Monday, June 30, 2014

The Bottom Line (TRIGGER WARNING for Self Harm)

There's things that have been nagging at me a bit that I think have gotten lost in shuffle and craziness of the past few months, in my anger and frustration, in my need to prove that it was abuse, and everything else.

Most important is this: the way I was treated was abuse, and no one gets to decide that but me.

I can shout until my voice goes hoarse, but it doesn't matter if anyone believes me or not, because no one can understand what I felt and experienced at the hands of the person who harmed me. He may not have laid a hand on me, but his actions were just as dangerous for my health as if he had. This could have been unintentional or subconscious, it could be an isolated incident and not a pattern he's exhibited with others (especially partners), he may not be a malicious, terrible person and something made him behave out of character with me (frex, a need to "protect" himself, such as I discussed in my last blog post) ... ALL these things might be true, but none of them make it okay.

And the scars may have come from my own hand, but they are lasting and real. I have self-harmed off and on for 15 years, and never have I experienced the crazy intensity of visiting the ER multiple times for wounds as I did the beginning of this year. Coincidentally, I was also gaslighted into a devastating spiral of guilt and self-hate. When you fuck around with someone already in a really vulnerable place, it is dangerous.

TRIGGER WARNING: Self harm scars

The largest scar on my thigh is from the second to last ER visit I had (the last being when my abuser called the cops on me for being suicidal). I had to go in because the wound refused to stop bleeding. I know the photo is a lot.. I get triggered by similar online all the time, so I'm sorry if it is. But to me it's a physical reminder of just how insidious his behaviour was, how real the pain and trauma he caused me was. I wear a lot of scars from the years of self-harm, but nothing, nothing like this. This was him inside my head.

And I can hear the excuses coming from his side, that it is some sort of 'proof' that I was using the harm to gain his attention or get him to spend time with me. Not only is it a disgusting stereotype that those who harm do it for attention, but no one who harms both seriously and longterm does it for anyone but themselves. It's hard to discuss all the thoughts and emotions that go into taking everything out on yourself, and violently so, but it is pretty fucking selfish to make a terrible and destructive act about YOU and not the person actually in pain. (I don't know if my abuser's said anything to this effect at all, to be fair, but it makes sense after how many times he accused me of being too 'dependent' and unable to 'self-regulate' and being 'emotionally manipulative', as well as his fear of 'attaching his presence to things'.)

And that's the key, really, that in times of conflict, disagreement, or distress.. it was ALL about him. Everything was always about how I was affecting him, and nothing was about how I was feeling, how he put himself in this position of support/carer, how he affected me. I was the problem. I was manipulating him. I was too much. It was okay to hurt me because he had to. I had to adhere to his boundaries and restrictions, but he had to continue doing the one thing without warning that I asked him to give me warning for. The control he exerted over me was for my own good. He'd given so much already, so expecting anything (especially consideration of my feelings) was unreasonable. No one else was good enough to help me, but I wasn't good enough to be worthy of his help, either. He reassured me and lied to my face over and over, empty promises, and then caused pain all over again.

It was dehumanising, invalidating, painful, frustrating, and I was always on edge, always anxious. I am still overly anxious, unable to sleep, terrified that I will run into him somewhere, always a bit paranoid that it is not actually over. I don't care who, what, where, when or WHY, but he controlled and manipulated me using his position of power over me (a self-appointed position of support), and it harmed me. That is abuse.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Disability is Not Your Excuse and Holding Each Other Responsible

There is a strong push these days for self-care, removing toxic people from your life, knowing when enough is enough, that there is such a thing as TOO nice, etc... and obviously, these are all super important things that we should all keep in mind, because your own health and safety do take priority over other peoples in your life. But I found this blog post on Tumblr yesterday which resonated with me on some levels, though I suffer from an invisible disability, so I guess I'm lucky to not have strangers coming up and telling me they're 'praying for me' and things of that sort. People with mental illness are vulnerable to abuse in a lot of ways that many are not, however, because it takes even less of a push to paint them as 'unstable' and 'crazy'. Like, obviously, we already KNOW they are, cause weird stuff goes on in their head that you can't understand, right?

