Trauma bonded

The GP prescribed me Propanolol to help with the anxiety.

My counselling session on Friday was a very difficult one.

I’ve reaslised that I have become extremely hyper vigilant around men. I explained to my therapist how how the subtle displays of aggression from men leaves me feeling anxious and paranoid. They advised that I am experiencing the effects of trauma and it can come and go like waves.

I have been really out of sorts and I feel like I am unraveling. Intrusive
thoughts, anxiety and bouts of depression. Some days are okay. Work and gaming
are useful distractions. But then some days I am completely disoriented or
crying like the drop of a hat.

I was with my brother and his wife this weekend. We went to see the new Dumbo movie which was my favourite Disney cartoon when I was a child. I pretty much cried from start to finish. My sister in law was like, “I don’t understand why you were crying all the time”. It was her birthday and I was really struggling to keep my shit together.

I must have been terrible company. I only had one bottle of Corona, hardly touched my pizza, cried for approx 180 mins and walked out of the cinema with mascara and eyeliner all over my face. I didn’t even realise how bad I looked until we arrived back at my brothers house and I was handed a baby wipe so I could clean up.

I thought about him a lot during my drive back home – nothing in particular, just random memories rushing through my mind. At one point I did think about how I would spoon him and fall asleep (I was the big spoon), and then my mind wandered to the night he smashed my bedroom furniture. That was last year, the 16th of December. I know the date because recorded that incident.

The recording of the 11th of January is a from another incident. I think that was the time he smashed my TV and went AWOL for a week. I am not sure – I can’t remember exactly, I don’t want to listen to it.

On my drive home, I wondered if I would ever have the courage to listen to the recordings again. I thought about what it would be like to publish his emails and the recordings online and to disclose his identity so that his blog readership could see that he was a danger to women. But no, I wouldn’t dare do that.

I then thought about all the ways he can get revenge on me. He made it very clear to me that he gets revenge on if anyone who fucks with him.

If he wanted to hurt me himself, the easiest thing he could do would be to hack me. He even gloats about it on his blog, claiming that it would be very hard for him to resist doing this to anyone who pisses him off. It’s worth mentioning that he wrote that blog post the same week that the police removed him from my life. But he didn’t have to warn me off – he had already secured my silence before writing that post. I had already told the police that I was too scared to charge him because of what he might do.

He could do a lot worse than hack me.

He joked a couple of times about setting my car on fire if we broke up. He buys his drugs from the dark web and one evening he showed me this “services” area where you can pay for people to do bad things for you.

He made a big deal about all the ways which earning lots of money is advantageous due to the power it would give him specifically.

We were watching the American Crime series about the OJ trial and he said: “This is why I am going to be rich baby. Money buys you good lawers…you can get away with anything”.

He isn’t OJ-rich at the moment but he does earn a lot of money and has a pattern of spending it impulsively on whatever he wants in the moment.

I will keep my mouth shut.

I wish I could stop thinking about him…erase everything from my mind.

So this is what PTSD feels like.

I’ve been summoned by the law

A pink letter from Queenie, summoning me for Jury Service – again. A bit strange because I did Jury Service less than three years ago.

I got a feeling of dread when I saw it.

I really can’t cope with anything like this right now. If opening the summons letter triggered me, how can I deal with listening to a victim’s statement?

I couldn’t even go through with charging my ex. The police told me it was time to nip it in the bud. They knew about him and they disclosed to me that he had done this before. With one of his victims, his method’s to control and abuse her were creepily identical. She was much like me – was braver than me and was able to get a non-molestation order against him. I am absolutely terrified about what he might do to me if I did anything like that. The thought of having to speak in court with him there, still makes me feel sick to my stomach.

There is just no way I can willingly set foot in court right now but I am ashamed to say that I might not have any choice in the matter.

I have had another letter from the law this week , a Notice of Intended Prosecution for driving over the speed limit. I am really disappointed with myself. I have a clean lifestyle, don’t take drugs and not even much of a drinker. Driving safely is important to me because I was hit by a car when I was 7 years old. It took me till I was in my 30s to get a driving license because I was terrified of driving.

That night I was on my way home from my brothers house so I know that route really well. I have done a lot of long distance driving since the breakup. At times I just don’t feel safe on my own so I have been driving long distances, either to my brothers house or to the countryside somewhere – anywhere that is far away from my home.

I’ve been slowly drowning since the moment the police took him away. I’m trying so hard to pick up the pieces but it feels like I can’t even cope with basic adulting.

I still haven’t sorted out the replacement furniture that he destroyed. There are big IKEA boxes in my hallway and it tears me up every time I see them, yet I don’t have the strength or will to do anything about it.

I can’t even trust myself driving now.

He’s done a real number on me. He isn’t even in my life anymore but is still destroying me, my material world, my security and my independence.

I better stop writing soon. I need to post my response to this Notice of Prosecution, and then wait however long to find out how I will be punished.

I need to get my life back on track.

 

“But you’re such a strong woman…” – Part 1

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The silhouette in this picture is me, back in 2014 when I was a bodybuilder.

Shortly after my breakup which was less than 2 months ago, I found myself having to disclose to colleagues that I had left an abusive relationship – and I was being looked after by the police and women’s aid.

The reason being is that on the night after the police removed him from my house, he sent me a very angry email and copied-in a number of my colleagues.

In his words: “I have taken the liberty of copying in your colleagues, so they can see what kind of character you are.”

