A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

Archive for the ‘abuse’ Category

Tres Corazones Después Año

leave a comment »

A lot of people feel grouchy about Valentine’s Day and I get it, I really do. I have not always been happy about love, nor have I always had good relationships. Plus, in a capitalist, oppressive, heteronormative culture, holidays like Valentine’s Day can feel like just another obnoxious reason people are trying to get you to buy things…

However, I am seriously into love, celebration, and giving.

For a winter holiday present (or, I suppose you could say. a Christmas gift) in 2013, I made both Matt and Marco a zine, The 3 of Us. For Valentine’s Day, or The Infamous Love Day, I also handmade them a little surprise…

Last year, just before The Infamous Love Day, two of my partners, Matt and Marco had just moved into an apartment together, becoming more than metamours, now they were housemates. I was so thrilled that these two dudes loved me and were confidant and close enough not to be bothered by the expectations that society puts on them. To not view each other as competition, to not be worried that people will think they’re gay, but to think highly of each other and value each other as friends on a deep level, so much so that they decided to become housemates. To celebrate The Infamous Love Day, I wanted to delight in the the space they were sharing and make them both feel special and appreciated. So, I made a lot of little paper hearts. On sparkly construction paper,  writing on each one some quality that I loved about one of them and I hid them all over their new space!

lotsofheart mattmarcohearts

A year later, I find myself sharing that same space with them. To me, this was a really big deal. I have only had two experiences living with partners and neither were very good. One was when I was 19, the other when I was 26, and it was an incredibly abusive and unhealthy situation with Andy Johnson. I found myself staying with the family I nannied for as a safety caution while waiting until Andy moved out of the house I lived in. So, a commitment I have had to myself since then was that I would NOT live with another partner again unless I was moving in with more than one partner. I felt this way partially because a big component of that ex’s abuse was his jealousy. The first time he assaulted me, he was blackout drunk and he had come to where I was on a date to confront me. Because he agreed to have an ethically non monogamous relationship with me and I am super into openness/honesty,   he knew exactly where I was. After making a scene in the bar, he followed me outside,  pushing me against a wall to yell at me about the mistakes I was making. From there, during the relationship, his jealousy only got worse and more hateful and more destructive. Being in a relationship like that can really eat away at your trust with yourself, so I felt like making the commitment that I wouldn’t move in with another partner unless it was multiple partners was important for two reasons. The first reason being that, ultimately, I want to live in a poly-family type of household, so why make a big commitment like moving in with anyone unless they share that value? Secondly, I don’t want to be with anyone violently jealous again, and making the commitment to move in with me and another partner of mine (hopefully) would mean that the potential partners I would be moving in with would not be violent (much less violently jealous). If one of them turned out to be, at least I would have a closer witness this time (though a few people got to witness Andy’s violent abuse despite not living with us).  The thing about having been with an abusive partner is that there remains with you a doubt in your own judgement. Even when a relationship seems great, I still feel worried in the back of my mind that everything will fall apart at any moment.

While we’ve had our own hurdles to clear the last year, I really feel like my home is with Matt and Marco. We find ourselves gardening together, building a couch together, planning our futures, working on an autobio poly comic, working on an empowerment app, and more. I feel this space and that my relationship with the two of them is really constructive. This mix I’ve made for them is an attempt at capturing our feelings and journey over the last year as a story that is told as a mix… <3

Tres Corazones Después Año: A Love Day Mix for Matt and Marco – https://db.tt/3GtjD8iX  (it’s one mp3 file, because I seriously mixed it y’all)

1. I Feel It In My Heart – Talking Heads
2. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
3. Joan Of Arc – Arcade Fire
4. Love Is Dangerous – French Horn Rebellion
5. Sweaty (Shazam Remix) – Muscles
6. Mommy Complex – Peaches
7. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem
8. Myth – Beach House
9. Good Intent – Kimbra
10. Forever – HAIM
11. The Reason The Night Is Long – Rainer Maria
12. Step Up – Hercules
13. Little Shadow – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
15. This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
16. You’ll Find A Way – Santigold
17. Vaporize – Broken Bells
18. I Don’t Know What The Weather Will Be – Laura Mvula
19. The Good Thing – Talking Heads

Teachers are so important.

leave a comment »

I just wanted to share this beautiful story I read, linked to by my friend and former PZS organizer, Doug… http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/05/a_portland_teachers_gift_chang.html#incart_river

As someone who had neglectful parents and felt lost in the world growing up and moving around a lot, a had a few amazing teachers that helped motivate and support me to get through it. I had three different science teachers that were women I bonded with (and even built a wetland with at one high school to filter the campus water, this is why I originally wanted to study biology), as well as some great English and Spanish teachers (again, all women) that kept me in love with the language which also got me into comics and zines. They gave me something I didn’t have at home: positive, female role-models who cared about me in healthy and empowering ways. Women who encouraged my intellect and also helped me get help to get out of my bad home environment.

