Post

Going Public

I need some of your thoughts to help me sort out my own.

For people I don't know and don't know me I'm a longtime lurker and 1-2 year poster here. Almost 2 years since ending the marriage. I've had a few short and medium term relationships and grown a lot since leaving an abusive marriage where we also didn't have sex.

I have been pretty active here and it has been quite influential in my development and growth. The support here has been phenomenal. I stick around to keep growing and to help others not as far in the process in the same way I was helped.

Lately there have been a few incidents that have happened that have made me consider going somewhat public with my activity here. Brother-in-law of a close friend miserable in a SM. In the past I've suggested people have the friend of a friend contact me and I'll send them a link. I'm very open and honest here. I really don't want my closest friend's to know all the very unfortunate details of my very sexless and very dysfunctional former marriage. It's not shame as much as its just not who I am anymore.

I've had a few of you EP buddies privately tell me you are surprised I ended up in an abusive marriage because I seem smart, capable etc. I'm a little afraid of the same reaction from those in real life too. And the raw honesty I share here just isn't something I normally share elsewhere.

Recently a friend asked for the link to this place for her BIL. Her sister is a 5-star refuser. This guy doesn't know me from a hole in the wall so I sent a link. I realized after I did that I've just opened the door for a lot of private thoughts to be discovered if my friend decides to look around. I'm honest enough that I'm discoveravble by people who know me.

I'm feeling a little unsure about this. I've already decided that I will share my stories with Thor before the next meetup if he comes with me. But how to explain how a person like me ended up in such an abusive situation? That's the question I'm stuck on. I suspect he will understand that it was a journey but it's been such a fresh journey I don't yet have clear reflections on it.
Changewilldoyougood Changewilldoyougood 31-35, F 10 Responses Jan 7, 2013

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I recall a story quite a while ago with the expression....I (or we) don't do guilt. If as you have, you have been on the receiving end of an abusive relationship, it is likely that your self esteem has been brought down low. Also you probably are the kind of person to accept too readily responsibility for things that went wrong...the whipping boy for the Prince syndrome. Thus the I don't do guilt helps initially to even out the proportional share of your proper responsibility.
Initially as well, being intolerant of any 'bad' behaviour on the part of any friend or b/gf is a full on I don't do guilt thing. Initially, it could be seen as a self preservation thing until you/I/we have learnt to be able to trust someone again.
Then the term guilt changes in meaning, I think. To fail is human and necessary. It is the spur to get things right. There is nothing wrong in being a failure. Try again, you I/we all have new knowledge and we are armed to get it right this time and progress to a bright new future.
We also accept that guilt or feeling guilty is a wasted effort. We are dwelling in the past by doing so and holding ourselves from action in the present to move to our bright new futures.
So might I suggest that not doing guilt allows you to be open....not to all and sundry....but to those who communicate a need that you can respond too.
I have found that with my friends knowing how dreadful my relationship was that I have so much help especially now as I am effectively homeless. For me this has become an adventure, starting again at the bottom. Sometimes I wonder if I am at the bottom or the top my life is so different.
I also like to think in terms of life choices sending us down different roads. You/I and a lot of us have reached a cross roads and are journeying down a new road possibly with a friend you/we met at the crossroads. Others are still waiting at their crossroads whilst they decide which way to chose. I also believe that the roads we've been on were necessary because we had a lesson however brutal to learn. It was part of our life's plan that we had to go there.
But it is time to let go and fully accept or surrender to what has taken place. Being overly defensive now means that you have not or are not quite ready to do so. It also means that you are judging your present reactions based on past experience and are not living for and in the present.
You will get there. I can see that.
This age is all about communication.
I gave a friend this link a couple of years ago and even though he told me of the support he'd had we never met up online.
They say, never explain. Your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you. If your friends need help and telling your story is the way you can do this then fine. Likewise if you need help, then by talking it out with a friend, you will find out if they are a true friend. Most people who are not worthy of trust are compensating for their own sad lives. It's jealously really. Your success in finding and being happy will only upset them further....until the day if it comes when they sort themselves out.

The abusive spouse slowly raises the abuse level. It may not be totally conscious but it is deliberate, and they have a keen sense of what they can get away with quite often.

http://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/Survivors/trauma_bonding.html
Trauma bonding seems to be a physiological process and has been observed in animals as well as people.
...So even the smart, capable people can get caught in abusive relationships.

Interesting. "Stonewalling" is included under abuse. With a very good explanation.

http://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/Behaviors/stonewalling.html

The number of person IRL (outside of ILIASM PM's) who have consulted me about their dysfunctional relationships numbers well into the - - - well actually, NONE.

Your security issues I sort of understand though.

I can't see any reason for you to make any alterations to the way you've been handling this.

