Tag: Abusive Relationships

My Abusive Mother Won’t Leave Me Alone (Part 2)

[Content note: discussion of multiple forms of abuse including physical, emotional, child, spousal, etc]


Back in January, I shared my first My Abusive Mother Won’t Leave Me Alone post, complete with a transcription of a voicemail message I received from her.

Allow me to transcribe a couple other messages she’s left more recently, like in August 2016, just for your benefit.

Starting off in a kind of bored tone of voice, her typical “I’m calling because it’s a thing i do but I know you never will reply” thing she does… Also for what it’s worth my dad’s first name has been changed and is listed here as “Joe”, and I’m not sure if she is just a substitute teacher at an elementary school or if she has a different school teacher related job or what, because honestly it’s been almost 7 years since I really knew anything at all concrete about her life and back then she wasn’t working.

So yeah she said:

Hi Emily, it’s me. Look um… Tuesday… (Extra long pause) They were- At work, they were talking about um… how parents don’t read to their children anymore, and… I got a little choked up. ‘Cause I remember… I remember reading to you, in bed, all those times. And then, um, today… Uh… My neighbor – he helps me out all the time – he did this stuff with my dryer and… there’s… Something. I don’t even know what it is but it had ‘Emily’ on it, it’s a metal thing, slowing?(I’m not sure what word she said) it down, and I just… started crying. And just cried, and cried, and cried. And um… you were a really nice kid. You really were. You were a really nice child, when you were young, you were so sweet, and… If there’s any of that left in you… (Her teariness sort of fades off here ish) look me in the eye. Look me in the eye, and tell me it’s okay that- that Joe beat me. And then we can say goodbye! How’s that? Ok. I love you. Bye.

Continue reading “My Abusive Mother Won’t Leave Me Alone (Part 2)”

Gaslighting & Love

 

This is part 3 of a series of posts I’m going to be writing on the topic of gaslighting (& my personal experiences with it).

[Content Notes: Discussion of my mother and her abuse, mainly her emotional/verbal/psychological abuse. Use of a NSFW curse word and discussion of a NSFW body part.]

Part 1 talked more about her abuse, specifically, and that post can be found here: Gaslighting & Crocodile Tears

Part 2 focused more abstractly on society with some undercurrents of my mother. Gaslighting & Santa Claus


I cut off all contact with my mother when I was 18 years old, but for another year-and-a-half or so my brother still was visiting with her, and he also was forced to endure something which I never had to, since it started after I was legally an adult: reunification therapy where he, our mother, and a psychologist would sit in a room together.

My brother didn’t like to talk much about his unpleasant experiences at those sessions, but when he did, he recounted my mother being a woman who would complain about our father the entire time, despite the therapist’s best efforts to get the conversation to be focused on something beside our dad. My mother felt the first two therapists were biased against her, so they switched to different psychologists for continued reunification counseling. My mother would insist my father was relevant because supposedly he had “brainwashed” me and my brother into thinking anything negative about her. Supposedly my father was evil. Supposedly there was no way my brother (or I) could have valid reasons of his (/our) own for having the strained-at-best relationship he (/we) did with her.

At one point, my mom started going too far with the third therapist, and he flat-out said to her, in the reunification session between her and my brother, “You’ve already lost your daughter. Do you really want to lose your son too?”

Continue reading “Gaslighting & Love”

My abusive mother won’t leave me alone

[Content Note: NSFW/explicit language used (one word), discussion of an abusive parent… let me know if I should’ve warned for something specifically but didn’t. I can add it up here.]

It has been 8 years and 9 months since one particular fateful evening, at the end of April 2007, when my younger brother and I decided to take our mother up on her ultimatum that if we left her house and went with our father on a Wednesday night, went with him to a get a doctor to look at my brother’s broken hand, well… the ultimatum said we wouldn’t be allowed back in the house. We would literally be kicked out. She told us if we went with him, we better pack our bags. And so… we did. Then she made us give back our keys to get into the house.

