Sex, Love… and Work

The last couple of weeks I’ve been dealing with an extremely shitty challenging work assignment. While I don’t want to bore you all to tears with my litany of job related complaints (I gave serious consideration [not really] to titling this post OMG My Job F-ing SUXX!!! before I remembered that whiners are assholes), but I do want to point out some parallels I’ve notice between myself as an employee and myself as a sex/love addict. I…

1. Am completely at a loss when it comes to setting appropriate boundaries.

2. Always settle for crumbs.

3. Am never “right sized.” I’m either too good or not good enough for a man and/or a job.

4. Go after shit I don’t want (loser guys, jobs I’m over qualified for), because I know I’ll get it.

5. Rarely go after what my heart truly desires (a good man, a job that fulfills me) either out of fear of rejection, or belief that I’m not deserving.

6. See rejection and judgement when none actually exists.

7. Push and poke just to see how far I can get.

8. Neglect self care and always put the “other” in front of my own needs.

9. Can be a fucking bitch.

Thankfully I’ve made a lot of headway in these areas when it comes to sex and love, but am still struggling with these character defects in other aspects of my life. I’m confident, though, that as I continue on this path the transformation will happen in throughout my life.

Also, because I believe in practicing gratitude, I need to put it out there that although my current job isn’t my dream job, it certainly doesn’t suck (or even SUKK). Most days, it’s a pretty decent gig. But even in the tough times, I’m still so grateful for this job and for all that it affords me.

Advertisements

The Cyber Stalker

A few years back I dated this guy. Let’s call him Cyber Stalker, or CS for short. CS seemed totally normal at first. He was good looking, charming, well-educated and intelligent. After awhile, though, he started to creep me out. He would make comments about how often I went on the dating site where we met. He wanted to know how many other guys I was seeing. Then he told me he found my profile on another site. CS also knew stuff about me I had never told him. Apparently he had googled me, looked at my resume and found articles I had written in college. I had a blog at the time and the page hits went up exponentially after I met CS. I’d love to attribute this to something other than CS combing through every word I had ever written, but I know the score.

One night I was on the dating site where CS and I had met. I got an email from a man that, based on his profile, seemed perfect — tall, creative, successful, rich, intelligent. I talked to Mr. Perfect for a few days on messenger. We talked for hours. The only weird thing was that Mr. Perfect never wanted to talk on the phone.

I eventually found out why when CS called me up screaming. He called me a lying bitch and a whore. See, there was no Mr. Perfect. CS had created a fake profile and I had been talking to him the whole time. Not that it was any of his business, but a couple of times I had told CS I was going to bed, then stayed up talking to Mr. Perfect. I’d also told CS I was only looking for a casual relationship, but then told Mr. Perfect I was looking for a long term relationship. This is why CS felt justified in calling me a liar. It never occurred to him that his lies far outweighed mine.

I don’t know why I kept seeing CS, but I did. After we broke up, I found out that Mr. Perfect wasn’t the only fake account he created. He also created a fake female account to talk to other men on the dating site that he suspected I was seeing.

Around this time I made the mistake of agreeing to meet a different guy in public without ever hearing his voice on the phone. I went to the coffee shop where we had planned to meet and waited and waited, but the guy never showed. Later I found out that this was another account that CS had fabricated. He sat home laughing his ass off while I got stood up by a phantom of his creation.

We finally broke up. CS left me alone for awhile. But once and awhile I would get these texts from numbers I didn’t recognize saying things like, “sorry babe, my test results came back positive.” This was CS’s sick idea of a joke. I learned to ignore him.

Six months after we stopped seeing each other, I was living in a new apartment. I was in a wild mood one night and put ad on Craigslist looking for a casual hookup. Stupidly I let one guy come over to my house without first meeting him in public. We had talked on the phone, and he sounded cool, but the private number he called from should have been a red flag. I’m sure you can guess where this is going. When my doorbell rang it was CS on my doorstep. The strangest thing about this was that I didn’t even post pictures in my ad. How could he tell it was me just from my words? I was freaked out, but ended up having sex with him anyway.

After that, CS came over a few more times, almost always unannounced. I knew he was crazy, but I was crazy too. So even though I was angry, it never stopped me from sleeping with him.

***

All of the above is true, except for one major detail.

In real life the roles were reversed.