The part that I felt was the most poignant from the post is this (bold emphasis mine):
I am telling you now because I want you to stop telling girls and women with disabilities that we’re broken, that we need prayers, that we’re burdens, that it’s okay if someone hurts us because “they’re probably just stressed” from having to “deal” with us, or that we’re pretty “for a girl in a wheelchair.”

I am telling you now because I want you to start telling girls and women with disabilities that we’re beautiful, that we’re wanted, that we’re worthy of love, that you recognize us as sexual beings, that we’re capable, and that no one should ever hurt us no matter what.
 On the one hand, we do need to take care of ourselves before we take care of others. This is a healthy attitude for anyone to have, and one I'm still learning for myself sometimes. But predators, abusers, manipulators, and anyone else who is unable to empathise properly turns this into an excuse, into something to absolve them of responsibility for their actions, to avoid any consequences.

I left my husband because I had to, for my health. I'm still realising even now the extent of just how fucked up things were between us, but he is still a person and I still care for him. Not once did I forget how my actions would affect BOTH of us, how I worried about his ability to function on his own, or if the separation would tailspin him further into depression and isolation (all things my therapist has reminded me are Not My Problem). I probably tend to be an over-empathiser, so yeah, all those admonitions of self-care and 'your health first' are basically made for me, but I don't think normal, feeling people ever truly forget that our actions have consequences on others, for better or worse.

And even if you accept that someone has to hurt someone else for legitimate reasons, there's a big difference between peripheral hurt and directly causing someone hurt. Most of us would not directly cause someone hurt if we could at all avoid it, or we'd find ways to protect ourselves while minimising the damage to the other if it truly came to that. It feels pretty shit making someone else feel shit, intentionally or not... at least, if you have a functional sense of empathy.

Obviously, I don't believe my abuser is an empathetic being or he would have handled things a lot differently... but even if you disagree, if you accept that perhaps he was acting in ways to 'protect' himself because dealing with me was simply too much to cope with, then yes, it may be a reason, but it is not an excuse. It does not magically make his poor behaviour okay or mean that his actions have no consequences or absolve him of the responsibility of his choices. To believe so means you must dehumanise me, to believe that my illness makes me something less than human and there is some level where harming me is 'okay' if it's absolutely necessary. And that is not something most people I know should be willing to accept, because it is a disgustingly ableist attitude to have when so many around us deal with mental illness to varying degrees.

I've read a lot lately about how geek communities/social groups/spaces tend to fall prey to things such as The Five Geek Social Fallacies and The Missing Stair. There is a strong feeling of needing to be inclusive and accepting of things beyond what is reasonable sometimes because many of us were outsiders when we were younger and 'we're not like THOSE people', or that being a friend means we have to be okay with everything about a person to a fault. The Geek Social Fallacies touch on a lot of these ideas really well, so I won't go over it all here.

My point is simply that we need to expect better, especially of ourselves and our friends. Being a true friend should mean being able to call out poor behaviour, holding others accountable so that we can all do better and be better friends and human beings. Change and growth is a good thing for all of us, and honestly caring and supporting one another should include not allowing the bad things to slide as much as we encourage positive things. No one likes being called out on this stuff, and it can be hard to feel like you'll just create conflict or 'drama' (the dreaded D word.. pretty closely related to the topics addressed in the Geek Social Fallacies). But I have people close to me that I trust and I value that they are willing to tell me straight up when I go wrong as much as when they cheer me on when I'm doing well. And part of the strength and value of the friendship is that I listen to them, because I know they just want me to be a better person overall.

