Objectification, Violence, and Self-Worth

14 Apr

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS EYEING UP LONG LEGGED GIRL AS SHE WALKS PAS

The specific topic weighing on my mind tonight is the objectification of women.  Not porn actresses or movie stars, but real women on the street.  Sex addicts often look (or rather gawk, gape, ogle, stare…) at regular women who happen to be unlucky enough to walk across their path, then objectify, fantasize and masturbate or act out in other ways.  Sometimes it stays there, but other times it leads to flashing, stalking, rape, or other forms of sexual assault.  That type of activity is out of control and harmful.

My ex was in construction for a while.  He would watch women walking down the street on the job site and talk to other men about it in explicit detail.  Often times he would go to the porta-potty and jack off while thinking of them.  Sometimes he might even do it right there in the vehicle while they were walking by just a few feet away.  I wonder if anyone ever saw him or felt awkward and uncomfortable and picked up their pace.  I know the sensation of having unwelcome eyes on you, inching over your body.  I wonder how many women my ex made feel dirty and creeped out.  I felt that and more when I caught his gaze lingering too long on a woman’s body.

Right before we got married (maybe 2 months before, tops), we had our worst fight.  We were in a new country bar in our city with a few of his friends.  It was maybe the second time I’d ever been to a nightclub before – this place had a DJ, huge areas just set up for dancing upstairs and down, several bars on the outskirts, and a mechanical bull in the front.  That’s usually not my scene.   That night he started blatantly making sexual gestures and comments about women, right in front of me, with no regard to my feelings whatsoever.  His facial expressions and lewd manner set me off.  It’s one thing to notice attractive people, that’s only natural no matter how much you love your partner.  It’s a completely different thing to be crude about it, and continue the behavior when you can see the person you’re with is uncomfortable.

I made a comment to him about it, then stormed away.  In true narcissistic sociopath fashion, he wouldn’t let me get away.  He came after me, dragged me off of the dance floor (where I had joined a group of women line dancing to blow off some steam and pretend he didn’t exist).  I tried to walk away and go downstairs to the ground floor of the club (we were upstairs on a balcony area), and he cornered me, trying to intimidate me and tell me that I hadn’t seen what I had just seen.

I told him that he was being disrespectful, and I wasn’t going to stand for it.  He kept putting his hands on me, grabbing my arms, wrenching me around, getting in my face.  He said that I saw things wrong, that he was checking women out for his friend, that he was just fantasizing about the women he was ogling, he wasn’t going to do anything, and that I needed to come back and hang out with him.  His excuses were contradictory and insulting.  I didn’t want to hear them.  I tried to jerk away several times, and he would grab me again, tighter.  I was spitting mad.  When I get like that, I also cry.  I hate that about myself sometimes.  We must have been making enough of a scene that someone got a bouncer to come up.  They dragged him off of me, and I was able to make my escape while he turned his arguments and justifications that he wasn’t doing anything wrong onto them.  Thankfully, they didn’t buy it, and kept him away from me.

I remember walking downstairs and out of the club.  I stood just outside of the building looking at the line of people trying to get in.  I had been drinking that night, my emotions were out of control, and I was shaking.  I leaned back against the building trying to get myself together and breathe.  I might have been hyperventilating a little bit.  I don’t know how long I stood there, just sucking in air.  My mind was blank.  I might have been in shock a little bit because he hadn’t gotten physical like that with me before.

Finally, I started walking back toward the parking deck where my car was parked.  The city has these cobble stone sidewalks, and I focused on carefully placing my feet on the uneven ground to keep myself from breaking down into tears again.  It was only a few blocks, and the weather was nice.  It was the summer of 2010, somewhere between April when we got engaged and September when we got married.  There were so many happy people on the streets, laughing, holding hands, and doing stupid drunken things.  I tried to focus on them, not what just happened.  It’s all a bit of a blur, though.

