No strings attached

I’m starting to feel more comfortable with intimacy and sexual contact. I discovered this earlier this summer, after a lovely weekend away with a very attractive male friend.

To give you a bit of background about my friend, we met on Tinder a few years back. Our friendship was never platonic but it was never romantic either. One thing is for sure it has been entirely uncomplicated from the beginning.

I like uncomplicated.

There is comfort in knowing we can enjoy each others company, and then go our separate ways. It could be months before we make contact again and this how we like it.

I consider this weekend away, a major milestone in my recovery from domestic abuse, but I have ways to go yet.

I’m still incredibly tetchy around men. So much so that on the drive to meet him I found myself catastrophising and getting anxious, but it was fine. He was an absolute gentleman and we had a lovely time.

But I still have ZERO self-confidence at the moment.

My abusive relationship ended in February, just 6 months ago and it still feels like yesterday. As a result of the abuse I’m struggling with PTSD (chronic anxiety, inability to sleep, etc.), and severe self-esteem issues.

I know I need to cut myself some slack but I feel really shit about myself right now. My old hang ups about things like body image are now tenfold.

I feel utterly undesirable and unlovable.

On top of this I have discovered all kinds of new baggage that I didn’t have before. Baggage that is causing me to arrange a “first date” with someone from a dating site and then cancel it at the very last minute.

Right now I have ZERO faith that I’ll ever be happy in a loving relationship.

I need to be brave now. I’m trying to be brave.

I have identified that I have unhealthy coping and avoidance mechanisms, where I deny myself physical contact.

I’ve taken a bold step and I’m trying not to shut myself away from the world. I’m trying to be more sociable but it’s so hard.

Im finding that spending time with people, even friends – is either boring or emotionally exhausting.

All things considered I know it will be sometime before I can embrace a new relationship – but I can take baby steps.

I am taking baby steps.

My weekend away has shown me that maybe I should start “seeing” someone regularly, BUT there are so many caveats to this.

First of all it would need to be very clear that I would not be looking for anything serious right now.

In my case of being Autistic, having PTSD and recovering from an abusive relationship – I think I’m asking for too much.

He needs to be laid back, reliable and predictable. I need to be in control of the pace and he can’t make and any emotional or sexual demands from me.

So, last weekend was major milestone in my recovery – but I still have ways to go when it comes to intimacy and relationships.

Life update: cuddles n stuff

Just a quick update as I haven’t been posting much lately.

Home

Leo is settling in nicely. He’s so affectionate, sleeps beside me at night and follows me around the house. It’s so endearing.

He’s looking really well, much better since he was first rescued. I’ve spent lots of time grooming and pampering him. I had to buy some interesting contraptions that deal with long hair and managed to get all the knots and dreads out. He’s so beautiful.

For some reason he has gone off wet food. I’ve now tried every “high quality” veterinary brand available and he seems to prefer the dry food. Very confusing, but he’s is eating lots, drinking lots of water and looks happy so I’ll try not to obsess about it.

Work

I had a serious wobbler at work on Friday, sent some angry emails, etc. It was not as bad as it could have been but I felt so sad / angry / frustrated that I was close to packing it all in. If you read my last post then this wouldn’t be surprising to you…I was definitely ready to burst.

I’m glad that there was a couple of days build-up and I didn’t just “snap”. I was passive aggressive as fuck which is perversely, preferable in a corporate environment. 

What else can I say. I was in a bit of a state but I don’t really want to write about it just now because I’ll get upset again.

I know I need to find a way to address some things that are bothering me, but I probably won’t. Not in a healthy way – it will escalate and I’ll have to be forced before I can have those difficult conversations with people.

For now I’m going to bury my head in the sand and wait to be pushed.

Social Life

I’m still not feeling particularly sociable moment. I have a select few trusted people that I want to be around. Everyone else seems like hard work at the moment, particularly those who are opinionated or come with their own issues that they want to project on to me. I just don’t have the energy for any kind of toxic bullshit at the moment.

Love Life

Non-existent.

I decided not to go on that “third date” because something didn’t sit right with me. He has since informed me that he’s found my blog, made a weird comment implying I have gender privilege because I can talk about being a victim of domestic abuse.

Having seen a couple of passive aggressive posts and hashtags on Instagram, (presumably because I don’t want to see him again), I think I might have dodged some kind of bullet there.

Not that I’m losing sleep over this but I’m really fucking tetchy right now but if I’m honest, it doesn’t take much for me to feel harassed.

Moving on!

So, I’m not officially dating anyone but I’m getting plenty of affection from the opposite sex. I’ve taken the next step in my recovery and allowed myself some intimacy with a few people that I trust.