I believe that is why I am so passionate about teaching and community organizing now. It’s a damn shame we don’t pay our teachers more. It’s also a damn shame that we don’t all work to take care and support each other more. To see when someone is vulnerable and empower them, those are very lasting and radical actions in a divisive and painful world.

Written by lovemotionstory

May 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

This Post Is A Thank You Letter

leave a comment »

The previous situation I wrote about in my last entry has been resolved because the partner clarified that they could no longer commit to the kind of polyamorous situation I was interested in.

There was an incredible lack of accountability on the partner’s end for dishonoring the agreements we’d made and the partner and their other partner were really upset with me for talking about what was making me unhappy (ugh, huge red flags) with other people. I broke off the relationship and the friendship doesn’t exist until that person is willing to understand all the boundaries that they crossed and take responsibility for that.

There are a lot more messed up details about the breaking off of the rather short love affair, of course, aspects of this person’s problem personality that became abundantly clear during this conflict, but I am not going to get into detailing them all because it would just be a waste of energy. It’s, thankfully, over.

And, honestly, I am really proud of myself for terminating the relationship as soon as I did, considering my track record on enabling people I fall in love with who have poor boundaries and problem behaviors. I think a large part of it was that it was so much easier to see what was problematic because I also had two other relationships going on that were sailing soooo much more smooooothly. In the wake of it, things with Matt and Marco have progressed remarkably. In all the time I have been seeing Matt, we haven’t had any serious disagreements. This is also true of Marco. Both of them seem to genuinely love every part of who I am, even the loud part that tells people sitting near us in a restaurant that they are saying racially insensitive things. Even asking that guy I broke up with in December to leave my best friend’s party because he was making me uncomfortable (seriously, he had only met my best friend 3 times before and then showed up at her party right after our breakup). And they were really nice and respectful about it, being supportive and solid, but also diplomatic toward him.

I keep joking about pinching myself to make sure I am not dreaming just because my relationship with each of them is so easy. There is then the fact that they get along so wonderfully that the three of us have often been spending 3 or 4 evenings a week together, just hanging out and having fun… Working on projects, going to shows (like my friend Michael’s awesome reading/show at Backspace), hitting up events (like the IPRC volunteer party or BFF Katy‘s holiday party or AmaZine Day), celebrating holidays together (my birthday or Christmas or NYE), traveling together (we took a roadtrip to the coast with my housemates and we’re going to Seattle for ECCC because  Matt’s tabling there), having potlucks or just making dinner.

It’s a challenging thing, learning how to have healthy relationships in our society. Hardships, difficulties, and unhealthy behaviors are romanticized in mainstream media. It’s even more challenging if you are poly, where healthy relationship models are almost impossible to come by…

In fact, I should take this opportunity to thank some people I know who have been healthy role models for me and probably don’t realize it (or won’t until I sent one of them a link to this). I know a few poly people who are married that have served as important influences on me, for both what to NOT do and for examples of what works… From their examples, I have grown to realize more and more over the years of what kind of poly relationships I want in my life.

One big influence that I have had is a friend who is a little bit older than me. That person is among two married couples who have been dating each other for something like 15 years and that person has kids with their spouse (the kids are teens now) and they all live together in a big house in SW Portland. They date outside that group, but seeing how they are able to balance freedom to love with commitment to each other and responsibility was a huge inspiration to me a couple years ago when I first met them. This is because it helped me feel more hopeful about the kinds of relationships I want. Committed poly relationships with solid people who date responsibly while also taking joy in the life they have built together.

Another big influence has been some nerdy, peripheral acquaintance-almost-friends I made 7 or 8 years ago. People I sometimes see at board game nights, or pie parties, or just randomly around Portland (because Portland is, like, totally small). One even shared a boss with me, I think, working in tech with a dad I nannied for a long while back). These people I always shared great conversations with when I did see them, but I never got into hanging out with regularly. Perhaps if I had, I would have a much better support network. But even knowing them peripherally, their kindness, and vaguely knowing they were some kind of non monogamy-practicing people.

