Friday, February 21, 2014

In Another Man's Arms

The first man I was with after the rape was an amazing guy. When he held me, I felt safe. The feeling was never forced, and I enjoyed my time around him. More than anything he had been supportive of me in a very rough time.
Yet as hard as I tried I knew there was something missing. On all accounts I could swear he was going to be a great catch and I looked forward to being with him, but he lacked that je ne sais quoi. Forcing myself to like him only made me withdraw from him more.
There was something wrong with me. Or was it him?
So instead I returned to dating. Disappointing.
After a number of dates I ended up with a guy at a Starbucks. First impression visually was disappointing, so I was surprised how different he looked as he sat down and chatted with me. Hmm. Perspective not flattering on the neck, but otherwise good. He definitely did not have a number of girls pining for him, but he also was not a jerk. We laughed and talked almost nonstop. Our quick “meet and greet” turned into an adventure.
The date ended at his house. Yeah…. Ridiculous, I know, but I was incredibly sexually deprived. Don’t judge. It was consensual.
Our date lasted almost a day. There was no Way I had planned on anything like this happening, but we had such a connection. He was nerdy and smart, yet he made me laugh the whole time. This is the same one who caught me on the escalator that day. The firearm he was packing made me crazy as I accidentally bumped up against it throughout the night. One kiss goodbye had turned into a make-out session. Then the date moved to his house. We had been trying to end the date for hours!He showed me his place, I met his dog, we watched some tv on his entertainment center. No pressure for sex.
When a guy treats me with respect and lets me open up to him without pressure, I respond. There is nothing worse than going on a date with a guy who is expecting to get some. Total turnoff. This guy was different. He may have wanted to be with me, but he was not going to push it, which made me want him more. Literally, over and over in my head the words, “He could be the one. This is the kind of guy I want to marry,” played on repeat. STOP IT!  I had to tell myself. Stop being so female about this, just get to know the guy. Don’t get your feelings involved. You do not want to marry this guy, you barely know him.
That night we cuddled. We made out again, and in that he got off…… ok, I like to see a guy lose it, but I need mine too…. He said he would take care of me that night after a recovery period.
We cuddled to bed after he finished his nightly routine. The feeling of a warm body next to me as I slept was almost clandestine. Missing it for over a year, and then needing it for such a painful experience, the cuddling to me was so much more than a simple cuddle. Cuddling was therapeutic, and I needed all that I could get. Quickly I drifted off to sleep.
That’s when the nightmares came. One minute I am blissful, the next I am waged in a full-on battle. Different nightmare versions of the rape played for most of the night, but the main nightmares were about my ex fiancé leaving me. In the nightmare he was always belittling me and blaming me for the rape. Even though I had been living with the nightmares for weeks now, they were still vivid and difficult to bear. Multiple times during the night I woke up in a sitting position, taking in a deep breath as if I was about to scream.
God. What if he sees me acting like this? This will definitely freak him out and end it.
Even though he noticed, he never stirred from his sleep except to reassure me with a solid touch. Luckily he well knew what I was going through; he had been warned. As I struggled to return to sleep, my body shook uncontrollably. The experience had become the new normal in my life, but there was no one to scare with it. The last thing I wanted to do was scare this guy and scar him for life. The embarrassment was like a burning, searing pain that I could physically feel. Trying as hard as I could to stop the shaking, I was able to make the rough, hard convulsions into shudders, but they did not go away.
This is what I am reduced to? My ex fiancé left me when I needed him most, and I am stuck with this unending shame?
The hurt, pain, fear, and humiliation boiled over and I cried myself silently to sleep a few times. Sleep was hell, but so was being awake. The whole experience was exhausting. Yet, as I cuddled up to a sweet stranger, the unbearable pain was almost bearable.
For a moment, in his arms, there was a reprieve from this pain. Soon the unending torture was going to make me lose my mind.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Weak in the Knees

After having such a hard time with sex my first time “back in the saddle” since the drugging, I did not know what to think. Personally, I thought I was broken. My anxiety rose with the thought that I was scarred forever and that intimacy would be incredibly difficult after everything. That guy was great, and I liked him, but something was wrong. As hard as I tried to wrack my brain, I could not figure it out.
Instead I decided to keep dating. Staying at home by myself, just my son and I, was killing me. Over and over, every time I looked at my son all I could think about was how the rape had ruined things for him. He waited all his life for a dad and some jerk had stolen that opportunity from him, and my son did not even realize it yet. Not to mention that I did not know anyone, I also had no friends in the area, and I was Incredibly horny, yet incredibly dissatisfied. You could say I was a frustrated mess.
Getting out with human contact may have been what saved me from killing myself, because truthfully I wanted to die. Even though I knew I was valuable and I was confident in myself, I felt hopeless; that finding someone to care about my son and I would be necessary. However, at that point in time, the hope of finding someone, or the odds either, was not enough to give me hope. Nothing gave me hope. The agony of what I was feeling had taken my soul. The thing I needed most was human contact and intimacy. It may not have been an opportune time, but it was necessary.
There were a few dates that passed by uneventfully. Between my disconnection with life and the failed connection between my dates, nothing amazing happened. But being around people perked me up, even if it was only for the short time. The dates were an escape from my incessant memories. My fiancé was done, there was no use waiting for him to return. Making new memories helped me forget about him. No one quite hooked me like he did.
On one date, I met a guy at a Starbucks. Not exceptionally handsome, but not bad. Oh! But he was so much fun! He reminded me of me with the way he talked, what he was interested in, his little idiosyncracies. Our quick coffee date kept getting longer. Eventually we walked across the street to the mall. As we were checking out the pre-Black Friday merchandise, I began to feel light-headed. The room began to spin and my face got numb. My visual field began to lose focus and the colors lightened while the overall picture darkened. As smoothly as I could I grabbed my date, who was only a few feet away, and quickly walked out of the store. He noticed I was acting funny as I mentioned grabbing something to eat, but I did not want to scare him. Instead I held his arm and focused my efforts on maintaining my composure.
The saturation of the colors returned, and my visual field brightened. While I still felt a little funny, I started to return to feeling normal. Luckily we were close to the Food Court, so we hopped on the escalator to get to the second floor, where the food court was. As we ascended up the escalator, the movement was discombobulating. Catching my balance early, I maintained my body language so my date would not notice. Halfway through the ride up, I began to fall backwards. At least 10 feet up already from the ground, there were likely over 20 people below me. My date, who I had been holding to keep me upright, noticed the change in my balance and pushed me forward until I was stable again. Softly I whispered thank you and held his arm tightly, trying to apply the least amount of surface pressure, so he would not notice I was holding on for dear life.
The near faint, and now the near fall, were really making me feel embarrassed. Still trying to maintain my sense of strength and pride, I stood with him in a long, slow line at Chick-fil-a. After ordering, I could not take it any longer. Practically running to the first open table I could find, I sat down. But I could not appear weak or troubled, so I did it as efficiently as possible. The food seemed to take forever, so I hid my low blood sugar by quickly drinking my lemonade. For the next 20 minutes I was weak and my voice had little strength in it. Instead I pretended to people watch. He took the opportunity to spend a lot of time doing most of the talking. Again the rape was ruining my life.
As hard as I tried to stay in the present, I kept returning to the rape, to my ex fiancé leaving me, to that empty feeling I had been overwhelmed with night after night. After another half hour I was finally able to get those thoughts back under control, but the effect had been devastating.

