Trauma Trauma, what’s on my dress?

(Sing it like Bowie)

I’m not gonna try to make light of this, but I’m not gonna write it like doom and gloom. This is something that happened to me, and I want to talk about it because it’s come up again lately, and…I need to get it off my chest, all at once. So this is gonna be a long one, and there are several trigger warnings for those who wish to read it: rape (violent type, coercive type, molestation, etc), sexual abuse outside of rape, regular abuse (non-physical), blackmail, sort of catfishing, almost all while I was underage! There might be more, we’ll keep track.

All of this has to do with my ex, who went by the name of Henryk. He was about a year and a half older than me, so it’s not like he was committing statutory rape (see, I didn’t get the full set). We were together. Online, mostly, though in person plenty as well once he moved to the states (he was from Norway, where I visited him once actually–beautiful place). He was going to West Point, actually. He was very, very smart–smarter than me in some ways, but a lot dumber in others. But he liked to be smart, and he was pretty arrogant. The first time we ever spoke, it was on a forum, and he called me stupid (we were debating, he thought he was perfect at it but he was just kind of mean and snooty). But we got close after that, and started talking more, and we fell in love. Or I fell in love, I have no idea what he felt, because I’m pretty convinced he’s more sociopath than not.

But…something was off. First of all, he was hugely manipulative. Like, he asked me out? I made a joke, and he cried about it and accused me of not caring about him and threw a fit until I took it back and let him ask me out over again. The first day we were together, he said he wanted to marry me (red flag, I didn’t know that at the time, I was 16 and so lonely). He wanted me all to himself. He found me sexy, something no one else had ever really done. He called me a goddess, and an angel. That was heady stuff, after a lifetime of abuse that centered on me being ugly and unlovable.

So we met, and the biggest red flag of all before the crazy started came about when we first had sex (we lost our virginities to each other). He insisted I tell him about how I was molested as a child. I’d told him before, but for some reason he wanted to hear it as we were getting undressed. I thought he had a savior complex? But now, in hindsight, I’m like…wow that’s creepy.

But sex. Here we go, explicit stuff.

Anyway, he had a really big dick, and I am a tiny-boned person. He didn’t fit very well. So I never really liked sex with him. It was difficult and it hurt. But here’s the thing about him–he was kind of a sex addict. First he had gotten so used to masturbating his own way that nothing else could get him off, and sex would take anywhere from one to three hours to complete. But he would never take no for an answer–he would pester me and cajole me and coerce me until I gave in. I didn’t know at the time that this is a form of rape–if consent is not Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific (FRIES), it doesn’t count. It’s non-consensual. And I don’t think there was a single time that it was entirely consensual. I was never informed, I was never given a choice what we would do, and I had to fake orgasm to get him to shut up and work on getting himself off (he couldn’t get me off, but I’m a good actress, and I didn’t know yet that I didn’t exist to please men).

(Side note: my mom hated him with the fire of a thousand suns. He was disrespectful, rude, and nasty to her, because she saw him for what he was. He would like, forceably grope me in front of her, and then ignore her when she said things to him and snubbed her and was just awful. He was not allowed in our house.)

But that wasn’t enough for him. I started saying no more often, and he started getting creative. First, he wanted pictures. I gave them to him, because I loved and trusted him. But that was a mistake. Because eventually, he was “hacked” by a “hacker” and my pictures were stolen and I was dumb and they had my face in them and I was yes, naked, and compromised, and he took advantage. See, eventually I had a family friend hack him back, and trace his IP address–it was a computer in West Point, where he was while all this was happening.

