I did something empowering.
As I have discussed with several of you over the last couple of months, I was raped in May by someone I considered to be a close friend. Since it happened, I have received tons of messages from him. The first time, I responded by saying I was really upset about what had happened and didn't want to talk to him. He apologized and said he'd give me space. But then he started sending me messages every couple of weeks to tell me how much he missed me or how he couldn't stop thinking about me. I deleted all of them without responding. A few weeks ago, when I didn't respond to his most recent attempt, he wrote, "so are you done talking to me?" I replied, "I thought you were giving me space?" He replied, "Ok. Sorry." Then, two minutes later, "I just can't stop thinking about you." Again, I didn't respond. I felt like such a coward. I felt so ashamed for not standing up for myself. But I just couldn't talk to him.
One recent morning at the office, I logged into Facebook to post something for work. There was a message from him saying, "I am looking at pictures from [the vacation we were on when he raped me]." And I lost my shit.
Let me contextualize this by saying that I NEVER lose my shit. I'm a disingenuous, conflict-avoiding, emotionally dishonest coward. I would rather let someone walk all over me and silently resent them for it than deal with the anxiety that comes with confronting something that makes me upset or angry. But this had gone on for months. I spent weeks crying myself to sleep after he raped me. I spent a solid two months feeling completely furious and disgusted with myself, all while doing impressive mental gymnastics to pretend I wasn't angry with him. Like our friendship was somehow salvageable. I had finally made the transition to really allowing myself to be angry with him. It felt so liberating. And when I saw that message, I was anxious and shaking, but also full of this empowering, righteous anger. So I responded:
I find it so amazingly entitled, disrespectful and unkind that you CONTINUE to write to me even though a) I've asked you not to and b) you can probably tell it hurts me. I am still really angry and upset by what happened. Every time I see a message from you I feel like I'm going to cry and/or throw up and/or have an anxiety attack. Just stop. I will talk to you when and if I am ready, and that should be entirely my decision, not yours.
Perhaps those would not be harsh words coming from someone else, someone who is braver and stronger. But I rarely express harshness at all when it comes to personal things. So that reply was, for me, akin to screaming at him at the top of my lungs and pushing him down a flight of stairs. I felt brave.
Then I blocked his ass on imessage and Facebook (I should have done this months ago, but again, I am generally a coward). Any suggestions for how to do this on gmail/gchat would be very welcome.
Maybe one day I will learn to be harder, to have more courage and more backbone. But for right now, I feel like I've made this huge leap of progress in boundary-setting that I didn't know I was capable of.
And I'm really proud of myself.