An Open Letter to his Ex

Although you don’t know my name, I know many things about you. See, we used to have the same social circle. My friends were also your friends. I was the leader of a group you sought acceptance in. You joined my group claiming that you were beaten and abused, that he was a drunk, and a wife beater. You screamed it from the rooftops, desperate for someone to hear you. And I did…at first.

I reached out to you, offered a kind ear. You ignored me. You preferred to be as loud as you could, telling all who would listen what a victim you were. Yet, you’d only make these claims in public, never in private to someone trying to help. Rather than blame you, I watched you. The more you talked, the more I grew suspicious.

Your recounting of the events of that fateful night, the one where he went to jail, changed multiple times. First you said he’d choked you. Then you said you’d broken ribs. Then you said you’d broken your ankle. And to heap horror upon horror, you said he beat you over a broken jewelry box. A shocking story. And one, if true, that deserves my sympathy. Better yet, my empathy.

For I too was abused. For 7 years, I was married to a man who slammed me against the wall with his hand around my throat. A man who said he could kill me within seconds. A man who threatened to kidnap our children and take them to another country. A man who believed it was his right to keep me in line, and it was my duty to make him happy.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.

Your story was a lie.

The night you claimed you had multiple broken bones, you were taken to the ER. The ER found no injuries. The jewelry box that you broke…you know the one that started the fight…it was his dead mother’s. And he wasn’t mad that it was broken. After you stormed out of the house that night, he sat and picked up it’s pieces, saving what he could. You returned home and mocked him, and his pain. You said you couldn’t believe he would cry over a box, since he didn’t even like the “bitch” anyway.

And then you assaulted him. When he refused to run from you, or to let you bully him, you tried to push him around. He stood his ground. And then, as you had done so many times before, you called 911.

The officer that arrested him that night was the same officer that had offered him the opportunity to file charges against you previously for filing a false police report. But, because he didn’t want his children to lose a mother, he declined. Maybe that was his mistake.

He was released on bond, and you were waiting. You ran up to him to give him a hug, and he turned you away. It wasn’t his choice. Part of his bond was to have no contact with you, and you knew that. Yet, you repeatedly sought him out. You showed up at his residence. You sent him a number of messages saying it was all your fault, and could he please come home.

And I watched it all unfold. I watched you go from begging him to take you back to raging at him and verbally abusing him…in the matter of two hours. Two hours…that’s your cycle. You seek out an interaction, and you appear happy and conciliatory. When you don’t get your way immediately, you change into an angry, hostile, and abusive monster.

See, the problem with your kind of abuse is that you manipulate people. You took a man who sought to serve you, and you abused his natural servility. You would volunteer him to help your friends, and then you would blame him for helping them, rather than spending time with you. You would get drunk, and then blame him for buying the alcohol. You would physically assault him, then blame him for standing his ground.

Once he bought you roses. You were grateful for less than a minute. Then you launched into a tirade, accusing him of being unfaithful, and using the roses to cover up an affair. You accused him of desiring any woman he spoke to, even if it was just in casual small talk at the grocery store.

But, all that is in the past now. The charges you filed against him have been dismissed. The courts decided that you had zero evidence to support your claims of injury. They refused to find him guilty. I know, because I was there.

I was there to support him. And yet, my very presence angered you. You said it was disrespectful of him to bring me. How dare he bring someone to support him in a matter that was all about you.

And there’s the crux of it. You believe that everything is about you. After the court refused to find him guilty, you sent him sent another message. You wanted to be his friend. You said that you’d once been best friends and that you missed him. Could he please be your friend again?

No. Absolutely not.

He has every right to walk away from you. To cut the toxicity out of his life.

Unfortunately, he has to deal with you, for the next 14 years, and since he has to deal with you, so do I.

But, I have boundaries, and you will not trample my boundaries. You will not push me around the way you push others in your life.

You will no longer be allowed to send messages to him at all hours of the day and night. Obviously, if there is an emergency, he will respond. But the petty messages, designed to maintain your grip on him, will stop. You see, you’ve pushed him so far, that he no longer wishes to read any of your messages. I screen those for him, and alert him to any that he needs to address.

Your rage falls on deaf ears. Not totally, as I see it, and hear it. But the thing is, you can’t control me. You can’t bully me.

You’re in my world now.

Good luck!

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Navigating Intimacy with a Sexual Assault Survivor

As you may have gathered by now, both Phoenix and I have been sexually assaulted. I personally do not like the term ‘survivor’, as I have done much more than survive. While Phoenix experienced his sexual assault many years ago, mine was much more recent…in fact only months ago. In addition to negotiating our relationship within a d/s dynamic, we have to deal with the fact that some things are raw, and emotions do arise that have nothing to do with each other. 

