Relationships in adulthood are awkward. Relationships in adulthood, as a survivor of unresolved childhood sexual abuse, were a shitshow.
The struggle was real.
I had a hard time making and keeping friends. As a teenager and into early adulthood I did a lot of self medicating with drugs and alcohol. The self medicating made things worse. Who would’ve thought, right? The drugs would make me feel out of control- which is my kryptonite. The alcohol would make me angry and depressed. Additionally, since I was still displacing my anger, I would lash out at whoever was unlucky enough to cross my path. The child who was labeled a mean kid was labeled as an angry drunk in adulthood. I can’t count the number of times I would wake up with regret and shame for my outburst the night before. Luckily, I was no stranger to regret and shame, so I tightened my ponytail and carried on with my angry life.
I created a habit of walking away from the most important people in my life. I looked at it as a badge of honor. I didn’t need anyone. I was strong. I didn’t get attached, like weak people do. Inside, I was lonely. I wondered why I couldn’t maintain healthy relationships and why drama seemed to follow me everywhere. I have so much sadness thinking back on all the time I lost on negativity, but I also know I simply didn’t have the tools then to process my trauma.
My first boyfriend was kind of a big deal. I was 15. He was a bad boy with green eyes and the spikiest brown hair. I fell hard and I fell fast. This wasn’t the first boy I kissed or the first boy to like me. This was the first boy who made me feel safe. Safe was everything to me. Looking back on that relationship is so strange. I would’ve told you back then how much we loved each other. What I wouldn’t tell you is how poorly I would treat him, but also how I would anything to keep him. I would do any drug he wanted. I would do anything sexually- regardless of the effect it would have on my well being. Friends? Who needs friends. If he didn’t want them around. Girl, bye. All to keep the feeling of control and safety. When I lost my virginity to him (I’ll spare the awkward first time details) I cried in his arms when I had flashbacks of my dad and confessed to him what had happened to me. He told me it wasn’t my fault, he loved me and he would kill my dad. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel weird. I didn’t feel unlovable. I held on to that relationship with everything I had. I left all self respect at the door because he was my security blanket. When I lost him, I spiraled worse than before. I had zero love or respect for myself. I shut out the world. I would go to work, go home, get blackout drunk, wake up and repeat. For a period, I was a fully functioning alcoholic. Man, I wish I had 34 year old me to help 15 year old me get through the emotional fuckery I had going on- not that I would’ve listened.
Over the years, I dabbled with traditional talk therapy, anti depressants and so on. I never had any kind of “aha moment” or thought it was helping, so I would quit again. I continued to “date” guys. I was desperately searching for someone to fill the void left by my father and the unprocessed trauma. Obviously, no man could meet that expectation.
Then, one day at work. A bearded man came up to me and asked me my name and what I was doing this weekend. I told him my name and said I had no plans. He told me, we should hang out then he just….. left. No number. No e-mail. Just geeked out and left me confused, but interested. That bearded man would later message me on Myspace and we would chat for hours. I would eventually get that boy’s number. Later, he would co-create two of the most perfect little humans with me- My daughter and my son. After that, I finally found what I needed. The best father for my littles, someone who supports me and someone who holds me accountable.
I am a better Mother and human being because of him.