Category Archives: shame

Writing about abuse

There is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while now. It is about my history of being an abuse victim and then an abuse survivor. Wash, rinse, repeat. Without a doubt, the majority of the abuse I’ve experienced is emotional. However, a great deal of the emotional abuse is tied to sexual abuse. I sat up in bed after watching programs on the DVR that needed to be erased and told myself, “I’m going to do it.” I tried and I couldn’t. You see, it isn’t enough that I write about my own experiences. I have to include the statistics and other data because that’s what one does when one is a finder of fact. It’s second nature. However, when I began searching for the stats I used to know by heart, I found that my insides began to throb. I felt as if there were some tumor growing in the center of my rib cage as I read. Finally, I had to accept that, at least for now, I can’t do it. That isn’t to say I won’t be able to do it tomorrow or the next day or next week. I just can’t do it now because I’m too close to last week’s events surrounding Glenn and reading old journals that definitely portrayed him as an abuser. Granted, his method was emotional, but it was definitely abusive. He plans to continue, but I’m not a teenager or a 20-something or even a 30-something. I, very literally, have a spine of titanium. I forget that a lot of times because I’ve been conditioned by experience to believe consciously or unconsciously that the abuse–be it emotional or sexual–was somehow my fault and that I am wrong to fight back. The part about it being wrong to fight back is something I lay squarely at the feet of my mother and her family. For them, perception was/is everything. You didn’t complain. You quietly endured whatever and whoever befell you like a proper lady. I had to learn that I had a right to defend myself. I still have to actively remember to remember that fact when it shouldn’t even be a question.

I need to write so badly that I ache. I want to scream and shout and pound my fist into the wall because I so want to write but I can’t. I can’t because I’ve written so much about this one person and one subject that I’ll lose the little family that’s developed here even though I started this blog for myself and myself only. If people chose to take the ride with me, great. If they decided to by-pass it, oh well. Now, I’ve gotten spoiled. It’s sort of ridiculous, really. If I want an audience per se, I can go on over to my other blog and write something that will get attention and publicize it. I don’t do that here. This is the space I set up where extremely few people know who I am, leaving me free to write whatever the hell I want to write about. Well, right now, I need to write about abuse and I need to write about Glenn and I need to make what’s in my head real by putting it in writing. The only thing I want to know about Glenn is why he’s been so damn hostile ever since I came out to him 20 years ago. The string of homophobic hatred that came across my screen that fateful day was shocking and as deadly as ninja throwing stars. It was so shocking and damaging that I actually forgot about it until I read my journal entries. Asking him is pointless because he’s not talking to me. Even if he were, he’d never actually explain anything. He never has and he never will. It’s as though he believes he’s got some God-given right to do and say whatever he pleases and not explain or talk about it at all. And if you’re outside of his circle, you are fair game to be mistreated in any way that amuses him at the time. He did it to me for two years as I “chased” him, something to which I will readily admit. I was 16 at the time and he was Glenn.

I’m sorry, but I have to say this: that S.O.B. hurt me. I know that was his plan and that my pain gives him pleasure. He is a non-consensual sadist. That, too, was part of his tirade that day a decade ago. He’s like a domestic canine-wolf cross. You never know what behavior you’ll get. Will it be more wolf-like or more domestic canine? He can, and frequently is, quite cruel. He is also quite charming when he chooses to be. As a former mutual friend said, so I’ve read, he’s frequently overwhelmed and confused. This is true. His way of dealing is to run or strike before he feels he’s about to be struck (figuratively, that is) or both. Reading, he’s not someone I want to be with again. He’s got a domestic canine side that I loved dearly. Now, the only thing I experience is the rabid wolf. Mind you, I absolutely love and adore wolves and give most of my meager budget for charitable causes to efforts to save wolves and to the ASPCA. Therefore, in a sense, I’m libeling wolves. *looks west toward Michigan and beyond* Sorry guys!

