Blacked out one night stand
July 16, 2011 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Feel disgusted and don't know how I can live with myself after drunken one night stand.

I'm a single mom who has been so depressed and lonely lately. I have the most beautiful little girl in the world and want more than anything to be a good, stable and happy, healthy mom for her. I have a great job but being away from her so much is so hard. I feel helpless at times because of money issues and because i am so alone, besides her of course.

A couple months ago I decided enough was enough with my self pity. I started running and telling myself it's ok to be single and I can still be a good role model for my daughter by working hard, studying and running. I thought I was feeling better, and then I did something so awful a couple days ago.

I was away for work, and for some reason my coworker told a 24 year old intern that I thought he was hot. I'm 37. She bought him a drink, said it was from me, and asked him to come over to talk to me. I was mortified, but with the urging of other coworkers to just let go and have fun, I went to have another drink with him elsewhere.

The rest of the night is in bits and pieces. I remember him getting me another drink, and then being in his room and then being on his bed with my shirt off, I think. I remember him getting dressed and I was just so upset and felt humiliated. I just have a feeling he said something really awful and mean, probably telling me to get out, but I have absolutely no idea what happened. I went to another coworkers room and just cried to her, but the next day she said I couldn't tell her what happened, and that I didn't look disheveled or anything.

I woke up the next morning feeling more hungover than I ever have, and feeling so disgusted that as a mother I could do something like this. I can usually handle my alcohol well, and something like this hasn't happened to me since college, and even in that instance I could remember more than this time. I can remember parts of the night, but absolutely nothing about the sex or anything else we might have done. Now I am also terrified that his roomate might have been in the room too...what if he took pictures..what if it gets back to my bosses?

I know it's my fault this happened...I just don't know how to live with myself. I can barely look at my daughter, how could I be such a horrible mother? What if this gets out and she has to live with everyone knowing how disgusting her mom is? What can I possibly do to redeem myself?
posted by aprilc34 to Human Relations (78 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Look, you made a mistake. Most of us have made mistakes. I've made worse ones than you did.

Is it possible he slipped you a date rape drug? I have a feeling that might have happened.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:46 PM on July 16, 2011 [44 favorites]

Best answer: Unless your daughter witnessed all this, I can't see how it reflects upon your ability as a mother. One way you can redeem this feeling you have is to clean up whatever messes arrive in connection and keep trudging forward to do your best. Be THAT role model, the one that knows mistakes occur but can get back on her feet and blaze ahead.

Also, when I'm depressed and lonely, I find drinking doesn't end up the way I'd hope.
posted by _paegan_ at 6:48 PM on July 16, 2011 [21 favorites]

How much did you have to drink? What;s your usual alcohol tolerance? The blacking out + bad hangover + other circumstances make it sound like someone might have slipped something into your drink, honestly. How well do you know the coworker who set this up?

That's just a side issue, though. The main thing I want to say is that you aren't in any way a bad person because of this. At worst, you made a couple of not-so-great decisions you aren't comfortable with now, but it sounds like you're under a lot of stress and were being urged on to let loose by other people. And honestly, what happened to you sounds a lot like something that could be considered sexual assault. What you do with that is up to you, and it sounds like you just want to move on and forget this, but still. You aren't disgusting and IMO, you're closer to the victim in this situation. To "redeem" yourself, keep taking care of yourself and maybe add some therapy to the running, because this sounds like it was really traumatic on top of everything else you have going on in your life.
posted by MadamM at 6:50 PM on July 16, 2011 [7 favorites]

Absolutely nothing about this says you're a horrible mother. Regardless of what happened in that room, your daughter is safe, healthy, and happy, with a loving mother who is supremely concerned for her welfare. If only all children were that lucky.

You made a mistake. Do what needs to be done to make sure you weren't taken advantage of in any way, then let it go.
posted by phunniemee at 6:50 PM on July 16, 2011 [8 favorites]

If something happened while you were too drunk to remember, the person who should have trouble living with themselves is whoever took advantage of you.
posted by Badmichelle at 6:50 PM on July 16, 2011 [101 favorites]

whoa whoa whoa.

firstly, this has nothing to do with your daughter.

why would you think that his roommate was there, or that pictures were taken? how could three drinks make you that blacked out?

it is normal to feel shame after a mistake, but this feels really overblown to me. many, many people have done what you did. you start out your post saying you are so depressed...this may be the time to reach out for counseling.

i would ask the coworker who bought him a drink what she thinks of him, if she trusts him. if you feel you were really not able to consent to whatever happened, you were raped. i keep coming back to the 3 drink may have been drugged.
posted by virginia_clemm at 6:52 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I know it's my fault this happened...

Please stop this right now. It is not helping you.

There is a chance you may have been date raped with drugs added to your drink(s), though it's way too far after the fact to have any real knowledge of that.

Take this one day at a time. Focus on what you are doing right now. Leave the past behind you as much as you can, while also seeking an impartial third party to help you work through how you got into that situation, and to develop real and effective strategies for protecting yourself in the future. (Yes, I am suggesting a therapist. I really got a lot out of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, as a survivor of trauma. This experience that you're relating sounds like it was traumatic for you, as he called you names and you were embarassed, during and after the event.)

You can take steps to be the role model you wish to be, but that requires you to keep in mind that this is not your fault. If you were drugged and taken advantage of, the person who did that is to blame. And you might not get justice on that front. But please stop taking it out on yourself.
posted by bilabial at 6:52 PM on July 16, 2011

You aren't a disgusting person. You should not let this shame you are feeling run your life or effect your daughter.

As mentioned above, it sounds like you were slipped a date rape drug. That was my very first thought when I read your question.

Seek help for the expierence and figure out what you need to do to help you get passed this.

For repeats sake: You are not not not not an awful person.
posted by Sweetmag at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2011

First off - I don't know how this makes you a bad mother. You're mother - you love your daughter, but you're also a human being, entitled to a) have fun and b) have intimacy/sex. Neither of those things make you a bad person.

The second thing is - you have no idea what happened, and we can speculate but I don't know how helpful it is. Just know that you need to assert your boundaries and not be goaded into doing things by co-workers that you don't necessarily want to do - after all, they don't have to deal with it, you do. None of them behaved appropriately in this situation.

But, look out for you - you're the only one who can really do it.
posted by mleigh at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

If there were a list of Horrible Things Mothers Have Done, this wouldn't make the top million. There isn't even anything to be at fault about, and you're not at fault even if there were.

