If your love were taken from me
Every color would be black and white
It would be as flat as the world before Columbus
That’s the day that I lose half my sight
-Suzanne Vega, World Before Columbus
Whether I had anything to do with it or not, I am glad that the e-mails stopped. I didn’t say “go fuck yourself” because I never wanted to talk to her again. I specifically said “we haven’t talked since June and this is the first thing you want to say?” Before we talked last summer, we hadn’t talked for two years. This is because I had to learn that my indoctrination was false. It was never my fault. I couldn’t be held responsible. It was 6 years after we met that I was even old enough to vote. I had to learn to let myself off the hook, and I’m still learning, because one of the hard parts of being abused (no matter how) is that it teaches you that you’ve done something to deserve it.
Deep down, there is a well of shame because if you’d only…
I’ve had to relax and realize that there’s nothing at the end of that ellipsis. There’s nothing I could have done that would have made me less attractive to her personal brand of emotional violence. There’s nothing I could have done to prevent her from inwardly manipulating me into coming toward her and outwardly wondering why I wouldn’t leave her alone. That was the disconnect, and apparently, the reason *I* was crazy. I wasn’t abused~ she never even touched me. I just got it in my head that there was more to what she was saying and completely overreacting. It was all such a big misunderstanding.
I have lived with that lie since I was 14 years old, because I couldn’t bring myself to show anyone the sexually charged material she had given me. I thought I was being groomed for something- I watched Oprah- and instead of being disgusted, this was someone I really loved. It was exciting. You know it’s wrong, but you’re too curious and excited to think about that part of it. At 14, you’re young enough to be molded into whatever someone else wants you to be, and at the same time, just coming into your own sexually and starting to wonder what it might be like.
Our relationship was never the same after that, because she could see my reaction to the journal and the door that seemed open was slammed shut. She held me responsible for my reaction, but I couldn’t be, because I hadn’t started thinking about other girls my own age like that. She shook me awake, and for the longest time, she was the only one in my life that was in color.
I was held at arm’s length because I was obsessed with her, or at least that’s her story and she’s sticking to it. She has no culpability, won’t *allow* herself to take responsibility, because it is so much easier to tell herself that I happened *to* her.
So easy, in fact, that she even convinced me of it. I have thought that I was sick since I was a teenager with these horrible mental health issues that just caused me to freak out on her. It wasn’t that she’d emotionally abused me, it was that there was something wrong with me that made me chase after her.
I was immediately put into what I now recognize as “the friend zone,” and told that I was her family… that our ties were closer than blood… while at the same time, continually told with actions that it wasn’t true. My phone calls were screened. My e-mails went unanswered. Her partner sat me down and said, “when she meant that you were her family, that’s not what she meant.” This was after singing and being told that it was “like watching my little girl grow up.”
The princess of mixed signals had managed to engineer an entirely false reality, and raged that I was out of touch with it. Now I know why I am glad that the contact has stopped. It means that I value my own reality more than I value the one created *for* me.
I sound like a broken record when I talk about this because it does circle back around like that. There have been too many years where I have just been coerced into believing that I’m the sick one. In fact, I had a friend with a 12-year-old that when I age-appropriately befriended her, my abuser sent her an e-mail and told her that she thought I was being predatory with her daughter. PREDATORY. My abuser went behind my back and accused me of being a child molester. Where would she even get that idea? Why would it even occur to her? Was I going to repeat the cycle she instilled in me?
It never even crossed my mind, but it crossed hers enough to reach out to the teen’s mother a propos of nothing. She didn’t even ask me what happened. If she had, I would have told her a scintillating story about helping with homework.
I was humiliated, and in front of a very good friend, no less, because she didn’t know my abuser as well as I did. She had to paint me as the villain, because she couldn’t look in the mirror.