Friday, February 14, 2014


With as much as it was a relief that I had had sex, I was sent into a horrible tailspin. There was no reason the sex should have been so empty, yet it was. This made me feel terror that it was always going to be like this. In my mind, to get rid of those physical rape sensations, finding a nice, supportive sexual partner was all that I needed. Here I was though, and the sex was unsatisfying. My body was numb, my emotions were numb, and now I knew that this was not going to be a quick fix, if I could be fixe at all.

What If I was never right again? I had enjoyed sex for years. After waiting for so long, I should have been overwhelmed by relief, but it never came. Literally. The idea that I could take care of it myself entered into my mind more than once, but it literally turned my stomach. My body wanted another person to hold me, to touch me, to comfort me. Intimacy is what I needed, not mechanical stimulation.

By night I was wracked with fear and anxiety. To keep my mind busy from my intruding thoughts of the rape, I watched tv. It halfway worked, which was the best I got. My ex fiance was commonly in my mind. My body yearned for the memory of his touch, but instead I grit my teeth and told it to forget about him. He left me like this. He gave me up. He forgot about me. When I needed him, he was not only not there for me, but he was unenduringly cruel. He was not normally like that, so he was being a class A jerk. Maybe when he returned home, it would be different. Maybe when he saw me, he could see how I was not lying.

But I knew better. My ex is a stubborn man. He was gone. If he could leave me like this, he was never coming back. Still, I think he would be able to recognize that I was not lying. Not that I would be able to take him back when he apologized. Not after this. He ruined my trust in him.

At this point I was nauseous. All day long I could barely handle the idea of eating food. For the most part of the day I starved. My depression was so thick that I did not even want to eat. To top it off I got the stomach flu, which caused me to lose 8 pounds in one day. That week I lost 10 pounds.

My house was trashed. Wherever it came to rest, it stayed. Not that I am a clean freak, but I love a clean house. Sitting in the filth was torture, but I was such an empty shell of myself that I could not care enough to clean it. Not that I could. Being so starved, I was weak and faint.

Suddenly taking the stairs (I live in a third floor apartment) was treacherous. There were times I almost fell from fainting, but most of the time I was so weak I had to drag myself up the stairs using my hands, stopping frequently to rest and regain my balance. It became scary to take my son to school. When I would start to faint or fall, I would sit, because I was horrified I would pass out and fall head first into the concrete stairs. Times like these made me feel incredibly alone. The act of taking the stairs would make me cry uncontrollably. Someone had hurt me, my ex had left me, and I was alone. It was breaking me to my core. The loss I was feeling was so overwhelming that it was stealing who I was as a person.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sex after being drugged

After scaring away the light hearted men by telling them my story about the recent rape, I was left with only 3 men to choose from. Of those, one I did not have a connection with, one scared me a little, and the other was surprisingly attractive, sweet, and kind. This was a guy I felt a surprising amount of connection with.

At first I thought it was just the excitement of the first date. So I let a few days pass. By the second date, I realized the feeling was only growing stronger. This was not a fluke, there was genuine chemistry.

Not that I was terribly exciting to be around. He did not know the difference, but I did. As hard as I tried to keep in the present time with what I was doing, my thoughts were difficult to control. For the most part it was easy to get my thoughts back under control with a little effort. It was the exaggerated startle response that gave me away.

The startle response is of course jumping in surprise at normal things, for instance being startled by someone as the jump out to scare you. That is a normal response. An exaggerated startle response looks like someone touching you and you jumping with the same fear. Or being shocked by loud noises that normally would not shock you. What that looked like for me is jumping every time he touched me, such as an accidental brush of his arm against mine as we stood in close proximity to each other while waiting in line. The jumping from me as I heard him walk up to me, only to turn and be startled that he was a few inches closer than I realized. Sometimes I jumped and pushed his hands off of me, even when the touches were socially appropriate touches. Even when it was touches I wanted.

I was a mess.

Luckily I was fun to be around, and he was well aware of why I was reacting odd. It was SO embarrassing. There were a few times I almost cried from the sheer terror of being exposed to this stimulus and being unable to control my body. I just wanted my body to stop. I wanted to return to normal. The feeling of being trapped and tortured like a puppet on a string forced to react when I did not want to was uncontrollable. Crawling back into my fiance's arms crossed my mind more than once, but I swallowed that bitter pill with grace I think. How could I go back to a man who could love me and yet leave me like this? I TRUSTED him. I Needed him, and he left me like this. I deserved someone better.

Feeling the warmth and strong, silent affection of this new man was scary, but was even more relieving. As I grew to trust him more, I worked my way into hugging him. That hug was like gold currency for my soul. He held me with gentle care. He earned my trust, and I was uncontrollably in need of his help.

After hugging, laughing and flirting, I worked my way into a kiss. It was a great kiss. Yes. This was a guy I could have sex with.