I am trying to recover as quickly as possible from last week. I need to move on because I wasted an entire week on him that I really didn’t have to waste. To show how hurried I’ve been, I wrote a thousand word post, thought I’d uploaded it, didn’t see it hours later and went to look for it in “Drafts,” then realized I’d erased all of my drafts to create more space on my iPhone. I wanted to scream. I feel a lot of pressure to “get over it” even though I know it’s not that simple. I feel a pressure to just shut up about it already and I can’t. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just set up another blog where I am the only person who can see what I’ve written.

OK, I think I’m beginning to kind of understand what I’m feeling. Some of my thought pattern is the PTSD rearing its head. I have noticed that I feel as though I’m on the edge of a cliff about to fall off if I take one misstep. I also feel as though no one will like me if I say one more word about HIM. Honestly, I don’t want to write about HIM, but how do I not and still write about the pain I’m in? I can’t have it both ways–at least not here.

In trying to write about my experiences with abuse, I ran across a list of some of the effects of childhood sexual abuse on the site PANdora’s Box.

  • Long term effects of child abuse include fear, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor self esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships.
  • Clinical findings of adult victims of sexual abuse include problems in interpersonal relationships associated with an underlying mistrust. Generally, adult victims of incest have a severely strained relationship with their parents that is marked by feelings of mistrust, fear, ambivalence, hatred, and betrayal. These feelings may extend to all family members.
  • Sexual victimization may profoundly interfere with and alter the development of attitudes toward self, sexuality, and trusting relationships during the critical early years of development.

That’s not the full list, but what’s there describes me. I have tried so hard to overcome the filth of my mother’s second husband since I was in my 20s. I’ve probably made a lot of progress, but right now, I feel as though I’ve failed myself and others. My head knows that I’ve made a great deal of progress and asks who these “others” are. I think the “others” are those who couldn’t get close to me because I was afraid. Those I did allow in were often abusive themselves and subsequently abused me. I have to fight to maintain self-esteem. It took me a lot of time to accept that I deserved better than HIM. Having done so, I’m afraid of slipping back because I have so many questions. I’ve never been good at accepting that there are questions about people for which I’ll never get answers. I’m the kind of person who absolutely must understand things of importance, especially when what I’m trying to understand is an emotion or act be it mine or someone else’s. I know a lot of people who hate the word “closure,” but it is what I truly do need. Otherwise, I am left with holes that are very dangerous because I will inevitably try to fill them with either another person or some idea I’ll settle on that may not be very complimentary to me.

OK, I’ve written nearly 1500 words. It’s time to end this. I’m at the same place I began. I have a knot in my chest and I want to scream.

God, HELP!!

I’ve read nearly all of my first journal begun one week after I’d contacted Glenn a full decade ago this past March 22. I began it as a woman absolutely giddy with happiness at being able to talk to the man she loved more than herself seven or nine years after he hung up on her when she came out to him in the wrong way, granted, but not deserving of a discussion at least, to; a woman barely hanging on to life, being purposely reckless in the hope Fate would relieve her of the agony of not knowing why he turned on her all of a sudden in mid-conversation, blamed her for even thinking that he’d had any interest, telling her he didn’t care whether she rejected or embraced her love for him because he wasn’t “going there,” saying that she had been “dyking around for a decade,” that she didn’t “want this dick and to run as fast and as far as she can.” Destroyed. Absolutely destroyed. I’d trusted him more than any PERSON on the planet, loved him more than ANY PERSON on the planet and had ultimately given more of myself to him than I had ANY PERSON on the planet. Destroyed. Absolutely destroyed. Even now, after reading 10 years later, hanging on to this reality by my fingernails to keep from sinking into The Pit once more even though someone(s) destroyed the woman who was then. I can’t have relationships no matter the gender of the other person because I can’t trust enough or give enough of myself. I was punished for loving women even though I loved him, assuming the words came from him. I’m not at all sure they did. The circumstances suggest the horror could easily have been from the hagbeast monster or his gay male business partner. If the latter, it was at his request. If the former, he probably didn’t know. We went from flirting to destruction after he went away from the screen for a few minutes. That sceptic cunt could have snuck in easily. Especially since whoever was on the other end of the IM wouldn’t speak to me via voice.

