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    • #118196
      3Cats
      Participant

      Hi all, sorry for a long post. I am out of my abusive relationship, thanks hugely in part to advice I received on here last year (different username). I have had great help from my local DA service too.
      Despite all the help, I feel now that time and distance have made some traumatic incidents come to light in my mind – I think my brain must have been hiding them and protecting me. I am now struggling to come to terms with whether he raped me or not. There have been some extremely informative and helpful conversations I have read on here during the last few weeks but something is stopping me placing him in that category. I am annoying myself that I still keep having waves of sympathy for him as well after what has been some truly disgusting behaviour.
      The first time we were ever intimate in any way felt very uncomfortable. He kept pushing me into having sex but I kept saying no as I was on my period. Somehow, I ended up virtually naked and he was touching me through my underwear but I managed to put a stop to it. This was the first night we kissed, I didn’t want things going that far regardless of anything else. I brushed it off but the next time we saw each other I feel, looking back, that his entire reason for being there was to have sex but by this point he was full into the “love-bombing” and “grooming” stage as I now have come to understand and it actually felt ok at the time. But confusing looking back, if that makes any sense.
      No other incidents stand out in my mind for quite a long time after then but the emotional and mental abuse quickly ramped up. We moved in together and it got worse again. He could be totally vile to me during the day, but then suddenly in bed start touching me – there was very little foreplay, it was straight into sex, very much just on his terms, no kissing or thought for my needs, and though I never said no my mind was in turmoil. I felt if I turned him down he would continue his bad mood, possibly it would get worse; if we had sex it possibly meant he had “forgiven” me for some perceived wrongdoing (never the case, the bad mood virtually always continued the next day but I guess I just lived in a pathetic hope and never learned). I’m beginning to think perhaps he was always testing my tolerance as it got to the point where he will have realised he could do/say whatever he felt like and I would always give him sex when he wanted it. It didn’t feel right, but it always felt like I just had to go along with it and hope it would “help” – it felt horrible most of the time but sometimes I would also be overcome with relief that perhaps it would help him get over whatever incident had occurred.
      I asked him a couple of times why he did it – one time he said something like it was because our bed was our safe space and the other time he said it was because he was drunk and he will do anything when he’s drunk. Often, which I don’t understand, I would get “told off” the next day for disturbing his sleep and having sex with him – along the lines of “you need to stop starting things with me as I’m tired the next day and it’s your fault”. It was never me that initiated it though – I basically never initiated sex as he virtually always said no and it felt hurtful. It felt like he somehow twisted the incident to have another reason to have a go at me? Is this gaslighting? I also feel, horribly now, like I wanted attention, I wanted to find some comfort sometimes, these incidents provided “some” connection, some closeness that I was so deprived of, though really, it happening like this was NOT what I wanted – that sounds confusing, I hope anyone reading can understand what I mean.
      I feel very down and very confused about all this. I somehow feel I was coerced into fulfilling his needs, if that’s the right phrase? Right now, my much more logical brain – and stronger brain – would never allow someone to do that if they had been treating me as badly as he did. But I was so low and so frightened that at the time I guess I was just in survival mode.
      Thanks to everyone who has read this. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, I guess just to know whether this was actually rape or not. If it was, I can then try and process it. It happened many, many times over the years, I don’t even want to consider how many.
      Again, thanks everyone, both for now and in the past. I honestly don’t think I could have got to where I am today – safe in my own home – without you all x x x

    • #118205
      Eggshells
      Participant

      Hello my lovely. I’m so sad and sorry that you are dealing with this.

      Your post isn’t confusing at all but it does feel like you were very confused at the time. That is so common in an abusive relationship and it is intentional on the abusers part to confuse you like this. This is now recognised in law as coercive control.

      I’ve also had this dilemma. I know that I was pinned down and clearly raped at times but it’s the more regular coercion into sex that can be so confusing. Was it rape or not?

      I read a post the other day that made it very clear. If you are coerced into sex, whether it be to stop him angering, to try to find comfort, to try to win his affection back or just because you know he’ll keep on and on until he gets what he wants, then it is rape.

      I hope the lady who posted that will spot your post and repeat what she said.

      It is something that is difficult to come to terms with, it’s a massive deal and as you said, your brain may have been hiding it to protect you. If this is the case, then I hope that your brain will continue to allow you to process this in a way that does not overwhelm you. Please consider finding a counsellor to help you through this safely.

      Personally, I think that this kind of abuse leaves the most lasting scars. It is the most incidious type of abuse. It gets you emotionally and physically, inside and out. No part of you is left untouched – and it’s relentless whilst it is happening, time after time after time.

      This kind of abuse is the strongest tool he had to let you know that he controlled you. Your confusion over this was carefully constructed by him and yes, it was gaslighting.