One night after a date, we snuggled on my couch. Leaning towards him, I let him make a move to kiss me. He kissed me sweetly and passionately. The feeling was nice and comforting. But as he kissed me, the feelings of the rape, the flashbacks began to overrun me. My stubborn will kicked in- I knew that I had to push through this to get past those feelings. My body was difficult to keep controlled, but I did the best I could.

When you first become intimate with a person, their body language helps you understand how they feel about you and gives you an idea about how they are reacting to you, especially while you try doing different things. It took considerable effort, but I was able to keep my body relaxed for the most part. But then my body began to react in very weird ways. I started to tremble uncontrollably. It was not like a cold chill, or even a quiver from being tickled, it was a full on convulsive movement. It made the feelings of helplessness all the more powerful.

The feelings and physical sensations were building up in me. As hard as I was going to fight their eruption, I knew there was a certain amount I would not be able to hide. I stopped kissing this guy, closing my eyes to hide my fear and took a deep breath.

My body is going to start doing some weird things. Ignore them. It's because of what happened.
We dont have to do this. If I am hurting you I can stop.
No, you don't understand. I cant control this and the only way to get rid of it Is to do this. I'll be fine if just ignore it, ok?
Well I dont want to hurt you.
Not doing this will hurt me worse than just doing this. And I will tell you, I promise, if I need you to stop.
Ok. As long as you are ok.
I'll be fine; just ignore it.

With that we slowly returned to kissing. As his hands touched me I could not stand him touching me in even PG-13 ways, so I would quickly move his hands to my outer frame- my arms, my hands, and my hips. Breathing was difficult. My muscles took effort and conscious ability to get them to relax. As I kissed him I had to relax them one by one. They would quickly tense again as the memories and flashbacks entered into my brain.

My body was electrified with sexual tension. It was so intense I felt like the desperate tension was a turnoff, or that the walls would begin to wiggle back and forth like the Matrix. My jaw clenched uncontrollably, no matter how hard I tried to relax it. We began to remove outer layers of clothing. The flashbacks came on strong. The physical effort it took to keep myself in presentable fashion was draining. Luckily I was so desperate for sex, my body had that extra boost of energy. My body became rigid and board-like because I could not keep up with the tension.

We kissed while our clothes were in different states of removal. He touched himself against my intimate parts as we kissed, but he delayed actually penetrating. That was helpful I think, because it gave me time to mentally prepare for what came next. Often he stopped to check to see if I was still comfortable with what was happening. I'm sure it was because quivers would rip through my body of shear physical terror, but I barreled through it. Stopping now would give that fear power.

Finally we were both so overcome with sexual excitement that he penetrated me. For months I had waited for sex. The idea I would be having sex with anyone new was devastating. But I had mourned that loss already a few weeks before. Now the sexual tension through my body was practically electric. If the wind blew the right way, I was sure I would have an orgasm. I was almost crying from the need to be relieved from the sexual tension I had had. My body was literally in pain from waiting.

As he penetrated me, I drew my breath and.....

nothing. I was so numb I could hardly feel him.

Not that he wasnt endowed enough, but there was something emotionally wrong with me. I was numb emotionally and it had affected me physically. It has happened before, but it was Never that bad.

With frustration I tried everything I could think of to enjoy it. Typically I can orgasm multiple times easily, but no matter which position we tried I could not orgasm. As I would near an orgasm and feel myself go numb I got incredibly angry from frustration. Again my stubbornness kicked in, but it didnt solve the issue.

Thats when it happened.

Suddenly my arms from my neck all the way to my fingers went numb as I tried to straddle him. Almost as if they had fallen asleep, i felt the numbness create a weird dissociative sensation for my arms. By shaking my hands, I began to feel a little more sensation, but the feeling did not go away. Then the walls started to move and the room began to spin. Panic overtook me. There was an incredibly intense feeling in my chest as I wanted to scream in terror and anguish. The tears welled up in my eyes as I became light headed and nearly passed out. Smacking myself in the face so I didnt pass out was the only thing I could think to do. My eyes stayed closed and my breathing became ragged like I was nearly sobbing.

Suddenly the ominousness of the situation hit me. This was going to be a battle, but this was going to be a battle I was going to win.

Again I clenched my teeth. I forced my ribs to control my breathing. My fists clenched the couch for dear life, but I pushed through.

But I only became more numb.

He finished shortly after. Which was practically a relief. I may not have completely "won," but I hadnt stopped. We never spoke of my weird body reactions, but he held me tightly and verified I was ok. Even though I was frustrated and angry, I was ok. We tried two more times that night. Never before had I tried so hard to orgasm, and never before had I failed so miserably, and for what seemed like no reason.

By the end of the night, between the drug flashbacks, the rape flashbacks, the numbness, and the lack of an orgasm, I was beyond frustrated; I felt hopeless.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Rape Victim in the Dating Game

Ugh. So there I was, freshly dumped. My body ached from the sexual tension of waiting for my soldier to return. I had had sex for only 15 days with only my soldier in the last 15 months. The tension made every muscle in my body hurt. The tension was painful and truthfully, I cried from the conflicted emotions of needing the intimacy I had waited so long for and the reality it wasn't coming. There would be no release from this pain; it was only going to get worse. The next person I would sleep with was not going to love me and I was not going to love him. Instead he was going to have to deal with a tortured individual,and in a new relationship where we had not established trust, especially at that level. My next sexual experience was going to be scary and with a new person who would likely be freaked out by my response.

I was basically doomed to being a psycho rebound. It hurt my pride at the thought. I take my reputation rather seriously. The idea of this label was powerful and depressing. My ex had left me in an incredibly vulnerable state. I had to make a decision to jump back on the horse, or falter and develop intense, debilitating phobias. Neither decision was one I wanted. My idea was to coast into another great relationship. However, my body was so twisted by the sexual tension and tortured by the physical flashbacks, I felt dating so early was the lesser of two evils.

After I was emotionally capable of being seen in public, I started slow. Divulging my recent trauma to every single guy I thought about dating was hardly the sexiest dating conversation, but I was so jumpy and awkward, that not divulging it was worse.