The following is something a friend of mine (who prefers to remain anonymous) wrote that gives some tips on what you can do if your partner is a survivor of sexual assault.

Create a safe space.

If you’re engaging in a relationship with an assault survivor, they may have told you they have experienced some trauma, but maybe haven’t told you the story. Be patient with them. Create a space in which they feel safe to share and feel free of judgement. Don’t push to hard and be more of a listener than a talker. Sometimes all a survivor needs is to feel like someone believes them. Also be understanding that they may never feel okay sharing their story. Love them anyways.

Hot and cold.

Sometimes they will be super enthusiastic about engaging in sexual behaviors and sometimes it will seem like they are completely shut off. Try to be understanding of this. We often go through ups and downs dealing with our memories of our trauma. One day we can feel like we have overcome it and other days we will feel defeated by it. Do your best to not make them feel “guilt” about changing their mind about having sex or being intimate. Sometimes our minds just get the better of us.

Enthusastic consent.

Don’t just look for a yes, look for a fuck yes! Often times, we will be afraid or timid to say no, because of the fear that you’ll just take it anyway. While this is something we need to work on with ourselves, if you’re aware we may do this, it will help us navigate how to communicate in a healthy way.

Comfort.

Often times, I have nightmares of the incident, it can be so graphic in my dreams that I’ll wake up screaming or crying. I always inform any of my partners that I sleepover with that this may happen. And something that always helps me is the comfort they give me when I wake up this way. They never make me feel bad about waking them up or having an incident. Having that comfort when I wake up from the nightmare soothes my fears and I usually fall back asleep shortly after.

Self-esteem.

We will feel bad about ourselves, this looks different for every survivor. For me, it’s mainly regarding my physical appearance. I’m always trying to find ways to build my self esteem and find my self love for my body. My partner has gone out of his way to always support this. He encourages me when I’m at the gym and any other activity I do to build my self esteem. Whatever this looks likes for your survivor, be supportive. Help them build up their self love.

Be patient.

More than anything, be patient with us. We want to find intimacy and we want to have healthy relationships. It may just take us a while to get there. But with your love and support, we will get there.

While this is not a comprehensive list and may not apply to all survivors, I hope this may help some of you. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to someone or go online and find resources. I also made a point in this post to not use pronouns for gender. My reasoning for this is because victims and survivors can be of all genders. Please try to remember that.

My Journey, Part Five

As I started adulthood, things started to look up.  I had been in therapy with a very good psychologist for a couple of years.  I had gotten into legal trouble, yet was very lucky all at the same time.  The resolution to the legal problems was court ordered therapy, which doesn’t sound very lucky on the surface.  However, the therapist saw through my mother immediately, and accordingly, I was in group therapy once a week as well as two private sessions a week.  The luck part came in when my parents did not like the direction of my therapy, or her tone towards them, but because of the court order they were powerless to pull me out of it.

One of the first things I did as an adult is completely restructure the relationship with my parents.  Yes, believe it or not, I still talk to them even to this day.  However, I made it perfectly clear that now I could, and would, leave.  Forever, if necessary.  My sibling did completely sever their relationship, so they knew it was possible.  Did it make everything better?  Absolutely not, but it did change the power dynamic.  They would try to push, I would walk away.  They still try to push, I still walk away.

As for my sex life, I had a completely vanilla one except that I habitually dated older, married women.  I did not want the commitment long term, and for the most part they were unable to provide one.  Besides, unhappy married women tend to be much more sexually forward than women in their early twenties.  They had no trouble making it perfectly clear what they wanted, thus alleviating any need for me to be sexually aggressive.  I’m not trying to say life was golden, however.  There were a few very awkward situations to live through, but I was content to just sort of float through this area of my life.

At this point, we arrive back to one of my original questions of the series:  How in the world did I ever get involved in the lifestyle and it’s activities, especially given all the abuse?

I have always, even as a teen, masturbated regularly when not in a sexual relationship with someone.  I got my first computer at twenty-one, and while the 14.4b modem certainly presented a different version of the internet than we enjoy today, I discovered erotica, and specifically lifestyle themed erotica.  As is still true today, the vast majority of material is of a male dominant and female submissive.  A curious thing happens even to this day when I read or watch at this variety of porn:  I put myself in the submissive’s role.  Not that I want to be a woman, or want a male dominant, but I extend the fantasy of what is presented by imagining it being done to me.  The activities I found arousing, I would look into more deeply.  Some of it turned out to be mere flights of the author’s fancy, some things while theoretically possible were not very plausible or sane to me, and much of it left me with a huge sense of “I wish…”  It took a little over three years before I stumbled upon a story with an abbreviation in the title I did not recognize: FemDom.  I read it, and I think a part of my brain literally exploded.

