Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recovering from your boyfriend's porn addiction

When you're 16 and your boyfriend tacks pictures of naked girls above his bed, you shrug it off as typical.  

You may not like it, but the culture insists it is normal, and therefore to be expected and accepted.  You can't keep your hands off each other, and the sex is great, so what's a few dirty pics when he's obviously crazy about you.

A few months later when you don't want to have sex one night and he starts holding you down and forcing you, you forgive him because he did stop eventually, after all.  When he sulks on the end of the bed and becomes uncommunicative, you start to feel bad for him and tell him it's alright (huh?), feeling somehow responsible for his shame.

When he turns 19 and takes a road trip to the full nudity strip joint he can now get into, you get pissed that he goes despite how you feel about it, but shove your loathing down because society says this is a rite of passage.

When you're 19 and he barely wants to have sex anymore after living together for only a year, you figure it's because he's depressed, and for sure things will get back to the way it used to be in due time.

When you have to go to bed alone with no affection every night while he stays up late and watches porn, you know it's sick that you listen at the bedroom door to hear what he's watching, but can't stop yourself from needing proof.  

When you find out a bunch of your mutual friends lied to you when they said they were going out for drinks but were actually taking him to a strip club, you wonder how many other betrayals there have been, and what all has been done behind your back.

When he blocks you from leaving the room during arguments, holds you down despite your screams, and chokes you until you can't breathe, you realize how naive every girl is in thinking they have a chance of fighting off a guy.  You stay because you blame yourself for your own temper, somehow believing you deserve it, despite the fact that you never once hurt HIM.  

When you're told that you're a crazy psycho bitch for going through his things, 99% of you knows that people who have nothing to hide hide nothing, but your self-worth is so low that you buy into the emotional abuse.

When you're 20 and he keeps telling you he's saving up for a ring, but you come across hidden stashes of money in a box of nasty magazines, you try to tell yourself that of course glossy sex objects are not more worthwhile than marrying you, not really believing it at all.

When you're a cute 125 pound girl who jogs every day and keeps herself up for a lazy sloth who stays skinny without so much as ever working up a sweat, you start to question why you can never measure up to the images he pleasures himself to, while he walks around feeling great about his own body.

When you get so disgusted by it all one night that you box up all his treasured collections and make a trip to the recycling station, but his loser friend helps him fish the magazines out of the public recyling kiosk the next day, you realize exactly how precious this shit really is to him.  You remember the night you were so sick you couldn't move from the floor outside the bathroom, and he stepped over you like some animal, refusing to bring you a blanket.  You try not to get bitter that you took care of him every time he was sick and secretly feel like the most worthless human being in the world calling someone from an hour away to take you to the hospital because your own fiance doesn't give a shit about you.   

When you buy a computer for school, you try not to be angry that he's now spending more time with fake women on a screen, because admitting that someone would choose to get themselves off every day rather than have a relationship with a live human being is a little too...humiliating.

When he wants you to look the way the porn actresses look and tries to make you feel like a frigid prude when you don't want to engage in painful sex acts in order to fulfill all of his fantasies, you hate his fucking guts but can't help questioning if you're so boring in bed that "normal" sex isn't good enough anymore.  

When he stops going places with you in favor of staying home to touch himself, you silently fume to yourself over doing every fucking thing in the household with no help while someone values jacking off more than they value time with you.

When you swing around the block one day after leaving and quietly sneak down the hall of the apartment building only to spring in unexpected and catch him watching a revolting video, you attempt to drag him out from under the desk where he's trying to unplug the computer, but he overpowers you in his desperation to hide what he's doing.

When he lies to your face repeatedly and promises to stop but only gets more skilled at hiding his stash and clearing the cache,
you finally get that there's one thing he thinks is worth fighting for in this relationship, and it's not you.  

When you find incest porn of two preteen sisters molesting each other on the computer YOU got with YOUR scholarship money, you are horrified at the thought of what kind of sicko you have been sleeping with, and can't help thinking, "For every mouse you see, there's 20 you don't."

