Do You Trust Me?

I just wanted to fly under the radar. I didn’t want to bother anyone. I didn’t want to cause any problems.

When you have next to nothing, you tend to hold on to whatever you do have with whatever strength you have. For me, I wanted to hold on to having a place to sleep every night. I wanted to hold on to being able to stay at the shelter.

So I did everything I was supposed to. I made my bed every morning. I did my chores. I was nice to the other residents. I couldn’t afford to lose my spot. I thought the shelter was going to be a safe place. But that’s not what it turned out to be.

I didn’t realize what was happening. I’ve only read about it briefly in ethics books when I was doing my graduate work in counseling, how social workers and counselors would engage in inappropriate relationships with their clients. I’ve only seen it in a few TV shows and movies. I never witnessed it in real life. And then it happened to me.

It started out with conversations. He knew about my trauma history — I had to reveal it upon my intake at the shelter. Shortly after, he started asking questions. I didn’t mind answering; I thought he was just asking out of curiosity. But then the questions turned into asking for details. He wanted me to tell him exactly how my mother hurt me, down to every detail.

Then it turned to questions about sex. My discomfort increased. I didn’t want to answer. I hesitated, but all he kept saying was “Do you trust me?” He said he needed to know all of this stuff so he could help other clients. That if I answered his questions, I’d be helping them, too. And isn’t that what I wanted to do?

I was confused. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t want to upset him, or get him angry enough that he would turn around and kick me out of the shelter. So I obliged. I answered his questions, hoping that eventually he would get all of the answers he needed.

“Do you think you could ever have sex with me?”

It was then I realized this was going somewhere further than just questions. I felt sick to my stomach. I was trapped. Physically and emotionally trapped. What do I do? I hesitated as much as I could. I tried to make jokes to stray away from the conversation. But he wasn’t budging. All he kept saying was “Do you trust me?”

He told me he could help me be normal. Like he could fix the 29 years of abuse I went through. He was so insistent. I couldn’t say no. All he would say was “Why don’t you trust me?”

Everything always came to trust. I didn’t understand. I didn’t trust him. How could I? I felt like I was right back to being a kid again. It was so confusing. If I said no, it would get me in trouble. I can never say no.

I felt disgusted. I kept what happened to myself because I was so afraid of someone thinking it was my fault. Maybe I did something. Maybe it was something I said. Maybe it was something I did. I didn’t understand.

I spent my days at the shelter on edge. I never knew if he was going to come in my room at night, like he said I could. I never knew what I would have to do next in order to keep him happy. I was miserable. But I was so used to it, I thought that maybe this was just how everyone was.

I debated for weeks about telling someone. I wasn’t concerned about me; I was concerned that he might have done it to other women. If I didn’t tell, I’d be responsible for any women he hurt in the future. No matter what I did, it was going to be my fault. I feared I wasn’t going to be believed. But I was smart. I started recording what was happening on my phone, because part of me knew I needed something to stop him.

I had a panic attack one night when I was on my way out of my room; there was another resident walking through the hallway in his underwear, and I panicked because I thought it was him coming into my room for me. I couldn’t explain why I was crying. I couldn’t explain why it upset me so much. All I could get out of my mouth was you don’t know what happens here sometimes.

And that was enough. It initiated a conversation the next day. I hesitated, fearing that somehow I would get in trouble. But they told me I wasn’t going to get in trouble. They said if something not right is going on, they needed to know. Through tears, I told them what was happening. I couldn’t get everything out. I was overcome with shame, believing they thought that this was all of my fault. After all, something must be wrong with me since this keeps happening.

He is gone now. But I will soon be, too.

All I am left with is shame and confusion, and an even greater inability to trust.

Do you trust me?

I trust no one now.

19 thoughts on “Do You Trust Me?

  1. This is horrible, but I wish it still shocked me. I’ve seen too much shit from the mental health and social services system to be shocked by anything – or to ever trust them either. I’m so sorry Hell really is other people so often…

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  2. I realised something today.. really interesting…I have this saying… trouble seems to walk into me….I believe it could be not saying it is… just a hunch…trauma when you are a child ongoing…tends to repeat itself not intentional more like if you are not aware or hand counselling good counselling… perhaps as we grow we seem or maybe I found trouble not that I was looking perhaps because something I required as a release.. I wonder if that is how it repeated I needed to drink or thirst my trauma..sounds stupid I wondered…

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    1. I think people who have experienced very serious abuse in the past have missed opportunities to learn to protect or care for themselves in ways that may leave them vulnerable to others. Perhaps sociopaths are especially good at spotting people who are vulnerable in this way. I don’t think the person who has been traumatized wants to be mistreated again, but she may not always know who is dangerous until a situation has progressed further than she meant it to. She may have learned to disregard early red flags. She might believe she doesn’t have the right to protest. Nevertheless, it is not her fault if something bad happens. It’s the fault of the creep who thinks he or she has the right to use others.

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      1. Yes, I agree, I believe that even though some of us do go through some repeating behavior well, trouble tends to be my second nature . however, I am alot better these days… I used to have this silly attitude of whatever, nothing hurts me, well, that isnt the case..
        Everything that hurts us will come back at some stage big, small, maybe nothing, but, when it does the best thing to do I guess is allow it too.. and then hopefully with the right tools it isnt going to stay or it stays but, you can handle it a bit better.
        I am very much like what you described a path that we walk often and some of us many times (bit like going to heaven and St Peter says to you sorry, you need to go str8 to Pergertory to repeat a behavior that seems to still be sitting in the back of your mind..lol

        well that is surely me, it isnt anyones fault apart from those that can sniff you out.. but she, her , me we all get a little wiser i guess, the game or that type lessens but, you do have this radar that seems to sniff the same or that type because that type of person can and will find you..
        Hopefully, she/her, me is a little wiser to see the signs and walk away or play it out..

        No answer to that one.. I have noticed that my behavior adapted to a way that seems a little sorbid but, I am me being me.. and I am trying to do the best..I can.. without myself being harmed lets hope others learn a little too..

        Like I said to my husband the other day, one thing we all should have had was a damn user guide or a section that says trouble shooting if in trouble .. thanks

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  3. Nothing bad has ever happened to me, but I’ve known several people trapped in that spiral of abuse and pain. They looked out for me, especially when I was growing up, and kept me safe. Not only physically, but safe from even knowing about the ugly parts of the world. I didn’t find out until much later. I didn’t keep them safe. I didn’t know they needed help. One girl I know broke out of the spiral and is living a good life now. Most did not. They often have jail/prison records, addictions, children they never see, and a string of failed relationships…. My son is named for one of them. While I hope he never knows his namesake’s pain, I hope he has his heart. I hope someday you are able to break out too, but on your darkest days, remember the people you’ve helped, and know that we remember you too. And we thank you for helping us when you couldn’t help yourself. I recently became a foster parent to try to help kids caught in the spiral, and hopefully their families too. I may have spent most of my life completely oblivious to most of the help I received, but I see it now, and I need to try to help too. Best wishes and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is just disgusting that someone working at a place that is literally called a SHELTER–a safe, protected place–would prey on you like that. I hope he is not only gone from the sheltered but also blacklisted from the profession.

    And I’m very sorry; you deserve so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

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