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Willow

[Sensitive] Speaking My Truth

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Willow

I know that over the years, people have passed judgement on a great many things about me and the way I run the forum etc., and it kind of occurred to me lately that apologies are due, some to specific people (one of which is what prompted me to write this), and some to the forum as a whole. But it also occurred to me that I’m no longer afraid to speak out about certain things. So this will be an apology but also me finally speaking my truth.

For the purposes of this blog post, I will refer to my ex as ‘C’ – those of you that the apologies apply to know who I mean, I just don’t want to type his name over and over.

The truth is that there are many reasons why I’ve acted certain ways at certain times, but I feel I should have been strong enough at those times to know who I was, and to stand by my own thoughts and morals, and not be persuaded to adopt someone else’s thinking.

There’s a lot that happens with relationships that people don’t see, that is true for everyone. It’s truer still for people in any kind of abusive relationship. There is an effort made in public to seem like a perfect couple – 1. From the abuser, so that they don’t raise suspicion, and so that when the victim tries to tell people something’s wrong, they can’t for a second believe that the abuser could ever be anything other than the lovely person they appear to be. And 2. From the victim so that they don’t suffer any consequences behind closed doors.

There’s a lot that can go wrong in a relationship, and it’s never only one person’s fault, this is true for everyone. In my circumstance, I feel a large fault is with me for not realising soon enough that C was abusive, for sticking up for him when he was being abusive and for not been brave enough to leave. But I do also understand that in the situation I was in, I merely did the best I could and learnt to submit and survive.

I feel that to give any of this context a few examples must be given. Growing up, my Dad was volatile – he was angry and controlling, and I was terrified of him. He manipulated situations to make me feel worthless, from when I was just a young child, so I grew up with a belief that I wasn’t good enough and that I always needed to impress him or do as he said to avoid punishment, not knowing that his demands were unreasonable and cruel. He frequently abandoned me when I really needed support most. He had a routine of giving me bad news or getting angry with me in public when I was relying on him to get me home, so I had to act the way he was expecting me to at least until I was safe.

When I met C at 17, I was probably at the lowest point of my life thus far. I’d known him a few years already, as friends, so he knew a lot about my Dad and about my bullies through school etc. Early on, when I said I didn’t want to be in a relationship, he got angry with me, usually when I was with him alone and he’d driven us somewhere, so I defaulted to acting how he wanted to keep him happy until I was safe at home. He also developed a routine of threatening to hurt or kill himself if I didn’t see him. I thought he needed help, I didn’t think he was manipulating the situation. He sexually assaulted me, because I couldn’t overpower him, and I was afraid because he’d taken me out in the car and then stopped somewhere dark and far from my house. He raped me on a separate occasion because I’d allowed him to stay over after more suicidal threats, and because again I couldn’t overpower him, physically or with words. ‘No’ and ‘stop’ lost all meaning and so I just gave up.

By this point his anger had me beat and I was already slipping into a habit of doing what C wanted so that I didn’t suffer. But looking back I was suffering all along, so I don’t know why I did the things I did. Having since had PTSD therapy to help overcome my relationship with C, I learnt that the brain reacts to the actions he was making in a certain way. In a traumatic situation such as sexual or mental abuse, your brain has a fight or flight response. I couldn’t fight him in a lot of these situations: I wasn’t strong enough. ‘Flight’ also wasn’t an option many times because he had taken me somewhere that I couldn’t get home from. The final choice in these scenarios is to submit. And when we submit to something traumatic, we don’t really stick around in ‘the now’ to experience or process it fully, which is why we then suffer PTSD, because something will trigger one of those partially formed memories and we will go back to that moment to try and process it, but we often are left with just a feeling, like the one we felt at the time.

So unfortunately, I spent most of my 6 years with C submitting – slowly losing any sense of self-worth, sanity, happiness…anything, until I was just a numb shell. There were moments where I felt better, and I’d maybe reach out to people in these moments, something which I would later realise was a huge mistake when C came home and read my messages and got angry with me for speaking to someone other than him. I would then promise not to do it again. Or I would think about going back into education, or look for a part time job, or learning to drive, something to get me out of the house and start building a future for myself – something which I would again regret, when C would close down the idea completely, saying it would be a waste of my time, or that he didn’t want me being around other people – guys – who would talk to me, if I had a job, or that I didn’t need a car of my own because where would I need to go without him? I’d maybe wear a nice outfit or do my hair and makeup nice, but then he would make me change because I looked too ‘slutty’, and he didn’t want people looking.

