Conflicting Feelings

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It’s been a while since my last update. I have a lot to say about group therapy, but I’ll address that in another update.

I’ve been thinking about my assailant since last night. I have so many conflicting feelings about him.

More than anything, I feel hurt. Whenever I liked people (before meeting him), they didn’t like me back. I thought my assailant actually liked me. At least, I wanted to believe that. That mattered to my 15 year old self. I was getting attention for the first time, and I didn’t know what to do.

He acted like he liked me, but only in an attempt to get what he wanted. He took advantage of me, and that hurts more than the rest of it. It’s so difficult for me to let my guard down. I want to be in a relationship eventually (I have too much going on now, and I want to focus on myself), but I really don’t want someone to take advantage of me again.

I’m still intrigued. I keep thinking he has a good side, and I want to know more. I want to know how he was brought up and what caused him to act like this. I wonder if he’s a better person now. Yet I know what happened last time, and I don’t want that to happen again. That’s why I refuse to contact him no matter how intense that curiosity is.

Recently, I’ve had this urge to read our messages from 5 years ago. They’re on this throwaway Gmail account that I haven’t looked at since everything happened. I remember some of what we said, but I want to see what I blocked out from my memory. Yet if I do look, I don’t want anyone to find out.

It has been almost 5 years since the incident. I’ve been angry, frustrated, scared, exhausted, hurt, and so much more. I’ve felt compassion for him before. Yet I don’t know where this new wave of intrigue is coming from. I don’t know why I want to look at those messages again, and I don’t know if I should.

I don’t know if I want to forgive him for what he did. Sometimes I’m convinced I hate him, and other times I can’t bring myself to hate him. It’s so confusing.

I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks. These feelings (of intrigue, compassion, etc.) don’t come up nearly as much when I’m around him. It may be because my body is trying to protect me during those moments. I don’t know how to feel about any of this.


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20 comments

  1. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear music2799,

    It is good to hear from you <3 It sounds like you are just trying to wrap your brain around why this person was able to do what they did and if they are capable of change. These are questions that I don't think you will ever get the answer to and you gotta ask yourself, "if I were to know the answers to these questions, how would they help me? Would they just make me feel worse? Would knowing the answers making me feel better? Or will it just lead me to asking more questions?".
    When situations end badly it can be easy for us to get hung up on them, to be stuck in the past. You think to yourself what you could have said or done differently, you think about all the red flags that may have been there but ignored. It is easy for us to look back on situations in hindsight. I too, have done these things myself multiple times and to be honest, it does no good for me mentally or emotionally. If I continue to let things that happened 3, 5, heck even 6 years ago effect me emotionally and mentally today what good is that doing for me? Nothing. Here's a quote that I want to share with you from the book called Minimalism: live a meaningful life, "living in the past is tantamount to driving using only the rearview mirror- eventually you will crash if you don't know what is going on in front of you" – Joshua Fields Millburn. What I am saying is, our past relationships are not indicative of our future relationships, you can learn from your past relationships and think about what you want moving forward. What you are and are not willing to put up with, what you want out of a future partner, and what you are not going to negotiate on. Looking back at those old messages doesn't sound like it will help you in any good way, it may do the complete opposite. I struggle with not being stuck in the past myself, the best thing I would suggest is to delete everything so you are never tempted to look at it again, out of sight and out of mind. Write. It is amazing what writing can do for you when you have all this mental and emotional clutter. It is not easy, it can be challenging. But once you start to let go of the things that you cannot change it is amazing to see how much more freeing that is for your mind. If you can, check out that book. It brought a lot of value to my life and has been helping me sort out a lot of what I have gone through in the past, or currently going through now. Maybe it could do the same for you.
    Sending love and hugs your way <3 Stay safe and healthy during this time!