It has been approximately 5 hours less than that since she has been trying to get us back. Around midnight that night, she started pretending she never uttered that ultimatum in the first place. Or perhaps by then she had become deeply delusional and truly did not remember that she spoke those words. I tried to remind her. Tried to tell her to just look at the keys she now was in possession of as proof of what had happened. Regardless, she did deliver that ultimatum. Many times. That had just been the time we decided to take her up on it, because that time — with my brother’s hand’s well being being at stake — it was worth it. Clearly our mom never imagined we’d ever actually take the “leave the house” option.

I’ve written about my mother being abusive on a number of occasions, most notably in a 3-part series of posts that starts here: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/figuring-out-my-mother-was-an-abuser-part-1-of-3/

And you may want to read those to understand some of the context of what in the world I’m even talking about.

But yeah.

On my 18th birthday, in January 2008, almost exactly 8 years ago now, I cut my mother out of my life completely — putting all phone conversations and visits to an end — and I haven’t regretted it, not for one moment.

Continue reading “My abusive mother won’t leave me alone”

Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 1 of 3)

[Content Note: The post below, as well as part 2 and part 3, contain discussions of physical and emotional abuse. The focus, as you could probably infer from the title of this post, is on abuse from a parent toward children, but I did include some discussions of spousal abuse as well.]

If there’s anything else I should be adding a content note for, please let me know. I’m not sure. It’s a long post, and a lot of things get brought up. Triggers, Menstruation, just a lot of random things. I use an explicit word at some point so the post is probably NSFW.


I told you all that I wanted to blog about abuse? Well now, here I finally am, doing that.


Growing up in an emotionally abusive environment was… confusing.

I had somehow learned what child abuse was at quite a young age. Continue reading “Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 1 of 3)”

“Sensual” Attraction? People feel that?

This is my entry for the December 2014 Carnival of Aces. Please consider writing something too! There’s still time – the beginning of January is okay too. 😉 Or… consider writing something for whatever the current month when you’re reading this is, since the Carnival of Aces likely is still going on! Hopefully it will continue to go on, into 2016, and beyond!

Content Note: Around the middle of this post, I discuss my mother’s physical abuse toward me when I was a child/teenager.


Soon after I learned what asexuality was from AVEN’s website, I also discovered terms for other types of attraction, rather than sexual attraction.

To be honest, to this day I still don’t feel like I fully grasp what most of the other types of attraction mean. I’m not 100% sure how much I have in common with people who do and who don’t experience varying types of attraction. Some days even the concept of sexual attraction can continue to confuse me. Lmao. It’s hard when people don’t have concrete definitions for these things!! It’s harder when most of it is based on describing feelings one already has, so when you likely lack the feeling… you’re never going to fully get it.

When people speak of aesthetic attraction, for instance, I imagine this magnetism to LOOK and well for me, while I can judge people on a scale and decide who seems prettier than most, and while I can appreciate certain looks, I don’t feel drawn to stare most of the time, so I wonder if I experience aesthetic attraction for people at all.

Since the theme of this month’s Carnival is “Touch, Sensuality, and Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy”, allow me to focus upon sensual attraction.

When I’d first read Coyote‘s Differentiating Types of Attraction post, ey really introduced me to the concept.

Coyote wrote:

Sexual attraction, as it’s typically depicted in media, often includes aesthetic attraction and sensual attraction mixed in as if inseparable, as they are for many people.  Nonsexual aesthetic attraction is sometimes treated as believable, especially between women.  However, nonsexual sensual attraction is treated with a little more skepticism, a problem not helped by the fact that some people use the word “sensual” as a euphemism or synonym for “sexual”.