Slowly I went on a number of dates. Being out in public was as traumatizing as developing a romantic relationship with a new person. Yet it was healing. Painful, but healing. The fact that I'm an extrovert made going out at a crucial stage in my recovery an absolute necessity. My sense of humanity was waning. Initially I felt like a lost and frightened girl, at other times I felt like a robot. There was no one to run to. I was alone in this town. There were no friends to run to. The only way i could think of to pull me back into society was dating. Terrible idea i know, but i dod not know anyone. The necessity to have in person social interaction was crucial. All my friends on Facebook kept me grounded, but I was sinking further into a dark, dark place. My brother in Italy realized I was suicidal, so he called daily. He made me promise each day to talk with him the next day.

That is a trick they teach you in suicide training. Get the person to sign a pact, make an agreement, delay daily until everything gets better. With my training I knew what he was doing, but I let him do it. As much as I thought my son needed a family- and I knew a few friends who would take him in and give him that- I knew he would always regret not having me around.

So I met a few guys. Narrowing down the guys I had met to sweet guys was my first priority. There were 2 or 3 guys I met that fit the profile. They may not have been the most handsome men in the world, but they were all attractive. One guy in particular I had clicked with. He made me feel truly safe, which was surprising, considering the circumstances. Another I quickly wanted nothing to do with. Nothing particularly "wrong" with the guy, just not a good match. The third guy was handsome, but tall and muscular. He was intimidating next to my frame. We had had a great time together, but his playfulness was a little too tough for me in my delicate state and I was actually afraid of him. Not for any good reason. But I was not sure he would not push jokes or other things too far. There was incredible chemistry otherwise, but I was scared. But the size difference intimidated me. He could easily have raped me and I would never be able to stop him.

The nice guy drew me to him quickly. Mentally I acknowledged that I needed to pick a good guy. Strong and yet gentle. Sweet and yet sexual. Whoever I picked next could hurt me worse or comfort me in a time of need. Whoever I picked needed to be good for me. Not necessarily the one. Just a good match. This sweet guy was a surprise match. He made me feel safe and respected. He was kind and doting, without being overbearing. He was confident and intuitively reacted to my needs as I slowly opened up to him. But he was not intimidated and actually initiated intimacy with me.

In that moment, he was just what I needed. He made me laugh, our conversations were exciting, and he wanted to be around. Being around him helped me to feel human again.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

He gave me a new identity

After a relationship, I always look back to see what went wrong, what went right, and what I learned. Knowing what I liked and didnt like makes it easier to find something new.

Looking back I see warning signs about his issues. He used to never pry into my past. However I kind of liked that.

We had dated for about 2 months before I began to feel this overwhelming need to divulge my past. Not that I have made a ton of mistakes, I really have not made series of bad choices. Unfortunately, instead my history of abuse and forced decisions were going to pop up. Not that I felt the urge to divulge all of that crazy nonsense to him, but I knew he would start picking up on things as time past.

For instance, we had a number of great nights together and fell asleep cuddling. A few hours into sleep, I would wake up to myself sitting in bed screaming. He had luckily slept through it all, or so he said, but it was a matter of time before he might start noticing things, like how as I lay next to him my body was rigid because of the muscle tension and fear I had to consciously relax my body over a few minutes. Or that some nights I silently cried myself to sleep. He would never hear me since it was silent, but he might notice my makeup was ruined, or my pillow was wet, or that I would go for a number of seconds without breathing to control the sobbing.

Soon he was going to notice.

It took me a few weeks to talk myself into bringing it up to him in a conversation. The idea was to slowly bring it up with a few general topics, and then repeat the conversation with more details over the next few weeks. When I finally did bring it up, he quickly stopped me. He knew I had a past. So I ended with a warning that he may notice some weird things, but to ignore them or ask me about them if they bothered him.

This partly bothered me that he could put his head in the sand, but even more it comforted me. For the first time I got to pretend that I was who I was and not what my past had been. He gave me a new identity in a way. I got to be Margaret, not some abused person. He did not know that I had picked myself up from nothing. He only knew that I worked hard and made responsible decisions.

Suddenly I was a person of value, instead of thrown away leftovers.

But there were other times where he encouraged me to do better and I felt ashamed. Or when I was sleep deprived and killing myself to make ends meet by working two jobs (~50 hrs/week) and going to college full time the entire time. Instead of understanding why I was the way I was, or what my motivation came from, he tried to "fix" it or point out that I was lacking in some area. So I sat in silent shame and listened as he tried to encourage me to do better, when he did not understand the situation. It was never a choice to settle for what I had settled for. It was a stepping stone to what I really wanted.

Being with him was like having a new identity. He rarely noticed my issues. The second hand clothes that did not fit well he did not realize were second hand. I did not realize I was poor. I dont know why. He thought I was beautiful, even when I was at my heaviest. He encouraged me to be better, but still liked me right where I was at.

When I moved to be with him and marry him, I left almost all my old clothes (they were 3-4 sizes too big at this point) and spent a couple hundred dollars getting new clothes because I wanted him to be proud to introduce me. Then I spent money to get my haircut and nails done. Since he had not seen me for nine months (this was in July when he visited for his to weeks off that year), I wanted him to know I was taking care of myself just for him. I had done the same thing leading up to his return in November. For the most important man in my life, I wanted to fulfill and be everything I could be.

Basically he made me think of myself in new ways and never treated me like trash. That was a new experience for me and it changed my life. It instilled in me a new identity, finally giving me the experience that someone could care for me even at my worst. He made me love him, no matter how hard I tried to remain disconnected. He was always there to love me. The experience healed me. The relationship was amazing. I am forever grateful.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Released into the Wild

After I finally confronted my ex fiance face-to-face and I was SURE he had left me, I spent a week in one of the darkest depressions of my life. The look in his eye was not that he was freaking out in fear to what had happened to me. No. He looked at me in a totally new manner. Suddenly he no longer looked at me in respect and trusting love. Now he looked at me as if he stared right through me. I was not even in the room. It gave me a weird feeling of not actually being in the room, like I was watching from a corner of the room, and even though I was me, in his mind I was someone else.

This sensation I felt is called dissociation.

A whole 14 months had passed while he had been gone, and yet it was a difficut moment for m because I felt he could not see me. Those movies in which the person is transported into another persons body and they struggle to be seen for who they are suddenly became a real moment for me.

He looked me dead in my eye and did not see me. I was crushed.

