The future looks bright, it also looks messy.
Trigger warning: This post contains topics of child and mental abuse (as well as some usual sexy stuff towards the end).
By now it’s funny how, when one piece of the puzzle falls into place, the rest of them do too. The more I’ve learned about abusive behaviour, the more I’ve recognised patterns, qualities about people – chiefly fear, and the need to control others to quell that fear.
As of late, I’ve become more and more aware that I am a survivor of childhood emotional and psychological abuse. There was some physical abuse too, though that was how naughty boys and girls were dealt with back in the nineties and getting my ass involved in throwing mud pies at the house probably more than jusified the whopping. There were threats of bigger beatings as well, but that’s psychological and used to instill fear to force compliance – they were never followed through.
You’ll note here that I say “survivor” and not “victim” and in my mind, there is a big and very important distinction between the two. Think of it like falling into a pit – a victim falls into the pit and dies, but a survivor falls into the pit, builds some kind of ladder and climbs back out. A victim lets their experiences define them, a survivor says “yes, that happened to me, but it doesn’t define me. That’s not all that I am.” After all, I am a domestic fire survivor too.
But like any survivor, that doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten what happened, and when it comes to still dealing with certain people, it doesn’t mean that I’m willing to let the abuse continue.
Yesterday I recalled a conversation with my ex, about boundaries and boundary setting. I’d never thought to set boundaries in a relationship before because to me, if you needed boundaries (and therefore “rules”) in your relationship then it was sort of finished before it had even started. He did say that he needed boundaries of where “not to go”, and something about that sat uneasy with me. Setting “rules” on your partner meant trying to control them, surely? That’s bad!
I spent some time “therapying” myself; I wasn’t proud of my little loo roll debacle, not at all, and I realised that it wasn’t the healthiest way to go about things. I could still have my touches of snobbery if I wanted them, but they had to be for me and not for any other reason. My own little pops and dashes of luxury, as it were – because I deserved it.
But, I learned, passive-aggressive and petty behaviour stems from feeling unable to express yourself. It comes from being afraid to speak out, and to be honest, in my personal relationships (and apart from with Matt), I always have been. It comes from being too afraid to say “please don’t treat me like that, I don’t like it and I won’t accept it”, because more often than not, you know that you’ll be criticised, belittled and dismissed. It’s another of those “juice ain’t worth the squeeze” situations: you know that speaking up is going to see you shot down in flames, so you don’t take the risk. Instead, you stay schtum and act out in passive-aggressive ways.
“Don’t be petty, Helen” my father used to say. I can feel my teenage self now, leaning against the wooden door flame, arms folded in quiet contemplation. Why? Or rather, why not? What was the alternative? I let myself get walked all over? No way. I believed in justice and fairness. If you hurt me, I’ll hurt you back. It had to carry a clear and simple message: Don’t fuck with me.
But what are we if not big kids, still whining at one another over our basic wants and needs? How many of us can truly say we’ve grown up? How many of us really feel like adults, ready and able to take on the world? Inside each and every one of us is the pains and insecurities of our childhood, a little kid forced into and trying to survive in a cruel and unfair world. I guarantee it.
This was the post that really helped me, because it helped me see that I was trying to exist as a kind, just and fair person in an unkind, unjust and unfair world. Not having boundaries wasn’t my fault. My not having boundaries had happened because – surprise surprise – I wasn’t allowed to have them as a child. I wasn’t allowed to say no. I wasn’t allowed to ask to be treated differently. My options were put up and shut up, or go live in a childrens’ home. Yep, the threat of social living was used to keep us in line, to enforce the rules we had to live by. Don’t like them? Trust us, the childrens’ home is far worse. You never asked to go for a field trip to find out (though in hindsight, perhaps I should have).
Before we go any further, I know that sometimes, some people wonder why I speak out about the abuse that I have endured. There is two components to this: The first (and I’m going to be entirely selfish here), by writing about it, I accept that it happened to me. I own its instance, and I also break the chain. Abuse normally passes down through generations, so by consciously saying no and doing different, I break the chain. I’ve swapped anger and fear for love, empathy, cooperation and understanding. I recalled a few days ago during some studying that my mother had once (okay, a few times) threatened to call social services on me if Matt and I had children, because she didn’t think we could parent properly. I was so afraid and confused that in the end, I stopped wanting children and became a dog mom instead. Because of that threat, she’s done herself out of being a grandmother, given that it doesn’t look like my brother is about to settle down anytime soon.
Second, simply, why should people not be held to account? If I walked out of the door now and shot someone (okay, so I don’t even own a gun, but work with me here), I can expect my name and face in the national newspapers. The thing with abusive people is that they depend on their victim’s silence to be able to continue to assert their control and to not have to change. They rely on threats and hostility to keep their victims from breaking free. Then, when their victims break free, their victims realise how powerless and afraid these people really are. They become exposed.
