I think it’s time.

I think it’s time I share my story in light of something that happened today.

I had a nightmare about my abuser last night. I didn’t think too much of it because I don’t even remember what he looks like. Earlier today I thought I saw him. I don’t think it was him, but the guy looked so much like him. It was just from a reflection in the side mirror of the guys truck but I started having a panic attack thinking it was him. “I’d know him if I saw him”. 

In highschool I dated a guy. He was the first guy who was ever nice to me so I looked past the red flags. We had been experimenting sexually for most of our relationship but I don’t recall him ever making me uncomfortable until the night I told him to stop, and he didn’t. He wanted to have intercourse and I didn’t.

It upset me and I broke up with him over it. He turned into a maniac over the breakup. He would stalk me, call me constantly, use my friends to get to me. My parents just kept saying “Just ignore him”.

He got kicked out of school. He would show up to wait for me after school despite being bann from school grounds. He got away with it because he would lie and say he was there to walk one of my other friends home. One day he found out I broke up with my girlfriend that I had had and to her face said “Good that means I can get in her (my) pants”. My ex wailed on him until the principal and police officer at the school stopped her. She didn’t get in trouble since he wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place.

One night he found my boyfriend at a football game and called me from his phone. My parents saw me shaking uncontrollably and having a bad panic attack. They still told me to “ignore him”.

The timeline of all of this is blurry now. He harassed me constantly and my parents refused to help me get help. He threatened my life weekly. I didn’t have any proof to seek help myself since he’s always call me from blocked or unknown numbers. At some point he went to boot camp. He showed up at my house and my parents let him in despite my pleads not to. He told them, while in our living room, how he got dishonorably discharged for being homicidal. My parents deny anything like that happened.

Finally one day he messed up and sent me a Myspace message that included a death threat. I was able to show the police officer at my school and the officer contacted my ex’s parents. They of course denied their son did anything wrong but he was warned that if he kept harassing me I could file a police report and get a restraining order. That finally got him to leave me alone for awhile. I think he knew he only had to leave me alone for however long the law stated because I remember him leaving some ugly voicemails from a blocked number. After that I never heard from him again.

I had PTSD for the next 5 years. Jumping every time an unknown number called. Constant nightmares about him trying to rape and kill me. Always looking over my shoulder. Having a panic attack any time I saw someone that looked like him. Even after moving states I was constantly paranoid.

11 years later I had thought I had moved on and healed finally, after years of therapy, until today. The fear is back. All the memories are back. The fear that he’s been here this whole time is eating at me. I’m planning on calling my therapist first thing tomorrow. In the meantime, thanks for listening.


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29 comments

  1. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It’s awful when you think that you have moved on from something only for it to come back years later. It’s terrible that your parents were dismissive of your concerns especially when his actions were scary and threatening. Having those feelings come back again after so long sounds terrifying. Hopefully you were able to call your therapist to talk about it. Take care.

  2. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for reaching out to us. I am so sorry you’ve been harassed like this and your parents failed to take action to help protect you. It is understandable that you still feel scared and threatened. What you went through is extremely traumatizing, and unfortunately with trauma, nightmares occur all too often. I’m really glad that you went to the police with the threats and you can reach out to your therapist. I’m incredibly proud of you for continuing on with your life while holding onto all of this distress. Feel free to browse through our Find Help tab for resources that may help. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if/how we can support you!

    Sending you love and strength,
    Bre

  3. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for reaching out to us. What you went through was very difficult and traumatizing, so it is understandable that even after all this time something triggered that fear in you again; this is normal, as much as it sucks. I think you are making the right move calling your therapist to talk about what happened and what to do about it. We are always here for you; please let us know if there is anything we can do to support or help you further. Stay strong <3

  4. Jordan L Volunteer

    HI there,
    I’m sorry you had to go through this and without the support from your parents. Its tough to know the two people we rely on most aren’t there for us when we need them most. You did not deserve any of that. It wasn’t you fault.
    I have had dreams of my abuser as well, it is not a confortable feeling waking up and thinking they could hurt you again. Your feelings are valid. You have every right to feel the way you do. Have you considered therapy to talk about what you can do when you get triggered or find coping mechanisms for your panic attacks?
    We are always here for you. We believe you. Thank you for trusting us with your story.

