Down a Rabbit Hole
The recent retelling of my incidences with a Bill was relieving in a way I did not at first realize, although in concept assumed it would be helpful. It has become freeing, where the dreams of being chased seem to not matter much. It does seem that over time their impact has lessened, but there was a certain step down that was notable.
Facebook told me of my ‘memories’ from today, drawing my attention in with having a memory with a friend I have not seen since high school, although I recall our last personal interaction was in Chicago, seeing Baby Wants Candy with a small group of friends. Three of us were sitting in chairs in the lobby, and I believe it was him who had his hands covering some part of his face. The other friend and I noticed and proceeded to take upon ourselves the action to cover other parts so that the three of us completed No Evil.
I did not get far enough down the list to see where this friend had interacted with something I had posted, distracted instead by posts made five years ago, detailing some strength within myself and a search for a new place to live. This was at the end of my stay in Bill’s parents’ house, and being uncertain of the timing, I scrolled down in the messenger tab to find my interactions with Bill around that time, scrolling up past a great deal of bullshit to get to the mark I wanted.
It was the day he blew up at me shortly after he’d stalked me. Perhaps the day he had logged into my account and read through my messages, but ultimately the lead up to the night he traumatized me — technically the morning of the 11th.
I did skip over my initial response to him telling me he wanted me to leave five years ago today as it was full of self-degradation, delving deep into the depressive pit of wanting to end myself. While a toxic trait I have not fully removed myself from, I have fought very hard to remove this kneejerk reaction from my repertoire; it is an unreasonable place to go to mentally and it is an unreasonable state to argue from. It is, whether intentioned or not, highly manipulative and awful. Ignoring those messages from myself is likely not helpful to moving past it, however the task I chose to take on was already too exhausting without such reflection.
Otherwise, there was a degree of amusement in rereading these messages. The altering cycles of love-bombing and hatred are far more apparent now, getting through days of nonsense in a single sitting. I found myself praising my past self for some of the stronger messages I wrote, namely telling him I wanted to punch him, and then the rather pointed statement during some day of fights following the hostage morning:
“My perception of this is not any less personally hurtful to you. To me it is not a matter of ‘you or (him),’ it is a matter of ‘be with you, or don’t.’ You got angry and pressured me for a decision after I stated I wasn’t sure about the future. That was not a compelling argument to your case. I am not ‘choosing to be with (him)’ I am choosing not to be pressured into being with you.”
Bill’s assessments of me during his angry phases were all laughable. The fear I felt in those moments, and the time following, was very real, but looking back I can separate myself enough to see the absurdity in his accusation that I had wrecked his trust and it was equivalent to the loss of security I had following him digging through my personal belongings, my laptop, my Facebook, and the discovery of him stalking me. I can see both the absurdity in his diatribe about how there was something wrong with me, and the singular point where he was correct about me needing to see a doctor.
“Wow, I think I’m starting to realize, that there’s something wrong with you. … maybe you really can’t help what you’re doing.”
It was during this time that I was simply refusing to fully engage in the questionnaire he handed to me, refusing to fully detail my plan to leave, and reinforcing the statement that I was unwilling to see him again despite his begging. He needed to see me for his closure, and of course he was never violent to me and I shouldn’t lie about how much he damaged me. …all while he left increasingly violent messages, trashed the space I was clearing while he was not there, and ignoring my very real fear of him after he held me hostage. I knew very well what I was doing, and despite however much he felt it hurt him, making him feel better was not my responsibility, therefore ‘helping what I was doing’ was not of concern to me.
Time following the weeks it took me to grab my stuff and get out — a process that would have gone much faster if the parents in the house wouldn’t have limited my time there to when they were home, and my refusal to be there when Bill would be home — was tumultuous at best. As Bill continued to terrorize me on a number of new accounts across many platforms, I was afraid to exist outside of my house. Going to the store was anxiety-inducing at the best of times, knowing that he knew where I would shop and could show up at a moment’s notice.
Things have changed in five years. I am not afraid to live, to be at the stores I shop at. All the same, being triggered by an event not too long ago shows that the trauma still exists. Looking back at the messages did not fill me with a deep sense of dread, I could look at them from an external perspective for the first time. I am still unhappy to relive them, but the comparison between then and now is…significant.
Eventually I will be far enough away from this that not a single cell in me will be the same as it was then. I long for that day.