AskMeFi forgives you, and we hope you can forgive yourself.
posted by Etrigan at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2011 [34 favorites]

You haven't done anything wrong. You didn't hurt anyone or take anything that didn't belong to you or do anything that thousands of perfectly nice people don't do all the time. You are not disgusting or terrible or a bad mother or irredeemable in any way.

You did something you regret. And now you're feeling guilty about it. It's perfectly normal to feel that way. It may help to realize that your feelings of regret and worry and panic and fear will subside over time. You will not feel this way forever, and as time passes and none of the terrible things you're worried about happen, you'll start to feel more and more like yourself again. This too shall pass.

It sounds like, however, there are some underlying things going on in your life that are making it harder for you to put this in perspective. If you're depressed, that's a medical condition, and there are doctors and professional counselors and others who can help you get a handle on that. If you're lonely, that's also fixable, and there are single parent support groups and friends and other methods of beginning to feel less alone. Being a single parent is really tough, and you shouldn't feel the least bit badly about having a hard time with it and needing help. And I suspect that once you start to get some more support in other areas of your life, you'll be able to put this one incident, which does not define you, in better perspective.
posted by decathecting at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2011 [7 favorites]

Also, I agree with others above who say that it's possible you were drugged. If I were you, I'd schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can, both to talk about that possibility and your options for dealing with it, and to talk about ways you might be able to get help with the other issues you're dealing with. If you don't have a doctor, Planned Parenthood should be able to help and to connect you with other community resources that could help.
posted by decathecting at 6:55 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: feeling so disgusted that as a mother I could do something like this... I can barely look at my daughter, how could I be such a horrible mother?

Oh, honey, give yourself a break -- I beg you. Becoming a mother doesn't mean you became some otherworldly, perfect being who never has a hard time. You are not disgusting. You have not endangered or hurt your child. I don't know what happened between you and your coworker, but I do know that no matter what happened, you haven't done anything wrong and you are a human being worthy of kindness and love.

If you won't stop beating yourself up for your sake, do it for your daughter. She needs you to model self-compassionate behavior, not self-loathing.
posted by scody at 6:56 PM on July 16, 2011 [67 favorites]

I'm so sorry that this happened to you. OP, I know, know, KNOW the self-loathing that comes along with doing things that don't reflect your genuine values and waking up the next morning and being like......oh lord, I'm sorry.


As others have pointed out, how does this mean you are a bad mother? Answer? It doesn't. It means that you, like about nine million other single American mothers, and mothers single, not, whatever the world over, are human. it means that you have more on your plate right now than most people could even begin to imagine successfully navigating. It means that you (it kinda seems) got taken advantage of by someone who should have been, well, a decent person. It means, in essence, that yep, you're one of us.

Parents aren't marble-sculpted Greek gods. Parents are human. They manage, mostly with remarkable success, to raise, feed, clothe, educate, and comfort their children. The children, on their end, display a truly amazing tendency to grow up, enjoy the beauty of life, laugh at funny jokes, love others, and basically renew the cycle.

Again, I'm very sorry that you're feeling the way you are, I've been there, and I hope that this went at least a little way toward helping the bleakness and depression. You are NOT a bad parent, and you are NOT a bad person. Consider yourself hugged by an Internet stranger, and truly, I wish for you all the wonderful things that you and your li'l one deserve.

MeMail me if you want to talk more. I say again, I've been there and I wish you nothing but the best.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 7:04 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

What in the world did you do that you think harmed your daughter? Was she alone for the night? How in particular do you think what you did affected her?
posted by jasper411 at 7:08 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're a little too wrapped up in what your daughter would think of activities she doesn't even know about. Maybe you need to stretch your wings a bit, develop some sort of life outside of work and her? Yeah, that's extremely hard for a single mom to do and may not even be possible in your case, but either way, waving a one night stand does not make your a terrible person or mother.

Flipping back through your previous questions, it looks like you've had a rough year with relationships. Cut yourself some slack, you're only human and no doubt overloaded with being a single, working mom.

The blackout does sound odd though. I don't know if you should talk to the intern or not, your work relationship with him doesn't isn't clear and who knows what happened or if he'd tell you the truth. A visit to the doctor to check for any STD's might be a good idea..

You'll live with this and carry it because life goes on and this is far from the most important thing that has or will ever occur in your life. Acknowledge the mistake, learn from it (don't mess around with people from work) and move on. What your daughter sees in you and loves about you is far greater and more important than any mistake you might have made in this incident.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

One more voice added to the chorus:

There is no connection between having sex and being a bad mother.

They are as related as eating a potato chip and being a good golfer.

This isn't even a matter of "not being that bad"-- it's not bad at all, in the least.

Wanting sex is human and natural and healthy.

A given sexual experience, by definition, doesn't always match the ideal, and that's fine.

In fact, it's normal.
posted by darth_tedious at 7:11 PM on July 16, 2011 [18 favorites]

Best answer: I'm going to assume for the moment that your drink wasn't tampered with. Being a Mom does not make you not a woman. Does not cross off the sex drive, the desire for human contact, the urge to seek someone to hold you, or just someone to have fun with. It may not be your priority because you are a Mom, but you are a human being and acknowledging that is valuable. It gives you room to forgive yourself, if you did something, that in retrospect, you were not happy with.

Any two people can sleep with each other. Especially when there's alcohol involved. And yes, you can wake up the next morning going AWwww BAD MOVE, or even wake up halfway through the act and realize this is not what you want to be doing. You have to let it go. It's really not something to hate yourself for, just don't make a habit of it.

But it sounds like something a lot more complicated is going on here. Something bad happened, and whether it was a mickey fin, or you just not handling your baggage while drunk and naked, you've got some processing to do.

Try and keep your child out of it. You're not letting her down by having one bad night. So try and keep it in perspective. These things only become the child's issue if WE make them the child's issue.

But do be kind to yourself. I've done stupid twice with people I knew I never wanted to be with, and it's real easy to beat yourself up about it & the nerves afterwards are Hell. Especially when you know you'll have to deal with them again. Hold your head high, pull yourself together, and don't worry about your child; no one's tearing up your Good Mom card over this.
posted by Ys at 7:13 PM on July 16, 2011 [9 favorites]

First off, I echo what others have said here that is is not your fault no matter what happened. It just isn't. Also, this has nothing to do with your being a good mother or not, that's a separate thing. If your love your daughter and she feels that love, that's all that matters there.

