Player's Blog

This Great Community, by the way | Part 1

A cautionary tale of sexism, elitism, lies, deceit, crisis, assault, and power abuse.

When Final Fantasy XIV’s expansion, Endwalker, launches in November, I will be taking down the SaltedXIV project unless someone steps forward willing to take it over. For those who would like to know why, this post will attempt to explain the foremost issue. But I want to tell my whole story, so there’s two subsequent posts in this series that explain events from before the recent ones outlined here.

I have given this community the very best of me, and asked for nothing in return. But even so they have taken me for everything that I am, and beaten me well past my breaking point. Writing has always been a form of therapy for me, and the truth has always been what I ground myself with and built a foundation on. I was unbending in many ways, and incurred plenty of ire for it, and eventually as all rigid things do under too much stress, I fractured and snapped in the worst way.

This post is not a cry for help. I am long beyond the reach of whatever help this community deigns to offer. This isn’t for attention. This isn’t to stir the pot, though I know it inevitably will. Honestly writing this was pretty calming and cathartic. But no, this is a cautionary tale; a warning for those who follow where I tread, and maybe some insight to those who got everything so horribly wrong. Though, to be frank, I’m long past the point in believing they can change. I wanted to share my story, so I am.

Trigger warning ahead for those who need it. Suicide, assault, and rape on that list to name a few.

Those of you had any sort of interaction with me personally has likely already seen the Twitter post I made a couple of weeks back:

and could guess what this post is alluding to. In truth however, that’s the middle of the story. And I’d like to share the beginnings and the ends, too.

The Assault

This post will provide more details of the part some of you all already know pieces of, but I won’t repeat the events of the assault itself, you can check the post linked above. The gist you need to know: back in Feburary, Blake (known in the community as Ramza Beoulve’ or awesomeuno#7660 on discord) sexually assaulted me. I had previously dated him on and off for the past three years. However we were decidedly “off” at this time. Not because I didn’t still want a relationship from him. I just wanted time to clear my head so we could work on “us.” This was communicated clearly. He was my best friend. Despite our struggles, I did believe he was my soulmate.

But, it was assault. My therapist said I can call it rape if I want to. I haven’t decided on that one yet.

At the end of April he informed me he has feelings for a mutual close friend of ours, Rachel (Sassy). Three weeks prior he had just said to me I was the “most important person in the world” to him. She was the singular person I had confided in about the assault. He had asked her out two weeks before this call where they were informing me. So, in the span of one week, from when I was the most important person, he was ready to throw away the over three years of our past relationship and friendship.

For the person I kept asking to go check on him after the assault. Because I was worried about him.

I was managing the aftermath of the assault – barely – before this point. The breach of trust from it was heavy. But I also knew him. I knew where it came from. It was wrong, but I could follow his thought path. At least because I understood him, it was easier to work towards forgiveness and next steps.

But the betrayal – the rug out from under me – the rapid replacement for a new model who was giving him more attention than I was. I wasn’t prepared for that. At all. I still thought I was the most important person in the world to him when he said the words. He was supposedly still worried about me from what happened in February. He had literally just said that moments before in the voice call. If that was true at any point in the past three years, how could he so quickly move on? How could he so quickly disregard how I feel about him, how I feel about the assault, and expect it to not be incredibly messed up? If I was his best friend, if he was worried, then why couldn’t he set aside his feelings for a bit and wait? Wait until I was a bit more okay? Wait until we talked about things? It’s not hard to figure out he should’ve waited. It’s not hard to figure out ‘you sexually assaulted someone, maybe you should get therapy before starting a new relationship with your unresolved issues that caused the assault in the first place.’ I still can’t process it. I loved that man with everything I had. Honestly in many ways I still do. And it’s still killing me. Literally. I should hate him. Everything points to that. Everything is telling me I’m supposed to forget him and walk away. That he’s awful, selfish, and never cared. But I don’t believe it. I want to. But I don’t. I’ve been trying to.

But, it doesn’t help that I have no one else now.

