Tag Archives: rape

Trapped

I think it’s the feeling trapped that’s worst for me.  Feeling like I can’t get out and I can’t say no.

My NP was not insensitive or ruthless.  I think my post yesterday made her sound that way, and she wasn’t.  It just felt that way to me, and my feelings do not always reflect reality.  In reality, she was kind and understanding.  I know she recognized that the discussion about an exam triggered me.  I mean, we went from joking about Star Trek and debating the merits of particular knitting patterns (seamless sweater patterns FTW) at the beginning of the appointment to me staring at the floor and giving one or two word answers.  She knows I have a history of sexual abuse, although she doesn’t know the severity.  (She may have guessed from the severity of my reactions that it was pretty bad, but we haven’t discussed any details.)

She tried to make me more comfortable with it.  She said she wouldn’t do an internal exam because she knew I couldn’t do that (yet).  She said I could bring someone with me, and they could stay with me but not see anything.  (I didn’t tell her I’m so pathetic I don’t have anyone to bring.)  She said some people take Valium or Ativan right before the appointment.  She even said that if I couldn’t do an exam, we could just talk about how things were going with the Nexplanon.  She said it was my choice.

But for me, it never feels like what happens to my body is my choice.  I lose the ability to say no to people in positions of power and authority.  It feels like they’re going to do whatever they want to me anyway, so it’s better to agree to it.  Then they don’t get mad, so they don’t hurt you as bad.  So I say yes and okay when what I mean is I’m so scared you’re going to hurt me, and I really need you to be kind and gentle with me, and I need you to make me feel safe.  Since I can’t say what I really need to say, it never feels safe.  It never feels like my choice.  No choice, no voice.

I felt trapped in that exam room yesterday.  I guess I could’ve said, “I’m sorry, I just can’t deal with this right now.  I need to go.”  Or I could’ve said, “I’m feeling really overwhelmed, and I’m starting to dissociate.”  Or I could’ve said, “I’m trying to work with you, but I need you to slow down even more with me.”  Someone could’ve said those things, but I don’t think I could’ve.  It was taking everything I had not to go into a total dissociative shutdown.  My vision kept going blank, and I kept blinking over and over to bring it back.  My ears were ringing.  I couldn’t be articulate; one or two words or a nod was all I could get out.  And then she wanted me to look at her when I said I’d come back in three months, and I don’t think she understood why I couldn’t make eye contact.

People who don’t live with the extreme shame can never quite understand it.  It doesn’t make sense to them.  They don’t understand the intensity and persistence of the shame of someone else abusing me, even once I’ve accepted and come to believe that it wasn’t my fault.  Then there’s the shame of having a body, which is impossible to explain since everyone has one, and I don’t find other people’s bodies shameful.  The shame of not having anyone close or trusted enough to bring with me for an appointment.  I couldn’t explain my shame that instead of being my normally intelligent, articulate, adult self, I couldn’t help shutting down and turning into a terrified, barely-verbal child.  None of that makes sense to normal people.

I was trapped.  In my reality, I couldn’t leave or say no.  I couldn’t even communicate the depth of my distress, so I was completely alone with it.  And now I’m alone with the aftermath.  The acute trigger has subsided, but I’m still feeling raw and vulnerable.  Body memories, phantom touches, intrusive thoughts and memories, severe anxiety about an appointment that’s not for three months.  A feeling that I was violated, even though I know I wasn’t.  And the incredible shame crushing my chest.

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Drowning in Triggers

It feels like they’re everywhere right now.

My mother wants to talk about Ferguson and how people just need to take personal responsibility because clearly that would solve all the problems.  My sister the cop posts an “I support Darren Wilson” badge on Facebook.  She wants her department to have more riot gear to crush the race riots she thinks are inevitable.

These are two people who know–know–what cops can and will do to people who can’t defend themselves.  They’ve seen it; they’ve lived it.  Just like I have.

My father, my mother’s first husband, was a cop.  He sexually abused and raped me for sixteen years.  He hit me.  He nearly drowned me in a bathtub when I was three years old.  He regularly suffocated me, though I don’t know whether it was to keep me quiet during the abuse or to make me think he would kill me or both.  He put his gun to my head more than once.  He made me watch him kill my dog.  He forced me to choose whether he’d rape me or my sister.  He let his criminal justice students rape us too.  And he taught me that no one would ever believe me if I told because he was a cop and I was nothing.