You either made a decision you later regretted or something bad happened to you. We all do the former and it's something that you have to forgive yourself for and try to move on. The latter is horrible and in no way your fault if it did happen that way.
posted by inturnaround at 7:18 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Consider talking with a rape crisis counselor, even if you don't think you were raped. And consider going to an AA meeting. Don't beat yourself up anymore. You made a mistake, it's done, it's over, and it has no bearing on your ability to be a wonderful mom. Do some fun things with your kid this weekend, and when she's asleep read a good book, give yourself a break from it all. You'll feel better soon.
posted by mareli at 7:19 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

And consider going to an AA meeting.

posted by babbyʼ); Drop table users; -- at 7:29 PM on July 16, 2011 [28 favorites]

Wow. So much good advice up above. Can I make one more suggestion?

In the immediate, I think you should do maybe 4 sessions with a good acupuncturist in a nice, spa-like facility, or actually go to a spa to get some pampering, or do Yoga + a few great thai massage sessions (or other massage.)

Essentially, I think you need to do some healing bodywork that will lighten your spirit as well.

There are plenty of studies that prove human touch is both therapeutic and NECESSARY for happiness. This is not bullshit.

I think you need some of that pampering and health. Go get it.

PS (acupuncture and (maybe) massage may be covered under your health insurance. Don't let money stop you here. Taking care of you is taking care of your child. I have one, I know:)
posted by jbenben at 7:33 PM on July 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: So many kind people on this site...thank you.
I know my daughter wasn't really harmed in any way from this, but I'm just so ashamed and it hurts me to know I put myself in a situation that I would never want her to be in. Like I said, I want to lead by example. Of course I will never tell her of this, but I just feel so guilty. I know it's normal to have womanly needs, but sometimes I feel that as a mom I should just be home baking cookies instead, or that I should have just settled for a nice, safe life with her Dad.

I have tried counseling before, but feelings of being a bad person and guilt have plagued me my whole life. I think it's time to give therapy another shot.

Thanks again for your replies, they really did comfort me.
posted by aprilc34 at 7:36 PM on July 16, 2011 [8 favorites]

If you're going to beat yourself up for every very human mistake you make, then your daughter may only learn that mistakes are not allowed. Please don't teach her that.
posted by rtha at 7:38 PM on July 16, 2011 [60 favorites]

Agree that it sounds like you may have been drugged. And rtha makes a very good point above.

But regardless of whether you were drugged or not, the only way this would mean you were a bad mother is if you had left your daughter home alone while it all happened.

I was a single mother throughout my kid's entire childhood. I can tell you that if you don't occasionally blow off some steam and let yourself have a good time, you will lose your mind. And that won't be good for your daughter. You can be a wonderful mother and still take time for yourself occasionally.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:47 PM on July 16, 2011

sometimes I feel that as a mom I should just be home baking cookies instead, or that I should have just settled for a nice, safe life with her Dad.

No. And I say this as the daughter of a divorced couple. You can't live just for your daughter, you'll be miserable and then your daughter will be miserable, too.
posted by clearlydemon at 7:48 PM on July 16, 2011 [22 favorites]

You haven't mentioned how you feel about your co-workers knowing about all this shenanigans. Is it possible that you're taking that bundle of emotions & transfering it to your daughter? Because in a much more practical sense, that is where the damage control will be needed. Untangle your child from this mess of reactive emotions & just let her love you despite your mistakes. I have a little girl. They have so much to teach us about unconditional love. They really, really don't care about the screwups. When you feel bad, just let her love you.
posted by Ys at 7:53 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

OMG girl you are SO not bad, SO not awful, SO not a bad mom because of this.

From your story I honestly think you were roofied. I hope you are OK.
posted by tristeza at 7:59 PM on July 16, 2011

I know I've already commented in here, but firstly I want to tell you (aprilc34) that the update was much appreciated, and secondly, gong off that update, I ask you to think about this:

Do you want your daughter to think that "staying home baking cookies" is the only viable option that she has? And that if she doesn't do so every single night she's a failure and a waste and a horrible woman?

Didn't think so. Listen, OP, bad things happen to good people. It is a frequent consequence of putting yourself out there and living a life beyond home (especially for women, regrettably). But you know what? Living that life "out there" is what every human being needs to do. It IS. There's a lot of beauty and joy and learning out there too, which the constant cookie-baker never gets to see.

Think of what you'd tell your daughter, many years down the road, if (God forbid) she came to you with this problem. What would you tell her?

You are a good, compassionate, concerned, loving mother. would you really tell your beautiful child that she was a "bad person" for risking contact with the world? Again....didn't think so. You deserve all the love that she does, too, you know. The more I read this, the more it seems that you were "less sinning than sinned against." Again, I am very sorry for your heartache and I can only say, be gentle with yourself. treat yourself the way you'd treat your beautiful daughter.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 8:08 PM on July 16, 2011 [12 favorites]

I'm sorry that you're going through this.

If you're not clear on what happened, you may have had unprotected sex. As this was a couple of days ago, you should still be in the window for emergency contraception, but you'll need to act fast. I would try to get an appointment first thing tomorrow.

You should also get a full battery of STI tests, either at the same time, or with your regular doctor or gynaecologist.

I know you just want to forget about what happened, and talking with doctors is the anthesis of that, but it's going to be many times more difficult if you discover you're pregnant in a month or two.
posted by Georgina at 8:08 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Here's the thing: let's say you *decided* to do this. A 37 year old woman having a drink or two and having a sexual encounter with a hot 24 year old. You know what that sounds like? Kinda awesome. Sounds like you must be hot too.

Your experience wasn't awesome--maybe you have blocked it out or maybe had more to drink that you realized. But, wow, this happened months ago and you are still feeling bad? I do think it's time to talk to someone.

You seem to have some idea that a mother should be purity and light. Hogwash. Mothers are women--obviously, or we wouldn't be mothers!

I have the most beautiful little girl in the world and want more than anything to be a good, stable and happy, healthy mom for her.
Here's some good news: you can be all this AND be a sexually active woman. Becoming a mom doesn't mean never cutting loose again. You get to be happy, too.

As this was a couple of days ago...
Georgina, it was a couple of *months* ago.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:20 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

As this was a couple of days ago...
Georgina, it was a couple of *months* ago

She started running a couple of months ago - the encounter was a couple of days ago.
posted by la petite marie at 8:26 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

it hurts me to know I put myself in a situation that I would never want her to be in. Like I said, I want to lead by example.