I’ve said this before, I’m incredibly lucky for all the lovely gentlemen in my life, for all the ways they have helped me whilst I’ve been at my lowest.

I have amazing bonds with most of my exes and a few of them have been taking care of me since leaving my abusive relationship. For those that are geographically close to me, we’ve been able to spend quality time together…no agenda, a home cooked meal, cuddles and kisses on the sofa. I’ve felt cared for and safe enough to fall asleep in their arms.

I can’t think of anything more tender and healing than this. Exactly what I need right now and I’m so grateful. I’m more than happy with how things are at the moment.

Of course I want nothing more than to fall madly in love with someone amazing…but I’ve accepted that healing from domestic abuse will be a long and painful journey.

I’m in a much better place and I can afford to be patient with myself.

Hobbies n Activities

I’m appreciating my freedom and how I don’t have to ask for persmission to do the things that I love.

I’ve had a action filled bank holiday weekend full of surfing, hiking and managed to squeeze in a bike ride in the forest. 

I really can’t complain.

I’m not gaming as much now that the weather has improved but last weekend I did buy the DLC for The Division 2 and spent a whole day gaming (which was amazing).

Health and Well-being

My overall health and well-being is improving. My energy levels are good and with the warmer weather I’m getting outdoors to do lots of fun stuff.

I am still not eating well or cooking proper meals for myself. Unless someone else feeds me I will just resort to microwave meals, cerials, nuts fruit and tinned soup.

It doesn’t sound so bad but the reason it pains me is because I have never lived on microwaves meals before. It’s just not me – I am half Iranian and was brought up to cook my meals from scratch. if I find the motivation to eat well and cook for myself again then I’ll feel more like myself. My routines will be back to where they were before the abuse started. Before my system of living was taken away from me. 

To conclude, I’m okay right now, things are “up and down”.

I am still trying to find my way back to normality.

I know there’s some difficult times ahead with work and my PTSD. I’m very much reliant on my support network but I’m feeling hopeful, and that’s the best I can do right now.

I can’t procrastinate this weekend

Here in the UK it is officially “May-day” bank holiday weekend. I have had to cancel my camping trip so I can deal with everything that I have neglected at home. I haven’t been keeping up with any housework and there is a mountain of odd jobs that I have been putting off since January.

I still haven’t build the Ikea furniture to replace what my ex smashed up over Xmas and New Year.

The biggest motivator for me now is that someone will be visiting my house to make sure I am worthy of adopting a rescue cat (i.e. I am not a complete savage and there are no other pets in the household).

The lady from the cat rescue charity will visit 1pm on Monday and I don’t want her to see my house in this state. I look around and this not who I am but I haven’t had the strength or will to keep on top of things.

So anyways, I am going to do it this weekend and have put together a massive to do list to finish for before she arrives.

Here’s my to do list:

  • Build ikea wardrobe and drawers (to replace what my ex smashed up)
  • Clear the front driveway of weeds and rubbish
  • Clear the back garden of weeds and rubbish
  • Remove mould and mildew from the bathroom ceiling and tiles
  • Deep clean and vacumm the rest of the house
  • Take all waste (including broken furniture) to the recycling center / local skip

Someone has offered to help me with building the Ikea stuff. This is the guy I went on a couple of dates with. I told him why I have cancelled my camping trip this weekend and since then he has become determined to, in his own words, be “alpha male” and just come over and help me.

I’ve turned down his offer. I have been truthful about it and my reasoning is, my ex is the reason why my life has ended up in such a mess and I should really fix it myself.

It doesn’t feel right for me to let another man, a man who I hardly know – swoop-in and clean up the mess left by the shit-head that abused me.

I am so overwhelmed by how much I need to get done this weekend but I need to take my power back.

I need to do this alone.

 

 

Under Pressure

The creepy mug has been retired and I bought a new one.

I was on a date last night. It went well but I am pretty sure I was crap company because of how tired I was. I am under a lot of pressure at work. Aside from the tiredness, I found myself talking shop a few times and I made myself cringe.

For me, this entire month of May will be one of the busiest and most tiring months. But this was by design and I don’t deserve any sympathy.

I did it to myself.

I am heading up a number of high profile technology projects that involve changing the way the company operates. There is a lot at stake.

My last 3 years of employment was spent planning what exactly needs to happen this year. I have been engineering and shaping the environment and getting all of my proverbial “ducks in a row”, before being able to start the work.

The project deadlines are aggressive. I will have to drive the projects, lead the people, steer the meetings, manage expectations and argue the toss with other decision makers, every step of the way. This is also by design.