When I got to the parking deck I turned on the car, cranked up the air conditioning and the radio and just sat there.  I didn’t know what to do.  I just stared out the windshield at the concrete walls.  The entire time my phone had been going off.  I could have texted him back, but I don’t really remember.  I do know that he called me.  I don’t recall what he said, but I distinctly remember two of his friends in the background yelling and cussing and calling me names.  I got out of the car and started pacing, crying again.  I was so hurt and angry that he was letting them talk about me that way, and agreeing.  I asked him why he was letting his friends talk for him, didn’t he have a mind of his own?  In hindsight, I shouldn’t have engaged at all.

Next thing I knew, he was at the car.  His friends didn’t come along, so maybe he told them he was going to “handle me.”  Who knows…?  Not me.  He started yelling at me again, immediately.  He got right back in my face, grabbing my wrist and upper arm.  I tried to push him away, and his face contorted with rage.  He pushed me as hard as he could, and I fell back against the car.  I banged my arm, scuffed my knee, and twisted my ankle.  My tears of anger turned to tears of pain.  I paused and took a deep breath, assessing my injuries, which were relatively minor.  I tried to get myself composed, hating the feeling that things were spiraling even faster out of control.

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Then he came at me again.  I felt a primal instinct to attack that I had never felt before and never have since.  I launched myself at him, a sound that was half scream, half growl coming out of my throat.  I kicked at him and swung, my hand connecting with his jaw.  He grabbed my wrist and twisted hard, then pinned me against the car.  I know I was yelling, telling him to get off of me.  The noise must have caught someone’s attention.

Two officers showed up.  They separated us.  One took me to the other side of my car, where I nearly collapsed, shaking and sobbing, but trying to pull myself together.  The other walked him a few yards away, and had a conversation.  The officer asked if I was okay, I told him I was.  He said that someone had complained about the fighting, and it looked like there might have been some violence involved.  To this day I don’t know why, but I down-played it.  He asked if I had someone who could come pick me up because I wasn’t in any state to drive.  I told him that I did – that I could call my sister.

My key was still in my car, and it was still running from earlier.  I asked if I could just sit there for a second to gather myself.  He said yes, then he stayed there while I called my sister and asked her to come get me.  She was so great.  It was late – at least midnight – and I told her where I was, and asked if she could pick me up.  She said yes, and asked me how to get there.  I gave her really bad directions (I told her the wrong exit accidentally because I was so shaken up).  She asked where Chris was.  I told her he was with his friends, and left it at that.  She didn’t ask any more questions.

In the meantime, I heard Chris with the other officer.  It sounded like he was blaming me for the whole thing (of course).  They asked if he could find a ride somewhere, and told him not to go to my house that night.  He must have said okay, and they let him walk away.  Not 5 minutes after he sauntered away all cocky and self-assured, I got another text from him.  Then he called again.  More yelling and name-calling in the background and from him.  That time he told me the police told him that HE could press charges against ME since he was bleeding from where I hit his lip and I wasn’t.  He made it seem like he was doing me a big favor.  I hung up on him and just sat there in my car staring at the concrete again, rubbing my arms and wrists where they were still stinging and throbbing from his grip.

My sister finally showed up.  She called me when she was close (after she got lost taking the wrong exit).  I walked out to the corner to meet her.  I got in her car, and she drove me home.  By that point I had gathered myself enough to stop crying.  I had grabbed a light cardigan or jacket from my trunk, I think.  I had it wrapped tightly around me like I had a chill, even though it was a warm night.  She didn’t really talk much on the way to my house.  I thanked her, walked inside like a drone, and turned off my phone.

That night I couldn’t even bear to sleep in my bed.  The bed he usually slept in with me.  I couldn’t handle his scent or the idea that his head had just been there.  I grabbed a blanket and laid down on the couch.  I cried.  I was in a state of semi-shock, just staring at the blue numbers on the Comcast box for hours and hours.  I watched the red marks on my arms darken and turn into bruises.  I couldn’t sleep.

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Somewhere around 4 am I turned my phone on again.  I had numerous voicemails from him.  Some were the drunken, angry ones with his friends calling me a stupid bitch in the background.  A few were more pathetic and apologetic.  Those sounded like they were made from outside somewhere.  He had texted me that he was staying at his friend’s house.  The friend who I couldn’t really stand that he was “checking out the girls for.”  Along with the other ass who had been screaming at me.