When she does something she feels crummy about, years from now? You will be able to offer total forgiveness and a fully empathetic "Oh, sweetie. Mummy has done stupid stuff, too. It hurts for a bit but..." and you will be able to offer useful insights from your real life. I can't imagine that living a sheltered or "perfect" life makes good parenting, full of empathic concern, easy. Of course you hope she doesn't have a drunk one-nighter, but that's far from uncommon, and would you really want to judge her like you're judging yourself if you found out she did? Yikes.
posted by kmennie at 8:31 PM on July 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

Good heavens, dear, you had a drunken one-nighter. That's all it was. That's it. Chalk it up to Shit That Happened That You Won't Do Again. I think of stuff like this as part of making me the person that I am now, who is certainly not perfect but is beloved by someone that wouldn't have me any other way. Move on.
posted by puddinghead at 8:32 PM on July 16, 2011

As this s this was a couple of days ago...
Georgina, it was a couple of *months* ago

She started running a couple of months ago - the encounter was a couple of days ago.

Oops! Sorry Georgina! Thanks Marie!
posted by bluedaisy at 8:36 PM on July 16, 2011

Not that the point really needs to be repeated yet again, but nthing that you have done nothing to be ashamed of. Your fears that the man may have taken pictures or that his roommate may have been present, although understandable, are probably unrealistic anxieties -- unless you have a specific reason to believe these things, what are the odds?

Although it's certainly conceivable that the OP was drugged/raped -- and a medical followup sounds wise to investigate that possibility, as well as to investigate any STD issues -- I'm sort of uncomfortable that it's emerging as a sort of consensus that that's likely. No one in this thread knows what happened.
posted by foursentences at 8:43 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

It sounds to me like therapy is an important part of finding out how to change this thinking pattern for you, and I'm glad you mentioned you're willing to give it a try. Even long-term thought patterns like this can begin to change with a little work. I know you can do this. I want to suggest something that you can try in this moment, though. Pretend for a moment that this is 30 years in the future, and it's your daughter who is the mom in this story, and she is feeling so guilty and ashamed. I *know* that you would never condemn her to the same kinds of judgments you make about yourself here. You don't deserve that from yourself, just as she wouldn't deserve it from you. You're a good mom, and that does not mean you have to not be a complete person unto yourself, too.

Always, always, always, as a mother--understand that the ways you treat yourself, you are teaching your daughter to treat herself. You can tell her fifteen million times a day that she's beautiful and worth her weight in gold, but if you turn around and treat yourself as though you are a horrible person, she will see that and internalize it, and she might learn in the end to value herself just as little as you do.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:01 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Give it a week and see how you feel. Then give it a month and see how you feel. I hate to say that time heals all wounds but frankly, whenever I've done something I regret, the feeling of regret doesn't disappear overnight. If this just happened a few days ago and it's not something you usually do, then it's possible you're just in this frantic "processing" mode where you're trying to figure it all out. There's nothing wrong with that. You mentioned that you have felt feelings of guilt and whatnot throughout your life. This is probably why you're extra upset right now. I'd like to guess that your average person would probably feel less intense versions of what you're feeling, so the fact that you're flipping out a bit is your personal version of normal, if that makes any sense.
posted by thorny at 9:07 PM on July 16, 2011

You put too much pressure on yourself. Far too much. One mistake does not a disaster make. ....unless you run a nuclear power plant... anyway!

My on topic point: Don't settle. Aren't you.... and your daughter... worth more?

I often find that single moms get their sense of self/being/worth from their children. Normal, but probably not ideal.

So gracefully has some very good points :)

Ok. I'm going to give thoughts, here. Some of them may sound harsh (and probably are) but I mean well. Feel free to skip this. You were warned. :)

Do you like yourself?

You probably said yes to this. The immediate follow up is, do you love yourself? I sorta don't think you do. (I may be getting the wrong impression from this post. which is about an obviously upsetting experience. Anybody would be upset about it.)

I've never met you, but I want you to like yourself. I want you to love yourself. No, it's not selfish. It is like cleaning crud out of a fountain- it makes things better for everybody.

Do you think God can forgive you? (not imposing any religious beliefs here. If the question is not applicable, skip it :) )
If not, why not?

When did you first feel this way? Who caused it? What lies do you believe... maybe even tell yourself?

Hopefully, some of these will help. Its tough, but you ARE worthy of good things.

As always, you are welcome to mail me :)
posted by Jacen at 9:08 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Of course I will never tell her of this

Seems to me that you'd be better off deciding that you will tell her of this at some appropriate time (not soon!). That way, she will get to find out that her awesome, amazing Mom has also done some things she wishes she hadn't, and that the fact that your daughter has just done something like that doesn't make her broken and doomed.

How much better would you be feeling right now if your own mother had told you one or two stories about regrettable things she did? Because she did do regrettable things. We all do regrettable things.

Regret is appropriate. Beating yourself up for being a bad person is not. You really don't need to do that.
posted by flabdablet at 9:11 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

No one in this thread knows what happened.

Most people in this thread have not suffered blackouts and memory loss after two or three non-spiked drinks. So unless there was in fact much more drinking involved than was implied in the question, it seems to me that the experiences reported are quite consistent with ingestion of rohypnol or GHB.
posted by flabdablet at 9:14 PM on July 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

You didn't do anything wrong. Even if you had a fantastic time you didn't do anything wrong. Don't displace the upset surrounding what sounds like a bad even onto your own sexuality/need for fulfilling adult relationships.

Your daughter doesn't need a mom who stays home every day and bakes cookies. She needs a strong and courageous mother who provides an example that a person can overcome adversity in love and in life. Showing her that the you can get through the break up of your relationship and come out a better person is a important thing. You doing this shows her that people can grow and change. You're also showing her that women can be great mothers and also great people who take care of themselves.

A happy mother is a good mother. Please take care of yourself
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 9:27 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am on scody's team with this.

You're human!

Your needs and desires deserve to be met. In my movie, no matter how horrible this may seem or feel to you you've made an attempt to get these needs met. Because of this I don't feel that you should have regrets for what has happened. Yes, the "what happened" sucks. And as reprehensible/regretful/disgusting as it may seem the desire to connect came from somewhere. Commend yourself on this. And continue to move forward on it. Now you know what you don't want.

Someone I know would say that you "died a shaman's death"

I repeat, these desires need to be met!

Someone in thread mentioned bodywork, spa, doing yoga. YES!