I eventually ended up not leaving the house, not speaking to anyone, barely seeing my family (because C didn’t like who I was when I was with them), not making any effort with how I looked, and basically just existing to please him. Whenever C had crazy ideas about how our future would look, I would go along with it – we’ll move to America, we’ll move to Sweden, we’ll start a business, we’ll start a different business etc., and I also did lots of research to see how doable any one idea was and try my best to make it seem like it could work. Sure, I’d have loved to visit these places, and running your own business is great. But, me leaving the country forever with C, so he had complete control of everything and total ownership of me…no. Running a business, so I’d be with him 24/7 (a reason he wanted to pursue it, so we’d have no need to be apart). These weren’t my dreams, they were just things I was trying to make happen to keep him happy. Happy C meant less shouting, less sexual abuse, less punishments – whether it was him storming off in the car and leaving me at home, or somewhere we’d been, or him playing games and not talking to me at all.

It came to a head when his behaviour worsened and his family started to notice and pull him up on it, and check that I was okay. It became unbearable. All of this whilst there was a wedding planned that I felt tied to, a house we were buying that I thought would make him happy enough to stop abusing me. But when other people were starting to notice his cruelty, I started to get braver and realise just how wrong the situation I was in was. This is where I made my biggest mistake, but it’s one I will never regret, because it’s what led to me being able to leave C once and for all. With his family checking in on me so much, I was able to get to know his brother for the first time in 5 years. C had always put a stop to any interaction I had had with him in the past, unhappy that I had things in common with him. But getting to know him and realising that a person can just be nice to you…with no expectations and no games, was a real eye opener for me. And with me being trapped in the house (we lived with him at the time) he was the only other person my age I had any contact with and had had any contact with for years. So, it was nice to just chill and talk about films, cars and music. Which led to flirting and a kiss or two etc., (no sex, I struggled with intimacy because of the sexual abuse from C). He introduced me to his friends, and we went to car meets together and it was amazing to feel a little bit free and for those moments, a little bit happy.

So, one day, after months of starting to feel more confident, braver and feeling not so worthless, an argument with C just tipped me over the edge and I said I had to have some time away from him to rethink everything. He gave me a few hours before turning up to beg me to stay, reverting to talking about suicide if we ever weren’t together. He asked me if there was someone else, and I can’t lie so I nodded. I didn’t want to ruin his entire family, so I didn’t say who. But he later logged into my PC and hacked into my phone and found our conversations, so that was, effectively, that. He did beg me to stay still, but I had to take this chance to escape, so I said no. He got angry, locked me out of our house, blackmailed my parents for money, stole my forum and kept most of my possessions. End of story. I don’t blame him for his reaction there, he assumed I’d been sleeping with his brother for months, even though that wasn’t quite the case – It’s obviously still not right what I did, but like I said…no regrets.

All this to say that, behind the scenes, behind every mood swing that you’ve seen from me, behind every change of plans, every out of the blue decision…was me struggling to exist with C.

So, with that all written down, I would first like to say sorry to the original members of the forum, those who were frequent posters in the first year, 2013. I initially was so positive and had a lot of contact with many of you, which I know dropped off for no apparent reason, firstly by me seeming distant and dismissive, and then you just all got the message to quit trying – something which deeply saddened me, but I absolutely expected and didn’t blame you for it. Of course, in the above you see why this happened. I’m just sorry I didn’t fight back and insist that I be allowed friends.

@Alex and @Ben are people who I used to be close to and then just totally phased out. These are two members who deserve specific apologies, because I started being quite cold to you both – Ben in particular. This was because C had a habit of looking at my messages (texts, skype, Facebook and PM’s on the forum – yes, he used to read PM’s,  which he could do through the back back end of the system, some kind of code or something, it’s not a feature on the software of the forum, so don’t worry, I have no clue how he did it, but he was exceedingly good at keeping an eye on everything – he even had access to everyone at his workplaces emails) and he was particularly annoyed/threatened because you’re both male and we got along well, so he wanted that to be stopped immediately, but also to see that I wasn’t been favourable to you anymore. I’m sure that some of the damage I did there is probably permanent, and that’s totally okay, I just wanted to say sorry and explain.