See, what happened the night they told me they intended to start dating was my first big snap. Breaking. I snapped and went public about the assault. I didn’t do it as punishment for him. I did it to get away from him. He kept hurting me over and over. Our relationship was dysfunctional. I figured — I hoped that once everyone knew what he did, two things would happen: 1) the collective community would help prevent me from letting him hurt me anymore. Something something strength in numbers and surely someone would help me, and 2) I was hoping the public disdain for what he did would snap him into realize just how bad it was, so he’d get the help he needs. I was hoping it would be a wake up call for him to realize that a new relationship right now was a bad idea, that he needed help first. His codependency issues were the source, and replacing me with someone else wouldn’t fix them.

But, it did neither.

And I did contemplate taking my life that night, but I wasn’t at that point yet. Not yet. A couple of people called the cops on me. I get that my message was cryptic. It wasn’t a lie, though. I went for a drive instead. I didn’t have it in me to flip the car, though I swerved a few times.

The first of those two things did happen, to an extent. As you’d expect, there were messages of support, mostly from strangers who messaged me. They were kind. But they were strangers. And strangers can’t quite reach you. Thank you to those of you who did, it is appreciated. Even if it didn’t have the intended effect.

The support from Balance staff was — slow. They removed his access to the staff channels pretty quickly. But it took over 24 hours to come to the decision to ban him.

Now, please keep in mind, he confessed to the events as I stated them. He labeled it as only a “misunderstanding” sure, and claimed we had a non-verbal dynamic — but that only applies to people in a relationship. And we were very expressly not in one.

Meaning, he admitted to it. And there was evidence to support the claim.

And it still took them 24 hours to decide on the ban.

Zyrk, of all people, tried to lobby for him to stay in the server.

Let me say it louder for the people in the back: He sexually assaulted me.

We good on that point? Okay let’s continue.

In the immediate aftermath, as expected, most of the community shut him off. Made him out to be a villain. And he is one. Oh boy is he one. But that’s not the story here. Notably, of our raid group (which included myself, Blake, and Rachel), of the remaining 5 members, only two messaged me. The other three? Radio silence.

That stung. These were people who I had played with and known for years. I know they all saw the post. They were the ones I needed the most reassurance from. But they weren’t there. I still don’t know if some of them took the other two’s side, or if they just didn’t know what to say to me.

In the other community channels that were letting me vent – people were annoyed that I was more bothered by the betrayal than the assault, and had more animosity for Rachel’s part in everything than for Blake’s. But, see, there’s two points there: the betrayal was fresh, the assault I had already started to recover from, and the assault I could understand the circumstances of, I couldn’t — I can’t wrap my brain around the rest.

See, she was the only person I confided in about the events in February. She also knew I wasn’t okay. She also at no point ever called what happened to me assault, all she said was “as a victim of sexual assault herself” and then issued her judgement of me. She also blamed me for my miscommunication. She was also the one I constantly sent to check on Blake in the months following. She didn’t check on me more than once after. I initiated almost all of our conversations.

In short, she also knew everything and what I was going through. Also knew that Blake and I’s relationship was complicated, and wasn’t over. Also knew he had still loved me, and I him.

What sane person would say yes when asked out by someone who 1) assaulted your best friend, and 2) your best friend still had feelings for? It broke every level of common sense I know. Girl code. Moral code. Code code. It’s so extremely disgusting of her.

Blake — is stupid, when it comes to feelings. He seeks out affection like a heat seeking missile. And I (thought) I knew him well enough to make an educated guess at what happened. See, we first got together after I helped him through his divorce from his cheating ex-wife years ago. Bad woman out, good woman helping and caring. And now here was a woman being affectionate and caring to him when he was going through another really difficult time. A time when I had pulled away.

It’s fucked up, but it checks out. It’s also the same cause of the assault in the first place: he’s blinded by his dick. He needs therapy. Or I thought, anyways. He’s super codependent in some ways. I knew we were done as far as a relationship goes, that was the point of my TwitLonger post, but more than anything I wanted him to see the truth of everything, instead of hiding from it.