I have a lot more to say about how my abuser's actions were truly harmful and the condemnation of emotions and other various related things, but those are for other blog posts. I think I can sum it all up with this:

Letting things slide because it seems like a good enough justification perpetuates a culture of abuse, it allows predators to slide through the cracks and hide among us. Accepting that it is 'okay' to harm others in significant ways because they are 'too much' for one reason or another is both dehumanising and ableist. And don't let reasons become justifications or excuses, because avoiding responsibility for our actions is never really okay (and it's a huge red flag for those who manipulate and/or abuse). Supporting each other as friends should include calling out bad behaviour, because it is in everyone's best interests to encourage a culture of straightforward openness and honesty and help prevent falling into Missing Stair or other related situations.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Wish This Contentment Could Last Forever

It's 1am, I slept for aaaaages (which I so needed after weeks and weeks of severe insomnia), I'm working on some writing, listening to music, and for once, I'm smiling. I feel great for the first time in so long, I think I forgot how nice contentment can be.

Monday in court went even better than expected. It was terrifying and stressful, but I had support there the entire time. I'm so thankful for the calming presence of my friends. I won't go into details, but I was able to receive help from the Domestic Violence Representatives program on the day, and they were amazing. Perfect, really. Basically, I agreed to a thing I wanted to do anyway and my abuser agreed to withdraw the AVO. I wish I knew what the lawyer said to him. I wish this was a solution to all of life's problems, too. So ideal.

IT'S OVER. I'm so thankful and so grateful for everyone who has given support or even just the simplest note of sympathy. Every bit has truly helped. I'm especially thankful for the amazing friends I got to see on Sunday, because it was such the perfect pick me up before dealing with court. Maybe it's a small thing, but even just hearing their outrage and support in person, and how much they understood my actions (despite the anger and intensity)... yeah, it felt really great. I managed to sleep that night, which is the real sign of how much it helped. I expected to be up all night before court dreading it. So much love to you all. <3

So yeah, I feel as if I can finally breathe, as if a huge weight has been lifted from my life. And I survived! I survived a lot of very scary, intense emotions and dealing with some very trying events the first half of this year which came right after last year's stress of the marriage falling apart, etc. AND I've survived it all while making it past three months clean from self-harm. I think, I think I'm allowed to be very proud of myself.

There was a Me at one point in time who would have just run away from it all, who would have stayed silent and accepted that sometimes people just treat you badly, who would have tried to self-destruct instead of attempting to cope, and obviously that Me is still in there, somewhere. I wanted to do all of those things at various points in time. I really wanted everything to simply Go Away so badly. But these days I know that life just doesn't work that way, and sometimes things are really difficult, but it's worth it to hang onto whatever is important to you. In this case, it's been my health, my independence, and this life I've built for me in my home away from home.

I've lost some friends along the way, and I'm sad for that, of course. I didn't want it to happen the way it has, but it's nothing personal and I don't hate anyone. Also I feel that I know who to focus on building stronger friendships with, and that it has been a hard and important lesson. And I hope to find other, new friends too. It's a big city. There's a lot of awesome people I haven't met yet, I'm sure.

Most importantly, it can only go up from here, as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to make a concerted effort to keep fighting this stupid mental illness and figuring out whatever it is that is making me physically ill. I'm going to take a uni course next semester and get that going again. I'm going to keep working on my writing and submitting it for contests or publication. I'm going to spend time focusing on others over all the time I spend inside my own head (I'm pretty sick of it in there). I also hope to get back to volunteering once a week, too. I've fought hard for this life, with the help of a lot of people who love me. Now it's finally time to make it into the one I want to live.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mental Illness Feels Like 4 AM (and also Thoughts on Gaslighting)

Awake in the early morning hours, alone, and in tears. I can't tell you how many nights I've spent this way over the course of my life. Too many. It's an eternal paradox. I crave these times for familiar and comfortable solitude. At the same time I despise them, because inevitably I can no longer keep the worst thoughts and emotions at bay. If you asked me what mental illness felt like, I'd say it felt like 4 am; deep into the night, but still a couple hours from sunrise. It's the time where everything is still and quiet, even those who prefer to inhabit the night as I do fast asleep. Four am is the hour of insomniacs; the anxious, the depressed, the broken.