As for role models, there is what your child see's and what your child "see's" What I mean by this is similar to an experience I had when in the hospital with severe head injuries. Nurses came in and out of the hospital room doing their work, taking my vitals, etc. Then one nurse showed up and I saw that she was "lit up" Bright! At that moment I said to myself, "I want her around because if she's around I "know" I am going to get better.

Get full. Self-loathing empties. It's a drag on your spirit. It sucks. Literally. Think about that. In that light, do you think your daughter wants to see you full or empty.

And yes, being made love to well and by someone who cares is a filling and self-compassionate thing. It is worth seeking out and getting, especially on your own terms. This all of us (I hope) are in the process of learning.

Right on, Spacewarp13
posted by goalyeehah at 9:33 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to chime in to say that while it sounds like you could have been drugged, it also sounds like what happens when people have too much to drink.

I would talk to a doctor and see if you can figure out what happened, but in light of so many people here suggesting that there was date-rape drugs involved, I would encourage you to be sure before any accusations have been made officially or unofficially (like, in discussions with friends or coworkers). I have seen a person have their life destroyed over accusations that later proved false.
posted by Nightman at 9:50 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I know it's my fault this happened...

It's NOT your fault, and you didn't do anything wrong.
posted by Diag at 9:58 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, mama, it's going to be okay. Give yourself some room, here. Something happened that wounded you but has not (and won't) touch your little one. Yes, please, find a professional who can help you with action-oriented therapy to pull you out of the rough emotional space you are in. You do not deserve the internal beating you are giving yourself. You deserve comfort and peace.

As others have said, many children have parents who have done much worse...and many of those same children still love their parents and grow up to thrive. It all depends on how you handle the emotional turmoil that is eating you up.

I'm sorry your attempt at reaching out for adult contact became so ugly, but do not take that ugliness onto yourself. Someone else took advantage of and/or derided your vulnerability in a deeply personal moment. That is their shame, not yours.

You are loved. You are doing good things for yourself and your baby. It's hard to be strong all the time, and this is incredibly difficult. Be patient with yourself. Allow lessons to stand but don't rend yourself over them. Learn and move on. Hold your head up high, do the best you can, and know that there will be time in the future to lavish upon her because of the hard work you are doing now.

This is the best example you can set for her - life is not easy, mistakes happen, and using them to learn and recover is true success.
posted by batmonkey at 10:28 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Clearly you're miserable and you're trying to figure out how to make it better. But I think the problem isn't what you did-- it's that you have these powerful and wildly disproportionate feelings of guilt and shame that are distorting how you feel about what happened.

Seriously, I have a hard time even wrapping my mind around how the feelings you describe-- that what you did was "so awful," that you're "disgusting," you don't know how to live with yourself, you can "barely look" at your daughter, it's your "fault," it makes you a horrible mother-- match with what actually happened. It's almost inconceivable to me from an outside perspective how what you did could possibly justify anyone judging you that way. I mean, I don't think you did anything wrong in the first place, but I doubt that even the nastiest most judgmental conservative sex-negative people I can think of would be as hard on you as you're being on yourself.

To me what you're saying just sounds like the equivalent of when a deeply depressed person does something minor and is convinced it means they're worthless and don't deserve to live, or a person with anxiety does something innocuous that no one notices but is convinced that everyone is staring at them and laughing. It feels to me like you're looking at yourself in a distorted funhouse mirror, and you think that because you feel so guilty and ashamed about what you did, that it must mean that you did something wrong that's worth feeling ashamed of-- rather than noticing the mirror itself is the problem and the distorted reflection it shows you doesn't really match the real world at all. You're not disgusting, you didn't do anything awful, this doesn't make you a bad mother. You're just a person with a tendency to feel overly guilty and ashamed about yourself, and this is triggering all of that for you.

I hope this is coming off the right way. I don't mean to say "you're crazy for feeling the way you do"-- I'm just so sorry you're feeling the way you are, and I just want you to see that I really think the problem isn't what you did, it's the way you're thinking about it, and that's something you can change so you can feel better about this situation and about other things in your future. Therapy sounds like a really good idea, and I hope you'll try to lighten up and be kind to yourself as best you can. How would you comfort and support your daughter if someday she came to you feeling the way you do and told you the story you've told us? Can you try to show yourself the same compassion and love you would give to her?

Good luck!
posted by EmilyClimbs at 10:38 PM on July 16, 2011 [7 favorites]

I agree with what other people are saying, so I won't belabor my feeling that you may have been drugged and that this experience does not make you a bad mother. Please, the best example you can set for yourself is that a woman needs to treat herself with love and forgiveness even when she lets herself down.

As for your fear that your coworker may have taken pictures -- well, there are three things you can do: ask him if he took pictures (not really recommended), worry yourself sick about not knowing (not at all recommended) or tell yourself that if he did, there's nothing you can do about it for right now.

Then, if it turns out that he did take pictures and they start floating around the workplace, come back to us and we'll tell you how to slam that jerk with a sexual harassment complaint and make sure he knows it's not OK to make people feel upset and humiliated. Also, that coworker? Yeah, she's not your friend.

As for your general depression regarding single motherhood, you probably do need to talk to a better therapist. Or maybe you could sign your daughter up for some age-appropriate group or club where you would meet other women your age, some of whom would also be single and probably looking for a friend just like you.
posted by motsque at 10:41 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't really think there is much evidence here for being drugged. People black out all the time. And it is especially easy for alcohol to affect you strangely if you have been under a lot of stress, or are taking medication, or have not eaten enough, or are dehydrated. (maybe the op went for a very long run that day?) I believe there was a study recently showing that most cases of supposed roofie-ing were actually just too much to drink.
posted by yarly at 10:47 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Imagine your daughter as a responsible, striving, wonderful woman. Imagine her coming home to you and telling you this happened to her. How would you respond? How would you feel about her? About the intern?

(I agree that the blacking out is really suspicious, but it is possible to get that drunk on less alcohol than you can usually handle. Two weeks ago, I got flat-out, room-spinningly blasted on two glasses of white wine because I drank them on an empty stomach and was dehydrated. Whichever happened, it doesn't change how you should feel about yourself. Normal adults drink. Sometimes they get intoxicated. The intern, whether or not he drugged you, acted like a complete ass and took advantage of you. He is responsible for his own behavior, and he is not trustworthy.)

You're engaging in some pretty negative cognitive distortions. I'm glad you're considering brushing up with some therapy.
posted by moira at 11:16 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can barely look at my daughter, how could I be such a horrible mother? What if this gets out and she has to live with everyone knowing how disgusting her mom is? What can I possibly do to redeem myself?