Sensual attraction is a feeling pertaining strictly to touch, creating an impulse to initiate contact with the recipient. A nonsexual example of this would be touching someone’s face or embracing them in a hug.  Since this is a type of attraction, it’s not the same thing as wanting to cuddle someone as a way to comfort them when they’re sad, or as an expression of affection, or because you’re craving contact in general.  All of those are valid, real feelings, but they’re not what I use the term to refer to. The best definition for it I’ve ever seen — and I can’t find the source where I found this, unfortunately — is that sensual attraction is “the feeling you get when you see a fluffy kitten”.  For me, this term is a useful description for how I sometimes feel a random and inexplicable (but controllable) urge to touch people.

And it fascinated me. I walk through clothing stores and see a fleece jacket or something else that’s a cool texture, and yes, sometimes I want to touch, I want to revel in how soft these pajamas would be and oh I wish I had the money to buy them because they’re so amazing to touch. But… toward a PERSON? Wanting to reach out and touch them just to feel what they feel like? No… I’ve never felt such a thing. I’m fairly sure of it.

Pretty much the only times I’ve ever initiated touch of any kind toward the people in my life have been toward my closest 3 family members – my brother, my father, and one of my cousins. I’ve reached out to try to comfort with a hug or a gentle touch in a time of their grief, briefly. I’ve playfully/casually leaned my feet on laps or rested my head upon a shoulder while watching TV. I don’t do it very often, especially recently, though.

And I’ve never actively craved touch. I remember being comforted by a hug a total of one time in my life – and yes, this hug felt SO amazing, at the end of a day that was probably the worst day of my life in many ways. There was something so special about that form of touch, for me. But it was just one instance, and in other times of being upset, I’ve felt pretty comforted by other things, instead of touch.

As Sara K. said recently:

I am not touchy-feely; on the other hand, I am not touch-averse either. If I got into a close relationship, and my partner wanted to touch me a lot AND had respect for my boundaries AND communicated well with me, I don’t think it would be hard to find a mutually-satisfying arrangement. What I’m averse to is people touching me without permission or insisting that I must touch because touching is good for me.

I feel like her words describe me too. I’ve been on dates with 3 different guys, and all of them have touched me in different ways.

When the first guy I’d ever tried dating kissed my cheek, it felt SO intimate and amazing, like a rush of wonderfulness. When we tried holding hands, it was uncomfortable and awkward and did nothing for me. When guy # 1 & I kissed… I ended up in tears, so needless to say I did not enjoy the experience.

I found all 3 of these guys via online dating, btw, so when I first met guy #2 in person and the first thing he did after stepping off the train and us recognizing each other from our profile pics was embrace me in a hug… I wasn’t comfortable.

Guy #3, my first official boyfriend… I enjoyed leaning on while watching TV. I didn’t really like the awkwardness of having to shift from growing hot/sweaty/uncomfortable over time. There was something special about cuddling with him, perhaps because he was getting sexually “turned on” by it, and I’d never had that effect on anyone before. I had never cuddled in quite this intimate of a way before and it was a new experience, and overall pretty nice. Really, though, I didn’t “love cuddling”. What I loved more was being able to talk openly and honestly with him. Enjoying TV together. Him teaching me to play Magic the Gathering. Him giving me a homemade gift. Him actually watching my fanvideos I’d created and enjoying them. Him letting me make one of my favorite recipes for him. If I had never once touched him throughout our entire relationship, I wouldn’t have been longing for it. I’m fully satisfied by non-sensual and non-touch-related pleasures. Touching can be nice, but I can take it or leave it. I certainly don’t feel drawn to it. And I don’t need touch on a regular basis.