Tonight, there is pain. Lately, there's been a lot of pain; the kind that makes your chest physically ache and tighten and you can't breathe and you wonder if tonight is the night you finally burst open since you can't imagine anything else would provide any sort of relief. Usually that sort is only a sometimes pain. These days it is every night.

Tonight, I was thinking of how much judgement has been thrown my way, even sometimes from those on my side. Not always intentionally, but still throwing blame on me or my behaviour or simply completely misunderstanding the situation or my motivations. To be fair, it's been a huge learning process for me, too. I think many don't realise that my first blogs on here were still strongly influenced by the gaslighting I experienced at my abuser's hand. The long, rambling attempts to make sense of everything was because nothing made sense, even when I was so convinced I finally understood what was going on. I was still taking on so much responsibility and blame that had been heaped upon me unfairly, trying to explain away the terrible behaviour of someone else. Yet, no matter how many times I went over it, clarified it for myself, tried again and again to deconstruct and figure out what went wrong, discovering that the control exerted over me was in fact abuse is what finally made sense. It was like everything clicked and a fog was lifted.

I was thinking of how to describe gaslighting to one who hasn't experienced it, because it's a really foreign idea that someone could mould your own thinking so strongly. The best way to put it is to imagine a disco ball that has been turned inside out, and you are in the centre of it. If you were holding a torch, the light represents you essentially 'throwing blame', in that you bring up something someone does that you find hurtful for some reason. So, you shine your light of 'hey, I really wish you'd stop doing this thing' towards the person responsible, only they are outside the disco ball and instead of shining at them, it hits the hundreds of mirrors facing back at you. These mirrors are the various ways blame and responsibility are thrown back at you, through a lot of rationalisation, justification, and poking at things you are already insecure about (in my case, it was the accusations of dependency and the inability to regulate my coping strategies for myself). True manipulators can make anything sound 'reasonable' and are really adept at reading those who are vulnerable to their tactics. It's easy to make things 'truth' if you can speak about them in ways that make sense to others in one way or another.

Anyway, the light of course gets reflected and intensified as it bounces around and all comes back to you in the centre, all at once. It's really hard to see things clearly and, if you stand in the light long enough, you start internalising it and it becomes normal. That's the reality shift.

A good question, of course, is how did someone manage to affect me so deeply in such a short amount of time? I think I was just a particularly susceptible victim, having only just escaped an emotionally abusive situation with the husband. I was already conditioned to living in an unhealthy environment, even though it manifested differently. I've read that often abusers will purposely pick those who are successful so that they can make themselves feel superior in dragging someone down. In my case, I was already dragged down to rock bottom, so it didn't take much standing in the light, so to speak, to twist up my thinking pretty badly. Though, I also credit my experience with helping me to make the final stand against him, because I knew something was wrong, even though it was very difficult to figure out what. In some ways, my subconscious alarm bells were going off, like, HEY you don't have to put up with feeling awful, this is why you left the husband!

And that's part of why it hurts and angers me so much that so many believe his lies that I have some sort of obsession with him. I never, ever have. It sounds like I admit it in my own words, yes, but those blogs are his truth coming out of my mouth and not my Truth. And even after I began discovering the Truth, I was still confused and lost. I felt as if everything was turned upside down, and I questioned it a LOT. Over and over I wondered if I wasn't just trying to find convenient explanations for things to absolve me of guilt, to help me find some sense of closure. There were nights I felt weirdly detached, as if I were floating away from myself and nothing was real. It's called disassociation when you disconnect like that, and I can only describe it as if I were a cloud, observing things from high above. I experience it much more mildly when my anxiety becomes overwhelming in public spaces, though it's more like my brain shuts off and I can only manage simple tasks one at a time. This was a lot scarier.

I know a lot of my actions made it seem like I was perhaps obsessed and stuck after we stopped speaking. I heard a lot of, 'Forget him! Just move on. You're better off without him. Don't let him get to you.' Yeah, well, I was confused too why I couldn't do that. I wanted to, very badly. But trauma just doesn't work that way. And now I'm annoyed that things are dragging on now when I'd like nothing more than for him to simply stop existing for me.

