Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Beginning to recover

I was married to a man for 15 years- the first few years we had a healthy sexual relationship. But he became increasingly controlling, verbally abusive, demeaning, financially withholding... and I shut down emotionally and sexually. I also had endometriosis which caused chronic pain. He became hostile, put me down for every little thing he could imagine. He manipulated me through guilt, threats to leave, ongoing demeaning treatment. I was fearful to leave because I had no income soiurce, little kids, virtuallly no belief that I could ever manage on my own. I stayed with man I hated. I urged him to seek out other ways to get his sexual needs met. He was mortified. He said that this is my job. He not only complained non-stop about his needs never being met.... he began regularly demanded anal sex , no concern for the pain it caused me. He would often wake me up early, pushing himself on me... I often laid there frozen, wondering which was worse. If I gave in, I suffered emotional and physical pain , the need to go to another another place In my head to tolerate the pain. If I refused, it t was a long process of him belittling me, pressuring me, and ended with a long lecture about how I'm doing everything wrong, and he is deserving of sex because he supports me financially. If I ultimately got out of it, I suffered days of increasing hostility, rage, belittling of me as a mom, wife, person. I finally set a limit on that sex act- but then his demands became the most painful positions for me- with my endo. Alternatively if I didn't comply, he "settled" for oral sex that became increasingly painful, violent. A few days after dental surgery he forced oral sex, complaining all the time that I was never happy to perform. He said this ruined it for him. I hit a wall on my birthday a while back- I didn't want any party because I had absolutely nothing to celebrate. I was socially isolated, depressed, traumatized, and had no confidence that I could leave him. I began therapy and saw a lawyer around the same time. It has been about 18 months since I filed. A long expensive divorce added to the trauma and fearfulness for my future and the future of my kids. He was shocked and enraged that I filed. He tried to manipulate me into staying. He also acted surprised that the years of emotional and sexual abuse have caused me this much pain. I just had to slowly move forward knowing that I could no longer live that way.

I just started a part time job after being out of work for 8 years. I continue to struggle with nightmares, hypervigilance, isolating, lack of motivation, depression. I'm in treatment still. It's taking a long time to have a string of good days. Working reallly helps- it gets me focused on others and gets me out of my head. The political climate increases my feelings of rage towards narcisstic men who feel entitled to treat women as sexual objects. The U.S. is taking leaps backward in the fight for equal right for women...
I wonder if others are feeling re-traumatized by so many men getting away with abuse as well as people in power joke about taking advantage of women...


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