I once told him that he was every single wish I had ever made on every single shooting star as far back as I could remember. No pressure right?
Of course he countered and told me that I was perfectly, painfully scarily fantastic on so many levels and was the woman he should have been with his whole life. It’s no wonder our relationship was set up to fail.
We never failed to fail. ~ That line…
It seems to fit exquisitely. It defined our relationship. Summed it up better than I ever could, no matter how carefully I constructed my words. What started out as the happiest most supportive relationship I had ever participated in became a nightmare that I’m still struggling to wake up from.
It seems almost impossible to put into words the ways I have suffered at his hands, in every way, emotionally, mentally and ultimately physically. I wanted to stand up and bravely, defiantly tell you how strong I am. I wanted to tell you how I refuse to allow him to change my life, to steal my happiness, to dictate through his actions what I do with my own, but I can’t. The truth is, he changed me irrevocably.
It has brought me to this loss, this loss of self.
It breaks my heart and those words seem so small. They seem so small compared to the enormous task I have of attempting to put my life back in any sort of manageable order. Even through this process his attempted manipulation didn’t stop. It was always there. It’s always been there. He embedded himself in my life, masterfully moving in to all the spaces I left for myself, until all the parts of me that made me me, were gone. It was a systematic eradication of my system’s hard drive, my heart, overwritten with his disease, his virus until only fragments of me remained embedded in what was left. He took it all.
I now navigate as a ghost, not really connecting to anyone or anything, because there isn’t enough of me that remains to rebuild anything recognizable.
I barely remember what life was before him, before he took that last piece.
The truth is, I will never be myself again. I will never be myself, ever again. And I was a pretty amazing person. I was strong and healthy and happy and vibrant and fearless. I was fearless. I did everything I ever wanted to do and I did things I didn’t want to do just because I could do them.
And now fear paralyzes me. It has made me a recluse. It has prevented me from enjoying even the simplest tasks like hiking alone through the Savannas or spending the day at the beach putting miles of sand under my feet. I rarely leave my house. Hell, I rarely leave my couch and it shows. The weight I have put on, the paleness of my skin and the light that no longer shines in my eyes all telltale signs that I am not the same person anymore. I don’t look the same. I don’t act the same. And I have to accept the fact that I have to find a new normal, a new version of me and I hate every single second of having to be a different person because of him.
Time does not heal all wounds it merely teaches you new ways to cope, if that’s what you call it. I don’t want to cope. I am sick to death of always being the one to put in the work…there was NOTHING to fix when I met him. I was so comfortable and happy in the skin I was in that he couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t stand that there was a person who could admit and accept their flaws and love themselves wholly. I did. I was that person. Until him, I had managed to survive years of childhood abuse, eating disorders, teenage pregnancy, failed marriages, cancer, being hit by a truck as a pedestrian, serotonin syndrome and upwards of twenty surgeries and complications from my breast cancer reconstruction and hysterectomy…I managed to survive ALL of that and emerge on the other side of those things with an appreciation for life, for MY life specifically.
I came to a place of peace for all those that had wronged me prior to him. I forgave my stepfather for beating me senseless, for leaving me broken on the tile floor of my childhood home. I forgave the ex-boyfriend who hit me with his truck as I was walking across the street, leaving me fractured, battered, bruised and disfigured on the side of the road. I forgave everyone for every single thing that had ever been done to me and then I did the unthinkable and I forgave myself. I forgave myself for all of the things I felt I failed at, for my flaws, my faults…all of it.
I was a free woman when I met him.
I was a free woman and I’m not sure if you can appreciate what it truly means to live in truth and be free unless you’ve been there, unless you’ve done it and I had. What seemed insurmountable became a reality for me and I expressed gratitude every. single. day.
