A Relationship Post Assault
See, 3months ago, when I started talking to my then partner (Huss), I was lot more unsure of myself. Particularly around him, particularly around men. So, here I was suddenly getting this attention, and I didn't know what to do with it. So what did I do? I combusted like popcorn in a microwave and popped out all of my truths. The rape, the anxiety, the depression: THE LOT! Poor guy, it was a lot to take in. But he did, and I was grateful. He helped to navigate my thoughts and was very gentle - he wasn't pushy. Back then? I was more fragile. Suspicious. Wary.
Now, I am more aware. Alert. Welcoming. My inner dialogue is different. And I owe some of it, to him. So what happens in a relationship when one person outgrows the never-mentioned pre-determined boundaries which were set upon meeting? What if the partner, cannot accept your evolution and see's that independance, as a threat? Admittedly, I found a relationship as a Sheep, much easier than being my usual Wolf self. Mind you? I am not inferring that it is better or worse to be either, just that I fundamentally relate more to being assertive than submissive.
The way I see it is this. In a Relationship Post Assault, the survivor can go through stages with their partner. Such as:
If in the stages of need, red flags pop-up in the partners behaviour (i.e. unsupportive, controlling, demanding etc) and the survivor feels uncomfortable, sometimes, the survivor does not have the energy, resources or will, to leave or to communicate his/her concerns.
Then comes, complacency. The point of (seemingly) no emotional return. When a survivor knows they are settling or being somewhat 'lazy', but have become familiar or connected to a point where conflict is either too stressful or not an option. At this point the survivor may struggle to qualify the relationship to their own conscience, but ignore the debate.
Then, by the practicality and realities of daily life and with time - the survivor may begin to assert themselves a little more and gain confidence - attaining equality. Now at this stage, the survivor either feels stronger about those red flags, or acceptance of them.
Then comes evaluation. The time when a survivor emotionally retreats from their partner, role and relationship. And ponders : 'what is this relationship?' 'is this what I want?' 'do I like my role?' 'am I being myself?' 'am I valued and respected?'.
When you honestly Answer those questions - it becomes hard to ignore your voice.
I listened to my voice on the weekend and broke up with my boyfriend because:
* The relationship was something I could not identify with. It felt like an agreement.
* The relationship was once something I wanted, but no longer needed.
* I did not like my 'subservient' role in the relationship. I had let myself fall into this role and not assert myself. I no longer liked it.
* I was not being me - completely. Only partially. Because I once 'needed' someone, anyone to cling too.
Of course, when you answer those questions to yourself and can identify positive feelings toward your partner and feel good about the relationship - that must feel miraculous! I think that is ideal. Unfortunately, my first relationship Post Assault was not one which is devoid of realisations which make it come to an end. Though, I must say, it still served a purpose and it did put me a few paces further on my Road to Recovery
I think that the really important part of Healing, is being totally candid with yourself. When you know a relationship, habit, job, friend, environment is NOT good for you - you must listen to yourself. Otherwise, you are no longer walking the Road to Recovery, you are standing still, weathering the seasons, or worse, going backward.
But for now, for those of you who have experienced feelings like I have? I want you to know that you are not alone - and you are brave and strong and being good to yourself and your healing for walking away from something which a) never helped to heal you to begin with or b) no longer serves you. And that being assertive for yourself and your growth and your peace of mind - is a good thing. You are not a bad person for putting yourself first