Of course, he wouldn’t listen to me after that. Please someone for the love of god get through to that boy and tell him to get help. What he’s done is disgusting. What he’s doing now with her is disgusting. But he doesn’t see it. Someone scream at him that replacing me for her won’t fix his codependency and other issues. He’s still just running from the problem and denying the cause. He’ll end up hurting someone else again, and/or himself. He. Needs. Help. And there’s no one left to show him. And I stupidly still believe he can learn to be better. I know I shouldn’t believe that. I know I should hate him. But I also know my assessment of him is correct.

But her? What was her “excuse?” She knew what I was going through. She knew my feelings. And she isn’t blinded by dick like I’ve been assuming he was. She knowingly also accepted this relationship offer despite everything she knew about the situation. About me. She had been a close friend to me for years. She’s slept in the guest room of my home.

She didn’t hesitate for a moment to sell me up the river for a man who offered her a relationship.

It’s killing me.

But that’s not what I really broke over, either. Not yet.

The Attempt

Blake and I had a private discord server we would hop into for our calls. “Privacy is Nice,” we called it PIN for short. We had various posts of memories and other things saved in there. On Sunday he went in and deleted every single message and every channel in it. Just like that, erased me. He was mad at me. He retaliated against me coming forward about the assault. Everything was gone, and it was irreversible.

He blamed me.

And I broke. I broke every way a soul can possibly shatter. I couldn’t. I can’t. I can’t comprehend any of it. How could he replace me so fast? How could he delete me so fast? How could he be mad at me for cutting everyone off from him? How is this my fault? He laid out the logs, spread out the kindling and the tinder and the firewood, poured gasoline over everything, and then got mad when all those bridges went up in smoke. Mad at me. I spiraled. I’m still spiraling. After everything he’s done to me, and every time he used me, how the fuck is it me he’s mad at and retaliating against? He’s the one who did this. He’s the one who’s making it so much worse.

I still don’t understand any of it. I still can’t reconcile my reality with what happened. I flip back and forth every day trying to make sense of any of it. Trying to figure out if the man I knew and loved ever existed at all. Doubting every aspect of my reality. Trusting nothing. Trusting no one. Trying to figure it out. Trying to find the reasons. Trying to figure out if he ever really cared. That if what he said was true, that I was the most important person in the world to him, and with everything he had done for me these past 3.5 years, how could he just delete me like that? So quickly? So quickly. Nothing made sense. Nothing makes sense. I just want answers. Asking me to not believe in the man I had known for these years is like asking me to believe I’m not breathing. I still can’t. It’s still killing me. I just want to understand.

I snapped for real that evening. I took my stuffed lamb with me as I drove up to my old hometown. I wrote a couple of letters with instructions of how to handle things, and swallowed a whole bottle of pills. I figured I could finish writing the rest of my goodbye letters while waiting for the meds kicked in.

But I still wanted answers before I went. That’s been the nag. So I sent him the following message:

I don’t know if you’ll get this, or if you’ve blocked me here too. I’ll try through my work phone or see if anyone else can contact you. 

I’ve… swallowed the whole bottle. 

Hopefully I fall asleep long before the organ failure kicks in so I won’t feel anything. 

I’m not doing this for you. It’s not to punish you, or to free you. This is for me. I’ve always wanted to just not “be.” But been too scared to find out if what’s on the other side is worse than this. It might be. But you’ll never know until you try, right? I’m… I just have no will anymore. I’ll see how many more letters I’ll get through before it kicks in. 

Don’t bother to scramble the cops after me or anyone else. You know me, I don’t do shit half assessed. This isn’t pomp and flare. I’m not at home. No one knows where I am. I’ve made my decision. I won’t talk to anyone else but you. I feel sorry for placing that burden on you. I’m not trying to blackmail you into talking to me, this is happening regardless. I just hoped maybe you’d still be there for me in the end. 

I don’t think you’re a bad person Blake. I will always love you.

