Damage

I’ve had a conversation on twitter today that left me raw. We were talking about fanfiction and about dub-con/non-con elements in stories and that there are people who enjoy reading those.

Now before I start, let me say this:

Dub-con/non-con is not okay.

Dub-con/non-con is not romantic.

Dub-con/non-con is not love.

Yet I still read those stories every so often.

I read stories where the lovers destroy each other piece by piece. I read stories where one lover destroys the other, slowly but steadily. I read stories that end in suicide and murder.

I also read stories that start out with coercion. That start out with one person selling their body. That have the threat of death over one of the lovers. And that still somehow develop into stories about love, where two people make each other better.

Now you can tell me I’m damaged and I will agree. I do not enjoy seeing these characters that I care so deeply for hurt. I do not get off on it. I still read it.

‘Why?’ do you ask.

Because I want to understand.

Because I want to understand.

I want to understand where dominance turns into abuse. I want to understand where trust turns into being doormat. I want to understand why people hurt each other, be they strangers or lovers.

Call it morbid if you want.

I call it trying to make sense of my own life.

Of my own reactions when I was being abused more than anything else.

I read these stories and I read about myself. I read about why I suffered quietly. About why I never fought back. About why for years I went back to that place where I knew I would be abused almost every day just because it was expected of me.

I read about the helplessness of not being able to make my little sister’s (sister in spirit, not in blood) abuse stop, at an age when I had barely turned into a teenager and she was still a child. I read about her pain and my guilt and the fact that there is no way to be good enough. Not when you’re a child. Sometimes not even when you’re adult.

I read about all of this and I try to make sense of it. I use fictional people’s lives and fates to cope with my own. It’s the poor man’s attempt at therapy, I guess.

I am damaged. I admit that readily. I read things that I know will trigger me. I go back to them like I went back to that place every day. At the same time, I’m not as helpless anymore as I was back then. I have tools. I analyze. I understand what is healthy and what isn’t. I do not crave cruelty.

But I will always have a fascination with power and power exchanges. That is a part of me. But what I want and enjoy is based on trust and on love and to say it in the scene’s terms, it is safe sane and consensual. It builds the other person up and does not tear them down.

I am sorry that I hurt someone’s feelings today by trying to convey this in 140 characters. It is not possible.

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