    -Jordan

  5. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Jennifer Suhr,
    I’m terribly sorry about what you’ve been through. You’re not at fault for any of it, and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I’m really sorry your parents didn’t support you or take you seriously during such a difficult time in your life. You deserve that support, and they didn’t protect you like they should have.
    I understand why you were constantly paranoid. It’s valid that seeing him in your dream and thinking you saw him brought that fear back. It’s so scary when we see someone who looks like an assailant. These are strong triggers, and your feelings are 100% valid.
    I hope that talking to your therapist helps you process how you’re feeling. We’re all in your corner, so please write back if you need anything. You’re not alone, and you’ve got this.

  6. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry all of this happened/is still happening to you. You don’t deserve anything that he, or anyone else, is doing to you. It blows my mind that your parents were so willing to shove everything under the rug, and I’m so sorry you dealt with that on top of everything else. Their job was to protect you, and they didn’t do that. That’s completely unfair to you.

    I know how hard flashbacks can be, but it’s good that you have a productive action plan set in place for when you become overwhelmed. That is very important in overcoming your past, and I’m glad you realize that. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here for you, no matter what. Stay strong!

    Marissa

  7. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I am sorry that it is because things have been coming up for you, but it is great that you have an established relationship with your therapist. Trauma and our brains are such tricky things and knowing specifically what will bring things up can be difficult and catch us off guard. I hope your therapist was able to help you and that having a safe place to tell your story helped some too. You are not alone…we have been there and we understand.
    I am so sorry that your parents didn’t help and protect you. The feeling of betrayal in that situation is so huge and can make future relationships (even platonic ones) difficult. It is normal to have setbacks and to have to work through some things again. You experienced significant, ongoing trauma. Be sure to treat yourself gently and with the same love you would give to a friend in your situation. Remember, if you need to talk to someone in the moment you can always use the Crisis Text Line (text VOICE to 741-741) or RAINN (1-800-656-4673 for the hotline or http://www.rainn.org for the webchat).
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  8. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with this. It’s really hard when your parents aren’t supportive or willing to back you up. It’s good that you’re seeing a therapist, and I do agree on you talking to them about your memories being triggered. Let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.

  9. Shannon Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry for everything you have been through, but it’s great you’re taking action to take care of yourself by calling your therapist for help. I hope you come back to let us know how you’re doing, or just to chat if you want to. Be kind to yourself

    Shannon

  10. Deanna Volunteer

    Hello. Thanks for sharing here. I’m so sorry that your memories have been triggered. I’m glad that you’re going to talk to someone about it. I hope that things get easier for you.

    Deanna

  11. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer Suhr,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story. AVFTI is a safe space and we are all here for you. I’m so sorry that your ex started stalking you. It’s really hard to ignore something like that, it’s a bit unfair of your parents to just say ignore him. It’s also really difficult when your family isn’t supportive of getting help in a situation like this. I’m so glad that the police were able to get involved, though I’m sorry it had to come to that level of seriousness. It sounds like a good idea to start talking to your therapist again. Please keep us updated if you want to!

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  12. Kayla Volunteer

    This is horribly relatable to me as it is very similar to a relationship I had in high school that ended with a restraining order. I can deeply relate to this pain and fear. It makes me so angry that your parents didn’t take you seriously and told you to ignore him despite very serious red flags and abuse. I am very sorry this happened to you.

