotten and supplanted instead by the portrait of some remorseless brigand. I don’t want to elicit any guilt but I don’t think I can allow myself to be villainized here. It’s not accurate and its not fair. 

I drove him to different cities for work because he didn’t like to drive. I did his social media for his shows, I LOOKED FOR WOMEN FOR HIM WHILE I WAS DATING HIM.

Yes, the sex was incredible. He made me feel wanted, and sexy, at first, but I fought tooth and nail to be perfect… and though I could not succeed, my biggest flaw was I didn’t hold him accountable. So yes, my memories of this relationship are mostly bad – I know there were great moments, like playing video games together or making silly voices, but those get wiped out when you hurl insults at me, or glasses, no less.

I’ve been thinking over what “went wrong” and a new feeling has been occurring to me over time. I was worn out, but I think I might have been partially worn out with “caring about you” because I felt like i was often hurting you because of the other women. When we starting dating it was with this promise that they wouldn’t matter, that they wouldn’t bother you. I was skeptical of this. And it turns out, in the end, that my skepticism was well founded: they did bother you, and of course they did! Why wouldn’t they! You’d finally found something you cared enough about (and that cared enough about you) to get invested, which was a great honour for me. 

This part of the letter is fascinating to me because he believes himself to be right that I was jealous and that is why I couldn’t keep the promise. We had agreed that we would be open to having other women join our relationship. (one can read into the steps here) But as the relationship went on, he kept changing the rules to that.

  1. We would have girlfriends together
  2. He would have girlfriends as long as I met them
  3.  He would have girlfriends as long as they knew about me
  4. He would have girlfriends and not tell them about me.

And all the while, I couldn’t have anyone else, or else we had to rethink the relationship. So yes, the women did end up bothering me – but it wasn’t because I didn’t keep my promise. It’s because in the end I became invisible, and he could have it all while I stayed home alone awaiting his call. Not only that, but I couldn’t decline the changes of the  rules because otherwise, I’d lose the relationship.

And I saw you trying to valiantly trying to uphold your end of the bargain, tolerating the others as you did. But I could see what it was doing to you, and my two needs – making you happy and women just weren’t compatible. I think the conflict between these in conjunction with my growing professional concerns, finally wore me down. I’m still not comfortable telling you this because I’m afraid you’re going to internalize it and hurt yourself with it, but perhaps this will offer an alternative narrative to the novelty argument. 

And to this I say: Don’t put yourself through this arrangement again. You don’t have to share if you don’t want to, and nor should you. You deserve someone’s complete focus. 

I don’t think I need to underline the fact of his needs… it’s just laughable. But, I would never put myself in a never-ending-altering arrangement again. My other gut reaction is: Don’t tell me what to do.  However, it always interested me how he said I deserve someone’s complete focus, and yet can’t see later on how I tell him I deserve better.

One of the reasons I suggested you go to therapy was to come to terms with this reality: that you deserve exactly what you want now that you know what it is.

Here, he lies. He never told me to go to therapy. I started going to therapy in 2016 because I was having horrendous migraines and it was included in the headache treatment. He never once suggested I go, because he didn’t believe in it. In fact, he thought he was too smart for therapists, which is why he refused to go.

When I saw that the arrangement wasn’t working for you, that’s when the wearing down began.

Am I reading between the lines by saying : So he’s saying it is my fault? I wore him down?

I was hoping you would acclimatize to it, or at the very least that we could find someone suitable to date us together… but a catalog of difficulties attended to these efforts. I don’t want to give you up: you were everything I’d ever wanted! But as I mentioned: your view of yourself was changing and was no longer compatible with what I wanted – this was my observation at least. I couldn’t continue doing that to you, but I also couldn’t sublimate my needs. 

My view of myself changed, in that I wasn’t going to be treated as an invisible wallflower he could walk all over, yes.

I remember you saying in April that you were angry at me because you realized you deserved so much more; at the time I elected to ignore this essential insult because you were hurting. But now I’ll remind you that I gave you more than practically anyone is even capable of giving.

I find this is where his letter loses even more credibility, as one does not need a resume to prove why you are a good partner. I also have found someone who gives me all these things, doesn’t hurl insults at me and more… I think his capability to give is more what is in question here.