I’ve been struggling with anorexia for about a week now. I’d just worked up to eating a whole sandwich, but was drinking more liquids. Now, not only don’t I care, I don’t want to eat. I mean, I ACTIVELY don’t want to eat. I’m trying to get through this because of the girls. I can’t abandon them. The thing is, I don’t think I can do this by myself and I honestly don’t know who to call who won’t make me feel worse than I already do.

I had a terrible shock. I found a portion of a journal entry meant to be found after I’d properly suicided. It contained two phone numbers. One was Glenn’s cell and the other was for a former mutual friend. I called the one for Glenn, never anticipating that it would work. It did. I was so unnerved I couldn’t talk to him. So, in the course of three days I’ve reached him twice after well over 100 letters sent to the usual usernames owners of private mail servers set up. Over 100 letters he said he never received even though some were sent via the “Contact Us” form for his record company. Granted, for a year or more I haven’t used it because I didn’t get a confirmation of receipt from the server and assumed I’d been blocked. But I have also gotten really good at setting up disposable accounts, hoping that something would get through in some fashion.

I never want to leave my bed, but the girls need to eat and go potty. I feel as I did when I had agoraphobia. Anything and nearly everyone is dangerous outside of this room. There are so many ways to kill a person while leaving them with a beating heart. There are so many ways to die and still breathe. I have to focus on the girls. If not, I will die one way or the other. I can go inside myself and never come out. I am so close to that now that I have to work to just stay present.

How could Glenn/hagbeast/gay oh business partner do this to someone whose worst “crime” was loving someone and then determining that she loved those of her own gender more at one point? Had Glenn talked to me, I would have given in. Not to the phone sex, but to allowing him access to body, soul and heart. I would give up women for him. I would have then and I would now if he was willing to do the obvious and make us “us”–hagbeast included, if I just had to, as long as he committed.

This is not the first time I’ve tried to write this book. The first time was way before I was ready. The publisher read the mess I submitted and gently told me to get some therapy and try again later. I told her I couldn’t write it then because all I do is cry while I’m typing. I don’t think she believed me until she saw the mess of the first few chapters. I’d forgotten about that until reading the journals, too. Five or six therapists later and I’m still crying as I type.

What the fuck is going on? Someone please, tell me. First, as I’m about to give up and give in to giving up on relationships, I hear and see my mother frantically trying to tell me NOT to forget about or give up on Glenn. She didn’t even like him! So, I ignore her until I realize I can’t blindside him and his kids. I NEVER intended to talk to him before mailing him a set of questions after getting well into writing a manuscript, but I wanted him to know what was coming. After ten years and a few phone messages as late as last year, he answers the phone. On a Sunday. Today, I call a 10-yr-old cell number I didn’t even know I had and he answers. I cannot hope where he is concerned. That’s especially true now that I’ve read how he or someone tried to blame me for essentially making any perceived interest up. I’ve got notes from conversations. I didn’t make anything up. And, if I made everything up, then how could he have been playing a joke? I did remember that that was part of the conversation I’d initially forgotten due to stress. It was remembered much later. It is a habit my brain learned as a child: bury the most destructive, painful memories deep inside where they can’t be found. That kept me sane and I do not exaggerate.

What does one do when one truly wants to die but can’t? Endure. What does one do when one can no longer endure? I’m frantically trying to determine who can raise my girls if it comes to that. I just can’t bear the thought of their pain after losing my mother so recently. I am in hell.

The Story of T & G

I’m feeling angry, hurt and mean this Sunday. Therefore, I revised this post with some visual aids. God(dess) will probably strike me dead for BEING that way.