By 6 am he had called and texted some more.  I actually answered.  He begged me to come pick him up.  He said he was so sorry.  Whatever.  I’m sure you can all write the script if you’ve seen any bad Lifetime movie.  The really sad thing is that I bought it.  I agreed.  I got into his vehicle, drove to his friend’s house, and he snuck out the back while the other two were still sleeping.  He got in the SUV with me, and we went to pick up my car from the parking garage.  I don’t even know if I spoke to him during that ride.  He may have started to talk and make excuses, but I just cut him off.

DV_Day_1_Bruise_(2)When we got to the parking deck where my car was, I pulled into another lot right next to it, parked, and told him that I was ready to talk.  I showed him the newly developing bruises.  He looked stricken.  He looked like hell in general.  He had bags under his eyes, his lip was a little puffy, and his hair was sticking up in 50 different directions.  I told him that I cannot and will not tolerate the behavior that he displayed the night before (even as I was tolerating it by allowing him back into my life in any capacity).

He kept saying he was sorry for hurting me, but stuck to his guns that he didn’t do anything wrong before, that I shouldn’t have gotten upset with him blatantly ogling other women in front of me like a total perv (my words, of course), and that he had eyes and was going to notice other women.  I said, yeah… but you don’t have to make faces and gestures and obviously point them out and objectify them right in front of me.  Noticing and behaving in a over the top, offensive way are two totally different things.

We went around and around like that for I don’t know how long.  Somehow the violence was completely disregarded.  He still made it seem like I was the aggressor and he was the one doing me a favor by not pressing charges.  I don’t know how I bought that bullshit.  I’m a strong woman.  I know about domestic abuse.  Just like cheating, I had told myself if a man put his hands on me that would be it, the end.  But it seemed so subtle in that moment, with the blur of the night before still making me dizzy, and his justifications and excuses pounding in my ears…  He didn’t mean to grab me so hard, he was just angry when I tried to push him away, I was the one who pushed first, he just pushed me back, I happened to fall against the car because of my heels, I was the one who hit him, and on and on it went.

I do vividly remember telling him that if that was the way he felt, if he thought what he did was okay and he didn’t see anything wrong with his actions, then we should just call the whole thing off.  In my mind I was planning how to let people know that the wedding wasn’t going to happen.  We had already sent invitations, so it would be embarrassing, but I couldn’t live like that.  I told him that I wanted someone who would love me and treasure me and only want ME.  We already had disclosures of his cheating, secret porn use (while he rejected me), and lying about strip clubs.  This leering at women who were in the same room as me was something new, though.  That and the violence had me emotionally overwhelmed.  My face was splotchy and red and puffy from sobbing, my voice was hoarse from yelling the night before, and most of all, my entire spirit felt crushed.  I wanted out.

I have looked back at that moment, in that car, over and over and over again.  How I wish I had followed through.  Or not even gone to pick him up.  There are times I have fantasized about getting out of that car, walking to mine, and driving home to change the locks.  I would have still been broken and emotionally and physically bruised, but I wouldn’t have been married to him.  There still would have been things to divide up and pride to swallow and therapy, but the next 2 1/2 years of torture wouldn’t have happened.  We all know that I didn’t do that, though.

Seeing how serious I was, he backtracked.  He told me that he would never do anything like that “for his friends” again.  He swore up and down that he wouldn’t lay a hand on me ever.  He said that he loved me and couldn’t imagine his life without me.  He told me that I was the only woman for him, the only person he wanted.  He begged me to still marry him.  I don’t think I answered right then.  I did get in my car and drive home, but I let him follow me.

Over the next few days I let him apologize and tenderly touch my bruises with a look of contrition on his face.  I listened to him swear off drinking.  I let him tell me how his friend egged him on, and how he was never going to talk to one of them again.  He also swore that the other friend wasn’t the one calling me names, that he tried to calm him down.  He blamed the alcohol.  He blamed his one friend.  He blamed his anger for getting out of control.  He stopped blaming me directly, but there was always a certain air about him, a haughtiness that would flicker over his face and quickly disappear.  That was the sociopath showing itself, gleeful at pulling the whole thing off.  Back then I mistook that for resentment over his lip (which he made sure to play up).