I offered guidance, security, love, passion, pleasure, intellect, professionalism, understanding, patience, and a whole litany of other benefits that are very obviously hard to find. And you had a similar litany of boons that you offered that I’ll never forget and never take for granted. I know it seems vain to focus on this, but I won’t have my legacy with you defamed as if I was some generic chump taking advantage of you. 

This is his thesis. It’s about his legacy. But unfortunately, he was a chump who was taking advantage of me. My mother read this part of the letter and told me he gave himself away in that paragraph. And I would agree.  And this is where those 4 words come in.

You’re not a victim.  You chose the animal. You dared more than anyone else: that makes you brave. 

If I had entered a tigers cage, that would not be seen as brave. It would be seen as idiotic. It would have been my fault that the tiger tore me to shreds. In this case, however, I am told I was brave for choosing to love someone who tore me to shreds, who put the fear in god in me. I still think it’s idiotic, and in many ways, I still believe it to be my fault. Maybe he’s right though, maybe I’m not a victim… maybe I am merely a survivor? I got out didn’t I?

You were hurt. As was I. Anything good comes with the risk of great pain. We have something incredible. Maybe you don’t need to remember it that way now, but one day you’ll have to because forgetting is a profound disrespect to the care we share for each other. We owe it to ourselves to remember it as it was. 

We never had something incredible. He had it all, and it was really great for him. He is right, though, I was hurt, I hurt a lot during that relationship. It was such a surprise to me that within 7 days of being out of the relationship I was ready to get back to my life. I wanted to see people, and I didn’t have any ounce of love for him. To me that was the most telling sign – it couldn’t have been love if it dissipated so quickly if I let go of all the good so quickly. How is it possible in a week, to not miss a person at all.

Now, with real love in my life, I realize it truly wasn’t love at all, but addiction, co-dependency and survival. So in order to show respect to myself now, I care to remember this relationship exactly what it was WITHOUT the rose-colored glasses… exactly as it was.

So I suppose the brief of it is that I’d like to ask you to stop blaming for things I didn’t say, think or do. I know you’re navigating depression and health issues (me too! Woot!) and i wish I could help! I liked being a support for you, and I loathe the idea of you feeling so lost! But please don’t re-write history. The history we had was beautiful and pure. That I don’t have you my life is already such a heavy cost: to have you forget about why ti’s such a heavy cost negates everything that went into it. 

I am not blaming him for things he didn’t do. I am blaming him for things he did. His ending about me having depression is a nice little touch to make me sound crazy. If you are still reading, I will be putting some details below of some of our “history” so you can see how beautiful and pure it really was.

Thank you for reading through all this

Likewise, if you are still reading… thank you.

I hope you don’t feel that I’ve negated anything you’ve shared with me, or sought to invalidate your feelings. I take it all very seriously. We made a promise to always treat each other well, to always look out for one another. Part of that is being honest and fair and in this, I could use your help. 

And if there is anything else you want to say, I’m open to hearing it. I want us to continue to trust each other. It’s treacheroous out there, solid allies are very hard to come by.

Sincerely, 

Perhaps I am sensitive, but when the man who spent our entire relationship tellin me  “he knew what he was doing” sends me a letter… am I not to take him for his word? I believe this was to invalidate my feelings, I believe he thought in sending this letter he was covering his ass for everything he put me through. To scare me into silence.

But I think he shot himself in the foot, I think this letter sheds light to who this man really was, it also shows how scared he is of me speaking the truth.

I have not once stretched the truth. If you have read the Grooming article you know I have done some bad things – things I wish to forgive myself for but also hold myself accountable for. I have no reason to lie – this is why I share this letter.

The last thing text he ever sent me before I blocked him was … 

I’ll be ever vigilant…

Screenshot_20190202-134229_WhatsApp

One does not have to be vigilant if they have done nothing wrong. 

but also, he says it himself – “you have anything else you want to say I am open to hearing it.” 

Well, this is what I have to say.

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THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Now for the sake of being honest, he isn’t wrong when he says there were some good moments in our relationship. I want to believe that if it was all bad, then I couldn’t have possibly stayed as long as I did.

So in mentioning the incidents that took place during this relationship, I will also tell you the good. I think it fulfills a fuller picture.  Instead of compiling everything together into categories of Good, Bad or Ugly. I am going to put them in chronological order, to the best of my ability, and since I have a journal with most of these dates that shouldn’t be too hard.

