I haven't posted on here in a while as I have been trying my best to move on from domestic violence, verbal and physical abuse,, with the help of good friends and a good therapist, however, one year on from leaving, I am still struggling.
It would be great to hear from others who have been in an abusive relationship in a lesbian relationship. As much as the support from others who have been in the same situation in a male female relationship is so helpful, I do feel a bit lost and different, or like what happened to me wasn't as bad or relevant.
I've been away for a while but I have been there and I'd be happy to help if I can. I'm so sorry you haven't felt like what you've been through matters as much as what heterosexuals go through. Because it does. In a way, it can be even worse, because there is this whole additional dynamic being in a same-sex relationship--which I haven't gone into very deeply here before, I'm not sure why, except that I know it's not something that a straight person can fully understand never having been there. I come from a a deeply red (conservative, Republican) state where homophobia, even in 2018, is still pretty rampant, so there was that fear of people finding out or of being "outed". As we know, abusers love and know how to use our vulnerabilities and deepest fears to keep us under their control. Though my parents had never given me any reason to fear coming out to them, my ex found a way to make me doubt my own judgment and instincts. Once when I threatened to leave, my ex drove me all the way to my parents' house and as we sat outside, told me she was going to go in and tell them everything, until I begged her, in tears, not to do it, and promised to stay. We were together for 2 1/2 years, 3 1/2 years if you count the first year when we were "just friends"--looking back I can see the control and manipulation began long before we officially decided to be a couple. I can't say if I would have left sooner if she had been a man, but I know that the fear of being rejected by my family was a HUGE reason I stayed. That fear paralyzed me for a long time.
I was very young when we met, 15, and she was 18. I was in a relationship with a boy at the time and I thought of her as just an older, wiser friend. I looked up to her. When things didn't work out yet again (I'd had another boyfriend before him), I was devastated and couldn't stop crying because although I'd been the one to end both relationships, I loved and cared for them both deeply, just not "that" way. When my friends would talk about their boyfriends and how it felt when they were together, I couldn't relate because I didn't feel those things--as much as I deeply and desperately wanted to--and I just knew something must be wrong with me. I confided in her that I was afraid I was going to be alone for the rest of my life and she hugged me and promised I wouldn't be alone, she said she wouldn't let me be alone. She said she'd always be there for me and I believed her. We began spending more and more time together and though I'd experienced same-sex attraction before, I'd never pursued it. I wanted a so-called "normal" life. But with her I couldn't deny it anymore and before I knew it, I was in so deep there was no going back.
Things were wonderful (or seemed that way) in the beginning, but things changed very quickly after I went away to college at 17 and moved in with her. She became extremely abusive, emotionally, physically, sexually, financially. She put me in the hospital twice. She used all the usual tactics of course. In the beginning when she'd hurt me, she would express remorse, bring me gifts and swear it wouldn't ever happen again. Of course it always did happen again. And as time went on, she stopped apologizing and instead would find a way to twist everything around and make me feel responsible, at least partly, for whatever had happened. She'd accuse me of being too sensitive, of being paranoid, of being crazy. She'd say I didn't really love her and that maybe I'd rather be with my ex-boyfriend. She accused me of flirting with a male friend of hers and tried to get me to admit I wanted to have sex with him--even threatening at one point to make me have sex with him. Even when I realized what was happening, I didn't know what to do. I hadn't come out to my family or friends so it felt like asking them for help was out of the question. My partner had told me that her parents had disowned her for being gay--which turned out to be a complete lie--and she would tell me how she wished she'd never told them at all, and how she would "just hate" for the same thing to happen to me. She was a master at gaslighting. She knew that my biggest fear was rejection or being left alone and she USED it. She made me afraid to tell anyone, especially my family. As time went on, and she could see I was thinking of leaving, she'd threaten to out me and tell me I'd be alone for the rest of my life because no one would ever love me like she did.
I had tried confiding in a couple of people in the LGBT community early on about the emotional abuse and the control, even revealed that first time she slapped me across the face, and even with them, I didn't feel like they took it seriously. For some reason, there are people, even in our community who can't believe that a woman can be as abusive as a man, or that domestic violence between women is as real as it is in any other relationship. And it was pretty clear with the people I told. They downplayed it and tried to explain it away. I was encouraged to let them talk to her and to let them help us (my abuser and me) "work it out". I felt like it was my fault, like I was overreacting. I thought if the people in my own community weren't going to stand up for me, certainly no one else would. So I kept quiet about it. I isolated myself, hid behind excuses and learned how to perfectly apply make-up. I lied to my own family about what was going on. Even after my ex stopped even trying to justify her abusive actions, even after she threatened my life, I stayed. I didn't see a way out.
Luckily my mom eventually figured it out on her own. She was in an abusive relationship with my sperm donor (biological father) for several years herself, she said she just knew something wasn't right. Once the truth came out, and I knew I had her and my dad's support, it didn't take me long to make the decision to get out. It wasn't easy by any means. I had severe PTSD. There were days that I couldn't even get out of bed, I felt hopeless, even contemplated suicide at one point. I was exhausted but afraid to go to sleep because of the nightmares, I felt no one really understood (not even my mom) and life felt pretty hopeless. But I made it through, like you, with a good therapist and lots of loving and supportive people around me.
This October will mark 4 years since I got away and I am happy to say I have been in a healthy and loving relationship for almost 3 years. My beautiful fiance is everything that my abusive ex was not and she has shown me what it means to truly love and be loved. I never EVER thought life could be so good but here I am.
Hi Polarone, I love Ava's reply to you. I am heterosexual, so I cannot say that I "Know" what you are going through. I can only relate to heterosexual relationships. BUT..I can say that I am not surprised you are still struggling to move on. I have been doing some reading lately about that "struggle" we go through after we get out. It is hard, it takes time and energy and perseverance to keep going forward.
I have been away from my ex-husband now for almost 5 years..I have been away from a VERY abusive rebound boyfriend for almost 4 years. I have been in a relationship for 3 years with a man who I am not sure of at this time. He is not abusive, but our compatibility is questionable.
I am triggered A LOT. I have started back with my therapist because I can't manage the triggering like I thought I could. My boyfriend triggers me a lot and I believe I have done my best to keep it from interfering in the relationship, but I can't. I have been tearful almost daily for the last week, since Christmas the triggering has happened more often than not. I am not sure why I am reacting the way I am except I have determined that I am not healed completely. I am better than I was, but I still have residual reactions to things that remind me of the abuse I experienced.
I have adopted a new motto.."It Is Ok To Not Be OK". I am still reacting to things that are very similar to the abuse. Sadly, my current partner and I may not last as I can't stop experiencing the traumatic affect over and over again.
Our brains and hearts need time to heal. We are different. We are not the same people we were during the abusive relationship or even just after. I am a work in progress and I am ok with that for the most part. When I start to think about what other people think..that is when I get weird inside. I am working everyday to not care about what other people..like my parents or my sister or my kids, think about where I should be as far as "getting over it" or whether I am living the life they think I should.
Right now, it is about you. It is about me. It is about us caring for ourselves. Us learning to find a new normal. Learning to trust others, but also to trust ourselves. To trust who we are inside and trust our gut. My gut told me 3 years ago..that my current boyfriend may not be the "right" one for me. Here I am 3 years later..still being triggered. I am learning to listen to my inner voice. I honestly have no idea why I wrote that in my journal that he was not the right one, but my usual pattern is to "give him a chance" or "see if it gets better, maybe I will grow to love him". I am learning. I am constantly learning.
It is ok to not be ok Polarone. It really is OK and don't listen to anyone who tells you differently!