That example is an extreme one.  I didn’t even intend to share it when I started writing.  However, it’s just one scenario of how out of control his behavior got.  The objectification of women, the justification, the blaming, the violence, the escalating pattern…  From that point forward he tried to be much more subtle about checking out other women in front of me.  I recently came across a picture from a work convention that he attended with me about 6 months after we were married, just before the last affair discovery.  In the photo, I am talking to a colleague at the table with me, and he is standing behind me staring at a woman at the bar with a pervy smirk on his face.  The corporate photographer, snapping pictures of the room, obviously happened to catch that particular moment on film.  I’m not sure why it surprised me when I saw it this week while looking through photos on the company website to see if I could find a good head shot.  For a moment I wondered if he actively pursued anyone at that convention when I was in meetings and seminars.  Then I realized that it doesn’t matter.

In retrospect, I don’t really know how I coped with it.  I think I internalized it a lot.  Seeing him objectify women and knowing that he would jack off to thoughts of other people and think of those fantasies while having sex with me (which he disclosed later), made me feel less than and insignificant.  He told me that he just “didn’t have” that issue anymore once I discovered things.  I call bullshit on that.  I know that he lied to me all of the time.  There is no way for me to know how often he lied or what about.

I do know that it really damaged my image of myself.  I grew up the ugly duckling, and he made it obvious that I still was because I wasn’t even enough for my boyfriend/fiance/husband.  Finding my own self-worth outside of men is still a struggle for me, but I’m trying.  I am shocked when people say that they find me beautiful.  Honestly and truly stunned.  Then, for a little while, I feel wanted and good and sexy.  The doubts and issues start to creep back in, though.  My own adolescence plays a part, as does the bullying in school, but my ex emotionally scarred me deeply.  The bruises faded, but the memory of that night probably never will.  I still feel shame and guilt and a touch of nausea when I think about it.  And no matter how much I tell myself otherwise, there is still nagging doubt that maybe it was all my fault.  Maybe I was being unreasonable in expecting him not to gawk at other women.  He’s a man, right?  Isn’t that supposed to be expected?  The real question is, should it be?

That night wasn’t the only incident of him checking out other women in front of me.  It happened all of the time, even if you don’t count all of the hidden porn discoveries.  Each incident wore on me, carving the message that I wasn’t enough deeper and deeper into my subconscious.  He would deny, say I was imagining things, tell me I am jealous and blowing things out of proportion, and that “every man” does that.  Somehow I doubt that every man jacks off to women who are walking down the street in a porta-potty at work or in his car 5 feet away, but I digress.  Even without the violence, what he did to me and to those unwitting women is wrong.  Plain and simple.

A friend of mine has a tattoo that says “I am enough.”  More and more that is sounding like a brilliant idea.  For now, I try to tell myself that as much as possible.  I am beautiful.  I am worthy.  I do not need the validation of a man.  I am enough.  You are, too.  No matter what has happened to you, what you have been through, or who has told you that you are not.

i am enough teal

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32 Responses to “Objectification, Violence, and Self-Worth”

  1. Jade April 25, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    I feel like I’m reading my life story! I have been hooked on your blog since I landed here from google and I cant help but notice how similar our experiences have been! I have a detail oriented personality like yours, been the ugly duckling growing up and now with a guy who sounds a lot like your ex and constantly plays on my insecurities to manipulate me. My problem is that he’s the only guy I’ve ever been with and I come from an abusive home with a narcissistic mother, so no support there for me. I’m 28 now and not too long ago, at 22, I lost the only person who truly loved me – my dad. I had to take over my family and bear the brunt of an abusive mother (who later got diagnosed with cancer) and a kid brother. After years if trauma from her and my then-bf (husband) I was left a broken shell of a person with no self esteem and no friends. I’m beginning to piece myself together and see this cycle of abuse- but somehow trapped in these relationships. I’m not sure why – I’m scared of leaving and hopeful of change at the same time. Did you feel like that too? How did you get over it? Does it get better?

    ps I don’t consider myself beautiful too and get shocked when people say so. Deep down I feel that no man will want me or be close to me. Your blog has been an eye opener for me and I hope you will relate to my problem…

    • beautifulmess7 April 25, 2015 at 8:45 am #

      I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you’re in a really rough spot. I know it’s difficult to get away, and probably doubly so with no support. Your life will be immeasurably better without someone like him in it, though.