My emotional/mental freedom was a priceless commodity that I fought to defend with the ruthless elimination of anyone or anything that didn’t support that freedom. And then he came into my life. A literal soldier for freedom and he obliterated everything I fought to defend in a matter of moments. Two years of moments. Two years of torture and I still refused to allow him to tear me down. Every time, no matter how bad things got I refused to give in to hate. I refused to give in to fear. Two years of lies, manipulation, cheating, betrayal and I refused to buckle. I wore forgiveness like armor and I gave it freely and willingly because I believed it was the only way to freedom. And he hated me. He had too, because no one under the guise of love sets course to undermine someone’s feelings of self-worth, of self-care of self-love. No one who loves you would do that right?
Oh, he told me he loved me. He told me every single time we ever spoke in person and on the phone that he did in fact love me, but that it was “complicated”
What he failed to mention was that he complicated it with lies. He complicated it by being the one to cheat on me with more women than I can count. He complicated it by manipulating me whenever I would question one of his many, many lies. And he would stand on his soapbox of righteousness and tower over me with indignation and exploit my love for him. He could not stand for me to be happy or secure, because he was unhappy and insecure and he would be damned if that was going to continue.
Any instant that I was able to break the hold he had on me, any moment of strength, any show of sovereignty…and he would pull out all the stops.
He simply could not have a woman walk away from him. He was the one to leave. He was the one to break things off. He called the shots and nothing was going to change that. He would do whatever it took to win back my affection. He told me anything I wanted to hear. He did anything I wanted him to do, just long enough for me to drop that firewall and he would start a new attack in a new way and leave me worse than the last moment. Two years of moments before it all unraveled. Two years of methodical emotional supremacy.
I don’t know what possessed him to rape me. I don’t know why he decided to cross the one line that was left.
I used to think I didn’t know when his will became more important than my consent but I realized that was a lie, albeit not an intentional one, but it was a lie. I knew exactly the moment his will became more important than my consent and that was long before the physical rape. His will, his needs, his desires, his wants were ALWAYS more important than my consent.
I never consented to being lied to, never consented to being cheated on, never consented to having the same sex toys used on me that he used on other women, never consented to being made to feel “crazy” for doubting his outlandish tales, lie after lie told so that he continue to abuse not only me but the other women in his life that he lied to day after day. I never consented to being a party to his insecurity and selfishness. I never consented to any of that, yet he did it. He did it as he preached about trust. He did it as he preached about openness. He did it as he spouted his disapproval any time I questioned what was going on.
As soon as I realized that, which is as I wrote it, (so now in real time as I am writing) it’s unlocking doors in my mind.
Is it so far a stretch to believe a man who is capable of all the atrocities he’s committed not just against me, but against his first wife Heather, against his second wife, Jessica, against every woman he involved himself with only weeks after his wife Jessica unexpectedly passed away?
Is it so far a stretch to believe a man who dropped to his knees the first night we met and mock proposed to me on his dead wife’s birthday, the FIRST birthday after her death 10 WEEKS earlier???
Is it so far a stretch to believe that a man who was juggling seven women that became known to me through these “moments”, a man who had a prior misconduct on his military record, a man who lied about everything, a man who repeatedly told us that we were the only ones, a man who sat with three different women at different times while we went through his late wife’s belongings with him as he cried, a man who didn’t hesitate when his children called three different women “mom” only two months after their own mother passed away, is it so hard to believe he is capable of rape?
It isn’t such a stretch to me anymore. In fact he sounds exactly like the type of man who would do that. And he did. And he didn’t just rape me, I am one of multiple victims and I am convinced there are more women who have yet to come forward, but maybe they will. Maybe with his conviction they will feel safer and they will share their stories.
I will never be the same person. I will never love anyone the way I loved him. I will never forgive with the same reckless abandon. I will never allow anyone to get that close to me again. I will never let my walls down. I will never…I will never again be free. And hopefully neither will he.
My wish has changed since my rape.
My only wish is that he’s held accountable. Because if he’s not it could be your mother, your sister, your daughter, your cousin, your friend, your co-worker, or a stranger but it will be someone. He will not stop with me. He didn’t stop with the women before me.