I’d also like to apologize to the whole forum, because there have been many times where I very poorly handled situations, which for one reason or another boiled down to my unstable mental state through all the above, and how cruel C had been to me on whichever day. There were many times where I got into serious trouble with him for spending so long on the forums, so if I ever just seemed to lose my patience and stop trying to solve an issue and just dish warnings out and call it job done, it was because I was trying to limit the amount of shouting C was doing.

I’m sorry in general for anyone I’ve ever upset through that period of my life. I was so isolated, and any semblance of a friendship was quickly torn down by C so I know I will have hurt people’s feelings along the way.

I’ll also apologize because I was inactive online and didn’t do much with the forum for a long time after I left C, but the fallout from living the way I did for so long was quite severe and took a lot of healing, and a lot of therapy. July 2015 to Jan 2016 was spent being the most depressed I’ve ever been – with an element of missing being abused, which is a hard thing to process, but that’s the best way I can put it, purely because it was my every day, my routine, all I knew, and it wasn’t there anymore and it was weird to deal with. I had a lot of therapy/assessments/medications during this time. Late 2015 to early 2016 I had a few relationships, which all failed, and I realised that I needed to be single, to learn to be me again, to do things on my own, to plan my future and to finally get better. So, I spent about a year working on myself, and even though my physical health got much worse, my mental health got so much better. I started dating my partner August 2017; studied at college from September 2017 to June 2018; had the PTSD therapy from January to July 2018. From then until now I have just been studying, working, spending time with my partner, and organizing my life. 2019 signalled that it was finally time to get back to the forum and make it what I always wanted it to be, not what C decided it should be.

I’m not looking for anyone to be accepting these apologies, and I’m not looking for sympathy. I just, as always, would like to think that sharing my story might help someone else. Anyone who has suffered anything like this who is afraid to talk about it, I hope you get to a point in your life where you’re no longer scared, the way that I finally have. C can’t hurt me anymore. And even if he tried, I’m so happy with my life the way it is now, that I don’t think he’d be able to do much.

Since I left him in mid-2015, I’ve been able to chase all my dreams and start making my goals happen. I’ve remembered that I’m optimistic, hopeful, a hard worker, ambitious and capable of happiness – and worthy of happiness and love. I’ve become a moderately successful automotive photographer, with companies sending me to cover shows. I’ve earned a level 3 diploma in art and design and am now studying for my degree. I’ve built and run many websites completely on my own. I’ve learned to drive, and I own a car. I have a loving boyfriend, who fully supports me and allows me my freedom. We have plans to buy a house together early next year. I have met so many people and made so many friends. I’ve travelled Europe, gone to Sweden twice and had many other small, UK holidays and trips. I’m genuinely living my best life, and I still have so many hopes and goals, that I know I can achieve, because I’m working my ass off for it all! Last year was my best year, that I’ve ever had, and I know this one will be even better.

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Ben

As I said to somebody just now "if you can't face adversity, you might as well be dead" because life IS adversity - it's the tax we have to pay in order to live an interesting life - and let me tell you, that all of those years of sitting around in the house wearing shaggy clothing all day to please Cunt will be paid back to you 10 fold. Believe me, you have only just started to see how ambitious and hungry you are - because as you gain even more momentum over the next couple of years, life for you will just become one big playground, and the things you're passionate about will have you bouncing around like a child the night before Christmas. (We should all aim for this)

Your past will just make you grateful for your present, and will have you bursting with excitement for your future  - which to me, is the definition of success. It's not about money, possessions, or even how loved you are, it's all about personal gratitude, and how internally happy you feel.

Now, it's a bit of a lame term, but there is some logic to the 'law of attraction'. It's not some spiritual God-like entity, it's simply a mindset that one talks themselves into everyday. Lay down one brick everyday, and eventually you'll build a castle - it's common sense. 

And don't worry, I didn't exactly help by being a douche back then. You know, people seem to have this nostalgic image of me being this charming guy. Nah man, I was a sarcastic  douchebag. Lol ^_^ 

But no, I understood. Although I did think depression was solely to blame. 🙄 (I had no idea). 

Edited by Ben
Repeated poor grammar, lazy typing

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Sofi

For me, you don't need explain or justify yourself and I don't think you need to apologise to anyone. But if that's what you wanted/needed to do for yourself, that's fine :) I'll always support you no matter what, I think that's the same for most people here.