My mother was abusive toward me growing up, and some of that abuse certainly was physical. I consider her abuse to have been mainly verbal/emotional… but to give you a taste of the physical…

It didn’t often leave marks, but on a few occasions I did bleed a tiny bit from small scratches caused by her fingernails onto my forearms or hands. More often, though, she’d use her body to trap me in a corner, and I’d try to push her away, but being a child I wasn’t strong enough, and all I’d succeed in doing was bruising her arms, which she’d later yell at me for, blaming ME for hurting HER. Or she’d violently push down my arms when I was using my hands to cover my ears as she yelled the loudest she possibly could. She broke a favorite, expensive bracelet of mine by ripping it off my wrist, while I was still wearing it. Or my hair was in a pony tail and she’d move my whole body by pulling on it, not even pulling out one hair, just pulling it enough to hurt a bit, to obtain control over me, and even to knock my much needed and expensive (breakable!) eyeglasses off of my face in the process. On a couple of occasions, she literally spit on me. She dumped out a bowl of cereal with milk in it onto my head. There are probably many, many more cases of things that were pretty “physically” abusive. But I think I’ve listed enough. So many of these things don’t leave physical injuries, just… emotional ones, I guess. But they often involved invading my personal space. Using “touch” in a negative way. Etc.

I remember that once I’d finally stopped living with her, while in the hallway of a courthouse as my dad and she fought over custody of me and my brother… on multiple occasions she tried to hug me and I jerked away. I did NOT want to be touched by that woman, okay? I wasn’t afraid she’d actually hurt me in a public place. I certainly expected it’d be “just a hug”, but the contradictory nature of such a loving action from her made me SO uncomfortable, and I wanted to avoid it.

As I soon ended up going away to college, on my campus there seemed to be a tradition at one point, by the Student Union, of “Free Hugs Friday”. And… I just really didn’t want to be hugged by strangers, okay? I felt so weird every time I dodged the people with their arms outstretched and the cheery posters. I felt like someone with “intimacy issues” who maybe would like hugging more if I’d tried it more. But whatever. I was happy enough with my life of not ever touching anyone.

I’m pretty sure part of the reason I identify as wtfromantic is because so many romantic ace narratives include so much TOUCH and I often feel like I must be aromantic, if I could be fully satisfied in a relationship that includes absolutely zero touch. That for most people, some level of touch that is reserved for only “non friends” is what makes a romantic relationship romantic, or something. But then again, I have a lot of other reasons for NOT feeling like I’m aro… but still, I feel like my relationship toward sensuality & touch, toward cuddling and non-sexual physical intimacy of all kinds… comes up a LOT in my self-analysis of my feelings when I’m trying to place myself somewhere on the romantic spectrum.

I feel like I enjoy hugging some of my extended family members slightly more now than I used to. Maybe enjoy is the wrong word. I think… I no longer feel awkward and uncomfortable hugging them.

I think for me, it’s about comfort with the person. How much I love them. How much I feel like they’re friendly and like me at all. How much I know them. To me, even a simple hug is a pretty intimate thing. My uncle who I rarely say one word to despite us showing up at the same Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc celebrations for years, who I don’t feel like I know at all? Hugging him is still uncomfortable and I’d rather skip that ritual when he decides he’s ready to leave the house, but I still go through the motions because I feel like I have no choice. But now that I’ve grown up, and I’m almost 25 years old… I feel like I really have gotten to know quite a few of my other extended family members better, after having many moments of conversational bonding with them… and all of a sudden hugging them feels so much more natural/simple/easy. Could I live without it? Sure. Would a wave hello and goodbye, or a simple smile, suffice? Yeah I’d be totally cool with never touching these people in any way, ever again.

If I compare my feelings of sex-aversion to how I feel about touch, I am 95% sure I’m not touch-averse, not as a blanket statement. I think I am pretty touch-averse in cases where the person is a stranger, a near-stranger, or my abusive mother. But in cases where I feel comfortable around a person and feel like I’ve gotten to know them fairly well, I can kind of find touch to be either something I’m indifferent to, or in a few select circumstances, a wonderful experience. I definitely don’t crave touch in my life, though. And I don’t experience sensual attraction toward specific people, either.

