Living with a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse

I have wondered what it’s like. Living with me, that is. Or being in a close relationship, or friendship with someone like me?

I also have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression, so I guess it all gets muddled up. My friendships and relationships have always been tumultuous at best, terrible at worst.

I have now been living with my significant other for a week or so and I have realized that I continue the same exact behaviors that I always had in previous relationships.

I thought that I could change, I want to change, but now I just feel like giving up on the change business and living my life as I am.

I have always been a people pleaser, and I continue to do so. I am so very afraid of being left that I do things that I might not wanna do just to keep the other person happy, I hide my true feelings, and I’m unable to speak out about what’s going on with me.

I stayed up the whole night last night, curled up on the couch in our little apartment, while my SO slept. I was anxious, worried, the flashbacks were coming, I kept crying for no good reasons, and REALLY wanted to use the scalpel I’d been given by the doctor when they took out the moles, but I didn’t because I didn’t want him to see it (hey, how do you others do it? And get away with your partners not seeing your wounds??)

I go into moods of intense sadness, desperation, hopelessness. It’s hard to explain, but I do have a friend who is a doctor and she once told me that I’m a textbook case of BPD with my moods and self harm and history of abuse and everything. So these days I don’t get alarmed by my feelings, I let them come, I wallow in my self-pity and sadness until it goes away.

I feel like I’m entitled to my feelings. I have felt guilty a lot of times – so many things are amazing in my life, so why would I feel this way??

And that’s exactly why I can’t tell my SO or anyone else really (except the people I really trust who aren’t gonna judge or tell me to feel any other way, and there isn’t a lot of them, and all but one are back home in the UK. I do have a new friend here in the US who is far away, but she is very intuitive, supportive, and all-round amazing young lady!) and so I hide my feelings.

I don’t know when I’ll really start talking. I can’t even talk about certain things to him! Like, missing some things about my ex, or still loving him and missing the good old times in London with him. It would hurt my new partner, so better leave it.

And I harbor these feelings, and pretend everything is GREAT, and put a smile on my face and keep going on, and then cry at night in the dark.

So I’d say, you people who are friends or partners with survivors especially of sexual abuse, don’t trust what the person says, especially if they say they’re okay. Because a lot of the times, they might not be, they’re just too afraid of you leaving them, or being able to say the truth because you might not like it, or other things.

Relationships are tough in any case – many people don’t communicate and lose the love and relationships break down. But being in a relationship with a person with a history of abuse or trauma or mental illness or disturbance…that’s a whole another ballgame!

I doubt any of us really believes we deserve the good things when the blueprint in our soul for relationships is of abuse and being used for other people’s gratification.

I had a friend who was a pathological liar, a cheater, a very manipulative person who slept with anything that moved, but I knew deep down she was just wanting to be loved and cared about, but she put on an act I guess to show she’s powerful, she’s on top of her game, she can get whoever she wants and leave them whenever too.

How to love someone like that? It takes a very special person to peel the layers of distrust, pain, hurt, lies, and pretence, to see the beauty in a girl who’s so used to acting and pretending and pretending to be someone who doesn’t need anyone. It is a lot of work – and these days, who wants to put the work in?

It also takes a lot from our side to change, to trust in someone, to realize not everyone is trying to hurt us, to let someone in.

And even then, it might not work. I let my ex into my body and soul, I told him everything and it still didn’t work. I had put my hopes into a relationship that normal people (without the intense clinginess and need to be loved and cared about above all else) might not even have started in the first place.

A lot of survivor relationships are not good. I doubt we can really embark on a healthy relationship or even a friendship, before we have done some healing.

So you supporters out there who see the survivor for who they are, as people, not as what their history is or what mental battles they face, I salute you, and I wish you all the best in the relationships, because you all are very special people who don’t get the recognition you deserve.

You can be such strong forces of healing when the relationship is right.

I think one day – if I want this relationship to really last – I need to open up. I know I should be honest, but at the moment I just can’t! Cannot. I’m paranoid about being alone so I put my face on, smile, and give it up and pretend I love the sex (when I don’t really want it and it hurts in reality) just to make him happy, to make him love me, to make him want to be with me.

We shall see what happens, but I know in my heart I deserve to not have to lie and hide.





2 thoughts on “Living with a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse

  1. You have told my story.. I never knew how to put it into words as my thoughts are all over the place at times but you put it perfectly. Don’t give up. Sharing with others as you have helps others identify and overcome the fear of sharing their pain and thoughts. Thank you xx

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