It was validation that there were other younger, nerdy people who were thinking hard about what kind of relationships they were having and really trying them out while also seeming to get along well. It was a reminder that the relationships I was trying to have maybe weren’t hopeless.

That maybe there was a chance that there was some other nerd out there that I would click with and who would be really awesome toward me. That maybe there was someone, or even a few someones,  that would love me without telling me to be quieter. That would love me without asking me why I bothered to care so much about this or that. Or that would love me without implying I was weird because I wanted to have more than one romantic relationship. (Yeah, I guess I have dated some real jerks.)

I want to thank those people, those influences, for being out and active in communities together. Just by being out there, having their positive relationships, they help pave the way for people like me. Younger people, less experienced in poly, seeking guidance and seeking hope.

Now, when I say healthy, that doesn’t mean flawless. I am sure that none of these people have been perfect, but that they were out there, trying to be ethical to each other and trying to have the relationships that they really wanted.

And really, isn’t trying to be ethical while also being true to yourself the most healthy way you can be?

Now older and more experienced, I can imagine all that you might have had to go through to be out there, trying to be yourselves and trying to be known, because I was lucky enough to know you while figuring out similar things for myself. Now, I stand on more solid ground because you all gave me the idea that it was possible. It inspires me to keep being out there, being myself, caring for what I care for…

Thank you for being true to yourselves and for being so awesome.

So often I have thought, “Is what I want even possible?”

Trying non monogamy on and off for 8 years, being a gregarious, open person who actively dates, I have SO OFTEN had my relationships trivialized, dismissed, and demeaned.

In the worst situation I have been in, a couple years ago, I have even had a male friend of a partner excuse abusive behavior because of our polyamorous relationship when I sought advice on dealing with the stalking and abuse from a person who I thought was a friend to both that partner and myself. The context was me explaining to our mutual friend how that partner had shown up black-out drunk to a date that I was on with someone else (which he knew about because I had told him) and yelled about us to the whole bar, pursuing me outside and pushing me against a wall because he just wanted me to listen to him rant about how he understood that I needed to cheat because he was a cheater.  I was confused about everything, only three months into the mess, the partner had apologized profusely once sober, and I was debating taking him back. The friend excused the incident, saying, “Well, you know how hard it is for him to deal with the poly stuff.” I knew logically that it was awful and I should dump him, but I had gotten caught up with enabling. I had gotten caught up in wanting to be forgiving.

That’s just one really intense example out of years of well-meaning friends, not-so-well-meaning friends, acquaintances, employers, dates, lovers, and strangers making unsupportive remarks about my relationships and polyamory.

Like I said, it’s really challenging how to learn to have healthy relationships already, even if you’re just into monogamous relationships. A lot of media perpetuates really problematic views on how partners should treat each other, much less women. Doing anything slightly out of the norm can feel like navigating a tortuous labyrinth, blind-folded.

I am starting to feel like I have the blindfold off, I’ve disarmed the traps, and I made it through…

And I think I might be finally at the place where I am building a future with not just one partner, but two. It’s so wonderful.

Written by lovemotionstory

January 1, 2013 at 1:57 am

Accountability, Joe Biel, and Microcosm

leave a comment »

What I love about the zine community! Holding a person and a collective accountable for habitual abuse… http://heavymentaldistro.org/blog/open-letter-to-microcosm-publishing/ –  For those of you who ask why I don’t like Microcosm, here is a start for your reading and deciding for yourself. –

I have had several friends over the years ask me what the deal is with Joe Biel and Microcosm. Why don’t I like Microcosm? Should they participate in an anthology being put out by Microcosm or Joe? Should they have their zines sold by Microcosm? Does one guy really ruin it for everyone?

Well, maybe not for you, but, for me, yes.

When I first met Joe at a board game night about 8 years ago, I was just as charmed as most people are by him. This was despite the fact that he was as condescending as all get out, including making fun of me and saying I was a vegan poser because I went with my friends to Denny’s and ordered coffee. I didn’t take the remarks he made too seriously then, until I realized later that he can just be generally demeaning.  When I learned more about him from our interactions and from friends, including Alex Wrekk, I quickly became uncomfortable around him or anyone close to him. I don’t hate him, hate is too strong of a word… I just think he is boundary pushing, disrespectful, and probably emotionally abusive.