The story of “Hansel and Gretel” really resonated with me as a child

This post does mention my asexuality very briefly, but mainly this post touches on the fandom and family parts of my blog and takes a break from asexuality-related discussions, FYI. The main fandom discussed is an unusual one, one most people wouldn’t call a fandom… lol… but I would like to think it counts. I also bring up Harry Potter at one point. 😉


 I would recommend you read my “The Insidious Nature of Abuse” post first, which I wrote back in April. It deals with many similar topics as what I have just now written about, below. I also discussed some stuff about my family situation in my “Lack of Awareness/Education Leads to False Assumptions… aka It Would’ve Been Great to Have Heard of that Term Sooner!” post and probably in a few other posts too.


So my dad and I went to Kohl’s on the Friday night a little over a week ago to buy some new socks for ourselves and the first thing that caught my eye upon entering the store was a Mercer Mayer collection of newly released children’s books, including an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. I picked up a copy of the book and began leafing through it curiously, and was quite disappointed to find my favorite part of the story – by far the most memorable part, for me – being entirely skipped over as the story starts with Hansel and Gretel already stumbling upon the witch’s cabin in the woods.

Continue reading “The story of “Hansel and Gretel” really resonated with me as a child”

Let me try to talk about my “non-normative” relationships “failing”

By the way, I just changed my theme of my whole blog because the previous look was really not working for me, especially the layout of the comments. Hopefully this theme works better for both me and all of you.

 

Queenie of Aces recently posted over at The Asexual Agenda a post entitled, Why don’t we talk about non-normative relationships failing?. I enjoyed reading the whole thing, as well as the comment section. I mainly agree with points made over there and I highly recommend reading it and maybe you can even join the discussion. This is my contribution to it. It’s ridiculously long when originally I had intended to make it relatively short (whoops… major fail, lmao!!), it’s a bit ramble-y, and it goes a bit all over the place because I tend to get overly wordy when I write these things at 3:00 in the morning. I’m sorry. 😛

Queenie said in the post,

There are a number of accepted narratives for mixed relationships failing: “I didn’t want sex and he did, so we broke up,” “once I realized I was asexual I broke up with her because I knew she’d be happier with a non-ace,”

– etc, etc, and both of those first two examples describe perfectly how/why my boyfriend and I broke up.

Sciatrix mentioned in the comments:

I don’t think that the expectation of an inevitable end is the thing that causes break-ups to be relatively painless. I think it’s a combination of other things, including levels of mutual respect for each other, how well everyone saw the breakup coming,

etc and my boyfriend and I (yes, I guess it was a normative romantic relationship, but bear with me and I’ll get to my sorta-non-normative relationships at the end) had both of those 2 things. We saw the break-up coming, we respect one another, we had open and honest communication throughout our relationship including as I tried to determine if asexuality fit me and I discussed everything with him – and he discussed everything with me.

As Captain Heartless alluded to in the comment section over there, I too don’t really see my “Normative” romantic relationship with my boyfriend as a failure. It was a success. I got to have someone to call a boyfriend. I got to try just enough kissing and sensual touching and sexual-ish things that I realized what I do and don’t want for my future, and I feel confident about my asexuality now in a way that I don’t think I’d feel if it wasn’t for being with him.

But it’s more than that. I really do like him a lot as a person. I want to still be friends with him, and we “broke up” saying that we could still be friends. Nevertheless, we broke up and then didn’t contact one another. At all. For a month. But then… a month after we broke up, my uncle committed suicide (at the museum my now ex-boyfriend’s mother worked at), and I’d remembered telling my boyfriend about one of my uncle’s previous suicide attempts while we were dating, so I decided to text him about his death. I explained what my family and I were going through. He was nice to me.

But then we spent 5 whole months… completely not in each other’s worlds. Not talking. At all.