If I found out that it was *my* mom in the scenario you describe, the absolute last thing I would be thinking was that she was a horrible mother or disgusting. I would be concerned for her and want to make sure she was okay, and do what I could to help make things better. I would also probably be glass-shatteringly enraged at the guy who had said nasty things to her. I can't even imagine the mental explosion I would have if I found out he'd drugged her drink, if he did do that. The furthest thing from my mind would be the idea that she did anything she needed to "redeem" herself for. And I had the ultimate straitlaced religious upbringing.

What is a disgusting person? This is what I think of as a disgusting person: those who abuse children or animals, those who derive pleasure from inflicting pain on innocent people, those who hurt others and don't care. Do you do any of those things? It doesn't sound like you do. It sounds like you had a drink, flirted with a cute guy, and you had sex. Shock and horror! I've only done those 3 things like 22934702 times in my life. If you're disgusting, then I'm disgusting, and if anyone is going to tell me I'm disgusting for living the one life I have, they have a lot of gall.

Look, if you get yourself into situations that make you feel ashamed, if you have trouble saying no to people, or if you agree to things that make you feel bad or degraded because you don't feel you deserve any better, then I totally, totally agree with you that therapy is a great idea. But only because it's causing you pain and you don't deserve to feel pain, not because you're some kind of awful person.

What would happen if the roommate took pictures?
posted by Ashley801 at 12:12 AM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

cut off ending, mean to say:

What would happen if the roommate took pictures? If he did, make him regret it.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:14 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I am just so sorry this happened to you. You don't have to feel ashamed by any of it.
posted by salvia at 12:27 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

As a single mom myself, I could have written your question about a million other things besides a one night stand. Just like you are doing, I walk around feeling extremely guilty over my shortcomings as a human, and in my mind, therefore as a parent as well. I don't think I ever actually felt shame before my son was born, but now I often feel it deeply at times, along with regret, fear, and doubt.

I write this just to say that I think that how strongly you are reacting to this isn't odd, even if it is unwarranted. When you are a parent, particularly a single parent with so much of the responsibility for a child's well-being on your shoulders, it's so hard not to second guess everything you do and whether it could negatively impact your child. It's especially bad when you feel like you have endangered yourself in some way, because you think: How could I have done that, when the outcome could have been leaving my child without a mother? I think it's difficult for a lot of people to understand this sort of instinctual, high-alert state that single parents can get trapped in.

You definitely should forgive yourself. And you should also take care of yourself. Being a single mom can be an all-consuming, frightening, and overwhelming much of the time. Even for those with a strong support system, it can be very, very lonely, in a large part because you don't have another person with whom to share the joys and responsibilities and anxieties about your life, a huge part of which is raising your child.

Hang in there. As others have said, your daughter will not be harmed by this. It's over. Your worry over this incidents shows your level of dedication and love for your daughter, and those are the most important things you can give as a parent.
posted by mudlark at 12:48 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really want to just give you a hug and tell you it's going to be ok. You've gotten a lot of good advice here and I hope you take it to heart. I raised my daughter by myself, so I know that - no matter how much you love your kids - it's still lonely, stressful and just damn difficult sometimes.

Add to that the unbelievable pressure you've put on yourself to fit some perfect image of motherhood. No wonder you tried to let off some steam! And it really sucks that it turned out so badly, but that's not your fault. Yes, you're an adult and you own your own mistakes, but it was shitty the way your coworkers set you up. Friends don't stage manage you into something you may not be prepared for, and don't cheer while go home with somebody when you're too drunk to give meaningful consent.

Again - whether you were over your limit or got roofied it was the intern who behaved shamefully and should be carrying the guilt. You really need to internalize that and forgive yourself so you can move on. Please get some therapy to help you see you don't need redemption, you're not an awful mother for trying to have a life and you're not disgusting. Good luck, and I really hope you unburden yourself of all this unnecessary guilt and pain soon. You deserve better.

For future reference? You're a grown ass adult. If you want to take home the Olympic rowing team that's got fuck all to do with your ability as a parent, and to hell with anyone who says otherwise. You're responsibility is to take care of yourself and be a happy, healthy individual so you can model that behavior to your child. Happy, fulfilled kids come from happy fulfilled families. And denying yourself a life to meet unrealistic arbitrary standards for who a mom is supposed to be is not very fulfilling.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:22 AM on July 17, 2011 [7 favorites]

Your guilty feelings are stemming from the fact that the night went horribly wrong, which wasn't your fault. You did nothing irresponsible ... Three drinks is perfectly reasonable. (My first thought upon reading your question is that you were drugged.) If you had had a great time with the guy, you wouldn't be feeling so guilty for not being the rock-solid, totally-in-command-of-her-faculties mom you feel yiu must be. As it went, though, you felt like you lost control, and when that was combined with feelings of inadequacy and weakness in your life, you felt guilty. I can totally see it. But you have to accept you did nothing wrong; you trusted your coworkers, and either someone victimized you, or the evening didn't go totally as planned. Either way, you did nothing wrong.

I would suggest, just for peace of mind, contacting a rape crisis center just to see what they say.
posted by jayder at 3:46 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think it sounds like you could have been roofied, and I think you should go to a rape crisis center to talk it over. Even if there isn't any physical evidence and/or no charges to press, they will be able to help you make sense of it at least. Seriously, do it now.

Also nthing that even if you did wassail and carouse under your own steam, that is not the worst thing in the universe to have done, even if it doesn't fit in with your values, and it won't affect your daughter.

p.s. I don't like your cow-orkers. They crossed a line when they told an intern you thought he was hot. Junior high much? At best.
posted by tel3path at 4:38 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all again for the kind words and support. I woke up this morning feeling lighter and I'm on my way to putting this incident into perspective.

As a single woman, deep down i know I didn't do anything wrong. As a few posters mentioned, I think the fact that the night took such a negative turn is really what has thrown me for a loop. If I had just ended up flirting or even having sex with this guy, without being so drunk and without the feeling he said/did something very inappropriate, I wouldn't be looking at my "hooking up" in such a disgusted way. A huge part of it is not only that I lost control of the situation and put myself in danger, but that someone I thought was very attracted to me, even though I was so much older, turned out to maybe think I was not so attractive when we were in that room, and just someone to use. I quickly went from being a hot older woman to a hag to him, and that doesn't feel good.