But my speaking out about what has happened to me isn’t the most dangerous part. Rather, my knowledge is.
I have intel on both my mother and my ex. I have the means to ruin families and cost jobs, the very things they need and value most. They both know I have, but they both trust that I won’t.
And I won’t, because despite everything they’ve put me through, I’m not a total ass.
Despite everything, I still have a heart.
Despite everything I still love them, even if that means I don’t want to be around them much, or anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say I haven’t considered it before, but then it’s sort of like the nuclear option, isn’t it? Fortunately, I have a wonderful advisor who knows me, who keeps me back from making monumentally stupid decisions.
So, going back to boundaries, what did I come up with?
Number one, treat me with respect – respect is a two-way street, my friend. If you knew something had the ability to bring you life and joy and happiness if you treat it right, or sorrow and despair if you damaged it, would you handle it so wrecklessly? Didn’t think so.
I realised at the same time here, that meant no more criticising, no more belittling, no more dismissing, no more calling names. “Nutter”and “nutbar” had to go. I’m not crazy, I’m just a woman with a passion and zest for life, because she knows how lucky she is to have it.
Two, respecting those that I love – even Matt is guilty of this one. My family is my family, and fucked up though they can be, I am defensive of them. Blood is thicker than water, though things get a little bit mixed after marriage (horrific fact: I used to believe that a wife gets a blood transfusion from her husband at a wedding, hence she takes his surname – I was a rather imaginative child).
Three, I will disassociate from you if I find out you’ve harmed others. I’m an empath, I believe in treating others fairly and kindly and it hurts me to hear of the abuse of others. I don’t even like that animals have to die so I can be fed (yes, even on a vegan diet).
Four, you don’t smoke or do drugs around me – entirely a personal preference thing, but still a boundary for me. I don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke and I don’t like being associated with drugs, m’kay? That should be the end of it.
And finally five, and this one should be obvious – you work with me, not against me. Teamwork makes the dream work, baby! Everybody has thoughts. Everybody can contribute. I always listen, and I’m always open to new ideas. However, I like to be working towards a common goal, rather than against one another. For the greater good, not for the greatest’s good 😉
I had tea and biscuits for breakfast this morning. No major reason, just to remind myself that I live by my rules now. Outside of the bedroom, anyway.
Also yesterday, I had to approach Matt about a new fetish of mine. It’s always a nervewracking experience because new fetishes can go one of a few ways: Either they’ll be something you both share, or it’ll be something that horrifies them, or they just won’t “get it”.
The last time we made the beast with two backs, I hadn’t taken my pill in a week because I hadn’t been well and it had slipped my mind at bedtime. Although I’d taken my pill on two days since (as per advice on the leaflet), Matt didn’t want to take any chances, so he pulled out and finished on me.
In the days since, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Something about being finished on, and not in, had called out to my submissive side in quite a big way.
I’ll admit here, we’ve long shared a breeding kink and I think my “being bred” had sort of become an assumed right. A given. It was just a part of my life now.
Just sometimes, I can even be a bit vocal and demanding about it.
My being robbed of it had brought about a new submission, almost an unsatisfaction, because breeding sluts like me should be filled and bred. His robbing me of that had made me feel incomplete, it made me wanting and willing to beg.
He’d taken a breeding slut, and turned her into a fuck toy. A stroker for his pleasure.
Not only, I’ve been reminded, but I take a pill, I simply have no need for his seed. No matter how much I insist otherwise, mine is a want, it’s not a need.
No. Now my being satisfyingly bred is only for good, obedient girls.
I’ve even become aware of my cleanness. My cleanness is not something that I maintain anymore, it is not something that I can have or do to taunt and tease him as to how quickly I can wash my body of him. No, now my cleanness is now his to control, and it comes in that wiped clean, I’m ready for whenever he decides to use me again – once he’s had his use of me.
I lost control, and he’s fucking loving every moment of what was started on what should have otherwise been a romantic evening.
“I get the feeling my little revelation has started something beyond what I was ready for, hasn’t it?”
Also last night, we settled down to watch our new Channel 4 watch, “Let’s Make A Love Scene“. It’s sort of how it sounds and then it’s sort of not. Basically, it’s a singleton meeting three potential suitors by acting out iconic love (not sex) scenes from various movies, then choosing their new partner based on which scene they enjoyed the most.
“Okay then,” I began, “if you had to recreate a love scene from a movie, which one would it be and why?”. It never hurts to get to know your spouse a little bit better.
“Oh God, I’m really not sure.” He ummed and arred over it for a while, struggling to come up with an answer.
“Probably one from one of the Fifties” came the eventual reply. I rolled my eyes.
Coming from the man who’s wanted to take me gliding ever since the first movie? I should have known.