    – Jordan

  2. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    Thank you for updating us and sharing your experience. Our minds are so amazing in the way they protect us and help us learn and grow. The conflicting and confusing thoughts and feelings are normal. The ones that center around our trauma are the loudest and most confusing because one part of us is trying to heal and the other is trying to protect us. As Solongago said, thoughts are just thoughts, and we can recognize them and let them go. Or we can get curious and ask how we feel about them, and then maybe, why do we feel that way? Healing is an exercise in curiosity; exploring our thoughts, emotions, and our body’s reaction, then trying things to see what helps us feel better and change our brain’s patterned way of reacting.
    Do whatever you feel will help you in this moment.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  3. Starling Volunteer

    Hi music2799,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this. It’s normal to want to know more about the person to find out why they did what they did. It’s up to you if you want to forgive him or not. It’s normal to feel conflicted about your feeling toward him. If you don’t have any of these feelings when you are near him, I would suggest following that gut feeling and trying to distance yourself from those thoughts. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  4. meg Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for sharing with us how you’re feeling and the emotional impulses you are navigating. I want you to know that you are wanted and loved. I am so sorry you are experiencing this confusion. I think that if you do decide to go back through your old conversations, be prepared for an array of emotions. If you have someone you trust, confide in them if possible for immediate support. Whatever you feel towards the person who harmed you is no one’s decision but your own. You get to decide and it’s allowed to change and progress. Healing isn’t linear. Please continue to update us and share. You’re a wonderful human. Be gentle with yourself
    —Meg

  5. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi Music2799,
    Thanks for coming back & sharing. I look forward to hearing more about your group therapy. Sometimes, our minds do strange things in ways of protecting us. These feelings that you are having I believe is a normal part. It is kind of like a love hate sort of thing. It’s ok to wonder about the “what if’s” as long as we don’t allow ourselves to be consumed. Maybe by not seeing him has given time to process these feelings. It’s also ok if you decide not to fogive him. Maybe one day you will be able to. What happened wasn’t your fault, so you shouldn’t have to live your live wondering. You do however deserve to be treated with respect. If you at this time decide to keep your distance, then perhaps that’s what you need to do to take care of you. It’s hard to let go of someone especially when mixed feelings & emotions are stirred up. As tough as this may be, you can rise above it all. You can do this one day at a time. Hold onto what how far you have come & don’t allow anything or anyone to steal that progress from you!
    Dawn

  6. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there music2799,

    I’m glad you find this a safe place to share your recent thoughts and feelings. Everything you are feeling is completely valid. It can be confusing to know how to feel about someone who has hurt you – hatred, a sense of friendship, whatever it may be. Please know this is normal. I know it can still be frustrating, though. It’s important to do whatever is right for you to heal. Whether that’s looking at the e-mails or ignoring them, telling others you looked or not. This is your journey. Take it in small steps and you will get to where you need to be. We are all here with you for it.

    Sending light,
    SFM

  7. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for coming back with an update. It’s so hard when you are young to see past someone’s deceptions. When someone seems to like you it’s a really nice feeling and it makes sense that you would want to be around that. It’s definitely hard once you have been hurt in any way to get back out there again. You’re right it’s probably not a great idea to reach out to him again and maybe also not a great idea to reread messages. Some of what you read may be triggering in some way. It makes sense that you go back and forth about how you feel about him. Hating someone can be exhausting so sometimes it feels easier to forgive. Part of the process is working through those emotions. I think it says a lot that you don’t have these feelings when he is around, suggesting that you don’t actually want to be near him and reach out again. I would trust your gut on that one.

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  8. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing you thoughts and feelings with us again!

    I think it’s super important for you to take time for yourself. You mentioned that this is currently in your focus and that is huge! I think you will be able to find the confidence and independence you are looking for. This confusion you’re experiencing will also dilute with this “focus on myself” mindset.

    You mention the frustration you have with this new intrigued feeling as to why this person did this to you. It seems like you want to justify the reasons as to why they did it. This is very normal. You want to justify that they’re not a bad person and something must’ve happened for them to act this way. Perhaps, if you look, you can find this reasoning. Unfortunately, this information will probably not be found there or any time soon. Regardless of the reason as to why, what they did you was wrong.

    The hatred you feel is also very normal but frustrating at the same time because you want to forgive and forget everything that’s happened. It can be hard work to forgive someone, but can be so freeing in the end. Forgiving someone can make you the bigger person and in control of your feelings and actions. Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget and this memory can serve as something you hold yourself and others by to keep those accountable for their actions and contributions to others.