Probably that is, if any part of any story I had heard about his relationships was true, which I do believe many of the accounts I have heard to be true indeed. Of course, I heard about the complications of his relationship with Alex Wrekk first, but there were more beyond and past him, including a woman he as in relationship with after Alex who now tells a similar story as Alex’s about their relationship… As well as knowing the perspective of outside mediators that have tried to work with Alex and Joe. And also, knowing how he and Microcosm have related to other businesses and people whose work they publish and/or distribute.

It’s complicated to explain more about all of this in  blog post. I started writing this post as a much longer entry, but, ultimately, I don’t have time or energy right now. So I will post what I have told many friends over the years:

If you want to here a lot more details about all of this and my personal perspective, just give me a call or let’s have coffee. I will tell you what I know, how I feel and why…

Meanwhile, I will volunteer what I have said a few times, including what I told a lady friend who asked me recently over the phone about Joe Beil and Microcosm. I, personally, don’t feel comfortable with him or Microcosm for a variety of reasons, but I would not hold it against you or anyone else for deciding to participate in an anthology project or being distributed with them. You have my acceptance, I just don’t advise it because I think he and the collective are unethical and not accountable. I am not going to judge you for getting involved with them if you feel skeptical because you don’t have a first-hand experience of being treated unethically by Joe or Miscrocosm… And I hope you don’t. When I know a person or a company or a organization has behaved unethically, however, I try to steer clear of it. Unless, of course, I do see some real accountability on the person’s or company’s or organization’s part.

While I think Joe Biel is lame and the situation with Microcosm kind of sucks, I am glad for what I see in the wake of all of it: A community that calls out abuse and talks about it. A community that expects accountability in a respectful way. A community that doesn’t launch a witch-hunt, but does demand a dialogue about unethical practices and seeks a meaningful solution.

Thanks to all the zinesters that are brave about standing in solidarity against abuse and other unethical behavior. You are all rad.

Written by lovemotionstory

June 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Dealing with regular, public harassment.. You know, just because I am a “Bitch.”

with 3 comments

I want to let comedian friends know that, last night, Jon and I left the Suki’s open mic early because a man who has verbally harassed me and other women at the Boiler Room for *years* happened to be at Suki’s.

I kind of freaked out when I realized he was there because a few months ago, when he was being verbally harassing and demeaning toward me at the Boiler Room, after the open mic and during some fun karaoke, I made fun of him back, in the middle of the song I was singing. I basically said, “Look man, I have seen you for years here at the Boiler Room, harassing me and other women, drunkenly, being demeaning and hostile for in person, while also singing songs about slapping bitches and being gangster. Yet, here you are still, getting drunk alone and angry. Put two-and-two together and stop being angry at women, you’re drunk and alone because you’re a horrible person.” He proceeded to get very angry and try to escalate the situation further, making remarks about how I was dressed, saying I oughtta get slapped, etc. The bar staff asked us to both calm down and stop, but, the next week, when I wasn’t there approached Jon and asked him to tell his lady friend (me) not to be starting problems with people.

This was incredibly frustrating to both of us because… A) How has the bar staff, who sees this guy more often than I ever have, not realized that the issue is this guy’s aggressive and horrible personality? Well, maybe because he often directs it at women, but have they seriously missed every time that I have seen him being harassing, demeaning, and aggressive to their female customers? B) If they think I was the problem, why the heck are they talking to Jon about it? Because they perceive that he is my boyfriend? It makes him feel like he’s in the middle of it, when he’s not the one who even said the thing to the problem guy, I was, and in response to him harassing me.

So, last night, as Jon and I were at the bar to order a beer for him and a tea for me, I see this guy who I honestly and truly find scary, and I start feeling scared. I feel I should be tougher than that, but I was not at all imagining seeing this guy there, I tap Jon on the shoulder and exclaim something like, “This guy?! This guy is here, Jon! Crap, what is this guy doing here??” Admittedly, all while saying this, I was obviously pointing at him.