My mother doesn’t know the details, but my sister the cop does–she lived it too.  I sheltered her from as much of it as I could, but she still got hurt badly.  She was the one who told, originally.  I would’ve gone on denying it forever because I needed to have one parent who didn’t hurt me, but once she disclosed, I had to support her.  She’s my sister.

We tried to have him investigated–well, my mother did, really.  I don’t recall her ever asking me or my sister if that’s what we wanted.  It was a complete joke.  No jurisdiction wanted it.  The abuse occurred across three states and several cities, so no one wanted it.  Everyone said it was someone else’s jurisdiction because who wants to investigate the cop-turned-criminal-justice-professor?  Finally, the Iowa State Police took the case.  They wouldn’t talk to me at all because I’m crazy.  They interrogated my sister, who would’ve been 16 or 17 at that point, until she threw up in a trash can.  They polygraphed my father, got an inconclusive result (OMG, a cop might know how to fake the notoriously unreliable polygraph?  Inconceivable!), and dropped the whole case.  Welcome to the Blue Wall of Silence, where victims don’t matter because cops have all the power.

Do they really not see the connection?  Do they really not think that giving people nearly unlimited power over people’s lives, freedom, and even bodily integrity with almost no oversight is dangerous?  Do they really not understand that the system that let Darren Wilson shoot Michael Brown and abuse protesters and journalists is the same system that let our father get away with raping us for 16 years?  How can they not see that?

I feel so, so alone in all of this.

And then there’s Bill Cosby.  Another upstanding citizen who gets away with sexually assaulting women for years because he’s such a nice guy and has influence and power.  It’s all the same: the victims don’t matter because the rapists are such nice guys, you know, aside from all the rape.

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Triggers

Sorry I’ve been absent.  I have been/still am really triggered, and I haven’t been able to read–blogs or anything else longer than a few sentences.  Still really struggling and not sure I’ll be able to write coherently.

See, Thursday we went to Boston for a post-election party.  I thought it was just going to be the party, an overnight at someone’s place in Boston, and then home.  Instead it turned into bar-hopping with the campaign staff.  If you’re thinking that sounds like fun, you’re wrong.  See, alcohol is a trigger for me because my father was often drunk when he abused me.  Between the UC and the meds, I can’t drink.  Well, everybody else is getting fucking wasted, and they just leave me sitting in a corner by myself for hours, not even talking to me.  I told my RFD that I’m not physically capable of running all around Boston, and it was raining to boot.  Usually he’s really considerate about my limitations, but that night, he really didn’t seem to give a shit.  Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was just that it was his last night with the rest of the campaign staff.  Whatever it was, he basically treated me like I didn’t matter–I got dragged to four different bars, and predictably, I eventually fell on a slick sidewalk at 1:30 in the morning and couldn’t get up for several minutes.  Oh, and for most of the time we were bar-hopping, our 20-year-old intern was just left sitting in his car because she couldn’t get into the bars.  I wanted to go sit with her instead, but my RFD made me stay because his phone was dead, and he needed my GPS to find our way back to where the car was parked.

In the second bar, while I was sitting alone in the corner, the only sober person, this drunk businessman in a nice suit comes over and starts hitting on me.  Then he grabbed my breast, and I just froze.  I just sat there and let him.  I have extensive martial arts experience, and even though I’m not physically capable of as much as I used to be, I could’ve gotten away from him.  If nothing else, I could’ve hit him with my cane.  But I didn’t do any of that.  I didn’t say no, I didn’t say stop.  I just sat there and let him do it.

Now I really hate myself.  It’s just like with my father.  I mean, okay, when I was a kid, there wasn’t really anything I could do about it.  Even as I got a little older, he had me believing that he’d kill me if I fought or if I told anyone, and I didn’t have the reasoning skills to realize he wouldn’t have gotten away with that–he’s really just not smart enough.  So back then, I had an excuse.  But I let it go on when I was old enough that I knew he wouldn’t kill me and I really could’ve stopped him.  I mean, I was 19 the last time he raped me.  There’s no excuse for that.  I just let him.  If I’d fought or said no, he probably would’ve stopped, but I never did.  So that’s on me.

Now I just want to tear myself to shreds.  I want to cut my breasts off–I never wanted them anyway, and if I did that, no one would want to touch me.  I’m also really struggling with sexual self-harm urges.  It’s something I used to do but haven’t in a long time.  But I can’t stop the flashbacks and the body memories, and it would put me back in control.  I know how fucked-up that is, but sometimes it’s the only thing that works.  If I do something worse that any of them ever did to me, then what they did can’t hurt me anymore.

