3 Days

I don’t know how I made it through the past few days. There was a three day celebration for our church’s 25th anniversary. I had to go for all three days, and there were a few challenges.

The first challenge was my struggle to fit in. I’ve never really been close to the people in my age group. The relationship I have with the girls who are in my age group is weird. Sometimes they’ll talk to me (small talk), and other times, they won’t acknowledge my existence. I don’t care as much about fitting in with them as I did back then. However, the past three days were difficult because they were planning performances and hanging out with each other, and I felt like I was on the sidelines. Thankfully, a few acquaintances came to the celebration, so I was able to talk with them for some time. Even so, seeing the same people for three days (especially when you’re not comfortable with almost all of them) is exhausting. 

The second – and main – challenge was seeing my assailant. I still can’t believe I had to see him for three days STRAIGHT. I wanted to tell my parents that this would be hard for me. I told them that I didn’t want to go (without explaining why because I wanted to see what their reaction was first), but they didn’t really regard it. 

I don’t want to deal with seeing him. I’ve tried to explain this to my parents multiple times (and talk about how I feel), but they don’t seem to understand it. I felt like I was on my own. 

I think the main feeling I had throughout it all was paranoia. He was at the back of the room during the performances, and I was near the middle of the room. I was trying so hard not to look back and figure out where he was. A couple of years ago (at a different event), I was looking back to find out where he was, and my parents got extremely upset with me about that. That’s why I was trying not to look back. I felt so on edge throughout the services and the performances, and my paranoia was on overdrive.

I was simply trying to survive on that last day, and I was so frustrated about everything. I wanted to take a nap after the service (on the last day), but my relatives came over early for Thanksgiving dinner.

I didn’t really get to relax until yesterday night. Last night was when I realized that seeing him for that long truly affected me negatively. I knew this, but I didn’t understand the extent of it. I felt this pressure on my chest, and breathing was difficult. I felt like my heart rate was faster than normal on those three days. Feeling that anger and stress wore me out, and my thoughts were all over the place. The stress was so bad that it affected me physically, and that scares me.

As of now, I’m recovering from the weekend. I’m taking a well deserved break to clear my head. I hope I never have to see him for three days straight ever again. I can handle one day, but three days in a row is too much. It’s hard for me to deal with not fitting in and with seeing him for that long.

I don’t really know how to feel about all this. All I know is that I’m fed up of seeing this guy, and I’m exhausted. 


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41 comments

  1. SAF Volunteer

    Hi music2799,
    I am so sorry you had to go through that. Seeing your assailant can be hard enough without your feelings not being heard. Your reaction is completely understandable and I’m sorry your parents didn’t listen. Hopefully you’re able to take some time to recover.
    Stay Strong,
    Stella

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Stella. I’m still trying to take time for myself, especially in the midst of college and final exams. It’s also getting closer to Christmas, so I’ll have to be in the church more throughout this month. I’m trying to balance everything and prepare myself for the possibility of seeing him more often. Even thinking about that is nervewracking for me, so I’m trying to focus on one day at a time. I’m currently exhausted, but I know that winter break may help me unwind.

  2. Gamato04 Volunteer

    I’m so sorry you had to deal with all of this for three days and that your parents weren’t understanding. However, you did it. You went three days in one of the hardest situations during your recovery and you survived. You made it. This is a huge accomplishment. I hope you didn’t get sick, that sometimes happens when you’re really stressed. Take time and do what you love to do because sometimes you need to do that. You have made huge strides, and I wish nothing but the best for you. I pray you never have to go more than a few hours, if any, of seeing him.

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Gamato04. This is what I need to tell myself when I think of those three days. I thankfully didn’t get sick, but the physical and emotional turmoil still took a lot out of me. I’ve been trying to incorporate a little bit of self care into each day, and it’s been helping. I hope for the same thing and that I can eventually stop seeing him. Again, thank you.