I’m actually at a loss for words. It’s not that there aren’t enough; there are too many. I’ll start with the title and, perhaps, discuss its inspiration. BTW, for this post, and maybe for others, depending on how I feel, the bâtard is being named. I wish I knew the French words for “septic cunt” and “hagbeast” or even “hagfish” because I’d use them as well.

One, possibly two, people who read this blog know who I am in real life and that I am an aspiring online magazine publisher. I’ve been putting the building blocks in place to turn another blog I have into an online women’s magazine since last fall. My goal is to go live this year. I do have a more specific timetable, but that’s my other life and I don’t really want to talk much about it here.

My heart and soul are dying and my mind can’t hold me up on its own anymore. I can blame it on a week off my antidepressants and that would be partially accurate. However, the antidepressants only allow me to cope with real life and make better decisions (I hope). They don’t change what’s happened. Certainly, they don’t heal me in places I’m not totally sure anyone can, including me. My way of coping has always been sex, music or the written word. I was; I am; I will always be, a musician, even when my only instrument is my voice. I am and have always been, a writer, even without a pencil, paper or laptop. I have written countless stories in my head that never make it to paper because there’s no need. They were written by me for me.

I’ve been playing with an idea for the last few weeks that I’ve decided to follow through. I am going to write a book based on my truth about Glenn and me. It takes as long as it takes. What’s in it is in it. I don’t care who gets hurt as long as I can write the truth. I’ve got a lot of documentation in journals, letters, etc. I only wish I had a screen capture of his wifey-slime pretending to be him saying, “It was a joke” when referring to his supposed interest in becoming involved again after I’d poured my heart out to him. I think the only people who might understand how destroyed I was and still am are the readers here and my shrink. I’m not sure my shrink understands completely. Then again, she did understand that it was cruelty in the extreme, and one of her specialties is abuse, so I guess she must get something.

In the last two or three days I’ve gone from righteous anger to crumbling heap. I’m trying to get angry again so that it becomes a motivator for action. The problem is that when I’ve been angry I’ve also been the most hurt. I’m angry because of the things Glenn did that utterly and completely betrayed me for sport. I’m angry that he let that hagbeast be the one who was in on at least part of it with him, knowing that I detest her and have since I was 16-years-old and didn’t even know she was seeing him. I’m angry that we laid in bed together for 17 years and there was love. . . the love. He never professed love to me, but I most assuredly expressed mine to him. Even though I was sleeping with other people, there was no doubt that he was my heart. He brought me to life in a way no one ever had and no one has since. Sure, we’d get tired of each other at times, but in the end, even when I basically chased him for nearly two years, I believed it would be Glenn and me. I took “themeangirl” seriously, believe me. I watched them together and could read them and knew it would be a tough fight but that she would not be good for him in the end. Therefore, being angry with him also brings up the intense pain. The pain overcomes any benefit I could have received from the anger.

Photo of a toothed hagfish

This photo of a type of hagfish reminds me of stories told in some parts of the world about vaginas with teeth. That’s my image of the “hagbeast.”

The reason I was/am angry with Glenn is because he has yet to take any responsibility for anything. He’s a coward and what he and his hagbeast did was a twisted, sick thing. That’s not anger talking. That’s what I’d say if someone else told me that they’d been through what I have with him and the hagbeast. I have found ways to survive by running, closing myself off, crying myself to sleep and anything and everything else except drugs, although I have gotten drunk once or twice. OK, three times. Over the course of ten years, that’s not so bad. But it all has to end. I can’t do it anymore. I have things that need to be done in real life. The more I try to suppress what I feel about The Hagbeast, featuring GT as her apprentice, the sicker I will become. However, if I can write constructively and know that this is NOT my fault and that what was done was wrong, even though I already know that in my head, I have to believe I can heal.