Still, I decided at this point that I was wondering if he’d be actually graduating from college this year as planned, because if he was I thought maybe I could send him a congratulations card or something, so I got up the courage to email him. I asked him if he’d tried dating anyone. I asked him about his life. We’ve emailed back and forth a couple of times since then. Not much, but a bit. He replied the day after I’d emailed him and said he’d been thinking about me too. He says he wants to be friends. I think we might actually, sort of, still be friends. Not close friends, but friends. Maybe we can get closer in the future, or maybe we’ll drift apart. Are we now in the “non-normative” relationship territory? I don’t know. Does being friends with your ex-boyfriend count? Or is it simply a friendship? Regardless, I don’t think our relationship has ended. Not yet. It’s still… something. Some vague almost-friends type of thing. It might be sort of a failure if we never talk again. But it’s not a particularly “awful failure”, as far as “failed relationships” go.

And honestly, I’m not even so sure my romantic relationship with my boyfriend was EVER “normal”, since I feared I might be asexual ever since our very first kiss and told him as such as soon as we’d kissed that first time. (And yes, I turned out to actually be asexual in the end). We never ended up having “Actual sex”. We barely had sexual experiences together. We were almost a non-sexual romance. We didn’t kiss that often. We mainly talked about all sorts of things just like I kinda do with my dad and brother, except he was a brand new person in my life so it was a lot of learning about each other all at once. We discussed deep philosophical things. We discussed his sexual fantasies and my lack of them. We discussed all sorts of things, our families, etc. He taught me how to play Magic the Gathering. I brought him over to meet my dad and cook him one of my favorite meals. I met his mom and ate dinner at his house. We cuddled while watching lots of TV. It was close to a friendship in many ways. But we did try getting naked together twice. We did cuddle which I don’t do with my friends. I don’t like kissing so we really did avoid it most of the time, but we did try it multiple times which again, I don’t do with friends. Was it ever a “normative” romantic relationship? I don’t know. Is any relationship fully “normal” anyway? We’re all different. So what’s the difference between a non-normative relationship and a normative one, anyway?

Honestly, the most non-normative my relationships have ever been is that I’ve felt like I’ve been very close friends with people I’ve never met in real life, who I only knew through a shared hobby of vidding and through online messaging back and forth. When I started to form friendships with these “online friends”, I didn’t even realize what was happening. I didn’t realize that a select few of them would be people I’d grow extremely close to, who I’d bond with, who I’d share very personal stories about my life troubles with, whose real first names would be just as memorable to me as their usernames, who I’d end up talking about to my dad and brother in real life. I mentioned that I told my ex-boyfriend about when my uncle killed himself? Um, I actually told my closest online friends first, though. It was only natural to tell at least the one I’m closest to. She was very understanding and had lost someone to suicide before too, and I already had known that because like I said, we’re close!! She’d talked to me about it when it had happened in her life. I realize that these relationships are non-normative because they are my best friends in my life, yet I feel afraid to mention them to anyone other than my dad and my brother, for fear these other people in my life wouldn’t understand. I fear everyone around me thinks of online-friendships as “not real” and the fact that I don’t even know what most of them look like, the fact that I don’t know or remember most of their last names, that I don’t plan to ever meet any of them in real life…. that these facts will all negate my friendships as “legitimate” in these people’s minds. Sometimes I try to downplay how important these friendships are in my own life, because I know if I did ever get married (which I realize is a lot less likely than I once thought it would be, now that I realize I’m wtfromantic and asexual) I couldn’t invite them to my wedding. I realize if they get married I can’t be invited. If they die I can’t go to their funerals. A very morbid thought, I know. But it’s crossed my mind. Etc. I think the other thing is I’m mainly friends with these people because of a shared passion for vidding and/or just fandom stuff in general, and all of the other stuff came later, but if they ever decide to stop vidding then we might completely stop talking to each other. And I’m prepared for that. It’s okay if I don’t stay close with my fandom friends after they’re not “fangirls” anymore. It’s happened to me before! And this is probably the BEST example I can think of of how my non-normative relationships have failed. Let me explain.