It’s our turn to order at the bar, so I turn to talk to the really nice and awesome bartender that usually works Suki’s on Tuesdays, during the open mic. My adrenalin is pumping, my heart is racing, so I decide to say something ahead of time, “Hey, just so you know, there is a guy here that has repeatedly verbally harassed me at another bar, as well as other women…” He asked who, I turn around behind me to point to the guy out, turn back around and say, “Can you just keep an eye out for him, because he is really aggressive and…”

Then I am interrupted by none other than the problem guy, who has walking up next to the bar on the stairs next to and just above me, and loudly announces something to the tune of, “Hey, these people,” pointing to Jon (standing behind me) and myself, “have a problem with me, but you just keep them away from me and we’ll be fine!” There was a quick back and forth in which I think the bartender and Jon try to tell him to go sit down, while I say something to the tune of “You’re are the person that has been consistently harassing me, dude.” He walks away then I try to order my drink, but, at this point I am shaking and tearing up. The bartender’s tone is uncomfortable and seems, to me, slightly apologetic as he asks what kind of tea I want…

After all this, Jon and I sat back down at our table, but I am past the point of feeling safe or comfortable enough to stay and I can’t seem to stop crying or shaking, probably just from the adrenalin. I go outside to try to collect myself, but I feel more freaked out before not, Jon isn’t sure what to do and tries to be present with me despite the fact that I am freaked out. When I finally calm down enough, Jon and I decide to leave, but not before I go back to the bar to tell the bouncer at the door of Suki’s (who has always seemed like a nice guy) that I am leaving because of that guy and to explain why.

The bouncer at Suki’s is really awesome about it. He says something along the lines of “I would hate to see you guys leave because of one guy, I can keep an eye on him if you want to try to stay,” as well as a few other supportive things. He seems to be caring and listening. I thank him and explain that I am already too upset to stay this time, but that what he is saying really helps and that I will probably feel safer and less surprised if I ever see him there again, so maybe I will be able to stay.

I think that part of why I got so scared was because I was not prepared to deal with this guy’s really aggressive bullying, I was completely caught off guard. I have been to the Boiler Room without further incident since the time that problem guy had gotten extra aggressive to me because I responded to his harassing remarks, but only because I go there if I am feeling strong enough to deal with ignoring any harassment throne my way.

Walking into Suki’s yesterday, I had just been having a lovely day with Jon, having gone to help the filming that at IPRC, then to Nerd Night to see friends, then planning on enjoying the Suki’s open mic. I had only mentally prepared myself to try to ignore the few ridiculously racist and sexist jokes that inevitably occur at comedy open mics (but that is another post entirely, isn’t it?), not full blown harassment directed at me.

I also wanted to point out that this problem guy’s harassment toward me started out as “complimentary.” He made remarks about me looking hot at the Boiler Room, made remarks about wanting to “do somethin’ with [my] ass,” and so on for the first handful of times. Each time I was dismissive, either through ignoring him or being like, “Uh, no.” Over time, he became more aggressive and more negative. The last occasion, when I really responded to his demeaning in length, he even suggested violence. Yet the bar staff/bouncers at Boiler Room acted as though I was the instigator. Perhaps they lacked the ongoing context, but the context of that night should have been enough, I think. Woman in the karaoke bar is singing, man says demeaning things, women stops singing to insult him back, man retaliates with further remarks including a statement of physical violence.

I fully know that, in his mind, I began insulting him when I did not respond favorably and appreciatively to his sexually harassing “compliments.” And, just for the sake of linking it, there was recently an astute article on cracked.com explaining at least 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women.  Like many cracked.com articles, however, it did not go on to discuss what you or other men can do about it. I hope that writing about a personal experience gets some men that I know thinking more about what it can feel like to be experiencing harassment, randomly or regularly, and what they can do about it.

It is frustrating to deal with harassing situations because, sometimes, it feels like being a woman means you have to put on armor (physical and/or emotional) before going somewhere or doing something or just being yourself. The things is, being a woman should not mean that you have to put on armor before going somewhere or doing something or just being yourself. 

The reality is that people should just be behaving better. No matter who you are talking to, what gender the person you are talking to is, and no matter what a person is wearing when you see them.

If you like to wear short skirts, you may find yourself thinking, “Should I put this on today, and I prepared to deal with catcalling?” I find myself thinking that, even though I know that social records and studies have shown that what you wear has nothing to do with whatever verbal harassment or sexual assault you may experience (http://www.voicesandfaces.org/rape.asphttp://pathwayscourses.samhsa.gov/vawp/vawp_supps_pg11.htmhttp://www.rainn.org/statisticshttp://www.stopstreetharassment.org/http://www.cwfefc.org/svfacts.htmlhttp://www.mencanstoprape.org/Resources/http://www.ncur20.com/presentations/14/1474/paper.pdf). The facts of the matter indicate that I am likely to encounter sexual harassment or assault just based on the fact that I am a woman. Yet, I still fight the urge to blame myself for how men treat me, fully knowing many facts about verbal harassment, sexual assault, and rape….