      I absolutely felt scared of leaving. I am constantly shocked that anyone would find me attractive. I was paralyzed with fear that what I had, as awful as it was, was the best I could ever hope for. I would yearn to get away, but at the same time I was terrified that I was too damaged to do any better.

      Those feelings about myself combined with my feeling of responsibility for my ex and my pride kept me locked in that relationship for far too long. I was scared still when I kicked him out, and I wavered and considered taking him back. But it just got so bad that I couldn’t imagine going on like that much longer. It was making me crazy. I happened to meet a few really good people who helped me realize just how terrible my situation was because strangers were treating me better than he did. It was eye-opening.

      Therapy really helped, too. I had to confront my self-esteem issues and treat myself better than I was. The work isn’t totally over because I still have thoughts that I’m not good enough for my current fiancé. Sometimes I’m in awe at how smart, handsome, amazing, and together he is. I feel inadequate, surprised that he would pick me, and sometimes afraid that he will wake up one day and wonder the same thing after he realizes he can do better…

      But those thoughts are toxic. I’ve learned to stop playing into my fears and practice radical honesty. I try to tell it like it is, not how my fear makes me feel. He is amazing, but he must think I’m pretty great, too. Objectively, I know I’m not gorgeous but I’m attractive. I’m smart, I have good people skills, I’m empathetic and kind, and I love him completely. I can see his love for me, too, in his eyes, the way he holds me, his kisses. I make myself accept it at face value and trust that what we’ve built will last.

      Sorry for the book. The short answer is: Yes, I’ve been where you are. I’ve felt what you’re feeling. Don’t trust the thoughts that tell you that you’ll never find anything better so you may as well stay where you are. It’s not true. Even if you never find someone else (worse case scenario once you leave), it will STILL be way better than living with a manipulative abuser. And what is more likely is that once you’re free of him you will really be able to work on the things that are holding you back. Fear of the unknown is not a good reason to stay in hell, especially when you can see the way out.

  2. Sex Addiction - Love and Life July 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Your story sounds so much like mine.im still with my SA, but I’m questioning everything right now. Really struggling .

    • beautifulmess7 July 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      I’m sorry. It’s a rough road, and I may be biased but I say run for it!

  3. pammy July 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    first, its worth mentioning that you`re an amazing writer..! Of course, its a very unfortunate thg to have to go thro, – But also worth mentioning is that u WenT thro it. U surpassed it, U conquered it.
    I bet so many Don’t, right?..?
    Sometimes I’d think, i cant cope! Omg! I bet this drives some ppl to committ suicide!!!! I mean, afterall, it iz the Ultimate “mind fuck”; the psychological/emotional abuse is unmeasurable..!!..
    I think you`re an amazing woman. And even if I didnt, you R. 😉

    And i just… I hope u know that..
    Luv and peace and give God the glory 4ever &ever… ❤

  4. StrongerMe April 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    My ex never apologized for the night that I got the black eye and those same type bruises on my arms. He always contended that it was my fault and that I was the aggressor. I remember being held down and feeling like a trapped animal. I bit his nose to get him to release his grip and that’s when he punched me. He doesn’t remember holding me down. He refused to look at the bruises caused by his grip. He only remembers that I bit him.
    If you ask him today about that event, he will have the same story. He will say that he is not a violent man. The reason his ex-girlfriend (the one he cheated with) filed for a protective order against him was because she was crazy. It’s pretty amazing that EVERY woman he has dated was “crazy.”
    I’m so glad that I am divorced. I mean, I HATE being divorced and raising my kids without a father, but I am so glad to be out of that situation. It was toxic and I was so unhealthy to stay for so long.
    Thanks for sharing such painful memories. I know that to tell the whole story, you must relive it, own it.