      Well done for getting to this point. Please take good care of yourself through this journey. My heart is with you. xx

    • #118207
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this. The withdrawal of affection, the coercive sex, the dreadful realization that you have been sexually abused. I’m certainly no expert but rape is defined as sex without consent, and you certainly were not consenting. Having sex because you fear the consequences of refusal or are craving affection because you are being emotionally abused and neglected is clear sexual abuse. I would call it rape.

      There was a very similar dynamic in my relationship. I was coerced into sexual acts that were painful and degrading for me. I went along with it because I thought that would fix the row, make him love me again. I now understand that as rape.

      I’m so sorry this happened to you. Would you consider phoning the RapeCrisis helpline to discuss it further? The wonderful women there will know much more about it than I do and should be able to guide you in your healing.

      Well done for getting out of that dreadful situation. You are so strong and you will overcome this too. Remember it is in your past, a very painful memory. You are safe now and he can never hurt you like that again.
      Sending you the biggest hugs xx

    • #118210
      KIP.
      Participant

      Take a look at the Thames Valley Police video. ‘A Cup of Tea’.
      You can also ring the rape crisis helpline where the lovely ladies can chat to you x

    • #118216
      3Cats
      Participant

      @Eggshells, @Hawthorn and @KIP

      Thank you all so much for your kind words of support, I can’t begin to tell you how much it means. Being isolated for years on end made me feel like my thoughts and feelings meant nothing but the support I have had over time on here helped in part to rebuild my belief in myself, that I was valid, and that meant the world.

      Since getting away it has been an absolute revelation to realise just how confused and muddled basic every day life was for me. But that suited him just fine, was intentional and I guess took the focus away from him and his behaviour as I was so busy just trying to survive and scrabble about with my own thoughts.

      Thank you for your explanations of rape – I took a look at the cup of tea video too, what an excellent way to describe the issue. It makes it very clear to me now that what I experienced was rape. I’ve spent a lot of this afternoon in tears at this but I think, in the long run, it’s best to know this and find the tools and help to process it. It is right to say this is almost the worst part of the whole experience. I don’t think I’m exaggerating in saying it must have happened hundreds of times. I have read books and had counselling and had been feeling strong, but this never came into my head until a few weeks ago – I guess feeling safer and safer as the months have gone by has allowed my brain to bring it to the forefront.

      You’re right too about this being his strongest tool – little things about it, such as the amount of times I was told it was my fault he was tired at work show the gaslighting and manipulation. This is a man who would oftentimes look through me like I didn’t exist when I tried to speak to him, like I was a ghost infront of him, to then behave like that, it was just so wrong, that’s the only word I can think that explains it. It felt wrong and almost inhuman? I spent so much time trying to work out why someone would do that to someone they purport to care about. It was never me that initiated, I went to bed later and later as time went by, trying to make sure he was fast asleep before I got into bed, but bizarrely I often knew when he would do this before I even got in next to him and sadly it was usually when he’d been at his worst during the day.

      I will contact Rape Crisis this week.

      It’s horrible to sit in my home and know this has happened in here.

      I’m so sorry that you went through it too, but I take strength from you all that I can come out the other side of this.

      Thanks again x x x

    • #118218
      KIP.
      Participant

      Hundreds of times for me too. I decided to accept it was simply another form of abuse. A particularly nasty one but just one of many forms.

    • #118222
      3Cats
      Participant

      @KIP

      Yes, that seems an appropriate way to accept it for me too – I feel quite overwhelmed with the whole thing right now but I’ll try and categorise it as that. Thank you for mentioning Rape Crisis – I tried the phone line this evening but it was closed so will try again tomorrow x

    • #118225
      maddog
      Participant

      Rape Crisis is brilliant. Women’s Aid can support you as well. Once we’re out and the penny starts to drop, it’s really hard to take in. You’re not alone.

    • #118236
      3Cats
      Participant

      @maddog

      Thank you for your support. This has knocked me for six, I felt I’d made some peace (for want of a better phrase) with so many things that he did to me, said to me, deprived me of. But this realisation has hit in a way I’m struggling to understand – I didn’t sleep well last night, I was just laying there thinking “this was the bed he raped me in”. Will try calling Rape Crisis/Women’s Aid again today. x x x

    • #118262
      maddog
      Participant

      I got a new bed! I was never safe sexually with him.

      If you can afford a different bed, it may help, or a new mattress. Different bedding may help as well. I was well pleased to get rid of the marital bed. It was massive, and when we bought it, I imagined it being big enough to put a wall of pillows up the middle. Are you able to move the furniture around in your bedroom?

      Hope you get through to someone today. Well done for reaching out. Abuse is a horrible thing to get our heads around. It really lays bare how hideous some people truly are.

    • #118267
      3Cats
      Participant

      @maddog

      Great minds think alike! I can’t afford a new bed but I’ve got some new bedding today. I have a spare bed but it’s not very comfy so going to try to sleep with new sheets etc on my bed tonight but if need be will just shift into the other room. I think my mind was too fuzzy last night to consider that option.