And I did – I wanted him to still be there for me in the end. He was all I know. Knew. And I will always love him, or the version of him that I believed existed. That version that must have been a lie. But I wasn’t asking for him to call to save me. I wanted my answers. That’s all. I wanted to hear him say why he blamed me. 

I should’ve turned my phone off. It’s how they found me. It took an hour for him to call. By then a disguised cop car had pulled up behind where I was parked at the pond. I should have ditched the phones and drove, but the meds were already impairing me and the cop spooked me. I didn’t want this to fail, so I took off. I had a little less than half a tank of gas, I figured I could just keep driving until enough organ failure kicked in that by the time they caught me they wouldn’t be able to save me. I don’t think people realized how determined I was to die that night.

I’m stubborn. I don’t make a decision and waiver from it. Once I was doing it, I was doing it. It wasn’t a cry for help.

The police followed me through the neighborhoods I knew and grew up in. At one point I figured the highway would be safer to avoid other drivers and easier to keep space between the cops and I, so I pulled on to it. They kept their distance. Police lights off, no sirens. Clearly they knew what I was trying to do, and didn’t want to spook me into doing something more drastic like flipping the car. 

I was trying to avoid damaging the car so my roommate could have it and sell it. If I totaled it, it would be worthless to him once I was gone. Still, that option was on the table.

I led police on a chase through most of the width of the state of New Hampshire. Apparently I dipped into Massachusetts at some point too, though I don’t remember it.

My short term memory was completely shot. When Blake finally did call, I couldn’t even remember what question I was asking him as I was asking it. And I couldn’t remember what answers he gave right after he gave them. I do remember me repeatedly saying “what did I just ask?” with a heavily slurred voice.

I was hallucinating a bit too, seeing things on the road that weren’t there. Occasionally I heard sirens in the distance. I still don’t know if that was a hallucination or not. There were at any point three to eight cop cars tailing me, usually six in a formation though. One would break off and speed up ahead of me and use some remote to engage my anti-lock brakes to get me to slow down. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Granted most of the time I actually stayed within the speed limit, I only sped up when they got too close to me. I didn’t want to endanger anyone else. But I also didn’t know if they were going to try to hit me to spin out. I’d see them take the next exit and disappear. I think that’s when they flicked on their sirens, sped ahead to the next exit, and rejoined the formation. But I’m not really sure.

At some point near the coast, my mind was pretty far gone, and the highway was less highway and more of an urban through-way with too many turns, it was harder for me to keep my distance now. I think they laid out spikes at one point because I remember my car shaking violently as I went over something. I was coming up on a guard rail and they were coming up on my rear. They had blocked my path with more cars.They were calling my bluff.

I tried to speed up to smash it or the rail. There was loud banging and a pop, and my car slowed down and wouldn’t move any more. They had grappled one of my tires and it had popped off, rim and all.

I was arrested. For disobeying an officer and reckless driving. I don’t even remember disobeying them, technically they had their lights and sirens off the whole time. I’m being charged with a class A Misdemeanor and facing up to a $2,000 fine and a year of jail time. In Massachusetts my driver’s license has been suspended “indefinitely.”

Irony, right? Blake committed the real crime. But I’m the one facing jail time. And I’m the one who was a prisoner. For the sake of the record, after my release I did submit a police report for the assault, but I’m not exactly optimistic about it being brought to the DA. Sexual assault is hard to prove. Even when someone admits to it.

I remember the cop telling me it was easier if I sat down first and then swung my legs in. Because my hands were cuffed. I asked for my stuffed lamb, Lambie, that was in my car. They wouldn’t give him to me. I told them I’d comply better if I had him. I asked every 10 minutes until they put me in the ambulance and finally gave him to me. I love that stupid stuffed sheep.

They took me first, I think either to the police station or the fire station. I don’t remember which it was. Got me processed. Asked me some questions. At one point one of the firemen/EMTs asked me if I had consumed any alcohol. My response, “No, although that would’ve been a good idea.” I don’t think he was amused. They had had a rough night with me. It had only partially dawned on me the extent of what I had done. I was supposed to be dying.

