Full disclosure.

I have a confession to make. This is very difficult for me to write, as it is part of all of the shame and disgust I felt (that still haunts me in the background, if I am honest) and that kept me silent for so long.
There was a time, early in the relationship, when I didn’t mind the crossdressing. It was something we could share in private.  It was “our secret”. There was something intoxicating about that. He didn’t seem screwed up about it and he made me feel special for being the one he could share this with.  It felt like love. I wanted to be loved.

Please forgive me.

And that’s all I can say today.

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11 thoughts on “Full disclosure.

  1. I think that’s pretty common in relationships – men can be so crap at ‘sharing’ (probably because they know we wouldn’t really like what they’d have to say) that when they do trust you with something not everyone knows, it does, indeed, feel like love, or intimacy.
    You’re not alone, in any case.
    And there’s nothing to forgive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. naefearty, there is nothing to be forgiven for. You so eloquently describe what it felt like to be taken, slowly, edge by edge, moment by moment, to a place where your boundaries were completely brushed aside, ignored and trampled all over. It takes time and kind, supportive, feminist sisters to also know emotionally, what we know politically. It’s a common pattern within abuse to blame ourselves, to say that, because we believed we were “consenting” to whatever a man once did, that, therefore, we are, somehow, to be blamed for all that followed. It’s that very thought which keeps us confused and in a state of inertia. Whose fault IS this? Mine? His? He will reinforce this confusion whenever he can. That’s in his interests.
    Being sucked into a Stockholm Syndrome, seduced by the illusion that it is love, not power and self-centredness, which drives male supremacists into action, is part of our socialisation. You have courageously told your story and I hope it will lead to other women connecting to feminism. There is a point in time where all women need to be woken up from patriarchy’s reverie with the understanding that the way of the world is not as we have been taught. Your story, for some women, will be that wake-up call. Far from needing to be forgiven for it, you are to be thanked.
    In our current wave, we do not talk enough about how our socialisation is so all pervasive. It takes many years (of CR and feminist support) to identify what, within us, is a patriarchal construction and set about redefining and reconstructing it to fit with our feminist goals. In part, that’s because, whenever we start this debate some “feminists” undermine the discussion by arguing that, to do so, is “individualism” – no, the difference between feminist analysis of collective personal experience and individualism could not be more polar opposite. In part, it’s because this movement is driven by a harsh and unforgiving online intellectualism and, as a consequence, CR as a political tool, has fallen by the wayside.
    I’d like to see more kindness, more empathy and more political analysis stemming from personal experiences within online feminism. I would like to believe you have started that trend, again, and you are brave to do so.
    Two pieces of feminist writing which I have been thinking about recently and seem relevant here are these:
    Sadomasochism and the Social Construction of Desire http://www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/rian.htm
    Loving to Survive http://ressourcesfeministes.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dee-graham-loving-to-survive.pdf
    Much love and sisterhood
    Rubyfruit2