Then he went on to say incredibly cruel things about me and the rape, as if I had chosen to be raped, or that I was using that as an excuse to cheat on him. There is no need to cheat on someone when you can break it off. Finding a replacement for him is easy- I can get a sexual relationship. Shoot, I could even get a sexual relationship where I could be a trophy wife. There would be no worries.

But that has never been me. Matter of fact, the idea is repulsive to me. My mind cannot even fathom me not contributing to creating a family in an equal partnership.  What he said to me was devastating. It meant that in an instant someone had not only violated me in the most intimate way, but that they had stolen the most important thing I had waited my whole life for: A man that loved and cherished me and my son.

I could never trust this man again, even if I wanted to. Everything I had ever believed in died in that moment.
Delayed gratification.

The whole month before I saw him face-to-face I could not function from the fear of losing him and the overwhelming emotions of what had happened to me. To add an excruciating element to my pain, I was also incredibly horny from a year of being sexually deprived. My body was committing mutiny. All my body desired was his sweet, loving touch, yet I was struggling to ignore the physical sensations of being raped and the emotional trauma of being abandoned in my most vulnerable state. My body literally ached from the sexual frustration.The frustration was so intense that I did not know whether scream or cry. The last thing I wanted to do was think about sex with anyone else, or masterbating. All I wanted was my fiance. Yet I was continually having the sensation that someone was raping me and touching my body. It was a unique form of torture.

So as hard as it was for me to walk away, wounded and devastated, I knew that my body needed me to get back up and start looking for someone new. Since it takes me a while to find someone I am attracted to, I knew time was of the essence. This continuous torturous feeling was only getting louder. If I did not begin my search, I was afraid of what I would compromise in the future.

For 14 months I had waited for this man. I had kept myself for him, staying busy, avoiding men, never being alone with another man even if only for the way it would look, working on my own baggage. Suddenly, he was home and he wanted nothing to do with me. The closest thing I had to touching him was when I cried on his shoulder uncontrollably. He had just delivered the most painful words to me, and yet he held me as I sobbed uncontrollably on him. That was the last time I touched him.

And that is how I started dating again. I felt like a mess. I was afraid. But I was very aware that it was only going to get worse if I did not get back on the horse. So I cautiously took a mental and emotional inventory of what I wanted and where I felt I was likely to fail, waited until I was able to control myself in public, and then got my toes back in the water in preparation.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

True Sexual Healing- because of my now ex fiance

While I have already detailed what happened in succession in the Date Raped blogs. Also, I did already in detail, discuss what happened when my now ex fiance did to help me heal from what happened to me in, but I want to visit it again by looking at it in another manner.

After I had been what I felt was pushed aside by the guy I was dating, I began to date other guys. Dating is so difficult though! Just when you think you have a winner, you go on a date and you find it was all a dud. Totally disappointing. In case you did not catch on, I probably went on over 50 dates in a short period of time it felt, but I never went on a second date.

My ex and I had remained friends, sharing dating tips and swapping horror stories. After almost two months I proposed that we discuss adding benefits into our relationship, since now that I had spent the better part of a decade married, I found sexual deprivation extremely hard to endure. True to form, my ex was excited at the idea. Men! The rule was that once we found someone else we would end it for good.

It happened to me first. I found someone I really liked and I was really excited about meeting him (yes I was dating online). He was a pilot for an Apache Helicopter in the Army. He was a year or two younger than me, but we really seemed to click. After a week of talking with him, we decided we mutually would like to meet. Unfortunately he was busy training for the Army and would not be back in the area and available for a date for over a week. We set a day for the big date and I was extremely excited to meet him.

Having sex with my ex seemed wrong at this point, so even though I had not met the guy yet, I cut it off with my ex. It seemed the right thing to do out of respect for the new guy. If we hit it off, I wanted to be available for him, making him feel honored. Besides I cannot share my heart between people. My ex and I were excited I was moving on and that a new opportunity was happening for me. There was also a tinge of disappointment, but this was what my ex wanted- he did not want a relationship, so he came to terms with what that meant eventually.

That is why I think he noticed that I got date raped. Normally I would have been elated, or frustrated to the point I would have been venting to him. Instead I only avoided the conversation admitting that he had in fact not been as great as I had hoped.

When he came over to check on me, his extra effort to assure that I was ok made me feel that he genuinely cared. I totally expected him to give me the awkward distance that people tend to give when they do not know how to handle someone struggling in an awkward situation. Since I hate to show my weaknesses, I was ready to bear the brunt of my shame and disgust by myself. And yet here he was, next to me, ignoring my efforts to absolve him of any need for reassurance, giving him every opportunity to feel like he had checked his I'm-a-friend-who-cares box so he could move on with his life, ego intact. Yet there he was, next to me, respecting my intimate space, yet touching me when appropriate to show concern, and most of all, looking me in the eye to make sure I was ok.

Looking him in the eye was difficult. I spent most of the hour avoiding it, trying to get him back out the door, but he stayed until he was sure I was ok. But I was not ok.

Once I looked him in the eye, I knew he could see past my facade, my carefully planned presentation- the clothes i was wearing elegant, but modest and comfortable. My makeup had been done, but it was played down. I had freshly showered before he came over, mainly because no matter how much I showered I still felt dirty. However hard I was trying, my normal emotional exuberance was dulled. I tried to hide it by acting grumpy. Short of being rude to him, my answers were cold and biting. At times it felt and sounded like I was angry at him, or at the very least cold and disinterested in his presence.

Instead of reacting to my facade, he pressed through my coping mechanisms and confronted me with gentle, but deliberate warmth. Once I realized he actually did care, I forced myself to become vulnerable to him. As I looked him in the eye, I showed him my vulnerability and pain. My mask broke as I looked into his eyes and saw he was still there, vulnerabilities and all.

My skin had not stopped crawling from the feeling of the rape. Every other moment I was physically reliving the rape, no matter how I tried to distract my mind from what had happened. Torture is the best way to describe it. After living through something so emotionally disturbing you just welcome the relief of the moment when it ends. But when it does not end, it eats away at your strength and emotional fortitude. At this point I was on the verge of screaming in wild agony. The absence of touch made the physical sensations of the rape feel real and ongoing. Once I felt safe with my ex, a frantic urge overtook me. All I wanted was for him to touch me, every part of my skin so I could ignore the less powerful memory sensations. At times, even as I sat next to him pretending nothing was wrong, I could feel the penetration of the rape, the in and out of his shaft as he held me against my will forcing himself into me.