Hey, enna30 is smart. I know that for a fact. She ended up in two shithole marriages. I don't think any less of her for that. After all, although I was only in one shithole marriage, its' duration was as long or longer than her two. And as far as I am aware, she doesn't think any less of me for that.

Personally, it is a matter of complete indifference to me who knows I was in a shithole marriage. It ain't one of my life drivers.

Tread your own path.

Remember, its also very cool that YOU embrace your light, dark and in between.

It has been very cool that we both do in this relationship. I seem to have found someone well matched with me in that respect and many others. It feels very safe. That's my favorite part of being with him so far. He's real, 3-dimensional, can talk about things he has done in the past that others didn't approve of with a reflective sense like "this is what has made me me, so it wasn't a mistake." There's something refreshing about finding someone not afraid to embrace the whole spectrum and just see it, instead of judge it or fear it or run from it. It all just feels very safe and leads me to be very open, vulnerable and soft with him.

<p>&nbsp;<p>If it's any help, coming out IRL, both before and after the SM has been one of the better things I've done. </p><p>One of the things I have a very strong desire to do is to bear witness to some of the toxic cultural beliefs that fuel refusers with justification, and perpetuates the SM as being somehow acceptable. Those poisonous beliefs infected my spouse and harmed us, me and threatened my family. So to that extent I don't feel I have a choice.</p><p>But I've been surprised at how powerful that is, and how people respond - I hope I have been able to change some lives, and sod the embarrassment or looking like an idiot. In any case,as I approach my dotage (and arguably am already there) - I care less about what people think about me.</p><p></p>

Can't "like" this enough!

hugs, -P.

Me too! {{{more hugs}}}

" ...surprised I ended up in an abusive marriage because I seem smart, capable etc."
Hey, the overwhelming majority of us here are "smart, capable etc". Especially once we retrieve some of our self-esteem!

But many of us were (are) also way too nice, too forgiving, too tolerant, too trusting. If I remember rightly, you already posted about being a wee bit less of all those things henceforth.

As for opening up posts here .... there is nothing shameful (as we've learned here). It is personal choice whether and how we share IRL information about a very private part of our life.

Oh I agree with you Chai. And I get it. I know we are all smart, capable etc and I see how it can happen. Newbies here sometimes act shocked and I know the rest of the world doesn't quite get it. There are preconceived notions about what people who end up in abusive situations should look like. None of my friends fit that column of judgmentalness so I guess there's my answer. :-)

Change, you still ARE that person who ended up in that miserable marriage. Make no mistake about it. You have grown, you have progressed with your life, you have become stronger and more capable ... that's all in the process.
There is NOTHING to be ashamed about - the true, authentic YOU can stand by who you are, who you were and how you got here. Be the real you as much and as often as you can - it makes life so much more authentic and also simpler; since you don't have to dissemble about what happened where and when and whom you told what ... I just know you can do it.

Oh, I don't advocate blabbing every little thing to everyone, particularly not to people who wouldn't want to hear it, but my friends all know whatever is going on with me, what went on before, and what will come after (if I know). That way I have real life people to bounce my thoughts off, to give me a reality check and to support me emotionally. It's liberating.

{{ }} -P.

P, I don't know that we are saying something different exactly but I feel I am so much wiser, so much more confident. I wouldn't tolerate the first 90 days after I got married, let alone nearly 9 years. My new lover knows that. You can just tell by my attitude that if you get abusive, I'll be out of there so fast that your head would spin. I won't tolerate anything less than loving and honest, genuine and real. I want the whole deal. Before I didn't know I deserved it. It all goes back to way old childhood stuff where I was to blame for lots of things and never really knew love or knew I deserved love. So I accepted less than I deserved. But not anymore. That's the new me, same as the old me. But stronger. More solid. Less confused. Does that make sense in this context?

Too true. I am still the geek&amp;nerd&amp;dork all-rolled-into-one that I was at 14. Brought up by a couple of completely antisocial parents with NO social skills an lots of baggage. Solipsistic control freaks both. I got lucky and met some good people who helped me break out of that pit, who helped me on the road to social learning, to gaining some emotional understanding and growth to complement the academic.

It doesn't bother me. I look at the achievements and at the growth and I am elated and proud. Sure I cocked up many times. Some is embarrassing. Sure I had nasty things happen to me -- such it the way of learning. I see it as an achievement, not as something to hide away from me, from my friends, from you guys here on EP. Every failure taught me something, and if I can share that experience here and others learn from it - GOOD. That's how I learned much: picking other people's brains. Seeing how my friends run their relationships; or not.

