Minx, from Poly Weekly, talks about “owning your shit.” This is the idea of getting to the root of your feelings and actually dealing with them.
It’s taken me a little time to figure this out. I thought I was hurt and angry because I’d been lied too. But that’s not really it. Yes, I’m hurt. I thought this person wanted to be friends. Her actions say otherwise.
So I’m hurt. But I’m also upset with myself. Bear with me for this. A potential friend has decided to date/become romantically involved with my abusive Ex. Yes, I told her. In fact, her burgeoning involvement made me disclose the extent of the abuse. I spoke out because I wanted to warn her. She told me that she doesn’t believe me. I guess I didn’t say the right things or act the right way to sound like someone abused.
My greatest fear in disclosing abuse is not being believed. 24 years ago, I told my mother I’d been raped. She called me a liar. My older sister brought my rapist to my workplace because *she* was still friends with him, and I was a liar. She told me I must be lying because she saw me hanging out at a park near his house. After that, I never told anyone the truth. 19 years ago, I asked my friends for help with a stalker boyfriend. I didn’t tell them about the physical abuse – and there’s no way I could have told them about the rape. Last year, I told a friend and the stalker Ex. I want to think she didn’t consider her words when she said “he wouldn’t have done that.” Maybe she was processing it. To me it felt like another person doubting me. I told another friend and got a similar response. So how could I tell anyone, ever?
The first time I told my husband and my past was over a year ago. When he and I started marriage counseling, our therapist asked admit our histories. I decided in that moment to tell the truth. Telling *anyone* that my Ex had been abusive was tremendously difficult for me. I assumed no one would believe me, or that is be told I was overreacting or misinterpreting (years of gas lighting take their toll). But I told the truth, and so many of the people in my life were wonderful and kind and understanding and supportive. And I felt better for speaking out. Being called a liar, again, hurts.
But I’m also upset – and I don’t know a better word then that. I’m upset because I realize that I don’t want to be around her. Not because I’m angry. Not because I’m jealous. But because I do not trust myself to be able to be kind to her. I do not trust myself to be supportive when he inevitably abuses her (and while I hope he doesn’t, research shows that without help abusers just keep on abusing).
I like to think of myself as an ally. I like to think that I am supportive of other women. So it upsets me recognize that I don’t think, in this case, that I can be.
So I’ve owned my shit. I’ve gotten to the roots of my feelings. A small part is about her actions. A larger part is my own past, and none of that has to do with her. The final piece is about my own expectations for myself – and I cannot be all “love and light” ask the time. I can choose to distance myself from people engaging in behaviour that hurts me – that choice didn’t make me a bad person, it makes me a person engaging in self care (or so my husband tells me).
While I hope that her choices do not end in her being harmed, I hope that I can reach a place where I can be supportive of they do.
Klimt’s “Nuda Veritas”