And on top of everything else, my roommate is being horrible.  I came home to a gross apartment–mold in my microwave, a half-empty beer on the kitchen counter, an unflushed toilet, and sopping wet washcloths and a giant hairball in the bathtub.  I just pulled the washcloths and hairball out of the tub and dumped them on the bathroom floor, and this morning, she pitched a hissy fit over it, stomping around and slamming doors and shit.  (Another big trigger, on top of all the other triggers.)  I’m sorry, but you’re fucking 29 years old, and I’m not your goddamned maid.  I pay rent too.  I don’t mind messiness–books and papers and stuff sitting around is not a big deal, but I don’t want fucking mildew growing in my bathroom or mold growing in my kitchen.  In general, I don’t want things growing in my living space.  (Although right now growing some pot for myself sounds pretty ideal.)  How fucking hard is it to dump out the rest of your beer or to hang up your fucking washcloths?  But EVERY FUCKING DAY when I go to take a shower, there they are.  I don’t leave my shit for you to clean up, and you have the goddamn nerve to pitch a fit when I move your messes somewhere obvious as a reminder that maybe you should, you know, be a fucking adult and clean them the fuck up?  Bitch, get on the NOPE train to Fuckthatville.

My landlady is away for the weekend, but I’m thinking about talking to her about this when she gets back.  I’m hesitant to do that on the one hand, because I feel like we’re both adults and should handle our own problems.  But on the other hand, I’m so triggered by her screaming and slamming doors and stomping around that I literally CAN’T deal with it like an adult because I dissociate and switch, either to a terrified child or a really aggressive teenager (hence all the swearing in the last few paragraphs), neither of which is good for dealing with a tense situation.  Plus, if I do want to kick her out, I’m going to have to go through my landlady because Roommate is on the lease now.  I’m not even sure I legally CAN kick her out.  I just know I can’t deal with much more of this.  I’ve been taking photos of the grossness when it happens as documentation, but I’m not sure what the laws are.  I just know I can’t live like this.  I spend a lot of my time afraid to come out of my room when she’s home because I will snap if she starts yelling or bitching at me.  I just have so much other shit to deal with that I really cannot deal with hers on top of everything else.

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Stress

All the pre-election stress is kind of getting to me right now, unfortunately.

I got through a very long day, but I didn’t finish all the things I needed to finish.  I’ve already got a list of things to do tomorrow that I know I won’t get through, and I know my RFD and FO are just going to keep adding more and more to it.  And EVERYTHING is top priority.  They’re throwing things at me constantly.  One will ask me to do something that needs to be done ASAP, so I’ll stop what I was already working on to do the new task.  Then the other will ask me when I’m going to be finished with the first task.

To be fair, they’re not angry or mean about it or anything, and they’re working just as hard too.  And I think some of it’s due to my utter lack of working memory–I honestly cannot hold more than one thing in my mind at once without things falling through the cracks, and I’m being asked to hold 15 things in mind at once.

There’s also a power bill I can’t pay.  And I don’t know how I’m going to pay it next month either.  Every month, I’m just getting farther and farther underwater.

And I’m really triggered by a discussion on a forum that got taken over rape apologists who think it’s perfectly acceptable to make women totally responsible for rape prevention.  Seriously, if you ever feel the need to mansplain rape prevention, just fucking don’t.  And the mods/admins won’t do anything about it.  They don’t care that this is creating a hostile, triggering environment for survivors of abuse and rape.

And I’m pretty sure my PMDD is kicking in.

Right now I just want to do something, anything, to turn off all these fucking feelings.  I want to cut or OD or binge and purge, or something.  Just make it stop.

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“Just a little easier.”

I never imagined at $55,000 a year, I’d have trouble making ends meet. And my wife brings in another 25. My son’s in public school. It’s no good. I mean, there’s 37 kids in the class, uh, no art and music, no advanced placement classes. Other kids, their mother has to make them practice the piano. You can’t pull my son away from the piano. He needs teachers. I spend half the day thinking about what happens if I slip and fall down on my own front porch, you know? It should be hard. I like that it’s hard. Putting your daughter through college, that’s-that’s a man’s job. A man’s accomplishment. But it should be a little easier. Just a little easier. ‘Cause in that difference is… everything.

–The West Wing, “20 Hours in America”

Tonight/last night (it gets fuzzy; I’m not sleeping again) was good.  We had a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) summit for the coordinated campaign, and I finally feel like I’m back in the loop again.  It turns out that I was right–I basically got lost in the shuffle when things got rearranged for the coordinated campaign.  The field organizer I’d been working with got shifted out toward central Mass, and they pulled the field organizer from that part of central mass out here to western Mass.  (Don’t ask what the logic is there.  I have no idea.  Welcome to campaign life.)  But we have a dry run this weekend, and I’m all signed up for that.