I'm just glad all of that is over now and you're happy. I'm glad you feel able to continue with the forum too. I think it'd be easy to just drop the forum as it might have had bad associations from that time in your life.  I think it was unlucky that you & I were both having really bad times at the same time and I think they sometimes crossed (I feel like apologising too sometimes), but I'm just happy we're both doing so much better xxx

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Willow
3 hours ago, Ben said:

As I said to somebody just now "if you can't face adversity, you might as well be dead" because life IS adversity - it's the tax we have to pay in order to live an interesting life - and let me tell you, that all of those years of sitting around in the house wearing shaggy clothing all day to please Cunt will be paid back to you 10 fold. Believe me, you have only just started to see how ambitious and hungry you are - because as you gain even more momentum over the next couple of years, life for you will just become one big playground, and the things you're passionate about will have you bouncing around like a child the night before Christmas. (We should all aim for this)

Your past will just make you grateful for your present, and will have you bursting with excitement for your future  - which to me, is the definition of success. It's not about money, possessions, or even how loved you are, it's all about personal gratitude, and how internally happy you feel.

Now, it's a bit of a lame term, but there is some logic to the 'law of attraction'. It's not some spiritual God-like entity, it's simply a mindset that one talks themselves into everyday. Lay down one brick everyday, and eventually you'll build a castle - it's common sense. 

And don't worry, I didn't exactly help by being a douche back then. You know, people seem to have this nostalgic image of me being this charming guy. Nah man, I was a sarcastic  douchebag. Lol ^_^ 

But no, I understood. Although I did think depression was solely to blame. 🙄 (I had no idea). 

Thanks Ben :) I think it was a case of remembering how ambitious I used to be before C, and then building on it, like you say, it's only just the beginning. Learning to be happy internally was the biggest hurdle for me, but it's definitely one I've overcome in the last couple of years. 

And, no one had any idea, not really even my parents!

2 hours ago, Sofi said:

For me, you don't need explain or justify yourself and I don't think you need to apologise to anyone. But if that's what you wanted/needed to do for yourself, that's fine :) I'll always support you no matter what, I think that's the same for most people here.

I'm just glad all of that is over now and you're happy. I'm glad you feel able to continue with the forum too. I think it'd be easy to just drop the forum as it might have had bad associations from that time in your life.  I think it was unlucky that you & I were both having really bad times at the same time and I think they sometimes crossed (I feel like apologising too sometimes), but I'm just happy we're both doing so much better xxx

Thank you Sofi. I'm also very glad we're both doing a lot better now xxx

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Scaly Piscine

Hi Willow, sounds like you've been through some really rough times. I'm glad you're through it and flourishing again. You've always sounded like someone with a lot of drive and ambition to pull off projects that others can only dream about or procrastinate over. The world will be a better place for whatever you accomplish in your life, there'll be plenty it seems.

On a personal level I've checked in occasionally from time to time, but as Aspies we all have our rather niche interests so I don't find much to post on - although you may be glad of that if I get started on politics/religion. So I drifted away somewhat - I'm already surrounded by Aspies in the world of Scrabble. But I'll keep passing by from time to time. I'm generally around, somewhere, and quick to reply to PMs.

As for me, well I have a girlfriend in Toronto. I've been there and back twice, she's been here once. I'm writing a program or two (cricket game in javascript), playing Scrabble not as well as I used to, organising dozens of tournaments and moved house 3 weeks ago. 

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Willow
1 minute ago, Scaly Piscine said:

Hi Willow, sounds like you've been through some really rough times. I'm glad you're through it and flourishing again. You've always sounded like someone with a lot of drive and ambition to pull off projects that others can only dream about or procrastinate over. The world will be a better place for whatever you accomplish in your life, there'll be plenty it seems.

On a personal level I've checked in occasionally from time to time, but as Aspies we all have our rather niche interests so I don't find much to post on - although you may be glad of that if I get started on politics/religion. So I drifted away somewhat - I'm already surrounded by Aspies in the world of Scrabble. But I'll keep passing by from time to time. I'm generally around, somewhere, and quick to reply to PMs.

As for me, well I have a girlfriend in Toronto. I've been there and back twice, she's been here once. I'm writing a program or two (cricket game in javascript), playing Scrabble not as well as I used to, organising dozens of tournaments and moved house 3 weeks ago. 