I have a really intelligent boss who is supportive but my team is incomplete. The projects have started but people have jumped ship, so I am still recruiting and adding new people to the team. I have had to take massive risks to keep things moving.

I need to finish what I started and I can’t fuck it up.

I am now in a state of paranoia and obsessing over ways I could fuck things up. I need to find ways to offload some of the pressure and at the very least, not create new problems for myself.

Not fucking up equals working harder.

I need to be prepared to work longer hours and sacrifice my social life. I am asking myself if I should even be dating anyone at the moment. I can only be partially invested in starting a new relationship and don’t know if it is wise to start something that I can’t maintain.

Not fucking up equals staying SAFE, in every sense of the word.

The elephant in the room is my PTSD and whether or not I should even be dating whilst still in recovery from domestic abuse. Can I trust myself to make better decisions and keep myself safe?

Don’t get me wrong – going on dates has been a massive milestone in my recovery journey. I feel much better than I did when I started the blog but I am still a shadow of my former self. I am still scared of men.

These projects have been 3 years in the making but I did not plan to start my projects whilst smack-bang in the middle of the most traumatic phase of my adult life.

Not fucking up equals, being scared but not showing it.

What makes all of this worse is the years of trying to earn credibility at work going down the drain. My boss and many of my colleagues know about the abuse. He made sure of that when he sent an angry email to my colleagues.

They know what he is, that he is known to the police as a danger to women. They also know I was too scared to bring him to justice and I dropped the charges.

Everyone has been supportive but the inevitable consequence of his actions is how they now perceive me.

Knowing what they know, how can they not think that I am damaged and incapable of handling the challenges ahead of us this year.

No wonder my boss has been pissed off with me. I feel like he is concerned and all this is causing him stress. Or was he? Am I just paranoid? I don’t know.

I can’t stop obsessing about this stuff.

I have to be focused. I can’t make mistakes. Everyone is watching me now.

Shit it’s 7pm and I am still at the office.

I wanted to jump to my death

Towards the end of the relationship I had thoughts about killing myself. This was the first time in over a decade that something like this had crossed my mind.

My brother and his wife asked me to organise a 7 day trip for the four of us to stay in a cottage, somewhere rugged and beautiful.

As I sifted through the hundreds of properties on AirBnB, some of them had some pictures of the surrounding landscape so I could visualise the experience. The property we went for is coastal and the listing included gorgeous pictures of the nearby beaches and cliffs.

I started imagining the inevitable that either one of us, myself or my brother or his wife would end up pushing his buttons and the trip would turn sour. I imagined a scenario whereby after an awkward confrontation, he and I would have to go outside for a “time out”. We find ourselves walking along one of the nearby cliff edges. My thoughts then moved on to the tears and feelings of despair that he’s upset my family and there would be no way of reconciling. I imagined how I would feel if this happened. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself so there was no option other than for me to die so I jumped off the cliff.

I was suddenly fantasizing about suicide which absolutely terrified me. I told him about it – not fully – just the jumping part.

He didn’t bat an eyelid.

At the time, I think I told myself that perhaps he thought I was lying or something…I don’t know. When I think about it now, about his blank stare, I try to remember if there was ever a time he showed any kind of genuine regard or concern for me. I tried to remember any relevant facial expressions, body language or words. I am finding it difficult, he rarely ever made eye contact with me.

I always ached for him to look into my eyes so I could see that he loved me but he wouldn’t.

I do however remember some actions that showed me he really cared – on a couple of occasions, when I was sick.

There was one time when I was really sick with a nasty nasty cold. I was in so much pain and I started weeping. He immediately stood up, put his shoes on and drove to the shop and returned with a bag full of medication, vitamins and chocolate. I saw the shopping and wept even harder, this time from gratitude. The fact that he did something utterly caring and nurturing for was something I craved so badly and in that moment it was there.

The time before that I was sick with a UTI and he behaved in a similar way. It was when I was at my weakest physically that he really showed up for me. He was tender and he genuinely made me feel protected, looked after, like he really did loved me.

I miss that guy.

Nearly two months on from the breakup and my feelings about him are still so very complex. At night my dreams about him are sweet and loving but during the day the intrusive thoughts run wild with his nasty words, the mindgames, manipulations, his unpredictable outbursts.

My complex feelings are confusing and draining my energy. I’m so tired.

How is it possible that the traumatic events are persistently and uncontrollably playing back in my mind, yet-a big part of me is still deeply in love with him?

Why does that part of me see nothing wrong with letting him tear down my world, until the only thing left for me to do is to take my own life?