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I need help right now 
14th-Jul-2009 01:33 am
Any responses would be good. Right now. I'm in crisis and talking to a friend but I need help.

I'm freaking out about my relationship. I'm in my first relationship post-rape and I'm freaking out. I've been dating him for six months and I think I'm starting to fall in love with him. I don't know what to do. I don't want to say it and him not feel it and be rejected and heartbroken. I don't want him to say it because the last person who loved me abused me and raped me.

I realized I can't trust him not to hurt me. It's not because he's ever done anything to hurt my trust, ever. In fact, the complete opposite. He's been great and honest in every single way.

So now I feel two completely different ways. The last person to love me ruined my life. But I want to love him and I want him to love me, desperately.

How can I feel vulnerable and trust him not to take advantage of that vulnerability? I know he's not my ex, but it's hard for me, when I'm spiraling out of control, to remember that.

Add to all this the fact that I'm visiting my hometown, and can drive past the exact place where I was raped, and I'm not having fun right now. I just feel so angry and sad and scared and alone. I want to feel numb so bad, and almost took a bunch of my antidepressants instead of one just to feel that numbness, but it was an unintentional thought and I put it out of my head quickly. I just...help.
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14th-Jul-2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, he knows about my past relationship and has been great about it so far. I've gotten triggered a couple times and he was spectacular when that happened. I just...what if I love him and he doesn't love me back? I've always waited for my partner to say it in every past relationship, but I guess...I can still wait it out, right? I guess I just don't want to be in this if I'm feeling so strongly for him and he doesn't feel it back.
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14th-Jul-2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
*safe hugs*

I can relate to how scary it is to be in a relationship, after the previous one was so traumatizing. You're definitely not alone.

I hope you're feeling a bit better this morning. ♥
14th-Jul-2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
I feel a little better, thank you. I think I decided I just need some space from him right now. We've gotten really intense the past few weeks, and while I enjoy that, it's just too much for me to handle right now.
14th-Jul-2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
I have been there too.. I dont have any great advice though, sorry. Safe hugs if you want them...
14th-Jul-2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
14th-Jul-2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
I can relate. I have a couple pieces of advice which worked well for me. The first was sitting down with the people I wanted to tell "I love you," to (both my romantic partner and my close friends - so both romantic and friendly love), and setting up an alternate phrase. It sounds weird, I know, but I let them know that saying, "I love you," reminded me of past abusers, and that while I was building confidence in the trust they'd already earned, I'd prefer using a different phrase.

For them saying it to me, I had them use a nickname that I love. Any time they say that name, it means that they love me *and* that they respect my wishes, which was a nice reminder. For me to them, I asked how were ways I could express my love to them. For one of them, it was calling him a particular nickname. For my partner at the time, was holding his hand and looking in his eye, or rubbing his back gently. Over time, in seeing I could love them openly without the relationship or friendship changing, I felt vulnerable in a non-scary way.

With the man who is now my husband, I had a really hard time being reminded of past abusers. What he and I did then, and still do is to, "borrow your eyes." If either of us started feeling scared or triggered, we'd stop, say, "I need to borrow your eyes," and look straight-on into each other's eyes. Then, whoever was triggered or scared would say what things they'd seen or experienced that built trust between us.

So, if I were triggered, I'd look him in the eye and say, "You have always respected my wishes, even when it meant us having to compromise. You love me very much and show me every day. You don't want me to be anyone that you want; you want me to be me, and you love who I am no matter what." That type of focused, self-driven reassurance can help calm you a lot, and it also shows your partner that you know that they have earned your trust.

Try to remember through all of this, that this fear is normal, and it's not because you don't love him enough or anything. You are afraid of being hurt again, and you just need time to work through it and see that, despite openly loving each other, that he doesn't change into an abuser.
14th-Jul-2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
Part of my problem is that I don't know whether or not he loves me, and I'm agonizing over that.

We waited about 5 months to have sex, and now that we finally have, I have just felt him getting a lot closer to me and way more intense than he was before. I used to have to struggle to get him to text me a sentence once a day, now he's talking to me for an hour a day. He's been very cuddly, and having loving body language -- pressing his forehead to mine, eskimo kisses, stuff like that. Saying that he's going to miss me a lot and seeing me three times a week instead of one. To me, it seems like his feelings for me have changed and are changing. I feel like he might love me.

At first the thought of that completely terrified me. I was so afraid that he was going to say it and I wouldn't be able to say it back. But now that he's been doing it more I've adjusted to it and I think I feel it too. Now my fear is that I'm going to be too vulnerable. I went into this looking to have fun and care about him a little bit, and I was in control. Now that there's some idea that I could be vulnerable, things feel all pear shaped and off.

I think what I might need now more than anything is space. His intensity is making me face things I'm not ready to, and I just need time to think on my own without feeling like he's smothering me.

GOD. I feel so ambivalent about everything regarding this.
15th-Jul-2009 04:56 am (UTC)
It sounds like he's demonstrating a lot of affection, which usually comes along with love. Also, try to remember that he doesn't need to love you back right now in order for you to express your love for him. Being vulnerable is terrifying, especially after someone has betrayed your trust and chosen to hurt you when you were vulnerable. Ambivalence is 100% okay, normal, and expected of people with an abuse history. It took me a long time of sitting with the ambivalence, and seeing that, time and time again, my partner didn't choose to abuse me, before that anxiety really faded away.
15th-Jul-2009 03:50 am (UTC)
I am so sorry you're going through this. It must feel frustrating.

I hope some of sistahraven's advice is helpful and that you and your boyfriend are able to come to some sort of understanding which will help you feel better about things and make progress at your own pace.

And I hope you're feeling better now that some time has passed. Sometimes, that can make a huge difference.
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