In the aftermath of my abuse I was filled with rage. There was no escaping it. I was mad at all of my friends, my parents, my sister, and just as mad if not less at my abuser himself, from what I can remember.
My memories of the year after he raped me is a loosely braided montage of throwing my phone at walls, screaming behind the wheel of my car, storming off from social gatherings, lying all the time about my food consumption, and my number of friends steadily diminishing. My salvation was my marathon training and my newfound love of yoga, so it wasn’t all bad. But the fury is a more prominent memory — the feeling of it, not the rationalization of it. I have little memory, actually, of how I convinced myself to blame most of my loved ones for I-don’t-even-know-what.
I find myself feeling angry a lot again these days. I think this may be the same sort of trap I fell into those years ago.
Nowadays I perceive the lack of support from individuals who I know are aware of the identity of my rapist, and I struggle not to criticize them for it. I take it personally; even though I know this makes me suffer, I can’t talk myself out of it.
I feel angry at individuals who have supported me for not also denouncing him. I am angry at individuals who have supported me and continued to talk to him. In some ways I feel that negativity is justified, but who am I to say how people should act, who they talk to, how they cope with this? If it bothers me I know I should choose to detach from those individuals rather than try to change them, but because I can’t understand their actions I am allowing them to hurt me. I know better than this, but knowing better is not enough.
I’m angry at the people who I lost back then for not coming back to me now that they know what was really going on. Before I was able to accept I was abused it was easier to blame myself entirely for losing them. But now that I recognize what happened to me and how it affected me and have come very far towards forgiving myself, it’s much harder to look at all the friendships lost and not feel resentful.
I do recognize I was a volatile person. It is not all my abuser’s fault. I do believe many of my old friends forgive me and they’ve just moved on with their lives. I wish they wanted to reconnect to some degree. I am grieving that the majority of them don’t, and I am hopeful someday I will stop living in the past and this won’t hurt.
But I also feel that I was not the only one who had anything to apologize for, and very few of them have apologized to me. It was difficult for me to take ownership for who I became and not getting any help for it and how that affected them, but I believe I have done that. It would have meant so much to me if they not only forgave me but if they apologized for, if nothing else, leaving me when there were signs that I needed help.
They couldn’t have known. That is how I have responded to the people who have said those things to me, and I mean it. But it still helps to hear it. It helps to hear that they regret that things played out how they did, that even though it’s too late and we couldn’t change it that they saw the value in the friendships we shared before I became so awful. It would be nice to hear that, though this is how it is, my old friends wish things could’ve been different.
I know I can’t control people, and I know I don’t want to be lied to. I also know that there are old friends who have said exactly that yet I continue to fixate on those who haven’t. I should know better. I’m letting myself suffer. I still can’t let go.
The truth is, it’s really hard for me to be now coping with a trauma that for everyone else happened so long ago. No matter what I learn and do now, the consequences of it all have already come to pass. The people in my life now don’t know the people who hurt me or the people I grieve for, and though I should just be grateful for the ones who have listened, I can’t help but feel lonely. I’m doing a lot of work processing all of this and sometimes it feels so futile. I know what I’m doing is necessary for my healing and my future, but sometimes I can’t help but feel like it’s not worth it.