You know how you’re friends with someone in elementary school, but then your family (or their family) moves to another town/state/country and you’re simply “not friends” anymore? (Or this can happen with high school friends once some of you go off to college or whatever, etc. It can happen with work colleagues once you no longer work together anymore. It can happen a number of ways.) And sometimes you were more just friendly acquaintances with this person… but other times you really did share your heart and soul with them, you knew everything about them, you knew their families even, you hung out frequently outside of school/work, etc. Yet you just stop being friends. You might get a “goodbye” moment before they move away. You might not. Oftentimes you don’t even get that. Oftentimes you never see it coming. You thought you’d stay friends but neither one of you is the first one to call/text/email/Facebook message the other, to ask to meet up again, to do whatever you’d have needed to do to stay friends. And then years pass, and before you realized it they just used to be your friend.

This is basically what has happened to me with a few of my online friends. The person I confided in when I felt very alone the first week of my freshman year of college? One of the few people who really knew all the details of the ridiculous stuff my abusive mother was putting my family through? One of the few online friends I had where I knew not only her first name but also details about her family and her life and everything? I called her my “best online friend” or “best YouTube friend” for a period of time – years, I think it lasted – but a new person has that title in my life now. Really, both my current best online friend and this past one I’m remembering were not only my best friends online, but also in life. I didn’t have a closer friend in “Real life” and I still don’t. My online friends are who I feel closest to, other than my dad and my brother who get put into the “Family” category rather than “Best friend” anyway. This “best friend” and I drifted apart slowly, without realizing it. It’s different with online friends, it’s easier to do, it’s just her slowly stopping being in the online spaces we both frequented nearly as often because her real life started to get in the way. It’s us slowly having less in common because vidding stopped “being her life” even when it still consumed pretty much all of mine. It’s a combination of a lot of things, and it’s sort of a relationship that “simply ended” rather than “failed”.

I also think I’ve had non-normative relationships with some of my family members, depending on what non-normative is. Is it normal to not even feel a little bit of “love” toward your own mother? For as long as I can remember, I have not wanted to say “I love you too” to her regardless of who many times she says “I love you” to me. I have not wanted to tell people “I love her”, not even in the “I love her, but she was abusive to me” kind of sentence. No. I don’t. I don’t love her. It’s that simple. My relationship with her is a huge “failure”, seeing as she was abusive to me and most of what is described as common in “sexual-romantic” domestic abuse can easily apply to the non-sexual, non-romantic relationship with my mother. She did not sexually abuse me in any way, but she did abuse me. I can EASILY see, because of my experiences, how aces in “Friendships” of any kind, queerplatonic partnerships, non-sexual romances, whatever kind of relationships might be able to be in abusive, destructive, awful relationships with people that are painful and confusing and non-ideal because um… yeah. I was in a non-romantic, non-sexual relationship that was abusive, awful, horrible, etc. I was trapped in it for years, not sure it could count as abuse if I didn’t have actual broken bones, if it was just my mother and not a man doing the things that made me terrified all the time that she’d get mad at me, etc. I can understand anyone, asexual or allosexual, being in an abusive friendship with someone and being confused if friendships can even be abusive, because our society had me thinking abuse had to fall into a narrow set of boxes too, like that men abused their wives, children, or step-children and no other types of abuse dynamics existed, despite the fact that I was in one of them, and that yes, ex-wives can abuse their ex-husbands (like my mother did with my dad), friends can abuse friends (yes, it can happen), and oh so many other types of relationships too (yes every type of relationship, not just romantic or familial, has the potential to be abusive).