I know that I’m no angel in this either. Hagbeast has had a ring through his nose for over 20 years. I don’t know if she knows that we were still sleeping together as late as four years after they were married and did so during her entire residency. However, I doubt things would have progressed as horribly as they did if he’d just not ignored me for two years and expected me to be in the same place when he decided to come back. I can understand him wanting to give his marriage a serious shot. I would have hated it, cried a lot, pleaded, bargained and did whatever I could. But in the end, I would have understood. This ain’t my first rodeo. But he just disappeared without a word. By the time he appeared again, he called me for phone sex. Ladies, I think you have some understanding of how . . . I don’t know . . . MIFFED I’d be about that. So I told him, “Sorry, but I am not currently sleeping with men.” He responded, “At all?!” “No. I am not having sex with men at all, nor getting them off online or on the phone.” *CLICK* He hung up on me. I was too pissed off then to regret what happened or realize how hurt he was–and he was definitely hurt–and that he’d loved me. Mom tried to tell me, but I learned to never trust anything unless he says it. He’d burned me too many times on that. Regardless, that’s when the foundations of my personal hell were laid. It took nine years and barely surviving a relative who tried to destroy me for me to come within hell’s reach. I needed Glenn again. He acted interested, but suspicious. I’d sensed someone else listening to us as he talked to me while driving down to Florida for a convention. I thought it was probably some male friend. Men are often jerks when they get together, so I just tried to pretend that I knew nothing.

By the time he arrived back home, he had a very special present waiting for him. First, a prelude.

I have loved Glenn my entire life minus 17 years. I loved him when I hated him and hated him when I’ve loved him. Hell, I love him NOW. However, when I found him and asked about resuming our involvement, I honestly thought the love had passed and that we could be good friends with benefits, meeting a few times a year to catch up on several levels, perhaps share a meal and go back to our own homes. I’d accepted, I thought, that he’d married someone else even if I detested her. Now, since she was such a hagbeast, I didn’t feel any guilt at all about shaking the chandelier with her husband. When Glenn opened up, we were great together. When he shut down, he was frustrating. He wasn’t all that happy about leaving me behind and he was lonely.

Image of a hagfish

Hagfish are real, slimy, disgusting but necessary. I apologize to any hagfish who were hurt by my bastardization of the name of your species.

I’ve loved him nearly as long as she theoretically had and I’d been the one to soothe him when she was being a right cold fish. He didn’t marry me because I’m his “Gregory.” That means that he didn’t love me quite as much as he did hagbeast just as I loved Glenn a little bit more than I loved Gregory. I also wasn’t going to make six figures coming out of training, thereby allowing him to set up his businesses without having to worry about his next meal. In addition, she was able-bodied. There’s nothing I can do about that, so she won. I don’t happen to think that being able-bodied should have been a criteria, but it was. What hurt so much is that anyone who has ever seen us together felt that they were in a room positively crackling with electricity. Given that, why does having an above-knee prosthesis on one leg make any difference? What difference does it make if I developed fibromyalgia? Apparently, a lot of difference. She’s better arm-candy, a better earner and doesn’t limp and spend much time as a patient in a hospital.

Well, as I said, by the time he got back from Florida and after talking to him a few times while he was down there, I decided to make a film of myself talking to him and telling him of this love that came rushing up from its hiding place out of my mind’s eye view. It was corny, I admit. The music in the background was Donny Hathaway singing his masterwork, A Song For You. But it fit.

Here are the lyrics.