After, I was taken to the emergency room. Vitals checked, heart and organs monitored. Observed for 24 hours. And then I was “voluntarily” committed to an inpatient psychiatric facility until such time as they thought I’d be fit for release (read those air quotes for me). No Lambie, no phones, no visitors, no spoons. I was terrified.

I’m telling you my story because I want you to understand both how royally fucked I am, but how sincerely I did not intend to make it out alive that night. I didn’t want to. I still wish I hadn’t. 

I have thousands of dollars of fees and fines ahead of me. I am more than likely going to lose my job. I want people to realize that I had zero plans of making it out. That my future is fucked. That I still wish I were dead. Give me the benefit of the doubt, I’m not particularly dumb. Sure I’m not the smartest person on the planet, clearly, but I like to think I’m a bit more clever than intentionally fucking up my future this badly. But that’s not the point of this post, either. 

See, the message I sent to Blake I sent to two or three other people I thought would be able to reach him too, in case he had blocked me. I can only track two in my DM history, though I thought it was three at the time. One was Dook (the MCH mentor), and the other was Lyra (Balance Admin, not the toad one). 

That’s it.

The Balance Response

There’s a pretty stark contrast both in the limited “audience” of this message compared to my very public TwitLonger post, and in my tone. Clearly one was a cry for help. The other was just a notification of my decision.

Those two did spread the word around, though. If I’m remembering correctly they did send something cryptic in the srs staff room asking if anyone knew my information, to use it. And Dook did put out a message in a channel on his server I had been active in. I don’t know how many total they alerted. But I was found incredibly quickly by the cops. And they had a stressful night, I can only guess. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was what would happen when I was finally released from the hospital 4 or 5 days later. 

I thought, during my inpatient stay, I’d have a community to go back to. I thought that I’d be able to take time away to heal and then as I did, eventually start back up on my projects I had put so much effort and care into.

Instead just an hour or two before my release from the hospital, I was sent this message by Head Admin Lyra:

I do want people to know I was forcibly removed from the role I had worked my ass off at for nearly three years. For something completely unrelated to the server.

Let’s wave away the fact that letting me know was an afterthought for now, and dive into the messaging here.

“There are a lot of sore individuals”
“Your conduct and your reasoning”

I’m sorry? I get that you’re sore from the experience, and I wasn’t exactly in my right mind when I placed that burden on you, but do we really want to compare stories of who is “sore?”

But the real kicker is the “conduct and reasoning.” I didn’t understand what he meant, to be perfectly honest. Is there a “right” way to conduct myself through everything that happened to me? But that’s not quite what he meant.

See, apparently, the moderation team has discussed “me” and have come to the conclusion my attempted suicide was just a “stunt” to get Blake back in my life. And somehow this conclusion constitutes my removal from staff. Because my life was in crisis, and I was (am) seriously mentally ill, I was forcibly removed for something I didn’t involve the server with at all. I only told two people whom I thought were friends. They both have me blocked.

So, yet again, I was reduced down to doing what a stereotypical girl would do, pulling crazy stunts to “get her man” back.

Fuck. Off.

You can’t even give me the modicum of respect to think if that was my intent I could’ve been slightly better about my “strategy” here? That I would figure out something to try to get him “back” that didn’t involve royally fucking my future? Let me guess, you all think I’m going to announce I’m pregnant next?

Even in my fucking suicide attempt I’m still facing the same old Balance. Where there’s a target on my back and no one takes me for my word. I’m just a stereotypical woman who does what all women do.

Here’s the part I can’t wrap my brain around though. Let’s suspend the truth for a bit. Let’s buy into the claim that it was a “stunt.” Okay. Then how the fuck is ripping me out of the community and blocking me an appropriate course of action? If it was as they said, and my head is so royally fucked that I want my abuser back in a relationship with me, why would you abandon me and leave me to the wolves?

