We all have heard about the #metoo movement.  Yesterday, a “well-known” member of my gaming community was accused of sexual harassment and blackmail of several women in the community.  We’re talking about mental/emotional abuse and using nudes obtained by his various girlfriends against them.  There’s even implication of kidnapping or the intent of kidnapping and rape.

Doug showed me the article released about this guy.  Then proceeded to comment that the women involved were stupid to fall for the guy’s shit.  That they were weak willed women who allowed it to happen to them and shouldn’t complain.

These comments stabbed me right in the heart.  I realized that Doug obviously had no idea what it’s like to be sucked in, lied to, manipulated and taken advantage of.  But then I remember that he really does know what it’s like.  He told me a story about a woman who catfished him when he was younger.  I imagine it must have emasculated him and this is why he has such a strong reaction about the victims being weak willed.  Because he felt weak willed.

What he didn’t know is that I escaped an abusive relationship when I was younger.  Manipulation is a very complex tool.  Some wield it well, some not so well.  My ex-boyfriend from whoaback slowly took control of me through mental/emotional abuse and manipulation.  Slowly, over time, he attempted to isolate me from my friends (he did not attempt to do so with my family as they had already moved to Texas and was out of reach regardless).  Attempted to use my journals against me for their past contents.  He had stolen them and read them and then burned them.  I wasn’t allowed to write down my thoughts anymore.  He would constantly tell me how fat I was getting (during one of the thinnest periods in my life) and how no one would ever want me so I was lucky to have him.  He conditioned me to NEED him.  I finally had the nerve to leave him after he decided to join the military and I went to stay with my Dad while he was gone.  I was finally able to see what had happened to me and it took being away from him to wake up and see that I needed to get out of that.  So, I did.

I don’t particularly like talking about James.  What I know about abuse now is that it comes in all shapes and forms.  It’s never limited to physical abuse.  I tried to explain this to Doug.  He just kept going on about how if those women didn’t want to do what they did for this guy, then they shouldn’t have.  I was so upset by his comments, I had started crying and stopped responding to his messages.  The problem with Doug is that he has a very hard time stepping outside his own perspective and viewing an issue from an outside perspective.  I tried to help him see but he refused to see.  So I stopped answering him because I just couldn’t anymore.  My own boyfriend sees me as a weak willed loser.  He called me a couple minutes later from work.  I answered while trying to hold back the water works.  I didn’t do so well I guess because after I said hello, he could hear it in my voice.  He asked me what was wrong and I told him that he just made me feel like shit.  I gave him a brief run down of my relationship with James.  He responded to my story with, “Well, I feel like shit now.”  As you should, Doug.  As you should.  The tears returned and all I could say was, “Hits you harder when it’s much closer home, doesn’t it?  It really opens your eyes when it’s not an anonymous person and it’s your girlfriend, doesn’t it?”  He said, “Yeah.  I’m sorry.”  I accepted his apology and we both let the subject go.

There’s more to the story of James.  I don’t like talking about it and I don’t think I ever will.  Not entirely.  I have a #metoo story but I’m never ready to tell it.