A CHRONOLOGY

September 9th 2014  – The day we met on set, he was playing a cult leader and I, his follower (trust me I can see the irony)  This was the same day I told him his “voice was music to my ears” in the car ride to the subway, which I had intended as an innocent compliment, but he would always tell me he knew that’s when I wanted to sleep with him.  A few days later I set him up with my best friend.

October 2015 –He invited me to his place to video games with the guys, I went, even though I shouldn’t have and the guys were just leaving. He made a move, but I told him no as he was dating my best friend. I left, incredibly ashamed.

January 2015 –  He came to my birthday party, as my best friends plus one and we didn’t really talk all that much because he spent most of the night debating about feminism with another friend of mine.

March 2015 –  He called me on the phone to tell me he was trying to ween my friend off him, because she was clearly losing her mind and couldn’t handle his needs. Three days later she was at my house crying, uncontrollably saying she didn’t want to leave him but she had to. They broke up.

August 20th 2015 – My friends went on their camping trip without me, and this was the day he invited me over. I went, this was when our relationship started. This was our anniversary date.

September 9th 2015 – I didn’t want to believe that this relationship was going to last, as I was keeping it a secret from everybody, including my parents. So i went on a date with a guy to try and diminish the relationship he and I had started. Though the date was alright, this other guy and I didn’t have much to talk about.

October 18th 2015 –  I remember being in an acting class, my best friend was there, but I was so enamored with D that I couldn’t think straight or focus on class. One of the exercises was to come to a door with a reason to knock. I picked “I’m in love” and I entered the scene and watched it play out. After class, instead of hanging out with my best friend, I went and knocked on his door and told him that I did in fact love him. Up until this point, we had both agreed not to say anything in case it killed the magic. He told me he loved me too and that night, even though he had said he didn’t want a girlfriend, he told me I could be his because of our “having girlfriends together” arrangement.

October 25th 2015 – He met my parents, and was able to talk to my mother about classical studies, which not many people are able to do. It impressed me. My father, after dropping him off at home that night told me, “A, he’s quite a bit older than you, please be careful”

November 9th 2015 –  The guilt grew about having this secret relationship, especially because I was dating my best friends ex and I knew it would destroy her. Finally, he told me I had to hatch a plan on how to have people take my side. He told me to contact another friend, and tell her about how my best friend didn’t accept my bisexuality … it really had nothing to do with telling her about my current relationship, so I didn’t listen. Instead, I met with my friend and told her I had planned to tell my best friend and that she would need support. The least I could do.

I met my best friend at a Starbucks and told her. She was so upset, I will never forget her face. It broke my heart, and yet somehow when she said: It’s either me or him… I picked him. The fact she didn’t throw scalding coffee in my face still surprises me. She ended up calling him a few minutes later and D laughed in her face, telling her he could do whatever he wanted. Even typing this out, I guess that’s a pretty big red flag…. no remorse, at all.

November 18th 2015 – We went to the symphony. It was our first outing together as a couple. I remember this being a big deal because I had kept it secret for so long.

December 2015 – He slept with his first woman out of the relationship. She knew about me, and I remember thinking, that happened rather quickly, but it didn’t bother me, since I had met her.

Christmas 2015 –  He wrote me a poem. He writes poems for every woman he is lovers with. So there are over 150 women out there with poetry written about them. I know this because he told me, but I also saw the poem he wrote to my best friend. It kind of loses meaning when everyone has one.

January 2016 –  I had a huge bash for my 25th birthday and though I had invited 200 people, only 15 showed up. I felt pretty sad about it, but he was there, full costume trying to make sure I had a good time. He even invited his friends, to make it more full. I will say, I did appreciate that – ignoring the fact many didn’t come because of him.

February 2016 – He snuck me into an awards ceremony that in my eyes was a big deal. I had to arrive when the ceremony was over, for the party part, because it would have cost him 100 bucks to get me an actual ticket, but this was a big deal to me since I got to be seen as the woman on his arm.

April 2016 – He told me I was very easy to have a relationship with, and that I was a dream girlfriend… why on earth I saw this as so important that I took a screenshot is beyond me. But there you have it.

