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 don’t know who to trust

I recently got involved with an adventure activity company. I have been on a few trips so far and I can sincerely say that they are a lovely bunch. I was asked by the owner to help out as a volunteer and in return I can come along to all of his events for free.

I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my life.

This is such good news for me because I don’t have many friends who enjoy outdoorsy activities. Normally I do things on my own which is risky and I am prone to taking unnecessary risks and getting lost. I have’t had anything awful happen (a couple of near misses) but this way, I will get to do what I love and meet new people, in a much safer environment.

As I spend more time with the group, I’ll be getting to know them better and at some point someone will want to know more about me. At some point some of the icky things about my life will come up in conversation. If they ask about my relationship status I’ll be struggling to find an answer that is authentic and appropriate.

I don’t want to talk about surviving domestic abuse, or how I’ve been spending my time with the various health professionals, victim support providers and the criminal justice system (which is taking up a lot of time and head space at the moment).

People are trying really hard to get to know me and I’m struggling to gloss over all the shit that I’m going through. It’s getting harder to avoid the icky topics, in a way that is kind and friendly.

Also I’m worried about “oversharing”. Ever since I can remember, people have pointed out that when I get talking about myself I tend to over-share, which is a bad thing. I am told that it can be inappropriate or awkward for other people.

Getting this feedback from people is really embarrassing for me.

Oversharing also leaves me vulnerable, I’ve been told.

Apparently I have weak boundaries.

It is common knowledge that over-sharing of personal information is a classic ADHD thing (AKA impulse control issues). And we know that for people on the Autism spectrum, it’s down to having under-developed social skills.

So as an Autistic ADHDer, it is extra difficult for me to say the right things at the right time. I’m high functioning and reasonably self-aware, so I’ve found ways to rein it in, but it takes ALOT of effort and only works to a point.

It is much easier if I just avoid talking about myself. The best way I can describe how I do this is, I build this invisible wall around me and I don’t open up to anyone outside the wall. This feels safe but it doesn’t really work because once the seal is broken then all the icky stuff pours out and I don’t know where to draw the line.

I’m not sure what is “too much information”.

In my current place of work, it took me about a year to have an honest conversation about my personal life with my colleagues. It was a really big deal to them that I opened up finally. Now I wish I hadn’t shared some things because people use your icky stuff to make fun of you.

“We know all about your track record with men, ha ha ha!”

It really hurts when they do that – but they tell you it’s harmless fun. But it still hurts.

I have to say that as I get older, I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable talking about myself to strangers. It’s even worse when someone shows a genuine interest in me. If someone I don’t know starts asking personal questions I actually find myself freaking out a bit.

I know, in theory, that there is a balance to be had – especially with people that you work with.

I say too much. I don’t say enough.

I just can’t get the balance right. I don’t know how to be social and share little bits about myself in a way that’s friendly and appropriate (i.e. how humans should behave).

On the other extreme, if I really like the person (which equates to, we have similar traits and vulnerabilities) then I will open them straight away – usually because I want to make them feel understood, accepted and supported.

Usually it’s because I want to help.

I know, in theory about bad people masked as victims or tortured souls.

I know in theory, that I shouldn’t open up and trust people, purely on the basis that they are nice to me.

The reality is, I don’t have any reliable measures to keep myself safe. I don’t know who to trust.

I let the wrong ones in.

I don’t know how to fix this.