I did my best to convince myself and anyone I talked to that we were happy and in love, because if we weren’t, it didn’t make sense that I let him so blatantly take advantage of me. Instead of calling the police so they could force him out of my apartment, I acted like I was making a choice to help the man I loved. I was ashamed of myself for what I was letting him do to me, so I tried to deny it to myself. I still carry that shame, even though I know I shouldn’t, because I regret the entire situation so much. Damn it, I’m a feminist, for fuck’s sake! My feminism is a huge part of my identity, so why would I let a man treat me that way?
Because he’s terrifyingly manipulative and deceptive, not just to romantic partners, but to his friends and family and even himself. It was almost like mind control the way he got into my head and made me comply with whatever he wanted. I constantly acted contrarily to my own best interests, and even my own mental health, because he had managed to gain control of me.
I’m changed for the worse because of him. I know I need to go to therapy to process his abuse, but I keep putting it off because I don’t want to relive the pain. I have PTSD and trust issues in a relationship now, as well as just recently developing occasional flashbacks to the way he’d beat my ass during sex until I cried, and I never told him to stop because I did whatever he wanted.
My boyfriend now is gentle as a lamb, a feminist, and a self-described beta male. I know he would never intentionally hurt me. But I can’t help having an underlying fear that anything is possible, because there was a time when I insisted that my ex was “a good man” too. I’m not afraid of my boyfriend at all, but I’m afraid of the fact that I wasn’t afraid of my ex either, in the beginning.
Much more so, though, I’m afraid of unintentionally doing to Colin what my ex did to me. I worry about it all the time, actually. Because he’s so passive and always wants me to make the decisions, I’m so scared that I’m going to make choices for us that hurt him. I’d hate myself forever if I hurt him in even a fraction of the way that Kevin hurt me. This is something that haunts me constantly. I’m paranoid of becoming the monster that Kevin is. While I don’t think I have that much evil in me, I can’t help worrying about it.