I guess what I'm saying is that I have been judged for a lot of things out of my control, and not entirely unfairly so. Though, I hoped more would be able to see my journey for what it is, even if it's all been a bit of a mess. Even though I know a lot of mental illness-friendly people, I feel that there still has been a lot of disregard for stuff I've said based on the fact that I'm 'crazy', so there must be something wrong with me since I've been acting so intense and weird lately.

Yeah, that has zero to do with my mental illness and everything to do with the person who caused me a lot of harm. Like, if you've known me for years and I'm acting super out of character, that means there's a really good reason behind it.. not 'craziness'. Honestly, the first indicator that something was terribly wrong should have been how self-destructive I became with my abuser around, to the point I had multiple crisis nights. I have never had that happen to me before in all my experience with my illness. I mean, I probably should have spent a night or two in the ER last year while my marriage was falling apart, but still... and I feel like that ties into how much control he was trying to exert over me. The 'crazier' I was, the more I should depend and trust him to know what was best.

The lesson here is that causing an already self-destructive person to internalise a lot of guilt and blame is super dangerous. That is how serious this is. I am lucky I am not dead, and I got out of that situation as quickly as I did. I imagine his threshold is before actual death occurs, or he wouldn't have called the police the night I ran away to the park with the intention of harming myself. And I even thanked him afterwards, grateful he cared enough to not let me die when his anger and silence is what put me there in the first place. Ugh, it makes me disgusted to think of it.

This is a person people refuse to stop calling friend. *shudder*

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Some Clarification, Some Ranting; Basically the Usual

Some clarification of my last post:

If you are friends with my abuser and haven't even bothered to talk to me about my side or expressed any sort of sympathy, I want you out of my life.

If his lies and justifications are easier to swallow than him treating me cruelly, I want you out of my life.

If you found my anger off-putting or an overreaction, I want you out of my life.

If you don't find his hurtful actions to discredit me problematic at all, I want you out of my life.

If it is so easy to believe that my mental illness means I'm a crazy, lying drama whore, I want you out of my life.

If you are sympathetic but don't reconsider if this is a person who makes a good friend or you find abuse too harsh a word, think of it as emotional bullying and understand that this experience has been seriously traumatic for me. If keeping the friendship is still more important than my wellbeing, I want you out of my life.

If you think your neutrality or silence or whatever is more important than taking emotional abuse seriously, you are an enabler, and I want you out of my life.

If you think this is a super harsh reaction to the entire situation, I want you out of my life.

I'd rather isolate myself and lose a lot of friendships I've had for years (therefore giving him exactly what he wants), than deal with a monster for one more second than I have to or put any more energy into the misery and stress he's caused me. There are people who have provided me a lot of support and kind words and have put effort into staying friends regardless of everything that's happened, and some have made the amazing effort to become better friends, even. These are the people I want in my life, and no one else.

I posted this on social media before, but it really describes it best as to why this is necessary.
A while ago I came to a realisation that someone I thought I was good friends with was incredibly toxic and an adept gaslighter. He knew how to push my buttons and knew which situations to push them in so that I’d react publicly and irrationally. Why? I still don’t know, although several people close to us both have suggested it’s a combination of his incredibly low self esteem (apparently thanks to his parents), or that he sees me as some kind of threat (I still have no idea what that means). When I finally realised that no one else could see how difficult it was for me to associate with him, and that I’d prefer to never see or have anything to do with him again, I cut him off. 
Social events with that particular circle of friends became difficult. This was, aside from him, a great group of people I’d become increasingly close to and enjoyed spending time with. I got to the point where I had to ask if he was going to be at something, so that I could decline the invitation if he was. 
At some point, a lightbulb went off in my head. The angst and anxiety around always avoiding this person meant that this person was always popping into my thoughts. Every time a mutual friend invited me somewhere, I had to think about him, and I didn’t want to think about him ever again. The problem was that everyone seemed to think he was great, so there was no chance of the situation changing. I could have swallowed my pride and just shown up to things and let him be the awkward one, but I did that a couple of times and it was anxiety-ridden for me and not worth the trouble.  
So, on somewhat of a whim, I removed almost everyone in that group from my social circle. 
Why almost everyone and not just everyone? A few people contacted me to ask what was going on, and I told them. Most got angry and bid me good riddance—but a couple of them flat out refused to stop being friends with me, and started making time for me outside of group things. 
Within a couple of days of removing everyone, it felt like an immense weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Sure, I had about 50% less friends overnight, but I never had to worry about him again. It felt incredible, and it also changed my life—I started making time for new friends and discovered the people I now refer to as my tribe. I definitely miss some of the people I left behind with him, but it was worth it. 
I'm not going to go through the trouble of worrying which social things I can attend and which I can't. If you don't want me around anyway, because you believe his side, good riddance. I'm certain I know who cares about my friendship and who doesn't by now, anyway.