    • beautifulmess7 April 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      Yeah, it is pretty amazing how every woman my ex dated was “crazy,” too. I am literally counting down the days until I am divorced. My deposition is next week, and hopefully I can get an actual divorce day from my lawyer then. Now that’s the kind of D-Day that I’m excited about!

  5. rogue13 April 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Thank you for your post. Some of it is familiar from parts of my own marriage. I had a question to ask, as trying to find an answer to a long-standing problem between my soon to be ex husband and I. Not long after we were married, he began looking at other girls and women, but would stare or “bird dog”, to the point of ignoring me. Fast foward to the future and he got caught in an affair but betwixt and between, tried to pretend to reconcile. During that time, we tried going out to dinner and doing errands again together.

    Soon enough, the staring begain again. When I had the courage to mention how much it bothered me, he would get agitated and then irate, claiming “I’m looking at traffic!” and other excuses…”It’s just people, don’t you look too? See, I looked at a guy, it’s just movement going by…” and on and on the lines went.

    But it wreaked havoc on my weak self-esteem and no matter how I dressed, made myself up or any of that, he did it anyway…much more the last year than other times, but did it throughout our marriage.

    After he left, he was far more vocal about other women he found attractive and I noted, with great sadness but prior to knowledge about the affair, that he spoke women’s names a lot more often-the neighbors or relatives or coworker-I’m proud to say it was a big red flag.

    So the question I have is, guys or girls, anyone willing to answer…when your signifant other, husband or wife or gf or bf…if you see them clearly staring at other people, did you feel bad or down also, or did it not bother you when you were out together? He tried for a long time to tell me that it’s me that’s odd and strange for ME not to get self esteem boosts when a guy stares at me. I get that from inside.

    There was only one I wanted to do that and he was too busy…thank you.

    • beautifulmess7 April 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      Although the commentary got off track, I originally wrote this about all of the unknowing victims of sex addicts who were ogled, fantasized about, and sometimes even had men jacking off a few feet away from them while thinking about the things they would do to them. From the perspective of a woman who has been objectified like this by men to an obscene level, I think it is highly disturbing.

      Now, to your question, I think it depends a lot on the situation and how it is handled. I do have a bit of a jealous streak, so I don’t really like it when my partner is clearly drooling over someone else. That is magnified tenfold when they lie about it. I have had a boyfriend who would notice a pretty woman and point it out in a way that didn’t make me feel threatened. I think it had to do a lot with his honesty, the level of trust we had, and the fact that I knew he had no intention of acting on his (very natural) attraction to an obviously beautiful person.

      I’m not sure how to explain the difference in words. It is about the feeling the other person gives off and how they conduct themselves. Making a passing comment like, “wow, that woman sure does have a nice ass” somehow isn’t as threatening as having a partner who obviously stares and makes obscene gestures or ignores you for someone else. No woman can say that they don’t notice how handsome Brad Pitt (or whatever celebrity you find attractive) is. Likewise, it isn’t realistic to think that your partner will NEVER notice someone else. It’s how they handle that attraction that makes a big difference.

      I also have to comment on your last statement. “He tried for a long time to tell me that it’s me that’s odd and strange for ME not to get self esteem boosts when a guy stares at me. I get that from inside.” That behavior is typically of someone with self-esteem issues that is trying to shame you into saying his behavior is okay. You are exceptional for getting your self-esteem from the inside. That is the hallmark of a healthy person.

  6. Luvlikeuvnvbnhurt April 19, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I applaud you for putting yourself out there and being completely raw and real. I am so sorry that people have taken that strong moment and try to belittle how you feel. Do not allow them that power. I was abused in more than one way and it was by no means a choice! I was brainwashed as a child an honestly didn’t know better. (((hugs))) to you. Stay Strong. You are beautiful, just to let ya know

  7. blogventer April 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Really glad you shared this story — more than I can admit that hit home about it for me…! I will say, though, that the pattern of lying and denial rings sooooo true, and the feeling of not being enough. I know THAT one way too well. Just… thank you. Thank you for sharing this story! You are so incredibly brave, and I draw strength from you.

    • beautifulmess7 April 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’ve been getting some flack for this post, and it’s good to get positive feedback so that I know I didn’t share in vain.

