During the early part of our relationship, James told me that nearly every woman he’d dated had been raped or molested.   At the time, I thought nothing more of him revealing that fact other than the man I loved had such understanding and compassion for us walking wounded.  Such a gentle and caring man!

James’ confession to me that his past relationships were nearly exclusively with women who had experienced molestation or rape?  While statistically 1 in 6 women in the United States are the victims of a completed or attempted sexual assault, his pairing up with women like me was no coincidence.  Let me put it this way.  As with other parts of being an abuser, he was fully aware of what he was doing.  He knew.

For James, a woman with a past fraught with difficulty and pain from sexual abuse?  It’s like panning for gold and finding a huge shiny bar.  He knew what he had found and he exploited it.  Each and every time.  And with each and every relationship, he learned more, changed up his playbook and became better at exploitation.

The learning curve of educating myself about a sociopath is an upward trajectory.  (Not the healing from a sociopath, that trajectory is messy.)   In the beginning when I was still entrenched, I was going on faith alone.  Meaning, every professional I consulted concluded I was in the midst of serious abuse and I trusted their assessment.  After I extracted myself from James, the cognitive part kicked in and I could logically process what had happened.  It was reassuring to know that there are specialists, professors and doctors who have studied such exploitation and the disordered minds that revel in it.

But now, all these months later, I can logically take it in and feel some sense of relief. That for as shameful and humiliating as playing the role of his girlfriend ended up being for me, all this shitty and vile behavior is 100% on him.  It doesn’t make the ick go away.  No, that stuff lingers.  Just as he knew it would.

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