  3. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,
    Thank you for sharing with us I’m sorry you had to go and be around your assailnt for so long. Your so strong and it really shows. Taking a break is amazing and is a good way to process and decompose. Thank you so much for trusting us! If we can help any further please let us know!
    Kailey

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Kailey. I think I’m figuring out what I need from moment to moment. I also know that if I didn’t take that break, I would have been even more exhausted. The feelings would have returned, but in a worse form. During this recovery process, I’ve learned that if I don’t acknowledge and validate my feelings, they’ll build up and show up in different (and possibly worse) ways. It’s why I tell the storytellers that validation of feelings is so important.
      Anyway, I’ll let you all know if I need anything. Thank you.

  4. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing with us and I can’t imagine how hard it is to face someone who has done such horrible things to you. But I can tell you were strong, and I promise you aren’t alone in those emotions. Please continue to share with us and let us know how we can help. We are with you. Keep hanging in there. You are so strong. -Ryan

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Ryan. Sometimes when I see him, I feel like I’m dealing with this alone because of my parents’ reactions. I also struggle with opening up to my friends, but I’m trying to get better at this. Talking about my feelings in general is difficult because I’ve dealt with invalidating responses for as long as I can remember. In some ways, AVFTI is a safe space for me. If I need anything, I’ll try to reach out, and thank you again.

  5. JFeeney21 Volunteer

    Dear music2799

    Thank you for reaching out to us and sharing your story. I’m so sorry you had to endure not just one but three days of having to see him. I can’t imagine how stressful that had to have been for you. All the feelings you expressed are completely understandable.

    I’m happy that you showed so much strength and resilience. You definitely deserve a break after a rough three days. If there is anything we can help you with anything please let us know.

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, JFeeney21. It was exhausting, and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I hope that I won’t have to see him eventually. For now, I can only hope that I won’t have to see him for 3 days in a row. I’ll write back if I need anything.

  6. Marissa Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    Thanks for sharing with us. Your feelings are completely valid about not wanting to see him, and I’m sorry that you had to see him so many days in a row and for so long. That’s not fair to you, but I’m proud of you for holding it in. That must have been really hard for you, and it shows incredible strength that you were able to do that. Still though, you shouldn’t have to.

    You definitely deserve a break. Take as much time as you need. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to make things easier for you. We’re here to help you however we can! Stay strong 🙂

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Marissa. All I’m hoping for now is that I won’t have to see him for so long. I’ve noticed that if I see him less, the physical reaction is less severe. I’ll write back if I need anything, and thank you again.

  7. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for updating us. I am really sorry that you had to deal with seeing him for three whole days (even one day is too much). I am also sorry that this was coupled with feeling left out and not getting the support you need. Do give yourself some credit. You are giving yourself a break now. You’re taking care of yourself. I think that is really awesome. You took a tough situation and responded with your interests in mind. That’s exactly what you should be doing to take care of yourself. I think you should give yourself credit for that. Especially after exhausting events like this, it is important to remind yourself that you are on the right track even when new challenges present themselves. You are doing great. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. Stay strong. You’ve got this and you’re not alone.

    Thomas

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Thomas. Given that I don’t really have the option to leave the church right now, this break has been the best thing for my mental health. Taking time for myself after these services and events is what helps me feel normal again. I hope I’ll be able to leave the church eventually so that I won’t have to see him, but until then, I’ll take these breaks.

  8. rkr18 Volunteer

    Music2799,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and your thoughts. I can imagine how mentally stressful and exhausting that can be for you. Thankfully you were able to take a break and clear your head. I hope you don’t have to go through that any more. Please take care of yourself. We are sending you strength and peace.
    Marie

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Marie. I hope that I won’t have to deal with continued stress for that long. I think this break is really helping me process what happened, and that’s the positive thing to take away from this. As of now, I feel great.

  9. blashea

    Hi, I’m so sorry that you are feeling this way. Your feelings are completely valid. I hope that you can one day distance yourself from him. I’m so proud of you and your strength. Please never hesitate to let us know if there is anything that we can do to help.

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, blashea. I hope for that as well. For right now, I’m doing the best I can and motivating myself to keep going. The support I’ve had from some people, including AVFTI, has helped a lot. I’ll let you all know if I need anything.