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rubyfruit. And thank you for posting those resources.
      Yes, it does take a long time to unpick that which is our true desires from those which are socially constructed within us. For me, it was learning that I am worth loving by and for myself. And that I don’t have to accommodate toxic people in order to be “reasonable” or “loved”. That the most fundamental principle is woman’s right to set boundaries – individually and collectively.
      I do believe in the power of personal stories – particularly those shared, often in whispers, between women. Silencing us, often brutally, is how men have retained their control over us. Or convincing us that *their stories* are our stories. For what is a social construct other than the story about something that is most widely “believed”? Most forcefully and intentionally perpetuated? Hearing stories from the other side of that mirror is a revelation. Speaking those stories is our liberation.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Actually, Naefearty, I think you just named a lot of what heterosexual women feel towards “feminine men”. I think the reason for this attraction is because masculinity is attached to death, violence and silence, while femininity is attached to healing, life and expression. So when a man shows his feminine side [even in an extreme or false manner], I think unconsciously we become attracted to this because he’s not “threatening” to us; we don’t associate his feminine behavior [even if false] with being abused, hurt or raped. We find it sexy that he wants to cuddle, talk and express himself more. Why do you think there was such a boom with women going gaa-gaa over femi-men in romance novels and video games [Final Fantasy, anyone?]. Heck, that’s pretty much what the majority of women draw on DeviantArt; gorgeous, feminine men.
    I think that there is also another layer that’s at play here: which is us as women being so used to viewing ourselves through the male gaze, that there becomes something erotic and even sensual to play “the role of the man”. So when he plays the “role of the woman”, we may get turned on to the fact of dominating him, being on top, fantasizing or roleplaying out how we would go about having sex or seducing a woman if we were a man. Sometimes it even goes as far as fantasizing about penetrating him, because that’s all the patriarchy focuses on, therefore, that’s what we as women attach to what it means to having sex with a woman.
    And, you know, I don’t think that this is something to be ashamed about, because I feel like we all go through something. I don’t think that’s the problem. The real question is: Did we learn our lesson from it? And if so, that’s when it becomes empowering; so that we can share it with our Sisters and tell them of our experience and wake them up from our phallic worshiping ways.
    We’ve all fallen victim to the patriarchy in some form, fashion or way. Again, that is not the problem. The problem is when we’re faced with a wake up call and choose not to heed it.
    This is not your case. You shared it. You just empowered and sparked changed. You did your job.
    I thank you for that, Sister.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh I certainly learned a lot of lessons. And I appreciate your insight.
      I do have to say though that I never felt I was “playing the role of the man”. I *did* for a time appreciate not having to *perform* the “role of the woman”. Not even sure how to describe it. It’s complicated.
      Men had always hurt me, and I never felt very emotionally connected to them. I think whataboutthemen’s comment gets near to the experience.
      I sometimes think I was ripe to be exploited. I think that’s no accident. In fact, when I was first introduced to the concept of compulsory heterosexuality it was like a bomb went off in my head. Like I had been handed a key to the box that contalned ALL THE ANSWERS.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow! You described exactly what happened with me too. It started off with him saying he was into cross-dressing. I also kind of accepted that becasue i loved him. Don’t feel bad about it. I don’t. I am just a very open-minded person. I try to not judge people. That’s a good thing. We all have our own past experiences that have affected how we perceive the world. There is no one true reality. Don’t let society dictate to you how you should feel about ‘anything’. Each of us are unique. And special. Even the haters. They have their stories to tell. And we can learn from them. As from our past experiences with transgenders. I kind of feel sorry for them and my ex. He/she is a very confused and insecure indovidual always trying to gain acceptance and affirmation from others.

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  5. As everyone says, there is nothing to forgive. I hope you can forgive yourself; it can be very difficult to forgive ourselves for being sucked into someone else’s sickness (I speak from experience). It becomes so important to see it as THEIR problem, THEIR sickness, that we couldn’t see at the time because we’re not users and abusers of other people. It sounds to me as though you were very emotionally vulnerable and you met a predatory fetishist; I was emotionally vulnerable and met a plain vanilla predator, and kicked myself for years after (the relationship ended when I refused to let him move in with me). It helped me when I saw a list of attributes of predators — lightbulb went off! — and realized I had been his prey.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I dated a dude who “confided” to me his plans for how he’d like to murder certain men (rapists). I joined in the conversations and felt like his little collaborator, his partner-in-crime. Once during the relationship and for a few months after it had ended I felt terrified of what he might do to me, and it occurred to me that I wasn’t his collaborator. He was in charge, it was all about his interests, and I had been naive and self-destructive (and, potentially, outwardly destructive) to convince myself that this was okay for me, and to actively participate.

    I’m telling you this because I’m bothered by my thoughts and behaviours from that time too. Who had I become – somebody with whose actions I’d now totally disagree. You’re not alone in experiencing this. We’re not perfect, but we’re also not to blame for the manipulation and the abuses that these men commit.

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    • Thankyou. I said recently that I sometimes feel like I want to scrub myself with bleach, using a wire brush. These feelings of self loathing are difficult to get rid of and can be quite overwhelming at times.

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