    However I am so glad that there was no escalation or violence. I am so glad you got away and that you’re here with us how, sharing your story and reminding others that we’re not alone. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Kayla

  13. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Jennifer,

    I’m really sorry that this happened to you. You didn’t deserve any of it and deserve to be treated so much better. Thinking that you saw him is definitely something that could be a trigger to bring all of those memories and feelings back. That is actually quite a normal response. The important thing to remember is that just because these have come back after experiencing a huge trigger does not mean that all of the progress you have made in therapy isn’t worth anything. You have still come so far and you have still done a great deal of healing. One reminder does not undo all of those years of therapy. Remember all of your skills and things that have helped you in therapy and use those to get you through this difficult time. You are still strong and you are still fighting and you will get through this.

    I believe in you,
    Megan

  14. Graciegrace22

    Hello,

    I am so sorry to hear you had to endure this for so long but you are safe now. It is not your fault that this happened to you. I am glad to hear you are seeing a therapist and plan to talk with them tomorrow. Best of luck and we are here to support you.

  15. Amysue43 Volunteer

    I am so sorry these feelings overflowed today. You have obviously been through so much and your reaction is more than reasonable and understandable. We are here for you and glad you decided to post your story as we want to be here for you. You are taking all the right steps in terms of reaching out to your therapist in the morning and writing down what comes to mind. You’re being honest and handling this head on. You are so strong! Feel free to update us on the phone call and some strategies that may be suggested.

    Stay strong! You’re doing everything right <3

  16. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hey Jennifer Suhr,
    I’m so sorry for the abuse and harassment you went through with him. It sounds like you did everything you could to protect yourself and get away from him and he just wouldn’t stop. He should’ve listened and respected you. And your parents should have done more to protect you and make you feel safe. It’s not easy to just “ignore someone” when they’re threatening you and stalking you. I’m glad that you’ve physically gotten away from him and I hope that while today was terrifying, you’re able to find healing again like you had. I hope that your therapist is able to help you through this.

  17. Jordan Volunteer

    Hey Jennifer Suhr,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story with us, I bet typing this all out helped to get it off of your chest a little bit until you’re able to talk with your therapist. I am so sorry that all of these horrible things happened to you, I agree with a few comments below that it does sound like that since you saw someone that looked like him it caused all of these memories to resurface for you. I cannot believe that your parents allowed him to come into your house, you would think that with the interactions that you had with him and how he was making you feel that they would take that more seriously. Just remember, if you ever need to vent feel free to always talk to us we will be here for you <3

    – Jordan

  18. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am so sorry all that terrible thing had happened to you. The panic attacks and paranoid feelings is normal especially going through a tramatic thing. IT takes time to heal and please keep us posted if you need anything.

  19. Ashley Day Captain

    Jennifer Suhr,

    It sounds like the nightmare and the panic attack have caused the memories to resurface, which must be overwhelming. I commend you for making the decision to contact your therapist to receive the support that you deserve and I’m thankful that you felt it would be beneficial to reach out to us. Throughout the aftermath of the breakup, I’m sorry that your parents didn’t address the situation differently. This individual had no right to continuously go out of his way to come into contact with you or threaten you. Your home should have been a safe place and I’m sorry that your parents allowed him to enter the living room. Since you continued to feel uneasy after moving to another state, I can tell how much his actions took a toll on you. Please feel free to let us know how the phone call with your therapist goes.

    Thank you for sharing your story with our community! We’re here for you.

    Ashley

  20. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. That is not an easy thing to do. You are so brave! I am so sorry that all of this happened to you and that the feelings and fear are coming back to you. It can take a very long time to heal from such a traumatic and scary thing that happened in your life. What happened was NOT your fault. What your ex did was not okay and the way you feel is completely valid. I’m sorry that your parents did not help you when all this was happening. I hope you have a better support system today. I think it is great that you have your therapist to call now. I hope that is helping! You are so incredibly strong! Know that we will always be here to support you! Let us know how we can help and come back and share with us whenever you would like.