Please do me a favor. I know it sounds weird, but will you have sex with me? I cannot stop feeling the rape.

As he obliged my request (with what I think was excitement), he began to take my clothes off of me as I froze. Not that I wanted to freeze, I had just begun to relive multiple rape experiences. I struggled to take control of my body, so every move I made looked robotic and clumsy. Halfway into him undressing me, the feelings of disgust overwhelmed me and I begged him to stop saying I was so disgusting that he did not want to have sex with me. I was vile. Repulsive. But he just looked me in the eyes with strong, caring calm and told me how beautiful i was. How I was not gross. I was not revolting.

For every horrible feeling I felt, every horrible sensation I had, he calmly and powerfully counteracted it. At some point I just gave in to him. Not that I had the power or strength to take control; I had to hold on to him as he erased the memories of the rape and rewrote the emotional damage I had been left with. MY body was half limp, half rigid from the mixture of emotions. All I could do was hold on as deftly as I could manage. To spare him the added mess of me crying, I let the tears run down my face in silence, hugging him so he could not see.

As the sex went on, I gradually began to relax into it, becoming more involved in the present than the sensations of the past. Eventually, I even began to enjoy the sex, albeit, it was a muted sexual response. My rigid body that was holding on for dear life began to respond to him. My grasp on him began to relax from fear, then it began to softly express my desire. Even though I was hiding my tears, I quickly moved my mouth to his and began to kiss him, soft, expressive kisses.

The rhythm of the sex became passionate as I responded to him finally. The sex became intense slowly as the emotional baggage fell away. Soon it was just us having sex, incredible, passionate sex, and no longer were the sensations a part of the experience. As we both orgasmed, I held him tightly again, as if for dear life. He would never understand how important that was to me. It felt as if he understood it was more than normal, but I don't believe he will ever get it.

The truth of the matter is that having someone else negate everything that someone else had forced me to endure was difficult for me to experience, but it was the quickest, most effective way to overcome those feelings. Never had I suspected that I could trust him enough to do what he did. Personally, I was used to people taking the easy way out and walking away from me, leaving me to deal with my emotional struggles alone. This was a new experience. My husband had done that in a sense of obligation, but this man I hardly knew pushed past my defenses, stood his ground against my coping mechanisms, and had even argued with my devastated self esteem until he healed me of my pain. He single-handedly changed the way I viewed people, trust, and the world.

Something that deep can never really be repaid.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sexual Healing- my ex husband

Most people do not understand that rape is not sex. Rape is a physical assault that involves sexual organs, a person's most intimately physical places.
Over the years I have used my bonds with the men in my life that I trusted to heal sexually from these assaults. One of these times has already been detailed intimately in my blog at, but I want to revisit it later. However, first I want to bring up the "sexual healing" with my now ex husband.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs frequently in people who suffer a traumatic event, such as war, natural disasters, abuse, or rape. The symptoms include flashbacks (reliving the event), trouble sleeping, nightmares, overreacting to being startled, among others. People often cope with the trauma by becoming self-destructive. Sadly, until the self-destructive behaviors stop, and the sufferer bonds in a trusting relationship with another person, the trauma cannot be worked through.
This knowledge is new to me through my training with trauma informed care and working with severely abused children, but it has always been natural for me to feel it. So when I was with my ex husband, I was never able to work through my trauma because my husband had been constantly re-traumatizing me through abuse and neglect. Until it became a "safe" relationship, I hid myself in my shell awaiting the end of the battle. One day a few years into the relationship, he finally got me out of my shell for a little while. Suddenly, what I had gone through was more pressing than his current issues.
As the trust built between us, I was finally able to confide in him a detailed account of the rape. Over the next few days we discussed it slowly, so that I coud give him time to process the details and my emotional destruction from it. Finally it became time.
After a rape, you do not just feel gross inside and revolting to others, you do not just relive the memory of the events, you remember the way it feels, it sounds, it smells. One minute you can be sitting watching tv, the next you are transported to another time and place. It is a place where you feel helpless and afraid all over again, and as hard as you try you cannot stop it. It is not just a memory of events, the next thing you know, you feel the rhythmic pounding against you, hands touching you, you trying to fight unsuccessfully, the internal cry for help that no one seems to hear, his breathing as he orgasms, and the stench of his breath and body.
All that stimulus makes it easy to understand why rape victims typically shy away from sex, or run to it. Both are coping mechanisms to avoid reliving the event. Understandably, a lot of survivors, even in committed, long-term partnerships will refuse sex. Oftentimes the partner may never even know why the survivor has such a strong aversion to sex. On the flipside, other survivors run to sex. Not because of the "enjoyment of the rape," (which is an incredible perverse way of thinking of it) but to cover up the flashback of the rape, to silence the physical sensations, and even to gain power over the choice to say yes, since even that was stolen from them.
Back to my story. At some point I was finally able to trust my (then) husband to help me through the trauma experience. We had spent days discussing the event, and a some point it happened- I became vulnerable to him. As the vulnerability hit me, my voice became much softer, weaker. I grabbed him and asked him quietly to have sex with me, even though I would likely relive the experience. As he reacted in stunned silence, I reassured him that I needed it; I needed him to keep going, even if I cried, screamed, or acted in some weird manner. He nodded his head and agreed to it. But before we began, I made him swear to me not to stop, since stopping would be interpreted by me as his disgust in me and traumatize me further. He promised me.
With that he neared me and began to kiss me passionately, removing my clothes. The terror of the event flooded into memory, and I was suddenly frozen in fear. Soon he had penetrated me. My kissing became awkward and then I could not even kiss. My whole body went limp and I began to shake in terror. That is when I began to scream and cry in terror. Luckily my husband responded by holding me with his arms and whispering he loved me as I screamed in an uncontrollable panic.  My body remained completely limp. The physical sensations became the current sensations, not the past. First the past had overwhelmed the present, but slowly, the present sensations began to infiltrate that old memory. As it ended, I for the first time felt I was living in that moment, not in two- the rape and the present.
Having sex with someone you trust as you relive the rape, to me, was like rewriting a bad story, this time with a better ending. So even as the rape memory began to become incredibly real, the reality of having sex with someone I trusted began to overwrite the memory. I could not erase that memory, so overwriting it became the only logical next best solution.
After it ended, I lay in his arms for nearly an hour sobbing and him holding me tightly.Once I was finally done crying, I sill hung on to him, as if for dear life. I needed to feel the feeling of safety in someone's embrace. I lay in that embrace until I fell lightly asleep.
Over the next few sexual encounters we had, I noticed a marked improvement in my sensitivity, the ability to lubricate (which had always been an incredible issue- it was practically gone overnight), and the feeling of the sex itself, the intimate encounter, felt more exciting, more natural, less disgusting.
My husband and I were never able to bond again like that, since he went back to showing signs of being abusive and neglectful only a few weeks later, so I was always disappointed I did not heal more fully from the first rape. Looking back, I never really trusted him, and rightly so. He never deserved my trust. It is also extremely apparent to me that our relationship only occurred because the trauma of that first rape and the previous abuse made a life that he provided what I perceived to be acceptable living conditions.
This story is important to me to share, because the weight I felt lift off my shoulders that day, is what everyone deserves to be relieved of. If you are in a committed and safe/trusting sexual relationship, please have the courage to confront the terrors of sexual trauma with empathy and courage. Your life will be all the better for it.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My own personal Hell