Plus, I snagged some rally signs for my Halloween costume.  I’m going to be a yard sign, and on my back it’s going to say, “I’m a yard sign.  I can’t vote, so go knock some doors.”  I haaaaate yard signs, and the old guard organizers in my area are obsessed with them.  They started in on it tonight, and I wanted to stand up in a chair and yell, “LET ME TELL YOU A THING.  Yard signs do not work in anything bigger than small-town school board elections.  I don’t care that you think they work because I can cite four peer-reviewed studies that say you’re just WRONG, so please, for the love of the old gods and the new, can we SHUT UP about yard signs?”  I didn’t, of course.  I just covered my mouth and laughed silently until they shut up.  And then some guy started in on, “When I was in Bangkok, they advertised on the ice cream trucks that would drive around all the neighborhoods.”  At that point I had to excuse myself to the bathroom because ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS I CAN’T EVEN.  Just because you’ve been working on campaigns for the last 60 years doesn’t mean you actually know what you’re doing.  The demographics have shifted, the technology has shifted, and we have lots of studies proving that the things we’re asking you to do work and the things you want us to let you do don’t work.

Political organizing has taught me many things, but patience is probably not one of them.  I mean, I can tolerate it, but not especially well.  And at some point, something snarky would slip out of my mouth because sometimes I just can’t contain it.  Like, “Hey, this is not Bangkok in 1955,” or “If you mention yard signs one more time, I will impale you on one and you can be the yard sign.”  This is also why I’d never get elected to public office.  Remember Joe Biden in the 2012 Veep Debate?  Multiply that by ten and add a bunch of words they’d have to bleep out, and that would be me.  I’d probably be all composed and smart for half of it, and then my opponent would say something really provocative, and I’d slip.  It would be hilarious, but it would make me unelectable.

biden_malarkyJoe Biden is my snarky Platonic soul mate.  But if you think he’s a loose cannon, I promise you, I’d be like a loose…I don’t know, ballistic missile launcher or something.

(I swear I’m not actually a serial killer or anything.  I wouldn’t actually impale anyone.  I just get really sick of people who have no idea what they’re talking about hijacking meetings run by people who do know what they’re talking about.)

Anyway, it was cool because somebody I’d worked with on the Obama campaign in 2012 showed up.  She was our neighborhood team leader, and she became a bit of a surrogate mother figure to me.  We’ve been in touch sporadically–she now runs a pro-choice group–but our paths haven’t crossed in months.  It was really cool to catch up with her.  And she invited me to a meet and greet tomorrow night.  It’s our lieutenant governor candidate, our state senator and representative, and some other state senators and reps.  I’ve met most of them before, at least the ones from my district, but meet and greets are always kind of fun.  But the location is this diner where nobody under 70 goes ordinarily, and they play Fox News.  Interesting choice of venue for a Democratic party event.  *shrugs*

Then, because I was feeling pretty good, I decided I was going to go online and apply to the state university near me to go back and finish my undergrad degree.  They use a common application, so I went to that site and started doing it.  First of all, they want a $75 application fee.  I can’t even pay to heat my house, and that’s almost two weeks’ worth of food.  You can apply for a fee waiver–but your high school guidance counselor has to verify your financial need for a waiver.  I graduated in 2004, for fuck’s sake.  I don’t have a high school guidance counselor.

Then they want your parents’ entire life history.  Well, okay, their educational history.  Which meant I had to Google my father’s resume.  The father who sexually abused, raped, and tortured me for 16 years.  The father who was a cop.  The father who’s now the chair of the criminal justice department at a Midwestern college.  I thought I was going to die from a heart attack–I don’t even want to know how high my heart rate jumped up–but I managed that.

But the final straw was standardized test scores.  You can’t submit the application without test scores, but you can only enter test scores going back to 2009.  I took the SAT and ACT in 2003.  I remember what my scores were, but I don’t have the proof anymore.  And it won’t let me enter them because the dates are invalid.  Oh, and you can’t submit it without contact info for your high school guidance counselor, which, as previously mentioned, I don’t have.

The whole thing is clearly meant for high school kids.  I know I cannot possibly be the only nontraditional student trying to apply to college, but they’ve made the application literally impossible.  I probably shouldn’t have even bothered trying–I’ve been in such a bad place, and I know my sanity is very fragile right now.  But I tried because I’m an idiot, and now I feel totally hopeless.  I feel like the whole world wants me to fail, like they don’t want me to be able to get a degree so I can never get a job that will let me escape poverty.  I feel like they want me to kill myself because I’m a worthless burden on society.  I know that’s crazy, bordering on paranoid, and yet…I can’t convince myself out of believing it.