I think I’m closer with my dad than most people are with their dads, especially most girls with their dads, partially because we both have very limited social lives and love lives. He’s been helping me buy dresses and bras and pads/tampons/menstrual cups… etc… just helping me be a cisgirl for as long as I can remember since I never really had a mom (uh, see above) and people have… noticed that he’s out of place in those kinds of situations. We talk about more than most people ever feel comfortable talking about with their parents. Really nothing is off limits in terms of conversation. I’m not afraid to discuss anything with him, even things I’m afraid to talk about with other people. I don’t feel like he has secrets from me, either. In that case I have a non-normative relationship with my dad. And him with me. We live together and have been for 2 years, ever since I graduated college – just the two of us. But our relationship isn’t going to fail. I might stop living with him, might stop talking to him quite as often, might find one topic I don’t want to discuss with him one day or something but it’d just make our relationship change slightly. I know nothing will ever cause our relationship to actually “end” other than one of our deaths, and I can’t imagine considering this non-normative relationship a “Failure”, if you know what I mean. My relationship with my brother is relatively similar. It’s changed over time but we’ll always be there for each other, and I think we’ll always have this very strong level of trust and emotional/intellectual intimacy. Even if we don’t talk for months, we still are very close as far as siblings go. And because we’ve discussed philosophy so much, feminism, asexuality, etc… I can’t imagine him ever betraying me or hurting me in such a way that would end up causing me to label our relationship a “Failure”. I’ll try to let you all know if I am proven wrong, though. 😛

In general, I think for me the only way a relationship could really feel like a failure is if suddenly and unexpectedly I lose a person who was a very important person in my life. It has to be jarring. It has to leave me feeling betrayed or full of regret or something. And honestly… that’s never happened to me. I’ve slowly drifted apart from various people. I’ve kept a relationship with someone but our relationship itself has changed. I’ve cut out my mother from my life when I never wanted her there in the first place and it wasn’t a relationship that could fail on MY end because it was never MY responsibility to make that work, never my goal, and well I never went into the relationship in the first place with any plans/hopes (I was just born into it). Just like I don’t consider my relationship with my dad to be a “success” either. It’s more complicated than that. It’s just a very good relationship I’m in.

I think, instead that the only relationship I’d really call a success or a failure is the one I had with my boyfriend. Because I went into it hoping to get something out of it. Because when I enter friendships (online type or not, either way), it happens more unexpectedly and very organically and so without the hopes/dreams/plans attached to the beginning of the relationship, how can the end of the relationship (or lack of an ending) be really accurately called a “failure” (or a “success”)?

I think I’ve had a really lucky time with relationships, a really happy life so far. I think none of my relationships are failures or too messy  or anything. Maybe I’m just being an optimist. Maybe I’m glossing over things in my mind. Maybe some of the relationships I’m in are too one-sided and a friend or family member doesn’t love me as much as I love them and maybe that is or isn’t healthy. I don’t know. But I feel at peace with my life right now. I don’t feel lonely. I don’t feel like I wish someone wasn’t in my life that is in it. I don’t desperately miss someone who doesn’t miss me.

So maybe I “failed” at talking about my non-normative relationships “failing”. I’m sorry. I tried. 😉

The Insidious Nature of Abuse

Samantha Field over at Defeating the Dragons has just posted a new blog post, “my abusive relationship was typical”.

Samantha has written quite a bit over on her blog about an abusive relationship she was in. I highly recommend her blog as a whole, which also addresses a variety of other topics.

I was reading this new post of hers, and I could not stop thinking about how my experience in an abusive relationship was remarkably similar, so yes, she was making her point wonderfully, as unfortunate as it is. This “typical” nature for abusive relationships clearly is not even limited to a woman being in a romantic relationship with an abusive man, because the thing I was relating to was my own relationship as a child in an abusive relationship with an abusive mother.

I decided to leave a comment on the post, and then another. I was participating in a discussion, kind of, and you can certainly feel free to read my comments by going to the original blog post to which I’m referring. I say some different stuff there than I do here, below.  But my thoughts started running wild and I had too much to say, so this blog post was born. 😛 Continue reading “The Insidious Nature of Abuse”