I wanted today to be a nice, light-hearted discussion of a return to our roots. I was gonna talk about why this blog exists, why I keep going despite all the problems, etc., and I was even going to talk about the new Facebook page (can be found here or linked on the right) where I share so much more that comes through my Facebook feed. But instead, I’m going to be talking about something depressing. Part of this is because I’ve been dealing with some severe depression the past week and barely even want to write today, but as I told a friend this past week who was asking for blog advice, even when you don’t want to write, that is sometimes the best time to do so.
Anyways, this morning, a friend of mine posted a link to this Cracked article talking about how Jessica Jones is an amazingly done show depicting what it’s like being the victim of abuse or stalking. And seriously, the show is amazing for that. I haven’t finished it yet because I’ve been watching it with my roommate (a white, cis male) who can only handle about one episode per day. I’ve made him agree that we’re finishing it this weekend.
That said, there’s one more important aspect about having gone through something like that which Jessica Jones covers but the Cracked article doesn’t, and believe me when it’s potentially the scariest thing of them all. Simply put, a really, really common reaction to having gone through something like that is to in some ways become like the person who victimized you in the first place. This can be seen in the show by Jessica’s obsession, to the detriment of all else, to do what she can to prevent others from going through what she did. She essentially stalks Kilgrave back in her attempts to do so. And while that makes for interesting viewing, the reality is far more disturbing.
Several years back when I was in the military, I was desperate for a relationship with someone who saw the real me. I couldn’t be myself openly in almost any areas of my life, because this was still under not only the transgender ban which is still in place but going out the window, but also under DADT. The stress I carried with me every day resulted in me being aged, drastically. Even when at work, in the same uniform as everyone else, people would regularly guess me to be about 20 years older than I was. Around this same time, I met someone online, another trans woman who also had a job that required always being on the go and pretending to be a guy. The name she went by at that time was Jenna, though it wouldn’t be the only one she went by.
Now, keep in mind, looking back, all of the red flags were there, but you also have to keep in mind that I’m into BDSM and other kink stuff not for the sexual aspects, but for the relationship dynamics. When you actually crave someone to dominate you, it can be easy to ignore red flags as just being part of the relationship. I think it’s a mistake that every submissive makes at least once, though thankfully only a rare few have it turn as badly as mine did.
Jenna was, hands down, a terrible person. And a bad example for trans people. About halfway through our relationship, Jenna found out that she could not have gender confirmation surgery because of heart problems that she had. Deciding that since she could never be fully a woman, she would go back to being a man, and now he went back to his birth name. For my part, even through all the horrors going on in our relationship, either through the distance stuff or even the week we spent together in person, I still loved this person. Yet, even then, a part of me was aware of how terrible Jenna (now Blaire) was, as I tended to put myself in between her/his wrath and the other submissives in our house. Eventually, we broke up.
And after we broke up, I was still hearing horror stories from those who had moved in with her around the time I was going through my attempts to leave. We’re talking forced starvation while eating in front of the remaining submissives kind of bad. These stories came to me not from my seeking them out, but because after a time, these others left just as I had and come to me saying that I was right to do so. And something in me clicked hearing those stories.
I became obsessed with not letting Blaire hurt anyone else. In essence, I stalked him around the web, warning anyone I saw starting to form relationships with him in attempts to prevent the mistakes of my past from repeating. It took me about a year before I’d realized what I’d become and finally let it go, but that doesn’t mean that the urge to do something went away. For another year or two, I’d find myself looking up Blaire online, seeing what he (or she, as they never seemed to stay consistent with what gender they were identifying with) was up to, but catching myself before reaching out. It was so bad that whenever I started a new relationship, friends who knew me when I was with Blaire would say something along the lines of “this better not be Blaire again.” Because one thing they don’t tell you much about escaping from an abuser is that it takes on average about 6-8 tries before it finally sticks.
Once you let someone into your head, if they take control as thoroughly as Blaire did to me or as Kilgrave did to Jessica in the backstory of the show… they never truly leave> Time and distance help, but they can only do so much. And that is why Jessica Jones is such an amazing show, but also why my roomie can only handle about one episode a day. He doesn’t know how true to life that is, but he knows that seeing it depicted in the way it is makes him uncomfortable.
Like I said, not a happy topic today, but an important one. Never ignore red flags and always trust your instincts, because they may be the only thing saving you from repeating the mistakes that so many of us have already made.