      I have spoken to one of the ladies I’ve had contact with before at my local DA service today. For some reason, I felt nervous to speak to a stranger at Rape Crisis. She has recommended, and given me a bit of courage I hope, to try them tomorrow. Little steps, but I’ve also tried to keep super-busy during today which has also helped.

      Thanks again for your support x

    • #118269
      maddog
      Participant

      Well done! I understand the Rape Crisis thing. It feels like a massive step, and it’s just too awful to process that the man we fell in love with spent so much of his time raping us. It’s really hard to take in and believe.

      My ex used to close down any conversation about rape. He would just say he would never do anything like that. As always, words and actions. There was always a massive disjunct which I couldn’t make sense of. Basically his false self was doing the talking and his real self was doing the action.

      The people at RC are lovely. Like domestic abuse, rape doesn’t come with prizes and we’re still prone to believing rape myths. Baby steps…xx

    • #118272
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Nothing to add to Maddogs great tips, I found new bedding made all the difference- and a mattress topper as I couldn’t afford a new mattress either. Making my space my own again.

      I struggle with sleep when I’m processing abuse too, a restorative yoga practice(theres good videos in youtube) and a bath with lavender oil in it before bed really helps me wind down. Even if the sleep doesnt come the relaxation is healing in itself.

      Wishing you a peaceful sleep and sweet dreams x*x

    • #118283
      Pea2020
      Participant

      Hi, I’m so sorry to read what has happened to you. I spoke to rape crisis this week, on their live chat thing. Basically they said, if you did not consent to sex, then it is rape. Not consenting also covers “giving in” to pressure and feeling like you can’t say no etc.

      I would recommend chatting to them when you feel able to. They are really nice and helpful.

      I totally get the not sleeping thing. The same thoughts are currently going through my mind at night. I’m still sleeping in “that bed” but I’m hoping to be somewhere else soon.

      Take care and I hope you sleep better tonight xx

    • #118321
      3Cats
      Participant

      @maddog, @Hawthorn and @Pea2020

      Thank you, all of you. I don’t think I ever said the word rape to my partner, but I do remember that any conversations leading the way of me trying to say that I felt like something wasn’t right were shot down in flames and, more often than not, turned back on me.

      I have called Rape Crisis today and they were so lovely and confirmed everything I suspected. I feel sick now, all the coercion and manipulation and isolation I had to put up with and now this on top of that. I feel like I’m not quite all there, if that makes sense? I’m going to reach out for more help once Christmas is over. I had such a terrible Christmas last year, I had so many panic attacks, it was the push I needed to end things. This year, whatever, it is so much better, despite all this trauma emerging, and I’m determined to keep it this way.

      I have some lavender oil, will try it tonight. I like listening to calming sounds before bed and when I get into bed I normally leave them playing, but I think the yoga thing sounds good too so will take a look at that also. I slept a little better last night, was really nice having a new sheet and duvet cover etc.


      @Pea2020
      – I have been following your threads, so sorry I haven’t commented on them individually. I just wanted to say when the time is right, for you, to leave, I PROMISE you you will start to feel better. When I think how low I was this time last year, I’m a different person now. I’m not better, but I’m getting better. You sound so strong, especially having just had a baby. I know you can get through this. Huge hugs.

      Huge hugs to you all, thanks so much again x x x

    • #118323
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      So proud of you for reaching out here and to Rape Crisis. You are so strong. Know that this trauma is surfacing now because you are strong enough to deal with it, our mind is so good at knowing when we are ready for another layer to be peeled off.

      Be very kind to yourself. You may find you cry doing the restorative yoga, so much trauma is held in our bodies and often sexual trauma manifests in your hips so stretching them out can be an emotional as well as a physical release. Let yourself cry if you need to, tears are very healing.

      You are going to have a beautiful, peaceful Christmas. The nightmare is over. You did it. Got yourself out. Give yourself the biggest pat on the back and a big hug, you deserve it.

      Big hugs xx

    • #118411
      onceuponadream
      Participant

      Hello,
      I’ve just read your posts and am sat here crying, it’s something that I’m having difficulty dealing with myself, things started off ok with me and him but over time went downhill. Sexually it was all about his needs but after a tough year and starting to spiral into depression things ramped up to a point where he was only coming to bed for sex, if I refused he would huff and give me.the silent treatment, sometimes I would say no but he would ‘playfully’ force me until I just turned my head away and or hurried my head in his shoulder and cried, after he was done he would get out of bed and just go back downstairs leaving me feeling used and cheap, on the times in had the strength to stick my ground I would feel like a failure. When I confronted him about our lack of closeness hugs and cuddles which didn’t lead to sex (I eventually feared to touch him Incase I gave him the wrong idea) but he would say its my fault (detail removed by moderator). I’m still struggling to admit this was abuse and also keep making up.excuses. I think I will call the helpline to maybe help me come to terms with it. Thank you all X been out (detail removed by moderator) I’m still trying to get divorced.

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