      • blogventer April 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        Flack? Gah! Who? (I didn’t read the other comments above; there were too many.) No, there were many things about it that hit home — like the part where you got angry and hit him, even though you’re not a violent person. The uncertainty of being in that position…! I know that feeling, that moment. No, thank you for this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

        • beautifulmess7 April 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

          Its not even worth getting into again. This wasn’t my proudest moment, but it is raw and real and part of the messy reality of unhealthy relationships. You’re right that I’m not a violent person, but in that moment I felt like a cornered, wounded animal. In a way I kinda was, even though that isn’t a pretty thing.

  8. Stacia April 16, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    I think it’s great that we all get to have our own opinion and we all get to live our experience. I was victimized, torn down (have you read my blog?) almost took my own life last June because of how poorly I felt about myself because of what HE did and presented in my life. I’m more than familiar with being the victim. I don’t live in that space any longer. I CHOSE not to be a victim any longer.

    When someone hits you, YOU have the choice to leave, when someone betrays you from the very beginning, it’s YOUR choice to continue to trust them. YOU get to decide YOUR boundaries. When abusers abuse or betray and then are forgiven, they do it again because there are no boundaries…they know that their behavior will be excused and in a way, we DO become enablers. They aren’t held accountable. I NEVER blamed the victim, but I did blame myself because I had a choice. I couldn’t change him, I could only change myself. And that is exactly what I did.

    We give these men who have betrayed us so much power that we forget to focus on ourselves. We cling so tightly to the damage that we have no energy to start reaching for something better for us. I know this because I lived it for a period of time.

    I’m very black and white with this because it has affected me greatly in the past. i’m all for a stronger woman…..if my thoughts anger someone, well…we all have a choice.

  9. TheOWDiaries April 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Hugs to you and all you have been through.

    And yes…you are enough. You are wonderful, you have a heart and you are moving forward. xo

  10. Castimonia April 15, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    I would recommend you stop labeling your ex-husband as a sex addict and look into “narcissistic personality disorder” which is way beyond sexual addiction and can be very dangerous. Sex addition is treatable, NPD, is much more difficult to treat.

    • beautifulmess7 April 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      I actually have written a few posts on NPD. I agree that he has that. It certainly seems that way from everything I have read. However, he undoubtedly had/has a pornography addiction and sexual issues like decades of strip clubs, online sex chats, clandestine sex hookups, sexting, and more.

      • Castimonia April 18, 2013 at 9:28 am #

        Very true. However, SA, like any other addiction is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is all the dirty stuff that needs to heal, our thoughts, our emotions, and our spiritual life. With NPD, the healing is much more difficult and much different than a “normal” sex addict who actually wants help. NPD’s don’t want nor “need” help, it is everyone else that needs help (that’s as simply as I can put it). I try not to work with guys that I know have NPD, it is far beyond my realm of support.

  11. Stacia April 15, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    This is your story and don’t hide from it. Learn from it and never repeat. We all go thru our stories, make wrong choices, decisions. When we come out on “the other side”, we are better for it. And that, my friend, is where the healing begins. xoxo

  12. Claudio April 15, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    Beautiful post

  13. pandaqueen1001 April 15, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    There is no shame or embarrassment in this. Your strength is in the telling… and no one here would ever accuse you of being weak. I love the last quote, btw. It’s so true. We are all enough. It’s just hard to remember in the face of so much that’s happened, sometimes.

  14. wallybear12 April 15, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    Wow!
    You are such a strong person to come back from what he did to you and to leave him.
    You are beautiful inside and out!

    • beautifulmess7 April 15, 2013 at 12:37 am #

      Thank you. Some days I feel very weak. I am still embarrassed of this story. This is the first time I’ve ever told it.

      Want to hear something sad? One of those friends was in our wedding. I must really have no self-respect. I’m trying to change that.

  15. Samantha Baker April 15, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    So much love to you, and yes, you ARE enough.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Looking back, were there warning signs? | Repairing Shattered Pieces - April 15, 2013

    […] read Stephanie’s post late last night on Being the Victim of a Sex Addict and it got me thinking.  Did I have warning signs?  Big ones or little ones?  HUGE red flags that […]

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