In case you don’t click on any of the above links, some potentially meaningful facts to think about regarding how unsafe it can feel to be a women in our society include:

– Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
– 4 out of 5 students (81%) have experienced some from of sexual harassment during their school years.
–  When asked, “Have you ever been harassed (such as verbal comments, honking, whistling, kissing noises, leering/staring, groping, stalking, attempted or achieved assault, etc) while in a public place like the street, on public transportation, or in a store?” Ninety-nine percent of the 225  respondents, which included some men, said they had been harassed at least a few times. Over 65 percent said they were harassed on at least a monthly basis.
– 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
– 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
– 1 out of 6 women have been victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
– Rapists are more likely to be a serial criminal than a serial rapist.

I wanted to share this because I felt embarrassed at reacting so negatively and needing to leave, though I know that I am not the one who should feel embarrassed, the harassing guy is the one who should feel embarrassed. The thing is, he probably will never understand that his behavior is not okay because he hangs out at places where people enable him to be a harassing and demeaning person or just have a blind eye to it (apparently, places like the Boiler Room) and  he probably doesn’t remember half of his behavior. I hope that talking about it might help create a safer environment through shared awareness.

When you are a person that has experienced violence in your life, especially from abusive men, it is harder to brush off a random guy at the bar who says things like “Bitch, you oughtta shut up before you get slapped…”  I hope that explaining this kind of horrible and behavior will help more men tune into how the men around them may be creating an unsafe environment for their female friends and how they may be enabling it… Or simply not noticing it because it’s not directed at them.

If you are a guy and you want to think more about how to be a good ally to women in the face of harassment, assault, and rape, consider checking out http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/male-allies/

And, think about some of these helpful intervention tips for males who want to be apart of the solution, not the problem: http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/male-allies/bystander-tips/

Here is a kind of cheesy-but-awesome video of how you can respond when you see other men making women uncomfortable….

Written by lovemotionstory

April 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm

It’s Not Like You Get Out And You’re Suddenly Just Magically Who You Used to Be

with one comment

Big sighs today. Just because you fall in love someone, doesn’t mean they can meet your emotional needs.

I am still healing from so much that new, unintentional, small wounds can seem insurmountable…

And, when hurt, however accidentally, I need a lot of action taken to heal, not just sweet words. Words are nice, but so easily faked… Which is how I got to this condition, being with someone who lied or false-promised too often. What action though? Gosh, I don’t even know, but things don’t feel okay now. Being this way makes me feel so high maintenance, but I guess that is just how it is when the l-word jumps in and you become fluid-bonded. Maybe I am still not ready and it doesn’t matter how nice everyone is or how much I want to trust them. My hurt is deepening because it’s like the other people involved just get to move on and I am stuck, my heart is frozen with fear because of a little accident. Well, to be fair to myself, a little accident right after some lack of sexual health awareness. I don’t want to be stuck, but words don’t seem to be enough to ease the pain of a boundary crossed and the feeling that something has been taken away from me, however accidentally.

I talked to my counselor about it yesterday, I talked to some poly friends about it today, I came to some more conclusions, but goddamn if everything isn’t a work in progress all the time.

Written by lovemotionstory

August 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Going there…

with 7 comments

So, I made a status update about my friends consoling me while I was crying… And how nice that was instead of being yelled at, because that was the main reaction of my primary partner for over a year. He would usually yell me when I started crying, turn any problem I was having around and say I was accusing him of something, then often he would leave and go drink most of the night.

His response was to make a public post about how nice it was to be with someone who didn’t slap him in the face.

I didn’t come out about the physical abuse in our relationship publicly because I was embarrassed and because part of me still want to protect him. I think I am done with those ideas.

The first time my ex shoved me in a violent and physically aggressive way was the same night he also showed up to a date I was on.. That he knew about because we had decided to go poly. We had decided to go poly because he had been lying to me about being in contact with an ex (the same ex he had cheated on his wife with, which helped end his marriage), I knew and I knew that he was lying about it. I should have broken up with him then and there. It was 3 months into our relationship. Instead, I started flirting with a guy, started lying to him about it. I confessed to him, he confessed to me. I told him that I wasn’t really made for monogamy and asked if he really thought he was, since he had a history of cheating. I told him that I would have probably cheated before if I hadn’t accepted that I wanted to be with more than one person and been open to polyamoury with some core values surrounding honesty and openness. So he agreed to try it and to try to be more honest, as did I.