Every night is a battle to go to sleep. It has been since grade school that I had issues sleeping. Most of my issue has always been about Wanting to go to bed. Stopping what I was doing to actually get ready for sleep has always been the issue. The final battle was getting to the bed without being distracted. But actually falling asleep has never been an issue for me since I was a kid.

But everything is different now.

For hours before I go to sleep, my anxiety races higher. At some point in the early evening, I become frozen with fear because i realize i will have to go to bed soon. Somehow time races away from me, and I lose time- 3 hours goes by like 30 mins. Then I finally get up to brush my teeth and change for bed, but it takes me another hour, literally, to accomplish those tasks. Part of the issue is fuguing- where I have a dissociative experience from my body and time slips away without me remembering (dissociative is like being asleep behind the wheel or another way of saying it is your brain is detached from what your body is doing). The other part is the anxiety- I am afraid to go to sleep. The nightmares are uncontrollable and reliving the wake up fro when I was raped, is equally traumatic since I do that multiple times per night.

These are the long-term gifts that only a rape can give you.

So, when I finally lie in my bed, my heart races, fear hits me and makes my chest hurt, my eyes well up with tears, and my mind begins to unwind from hours of build up. Every night I have to relive the story before I can go to bed.

Sometimes I just want to go to bed, damn it.

When I try to think about other things, focus my mind on other thoughts, it somehow incorporates the rape into my thoughts, or the other rapes, or the abuse and neglect that I have suffered. I end up being a crying mess. One time I cried so hard I woke up my son. The fact that it had scared him, made me feel even more helpless. For hours I have to lay there crying before I can fall asleep.

That's when the nightmares start.

My ex fiance is almost always in them. It hurts to see him even in my dreams. He usually calls me a whore or tells me he hates me. I continue to relive the rape, or some trauma in various dreamlike forms- either exact reenactments, similar reenactments, or archetypal dreams. My body profusely sweats like I am running in a marathon, and I twitch uncontrollably, sometimes waking up either from the sensation of an internal twitch, or the sensation someone is shaking me awake. By the time a normal person is supposed to wake up, I am more exhausted than I was when I went to sleep. Then throughout the night and morning, I wake up about every 45 minutes, sometimes hours later if I'm lucky, startled and in full fight or flight mode, or frozen terror. I'm glad I am not screaming anymore when I wake up, but that first month and a half was a full on horror shop for me. But the worst is the physical sensations- I can actually feel my skin crawl, or someone touch me, or the air move by me as someone walks towards me. No matter what I do I cannot get away from it.

I wake up either in terror, or depressed when I finally do wake up for the day. Totally exhausted, I try to put on a happy face and make sense of my life. My ex was so kind and sweet to leave me without any support system. I lost my best friend, lover and life mate all in the same moment. I moved here to be with him, and now even he is gone because of this rape, so I trudge along via Facebook and this blog hoping for  connection. Turns out that the social support system is one of the most important factors in a person's recovery from PTSD. Yup. My ex even took that when he left me.

Luckily I have the best friends across the country in multiple states that I can reach by phone or internet. Otherwise I would literally have killed myself.

But let's be direct here. I get up- in the afternoon because of the exhaustion- and put a smile on my face and believe that good things are going to happen. Why? Because if you don't change the way you view the world, you are stuck in the world you have. So I struggle to create a piece of happiness each day I can that I can call my own.

That's all I have left.

But by the time I am done with it, it will be a magnificent encompassing reality. I cannot wait to share it with the world! This is not the first rape I have endured, so I know what is in store for me. It is only going to get harder before it gets better. I am holding on.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why my fiance left after the rape

It is so easy to vilify my ex fiance for dumping me because I was raped. All I could think was he was the biggest jerk in the world, and yet he had not been insensitive to me about rape before. Personally, sometimes I think he is a monster- how could I not have seen this side of him? But then I have to be honest with myself. No one ever really handles the news of rape well. The man I knew and loved was not a cruel jerk, but he did not put up with nonsense.

Unfortunately instead I have become to him the worst type of woman: a manipulating whore.

When I look back upon our relationship, I never saw this coming. Especially with the way things ended, I never thought he would confuse me with a lying, manipulating, cruel bitch and slut of a woman. He definitely did not like everything that I did, but he did have an incredible amount of respect for me. While he knew me I typically worked and went to school, or worked two jobs, or worked two jobs and went to school. For some reason he always made a point to offer to loan me money. After months of him offering, I finally asked him. The funny thing was I did not need the money, I had heard that psychologically people develop a deeper bond between people they loan money to. Silly, I know, but I knew refusing his help so often was going to hurt his feelings soon. Once I borrowed the money, I kept it for a few days in the same spot and then returned that exact amount- the same two $20s he had lent me. For some reason he was surprised I had returned the money. He did not even know that it was the same money he had given me, he was only surprised I had come good on the loan so quickly.