    This time you have set aside for yourself will help you explore such concepts and implement them in your life. I can already see the strong minded person you are in your writing.

    Stay strong <3

  9. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello music2799,

    I’m eager to hear about how group therapy has been.

    Since he took advantage of you, it’s understandable that it’s difficult to let your guard down. It’s admirable how you recognize that you don’t want a relationship right now because you would prefer to work on yourself; you mentioned that there’s an underlying fear of being taken advantage of again, but I encourage you to give yourself credit for nurturing yourself right now.
    Taking into consideration how many emotions you have felt lately, It seems like reading the messages would cause more conflicting feelings to emerge. However, if you decide to read them, we’ll be here to comfort you.

    I hope that not being around him for the past two weeks has provided you with some relief.

    Ashley

  10. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello music2799,

    Thanks for coming by again to share another update with us. I remember you mentioned that you were going to try group therapy, so I’ll watch out for that other update to see how that’s going for you.

    I completely understand why you feel hurt. It’s so sad to hear that someone wanted to take advantage of you like that. Especially by putting on a facade and pretending to be someone else. Somebody doing this to someone in any context can be hurtful, even if an incident doesn’t occur. So I can only imagine how you must feel, I’m with you!

    I definitely understand your confusing feelings. It can be hard to know if someone has a good side and I like to believe these confusing feelings are just our brain trying to protect us from either memories of incidents themselves or from the stress that hate can bring into our lives. You had a powerful statement on forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting what happened, condoning the behavior, or even liking the person. The only person to think about during forgiveness is yourself. I hope this statement is helpful. I didn’t come up with it myself, I read it in a book and just wanted to share it here!

    Whatever you choose to do with the emails I’ll support you, same with whether or not you choose to forgive him. We’re here for you! 🙂

  11. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m sorry that you are feeling like this. Thank you for updating us and letting us know how you are feeling. I know there is a lot going on in your head trying to figure out how you feel about everything that happened. It might be good to write out how you feel like a pros and con list. At the end of the day it is your decision to do what you want to do. If you think the best thing is to do is read the messages then you can, but don’t feel pressured to have to read them. Thank you again for updating us. We are always here for you.
    -Alyssa

  12. colton95 Volunteer

    You don’t have to forgive him. Hope things will get better for you and that you are staying safe.

  13. musicislove

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for sharing an update with us. Conflicting feelings can be so frustrating and confusing, I’m sorry you’re struggling with them right now. Ultimately, whatever you decide to do with how your feeling is up to you, but I urge you to put a lot of thought into whatever you do. Keep yourself and your heart at the forefront, taking care of yourself is most important. Looking at old messages can be very intriguing but can also cause a huge setback if you’re not careful. I’m glad you’re going to group therapy and look forward to your update about that. We’re always here for you!

    Delaney

  14. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    Thanks for coming back and sharing with us. It sounds like you’re feeling a lot of different things, and in flux about your emotions. That’s totally normal, but it certainly can be confusing. The good part is that you’re in control of your recovery and your feelings. You don’t have to forgive him, or you can, but you don’t have to decide now. It’s great that you’re going to group therapy, it is a great resource to help you think through these different things you’re feeling. You’re completely deserving of someone’s love and care and attention, and I am confident that you’ll find it some day. Stay strong!

    KatherineL

  15. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Music

    Glad to hear fro you. Emotions are very difficult to combat because your don’t know what is going on. You are doing well and i am proud of you for doing group therapy and i look forward to learning more about your experience with that. I hope things work out and your emotions begin to settle and you get some clarity through the waves emotions. We are always here for you and come back any time to write back.

  16. Turnschaosintoart Day Captain

    Hey Music
    Good to hear from you,
    Emotions are confusing. I totally get being intriuged on why some behaves or acts, thinks, like they do. Especially when that person hurt you. You want to know every reason why or if there is some dark secret that they are holding that made them behave that way. I get it, I have been there and from my personal expereince it is not always healthy to think that way, it can take your mind to dark places. I also know it is tempting to read those emails, but you have to decide are these going to benifit me or set me back. You are doing well and I am proud of you for doing your group therarpy and I look forward to learing more about you experience with that. You emotions seem to be on a rollercoaster right now and I have no answer as to why, sometimes they just like to get that way cause us trouble. It is ok though, let your body feel those feelings, it wants to for some reason, and feeling them is ok, deciding to act on them, that is your descion. I hope things work out and your emotions settle and you get some clearity as to why you are having thise waver of confusing emotions. We are always here for you, write back any time,