Back to the date… He had been drinking all evening while I was on my date, feeling jealous, and decided to come where I had honestly told him I would be. I had been texting him throughout the date with updates, trying to reassure him and be open, but my phone had died. That had infuriated him, he though I was just ignoring him. When he got to the bar, he started yelling things to the whole bar, things like “Let me buy a whole roung for everyone, to celebrate the new love between Christina ‘Blue’ Crow and [guy I was with]…” I rushed out, crying, and he followed me. He grabbed at me, asked me to just listen, then finally shoved me against the brick wall until my date walked up. Then he tried to talk to my date, saying, “I understand, I have cheated before..” and so on. We left in a hurry to his car. I didn’t go home for days because I was too scared to. I felt like I was 14 and my drunk mom had show up at school “to take me dentist” all over again.

He apologized, he begged, he pleaded. Somehow, I convinced myself that I deserved it because I had lied to him initially about that relationship… Even though he was lying to me. And, you know, he had never treated me like before. Somehow I convinced myself that shoving and trapping me wasn’t the same as hitting me. I was already caught, I couldn’t even see how fucked up it was or that I should get away from him.

The next few months, there were many occasions I should have left. He would yell at me most any time that I would be hurt about something (which was a lot, I was getting more and more depressed while with him), causing me to feel more hurt and cry more, then he would yell more, then leave and go drink the night away, coming back to the house sometimes, sometimes sleeping at his store, sometimes who knows what. Often when he would yell at me, he would also demean me and call me names out of anger. He got a DUI pretty early in our relationship, but would continue to drink and drive. One night, he picked me up from a volunteer shift that I had and we were arguing (about him lying about talking to a woman that made me uncomfortable) and he had been drinking, he was about to do the regular routine of leaving me after yelling at me for while on the drive home, but as I got out of his car, I took his keys. I told him to please leave, but not to drive because he had been drinking. This really triggered him in some way (he told me later that he thought I was treating him like a kid) and he started grabbing at me. I couldn’t quite get away, he tackled me and shoved my face into the ground. He sat on top of me, pulled back my arms, hit the hand I was holding his keys in, etc. I actually called him some names, I told him he was a selfish asshole and a coward, that he wasn’t facing his alcoholism and that he was going to loose everything if he kept drinking and driving. I managed to not let go of the keys and he left… Then I followed him, apologizing. Thinking back on this, I feel sick to my stomach. He had just tackled me, bruised me, and so on, then I followed him to apologize for taking his keys, for calling him names (even though he had been calling me everything in the book for months and accusing me of being like his ex) and I wanted to try to be there for him. To try to work it out.

During the past year, he would get mad at me for planning dates when he had none, rushing to try to sleep with other women, making me feel unsafe and uncomfortable… I tried to suggest we go monogamous to work on things between us, but he kept lying to me about who he was talking to and would randomly text women to hook up, so then I lied to him again about someone else and then confessed to him about it, a couple weeks before finally asking him to move out. We had tried to go open again in those couple of weeks, but he would cancel plans on me, he would still yell at me when I was hurt, he would try to turn even nice things around on me, like when I gave him a mix cd for Valentine’s day or made him dinner.

Over this past year and change, I hung out with my friends less and less. I felt worse and worse about myself. I felt too shamed to ever tell them everything, but some friends kind of saw what was happening and tried to talk to me about it. Even then I wouldn’t fully be honest with them or myself about what was happening. One time, 6 months ago or so, he heard me talking to my friend Katy and he freaked out on me. He tried to say some stuff to her to embarrass me, then, when she was gone, he yelled at me for not being private enough or for only giving my side of the story. Katy asked me if I had tried to talk to him about nonviolent communication, she told me I should feel like I could talk to my friends. She was right and she had no idea how nonviolent he was towards me.

In December, after we had been together for over a year, I became upset with him one night when we were with some other people and I slapped him. I couldn’t believe my behavior. I couldn’t understand where it came from. I felt ashamed, I felt confused. After I slapped him, we went into another room and I tried to apologize and talk to him, but he shoved me to the floor and hit me with the door of the room several times. The next day, he had a black eye and I was covered in bruises. Something was wrong. I didn’t know how I had gotten to this point. I blamed myself. I didn’t even consider that the way he had been physically shoving me around for over a year and physically intimidating me was a problem, still. I called up my counselor that I saw for 3 years when I was 19 to 22 and made an appointment for a few weeks later.

