The more I read and learn about our culture of abuse and what consent is, the more I am confronted with the question of:
Was I abused?
This is not as easy a question to answer as one may think.
On the one side, I have my feelings and memories of my experiences. On the other I have to weigh against that that I know strong emotions color both experiences and memories, so I’m not even sure if my take on the situation is accurate or not. At the time, I was also suffering from undiagnosed and untreated depression, which also further colors (and quite significantly) experiences. Also, I know that the psychology of abuse means that many abused don’t realize it and instead lay the blame on themselves. So many possibilities, some so contradictory!
At the same time, she maintains total innocence and that I was her abuser*.
Reading around, it seems to be possible and quite common to unintentionally emotionally abuse another, but I am still lead to question whether it’s possible for two people to (unknowingly) abuse each other at the same time.
It’s even more difficult for me because there are plenty of resources out there for the abused – as long as you are a woman being abused by a man. I’ve tried to extrapolate and adjust the scenarios and advice, but quite simply some situations are completely off. There was no fear of physical abuse simply because I am far stronger and fitter. There was no direct financial attachment because I was the sole income earner. Nevertheless, there are other leverages that she has that are not described in the resources I have found because they are female-specific.
In any case, though it is an interesting exercise, the situation is in the past, I have found my boundaries, learned a lot from it, improved myself and it has taken me to a better future that I am living in right now.