When you finally accept that you will never respect yourself if you continue to stay with this person, you move out with the last shred of dignity you have left, embarrassed that you have to call your dad to help because he keeps throwing out all the boxes you bring home to move.

When he tells you he's addicted to porn and seeing a counselor because he wants to be a better man, you willingly play the part of the fool, trying to make it work so that the last 7 years of your life will not have been a waste.  

When he puts zero effort into changing but keeps trying to make you have sex, you feel somehow guilty but still can't go through with it, because the thought of his touch now gives you the creeps.

When you stay at his place one night and find multiple personal ads and sex profiles on adult friend finder websites, you decorate his apartment with all of your findings and cut off all communication, realizing once and for all that you have to trust yourself and your own instincts above anyone else.

When you print out his sex profiles and take them to his workplace to tape up in the breakroom so that everyone can see the bastard for who he really is, you let the chick at work dissuade you (and regret it the rest of your life).

When you find out months later that he's not just a disgusting pervert, but also a thief who stole thousands from his company, you feel mortified to have spent so many years with the lowlife just because you were afraid no one else would love you.  

When you spend the next 10 years struggling with your lack of self worth and end up in relationships with other emotional abusers who demean and berate you, you tell yourself that it must be something wrong with you, and give up on being loved because you never feel good enough for anyone. 

When you look back at the detached way you wrote your own story as if wishing it wasn't your own, you know that most people will think it's absolutely fucking stupid to be so bothered by porn, because they haven't lost their own sex life to a bunch of videos and magazines.  

When you think about the person you would be now if he had never come into your life, you vaguely recall how warm and loving you used to be before some selfish fuck treated you like shit, knowing all the while that it was your own choice to keep sticking around for more.  

When you realize you've written about being undone by your boyfriend's porn addiction instead of recovering from it, you think of all the times you've heard that porn is harmless, knowing the damage is yours alone to deal with.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Self-Esteem, Self-Worth...or C) None of the Above

"I'm going to ask a question that will probably shock everyone in this room that I'm know, it all sounds great on the surface, but when you look a little closer at your resume, there's a year here, a year there, and it doesn't seem like you've stayed any place for very long...can I ask why?" --Interviewer (2 weeks ago)

I have answered this question, in all its various forms, time and time again.  

I have concocted versions of the truth, and flat-out lies.  

I have summoned confidence I don't really possess to emphasize all the right things, instead of all the things that make me look bad.  

But the truth is, it doesn't matter.

The 7 years that I *was* with the same employer....they don't matter.  

Straight A's and Summa Cum Laude?  Doesn't matter.  

The 3 extra years I spent earning a Master's?  High school dropouts make more than I do right now.

Volunteering and going the extra mile?  Don't make me laugh.

It is my fault.  I am the one who left the job where I was making good money in return for being treated like shit.  It was my decision to stand up for myself, my decision to quit, and my decision to drive to Nashville to kill myself.  

The problem, ironically, is that I didn't kill myself.  

The way this has fucked up my life...well, it just makes me wish I had.  Choosing to live has ruined my life.  Years of unemployment and suicidal depression...the ensuing downward spiral....

Through it all, I haven't given up.  Through all the dismissal and rejection, I plodded through five hundred twenty-five thousand job applications until one day - yes! - one day, it all paid off....

There is so much more dignity in being underemployed, rather than just unemployed.  Even though my degree is worth twice what I am making, at least I am in the field.  I can always console myself with that when I think of trash collectors making double my income.  

It's not that I wasn't bitter before this job interview two weeks ago; it's that I forgot how bitter I was, being fortunate enough to have a job to go to every day.  I was dumb enough to go out on a limb and apply for the position my degree tells me I am qualified for....and end up rejected once again.  The irony is, I was feeling more confident than ever because I finally have 9 months of steady employment in my field with great references!  So much for that.  

At least I gave it a shot.  Yes, it made me feel like absolute shit afterwards, but what doesn't.  The important thing is that I had the self-worth to believe I deserved it...for a moment, anyway.