My ego likes to portray a certain image, even in recovery. I am the sweet little girl who was dealt a shitty hand. I was abused, neglected, abandoned all throughout childhood. Then as an adult I was constantly victimized by men — raped, used and abused, lied to, humiliated. All of that is true, but I’m also a perpetrator.

I attempted to control, lied to, and violated men that I was obsessed with. I hate, hate, hate the word stalker, but that’s what I was. At least it’s what I DID. Because at my core, I’m not a stalker. Stalking goes against every moral code I have. I would never ever violate a friend, a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, or anyone else by invading their privacy. But every conviction I have goes out the window when I am hooked on someone. The addiction takes over and my authentic self is lost. It’s an extremely dark place that I could easily revisit.

But every day spent in recovery brings me farther and farther into the light.

When Fantasy Becomes Reality

Several months back, I wrote about my friend Ben. Only I didn’t call him Ben at the time, I gave him the highly inappropriate nickname of Mr. FCFW. For those of you who don’t feel like clicking the link, here is the quick backstory: Ben is a seemingly confident, well-off, older, charming man I had a brief fling with, despite knowing he was married. After the fling we developed a friendship.

When I wrote that post back in November, I was still pretty new in my recovery. Ben was someone I talked to a lot, even though I realized it was inappropriate. I now know that I was doing with him was called “intrigue,” which basically means I was trying to keep him interested, just in case. After I wrote about him, I ended up talking to him less and less. I never consciously decided to pull away from him, but as I got healthier and healthier the schism naturally occurred.

I hadn’t talked to him in months, so it was odd to see a text message from him last week when I was getting ready for work. Odder still, was the content of the message, “I need help.” The first thing I thought was that someone had stolen his cell phone, and was texting everyone in his address book in some attempt to scam money. That far-fetched scenario sounded more probable to me, than confident, self-assured, has-everything-going-for-him Ben actually needing my help with anything.

“What’s going on?” I texted back.

“My wife found out everything. I’m out of control. I need help. What do I do?”

Let me pause this story in order to briefly tell another one.

When I first started in recovery I fantasized about this very thing happening for months. Only I wasn’t fantasizing about Ben, I was fantasizing about HC, another married man who I was completely, devastatingly, irrationally fixated on. HC is the reason I started coming to 12-step meetings. He was pretty much all I talked about in meetings for the first few months, and almost all I wrote about when I first started this blog. I was OBSESSED.

The fantasy was that HC’s wife would find out he had been cheating on her throughout the entire course of their marriage. He’d realize he had a problem with sex addiction. He’d contact me for help. I’d tell him about the program I’m in. We’d started going to meetings together, and then when we were both fully recovered, he’d realize he was in love with me and we’d live happily ever after. Totally healthy little fantasy. Also, totally probable, right?

I feel awful for this, but when Ben sent me that text, my thoughts weren’t, “I feel so terrible for Ben and his family,” they were “ohmygodohmygod it’s finally happening!!!” The addict in me didn’t even care that it was happening to the wrong person, I was just so excited it was happening. I hate admitting this, but I got a major buzz off of the drama. Ben’s life was falling apart, and I was getting a contact high.

My addict wanted to jump in, and save the day. Fix all of Ben’s problems for him. Make his drama my drama. But I took a step back and realized that this reaction I was having was nothing but addiction. Is there such thing as a drama addict? Yes, and you’re reading one’s blog.

Once I had gotten ahold of myself we talked on the phone. My addict wanted to tell him to start coming to SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meetings with me; wanted to tell him that I would take him to a meeting, but instead I told him to look up  another S-program, Sex Addicts Anonymous. There is some crossover in my area between these two programs, and I’ve heard that SAA is almost 100 percent men, and many of them are married and trying to save their marriage. The program I attend is both men and women, most of whom are single. I also told him to call a marriage counselor. My addict wanted to look up the meeting schedule and send it to him, as well as look up a list of therapy referrals. But my authentic self stepped in and said, “Come on Imperfect, he can google just as well as you can. Back off!”

So I pointed Ben in the right direction, but kept my distance. My addict wanted to call him later that day to see how he was doing, but my authentic self told her to chill. Ben called me the next day to tell me he attended his first meeting and we talked about it. He sent me a text yesterday and told me he was in therapy and had started reading Patrick Carnes’ book on sexual addiction, Out of the Shadows.  His life is in a lot of turmoil, but I trust that if he continues on this path, he’ll be okay. I don’t need to rescue Ben, just like I don’t need anyone to rescue me. That’s the beauty of surrendering to a Higher Power. I know it will all be okay.

