Who am I? To be honest, I’m not even sure I know the full answer to that. The fact that I don’t truly know is actually really scary to me. When I was younger I never had a problem being who I was. I knew what I liked and I wasn’t afraid to say, “hey, this is me. Take it or leave it.” That all changed with A1. At first, it was no big deal. I did my thing and he never said anything about it. I wore what I wore, I listened to the music I liked, and I partied with the friends I wanted to. The control first started after I moved to California. I was 20 when I moved. I did a great deal of partying. A1 didn’t like it. He constantly asked me about other guys and what I was doing. I was naive an thought it was just because we lived across the country. When we finally lived together though, it didn’t stop. He started telling me what I should and shouldn’t wear. Then I had to start listening to the music he liked. At first that wasn’t a big deal. We liked the same music. Except, when he stopped liking some music, I was supposed to stop liking it too. Same with movies or anything really. I was “allowed” to like certain things on my own, but they had to be approved by him. I remember when I first got into Harry Potter. We watched the first movie together and I wanted to read the books. A1 actually decided it was ok for me to read the books because he thought the movie was decent. Basically, because he liked it. I was allowed to like it. But, it didn’t always last. I got through the first 4 books and had to wait for the 5th to be released. By the 6th book he was over it. He mocked me for liking childish things. He still let me buy the book, but he made fun of me for it. It wasn’t just interests either. I had to dress a certain way and carry myself a certain way. I basically had to be everything he envisioned a woman should be.
A2 wasn’t much different. I was expected to like the same movies and shows. Expected to like the same music. When my taste in something different A2 acted like it was a personal attack on him. I started to just go along with it because it was easier.
The problem is that when I finally did free myself, I had no idea if the I liked the things I liked because I was told to like them. I had no sense of self. It’s something I still struggle with.