  10. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! The past few days sound like they’ve been incredibly stressful and anxiety inducing. I’m so sorry you had to deal with seeing him for three entire days. The fact that you were able to get through that is amazing and shows how incredibly strong you are. It was not easy, but you did it! I’m also sorry that your parents don’t seem to understand how stressful it is for you to see him. That makes it even harder. But I want you to know that I believe you and I understand how hard it was for you to go through that. I’m so proud you were able to push yourself, but I hope you don’t have to do it again. I hope you don’t have to see him again and that you’re able to relax after these past couple of days. Good for you that you’re taking time to unwind and clear your head! Are you participating in activities or hobbies that you really love to do? I hope they’re really helping you relax and get your mind off of things.
    Let us know if there is anything else we can do to help you through this and future problems. We are always here for you and we believe you. <3 Stay strong!
    -Jess

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Jess. The recovery from those three days was strange. On Monday, I felt extremely tired, and yesterday, I felt numb. I’ve been unwinding by reading books, meeting my friends and family, and writing. Those things helped a lot, and now I’m feeling better about everything. I’m able to think about those days in a more positive way and feel happy about the fact that I got through it. I’m glad that I’ve reached this point.

      1. Jess Volunteer

        I’m sorry you felt that way Monday, but it’s definitely understandable. You went through a lot that weekend! I’m glad you took some time for yourself! Sometimes, that can be the hardest thing. I’m so glad to hear that you’re feeling better. <3 You should be so proud that you are strong enough to withstand that stress and then being able to take time for yourself to heal. It's amazing. You're incredibly strong! If there's anything else we can do to help you, please let us know. We're always here. <3
        -Jess

  11. MH Volunteer

    Hey music2799,
    It sounds like you had a really difficult 3 days. I can’t imagine how exhausting it must have been. I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I am also sorry that your parents don’t seem to understand what you are going through.
    You should be proud of yourself for getting through it. You are such a strong individual.
    Thank you for coming to share with us and know that we are always here to support and listen to you.
    MH

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, MH. It was really rough. I’m trying to stay positive about this by thinking about how I’m able to relax now, how I’m feeling better, and about how my acquaintances helped me get through that last day. This isn’t easy, but I’m trying, and I think that’s what matters in the end.

  12. Janelle K

    Thank you so much for the trust and openness you have shared with us. I am so sorry that you had to go through that this weekend. We hear you and believe you. I am sorry others do not take your voice seriously because your emotions and frustrations are absolutely valid. I am glad you are able to finally relax and breathe again. You should never have to go through this. Please reach out to us with anything we can do to help. I pray that your parents hear your voice and that you are able to move towards healing without the constant presence of this person. We are always here for you!

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Janelle. I hope my parents will reach a point of understanding as well. We’ll see what happens with regards to that. I’m simply glad that I’m away from him now. I feel better than I felt this weekend, and that’s progress in my eyes.

  13. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you so much for reaching out again! I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been, but you got through it and should be proud of yourself. That was not an easy thing for you to do. Hopefully the break will be nice and you can relax and heal without having to worry about seeing him. Please let us know if we can do anything else to help you! We are always here for you <3

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Julia. This break has been nice, and I feel like everything is getting back to normal. Having that time away from him has helped a lot, and I’ve been relaxing a lot more (mainly because it’s Thanksgiving break). I also let myself feel everything without judging, which was what I needed to feel better.

  14. nicolegorman Volunteer

    music2799,

    It sounds like you had a very stressful three days and I’m sorry to hear that, especially when you were supposed to be taking part in a celebration. You should not have to deal with seeing your assailant. That is extremely unfair to you and I’m sorry that you felt your parents didn’t understand why you didn’t want to go. You deserve to go anywhere and do anything and not feel anxious and paranoid that your assailant is around. I’m glad you made it through this but sorry that you were burdened with so much unnecessary stress. You are stronger than he is and I hope you don’t have to face him again.

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, nicolegorman. My parents not understanding this has been difficult for me. Since my friends have been more supportive, I’ve talked to them about this more. Telling my friends about this has helped. I hope I’ll never have to see him for such a long period of time ever again, yet I’m glad that I got through that.

