I guess I am feeling the need to talk about this today, so here goes.
I met my ex when I was 15. We went to high school together. He was two grades ahead of me.
Our friends really pushed us together….they thought it was cute and funny. I was game, because I was craving male attention.
High school and college were not happy times for me. Looking back, it is a miracle I survived.
It is hard to decide whether to put myself back there and write about it, whether that is good for me, or whether it is better just to continue to push it out of my head. But pushing it out of my head hasn’t worked out real well. So here goes.
The ex and I stayed on the phone for hours, for more than a year, not saying much of anything. It was 3 months before he kissed me on the cheek but it was 9 months before we kissed for real. And we really didn’t start talking before that. It was mostly just hours of silence on the phone.
He said planned to go stay with his mom’s friend in California when he graduated, and do something with graphic design for college.
Somewhere in the same sentences he started telling me things like that he would hold his mother’s pistol to his mouth and the only thing that stopped him from pulling the trigger was thinking of me crying over his coffin.
Stuff like this would just come out in the course of a typical conversation.
It didn’t occur to me at the time that there might be mental illness there. I didn’t really know what mental illness was and even after I had a psychotic break when I was 17, the beginning of my own bipolar disorder, there was little education and no talk at home of what mental illness really is.
All I knew was that he told me I was beautiful and that he said he loved me and that he also said he cut himself sometimes. I begged him not to hurt himself. Nobody had conversations with me about self-harm, not even when I got depressed myself after my first pychotic break.
I so felt like I had to protect him. I didn’t question it when he didn’t go to California after all. I remember one morning assuring him that if he wanted to see other people, that it would be okay and that we would still be friends. It didn’t occur to me to seek help for him when I started seeing the cuts myself, I only knew I didn’t want to get him in trouble.
He didn’t get a job after graduation. He didn’t do anything for a year, until he went to work for McDonald’s my senior year of high school.
I had zero clue that he intended to wait for me so we could go to college together. He never asked me if I wanted that. But I made my college decision based on his choice to go to an art school in Atlanta.
I had no clue that his mother bought a house near my parents so that he and I could live there together with her. I had no clue about that until we broke up the first time. I was a junior in high school when she bought that house.
You know, I sit here from my beautiful deck with my three boys inside playing and there’s so much I want to tell them about it all, to prepare them. To prepare them for what they may find themselves feeling about being depressed, to prepare them for the not good people they may meet even in high school, to prepare for the people they may meet in college, and I don’t even know where to begin.
What age is an appropriate age to tell your child that you have been raped? I mean, my oldest is old enough that he knows about sex but when do you spring that kind of thing on them? Not so much so they can be angry with you but so that you impress upon them that they have power that girls don’t have.
I questioned it but didn’t push when he picked me up from class at school one day and said he was dropping out of art school after one quarter.
He lies to people now, and tells people that he finished that degree. He also lies about the amounts of time he spent at various employers, to spare himself from having to explain large gaps of time he’s spent unemployed.
I was adamant that I was waiting for marriage for sex. That had been a decision I made practically as soon as I knew what sex was. He didn’t push that boundary too hard.
Until we broke up. And another man raped me. And then, a week later, I was fair game, even though I told him the whole time, ‘No, I won’t have sex with you.’
I know he doesn’t see it that way. I know he sees himself as a victim of his own circumstance. But he had the chance to go to Emory on a full courtesy scholarship because of his mom’s employment. He didn’t see the point in going to school to do anything other than study things directly related to what he wanted to do work-wise. And he wanted to work designing video games. So he chose graphic design. And then he promptly dropped out at the end of his first semester, I still don’t know exactly why but I suspect it had to do with money.
To be completely fair to him, his mom is certifiable. She was married five times before she was 27 and his father wasn’t one of those men. She has been actively suicidal in the time that I have known her.
There is a girl he is in love with now and I want to tell her to run for her life, that she needs to be afraid because he has told me if she cut him off or if he cut her out of his life that he would go creepy stalker on her and I want to tell her about the violence he is capable of. I want to tell her about the rage I’ve seen in his eyes as he held a knife to another man’s throat, over me.
I keep him close because I am nosy and codependent. I also keep him close because I am terrified of him.
I don’t even know if he knows for sure where I live, but I am terrified of him. I was scared of him even when I lived in a gated community that was manned with security 24/7.
I don’t think about the fear consciously much. I drown it out with the codependency, the desire to help him better his life, to save him, because that’s what I have felt obligated to do since I was 15 years old.
But if I freed myself of that fear, I am not sure he would come to mind so often.
Time to break that fear in half.