I Loved a Paedophile.
When people look at me they see a successful business woman, in a great marriage, with a confident daughter, all living in a nice home. I’m living the life most only dream of. They see a happy person. But being a happy person is at odds with everything they’ve been told about how someone who’s been through what I’ve been through “should” be like.
Apparently I should be filled with neuroses, with phobias and panic attacks. I shouldn’t be able to experience intimacy let alone sustain a happy relationship or experience a satisfying sex life. I shouldn’t be able to hold down a job, let alone run a highly successful business. People find this astonishing.
At the age of 12 I took private guitar lessons with the school music teacher. Over the next few months and years he seduced my psyche, my ego and took over my life. I spent more and more time with him, neglecting my friends. He became the centre of my world. He ensured this. I was 13 when he first attempted penetrative sex. I was 14 when he succeeded. I was 15 when he convinced me and my parents to send me with him to England. He charmed them as well as me.
Over the next 5 years, until I escaped, I experienced the systematic torture and destruction of my psyche. I became a psychic slave to his happiness, and his misery. I ceased to exist as a person. I had no desires of my own, no interests, no hobbies, and no sense of self. Over the years it had been eroded. I was left with nothing.
He made it very clear that I was responsible for his happiness. In simple terms this is a co-dependent relationship. “I can’t live / be happy / survive / cope without you”. Seductive and flattering as a love song it created a prison.
I’d been brought up to be kind and considerate of others feelings. I wanted others to be happy. What I didn’t realise was that I was making myself Unhappy, for the sake of his happiness. Indeed anytime I was happy or laughed he would often punish me. He would punish me for crying too. I stopped showing my feelings. Eventually I stopped feeling. I simply second guessed what he wanted me to feel, always glancing at him for clues as to what emotion to display.
I was a virtual house prisoner, doing only what he permitted, what he chose. I was his slave. Only allowed out to go to school or grocery shopping, friends, phone calls, shopping and fun were all banned. He controlled everything, what and when we ate, the heating, when we slept and what we watched on TV.
But he did not build physical walls. He built a psychic prison cell. He trained me to only think of pleasing him, and to desperately avoid displeasing him. He did not need to force his will on me, so completely he had eroded all sense of self that I was his. Body, mind and soul. I was his psychic slave. I had become a slave to his psyche, his mind.
He controlled the sexual relationship. He would go for months without touching me. I quickly learned never again to attempt to instigate sex after he screamed that I was a slut and perverted. He had me believe I was so unattractive that no one would want me. On the rare occasions we did have sex, it was brutal. I was little more than an object to be used. There was no love, no touching and no connection. He would not speak to me, he didn’t touch me, except to force himself into me.
What people often find shocking is not only that I stayed for so long, but that I managed to escape. The question people most ask is “how did you get out?”
It wasn’t instant or quick. My freedom revealed itself slowly in a sequence of fortunate events. Just as he had slowly but surely enslaved me, without realising the steps I was taking, I slowly but surely took the steps to freedom.
It started with a decision made in desperation. I stopped waiting to be rescued, and decided to liberate myself. Although it took over 6 months to summon up the resolve and inner strength for me to finally leave, and to create the circumstances that made it possible, in that moment, I’d made my decision to get out and do whatever it takes. The world started to conspire to support me.
It took many more years for me to fully recover my sense of self. My psyche was so programmed to only think of him, it took many years before I could fully think of myself. I found a way to become free of the past, and not in the way that most people imagine.
And now, through my belief, I live a life of freedom. I am no longer a slave to anyone’s happiness. What is even more shocking for many people is that I am not a psychic slave even to what others call “real”. I choose my happiness. I choose not to allow circumstances to dictate my options, or to close down my possibilities. I understand at a deep level, that the universe is always conspiring to support us, even if it doesn’t always feel like that in the moment.
Most importantly I believe that my mind is free and that I will never be a psychic slave again.
Perhaps for some this last point is the most shocking of all. That anyone can be free. Free from their present physical circumstances and free from their past pain too. Showing others how they too can be free became my purpose too.
[This article was first published on the Violence Unsilenced website on 23 December 2014]