***Not sure of the date: Unfortunately I don’t have the exact date to this, but I know it was before May.

He had found some girl for a threesome. I wasn’t at all attracted to her, but he said it had to happen as it was slim pickings. So I did my best to get along with her, and in fact, despite my not being physically attracted to her she was wonderfully nice.  We ended up doing the deed, and I was enjoying myself quite a bit. When she got up to go to the bathroom, he turned to me angrily and said I was being “too masculine” and it was “killing his boner.” I was shocked, I had no idea, in my mind, it was all going so well, and I thought he would be so happy. I broke down into tears, and he told me to pull myself together and not to ruin the night. So I collected myself when she came back and pretended nothing had gone wrong.

May 2016 –  We were having a conversation about how many people we had slept with, and I knew his number was high, I had imagined it was somewhere in the 400s, but he told me had stopped counting a few years back. When he told me it was 150, my response was: Oh! That’s lower than I imagined”

For the next 3 hours, he had me frozen in my chair yelling at me about how he should prove his worth to me by sleeping with many more women in front of me. How clearly that wasn’t enough to please me. He was drunk, and he would explain to me that he gets ugly when he is drunk, but he doesn’t mean it. I held onto that excuse very hard, and for too long.

May 13th 2016 –  He had already had me searching for other women on Tinder for us, at this point. I spoke to one we had matched with and she was wonderful. I really liked her, she was open and willing.

He got mad at me for talking to her, threatened our relationship, for reasons I can’t quite remember and then proceeded to text with her. We never ended up meeting her.

But what always sticks with me is how he called me that night after scolding me and made all the bad disappear with just his words, and just like that I was telling him I could see my life with him.

June – August 2016 – He dated a fresh 18 year old girl from a show he was in. He sent me her first nudes, told me how he was going to “get her” and proceeded to share with me everything about her. How she would lose her mind every time I was mentioned. And how he would drive her crazy and how he couldn’t wait for her to break up with him. He kept trying to get her to do it, but she wouldn’t let go. He didn’t like going in public with her because he felt she looked too young – that should have been a red flag I acknowledged. But I didn’t, but it was the start of feeling like a predator, and the start to me feeling unworthy. I think that feeling of unworthy allowed me to put up with this abuse as much as I did.

November 28th 2016 –  We went to a wedding, I was the plus one. We had an incredible time at that wedding. We even took a really fun group of pictures together, where we were laughing. On the car ride home, we were having a conversation about sex and he mentioned how he was the one to introduce me to threesomes, and I told him I had experimented in university. All of a sudden, the smart car we were in felt suffocating. He began telling me I was second-hand trash, used up, disgusting. It went on for about 45 minutes, and my stomach was so tied up in knots I thought I was going to lose control of my bowels. When it was done, I told him I had to go home because my stomach was so upset… I drove in silence to my house and let myself in, leaving him in the car. It occurred to me at that moment that I should end things there. But instead, I changed, and went out to the car. He apologized profusely and eventually made it all better, and we even took another picture to commemorate that.

January 2017 –  He was never into getting me things, so when he got me flowers for my opening night show I was shocked! I honestly believed that it was a secret admirer before it was him. But he did get me flowers and he came to see the show twice even though he said he didn’t enjoy it. So to me, that was a big win.

February 2017 –  Despite his hate for travel, he agreed to go on a week-long resort vacation with me. He spent most of the time there drunk. It cracked my rose coloured glasses a fair amount.

During our stay there, he would speak to the locals in a condescending manner and spew out Latin at them, even though they spoke Spanish. It was deeply embarrassing but I wouldn’t dare mention it. Two of the locals actually asked me for my WhatsApp number, and at the time I thought it odd, but I am wondering in hindsight if they were keeping an eye on me.

One night in particular, D had gotten very drunk, that he started to talk to the security guards. He was talking to them about their guns, and at one point he even reached out to get it. I was scared. I didn’t want there to be some sort of miscommunication and have us get shot, especially because he was not in his right mind. I told him ” Let’s go back to the room”

So we did.

And as soon as we were behind closed doors, he yelled at me about humiliating him in front of the locals. How emasculating it was to be treated like a child. He could tell what my tone was, and how embarrassed I must be. He picked up one of the glasses from the mini-bar and through it over my head.

I yelled his name! He said he didn’t care, and he was lucky because the glass hit the curtain and didn’t break. I tried desperately not to cry, but when the tears started to flow he told me that he didn’t respect a woman who cried. That I was weak.