I hate my brain.  I really, really hate it.

I don’t expect things to be easy.  Like the quote at the top, I think things should be hard.  But not like this.  My life right now is too hard.  It’s impossible for me to succeed.  It’s the Kobayashi Maru, only it’s not a simulation and it doesn’t end once I accept that I can’t fix the impossible situation.  Making my life work should be hard, but it should be just a little easier.  But I don’t have the advantage of running into any White House staffers in a bar who can craft policy inspired by my difficulties.  I barely have a voice, and nobody who has power to change things really notices me, not enough to see how hard things are.

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Fuck Off, Dawkins: An Emotional Response

Okay, I already wrote a rational response to Richard Dawkins’ inflammatory tweets about the relative badness of various types of rape and sexual abuse…but I have feelings, too.

Mainly rage.

Dr. Dawkins, have you ever sat in a room full of survivors of sexual abuse and rape and listened to them tell their stories?  Have you heard them disparage themselves, saying that they didn’t deserve to be there because their trauma wasn’t as bad as someone else’s?  I very much doubt that you have.

I have.  I’ve been in that room.  I’ve been the one saying I don’t deserve to acknowledge the devastation sexual abuse and assault caused me and don’t deserve to get help, and I’ve also been the one reassuring another woman that her feelings about being raped were legitimate even though she hadn’t been subjected to the same degree of violence that others were.  It rips your heart to shreds.

I was sexually abused by my father for 16 years and then repeatedly raped for several months by another person.  My father was occasionally violent and sometimes threatened to kill me, but most of his abuse was not violent.  The person who raped me as an adult wasn’t violent and never threatened me.  By your definition, my trauma is bad…but not bad bad.  But I have severe, debilitating complex PTSD and dissociative identity disorder, which are a direct result of those traumas.  DID is generally recognized as the most severe trauma-based disorder, but if my abuse and rape weren’t bad bad, then why is my life so devastated?

It’s incredibly offensive to use rape or sexual abuse just to make a point.  It’s like the movies and books where the writer needs something bad to happen to a female character to move the plot along, so he uses rape even though many other traumas would’ve worked just as well.  It trivializes rape.  You could’ve just as easily used theft as an example for your fucking syllogism.  Clearly you knew that, since you later tweeted about that as a cruel, sarcastic response to people who objected to your comments about rape and sexual abuse.  You’re not a stupid man; you clearly did this to be provocative and offensive, and you did it at the expense of all the people who have been traumatized by nonviolent rape and sexual abuse.

You know what?  I think “nonviolent rape” is a contradiction of terms.  Rape is an inherently violent act, even if it doesn’t leave visible injuries.  It is violence against a person’s soul–in many cases, the emotional equivalent of murder.  To suggest otherwise is incredibly offensive.

I hope you’re ashamed of yourself, but I’m pretty damn sure you’re too narcissistic to feel that.  I am disgusted by you.  I wouldn’t wish rape on anyone, but I wish you could live a day with the emotional aftermath of it.  Then you’d stop being so fucking insensitive about it. 

I want you to hurt the way I do.  I want you to feel the guilt and the shame and the self-hatred and the self-blame every day.  I want you to be afraid of almost everybody, especially anyone with a penis.  I want you to be completely isolated because you can’t trust anyone.  I want you to live on constant red alert because you can never feel safe again.  I want you to live with the flashbacks and the body memories and the nightmares.  I want you to live with the feeling of despair and hopelessness because you will never be able to undo what was done to you.  I want you to feel what it’s like to want to die because the pain is so constant and unbearable.  I want you to know what it’s like to realize the person abusing or raping you doesn’t even see you as a human being.  I want you to feel the utter helplessness when you realize there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.  I want you to fucking HURT.

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Define Your Terms, Dr. Dawkins: A Rational Response

The other day, Richard Dawkins decided to illustrate syllogisms for his Twitter followers.  Fine, good; more people should understand logic and how to use it.

The part that’s not fine and good is that he used child sexual abuse and rape as examples of syllogisms.  “Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think,” he said in one tweet.  Then, “Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.”

Here’s my syllogism: “Punching someone in the face is bad.  Murder is worse.  That’s not an endorsement of either one, but Richard Dawkins makes both look like attractive choices.”

