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Was this abuse?

(12 Posts)
Movingforward87 Wed 17-May-17 18:46:32

When I was 16, I had a boyfriend who really wasn't a good guy. I was at a vulnerable stage in my life and battling eating disorders. A lot of self loathing was going on from my point of view.

This boyfriend used to get really upset if I didn't have sex with him. He was 2 years older. He had a high sex drive so wanted to have sex up to 3 times a day. I would be in pain and I'd tell him that, yet he'd beg. I wasn't allowed to talk to other boys/men at all. He smashed up many of my phones. When things got to there worst, I told him it was over and he actually held a knife to his stomach and said he wouldn't want to live any more. I said I'd stay. When things got worse again, I tried to leave but he told me he would send explicit images of me to my parents if I did. The whole situation where in me going to the police (I only told them about the pictures thing). They gave him a warning and that was that. Over 10 years ago. Things that happened still play on my mind. I feel like I did things I shouldn't have done in that time. I tried drugs with him (something I massively regret). My parents didn't like him and I suppose weren't very kind to me through the whole situation. I was distant with them and they've never known why i was so distant. I feel like I carry a lot of regret from that time. I suppose I'm just trying to make sense of what happened. He was my 1st boyfriend.

CharlotteCollinsneeLucas Wed 17-May-17 19:10:18

Yes, most definitely. It sounds like a horrible time.

You weren't to blame for any of it, you know?

Movingforward87 Wed 17-May-17 19:31:42

I struggle with that because there were things that I suppose I chose to do in that time that I now feel ashamed of. At times, I would instigate sex, it wasn't purely him instigating it, although he was very forceful if I didn't want to. I feel ashamed of who I was at that time. My mum was not a good parent at that time of my life at all, didn't tell me anything about periods, I had to save my dinner money to buy tampons etc. So hardly someone who I could approach when I was in trouble. She's a strong catholic and doesn't believe in sex before marriage.

After this, I went on to have no self respect for a number of years. I slept with too many men and I'm so ashamed of it all. I'm now happily married to the most wonderful man and I love who I am now. I just feel like I have all of these skeletons in my closet if that makes sense. It's always there in the back of my mind. I wish I could rewind time. I've made too many mistakes sad

Starlighter Wed 17-May-17 19:40:21

I'm sorry OP. flowers

These mistakes have led you to where you are now though. In a loving relationship and a stable environment and you appreciate it all. That's quite an achievement from all you've been through. Don't sell yourself short or put yourself down, everyone has a past. You've done good, be proud. You deserve this happiness!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 17-May-17 19:48:52

Gosh, there's a lot of guilt and shame in your posts. Not hard to believe you are from a religious catholic family, like me grin

Those "mistakes" made you the person you are today.

You were desperate for love when you were a child. You didn't get it from your mother so you sought it from a boyfriend. That's not at all unusual for children with emotionally absent or abusive parents. You needed someone in your life, you had not been taught how to have good boundaries, you had no parental support, so you held him close instead of running away.

So you slept around and tried drugs? Meh. Lots of people do. You are an interesting person with an interesting past. It makes you a person who understands life and people and desperation more than people who've had a simple life. These are all things that can make you a more useful member of society. Don't wish all that away!

Could you rewrite both of your posts with no shame in there? Imagine you have been through therapy, you've recognised what good character building type things you learned through the last ten years. Then rewrite each sentence looking at the positives.

Or imagine in 50 years time you've had a massively successful life and someone is writing the story of your life so far and how that time set you up to be the successful world leader you became. How would the story read?

Movingforward87 Wed 17-May-17 20:45:05

Thanks for your helpful posts. Its hard coming to terms with the things I've done in my life. If you met me, you wouldn't think I'm the sort of person to have the past that I do have. I struggle to be my true self around friends (all of whom I've met in more recent years) and part of me struggling is because I know I can't be open with them about how my life has been in the past. I feel like there's a spell of 5 years where most people are off having the time of their lives and I was having the worst time of my life. I am no longer in contact with anyone who was friends with me then, it just feels like a massive secret.

April229 Wed 17-May-17 20:52:06

That just shows how much you have moved on OP. We all have things that make us cringe from our past, some more than others but, meh. So what? You made different choices then than you do now and it's made you the brilliant person you are now. The pasts the past. For all you know one or two people in your friend group could have done some of the things you've done and they feel awkward about telling you because they have no idea of what you've done?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 17-May-17 20:58:20

Get a therapist if you can and start talking about this stuff out loud to another person. It is tremendously helpful.

Offred Wed 17-May-17 21:02:25

I've had a very similar life to you OP I think. Certainly teens time anyway.

I haven't managed to be as together as you sound as at 32 and with 4 DC I have only ever known abusive relationships and can't say I have ever actually been loved.

A few years ago though I made a conscious choice to talk openly about things and call them the proper names whenever it was relevant to. In some ways that has been amazing for me. I don't have secrets from people that I know (apart from my catholic and abusive family). I can be me with people and they see that I might have a law degree and be 'super clever' or be 'a brilliant mum' or a 'kind and caring person' but I've had a hard time and got through it. I feel this adds something to other people's lives as well as my own.

Telling people so openly however has led to me getting embroiled with abusers though as they have fed off of that openness. I think though, I find being able to talk about things so healing for me that it was worth it, I've got better at dealing with abusive people and as I see it I maybe haven't got the balance quite right maybe in what I tell to whom, and when and that's been the problem.

There is a lot of empowerment, I have found in saying things out loud, for what they are, in an unashamed manner. Don't treat your past as your shameful secret, I think that does quite a lot of damage to your psyche, find a balance though. Think about why you want to tell someone and what you will get out of it, if you want to.

Offred Wed 17-May-17 21:07:01

If I was to rewrite your posts I'd say -

'I had a difficult time growing up and finding myself because my parents' religion meant that they didn't give me the knowledge I needed to have boundaries to keep me safe. As a result I was vulnerable to abusive people who used me for sex and introduced me to drugs. It is a time in my life I look back on with sadness, and which impedes my ability to know who I am now.'

Offred Wed 17-May-17 21:08:51

but I had the strength of character to get through that difficult time and make positive changes

Movingforward87 Wed 17-May-17 22:26:06

Thank you offred. It sounds as though you have come a long way. I am a massive underachiever at the moment from an academic point of view and my career is on hold while I raise DC as husband is away a lot with his job. I feel like my past has hindered me from this point of view but I hope to change that in coming years. Don't underestimate how well you've done to accomplish all of those things. I've been so lucky from a relationship point of view. My now husband met me when I was at a real low point and he pulled me from the gutter. He literally saved me. Had I not met him, I'm sure I'd still be there or still vulnerable to abusive relationships. 32 is very young, lots of time for someone to come along who truly sees your worth and values you. I just need to try to view things differently I suppose and maybe forgive myself for the mistakes I've made. Maybe a therapist would be the way forward with that.

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