The next day, I was numb. I could barely speak, or move and he said to me: I feared I had actually broken you this time.

What was interesting about this incident, is by pure coincidence, his aunt and uncle happened to be staying at the same resort, and somehow, were put in the room beside ours the day before. He found this out and started making excuses as to why he had been so loud the night before, he had too much to drink, and sorry if he had bothered them.

His aunt, asked me to join her at the pool that afternoon, she asked me how he treated me. And even though, this would have been a perfect out, I feared it would get back to him. So I spoke his praises… but that trip had changed something in me.

When we got back from that trip, I didn’t want to see him. I was invited to this party by an old work colleague and was going to go and not mention it to him. He found out, and instead I went to his house to iron things out. He told me ” If you had gone to that party, it would have been over between us.” Why didn’t I take that option?

After this, he suggested I write down all the good things that happen every day to remind myself of all the good we have. So I have a calendar of all the good things that happened from 2017 onward. How convenient. The part that makes me laugh a little with this list, is it was good stuff… for the relationship but somewhat banal things otherwise.

For example:

What a great surprise! You came and stayed over because you uprooted your room for the flooring and it was so nice to lay beside you while you read!  i just realized – 2 years ago you asked me to be your girlfriend – the same day we told each other we loved each other.

He didn’t have a place to stay because he was redoing his floors, so he came and stayed with me. This was a highlight, and among the list, this was one of the better ones.

Most were:

you complimented my hair which was so sweet, and so out of the blue it’s really stuck with me

April 2017 –  I decided that I was worthless. I was at the end of my rope. I called him, telling him I needed him to come over. He said he was too tired, but that it was all temporary and it would pass, but that he had an audition early and he couldn’t. I told him I’d pay for an uber, I was struggling… he apologized and said no. After we hung up, I put on this really pretty summer dress, and was going to walk into the lake. I made it out the door and I stood staring at the water and a woman walked by with her dog. We made eye contact and she smiled. I felt seen. So I walked back into my house, and got into bed instead.

September 2017 –  He met my friend who he is dating now. He couldn’t stop talking about how hot she was, and how much he’d like to sleep with her. What’s crazy is about 5 minutes after that conversation, we took a picture together… and though I don’t still have it… I remember as the day he set his eyes on a prize he would soon have.

October 2017 –  He told me that he had to go on Tinder himself and find women outside of me. I remember sitting in my friends hottub, telling her, the first time I had ever told anyone what was going on, and she looked at me and said: Are you happy? And I told her I was, and she took my hand and said: really? It was the first time I had to ask the question without faking the answer. I wasn’t…. but I didn’t know how to live without him. I felt I couldn’t.

November 2017 – I had a huge audition. It was the biggest one I had ever had in my career, and it was for a DC movie. I had agreed to drive him to a different city for work, which was 5 hours away. He read the whole time, and I had to drive 5 hours there, and 5 hours back to do my audition. When I came back (a total of 15 hours) to pick him up to take him home (now adding up to 20 hours) he told me it would be humiliating to be dating a successful scarlet. As a man, having a successful woman on your arm is seen as weak and embarrassing.

November 12th –  He had gone to a conference and met this woman. He slept with her, he sent me pictures of her, and told me all about it – because I had asked, since I needed to know every detail. It was the first woman who didn’t know about my existence and still doesn’t to this day. But it made him happy, and I thought maybe this would fix everything.

November 19th 2017 – He was producing and directing a show. And we did auditions for it. We auditioned several women. Most of them were incredibly talented. He made comments on their breasts almost every time, and there was one girl who wasn’t all that good, she hadn’t come prepared and she was off-key for most of it. I told him, that I wouldn’t consider hiring her – he told me she was “hireable” did I see the way she was looking at him, and he could probably convince her to sleep with him.  He made mention how I auditioned as if I “enjoyed the power” … the irony.

December 15th 2017 –  I was leaving for Christmas to see my family, abroad. The day before I was leaving he told me he felt trapped in our relationship. (I’m not sure how he was the one feeling trapped when he had all the freedom of a single man in a relationship.) That entire trip abroad I couldn’t focus on anything but how I was going to try and fix my relationship, even though I wanted out, I also felt like I would drown.

