I’m going to begin with a disclosure statement for this piece: I am going to be talking about sex and nonphysical abuse. Also, do not pity me. I am not a victim or looking for your sympathy. I am trying to shed light on a topic that so many people are afraid to discuss because it is not socially acceptable.
“The scars unseen are just as deadly as the ones out in the open“.
I remember it like it was yesterday, October 30th 2010. I had been talking to the guy for about a month and he just got home for awhile. I was wearing American eagle jeggings, a lime green Victoria’s Secret Vneck t-shirt and my cream Ugg boots, nothing sexy or provocative. I had been to his house before, but this time was different. I walked into the house and we were alone. He had said nothing about his parents not being home, so I found it a tad weird they weren’t. I sat on the couch in the living room with his dog and we talked a tad, nothing too much (he was kinda quiet back then). Then he mentioned going upstairs to watch a movie, hesitantly I said “yes”. At 18 I was still extremely naive, especially when it came to sex. I didn’t even think it an option unless we had been dating awhile, seeing as I had only had sex with two people before that. So when he asked I was hesitant because I didn’t want his parents to get the wrong idea of me. I was not the kind of girl that just ‘hooked up’. We went upstairs to the game room to watch paranormal activity (I hate scary movies by the way). We were sitting on the couch and I was petting the dog. He came up and put his arm around me and soon we were making out. We had kissed before but not like this. He kept trying to touch me and I kept telling him “NO!”. It wasn’t what I wanted so I said NO multiple times and we went back to cuddling. But he was persistent! I liked to kiss him too, so when he did kiss me I wouldn’t deny him, I liked him. After saying “no” to him multiple times, moving his hands to more appropriate places, and even letting the dog get in between us, he finally looked at me and said “we’re dating. If you really like me you’ll do this.” Which put me in a bind. I liked him a lot, I was falling for him.
I felt like he gave me an ultimatum and I wanted to make us work, So I gave in!
I remember faking liking the sex because I wanted I to be done. When it was I felt relieved. I had made him happy and that was what I cared about. His father finally came home and they asked me to stay for dinner I assumed it was okay but he looked him and said no. A little off put I went back to TCU with a weird feeling in my gut and not feeling like I should after having sex with a guy I liked. It was supposed to be more special than that! The next day he asked to hang out again. I came over after church and let him have his way with me again, same feeling though I just wanted it to be over with. He disappeared to the bathroom this time, not even spending time to make me feel good about myself or like I was anything but an easy screw. We walked down stairs and he spent 15 minutes in the guest bathroom texting another girl. I got up to leave, I was pissed! He came out and acted like nothing happened. I was walking out of the house and he said he wanted to go with me to our Halloween party. That made me feel better, but still something was off. I don’t remember much about getting home besides being pissed. Not knowing why, but I was. Later that night as I was getting ready to go out I got a text that read “Ashlea, I’m sorry but I think we should just be friends. I am dating another girl and I just don’t think you’re what I’m looking for.“………… I couldn’t help it, tears were running down my face, I was hysterical. How could some man force himself on me then throw me to the side like I was table scraps? I have never felt so DIRTY in my entire life. To me sex was supposed to be intimate, between two people who loved each other. It was sacred. Sex was created by God in love. Not only had I been manipulated to have sex with the guy I thought I was dating, but then to find out he was dating another person too, the amount of pain, sadness, self loathing were unimaginable that night. But, I was not going to miss out on my party so I went and got hammered, that was the beginning of my abuse of alcohol to cope with my problems.
The next morning I woke up to a message from the girl he decided to make his girlfriend. She was evil, telling me that I almost messed things up for her and him. Her attack made me feel even worse about myself. I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t even know there was another girl in the picture. When I tell you I felt low, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so dirty and unclean. No amount of showering could wash off the dirty feeling I had. This reeked havoc on me.
I became desensitized towards sex, it has never had the same meaning to me since.