That’s — that’s just not how you help someone in an abusive relationship. The really sad part is Lyra here has been in his own abusive relationship. And I’ve talked with him at length about it. I’ve supported him at length and for many more hours about it than he’s dealt with “mine” — which isn’t a point about the transactional nature, just that I’ve extended that hand of support before. Meaning, he should have an idea of what the appropriate reaction to a victim in an abusive situation is.

It sure as fuck ain’t this.

This is the message I want to leave the community with: If someone you know is in an abusive relationship, if someone you know is depressed and making bad choices, that’s when they need you there the most. That’s when, even when it seems like they’re just using you, that’s when you say “Hey, I know you think you know what you’re doing, but I’m still here for you. When you’re ready for help, I’ll be waiting right here.”

You can’t even give me the modicum of respect to think if that was my intent I could’ve been slightly better about my “strategy” here? That I would figure out something to try to get him “back” that didn’t involve royally fucking my future? Let me guess, you all think I’m going to announce I’m pregnant next?

Even in my fucking suicide attempt I’m still facing the same old Balance. Where there’s a target on my back and no one takes me for my word. I’m just a stereotypical woman who does what all women do.

Here’s the part I can’t wrap my brain around though. Let’s suspend the truth for a bit. Let’s buy into the claim that it was a “stunt.” Okay. Then how the fuck is ripping me out of the community and blocking me an appropriate course of action? If it was as they said, and my head is so royally fucked that I want my abuser back in a relationship with me, why would you abandon me and leave me to the wolves?

That’s — that’s just not how you help someone in an abusive relationship. The really sad part is Lyra here has been in his own abusive relationship. And I’ve talked with him at length about it. I’ve supported him at length and for many more hours about it than he’s dealt with “mine” — which isn’t a point about the transactional nature, just that I’ve extended that hand of support before. Meaning, he should have an idea of what the appropriate reaction to a victim in an abusive situation is.

It sure as fuck ain’t this.

This is the message I want to leave the community with: If someone you know is in an abusive relationship, if someone you know is depressed and making bad choices, that’s when they need you there the most. That’s when, even when it seems like they’re just using you, that’s when you say “Hey, I know you think you know what you’re doing, but I’m still here for you. When you’re ready for help, I’ll be waiting right here.”

Because that’s all you can do for someone.

I posted this in a tweet, but supporting suicide victims is apparently a lot like pro life supporters. They stop at nothing to save the life. But once the life is out of immediate danger, they want nothing to do with all the help it needs. And that after phase is the truly difficult part. That’s me right now. With no one here left to support me. They called the cops and found me. Their part is “done” as far as they’re concerned. They can wash their hands of me.

The big trick with any mental illness is that you can’t help someone with it until they’re ready to accept help. That night, I very clearly wasn’t ready to accept help. I ignored all of them and shut them off. Because I had mentally brokedown, literally, in every way possible. 

And I thought, stupidly, that this community would know I needed their help when I was ready for it.

Not a single staff member has reached out to me following the “decision” that was made. Not one.

I thought after everything I gave to this community, and to the individuals involved in it, that maybe, just maybe, this one time that I needed them most, they’d be there.

The reality of it isn’t at all as they claim. I just wanted answers, and only one person has them. And he’s not going to tell me. 

Do I still love him? I do. I haven’t found the off button yet; I’ve been looking. And I’m also very sick in the head. And very fucked. I don’t want him back. But I do want to understand. All I wanted was answers. And I guess I wanted a close friend to me that I could talk to about any of this. I’ve been using DMs to Blake to air my thoughts because while I know he’s not reading them, at least they’re being put down somewhere. 

But until I understand, I can’t move on. I keep trying. I haven’t moved an inch. 

And I’m completely alone now.

I nearly cut myself open last night. But now I have no one but strangers to say that to. And fuck if I want to talk to strangers.

I am quitting this community. I have been beaten and battered by the worst of everything you all have thrown at me and then some. And I endured. Because I wanted to help those who wanted it. Because you’re the ones that matter, and all of the rest throwing these beatings at me don’t.

But I just can’t anymore.

I’m sorry.

Please be better to the person who follows where I tread.

— All the best,
Levi

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