Why did I hold back? (triggers)


This will probably seem like an off-topic rant about my childhood, but I assure it is going somewhere.

I was an overweight, weak, nerdy kid that disliked most popular music and was bored by professional sports. I also wore glasses and had some learning disabilities. All that kind of made me perfect bully bait in middle school. But most of kids backed of quickly. Not because I would rat them out or because I had strong friends, but because I was always willing to fight back brutally. Breaking the nerd's makes you look cool up until he's holding a pen inch from your face threatening to make you need glasses too (not that I ever actually had to follow through on that threat).

It's not as though I learned that behavior at school. I had a brother at home, and like my kids I fought with my siblings. And like many younger brothers, I tended to lose most of those fights. But our "fights" might involve him ambushing me, handcuffing me and beating me while I was relatively helpless. Or he might just swing a sword at my neck while I walked through a doorway. Or tackle me and "test" whether he had sharpened his knife well enough.

This only ended after the day he chased me around the house with a sword. I was only able to find a knife to defend myself, so he eventually cornered me. But when he swung, I was able to parry the blow, slide in along the blade and hold my knife to his throat. And then he realized that if he kept trying to make me fear that he was going to kill me, I might end up killing him in self-defense.

But even after learning that brutality was my best defense, I showed mercy when my ex first tried to rape me. I fought back, and won, but I did so with minimal force. I feel like if I had done what I was supposed to, acted decisively and ruthlessly, she would have been to scared to try again. I'd likely be reviled as monster, and probably be in prison, but she wouldn't have gotten to make me do what she wanted. And today, I'm just feeling guilty, like I should have known how to save myself, and what followed is my fault for failing to do so.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.