I have suffered disassociated memories, that's a common enough reaction to trauma, many children of abuse react in the same way, with only the vaguest memories "seeping' through and suffering a complete breakdown when therapy unleashes those lost memories. Unable to come to terms with them.
Most readers can identify with me, and people will sympathise with them, re-assure them, they were children. Peoples reactions change when I add that I was in my late twenties and my abuser was a woman of 32, not my type but still slim and perhaps a bit glamorous.
Her looks seemed rather too important to therapists. I don't think it mattered abuse is a abuse.
Only people who have been abused may be able to understand what happened, only they know the feeling of being desperate, of building your own trap, trying to survive a web of lies by a person so evil that the only emotion you feel is fear, complete fear.
This woman seized an opportunity when my wife was away in hospital; she was threatening to loose our baby and her own health was not good.
This woman came to our home to enquire about my wife, and walked in uninvited, once in she produced a bottle of already opened wine. I wasn't a drinker and I felt much drunker than I should have done. When I showed her I was uncomfortable and felt she should leave, she demanded we go to her home next door for more wine. Refusal was no good, she refused to leave. I must have made what was to be the worst decision of my life, although accompanying her for one quick drink was a solution to a very embarrassing situation. I left my 3 year old asleep then followed her a few yards to her door,
Memories of how I felt are lost, but the memory of sitting in her home on the middle of the settee is clear, she "mixed up a drink' handed to me but never sat down. When the drink knocked me virtually unconscious only then did she come near. I felt her pushing/pulling me; I remember nothing until she said "come let's get to floor we will have more room'. I then became aware she had pulled down my trousers and pants and lay sort of next to me, having pulled me partially on top. She was moving, and I felt some kind of sexual sensation. She pulled me to the floor but I think I passed out. When I woke she was laying about 2 ft away; I staggered out, still trying to pull my trousers up. I still felt so drunk I staggered across the garden to my home, and struggled to open the front door.
The morning it was like a haze as to exactly what happened, and then the phone calls started, over and over again she called, pleading she needed to talk. Again the only solution was to comply, only to stop her calls. She arrived at my back door, opened her coat to display her underwear, and stood in the doorway wanting to know if I wanted her. I had to get rid of her; I even barred her advance to our lounge. She pushed past, when she saw that I had opened the curtains and had all our lights full on she swung round furious that I had taken precautions to stop her installing herself again. She left very angry. I know I was shaking. I knew I needed my wife to come home and stop this woman. The phone calls persisted, over and over, one was the hospital to tell me my wife was very ill, and labour had started yet again. I sat crying all night. Early morning her phone calls started, pleading she needed to talk, she apologised for her behaviour, she would make a coffee, it would be daytime and I could leave whenever I wanted. Again I made a ridiculous error of judgement, but was there an alternative.
When I arrived she stood at all times, paced about and told me of her terrible marriage to her army officer husband. She told me she watched my wife and me, we seemed such a happy, devoted couple, and she wanted a relationship just the same. She made it clear she wanted that relationship to be with me. I told her she was right I loved my wife and I could loose both her and our baby if things didn't improve. The threats started, terrible threats, she recounted the night I had gone to her home, drunk and attacked her on the settee, I had forced her into sex, she didn't stand a chance, she was too drunk to know what was happening to her until it was to late. She had reversed the roles completely, but who would ever believe that. Who would believe me, she was a teacher, a churchgoer, belonged to the local bible class, her handsome husband was an army officer. Why would she sexually assault the "man next door' with the sick and pregnant wife away in hospital? She laughed "what would it do to her, this woman you love; you had better change, and start being nice to me'. I was in the presence of evil, the more fear I displayed the more she "smiled'. She was an evil predator, but who would believe me.
She pulled up her dress, and laughed in my face, she then invited me to "make her happy' she ordered me to kneel and do something. She then produced a condom and said 'maybe this would be easier for you, just do it.' Why didn't I run, whether she was fat thin, pretty or ugly didn't come into it, I could run or pay her not to tell her lies, which I suppose the consequences could have been anything from a prison sentence to losing my wife, or the shock causing the death of the baby. Those exact memories are not clear, just a memory of "fear'. I choose to do what she ordered, just like a child, I could have run but I didn't. It lasted just a few seconds. She didn't mind she just looked away disinterested.
I begged my wife to come home, in the end she did, within days the baby died on our hall floor, my tormentor knew she could exploit this, and the requests for odd jobs came thick and fast. A lift, mend a tin opener, build a packing case, she would always stand and smile,never threaten until one evening she grabbed me, and I ran, this time I ran home shaking. The next day she started the threats again, she would be having a long chat with my fragile and still very sick wife. For weeks I lived like a hunted animal, until I broke, I desperately wanted my wife to stop this, but she walked away. She was angry at my tears, through her loss I had hidden from her, I hadn't supported her and she couldn't understand why I was so distant.
The week arrived before this woman left for Germany to join her husband, I would be free, but she stepped up the torments, she invited my wife and I out for a meal, then smiled all the way through, explaining how she didn't wish to leave…she may not. She phoned the next morning, she insisted I go round and fix a tap, I must have known what I was walking into but I was still prepared to go. I fixed the tap in seconds, I would have left but she blocked my exit, she had removed her underwear and was sat across the landing. She demanded sex, she threatened to write to my wife, threatened to destroy her, she would ensure that she ruined me, ruined us as couple, I can only assume the lies of the sex attack would have been included. I actually tried to put the condom on, why? I was 29 years old, the threat of a prison had surely gone, protect my wife, how may more reasons, I felt so sick and shook so much Icouldn't perform for her, even a few seconds was beyond me and I ran, she grabbed my trouser leg and I fell headlong. Before I could recover she seized the opportunity to sit astride me, my trousers still undone, she laughed she would do it to me, if refused her. I felt her trying to arose me with her body, but I managed to throw her off, and run, already crying when I reached my home.
Two days later she flew out, not before she phoned and demanded I go to the airport, with or without my wife. I went, and she laughed in my face, 'get out my father, and your neighbour knows everything about our "affair' and he is disgusted with you'.
She sent us a "family Christmas gift'. A year later she sent a letter demanding I phone her. I did, thank god she didn't answer the call. When she came home divorced back to her old home she said nothing not one word to me. I insisted we move, we did, but she would phone my wife every couple of years, insisting they keep in touch. If I said my wife was out she would dash round infront of my children and demand I have her. On visits to my wife she would leave underwear in our home, then phone weeks later asking if we'd found it, laughing it must have accidentally fell out of her sports bag. Somehow after we moved the memories became suppressed, I had no memory of who she was to me, only that she was and she was a threat, someone I didn't like. When her visits became more frequent I would suffer heart palpitations and became impotent but I didn't associate her with my illness. The more I became ill, the more problems it caused with my wife, she began to see the old neighbour even more frequently. Eventually her attempts to manipulate situations for me to "give her lifts' pop round to her home to do jobs became too much for my wife, and she appreciated that this woman was trying to make a play for her husband.
Then the phone calls began to my wife, each call worse than the previous, eventually stories of a love affair that had spanned many years. She was so convincing without memories even I began to wonder, I could remember "events' but not emotions, and it became a dreadful emotional jigsaw. When therapy helped the memories to come back,I had a breakdown and began self-mutilation.
My wife who had seen the evil side of this woman, had thankfully seen her in action with other men and wondered, even joked about her blackmailing the men in her life, although she was concerned, as she had become convinced that she was manipulating some of the boys she taught. It helped her understand, but she has asked the question I can't answer, why, why didn't I run, why didn't I handle the situation better, get help, tell someone, anyone.
Only victims of abuse can explain my behaviour.