I do not hate anyone other than my abuser, and if you are worried I am speaking about you (I am not necessarily thinking of anyone in particular with any of these statements.. but this is the general feeling I've gotten from a lot of various reactions), then chat with me and I will happily discuss the what and why of how I've gotten to this point.

I also have not asked anyone to ever advocate for me on my behalf with any other friends. I've gotten the impression that some feel I am creating an Us vs. Them dynamic, which is not what I want at all. All I've wanted is to speak my truth and hope that some of you out there understand. I'm just clarifying now where my boundaries lie. If you are a mutual friend of someone wondering why I'm cutting people off, then I'm happy for you to explain things or direct them to me. In fact, I've always preferred direct communication about all this stuff... the lack of it is part of what has been causing me stress. I know there's been a lot of talking about me and very little talking about things TO me.

I DO think there is a right side and a wrong side, but that's because for me there is. He caused me harm. That is wrong. If you intentionally or unintentionally encourage and enable him causing me harm, we cannot be friends. It's that simple.

If I sound angry and frustrated, that's because I am still. I imagine I will be until everything is settled. And if I'm not angry and frustrated, I'm crying and terrified. That's it, that's my life at the moment. But once this is done, I am moving forward and never looking back. I wish more of you were coming with me, but I'm grateful for all those who will be.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Zero Tolerance

I accidentally deleted my last blog post, but it's not important. Either you believe me or you don't even though everything is still becoming clearer and making more sense the more I examine our 'friendship' and learn how these sorts of people operate.

But even more difficult isn't that I was treated so cruelly or that he continues to attempt to intimidate and silence me... it's how difficult it has been to face up to the fact that people I respect and call friends have either refused to believe me or stayed silent in the name of 'neutrality' (and his friends even actively support his behaviour and lies), and all of the above is in his favour. Yes, thinking you know someone who is a friend, that they could never act that way, that it's a misunderstanding or the accuser is overreacting in some way, believing his justifications and lies... they hurt more than even the manipulative abuse. I am now zero tolerance of any remote presence of his in my life, even if that means losing people I would really rather not, because I will not accept anything that makes me feel unsafe or will give him any power over me, and that includes unintentional lines of communication. Once everything is settled, he no longer exists as far as I am concerned.

But I'm not burning bridges. If you see things that bother you, behaviours you'd like to overlook but can't quite, stuff you can't put your finger on but it feels off, anything at all from him or anyone else that makes you question their honesty, intentions or whatever... I'm always here to chat. I will always believe you even if no one else does. I will never question your intuition or sanity or accept justifications for poor behaviour. I promise I will always listen, because I have been there and I would never put someone else through what I have been through. Even if you are a stranger on the internet, I will believe you. You are never alone.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Things I Am Tired of Hearing

Directed at no one or any conversation in particular.

"There were mistakes on both sides." Irrelevant.

"Just ignore him." I'm trying. When you figure out how to make my brain shut up, please let me know.

"Leave it all alone and focus on you." I'm doing that already, or coping with things in whatever way I need to.

