This one is slightly different from my usual interviews. A.T is a self-published author, but she prefers to remain anonymous for this particular interview, as it focuses on her years as a victim of sexual abuse instead of on her books. You can also read A.T’s guest post on my blog by clicking this link: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/guest-post-sexual-abuse-by-a-t
1. How did you and your ex-husband meet?
We met at work 34 years ago. I had just started my career.
2. Did the abuse begin as soon as you were married, or some time afterwards?
He was married. I became his mistress (or one of them). We married years later, after his first wife left him and they divorced. Yes, the abuse started within a month in terms of telling me about other conquests – and the dark sex games started the following year.
3. Do you think that internet porn had some effect on your ex-husband’s behaviour?
Not back in the 1980’s, no. His addiction may have come from single-sex boarding school education, and the corporal punishment which seems to be such an integral part of it. He may have latent homosexual tendencies.
4. Does your ex-husband have an addictive nature?
Yes, especially in terms of sex and control.
5. As a child, was your ex-husband raised by parents who never mentioned sex?
Yes, his mother was a prude, and disliked any mention of sex or bodies.
6. Has your ex-husband ever mentioned suffering any kind of childhood abuse, either physical or sexual?
Yes, I believe he was interfered with in some way by an older male relative.
7. Did you find yourself searching more and more for evidence of your ex-husband’s sex addiction or of his infidelity?
Pre-marriage, definitely, the infidelity. He and his first wife had an unhappy ‘open marriage’. Affairs were a form of revenge, and I was initially just another affair. Post-marriage I became ever more worried about his sexual tastes and the covert intimidation.
8. Generally speaking, do you think that men are able to be faithful to one woman for the rest of their lives?
I honestly don’t know. The group I met in my early twenties (which included my ex-husband) would suggest not (they all seemed to sleep around), but more recent friends have suggested quite the opposite!
9. Do you feel that 30 years of your life has been wasted?
No, not at all. I would never have had our children had it not been for my ex. Much has been traumatic- but it was necessary at the higher level and in terms of spiritual initiation. I have had some wonderful times as well.
10. Does your ex-husband show any remorse for his behaviour?
No. On the contrary, he blames me for the divorce, and tells others that I am mad or have dementia. His response when I finally told him I did not enjoy some parts of our sex life was to ask me if I’d mind him having sex with other women in that case- and to tell me that there were plenty on line who were up for his idea of a good time.
11. Were you able to confide in anybody or find a support group for victims of sexual abuse?
We saw a counsellor for 6 months. She was great, as was another I have seen subsequently. Counselling failed. My ex refused to discuss our sex life, and said it had nothing to do with our problems. I have a small circle of close friends who have been very supportive.
12. After years of emotional blackmail and sexual abuse, did you feel as thought you were losing your sanity?
Absolutely. One of the techniques used by my ex was ‘gaslighting’ – targeting my mind: Telling others, including our children, that he thought I had early-onset senile dementia was one such tactic. Some believed him. He told me he thought I was losing my mind many times.
13. Do you feel angry with yourself for being in denial of your ex-husband’s behaviour for so long?
Yes, but very sad too. By denying it, I have allowed our precious children to learn toxic lessons about male/female relationships.
14. Now that you are a full-time author, do you find writing a form of therapy?
Very much so, though I am in constant terror lest my ex reads what I have written. Many blog posts have been deleted as a result – and the novel, detailing our relationship (started in September 2015), will have to be published under a pseudonym once it is finished. This is not just because I am frightened of him, but it’s also to protect our children.
15. Would you ever consider another long-term relationship, or would you rather live alone now?
I would not wish to condemn half the human race for the behaviour of one man – but am, at present, too broken and scared to even be able to contemplate a relationship that might become sexual. I have close platonic male friends, and that for the moment is enough.
16. What is your advice to women who are in denial of their partners’ sexual abuse?
Think of the lessons your children are learning from abuse, and get the hell out. In denying sexual abuse, you are also denying your children the chance to learn about male/female relationships in a healthy way. An abuser will not change.
17. If your ex-husband ever wanted to marry again, do you feel that you ought to warn his new partner in some way?
I am his second wife. I did not see through him until it was too late. He has a charming façade and is very handsome. Another woman would be unlikely to believe my warning. I told members of our wider family and friends why I had ended the marriage. One set of friends and several family members have sided with him because they do not believe, or do not wish to face, the fact that he has abused me.
18. What is your recipe for a happy life?
Live in hope and love and fire and creativity. Let your wings spread and fly. Be with those who fan your flames and clap your flight, not those who extinguish your fire and shoot you out of the sky. Each time you plummet, dust yourself off and leap once more into love and trust.
19. Would you rather be 18 again with no knowledge of human nature, or are you glad you’re the age you are?
I’m happy the age I am. I was jelly in someone else’s mould for far too long. Now, I am me!
20. Would you rather sit contemplating by a quiet lake, or dance the night away in a crowded bar?
Both! I love the landscape, and walk happily in its beauty and bounty, but I also adore music and frenzied dancing and being around others.
Thank you A.T for your most interesting and candid answers.