Relationships are complicated and messy. It is without a doubt why I actively avoid them at all costs. The people I let into my life are carefully chosen, they are understanding of the fact that I am legitimately batshit crazy.
Many of them, though not all, understand that for the more formative years of my life (ages 12-23) I was sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally abused. They know that although I will always try my best, I am not perfect. I make mistakes and when I see people acting like utter complete moronic idiots I cannot help but point it out.
I live the very meaning of the phrase “Keep your Circle small”. This isn’t because I am a bitch, not really it’s because for my own sanity and the desire to very much not go on a homicidal rampage I absolutely must keep my circle small.
I say all of this because as I write I am trying to figure out my own emotions and feelings when it comes to relationships. They are complicated and messy.
I have recently not made a secret of the fact that I have been for 12 years a secret submissive. I have also for twelve years jumped from man to man trying to find someone who can fill a void I have never felt safe nor comfortable talking about.
For years, I couldn’t figure out why I could not for the life of me find a healthy sustainable relationship and it is only recently that I realised it’s not the men I’ve been letting into my life. It’s the fact that I have purposely chosen men who would be abusive because I did not know how to express what I needed from those relationships.
It doesn’t make the abuse any less real, it doesn’t make the fact that I was raped any less real, it just explains at least to me, why it is I have been choosing the men I have been surrounding myself with.
For people in my age group, 25-35 for instance, we often hear people talking about how relationships take work. What they don’t tell you though is that the work isn’t just the couple working together to make their relationships work. It takes individual work as well.
We as men and women must be willing to take a look at our individual emotions and feelings, we must rip them apart and try to understand why we behave and react the way that we do in order force ourselves to stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
I recently just ended an online relationship with the most amazing man I’ve ever met. If I could build the perfect guy it would be him. He’s kind, funny, silly, goofy and fills a need in my heart so wide that even tho we aren’t “Together” he’s still the one I text in the middle of the night, and most absolutely a man I hope will be a part of my life for the rest of my days.
I can almost hear you asking me why the heck I would do something so silly. The answer is one I’ve been rolling around in my head for the last week or so. He wasn’t giving me what I needed, and the answer to why is because I wasn’t giving him what he needed. I know right? Mind blowing.
You see, I fell for him the moment I heard his voice on the phone. I did what all women do when they meet someone wonderful. I started planning our future together almost immediately. Meanwhile, he was just flirting with an (arguably) adorable girl he met on a chat program, I was wondering what our future children might look like. Okay, no I wasn’t going that far but I was close. The point is while he needed me to back off a little bit I was pushing him way too hard for something that he wasn’t ready for because I (knew) that he was the one. I was certain of it, and hey who knows he still might be.
What I do know for certain however is that before we decided to couple up we were very happy, we were friendly, we joked around we had a good time enjoying getting to know each other and because I was running from (yet another) bad situation, I wasn’t stopping to take a breath and appreciate that I had really just met a nice man and well, isn’t that lovely? No. I had to go into full on girly mode and freak him out, who can possibly blame him for pulling away? The thing is while he was busy pulling away I was busy crying and whining about what a jerk he was and how dare he suddenly switch everything up on me what an ass – blah blah blah. Really what I was doing was pouring all my bad experiences onto this really great guy instead of taking a breath and enjoying the tiny moments.
For a long time I wondered if I would ever be happy, people are constantly telling me that until I learn to love myself I will never be able to find true love. Well, what the fuck does that mean to the mind of a person who’s been sexually abused for several years? It means as I stated before taking the time to look within, to understand why I am the way that I am so that I can do better, and be better not for a man but for myself.
I find not doing so is lazy and selfish. I must if I am to have a healthy relationship be willing to take deep serious looks within and question my own motives and needs and desires in order to make sure my future partner is happy. The next time you are about to fight with or insult your partner take a serious look at yourself and ask yourself what it is that you are doing, to create the current situation. I mean don’t get me wrong if he punches you in the face yes throw him out. If however he leaves socks all over the floor or isn’t calling you as much as he used to, maybe it’s not just about him, maybe it really is you.
Yes, relationships are complicated and messy but they are also beautiful and wonderful IF one is willing to put in the nourishment needed to help them grow.
Devon Hall is a survivor of nearly 20 years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. For nearly 15 years she worked actively as an advocate for those who could not speak up for themselves while living as a victim and eventual survivor. She is now embracing her warrior wounds and is currently working on her newest project entitled “Hush: Removing the stigma of enjoying sex after abuse”. She can be found at SynDolly.Tumblr.com or if one is careful to look; hunting for the next great bottle of Wine in Surrey, BC, Canada.