A Two-Person Cult

Second blog of the day. I feel like I just can’t cope today. I did something “normal” and I acted normal. I went to see a friend. We studied together for two hours. She made me my second cup of coffee for the day. We ate fruit. We conversed. I drove half an hour there and back. Yet my torso is slumped forward, my shoulders rounded, my head in my hands. All this is too much. Although my abuser pervades my dreams as a mere presence, which I cannot control, it was much easier sleeping all day yesterday rather than coping with being present and alive and knowing the truth I learned on Friday. There will be no official justice unless and until another woman comes forward against him. But he can’t be so stupid as to rape another girl, could he? Yet make her believe that he loves her and would do anything for her, so long as she is a “good girl” and adheres to his prescribed behaviour routines, does whatever he wants her to do. It’s a really fucked up system.

Tonight I watched a long movie about a religion which is basically a cult. And everything that was said about the organization by the people who were in it for years, and finally got out, rings true about my relationship with my ex-husband and ex-abuser. I was indoctrinated and pressured into believing everything he told me. Every training session was a way of controlling me. I remember distinctly when I was 20 and I had just moved in with him, he bought me my first pair of high heels. He made me walk back and forth across the living room floor criticising the way I walked in them until I got it just right. I had never owned a pair of heels before that. They may have been what might be considered “fuck me” heels. They were elegant but that’s the best I can describe them. He needed for me to “walk sexy” in them. He needed me to walk confidently in them. Needless to say I no longer wear heels. Flats are just fine.

So it seems then that I was in a two-person cult. He was the leader and I was the follower. It was all about power and control. There was constantly a power struggle between us. I tried to break free of his control, and every time he would reign me back in under his control by controlling my mind with guilt trips and stories he would fabricate, how I was selfish and how I always “played the victim” when it came to our power struggles. Of course I was a victim! But he tried to make me believe that he was the victim of me. I also found out that his business partner told the police that I was “hostile” towards him. That’s the word he used. I’m sure I was hostile, verbally, because he had me cornered in every way. The only way out was to kill myself. It was logical at the time.

Where does this leave me now? I am supposed to just move on with my life? I am still healing! Four plus years later I am still trying to detach myself from the grasp of the horror I lived for six years. Six years of non-consensual sex. We were married and there were times that it was consensual. But I was also coerced and cajoled into thinking that performing sex for him on himself and others was the only way for me to gain his approval and keep his love. I lived my life for his approval. The sex was indeed a performance. I became a very good actress at pretending I liked it, for his sake. And it almost killed me.

I am supposed to own what happened to me in order to be able to move on. If I say “I was raped” over and over again, it validates what actually happened. I cannot grasp my mind around how demeaning it felt, how violating it was, for someone to own my body and do with it what he pleased. He knew that I wanted to please him, and he completely took advantage of that. Somewhere deep down I have to believe he knows that what he did with me was wrong. He knew that what he was doing was illegal, and that is why he got rid of any evidence of the abuse and the causes of my trauma. How he used my vagina as his personal playground. It was a traumatic experience and for three years I experienced PTSD symptoms of paranoia, nightmares, not being able to get out of the house, being afraid of men and other people, breaking down and crying at the most inappropriate moments, sleeping with the light on, anxiety, constant fear, being untrusting of others even if they meant well. I have now begun to trust the world again and I believe I still have issues with boundaries. I assume all people are intrinsically good at heart and that they have good intentions. I have come across the opposite being true, of men trying to get in my pants. I don’t have a good enough radar yet to detect suspicious behaviour. I am too trusting. It’s something I’ll be working on.

The present moment feels surreal. I feel as if I’m watching myself type from the other side of the couch. I’m looking at myself from the outside. I am not in my mind but outside of it. It’s detachment. It’s dissociation. Because the previous paragraphs were difficult to get out and now I’m paying the price for it. But I know I was raped. I’m not making that up. I was raped for six years and didn’t know it was rape until the end, in the last six months before he divorced me. I just knew I had to get out. The alimony was good. For three years it paid for my living expenses whilst I was in and out of the hospital, constantly. As soon as they would release me I would try to commit suicide again. Committing suicide but not succeeding is also traumatic. I have many memories of flashing lights and ambulances, people in uniforms all around me, being injected with substances, the electroconvulsive therapy treatments, trying to hang myself with my bed sheets while I was in isolation in the intensive care unit, scratching at my skin, cutting myself. There are some protruding blue veins on my right inner wrist and I was thinking earlier, head in my hand, what would it be like if I opened up that vein? My roommate is ordering large knives for our home in order to cut the big watermelon she bought, and they will be here tomorrow. I will have access to bigger knives in the house and that scares me.

“He’s insignificant and not worthy of another second of your breath,” said my helper friend by text message to me today. Yet I still worry. I worry he’s doing this to another woman. I was just now holding my hand to my mouth. What does that gesture signify? Remaining taciturn, not wanting to speak out, or shocked and surprised, perhaps perturbed and disgusted. Hand on my chest. A feeling of being constricted. I can’t analyze myself so much.

It has taken me nearly two hours to write this entry, because I’m horrified of what I’ve written, and even more horrified that I went through the experiences I went through. I’m sure I’ll be talking about them over and over again, until it has been enough. But as of yet, I cannot say it enough, though it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to tell my story, bit by bit. And thus concludes another self-therapy session.

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