    Kristin

  17. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. So many of us have conflicting feelings about those who have harmed us. Your feelings are so valid, yet so confusing. I think taking a step back and observing how examining those curiosities will harm your mental health is vital here. It’s hard to not be curious, but be aware of your feelings and anxieties. Sometimes just writing down your feelings can be beneficial, so I hope sharing here was helpful. If you need anything at all, you know we are always here. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  18. Erin Kaileen Volunteer

    Hello Music2799,

    I understand how all those feelings may come up, and its good that you want to wait to start a relationship. You should want to start dating when you are comfortable, no need to rush into something that may not be right. I get how those feelings of wanting to know how the person is, I often feel the same feeling some times, but I have to realize what is in the best interest for me and what would happen to my mental health if I pursued my curiosity.

    Erin

  19. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share. I understand how this can be really confusing. I’m not sure I can say what you should do, but I think it’s understandable to feel the way you do. Even people who hurt us, it’s hard to just outright hate them. And I think it’s fine that you feel conflicted about that. Is group therapy helping? Is it helping to share here? Do what you need to do for yourself and to take care of yourself-and we are here for you.

    Erin

  20. Solongago Volunteer

    Hi Music2799.

    I think it is completely normal to have conflicting feelings about someone you knew that you had some form of relationship with, that then went so very wrong. Yes, he did a terrible thing. But people are so complex. We are, they are. We want to know why something happened because maybe if we knew why, maybe we can avoid it in the future. Sometimes there is no good reason.

    Angela told me that having been abused does not make someone an abuser. Not sure if I believe that or not. I know not all abused people become abusers. But it does seem pretty universal that abusers have been abused. Both of my brothers who abused me, had been abused prior. And I have used that as an excuse for them. I think it is natural for us to try to make excuses for these people, I mean, how could we have been so wrong about them? If there was some excuse for the behavior, then maybe we weren’t completely wrong about them, they were really a good person but had this issue and this is what it caused, and so forth. The thing is not so much that you were wrong about him, but that there is no way to be right about everyone. People are way too complex. It is 100% not your fault. But, I think as a survival technique, our brains or our minds want to find excuses, blame others, blame ourselves, blame society, anyone BUT the predator, because if we can make sense out of it, we are somehow safer.

    The most horrible thing (at least for me) is the sense of powerlessness or helplessness. I would rather blame myself because that gives me some power over the situation. But the fact is, that we had no power. Once they made the decision to act, we couldn’t have changed the outcome, maybe the severity, by fighting instead of complying maybe. But they would have gotten what they wanted, one way or another. And I think a lot of the conflicts we have are trying to have some control. Even the idea that something happened to him in his minority, is a way we try to control a situation. Without knowing, without there being some understandable reason for someone to act with violence or maliciousness, we have no defense at all, and that is the most scary.

    Well, it’s late and I might be talking about stuff I don’t know. Just thoughts. It sounds like you are giving a lot of thought to this too. Thoughts are just thoughts, they come and they go. Some are good. Some are not good. Some are welcome. Some are unwelcome. Your last statement, “I don’t know how to feel about any of this.” could be changed to ask, “how am I feeling about this?” Because your feelings are neither good nor bad, proper or correct, or improper or incorrect. They are. No one can tell you how to feel about it. If you are like me at all, feelings are not easy to read, so sometimes I need help identifying what I am feeling. Paying attention to your body can be very helpful. Where are the feelings manifesting themselves? Your arms, your chest, your stomach, the hair on the back of your neck? I don’t know if we can teach ourselves how we should feel about something, but we can teach ourselves to pay attention to what our body is telling us.

    And, I do think that you do not think about a lot of this stuff when he is nearer to you, because your body is reacting with fear and covering those feelings up in order to protect you. EMDR might help you when you are ready, safe enough to let go of that warning system. But, I wouldn’t suggest it when this guy is still so present. Because you need that warning system, I think.