There is a lot I know about my ex, and I do know enough about him to know why he left. Even though I want to be mad and I want to hate him, I cannot. Not that he did not hurt me worse than any man ever has, but he could not handle what happened to me. Truthfully, I wish I did not have to handle it either. I wish more than anything that I could wake up from this nightmare and it would return to the happy life I was finally beginning to enjoy.

I will never be that lucky.

There were three main reasons my fiance left. The first is that he was addicted to porn. To this day I don't think he even understands what that did to our relationship. He spent over a year overseas serving in the military, and I can bet you he masterbated to porn nearly every day of it. Never having been a fan of porn myself, I can at least understand that men are visual creatures. I get it. But he spent an entire year fantasizing about having sex with other women and did not even share those fantasies with me. We never had phone sex. Even during our phone conversations he would not let me talk dirty to him. This caused a weakening in our relationship.

The reason I say it was weakened so badly by porn was because of his bonding issues. Sex to my fiance was the way to bond with him. Maybe I am wrong (this is PURE speculation), but I always felt like he had been abused and maybe even sexually abused by how different he acted when he was in a sexual relationship. He was vulnerable in a distant way. Being such a kind, funny man, every time I saw that side of him it broke my heart. I knew I loved him. He never knew it, but my goal at one point in my life was to love that part of him right out of existence. Months it took me to get past that mile thick, mile high wall he kept up to keep himself safe. With patience, I loved my way right through it. I Earned his respect and trust. When I got hurt, it hurt him. He was hurt very deeply by what happened to me, but because he is what is called an avoidant personality, he turned it around on me to help him detach from the situation.

Super short lesson on attachment: everyone learns how to trust people- or not trust people- as children and then on into adulthood. It governs how we want to be near the people we cherish, how we return to them in times of need, that they provide a sense of safety from which we can base our lives and that without them around, we miss them. There are four main types of attachment: secure, and three types of insecure attachment: avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized.

  1. Secure means they have lasting, trusting relationships, will seek social support, are comfortable sharing feelings, and usually have high self-esteem.
  2. Avoidant is where they have or may have trouble developing intimacy in relationships, social and romantic relationships have little emotion invested into them, and they are unwilling or unable to share their thoughts and feelings with others.
  3. Ambivalent is where they try not to develop relationships with people, they worry that the partner does not love them the entire time during the relationship and then become extremely distraught when the relationships end.
  4. Disorganized is a mixture of these attachment styles. This is a style of attachment that is a sign of severe abuse and mistreatment and can develop into mental health disorders. Typically people with this sort of attachment style have severely volatile relationships and have an incredibly distorted view of relationships, not fitting any pattern.

**Mind you- This was an incredibly vague description of attachment theory and styles. I will do a better job of describing it in another blog some time from now, but I felt a small descriptor was necessary for this blog's explanation of my ex fiance's reactions.***

All that to say, my ex fiance was a very nice, very sweet guy, but getting him to tell me about things besides his frustrations when it came to emotions, was short of magic or mind reading. as hard as I tried I could never seem to get him to tell me how he felt, so instead I just told him sweet things, such as how I felt about him, how proud I was of him, how much I respected him, or liked what he was doing.

When it came to sizing up a situation, he was like most men- very logical- everything was extremely black or white. When it all came down to it, there was no excuse for what happened, it was a simple choice.

The third and final thing that ruined my relationship with my fiance was his history. His first wife had been cheating on him fairly frequently, and when she was not betraying him sexually, she was very psychologically abusive. His other relationships were short lived and self described by him as including a lot of drunkenness and arguing. He claimed to have been physically abused growing up by both his father and stepmother as well as a number of husbands and boyfriends of his mother's. Most of his relationships with women had involved a vast amount of manipulation and betrayal.

Truly, when I look back at why my fiance left, I cannot be mad at him. He left because someone shattered the trust I had worked so hard to build. Someone had caused me to betray my fiance in the worst possible way he could imagine. The person who raped me, destroyed not only my feeling of safety, but the image of honor and faithfulness I had worked so hard to establish for someone who had never known that before.

Avoidant attachment styles run from relationships, they shut down emotionally in troubled times, they can deny the importance of having relationships and detach from them easily. This is exactly what happened to my fiance. While we enjoyed what I thought was a secure relationship, at times, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get him to open up to me. After many long months of trust building and creating sexual intimacy, the distance of him living overseas created an easy withdrawal from the intimacy I had worked so hard to build with him. Once I was raped, the bonds of trust broke, and the unbridled fears he had long suffered overtook the years worth of evidence that I was who I said I was and that I was trustworthy. My love for my ex fiance stung in my chest because as much as I wanted him to see me again for who I was, he could only project on to me the image of every other woman who had hurt him. Since that day he has never seen me- who I really am- again.

Not to say that I have not done anything stupid- I am great at doing stupid, annoying things. Like when I bought airplane tickets- I corrected the date before I bought them, but did not check the confirmation email. The computer had glitched- a $600 glitch.... Or my other mad cap schemes to save money that backfired, or annoyed him with clutter. However, we NEVER fought. Not once the whole time we were together. I would tell him to fuck off, he would say something I did was stupid, but we either called each other on our b.s. and took the constructive criticism, or we agreed to disagree. We were great at respecting the other person's opinions and beliefs and apologizing when we did wrong. We also made a point to enjoy our time together, enjoying each other's company, laughing as often as we could and enjoying the feeling of being close to one another.

That he no longer sees me for who I am is a pain I endure with incredible torture. Hating someone is so much easier than loving them in spite of their faults. His image haunts my dreams literally every night. Whether its him in person, or the image of him in my dreams, I still love him. To think that the sweet love we shared could be shattered so easily- but not by our own doing. The person I love the most will now forever see me as the archetype of everything he dislikes about women. My last hope was him looking me in the eye, and seeing me still there. When he looked me in the eye, it was if he was looking at someone else.

The hardest thing was letting him go. Partly because I had no choice. Partly because it destroyed him. Imagine my pain every day living with the rape, and then looking him in the eyes and seeing his disgust for me. As hard as it was, it was better for us both.

Rape doesn't just destroy the victim- it destroys every one that loves them.