The Plastic Surgeon, Part 2*

The plastic surgeon was a busy guy, so our second date took place couple of weeks after the first one. We lived about 45 minutes apart from each other. Since he had driven down to my neighborhood for our first date, I agreed to drive up to his place for our second date.

The plan was to meet at his apartment, then go to dinner. That was the plan. I had even bought a new dress for this occasion. I looked really pretty.

When I got to his place he was dressed casually. He had a white teeshirt on and sweat pants. His hair was wet. I had the impression that he had just gotten out of the shower and wasn’t done getting ready yet. He offered me a glass of wine, which I accepted. I thought he was going to go finish getting ready while I waited for him, but instead he also poured himself a glass of wine and sat down on the couch with me.

We talked for a bit and then started making out. He was aggressive. My dress stayed on, but he pulled my breasts out and started sucking on them. Then he put his hand under my dress and in my panties. I stopped him, “When are we going to dinner?” I asked.

“In a bit,” he said.

I got up, thinking that if I stood up and started walking towards the door, this would encourage him to follow suit. I no longer cared that I was in a nice dress and he was in sweats, I just wanted to get out of there.

He didn’t get the hint, or more likely he didn’t care. He walked me back to the couch and sat me on the armrest. He started kissing me again. Eventually he had me so that my back was lying on the couch, but my hips were up on the armrest. Despite my initial protests, he was finger banging me, and I was letting him. My dress was still on, even my panties.

Then all of the sudden he was inside me.

“No!” “Stop!” “I don’t want to do this!”

He had me pinned down, but I was fighting back. I was kicking, hitting, scratching and even biting him, at least trying to. I was telling him to stop, telling him no, trying to get him off of me. But he was so much stronger than me. Eventually I realized there was nothing I could do. I went limp and resigned myself to the situation. I stared into space and tried to go somewhere else in my mind.

A few minutes later, when I could tell he was close to cumming he asked me. “Do you want me to stop?”

Very softly I said, “no.” I don’t know why I said it, but I did. He knew that’s what I would say, too. I don’t know how he knew, but he knew. Less than a minute later he pulled out and came on my stomach.

He cleaned me off. I was freaked out. I was shaking and may have even been crying. He held me and kissed me, comforting me when his actions were the very ones I needed comforting from. Unbelievably his bullshit caretaker act had the desired effect. I was scared and emotional and he was acting sweet and soothing. This asshole knew what he was doing.

We started making out again. This time he was gentle, less aggressive. He took off my dress and underwear. We had sex again, this time consensually.  Afterwards he used a line that I’m sure he’d used a hundred times before, and a hundred times since. He told me that he had to wake up early for surgery. I got dressed and went home. We never did go to dinner.

I have so much shame about this story. I’m ashamed that I went to his house and made-out with him, thinking that we were actually going on a dinner date. I’m ashamed that I said, “no,” when he asked if I wanted him to stop. And I am most ashamed that I had sex with him a second time, after he forced himself on me.

I didn’t report him to the police. How could I have? I let him finish. Then I had consensual sex with him right after. No one would believe that he had raped me. Can I even call this rape? I said no several times. Told him to stop. Tried to fight him off. Made it clear that I was not a willing participant. But then, at the end of the act, I gave in.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first time that this piece of shit had done this to someone. Maybe if I had gone to the police, I would have found their were prior complaints. Maybe they already had a file on him. Maybe they would have listened to me, but then what? I would have been picked apart on the stand. I think about the Kobe Bryant rape trial and all the other high profile rape cases I’ve read about. The victims are vilified.

In college I had a roommate who was raped by a stranger. She did everything she was supposed to afterwards. She went to the hospital the next day. They did a rape kit. Physically it was clear she’d been raped. There was tearing, and bruising. She went to the police. She even picked the guy out in a line up. But the DA still didn’t think there was enough evidence to press charges.

If there wasn’t enough evidence in that case, which seemed so clear cut to me, then why would I even bother? It would have been my word against his.

The plastic surgeon knew what he was doing. He chose his mark well. This wasn’t the first time I had been sexually assaulted. He could smell the “victim” on me, smell the low-selfworth, and lack of boundaries. He knew that he could get away with it.