Dec 31
Happy New Year baby! There is no one I would rather spend New Years with. We had such a fun time! Plus watching you cry laughing because of my garbage just made all of my 2017. I can’t wait to see what your/our 2018 will look like. 

Looking back it baffles me how easily everything, all the bad could be erased by one day of laughter.

January 2018 –  He told me that he wanted to spend less time with me, as he was exhausted. We had to text less, even though early on in our relationship he wanted me to be texting him constantly. I was a mess. I knew what he was doing. He was pushing me away, just as he had done with the others so I would break up with him. And even though I knew that is what I wanted, my fear of being alone in such a state of worthlessness didn’t allow me to let go of this relationship.

I had been seeing a therapist for a little under 2  years at this point and I asked her what she thought I should do. She said it was up to me, but for my mental health and safety, it was probably safer to leave. So I finally told him January 13th, that this was over.

He told me he had an incredible birthday planned and that we should wait until then. I had to wait 2 weeks to break up because he had made these plans. So I did.

When my birthday weekend arrived, he told me to meet him at a hotel. I went to the hotel room, and there he was, with one of our previous girlfriends. I adored her, so it was a lovely surprise. Had it just been a birthday surprise I would have been elated, but seeing it was our last days together, it felt as if he was trying to get one last threesome out of me.

I held my tears back the entire night, but it was a good night. The best part was after however. She and I went back to my place and he went back to his. I got to spend the night talking with her and having her hold me like I felt I deserved. I didn’t have the heart to tell her what was going on, but she told me in passing “if you guys break up, you will be just fine” – and that stuck with me.

The next day he told me he had slept with her before I got to the hotel. Why did he tell me that? Was it to take away from the fact that I had the time to spend alone with her? Regardless, once she left, he and I parted ways. That was the day before my official birthday.

As I walked away from his house, he messaged me:  I am always watching you. 

Which would have been cute…in some other story.

On my official 27th birthday I was free of him…. physically.

5 days later I met with my good friend, told her how wonderful he was, despite us having split and that she should go out with him. (I found out later that he had reached out to my friends (ones he found attractive) and told them I was going through something and needed companionship, which is why she had reached out. Clever little plan Mr.)

7 days later – I didn’t miss him, or love him. Though still entirely brainwashed, I felt like I could tackle the world again.

April 2018 – My father had sponsored one of his shows. He had met with him after the break up to tell him how it all happened. I had okayed it, because at the time I was still in the brainwash that he loved me and was doing what he could to make it easier.  I realize now that he wanted to make sure the funding wasn’t going anywhere.

So the show went up in April, and I had tickets, as did my entire family.  By this point, I had already met a real man, who respected me and understood me, listened to me and did nice things all the time without ever raising his voice, threatened or called me mean names. The brainwashing had started to fizzle out, and I was angry. I left the show at intermission and told my brother to drive me home. It wasn’t a good show, I remember seeing it for the first time and being so amazed at D’s “talent”. But with clarity I remember watching it laughing at how blinded by love I was to see this shit for what it was – amateur.

I texted him after the show, told him how I really felt… and thus brings us back to the beginning of this blog… The letter. But our conversation about how I really felt ended as all our conversation with him did, amicable, and me feeling “better”…so much better that I arranged my friend and him to start dating. Passed her off…just.like.he.wanted.

I was even too scared to tell him that I was seeing someone and he had no pull in my life anymore.

June 2018 –  My friend and him started dating, and I got a message telling me so. Apparently “someone had been snooping around” – that sounded rather convenient.

August 1st 2018 –  He sends me a text telling me he is still my man, despite dating my friend and knowing full well I had a boyfriend.

August 11th 2018 – I get the letter, and send him a text message telling him so… he tells me that he will stay vigilant.

From that day I blocked him on every single platform.

August 9th, 2019 –  I told his girlfriend, my old friend, that we could no longer be friends. I told her everything he had put me through and I apologized profusely for setting them up and I am sorry if he has hurt her in any way. I could not be friends with her, because I spent most of my night worrying about her safety, and the fact I know he cheats on her.

September 2019 –  He sent me an email reaching out as if nothing happened. Wanting to pay me, pennies, for the costume I had made him.

I didn’t respond.

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IN CONCLUSION

I have gone through years of therapy dealing with this evil shadow. I have had nightmares of him killing me, I have heard his thoughts of me and other women in my mind. I have had conversations with past girlfriends, past lovers of his and realized… he had been telling me the truth the whole time

” I am very good at what I do” and ” I know exactly what I am doing”.