The “hacker” threatened to send these photos to my high school, my parents, my boss at work, and to West Point. And apparently, you are not allowed to be in pornographic images if you want to attend West Point, so I wanted to protect Henryk with everything I had, because he was the love of my life, right? Well, up to that point, he was the only love of my life. But anyway, I was blackmailed. For more photos and videos, of…disturbing stuff, for me, who was barely out of being a virgin and was forcefully pushed into this stuff, which might be all right for some people, but not me (YKINMK). Like, I had to write on myself with lipstick that I was a whore. I had to do other stuff too, stuff I did not want to do, stuff he forced me to do. The “hacker”, whatever he was, whether it was Henryk himself or him and a friend. And then another hacker came along, a female, and made me battle for Henryk? Like we had to get him off and see who could do it better. And then the hackers wanted to make me go out, a 17 year old girl, to a bar, and recruit two total strangers to videotape using me however they wanted. At this point I went to my parents, and my stepdad “helped” (he had me continue playing along, and then he took advantage of me. I was 17, he was 68. Fun times! But he did get the friendly hacker to identify the computer it was all coming from).

But then we got rid of it all, or rather, Henryk was satisfied and decided to quit. But then he wanted more, and the hacker bit wouldn’t work anymore because I had evidence, I’d been saving chat logs and emails and web pages and screenshots. And Henryk knew it. So…when he didn’t get what he wanted from me, he flat-out raped me. And then the fucker had the nerve to pretend he didn’t remember it afterward. He was also cheating on me at the time, and pretending to BE me online, making me a “whore wife” on porn sites and such. And he demanded the passwords to my email and I had to create a secret one that he didn’t know about to keep it from him. He got very controlling.

And then I went to college, and suddenly there were new people, interesting people, people who were interested in ME. Namely, Keith, who would become my husband about a year later. So…I had enough. I had enough of him threatening me, and threatening to kill himself if I left him, and arguing with me, and hurting me, and talking down to me, and calling me names, and blackmailing me, and raping me, and…all the rest. I was done. So I dumped his ass, and returned the ring to him that he gave me (yeah, we were engaged, what a stupid thing to fucking do, thank god I got out of it).

But he wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. He posed as me, sent random men naked pictures he’d amassed, and then gave these strange men my address and phone number. I got a call, I got a visit, I got stalked and harassed and had to change everything. Most guys backed off once they learned it was a dude doing this to me rather than me doing this to them, for which I was grateful. And as far as I know, he stopped once he no longer had a line to me.

But then, there’s always Facebook. For YEARS, even after I was married, he would harass me about once a year, asking for forgiveness, saying he was getting therapy. Usually he would send his latest girlfriend to do the deed for him, instead of talking to me directly. But then, he was always manipulative. Oh, poor him, I can’t resist a plea from another woman who loves him, right? Psh. I told them all what he did to me and then said I’d turn him in if I ever got wind of him again. And finally, he stopped.

Apparently now he’s married, we have one mutual friend on Facebook. Also, he’s very good friends with my former best friend, with whom I lost touch once I started dating Keith (she called me a whore for it, I called her a cunt, it wasn’t pretty–I’ve let that go,  but apparently she still talks shit about me all the time. There’s also a possibility she was in on the blackmailing, but I’ve never been sure. She would, she’s the type). So I see him around sometimes, on the internet, and I always feel a sinking feeling when I see he’s not much changed. He’s still arrogant and bombastic and self-serving.

A couple weeks ago, though, I had a dream about him. I dreamed he saved my life and I gave him my phone number? And last night, I had another one–we flirted, and then he kissed me, and then he betrayed me and I had to run away from him and get away? And the first dream, I asked around about–my mom thought I should learn to forgive, even if I never tell him I did. I tried, but then last night happened, and I’m like, nope. I can’t forgive him. And that’s okay.

Not everyone deserves forgiveness. I can still let go, and not let him off the hook for it.

So that’s the story. Not the whole story, because there’s too much, and there are good things as well as bad. But that’s the basic story, the meat of it all, and that’s what I have to tell.

Man, that’s a lot. And it’s fucking bad. I don’t realize how bad it is til I go over it again in my head, and then it’s like…fuck, I survived this. It really happened. I used to invent things that happened to me when I was younger because I wanted to be edgy and cool (13 year olds are stupid that way) but I learned when I was about 21 that guess what, I don’t need to lie about shit I’ve been through. I’ve been through more than enough for one lifetime for real, and I don’t need to experience anymore, thanks.

Here’s hoping life is done with me as far as trauma on this scale goes. I don’t want to have to go my therapist for anything else.

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