Fortunately we don't work for the same company, it was a conference for many different ones. I'm still afraid he might talk about it to someone who knows someone and everyone will find out. The whole roommate thing...I vaguely remember seeing a bunch of blankets or something on the other bed, him saying something like, "that's my roommates." now I'm just imagining every worse case senario...was his roommate under the blankets? Did he take pictures?

Since I am not certain, and I did have more than my usual 2-3 glasses of wine for a night out(the drink he got me was a mixed drink) I would not think of accusing him of drugging me. It's still very odd to me that at 11:45 I sent a friend a very coherent text, but then at 1:10 I showed up in her room crying, not knowing what happened? Regardless, I went to that room willingly.

And most importantly, in the light of day, hugging my daughter and giggling with her, I realize I didn't do anything that would imply I'm a bad mother. Although as one poster said, I did put myself in a bad position, and if something ever happened to me, it would effect her. Now it's done, and although I plan on getting tested for everything under the sun, I just pray I can put it all behind me. With the help of therapy, I hope to continue what I started a few months ago...being happy where I am in my life right now, taking care of myself mentally and physically, and being a positive role model for my little girl.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do feel like I've been hugged!
posted by aprilc34 at 7:13 AM on July 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

on the STI tip, Planned Parenthood will sit down with you and decide what you should be tested for.

some things, like herpes or HIV, can take 3-6 months to show up, so you may want to test soon, then retest later. good luck!
posted by virginia_clemm at 7:49 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sometimes ... It's helpful to imagine your friend coming to you with your own story... So imagine a friend came to you and said that she had left her daughter in the care of a responsible adult while on a business trip and that she had a little too much to drink and had a one night stand that went badly. Okay, would you tell your friend that she was a horrible mother? no you wouldn't because her child was safe and cared for at all times. You would give your friend a hug and a sympathetic ear,right? Well, treat yourself the same way...
posted by bananafish at 8:10 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm still afraid he might talk about it to someone who knows someone and everyone will find out.

Just to focus on this (since everyone else has the basics covered, and you seem to be handling it well): if he does blab, and if anyone says something to you about it, you should be ready to respond with a convincing eye-roll and maybe a mention of the asshole intern's name with an appropriately withering intonation (subtext: are you fucking kidding me? that guy??). It would be counterproductive to get flustered and start denying it—what you want to do is leave the impression that you're far too adult to even consider hanging out with a pathetic jerk like that. Since everyone is aware of the propensity of pathetic jerks to lie about their sexual conquests, this should be effective.

In any event, hold your head high and remember that everyone has done stupid things they're ashamed of; the trick is to learn from them. People who seem to have slipped through their lives without scathing or being scathed bewilder and depress me. To live is to hurt (in both transitive and intransitive senses); all you can do is try to minimize the damage. Bon courage!
posted by languagehat at 8:16 AM on July 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

We all have a self-regulation mechanism. Sometimes, through abuse or trauma, that mechanism gets set too high. Then, everyday decisions result in punishment messaging from your own mind. And its hard to see that these regulation messages are only thoughts because the system is designed to work on a less-than-conscious level and it has the feeling of an external voice because it is usually set by a parent back when you were a kid. So you can end up telling yourself a lot of not true things.

You're a young mom, you have desires, you acted on them. You did not owe any bond of fidelity to another, so no others were harmed.

So what's the right-now solution? I suggest the following: every time you catch yourself berating yourself for this, tell yourself that you are acknowledging that feeling, but that it you are not required to accept it as true. Do that constantly, all the time. It will help.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:29 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sorry to be late to the party - originally I wasn't going to comment, but your question really stuck in my mind since I read it last night, so here I am. I'm the adult daughter of a single mom, who divorced when I was about ten and never remarried. When it came to men and relationships, there are some things I needed to learn from her, and some that I didn't.

I needed her to show me what it looks like to be burned by love, but still believe in the possibility of a healthy relationship. I needed to know that I would absolutely encounter men who didn't deserve my love or my trust, but that they would be the exception rather than the rule. I needed to know that everyone makes mistakes, especially in relationships, and that those mistakes would make me normal and healthy, not weak or desperate or naive. I needed to see that it's possible to find real love more than once in a lifetime, and that it's okay - necessary, even - to make yourself vulnerable again after you've had your heart broken. I needed her to believe in love for herself, so that I in turn could believe in it for myself. The behavior I needed her to model for me was that of a strong, independent, capable woman who didn't let past mistakes define her or limit her future happiness.

I did not need her to 'bake more cookies.' She baked too many cookies (figuratively speaking) and It wasn't healthy either for her or us kids for her to marginalize her personal life as much as she did. And I absolutely never needed her to beat herself up about making a mistake. If anything, I needed her to make more mistakes, take more risks, try more relationships, and be more trusting and optimistic when it came to finding love.

I can tell from your question that you're a wonderful mother. Your daughter is very lucky.
posted by amy lecteur at 9:21 AM on July 17, 2011 [10 favorites]

Just nthing that, unless your daughter witnessed all this, I don't see what it has to do with your parenting.

And I would even go so far as to say that, if she was over 12 and did witness it (once) -- but then got to see you acknowledge your mistake to yourself and to her, and recover your dignity with grace -- it could be a positive thing. We all make mistakes -- especially with alcohol and romance, especially when depressed and lonely -- and learning how to survive that and love yourself afterwards is a vital life lesson.

When I was a teen daughter to a single mom, what upset me was seeing her drunk (slobbery, stumbling, giggling, later vomiting drunk), having to hear her have sex, and seeing her spend month taking a new guy to her bed each weekend. I'm not saying those were horrible things for her to do, I'm just saying that as a 15 yr old girl sharing an apartment with her, I really really hated seeing and hearing it.

And I have to agree that asking this question not just in your head, but out in the world, shows a level of love for your daughter that my mom did not show. I'm sure this question popped into my mom's head a time or two, but by all appearances she took the very occurrence of such a question as a reason to resent me interfering in her pursuit of fun.

The best example you can give her is to learn to love & treat yourself well, so that she can learn that's what she deserves.
posted by MeiraV at 9:50 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

now I'm just imagining every worse case senario...was his roommate under the blankets? Did he take pictures?

Do you think this reaction on your part might be down to you imagining that if you think it's so shameful, everyone else in the world will too? Because they won't. The vast, vast majority of people wouldn't hear about this and think that you're an idiot or a bad person or a laughing stock, let alone someone it's perfectly okay to take secret photos of to pass around to your colleagues and bosses. (And even on the teeny tiny minuscule chance they did, your bosses and colleagues would be very, very unlikely to agree.)
posted by Catseye at 10:07 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's a reason why getting drunk and having a one-night-stand at an out of town conference is a cliche - it's because it's incredibly common. Even if other coworkers do find out, this hardly even qualifies as gossip. I know it seems incredibly important and embarrassing to you but to others it's something that, if they gossip about it over their morning coffee, they'll have forgotten about it by lunchtime.