Before we ever dated, we were friends. I knew he was coming out of a bad marriage, but I saw him as the victim of emotional abuse from her. I knew he had cheated, but I blamed her because she was mean to him. Now I wonder what really happened between them. Now I wonder what to believe and what not to believe. I know that I saw countless texts from her to him that were really harassing and abusive, so I always thought that maybe he was so mad at me because of how she treated him or how his mother treated him. It was another way I excused his behavior, thinking he was just mad at them and would soon see I was nice and not trying to hurt him, then chill out.
When we first started dating, he was so fun and exciting, always ready to go out, always ready to try something new. I tried a lot of new things with him too, things I don’t regret but that were really life changing for me. I think how great our relationship was for the first 3 months contributed to me thinking I just had to try harder to be nicer or more fun so that we could go back to that. I thought that I should just try harder to be nicer, to show him that I wasn’t attacking him when I was crying, I was just hurt. I even started sitting on the floor below him to make myself as small and non threatening as possible. Sometimes he would try, too. That, I think, made it harder for me to see that he was abusive. I felt that sometimes he wouldn’t yell. Sometimes he would be hitting things around me in the car and I would get out and start walking, but he would drive around, beg me to come back in, that he would stop yelling and being aggressive, and I would give in. Sometimes he would be kind, so I got sucked into a real loop of thinking that, when he did yell at me, it was my fault. That I had triggered him or that I hadn’t said what I wanted to say quite right, that I had to try harder to be nicer or sexier or less weepy. I asked him if he would go in the other room when he was mad and then come back when it had past and he even did that a couple times.  Every time he would lie, or yell, or shove me while angry, I would say that I just wanted to forgive him an move forward, that I just didn’t want it to happen again, that I just wanted to be happy with him again and have fun. But, every time, he would sabotage it. He would lie again, he would yell again, he would get physical when mad and drunk. I would skip work or even an volunteer shift because I would have been crying all night or bruised up, achey, from an altercation. I honestly don’t think he remembers half the times he hurt me as he was blacked out, but I know he must remember some because he wasn’t always that drunk or even blacked out.

As we tried to reconcile, I was really facing what had been happening. I was facing that I had been in a physically and emotionally unsafe environment for over a year with a partner that would lie to me consistently, constantly making me question my reality. I had completely enabled it but letting him cross my every boundary with no consequences. Even post-me-asking-him-to-move-out-finally (over a week ago), I asked him not to attend an event I wanted to attend because I wanted to go and feel safe and have space from him. He did agree eventually, but he argued first, one of his arguments being that I was having a “pity party.” Even now he still is trying to make me feel bad about being hurt, not just pretending everything is normal and keeping everything bottled up inside.

I have every reason to feel unsafe around him, especially when he’s been drinking and, even when we were together, he would show up at random places I would be at, drunk, with the intention of embarrassing me (that date was not the only time, there were other events he’d show up at, times he would drink all day, skip work, and show up somewhere unexpectedly). His latest status update, his passive aggressive revenge on me for posting that I was thankful to be around friends who would console me when I was crying instead of yelling at me (as I had been crying last night, at an event he might have been going to, feeling sentimental because I had been asked by some people where he was, people who didn’t yet know we were broken up and he moved out). Those people were all so nice about it, offering hugs and kindness, that it was a good reminder of why I was out of that relationship. His reaction was another good reminder. He’s willing to publicly talk about me slapping him (then complain about me not being private enough or airing dirty laundry), but still not willing to talk publicly about his yelling at me, shoving me, shoving me against things, grabbing me, hitting things around me (being physically intimidating while yelling at me), tackling me (even shoving and grinding my face into our front driveway), and so on. A couple days ago he agreed that he had been abusive and said that we had both made mistakes in our relationship. Now, just a few days later, while he’s mad, he’s saying he never did those things and that he never lied or cheated on me. He’s inconsistent and can barely keep his own lies straight, in denial about his alcoholism and his abuse. I don’t have a history of lying, cheating or being physical to a partner and I don’t ever want to live that way again.

I am done being embarrassed and silent.

Written by lovemotionstory

February 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm