You were Supposed to Protect Me
I thought we had a deal. Society told me that once you are in a relationship its the two of you against the big bad world. There is an unspoken pact that we help each other in any way we can. Love is supposed to be giving and comforting, not a bargaining chip in order to get what you want.
So how did this happen? While I was focused on the big bad world (the anxiety, the panic attacks, the days were I got physically ill from stress, the need for perfection, the weight of the world on my shoulders because I told myself I could handle it), how did you just sneak up behind me and violate my trust? When did that happen? You knew my weaknesses, my guilt and my capacity to care too much, and you took advantage of me and exploited them. My weaknesses became the cracks in my foundation which you chipped at until there was nothing left.
No self respect, no self confidence, no self worth. I was afraid to leave you for fear no one else would love me, how did you convince me of that? Was it the comment about the double chin or maybe the remark about me being chubby? I still try to hide my legs because you told me they were "lumpy". The implications that no one else would ever want to handle my panic attacks? I still apologize every time I have a panic attack because I feel like a burden.
But don't worry, I'm working on it and I'm soon I will be able to see the real "me" soon. Not the "me" you wanted me to see.
You gave me the impression that I was fragile and weak. I'd never last a week without you. The idea of me being single was laughable. Little did I know I was functioning just fine in spite of you. On the Dean's List every semester I've attended college, impressing bosses with my curiosity and sharp mind during internships, and fighting my way into graduate school in a degree I have almost no background in (not to mention getting funded). You didn't help me achieve any of this. You were there at every turn trying to get me it was too hard and I should just leave that for other people, better people. Well I didn't leave those goals for anyone but me. And I succeeded.
Why did I think I needed you? How did I convince myself that your needs superseded mine?
I didn't even see it at the time, how sick is that? You were so upfront about your past, how you had already been accused of rape. You twisted it to suit your own purposes. Somehow you were the victim and I believed you. I'm so ashamed and sickened but I believed you.
How could you lie to me like that? You "loved" me? You "loved" me so much you disrespected my boundaries. I "loved" you so much I disregarded my own self-worth. Which is worse? I doubt I'll ever know. What I do know is that I am changed forever by how you treated me and it will take years for me to forgive myself.
My one piece of solace is that part of me never trusted you. I may have felt weak and pathetic and unlovable at times but at least part of me could see what you were doing. I might have not properly protected myself from you sometimes but my distrust drew a few unshakable boundaries that saved me. No matter how hard you begged I never let you put my health in danger. No sex without a condom, I didn't care if I was on the pill. No matter how much you pestered I would let you disrespect me as a human being. No coming on my face, that is mine and its not yours to use or abuse.
This doesn't comfort me much at night when I lay in the dark starting at the ceiling and I think about how you used me. How I was worn down night after night. It hurt when I realized I said "I don't want to" over a thousand times in one year, but all you heard were the 150 "fine"s. I've done the math, you can trust me on this, I'm an engineer. This is not an exaggeration. The only way I could ease the pain was to crunch the numbers. I submitted about three times a week. I say submit and not consent because after thought I no longer view "Fine" as consent. "Fine" was the sound of me giving up. Hey, being abused 15% of the time was better than 100% of the time, right? You didn't tell me 0% was an option. I didn't see that until after we broke up.
I remember the first time the first time I said no after you. It was one of the most difficult things I've had to do. I went still and this overwhelming feeling of guilt washed over me. I felt paralyzed. I stared at the ceiling wishing I didn't have to answer. I finally said "I'd rather not". And an amazing hing happened.
I was heard.
Not only was my no heard and respected, this new man asked me how I was feeling. He could see as well as hear me and my discomfort, this was a luxury you never gave me. We talked for over an hour about how I felt, why I felt it and ways to move forward. I can't tell you how proud I am of myself, that after 3 years of you disregarding my "No's" I still was brave enough to say it one more time.
So where am I left? My protector abused me, the man I trusted more than anyone else. You were one of three people in the world I trusted to see my tears, yet you made me cry during sex. I thought you were the man who was the wall between me and my fears, instead you were the wall between me and my self confidence. You were supposed to protect me from pain and instead you inflicted it.