This is his typical MO.  He likes being provocative.  It gets him attention and free media coverage.  I’m sure his stunt generated thousands of tweets responding to him, mentioning him, and retweeting him.

But for a guy who claims to be trying to teach people about logic and rational thinking, he’s committing some pretty glaring logical transgressions.

First of all, most US statutory law doesn’t differentiate between acquaintance/date rape and stranger rape.  There aren’t separate charges for raping someone you know or raping someone you don’t know.  There are often more serious charges in cases where more force is used or cases where the victim is a child or disabled, but that wasn’t what Dawkins was arguing.  So that’s strike one for his logic.

(To be fair, I don’t know if English statutory law has different charges for acquaintance rape and stranger rape.  I doubt it, though, since English law is in most regards very similar to American law.  But if someone knows differently, please correct me.)

Also, his argument assumes that date/acquaintance rape isn’t violent.  There’s nothing to keep a date rapist from raping his girlfriend at knifepoint or inflicting violence upon her.  Strike two, Richard.

My freshman year of college, I had this stereotypical mad professor who would shout at us in his Irish brogue, “What exactly do you mean?  Define your terms!”  He was nuts, but he taught me the importance of crafting an argument using precise language so the audience understands the precise point you are making.  Apparently Dawkins needs to study with this guy.

How is he defining worse?  I think it’s fairly clear that he wasn’t making a legal argument, so I don’t think he means worse in a legal sense.  I assume that what he means when he says worse is that it has a more negative effect on the victim.  If that is indeed what he means, then he’s still wrong.

The degree of violence inflicted on the victim in the course of sexual abuse or rape does not necessarily correlate with the emotional impact on the victim.  What Dr. Dawkins is employing here is a good ol’ logical fallacy, folks.  There are tons of studies showing that when several people experience the same trauma, some develop PTSD, while others don’t.  Dawkins implies a correlation between degree of violence and degree of negative emotional impact on the victim, but the data doesn’t support that conclusion.  In point of fact, sexual assault perpetrated by someone the victim trusted is often more emotionally traumatic than stranger rape because the victim has to deal with betrayal trauma and rape trauma.  Strrrrrrrrike three!

Or maybe he’s trying to make a moral argument: that violent sexual abuse or rape is more morally wrong than nonviolent sexual abuse or rape.  To make that moral argument, he’d first have to define the moral code by which he is judging the degree of wrongness.  In general, we base our moral codes on a set of values that can vary widely from one culture to another or even in different subcultures within a single culture.  Almost every moral code recognizes that it is bad to hurt another person, but the specifics of what’s more or less acceptable vary.  That’s why logical arguments are usually recognized as being separate from moral arguments, something a very educated scientist should already know.  Strrrrrrrrike–wait, you’re already out of strikes, so shut the fuck up.

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The Appointment

The appointment actually wasn’t horrible.  I think my anxiety was the worst part of it, really.  My hands were shaking so badly it looked like a five-year-old filled out my paperwork.

I saw a nurse practitioner at this practice, and she was really good.  I don’t know what it is about them, but I very often have better results with NP’s than doctors.  They tend to have better people skills, in my experience.  She actually mentioned she’d read my chart the night before!  I think hell may have frozen over–I’ve never had a medical person read my chart prior to walking in the door.  She’d also done some research on UC because she wasn’t familiar with it.  So that won her big points right up front.

She was also respectful of my trauma issues.  She didn’t ask a bunch of questions about my abuse history, which I appreciated.  It’s hard enough to talk about it at all, but it would be even worse with someone I’d just met.  Once we’d established that I have no sex life, she stopped asking about that, too.  And I didn’t have to explain why I’ve never had an exam or pap smear.  You’d think that would be kind of self-explanatory once you know about my abuse history, but apparently it isn’t always.

C was actually a little overprotective, which was slightly annoying, and I told her I was okay with the questions.  I don’t want to be treated like I’m breakable.  If I’m clearly freaking out, okay, step in, but if I’m managing it okay, let me manage it.  There are times when I’m not quite an adult, but I want to be treated like one unless I’m clearly in a child state.

She didn’t insist on doing an exam.  She did say that it’s important for my health, especially given my abuse history, and that we’ll work toward me being able to do it, but she didn’t push it at all today.  Once we’d established that, my anxiety dropped a lot.

What we eventually settled on for progesterone was Nexplanon.  It’s an implant that goes in your arm and lasts for three years, so there’s one less pill I’d have to take.  And if I do have bad side effects, she can just take it out.  However, she’s going to be on vacation in August, so she didn’t want to put it in and then be away if I have problems.  So we’ll wait on that until late August/early September to put it in.  In the meantime, she wrote a prescription for Prometrium, which I’ve taken before.

But apparently my insurance no longer covers it at all.  That’s bizarre because they did a few months ago, and I thought they only change their formularies once a year.  So Monday I have to call back to the NP’s office and find out what we can switch me to.  I know there are a couple other progesterone-only birth control pills, and I’m pretty sure my insurance is legally required to cover those.  (I’m actually not sure why they’re not required to cover Prometrium.)  Gotta love it when your insurance pulls an asshole move on a Friday afternoon, right?  Luckily, my period just started, so I’ve got another three weeks to get started on something else before I go crazy.

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Intrusion

I’m feeling frustrated with myself.  In particular, my difficulty setting boundaries is frustrating me.  Also the fact that everything is triggering me right now, even things that wouldn’t ordinarily trigger me.

I think the trigger for all of this was a visit from ICM today.  She sprung a surprise “health and safety” inspection on me.  It sounds innocuous when I write it, but for me it’s not.

Since I got away from my family, having my own space has been critical for my sanity.  When I was growing up, I was allowed privacy only when my parents decided I did.  My father would come into my bedroom any time he wanted to molest and rape me.  My mother was, in some ways, worse than him.  She never sexually abused me, but she regularly invaded my privacy under the banner of “for your own good.”  She searched my room, read my journals, monitored my emails.  If I asked for privacy, even as a teenager, she decided that meant I was hiding something and used it as an excuse to invade my privacy even more.  She would frequently take my bedroom and bathroom doors off the hinges, leaving me without any place to use the bathroom, shower, or change clothes without being on display.

So when I got away, having a space that was mine was a novelty.  It became the first outpost of safety for me.  No one could come into my space uninvited, so I was safe.  It was like I could finally breathe for the first time in my life.

Any time my space is invaded, it feels like abuse.  Technically I consented to ICM’s inspection, but it was because I felt like I couldn’t say no.  I have my parents’ compliance training to thank for that, I think.  I felt like I couldn’t say no to ICM, so I let her in, the same way I let my father into my room sometimes.  In both cases, it felt like there was someone in power who was going to do what they wanted regardless of how I felt about it, so it was better to be compliant so you wouldn’t get punished.

The inspection was really demeaning, too.  I mean, for starters, I’m almost 28 years old.  I’ve been living on my own in the world for most of the past 10 years, and no one’s ever suggested I was incapable of that (besides my family, and they don’t count).  But that felt like the entire implication of this inspection.  If my appliances didn’t work, I’d get my landlady or her partner to come fix it.  My kitchen may be cluttered since we have very little cabinet space, but it’s clean, so keep your bitchy comments about “define clean” to yourself.  Yes, my toilet is clean; I take responsibility for that since I spend so much quality time with it.  Yes, my door works just fine–don’t let it hit ya where the good lord split ya.  I had to tell her that no, she could not just walk into my roommates’ bedroom because they don’t know who she is or what she’s doing here, and one or both of them might not be wearing pants.

I did tell her that she couldn’t go in my bedroom, which I guess is something.  But what I wanted to tell her was that she couldn’t come in my house because it’s my house and it’s rude as fuck to just announce that you’re coming to inspect someone else’s house.  I mean, Christ, under state law, landlords are required to give advance notice of rental inspections, so why is it okay for her to just say that she’s doing an inspection today?  She never asked if it was okay.  If she had asked, I probably wouldn’t have been so triggered by it.

But she didn’t ask.  Neither did my mother or my father.  And that’s not okay.

And now I’m in PTSD-land.  It feels like everything’s a trigger, and I’m very on edge.  It frustrates me because I want my ability to identify and understand the trigger to make it stop being a trigger.  It frustrates me that it doesn’t always work like that.  It frustrates me that I can’t logic my way through this.

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Alone and Hurting

Warning: there’s some talk of sex and rape down the page a bit, after I start talking about BF.  Feel free to skip it if it might trigger you.

I’m hurting today.  I feel sad and alone, and I just want a hug.  I think it’s the combination of being sick, the aftermath of Mother’s Day, and some triggers I accidentally ran into the past few days.