"I wouldn't have handled it that way." Easier said than done if you haven't been the victim of abuse.

*silence* There's a lot in what people DON'T say, as well.

Yes, I'm lacking in sleep and having a grumpy day, and I know it's hard to know what TO say, and everyone is really sick of the drama (me too!). I'm not angry when people are only trying to help, but I can't help that certain things annoy me. And still a strong sense of people not taking things as seriously as I'd probably prefer, or believing I'm not lying, but that I'm still overreacting in many ways.

I'm not sorry, and no, you can't understand it really from the outside. I don't expect anyone to, either. I'm just tired of it all, and it can't and won't go away for me. Partially because he doesn't want it to and partially because it's been pretty traumatic. It just is what it is.

Even Winning Will Be Losing

My series of posts about Abusive Mentalities are finished and I'd love it if you could all give it a read. It's pretty eye-opening and surprising, because we all think we know about abuse and how it works... but most of what we know is wrong, and it explains why abusers get away with it for so long, how they trap victims, etc. Pretty fascinating stuff, though triggery as heck if you have been there yourself. It also explains why they rarely change, because they are so completely convinced they are in the right and can justify their actions to themselves. Scary to think about, really. 

So yeah, as for an update, I am worried I will have to be even stricter about friends cause my anxiety levels in regards to my abuser are through the roof. He came up in a completely separate Twitter conversation yesterday and I didn't expect much of anything... surely a man so desperate to not hear from me has me blocked, right? He filed for an AVO, so that tends to indicate you are pretty serious about the No-Contact thing. But I looked out of curiosity, because I'm super clever like that, and once again he's trying to provoke some sort of reaction out of me. This time with some violently angry name-calling. I believe the exact phrase was "crazy, obnoxious, delusional fucktard". Nice. I have no reason to react in even a passive-aggressive way, cause I've said most everything I need to say. Whatever. If he wants to put on a show for sympathy and get stupid on the internet, I don't really care. (Yes, I have been stupid and angry on the internet, but nothing I've said directly or indirectly was that disgusting.) I can only hope people are finally seeing his true colours.

Except this is making me feel super unsafe. I don't know how I'm supposed to coexist even somewhat socially with this person. I don't want to say him or me, but it's getting to the point where I'm not even certain how to be in a space with him without a panic attack. And the thought people who are lovely and probably don't think I'm crazy could accept this sort of treatment of a mutual friend is becoming harder and harder to reconcile.

And it's probably what he wants. If he can't silence me, he can certainly try to intimidate me, isolate me further, take away more people from my life I genuinely like and respect a lot. And he was careful to be just vague enough, but anyone can tell he means me. It came right after the tag. Which I hadn't considered he could see, except I should have cause he mentioned to my housemate about a tag the day he tried to have the AVO served. Hypocrisy abounds. I will continue to speak truth to any who will listen, but I don't think this emotional and psychological mess he's caused will really ever entirely go away. At least, not for a long time. 

Anyway, I've been thinking about the trigger for his behaviour change with me, and I think I have figured it out. Basically, it was as soon as I felt I could trust him and 'asked' for help, probably combined with some of my anger at the first night he stayed away for my own good.. that's when the accusations of dependency and stuff first came out. Probably because instead of letting him 'fix' me in the way he wanted to or thought was best, I tried to direct his help in ways I would find more useful, including setting a necessary boundary and being hurt when his 'help' backfired. He was always trying to control me, but in ways I found easier to swallow under the pretense of providing support. It was always 'do this, do that, these things are good for you and these things are bad, etc.' Not having to think for youself too much just coming out of a marriage and a soul-destroying year seemed pretty okay at the time. Guess he gave me a bit too much confidence and assertiveness for his liking. Also, it's obvious the help he offers is about making himself feel good... and being angry and hurt by him can't have felt good. And that's when the scary cycle of control and manipulation began, and I got confused and apologetic and couldn't figure out why I still felt shit when I tried to accept what he was saying.