TRIGGER WARNING: vulgar language, childhood sexual abuse, sexual situations, guns, violence
Being abused as a child leaves residual effects for the rest of your life. It never goes away. You get people who say things like, “Get over it!” or “Why can’t you just let it go?” That’s laughable. And I think this applies to just about any form of abuse or trauma. It never truly does go away does it?
So dating. Children who are raped, sexually abused, etc. tend to grow up in one of two ways (or so they say), they either become promiscuous or they avoid relationships altogether (or find them extremely difficult). I’m not sure about this. I mean we are all different. Different experiences, different chemistry, we don’t all think and feel the same way thereby we do not react the same way. So to put some binary on it feels a bit cold and cheap. But dating after this trauma, I believe, is difficult no matter what way you take it. You feel worthless so maybe you don’t even think anyone can love you (which was my case, still is most of the time) or maybe you think you deserve someone to love you so you push and put yourself out there, you become more assertive. Or maybe you meet others casually but once you’re in the relationship all hell breaks loose as you go through different emotions. I think I encompass all of that.
I had my first boyfriend at 13. Surprisingly that did not cause my step father to flip out. I’m not sure why but he seemed to leave it alone (although he still did not leave me alone). He did ask me personal questions about my relationship. At 13! What the hell do you think I was doing?! I thought making out was the best thing ever. Now I know that isn’t the case for everyone but me, I just liked having someone who liked me back and would kiss me. And…the best part is that he wanted to kiss me. I was so happy with him. We had so much fun. It ended about a year or so later because well, I think we both just were thinking, “Now what?” I mean…where does a relationship really go when you are 14?
For some reason, despite that, he did have a problem with me having male friends (and I had quite a few). One time I had one of my male friends over and we were in my room listening to music and just talking about stuff and he pushed the door open, shot gun pointed at my friend and told him to get the fuck out of the house. No shit. He couldn’t handle me being in my room with a male. And aiming a shotgun at my friend was not embarrassing at all to me. I sometimes still can’t believe that happened. I sometimes wish that my friend would have told his parents and they would’ve called the cops. There was nothing I ever wanted more than to see him dragged away in a cop car and thrown into prison.
So dating was rough. If I liked a guy he would comment about how “She’s out there fucking all of these boys.” It didn’t help that his one daughter (yeah the one he raped when she was two) was telling him and my mother that she knew for a fact that I was out fucking all kinds of guys. That is laughable. I was anything but promiscuous as a teen. I dabbled in teasing and flirting and making out and whatever, but sleeping around? I never thought I was even worth the making out let alone actually someone wanting to have sex with me. Besides, I was still under the impression that the male was the important one here, if he wanted it, that is what mattered, and if he wanted it, it must mean he loved me. Which I found hard to believe since I was told for so long that I was unlovable.
One thing that I was very very backward about was what it was when males ejaculated. I first experienced that at the age of 8. Seeing that. I had no idea what I was seeing but because he kept telling me that this is what happens when two people love each other, I thought that cum was love. That that actual substance was what love looked like. So even as a teenager I was terrified that what if that happened when I was with a boy and it somehow meant that he loved me and I didn’t really love him back? How do you love someone back? I can’t make that happen to me? Yeah, this is me as a teenager. My head was so fucked up that I didn’t know what anything really was.
Shotguns, love, sex, boys cumming all over me, me fucking all kinds of boys, all of that was in my head at a time when I should be meeting boys and developing relationships out of curiosity. Instead I was afraid that if I made anything like that happen to a boy I was stuck or he would hurt me or I would be forced to do things I didn’t want to do. A mess. My head was such a mess. Dating as a teenager for me, was terrifying. Terrifying because I thought he would kill them, kill me, or worse yet, they’d “love” me in one way or another and I didn’t know how that worked.
I finally had my first real love, I mean I really fell in love. It was right after I graduated from high school. I was so in love with him and he treated me like I was just the most beautiful, amazing person. I felt like I was in a fairytale. We messed around, yeah, but we never had sex and we were together for a while. I wanted to marry him because he was the only male who ever told me I was beautiful and that he thought about me all of the time and wanted to be with me. It was amazing. I never thought it would end.
During that time I went out one night for ice cream with a guy I was friends with from school. We were talking about music because that was what made us become friends. On the way home he drove past my house and I told him, “Hey I live back there.” He said, “Yeah I know but I thought we could go somewhere and talk some more.” Every.goddamn.sick.feeling.I.ever.had.from.my.abuse came rushing into my chest into a lump the size of a bowling ball. This guy was going to hurt me. I knew it. My head was a mess, I couldn’t think to speak or tell him no or that I wanted to go home. So we parked in this dark parking lot at a miniature golf course. We did talk a lot but then he started brushing my hair back and rubbing my shoulders and then he started kissing me and I barely reciprocated. I froze. He pushed his hands between my legs and I didn’t want it. I froze. I couldn’t even say “No.” I couldn’t push him away, I was terrified. He kept going for a while, his fingers all over the inside of my panties and I was sick in the stomach. But I froze. I couldn’t stop him. Finally. FINALLY! At one point he stopped and said, “Are you not into this?” Ha…really? You think so buddy? You think after you kissed me and I barely responded and I was stiff as a board and didn’t touch you…maybe, just maybe I wasn’t into it? He moved away and got nervous and said he would take me home. I stared straight ahead and said, “Okay.” That was it. He took me home, dropped me off and I showered three times that night. It was 1am by the time that I was done with my third shower and I got into my own car and drove all of the way (and it was really out in the country from where I lived) to my boyfriend’s house. I called him before I left and I was crying and he said it was okay. So when I got there, my hair was still damp from being in the shower all I wanted was for him to hold me. I wanted to smell the one guy…one male…who ever really loved me, while he held me. That was all. He held me until the sun came up and then I drove home.
So even if you can date after this kind of trauma…it will never be normal. OR whatever normal is. You will always and forever have these trust issues, these little feelings that maybe something isn’t right. Maybe you’re missing something? I don’t know, but I do know that if you do end up with someone you can trust and it works out and you can fall in love and they fall in love and there really is a happily ever after, I have no idea what that is like and no idea if I ever will. And even then, I’m sure this person that is capable of loving me would have to be a special person who was understanding, compassionate and would give me my space when I need it.
It’s a forever thing. All of it.