I was sitting down to write about the anxiety of needing to do things all the time when my flatmate began cleaning the oven. This is a completely normal and expected thing, we have a flat inspection coming up, and we’ve just spent the last few days making sure everything is cleaned and put away. There’s just one problem: due to a defect in his septum, my flatmate has difficulty breathing and breathes very noisily and often with an open mouth.
That’s fine… for anyone else. For me, it’s a trigger.
I was sexually abused by my ex’s best friend. There, I said it. It’s a hard thing to admit. There is a lot of shame around it, shame that I did not realise what was happening at the time, that I allowed myself to get into those situations, that I was such a doormat. I’ve told two friends. I haven’t told my partner. It’s not something I am brave enough to be open about yet.
Intellectually I know I am not at fault. I had been in an intimate relationship with a narcissist for at least a year by that point. My semblance of self, already weak after the previous narcissist relationship on the back of growing up with a clinically depressed mother and a loving but not really on hand father, was virtually non existent by this point. I was an undiagnosed aspergers woman, and incredibly vulnerable. It was not my fault. It is not my fault. A predator saw the vulnerability and took advantage.
It’s still hard to talk about. So I’ll throw the story out to the internet, hiding behind my perceived anonymity (I know full well ‘anonymous’ only goes so far unless you take internet anonymity very seriously).
Our house was the ‘party house’. We would have parties almost every other week at our house, no matter what house it was we lived in, and that was fine. We used to do various illicit substances, as one does when one is young – nothing hard, nothing technically addictive, and not often enough to get addicted. It was the usual fun shit from the raver scene.
And it was, it was super fun. Until he started taking advantage.
I don’t remember when it first happened, but I do remember which house we were in at the time. He began to pester me to give me a massage. And pester, and pester, and pester, until me, being the naive, happily high, aspergers person I am, said okay. So we went up to the bedroom I shared with my partner, I’d lie face down on the bed, and he’d massage my back. It was just a massage.
He breathed heavily while he gave it.
This continued at subsequent parties. He convinced me to take my t-shirt off so he could give me a “better massage” and “you can take your bra off if you like but I understand if you’d rather keep it on”. I always kept my bra on. My ex would, every single time, walk into the bedroom to “get something” and stop and pause and say in a high pitched voice (that I only now realise as fake) “I’m totally okay with my best friend massaging my topless girlfriend in my bed”.
Looking back at it I have to believe they were both in on it, because he never left a party to “get something” from our bedroom unless his best friend was giving me a massage.
This continued. For years. His best friend would pester me until I gave in and would give me a back massage with creepy heavy breathing. It wasn’t until the later massages that he would push his erect penis (in his pants) against my arse while giving me a massage and lean down like he wanted to kiss the back of my neck. Thank fuck he never did. I stopped letting him give me massages after that one. It made me sick.
A number of parties later, while completely off his face on booze (he had, and probably still has, an alcohol problem), he grabbed me around the waist and dragged me onto his lap where he immediately started grinding his erect penis (in his pants) against my arse crack with some amount of force. I got his arms off me and stood up and went off without looking at him and blocked the incident from my memory.
I think he might have stopped after that. I can’t quite recall.
So now heavy male breathing is a trigger for me to lock up and want to vomit. Unfortunately for me, my lovely flatmate sometimes triggers this.
At least I have noise cancelling headphones. I should also look into some really good therapy for this.