There, encapsulated in a single story, was the seeming answer to everything I was looking for.  In that one story was the depiction of an adult relationship, including all the activities I had been fantasizing about, where I did not have to be sexually aggressive, or pretend to be a woman, or be with a man.  I headed back into research mode, trying to find out if this was actually a real thing.  Believe it or not, the internet was not yet the information gold mine it is today twenty years ago.  The information I was looking for was scarce, and what there was to be found was oblique and misleading.  But I am nothing if not hard-headed.  I reasoned that I could not possibly be the only person to think this way, after all I had the story written by a woman I did not know, so began the journey of introducing it to my girlfriends, and if they were interested, seeing where it went.

As for the abuse aspect, and it’s impact, I have to say that the two things have never collided.  The lifestyle, in general, is firmly based upon the concept of consent.  Through my previous research into activities, I was already aware of this.  I was also acutely aware that there was no consent in any form of abuse.  The two worlds just do not, ever, overlap when the parties involved hold this one simple concept at the center of their play. One word can stop a BDSM scene. A thousand words cannot stop abuse.

My Journey, Part Four

Near the end of Part Three, I mentioned a remarkable incident that happened when I was seventeen.  Unfortunately, it was an incident rivaling the best comedy of errors I have ever read.  It was hilarious, unbelievable, and in some ways life and perception altering.

By my late teens I was fed up.  I had had enough of the abuse, the lies having to be told to keep it quiet, and the uncaring, if not downright condoning, attitudes of the authorities, schools, etc.  I cannot say that I was a “good” kid.  I did basically whatever the fuck I wanted, and paid the price for it.  But shit, I was getting abused regardless, so I might as well as have had some fun to deserve it.  At least, that is what my mindset was at the time.

Anyhow, I did a very typical teen thing.  I came home before curfew, yawned a couple of times, said good night, closed my bedroom door and out the window I went back to my friends.  I had a really good time, until I was woken up, pinned down with my arms under the covers of my bed, and my father standing over me in just his underwear and shirt beating the crap out of me.  Okay, I probably deserved it, but I had already formed two rules in my head.  First, if you ball up your fist to me, you are not looking to discipline or reprimand, you are looking for a fight.  Second, beware if you think I’m not going to retaliate if you choose to fight in an unfair manner.  The beating stopped, and I took the time to shake my head and jumped up to continue the fight.  I have no idea where my father got dressed that morning since all I saw were the taillights of his car going down the street.

My mother got up to find me cleaning a pistol in the living room, and one simple statement from me: “I’m going to kill the fucking coward if he walks through that door again.”  After a series of frantic phone calls, and because it is easier to remove a minor from a house, off I went to the nearest psych ward with an open bed by that afternoon. It is probably the singular reason I am able to still enjoy my freedom now.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was going to prison that night, and I was alright with it.  I spent four months on a locked, private co-ed psych ward for teenagers while they tried to discover what was “wrong” with me.

Here is what they came up with:  I was depressed, and manic, but it was all due to my severely repressed homosexuality.  Yes, at that time, homosexuality was still something requiring psychiatric diagnosis rather than just being part of the greater human sexuality spectrum.  As far as “severely repressed”… no shit, even I didn’t know! This wonderful diagnosis was achieved because to pass the time I would draw my old high school mascot, the head of a Trojan warrior.  Can we all say WTF?  Thankfully, society and even the field of psychiatry has moved forward from this way of thinking in the last 25 years or so.

What I found even more ludicrous in the entire incident is that after making this diagnosis, my treatment did not take the course of trying to “change” me, or giving me help on how to deal with it, or even once maybe asking if I agreed with it at all.  Instead, my entire treatment regimen became focused on preparing my father that he had a homosexual son!  Once again, all together now…  WTF???

But funny how some things just seem to stick like a bad hangnail in the back of the mind. During my twenties, I again had a couple of female friends who also questioned whether or not I was homosexual, or at least bi-sexual.  It seemed I could never get completely away from it.  Finally, in my mid-thirties, I did have my one and only homosexual relationship basically just to see if it could be true that other people were seeing things in me that I could not see myself.  Yep, that’s what I thought, I’m not homosexual, not even bi-sexual.  Nothing wrong with either, it’s just not a part of my sexuality.

Moral of the story:  Fuck the years of abuse, screw any ability to think for oneself, we have to save Dad from the indignity of a homosexual son!  Yeah, I don’t think so!