    Sending love and strength,
    -Natalie

  21. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer,

    I’m so sorry that this has recently come up for you again. PTSD is a terrible disorder that way. Sometimes things just spiral back downward even after you’ve done so well for so long. It’s okay. Nothing about this recent lapse is in anyway your fault. Healing is a journey. It’s completely normal to have great days and bad days too. You’re such a strong person to keep fighting all of this so many years later. We’re here for you. You got this.
    All the best,
    Becca

  22. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer Suhr,
    I’m so sorry you had to experience this you shouldn’t of had to go through this at all. Thank you for trusting us with your story! Sometimes memories come back and that’s normal. I’m glad your going to call your therapist its good to talk through things. Sometimes in recovery we have set backs and there is nothing wrong with that! You are so strong don’t forget that and If we can help you in any way please let us know!
    Kailey

  23. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for coming and trusting us with your story. You are so strong, even on the days it might not feel like it. You didn’t deserve any of this and I hope you know it’s not your fault. He is so wrong for causing you so much pain and stalking you.
    I’m sorry you didn’t have the support you needed in such a scary time, especially from your parents. Telling someone to ignore whatever it’s causing them to be upset is not the right thing to say. I’m glad to hear you’re going to give your therapist a call, I deal with panic attacks as well and they really are so scary and seem uncontrollable. I hope talking about it helps you and they give you some better advice to deal with this than to just ignore him. You deserve to feel safe and to find some peace of mind.
    Thank you again for sharing your story.
    Sending all the positive thoughts your way 💕
    – Lexi

  24. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Jennifer Suhr,
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Your parents should have done more to help you. The fact that he only left you alone because the police threatened him is ridiculous. He should have never started to stalk you after you broke up with him.
    It’s good that you are going to talk to your therapist about this. That will help you and your PTSD. Don’t worry about seeing him. You are strong and he’s not going to hurt you. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. We are here for you if you need anything.
    -Alyssa

  25. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. You didn’t deserve any of this, and this wasn’t your fault. I’m glad you’re calling your therapist. I’m glad you came here to share. I’m sorry your parents did nothing to keep you safe. I know how you feel. I feel like I see my most recent assaulter all the time. I haven’t seen him in over a year, and I’m terrified of what will happen if/when I have to see him again. I’m sorry you’re having these feelings, too. We are here for you.

    Erin

  26. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi Jennifer Suhr,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry that happened to you and I’m sorry that your parents weren’t more supportive. None of this was your fault and parents, and other adults, should be more willing to help and more attentive to warning signs. You have showed so much strength and perseverance for continuing to live your life. And that strength is still here even though your fear has returned. PTSD is very complicated and healing is never a straight line. Its okay to feel this way. That you already plan to talk to your therapist is further proof of your strength and evidence toward your resilience and ability to address challenges as they appear. You can do this! And you’re not alone. We believe you and we are with you. Please let us know how else we can help and feel free to update us if you are comfortable.

    Thomas

  27. grothkat8 Volunteer

    Thank you for coming to us and sharing your story.

    I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this, and you are so brave for talking to the police and trying to get it resolved. PTSD is something that is very difficult to deal with. Even the littlest things can trigger panic attacks and anxiety. Have you thought of talking to a therapist? Sometimes talking to someone you don’t know can make it easier, and they can help you find ways to heal and cope with what has happened. If not, you can always come to us and talk.

    We are always here for you.

    Katie

  28. rkr18 Volunteer

    Jennifer Suhr,

    Thank you for sharing your difficult story with us you that was truly brave. I am deeply sorry your parents didn’t listen to you and that the fear and trauma is back. I agree its a good idea to contact your therapist you can’t go through this on your own. I pray that you get to the point that you are more at peace and have less or no fear. Please keep us updated, we are here for you if you need us.
    -Marie

  29. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Jennifer,

    Thanks for sharing your story. You absolutely did not deserve any of this, and I’m glad you have a good therapist to support you. Your story has a lot of similarities to mine, and I applaud you for your strength in sharing. It sounds like you have made great progress in your healing. Try to focus on that as a way to ground yourself until you can get set up with your therapist.

    Be gentle with yourself.