Thank you for your kind words :)

Start a thread about a really niche interest, maybe someone will find it interesting! We always love new topics on random subjects haha

So happy for you and your girlfriend! And good luck with your programs, and scrabble (I love scrabble :) ).

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StarlessEclipse

I'm so sorry to hear you suffered through all of that while everyone was oblivious. :(

Looking back now, it does make sense. I remember years ago there was a vlog where he drove off in the middle of nowhere, then came back a few minutes later. At first it looked like a joke, but then your reaction... part of me did wonder if you might have been trying to tell us something, but I remembered you mentioning separation anxiety, and was naïve about how these kinds of relationships worked back then. I doubt anyone here would feel that you owe them an apology, knowing all that you've been through. If anything, I owe you an apology for being gullible enough to believe his assurance that he wasn't hacking into PMs the day he took over the forum.

Full respect to you for being strong enough to leave him and come out the other side as a stronger person.

It's great that you're thriving creatively again, and I wish you the best of luck with all of your projects. :)

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Harrow

You are a very brave and strong woman to be who you are now, to have survived and to not be defeated by that time of your life. I apologies, I'm not sure the correct words to use. I don't post here anymore, I am sorry, but the reason I don't is because of what you have done for me creating this forum. When I orginally joined I was lost and alone and I needed a place to not feel alone, to understand who I was and to be accepted and to deal with my own post traumatic stresses (no where near as severe as you, but my own non the less) Now I have friends, amazing friends I woudn't trade the world for and I have a love who I'm planning on getting married to soon. I'm still deeply depressed and anxious and have many fears. But now in those darkest moments I have people to reach out to and they can reach out to me, I have the one thing I've always wanted my whole life, people that truly care, a family. And its because this forum was the start I needed without it I would not have coped or been here anymore.

So just know even in your darkest moments you may be saying sorry to someone, their are plenty more that want to say thank you to you. I hope you continue to do well and I wish you the best possible life imaginable

 

Thank you

 

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Willow
8 hours ago, StarlessEclipse said:

I'm so sorry to hear you suffered through all of that while everyone was oblivious. :(

Looking back now, it does make sense. I remember years ago there was a vlog where he drove off in the middle of nowhere, then came back a few minutes later. At first it looked like a joke, but then your reaction... part of me did wonder if you might have been trying to tell us something, but I remembered you mentioning separation anxiety, and was naïve about how these kinds of relationships worked back then. I doubt anyone here would feel that you owe them an apology, knowing all that you've been through. If anything, I owe you an apology for being gullible enough to believe his assurance that he wasn't hacking into PMs the day he took over the forum.

Full respect to you for being strong enough to leave him and come out the other side as a stronger person.

It's great that you're thriving creatively again, and I wish you the best of luck with all of your projects. :)

Thank you, it really means a lot to me. And I think there are definitely signs, looking back, as I do notice it myself sometimes if I've watched old videos or read through my books again etc., but it's only things you'd pick up on knowing what you know now. 

1 hour ago, Harrow said:

You are a very brave and strong woman to be who you are now, to have survived and to not be defeated by that time of your life. I apologies, I'm not sure the correct words to use. I don't post here anymore, I am sorry, but the reason I don't is because of what you have done for me creating this forum. When I orginally joined I was lost and alone and I needed a place to not feel alone, to understand who I was and to be accepted and to deal with my own post traumatic stresses (no where near as severe as you, but my own non the less) Now I have friends, amazing friends I woudn't trade the world for and I have a love who I'm planning on getting married to soon. I'm still deeply depressed and anxious and have many fears. But now in those darkest moments I have people to reach out to and they can reach out to me, I have the one thing I've always wanted my whole life, people that truly care, a family. And its because this forum was the start I needed without it I would not have coped or been here anymore.

So just know even in your darkest moments you may be saying sorry to someone, their are plenty more that want to say thank you to you. I hope you continue to do well and I wish you the best possible life imaginable

 

Thank you

 

Thank you ❤️ It took some time to get over feeling defeated, but I'm so glad I made it. I'm so glad to hear you are doing so well now! I'm learning that the reason a lot of people who don't post anymore are doing well, hence why they don't visit anymore. It's such a lovely feeling to think that my forum was such a help to you. :) 

 

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Dragon Spirit

I had no idea this was going on, I honestly stopped posting because I started my GCSES and moved on from wavelength, ever since then I’ve been studying full time. I don’t blame you for a minute and hope you are doing ok

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