I haven’t told very many people that story, because for a long time I didn’t understand what happened to me. It wasn’t assault or abuse it was manipulation! You’d think I’d only put up with that once, but it screwed with me. To the point I’d take him back multiple times, let him emotionally and mentally abuse me, and manipulate me however he wanted.
I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to make him a monster, I didn’t want to feel like a victim, I didn’t want people to know how bad I hurt.
I morphed my brain to think that’s how relationships work. That’s when I started to abuse alcohol and sex. Alcohol so I didn’t have to feel. Sex so I could feel something. The thing about abusing substances is that the high only last so long and you just go back to the way you felt before. I wasn’t and am not an addict but I was an abuser. I abused because I was abused. You can’t see my scars but they are there! I didn’t cry out for help because I didn’t think I needed it, I thought that’s just how relationships went. Every time he came back I’d go on a vicious cycle again and to feel I’d seek out the things I thought would temporarily fix my negative feelings about myself. Crazy how manipulation, control, and abuse work.
It’s a delicate balance to handling people who are in a toxic situation. I say this as someone who was in one but also has a friend I love in a situation that is similar to mine but at the same time different. The people that love me did whatever they could to tell me that what I was doing was crazy. I was hurting myself. That I was allowing toxicity in my life. I didn’t think anyone understood how I felt. I wanted to believe that my situation was different than anyone else’s. When in reality others knew how I felt. The people that loved me weren’t ashamed of me, they were worried about me. Worried that I was allowing the person to reopen the scar he made every time he came back around. Also, that I was allowing my circumstances to control me! You can’t save someone or yourself from the situation unless they or you want to get out! I by my own choices would abuse sex and alcohol to the point where it got me in trouble multiple times, but I wouldn’t head people’s warnings because I needed the feeling of control it gave me. I needed to feel like I was in control of my body and my life and abusing those things were the only way I thought I could do it. It was detrimental. I was stupid and it took me messing up to truly understand what my problems were and where they spurred from.
I am writing this in hopes that if you are in any type of manipulative, controlling, or abusive situation, with a person or with yourself, please don’t let it go on any longer!
I urge you to get out. Easier said than done. I plead with you to see that you’re not alone. Seek counsel, seek help. Those who truly love you, will never abuse that. They will respect you, they will show you nothing but unconditional love. They will be your soft spot when you need a place to land and your rock when you need something sturdy to stand on. They will not drag you down they will lift you up! They will feed your spirt with the word and the love of God. I think where I would be without my support system and it is no where good. I didn’t go through that phase of my life to be a victim I went through it to be a voice. I didn’t put my family through the grief sit back and watch it happen to others. God gave me a purpose to take the things that have happened to me and let others know that someone is here for you! If your not and have never been in one, see the signs of the people that are narcissist.
Don’t let someone manipulate you! Stay strong and true to who you are and in your beliefs.
My questions today are: Do you have someone in your life that is in a toxic situation? Do they see it? Are you in a toxic relationship? Are you using abuse of something as an excuse to cope? Are you in need of control? How are you trying to gain that control? How are you going to approach the situation?
I’d never had gotten out of my mindset without the support of the people I love! Them and counseling made me realize, I must love myself, I am worthy of the love and life I think I deserve! I now understand what real love is. Look at the Bible, love is mentioned 551 times in the NIV and 348 times in the New American Standard version. There you can find an understanding of what unconditional Godly love is.
My prayer for you “Lord if this touched someone please guide them in what to do! Show them what love is, What your love is! Remind them of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 on how we should love one another and Song of Solomon 4:7 on loving themselves. Give them the voice to talk about what’s happening to them. And the strength to leave their toxic situation. If it is someone they love the ability to support them however they can and the patience to give their loved one the time they need. Show them all your unconditional love and the fruits of knowing you! Thank you for every person who read this and for every person it might help! I pray this in your name,
I’m going to come back to the topics of abuse, manipulation, control, and sex another time but chew on this for awhile. I love you! God loves you! You are never alone!