It's funny how seminal truths come to me at times. When I got out of my first marriage it was like a drowning man splashing around it the water, only it was pain instead of water. Years later I was watching a documentary on Jung and a couple of Jungian analysts who were actually married to each other told the story how they bootstrap-rescued their marriage that was way past dead at that time .... completely changed my world view on how to deal (hidden expectations are bad, taking for granted is bad, etc ...) and gave me the new perspective that having a relationship with somebody is all about getting to learn to know them all over, anew, every single day and figure out who they are. Wow. I think both of you and Thor deserve to get that from each other.
I think my wife, after 14 years together, is just waking up to that possibility. I notice how she's looking at me with new eyes ... it's fun. :-)

Another was a conversation with my SIL where she told me: "look, if [gf] wants to go for a walk on the beach, GO for a walk on the beach, never mind your blasted knee. She will probably never want to go again - but if you don't go it will be an issue for the rest of your time together." Satori. And how right she was. It taught me something about giving the other person what THEY want, not what I think they need or what I want. Made me realize what an arsehole I must've been at times before. I concentrate on being happy about the new me, rather than dwelling on the past one, the process is just an educational moment for me, and I just always want to share the happiness of growing and learning ...

-P.

we're all unsure about some decisions. you have to trust that it's for the best.

Also, smart, capable, etc people fall in bad marriages like anyone else because it has nothing to do with how smart we are and everything to do with needing to be emotionally fulfilled which makes us fall for the wrong person until we learn to recognize the good ones and learn to tell the real "I love you"s from the fake ones.

change, here is a flip side view of going public.

be enormously proud of how far you have grown. how much you overcame. the wisdom you've gained. the humility inherent in admitting no matter how much we've grown, how smart we are, there is always the potential for abuse/manipulation by others is always there and we fell "victim" to it?

IMHO is FAR outweighed by the strength, guts, tenaciousness to first admit the problems then next to DO something about it.

be proud. be very proud.

Smithy, thank you. You just made me tear up, you words were very powerful. Thank you.

you're very welcome. thank yourself too--for being who you are. xo

Change, forgive me a little smile at the irony of your name! Yes, it is entirely possible that people will wonder how you came to be in such a situation. But does that mean it should be something to be ashamed about? No!!

Yes, you made a mistake. Guess what? You are human! I've had people wonder the same thing about me. Yes, I too am human. I've had people suggest that, as I am in my third long term relationship (12 years for marriage one, twenty two years for marriage two, and coming up 3 years with Baz) that I am "flighty, unstable, impossible to live with, etc." But my truth is that I have made well intentioned mistakes - not the third time IMO!

In your posts you are entirely honest, respectful and maintain your personal dignity. Anyone reading your postsmay well have good insight into you as an authentic person, but will not find anything salacious or disreputable about you.

"Its just not who I am anymore" - this is the answer to anyone who queries you or wants to know why you ended up in such a situation.

I have been a long term sufferer of endogenous depression. I take daily meds for this and have been hospitalised. Many years ago I made a deliberate choice to share this information at any time it became relevant to do so. (I don't sit next to people on a bus and pour out my life story - I promise!!)

This is my personal form of advocacy and activism on behalf of mental health. I have had countless people tell me that they found my disclosure hugely reassuring because they too suffer from depression. Or a close loved one does. My journey of managing my depression and living a healthy and (reasonably!) normal life has given many people (I like to believe) HOPE for themselves.

I feel much the same way about ILIASM. Those of us who are "graduates" can and do bring hope to those still stuck in sexless marriages IMO.

So I encourage you to hold your head high and recognise you are an advocate for the issue of sexless marriage - as opposed to advocating sexless marriage!! lol

PS Why the smil? Because our very user name tells us you are NO LONGER the person who was in that situation . . . {{{hugs}}}

Thanks Enna. Six months ago I would never have considered giving someone the link here to my profile. Now I am actively planning to give it to my lover. We are remarkably honest with each other about some of the wilder/darker and less than ideal things we've done and people we have been. It is one thing to tell him about my marriage that turned abusive and it's another to have him read my deepest, most stream of conscious thoughts like I put here. It will bring us closer. I'm not ready yet. But before the next meetup because I will want him to understand the importance of this group and that this isn't just a social visit for me. I wouldn't be me without this place.

If your lover reads widely here, he will very soon see that you are held in high esteem on this board. Your contributions are intelligent, empathetic, insightful and rational.

You have truly done the "hard yards" and that alone gives you an authority to speak on this subject. But you do so much more than that - you are respectful and non-judgemental; you are firm in your opinions but not inflexible. You see the "other side" of what people are saying and comment appropriately.

Your personal growth has been extensive and hard won. You have not flinched from making the changes in yourself and your life that you recognised were needed. You were (and are) there for your daughter. You are very young indeed to have a grown up child yet you have made a wonderful job of motherhood in a very difficult situation.

Hey! If I were your mother (and my children are older than you, so I could be!) I'd be HUGELY proud of you!!

If your lover reads your posts here, he will find that he has (by great good fortune and excellent taste!) acquired an amazing woman to be his partner! I think he will count his lucky stars . . . !!!