Healing from Sexual Abuse in an Adult Relationship

This post may trigger as it discusses emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse in an adult relationship.

I originally posted this to a Songs of Healing post a couple of days ago, but I think it needs to be seperate and have it’s own post. Here is the song that relates to this post: Songs for Healing 45.

Some time ago, in my mid-twenties, I was in a horrible relationship that I was finally able to break off. We were together for more than two years. Finally I knew that I might not ever find anyone to care for me and didn’t care if I was ever with another guy for the rest of my life. I ended with him when he physically assaulted me one day.

He was excessively emotionally and verbally abusive. His words, demeanor, and actions made me feel worthless, ugly, fat, damaged goods, worthless, inferior. The list goes on and on. I realize now, and looking at the photos it is confirmed I was not ugly, I was not fat. I was what I would now describe as luscious. I was about size fourteen-sixteen. I look at this one photo of me I have and think what a beauty. I don’t know how I didn’t know that, but no one ever told me, and I was often told the opposite as well as being abused, so I guess those are the reasons.

He used to stalk me while we were dating, slipping out about things he could not have possibly known unless he had been lurking nearby where I lived. This was at a time when he lived miles from where I lived while he often insisted that I walk and/or bus to see him instead of being willing to pick me up with his car. Both walking and busing were necessary as there were no direct bus routes from where I lived to where he lived. I used to see him drive by my house, slowly. After I broke up with him he would still drive by and stare at the house, stalking my life until I moved to another place. At times I feared that he would do something violent again. My phone has always been unlisted since him.

Six weeks after I broke up with him, he called joking and casual, saying he had a few belongings of mine and wouldn’t I want him to return them to me. This is how he chose to speak to me after he physically assaulted me and after I did not contact him for six weeks. I instructed him to put them in the mailbox twenty-four hours of any day, that it would not matter whether I was home or not, as I would never open the door to him again, had instructed the relative I lived with to never open the door to him and that they wouldn’t since I had told them of the assault, and that instead I would call the police and press charges for the assault.

There were other abusive elements in the relationship that I find that I still have a lot of shame and humiliation about and cannot share about them in any detail. And have only shared with two friends a few of the specifics. I know that the shame is not mine, it is his. I know that I did nothing to deserve his abuses and that I was and am worthy of love and respect then and now.

It took me about five years before I even tried to process anything about the relationship. I cried so much while I was with him, just getting him out of my life was a magical end to the tears. I have never cried since about him. When your lover is your sadistic sexual abuser it is hard to feel anything. Numbness is a daily experience.

I got the book The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engel from the library after five years away from him and was finally able to start feeling and thinking about what had happened to me and how to change my life story so no one could ever again come into my life and stay who abused me like him.

In the book the author writes about the different kinds of emotional abusers. I discovered through reading that both he and my mother were destroyer emotional abuser types. Things slowly started to make sense.

He was a mind fuck. He was a mind fucker. He loved to fuck with other people’s minds. I was soft and sweet and vulnerable and naive and he fucked me over. He was a fucker.

It is still hard to talk about any specifics, it is like admitting that  you let someone abuse you, as if you are to blame according to society, and you are the one who was the abuser, as though being the victim makes you the aggressor, as though being near someone is permission, even requesting them to abuse  you.

Being around an abuser doesn’t mean you are the abuser. It doesn’t mean you deserve it or want it. It means you don’t have the self-esteem and skills yet to protect yourself. It means that society, your parents, your teachers, your schoolmates, everyone really has abused you or reinforced negative beliefs and inferiority  and/or not helped you to become empowered, to heal. It means that you haven’t been able to increase your self-esteem, become empowered and heal enough by yourself either.

I will never be the same after what he did to me emotionally and verbally. I know that I am still quite nice and sweet and sometimes even vulnerably naive, but I will never have back what he cavalierly and gleefully robbed me of. So much like my mother to be eerily creepy. With the two of them in my life, sometimes I have to wonder how I kept anything good inside myself.

These two people were two of the most prominent sexual abusers in my life and were very similar in their emotional abusive approaches and in their sadistic ways of sexually abusing me, though at that time I was still repressing the mother-daughter sexual abuse memories and the realization that I was multiple. Also at the time I did not know or believe that he had been sadistically sexually abusing me. A week after we became sexually involved I started having severe hip, back, and neck pain; chronic health and pain issues that are still with me to this day. I see the connections.

As I said, it took me some time to figure things out, feel about them, and slowly heal. I had never had a lover before, I didn’t know what sexual contact really was, I only knew what sexual abuse was, and I think looking back on it all, I didn’t know it could be so painless until I was with another guy years later, whose’s gentleness inexplicably knocked me for a loop and allowed me to take a good hard look at what had been done to me by my ex and to accurately label it.

I don’t do a lot of healing work around this relationship now. It does come up, he was a big part of my life during and after. He was the monster that loomed large. Slowly my healing has brought me far far away from the emotional pain he so happily and easily inflicted on me.

I’ve never felt a strong connection to a song over this issue, until the first time I heard Rolling in the Deep when Adele sang it on Dancing with the Stars. The song is about a really bad relationship, though I don’t think she had one exactly like mine. I never believed that we could have had it all. He was too dysfunctional and abusive for that. But I am turning my sorrow into treasured gold.

I watch the videos of her a lot. It has been very validating and healing. The tears have finally come and are helping me to heal. I sing along to it a lot, perhaps too much, because I really belt it out and then end up with a hoarse throat. Each time, though, it helps me to heal a little bit more.