I did a fifth step around this resentment the other day with my sponsor. I cried. Not just cried, but bawled like a baby. Believe it or not that was the first time I ever cried about this. Normally after I do a fifth step around a resentment I feel lighter, like I have released it, but not in this case.

I feel like I am just now getting in touch with this anger. And I am so angry. Not just for me, but for the other women he has doubtlessly done this too. And I am mad at all the other lowlifes out there like him who know how to pick and manipulate their victims, too.

Someday I will release this resentment. Not for him, but for me. Someday, but not today.

 

* This is a continuation of an earlier post, which can be found here.

The Plastic Surgeon, Part 1*

A few years back I met a plastic surgeon on a dating site. He emailed me a well written email talking about how great he was and complementing my pictures. He seemed pretty full of himself, but I thought, Hey, he’s a surgeon, I can let a few things slide.

We talked on the phone. Rather, I should say he talked. And talked. And talked. I said a few “mm hmm”s and such, but it was mostly just him droning on and on about how intellectually superior he was to everyone else. The few exchanges I can remember were him asking what I was into sexually. At the end of this “conversation” he asked me if I wanted to meet him. I should have said no. If I had a conversation with someone like that now, I would know better and would say no.

But back then, I was still looking for someone to validate me, someone to protect me, and take care of me, someone to use. I was shallow. I thought about how wealthy he was, the nice life I could have if I was with him, etc. Instead of listening to all his bragging and thinking, What a boring blowhard!, I thought, If a guy as successful and as rich as him likes me, then that will mean that I am worthy.

We met at a really nice restaurant. He was full of appearance-based compliments about my dress, body, hair, etc. I’ve always struggled with my body image so I felt hugely validated by this guy. I would have felt validated by any man that showered me with compliments, but this guy was a plastic surgeon. It was his job to make women beautiful. If he thinks I’m pretty, then fuck, it must actually be true, I thought.

He was working hard at charming me with the expensive restaurant and the compliments. But underneath that he was weird. The way he spoke, the way he carried himself; something was off. I still can’t quite put my finger on it, but he made me uneasy.

After dinner we walked to his car. He said he wanted to give me a ride to my car, which was only a block away. Of course this was just an excuse to make out with me. I was fine with the making-out, but not fine with everything he did.

At one point he pulled the straps of my dress down, exposing my breasts. It was late at night and there weren’t a lot of people around, but we were still on a public street. I wasn’t cool with this, so I pulled my dress back up and told him “no.” He didn’t listen to me.

He said something like, “Don’t worry, no one can see,” proceeded to pull the straps down again and suck on my nipples. I felt really uncomfortable, but begrudgingly went along with it.

After that date I went home, counted up all the red flags, thanked my lucky stars he had only tried to suck on my breasts, deleted his number and said, “good riddance prick!”

No I didn’t. That’s what I wish I had done. I googled him. Found out more about his plastic surgery practice, swooned over his ivy-leauge education, ignored all of my instincts, and told all of my friends, some of my family, and even my therapist about the “amazing” first date I had just had with this “amazing” guy.

*This is a long story, so I am breaking it up into two parts. I’ll have part two up tomorrow.

Nobody Loves You

“Nobody loves you,” “No one wants you,” “You are worthless,” “You don’t matter to anyone,” “You don’t deserve love, protection, happiness, success or anything else that’s good,” “You are shit!” This is what my addiction says to me. This voice formed long ago, probably before my conscious memory. It could have been formed by something as uneventful as belong left to cry a little too long as an infant. Who knows how it originally formed.

In my later childhood this voice was fortified by abandonment, death, and abuse. It lodged deep in my subconscious, then grew with each subsequent trauma. Every unfortunate event in my life gave it more fuel. I deserved it when my boyfriend hit me. Had it coming when I was raped. I believed this voice so much that I sought out further evidence to prove it right. Choose men that would beat me. Asked them for it. Choose men who were unavailable and would therefore eventually abandon me. Became addicted to those men.

This voice is somewhat quelled by the sexual act. In those short moments I know that I am intensely wanted, desired, valued, maybe even loved. I am validated by the focus and the attention. Then it’s over, and all I want is to feel that validation again, and again, and again.

Nowadays I know that this voice is a liar. I am loved, valued, and worthy of all good things. My friends love me, my family members love me, my sponsor and my fellows love me, and most importantly, I am loved by myself and my Higher Power.

That voice is quieter now, but it’s still there. And sometimes it kicks up a fuss that is difficult to ignore.