I talked to my mother yesterday.  I’m ashamed to admit that–for the past couple months, I’ve been in touch with her sporadically.  I think I’m afraid people will see me as weak for going back on the no contact.  But to be fair to myself, I’ve gone into this with no illusions.  I think the years of no contact let me get the distance I needed and grow up enough that I no longer think she can be a mother to me, no matter how sweet she acts.  I see her for what she is now.  When I told her I was sick again and my liver might be in trouble, she said, “Oh, that’s too bad” and then went on and on about her upcoming neck surgery and her troubles with her and her husband’s insurance companies.  A small part of me wanted her to be concerned about me, but I wasn’t crushed when she wasn’t.  I didn’t give her personal information about my life that she could use to hurt me later.  I mean, she knows I’m working for the Democrats, which used to terrify me, but I’m done looking for my family’s approval.  (The way I described it to A, in talking about going to my sister’s wedding and talking to the adults in my family was, “I GET DEMOCRATS ELECTED SO FUCK ALL Y’ALL!”)  She may be my mother biologically, but I know now that she’ll never really be a mother to me.  I’ve come to terms with that as much as anyone can, I think.

But it still hurts.  There’s this hole inside me that will never be filled.  Therapists and self-help books talk about how you have to reparent yourself, but I think that’s probably bullshit.  It’s not going to fill that yawning empty hole or all the pieces broken by my parents’ years of abuse.  I think maybe that’s something that’s supposed to hurt so you know, without a doubt, that what they did was wrong.

I don’t want it to hurt, though.  I don’t want to be alone.  I don’t want to be sick.  It’s beautiful outside, sunny and warm and summery.  The birds are all singing.  And I’m stuck in bed because I don’t have the stamina to do any more than that.  Last night, I couldn’t stand up long enough to boil pasta–I collapsed on my kitchen floor, occasionally pulling myself up on the counter to see if the noodles were soft yet.  I can’t afford to buy enough frozen dinners to last me the whole week, but cooking doesn’t go well when I’m this sick.  And not eating makes me weaker, but eating hurts.  Fuck ulcerative colitis.

And last night, I went to bed exhausted, but then I started thinking about BF and how much I miss him, and then I couldn’t sleep.  It’s been four months since I’ve seen him, even though New York isn’t that far away.  He was doing the play, and I’ve been busy with the campaign.  But we don’t even talk that much anymore.  When I was in the hospital in Baltimore, he called every night, even though he couldn’t always get through.  (22 patients, 3 phones: you do the math.)  When I was in the hospital in Texas, he called every night, and we talked for at least an hour every night.  (We had our own phones there.)  He was my lifeline in that hellhole, the only thing that kept me sane.  He even flew down to Houston for the weekend to see me.  And now it’s been 4 months.  We text and Facebook message.  He hasn’t called me.  Of course, I haven’t called him either.  I’m too afraid of rejection, even from him.

I want to spend the rest of my life with him.  He wants to spend the rest of his life with me.  I even want to have kids with him.  I never thought I’d want that with anyone, but I do.  I just don’t know if it can work.  I’m asexual and sex-averse.  I’d be willing to try to overcome that for him, for us, but I’m not sure it’s even possible.  I don’t think my asexuality can be changed, but I’m okay with that.  It’s the aversion to sex I’m worried about.  I honestly can’t imagine having sex without it feeling like rape.  Hell, it even feels like rape when he kisses me and pushes his tongue in my mouth.  Even though I say it’s okay, anything even vaguely sexual feels like rape to me.  Is it even possible to overcome that?

But I don’t want him to just have to bend to my needs.  He has already for all this time.  I want it to be a partnership, so he shouldn’t have to be the one who sacrifices all the time.  That’s not fair to him.  I want him to get what he needs, and for him sex is a need in a marriage.  Plus, I actually want to have at least a couple of kids with him, and that kinda makes sex necessary.  I think I could just lie there and let him do it, but that’s not what either of us wants–I want to be able to participate, you know?  Because I love him.  I don’t want to feel like he’s raping me.  I don’t even know for sure that it wouldn’t make me flip out or dissociate.  I’ve never had consensual sex, so I don’t know for sure how I’d react.  (I know, I’m 27, but please don’t judge.)

I know there’s therapy that can help with this.  BF and I have discussed doing couples therapy before, and whenever we finally move in together, we will do that.  But a lot of this stuff belongs in individual therapy.  It would crush BF to find out that anything remotely sexual we’ve done has felt like rape, and I don’t think he necessarily needs to know that.  And dealing with this would have to involve details of my abuse that I don’t particularly want to discuss with him–I want him to see me as I am now, not as that broken, abused little girl.  I discussed some of this with A before I fired her, but even discussing it with another person triggered some dissociation and severe anxiety.  Will I ever be able to get past this?  I don’t want to be alone forever.  I want to spend my life with him.  There has to be a way, right?

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