You will be wondering how he got their emails in the first place, as did I. It came to me the next morning – once I got over the initial shock of it. I remembered that towards the end of the relationship, he was very disapproving about my various social and networking engagements.

One of the rules he put in place was that I was to give him three weeks’ notice if I wanted to arrange anything and he set up a shared calendar. I tried to make it work.

There was a series of work-related events that was going to happen outside of office hours. I was worried about not being able to give him 3 weeks’ notice of this, so I forwarded him an email thread where colleagues and senior management were in discussions. I did this to appease him and let him see the evidence that the date was never in my control.

The email thread included email addresses of my colleagues in HR as well as colleagues who are responsible for Community Safety (ironically their remit is to support of victims of domestic abuse).

Naturally, when colleagues received this angry email they took action. I was immediately contacted by the head of HR who provided all the reassurance I needed at the time. I took a week off work and when I returned they arranged for me to see a therapist. My therapist is amazing.

I am so grateful to for the support of my employer. I chose to work in the not for profit sector, partially because of my values and also because it is a good move for someone with my challenges and vulnerabilities. However, I didn’t ever anticipate needing this kind of support and understanding from an employer – and they really showed up for me.

So this is how I ended up disclosing details of the relationship to colleagues. A few of them took me out for coffee as they wanted to know more. They asked things like where I met him and was I ever beaten and how did it escalate so quickly in such a short space of time.  

BTW – he didn’t beat me, but he did hold my face down on the bed and threaten to punch me.

The two phrases that has consistently come up has been:

“this really surprises me” and

“but… you are such a strong woman!”

Each time I have been stumped. I don’t know how to respond to these comments.

Are they saying something about me? Is there a deficiency on my part that I ended up here? Do I project a false image to people? I don’t have a filter. I am autistic and have ADHD so I am not very good at masks or pretending I’m something I’m not.

Or, is this about him? It is that he is so clever and calculated, that he can make a “strong woman” fall in love with him, and then take the liberty of hurting her and destroying her world? This is my therapists theory.

I think it does say something about how people’s perceptions on the matter is limited, and somewhat one dimensional. Is it reasonable to conclude that the majority of people think that victims of abuse, coercive and controlling behaviours – are weak?

I am still trying to understand and process people’s reactions. There is still work to be done on this.

There will be a part two.

Routines make me feel safe

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This morning I was very nearly late for my PT session. I train with my PT on the same days each week at 6am, like clockwork.

I’m autistic and I like routines. Routines make me feel safe.

For a while I stopped my morning routine of getting up about 5/5:30am to train. The reason being was that my ex didn’t want his sleep to be disturbed and so I wasn’t allowed to set my alarm earlier than his.

So I changed my routine to train in the evenings after work – which is absolute carnage. If you are a neuro-typical gym goer then you will understand what it’s like to have to wait for equipment and suchlike. On top of all that hassle, there’s how it affects my Autism. I find it really disconcerting when there’s lots of people in the gym. The noise, the atmosphere – it’s really draining and by the end of it I want to go home and sit in a dark room. My head is thumping and my ears are ringing and my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

Training in the mornings is so lovely. It’s quiet, relaxing and actually, a kind of “escape” from the monotony of life.

Also, waking up and having to go straight to work is somewhat depressing. And I found that having a few hours in the morning for myself, for training and self care really works for me. I gave that up for him-for short time, but long enough for it to have an impact on me.

He has been out of my life for nearly a month and a half, but my body clock is still off. I know this because I really struggled this morning. I set about 10 alarms and I’m pretty sure I slept through most of them. My eyes opened at 5:40, I jumped out of bed, threw some clothes on and jumped in the car – arrived at the gym ready to be beasted by exactly 6am.

I have to say that I was impressed by that myself but couldn’t help notice another thing that is “off” with me at the moment. I noticed how painfully guilty I felt about sleeping through my alarms, letting them ring out.

He is now completely irrelevant yet, I still felt a moment of dread this morning. It was as if he was right there, in my bed with me. I imagined him quietly seething about my lack of consideration and I would have to face the consequences of that.

So yeah theres clearly a fair amount of residual, unhealthy doctrine from the past that I need to let go of. But letting go is going to be hard for me.

After-all, I am autistic and I like routines. Routines make me feel safe.

Who even reads blogs anymore?

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I am still at work, its been a long day. I have had too much caffeine which is a terrible idea for my ADHD. I’ve been loud, anxious and extremely hyper all day but I’ve decided to forgive myself and use the wired-ness to finally start my blog.

Before I get stuck in, I should credit my ex-boyfriend. A self-professed tortured soul (among other things) and a blogger who, considering I only knew him for 3 months, made a significant impact on my life.

I once angrily said to him, “who even reads blogs anymore”. I was upset about something he wrote. I honestly can’t remember what he wrote that upset me but when I confronted him about it he accused me of being jealous of his blog (and his followers) so that was my response.

There’s a saying that “you don’t meet people by accident. There’s always a reason. A lesson or a blessing.”

I am not ready to talk about that relationship yet. I will say that it was abusive but I am safe-ish and getting the help and support I need. I will open up in time.

It was suggested that I have Stockholm syndrome which I have considered. But I think I am starting this blog as a form of therapy and maybe there’s a sprinkling of poetic justice in there somewhere.

I don’t know but its an adventure and I’d like to see where it goes.