He is just a salesman, a manipulative and toxic salesman, but a salesman with the same pitch. The women he is pitching to are broken, (and there is no judgment in that comment, its where I was too)  they are in a part of their lives where they are susceptible, and there will always be some young woman in this place in her life. I cannot stop that.

But I have the passage of time on my side. As he ages, they won’t find him so appealing. Word on the street is he has dyed his hair, no doubt, it will give him a couple more years before his face shows his true age.

People are slowly realizing who he really is. I have had messages from people who have worked with him, some of his old friends realize he is not a good person. Allies are actually not hard to find, not when you live your life treating people well. Allies are not allies when they are blackmailed into silence, or feared into respecting you.

Harpocrates is the God of Silence – he has let me go. I am no longer silent – I do not need to yell from the rooftops, but I will tell my story  – AND THE TRUTH – for my well being but also for the well being of women who have struggled with monsters like him.

This has been a long read, and I thank you for reading it. It is really the tip of the iceberg, there are other incidents here I haven’t mentioned, other good things I am sure I have left out. It is embarrassing for me to admit that I was brainwashed, to the utmost, I was willing to lay down my entire life, and dignity for him. In my clarity, I see that I must forgive myself for my naivety, for my passiveness, and for all the pain I have caused others. I do not forgive him, however. But I promise to no longer harbor any hate. It is not worth my time… He is not worth my time, or my energy.

He will no longer live rent-free in my mind.

When I first started dating him I said: I’m not afraid of you. and he used to tease me, probably because I was actually very scared.

But now…

I AM NOT AFRAID

I used to be afraid of you releasing my nude photos, as you had threatened with your ex-girlfriend. You said you saved receipts to expose her in her lies. My receipt is the letter above, and you wrote it. It’s time the world see it.

We had what we had. It was not pure, but it happened. It taught me lessons on what I am worth, on what a normal relationship looks like. I do not walk away from writing this as empowered but instead calm and free.

You were a layer of skin I can now finally shed.

 

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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~

How many of your thoughts, are yours?

My friend pulled out her phone.

Iphone.

I rolled my eyes.

“Why do you hate Apple?” she asked.

“Apple’s products are made to break after one year, and they are totally not user friendly.” I told her matter of factually.

As I was saying it, I thought – “whoa – my ex…ex…EX boyfriend used to say that”

“Oh wow, you really hate apple products eh?” my friend said.

Huh. Do I? Actually… I don’t think i do… I listen to Itunes regularly.

I was just told, once upon a time, this one opinion (I won’t say fact because I don’t even know if it’s true) and I held onto it while I dated this guy. He left, but the opinion did not.

It got really got me thinking.

Shit… How much of the crap that comes out of my mouth is really my opinion at all?!

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It turns out… not a whole lot.

I know this isn’t a new idea, but I think one has to realize it for themselves to be truly awakened to see it in their reality.

The week after I came to this conclusion, I noticed that every time I thought of an opinion,  I could associate it with someone in my life who gave it to me.

Apple is worse than Android = an old ex from my early 20s

American’s are idiots = my father

Men and women can’t be friends = a high school teacher

Religion is for idiots = a pompous ex

Fat women must never wear tight clothing = my mother

Men want women who are proportionate = a guy i dated in my teens

Fitting in is for idiots = my best friend

Never do anything for free = my brother

I could go on and on…

The crazy thing, I realized, was that I spit out all these opinions but I actually am not sure how I really feel about them. Re-reading the ones I wrote just now, I can tell you 100% that I don’t agree with any of them completely… so why do I act like I do?

I think many people experience this growing up: We feel that having an opinion will make us disliked, so we gravitate towards opinions that people give us, as if somehow that makes it better. It’s people we respect, people we look up to, people older than us who are “wiser” who know better. So we use their opinions in replacement of ours.

I hadn’t realized that most of the thoughts in my head are other peoples.  Wait…And are their thoughts other peoples?

IS ANYONE HAVING AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT?!

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That was a tad dramatic…

My point is, (and I am working on this too) before you give your opinion, agree to something or disagree for that matter…think about what you really think. Are you regurgitating someone else’s material?

Food for thought.

~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~