  15. Jade Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing this and being so open with is. I’m sorry for what you went through and all the pain you’ve endured. You don’t deserve to be forced to attend something you aren’t comfortable attending. You deserve to make your own choices and feel safe at all times. I hope that you never have to go through this again too. You are such a strong individual for continuing to push through all the pain. Keep staying strong. You got this.

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Jade. I’ve had to see him for 2 days in a row before, but never three. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a situation in which I have to see him for three days again, but I’m just hoping that it won’t happen.
      I’m thankfully feeling a lot better than I was a few days ago. It took me a while to recover from seeing him, but now everything feels like it’s back to normal.

  16. Solongago

    I’m sorry. I don’t have any good advice. You shouldn’t have to leave your church and go elsewhere, but maybe down the road that might be an option. Right now, your worship experience is over-shadowed by this constant reminder of what happened, and who did and all that. I’m sorry your folks do not get that. I don’t know if you talked to the pastor about this, if he has any suggestions. If you haven’t you might want to consider it. They will probably not throw this guy out of the church, but letting the pastor know what he did to you, might prevent having this guy put in a position to do it to other people. What you say to him is confidential, but he can let the counsel know that it has come to his attention that “Joe Schmoe” is not a safe candidate for Sunday School Teacher, or Youth Group Director, or even going on a trip with young folks.

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Solongago. Worshipping in that church has been difficult for me ever since it happened, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about religion. I haven’t talked to the pastor, but that is an interesting suggestion that is worth considering.
      As for leaving the church, I’m not really sure what will happen. For right now, I’m trying to cope with this. The good thing is that I’ve made progress in the past few years, and I’m going to focus on that.

  17. Deanna Volunteer

    I’m sorry that your parents were cross with you before for looking at/for your abuser, I’ve been there too. They’re blaming the wrong person, you did nothing wrong. Like Erin said, that is exhausting. It takes SO much energy to fuel your brain when it’s working on high stress. So it’s normal to be wiped out, good on you for realizing this and taking care of yourself. 😊
    What do you do you relax and unwind?

    -Deanna

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Deanna. It’s hard to deal with their reactions sometimes. I think you’re right about the high stress – it is the reason why I’ve been so worn out. I tend to write about how I feel, read a book, or spend time with my friends. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days, and it’s helped me feel better.

      1. Deanna Volunteer

        Glad to hear that your relaxation techniques are helping. I’ve been in a similar situation and my family acted the same. Whenever I’ve been exceptionally stressed I learned a new skill or hobby. I poured so much focus into it that it got me past all of the bad feelings.
        I hope you had a good week 😊

  18. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I understand how you feel. It’s fucking exhausting having to see your abuser, and to not have people understand why you don’t want to see him. You have every right to be upset. You have every right to feel tired. I’m so sorry you still have to see him. Is there anyone in this space where you have to see him that you could reach out to for support? Or even someone outside this space? Let us know how else we can help-we are here for you.

    Erin

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, Erin. That’s the hard part of all this. As of now, I’ve been talking to my best friend (who’s not in the church) and a couple of acquaintances (who are in the church) about how I’ve been feeling. They’re supportive, and they understand why it’s been affecting me. The acquaintances definitely helped me get through that last day. They simply listened without judging, and it made a difference. Having people to rely on can really help.

  19. sfmbelle413

    Hey there music2799,

    You are strong – you made it through those three days! I can tell how exhausting sitting through the three day celebration was – I hear that you endured a lot. It’s smart to be taking that well deserved break – you deserve to do things for yourself and to give yourself self care. It makes sense you’re fed up seeing this guy and that you’re exhausted. You’re doing a great job pushing through and being strong. What are some things you’re doing to take care of yourself this weekend?

    Keeping fighting,
    SFM

    1. music2799 Volunteer

      Thank you, SFM. I’m on Thanksgiving break, so I’ve been meeting with my friends, reading books, and writing about how I feel. I felt numb and tired for the past couple of days, but I’m feeling much better now. I had a feeling it would take some time to feel normal again, but I do, and it’s great.

      1. sfmbelle413

        I’m so glad to hear that you’re feeling normal again, music2799. That sounds like a solid self care plan. I’m happy to hear that you had time to be with friends and do things you enjoy. You are strong!