A Song For You
Sung by Donny Hathaway

I’ve been so many places in my life and time
I’ve sung a lot of songs I’ve made some bad rhymes
I’ve acted out my life in stages
With ten thousand people watching
But we’re alone now and I’m singing this song to you

I know your image of me is what I hope to be
I’ve treated you unkindly but darlin’ can’t you see
There’s no one more important to me
Baby can’t you see through me
Cause we’re alone now and I’m singing this song to you

You taught me precious secrets of a true love witholding nothing
You came out in front when I was hiding
Now I’m so much better and if my words don’t come together
Listen to the melody cause my love is in there hiding

I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life you’re a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you

I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for in my life you’re a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you
We were alone and I was singing this song to you
We were alone and I was singing this song
Singing this song to you

A Song For You lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

You see, by that time, I’d been a journalist for three very busy years and had definitely gotten people’s attention. I was going a few places to conferences and such, talking to people active in black gay circles and in the Welcoming Congregation movement. Indeed, that’s how I made my bones. I covered the 2001 United Methodist Church General Conference. It was one thing after another. My adrenaline was pumping and I was taking pictures and conducting interviews with people I would never have been able to get next to otherwise. I was in heaven! I attended the First Annual National Black Lesbian Conference where I watched an organization being born. Let me tell you, it was a beautiful experience. I got mobbed by the women when they found out who I was.

The lyrics to A Song For You say:

I’ve been so many places in my life and time
I’ve sung a lot of songs I’ve made some bad rhymes
I’ve acted out my life in stages
With ten thousand people watching
But we’re alone now and I’m singing this song to you

I really had lived my life on a stage of sorts. Mine was the digital and glossy paper stage. I’d written a lot of stories about a lot of people and organizations and they really were my life. To my great surprise, people knew who I was and appreciated my work. But I chose to sit on my office floor, with a cigarette (to keep me calm because I was scared to death) and told the absolute truth. I didn’t realize how much I still loved him when I contacted him and that these feelings came up almost the moment I began talking to him. I loved him regardless of his situation. We figured things out once and we could do it again.

I know your image of me is what I hope to be
I’ve treated you unkindly but darlin’ can’t you see
There’s no one more important to me
Baby can’t you see through me
Cause we’re alone now and I’m singing this song to you

I apologized for the way I told him I was, for all intents and purposes, a lesbian. I should have been more sensitive to his feelings because we had such a long and storied history. I told him that he had me if he wanted me and that I wanted him. I opened up completely. I was totally vulnerable.

I didn’t hear from him for two days. I finally caught up with someone I thought was him but, as it turned out, it was the hagbeast. I asked if he liked the movie. The reply was “No.” I said something like “Oh.” Some other thing happened that I can’t remember except that it made me go cold inside and my stomach clench. That’s when I first got a clue it wasn’t Glenn. He’d never talked to me that way. I ran to my bedroom to phone him and tell him that his wife was online pretending to be him and saying whatever else she said besides “It was a joke.” There was no answer. It is only recently that I’ve accepted that this is what happened. I didn’t want to believe that the hagbeast had that much evil in her. Certainly, I didn’t want to believe that Glenn was complicit in her games. It led me to wonder if they plotted the entire thing and laughed at me while they did it. I picture them making love while making fun of me. Even now, the humiliation is such that I really and truly want to die. No kidding. No exaggeration. If someone shot me right now, I would thank them. The only reason I don’t do it myself is because of my girls. They need me. Even an empty shell of a person is better than what would await them at the local shelter. So I live.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through writing this, but I will. I doubt it will be ready for submission even next year. So, I’m looking at two years. I’ve got to keep myself alive for at least two years. OK.

As the watchful eye of Mother Earth is my witness, I just want to die and get it over with, but I can’t. My babies need me.

Shit.

Congratulations if you’ve managed to get this far! For your efforts, I want to reveal two photos I sent to Glenn yesterday and last night.

A picture of my arm showing severe self-inflicted burns on my arm

This is a photo I sent Glenn so that he can see that I was in so much agony there were no words. The only way I could express myself was to burn myself almost to the bone and cut. I did this after the “It was a joke” comment.

Photo of a paper plate with 3 bacon strips next to a paper plate with a stack of pancakes with a dinner knife connecting the two. There are assorted food items in the background.

This photo is filled with symbolism. Some of it would only be evident to someone who knows me. I sent this to him with a letter telling him that I’m writing our story.