The roommate and the pictures thing sounds a bit far-fetched to me. The fact that you felt hurt doesn't even mean he said anything that bad, as most people get a bit maudlin when really, really drunk. I really don't think you have anything to worry about here.
posted by hazyjane at 10:08 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

we obviously don't know what happened in that room, but i caution all those ppl rushing to judgment on the guy. we don't know he roofied her. it's possible he did but it's also possible that the OP could be projecting her own disgust at her actons onto him, and thus giving her the feeling that "he said something really awful and mean, probably telling me to get out…". it could be why she's only remembering bits and pieces of the whole incident. just as she's projecting her own paranoia about ppl finding out into scenarios in which the guy goes and tells the world and the roommate took pictures and will be showing them to everyone.

OP, you've been stressed out, depressed, and putting a lot of pressure on yourself. it's obviously led you to do some things you normally wouldn't, and bc of that, you could be projecting a lot of your internal pressure onto a situation that only confirms the feelings you've had about yourself.

cut yourself a break. this has no bearing on your ability to be a good mother. but it is a good sign that you need to seek some help to improve your self-esteem and in dealing with your emotional life right now.
posted by violetk at 10:29 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, there's no need to "rush to judgement" over whether he roofied her, since that's verifiable with a test as long as the test is done within the next few days.

I'm only saying that her account of things makes that sound like a possibility.
posted by tel3path at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Please please please please get the test tel3path suggested. In your responses, it sounds like you've rejected the idea that you may have been drugged; it may be unlikely - after all, you were actually there and none of us were.

However, that was also my first thought as I read your original question, and the fact that you were coherent enough for text messaging then a few hours later were unable to remember anything is really suspicious to me.

Here's the thing: it may well show that you weren't drugged. But if you don't do it, you'll never know for sure. The physical evidence is only there for a short window.

It's nice to see the AskMeFi support system out in such force for you. You deserve it - you ARE a good mother, and you can absolutely move on from this.

There was an article in the blue not too long ago about parents who don't allow their children to experience any type of failure, and how that makes their children lack resiliency. Now, it's not a direct parallel, but remember that being vulnerable and making mistakes is something that children need to experience, but also need to see their parents experience. I'm not saying that you should tell your daughter about it now. But this is helping you build the resiliency that your daughter can someday learn from.

Hang in there. You are worth it.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I quickly went from being a hot older woman to a hag to him, and that doesn't feel good.

You might like to read I Thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown. She writes about shame and what an awful pit-of-your-stomach feeling it is. She defines shame as "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging."

Then she writes: "As is the case with many epidemics... we can't see the enormity of it--we think it's a personal problem or a self-esteem problem rather than a serious social problem." She tells the story of several women's most shameful moments, which revolve around their appearance and desirability, their imperfections as mothers, and aging. "Shame comes from outside of us -- from the messages and expectations of our culture" and then triggers a very personal and visceral fear of being exposed as flawed and not belonging, of being deservingly shunned for who we are. But again, it's not really about personal failings. "Shame is organized by gender" and is probably inevitable when you look at the many contradictory messages about what it means to be an ideal woman and ideal mother.

Long story short: feeling this way is common and normal. You are one of tens or hundreds of thousands of women trying to figure out what motherhood and being above age 17 means for your identity -- all while trying to ignore the centuries-old negative cultural stereotypes that hover in your peripheral vision ("hag"). The shame you feel now is what many women would feel when subjected to this intern's actions that were degrading and humiliating. But it is not something you deserve and it is not who you are. Your strength and worthiness is undiminished by this experience. It can even grow by using this experience to develop compassion for yourself, and for all those who feel shame, for this or other reasons.

Anyway, I'm just on chapter 2, so maybe Brown goes on to explain how to let go of shame. Another book she wrote, The Gifts of Imperfection, is also suppose to be excellent.

Side note: A huge part of shame that Brown emphasizes is the fear of being exposed, hence the fear of the pictures? In truth, you did nothing wrong, and I cannot imagine anyone I'd respect even being shown any photos (the lewd tend to keep to themselves) much less give them a second thought.
posted by salvia at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

Regardless, I went to that room willingly.

So what? At the very least, he mixed you a ridiculously stiff drink. This wasn't some complete stranger you found at the side of the road. He was a new face in your general social circle and you could reasonably expect him not to be a psycho-case/douchebag. Nobody can reliably judge the character of new acquaintances, so there's a certain amount of risk involved -same risk as crossing the street. Don't be so hard on yourself.

I think what you might also be feeling is that cold shiver we get after realizing we've just narrowly missed being killed in some kind of freak accident. The after-effects from the booze (or a drug?) might be clouding your perceptions too, so take a vitamin. If you find yourself still obsessing and worrying that there may be pictures after a couple of weeks, please think about getting some counselling to help you drive that shit out of your head.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

TL;DR the rest of the comments...

You are older than him, and an adult. You should pull him aside and ask him to tell you what happened because you were drunk. Who cares if people find out? You are allowed to do do what you want in life, even if you think the age range is wide (which frankly, is fine in my opinion).

These things happen at work events all the time and yes, you get a little red in the face, but life goes on. Handle it appropriately now and feel better about things down the line.

This has NOTHING to do with you being a mother, so don't beat yourself up for it.
posted by darkgroove at 4:05 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you're starting to separate your bad experience from your worth as a person, and I'm so glad to see it. You know, my mother (raised me mostly single) likes to portray herself as a saint -- virgin on her wedding night, never a sip of alcohol, one puff of a cigarette, ever. For most of my life it's been nearly impossible for me to open up to my mom about my fears of failure or the mistakes I've made, and that makes me sad. I wish sometimes that I could blab all my bad one-night stands and rejected crushes and not feel like she'd just tell me that's what I get for being a whore. Seriously, the best thing you can do for your daughter is be a human being.

As for the mechanics of dealing with a horrible one night stand -- ugh, what a jackass. So you went back to a guy's room ... how were you supposed to know he's an asshole who scoffs at holy offerings? Fuck him. He may have said something mean, and that reflects 100% on HIM being the one who ought to be ashamed and guilty of himself. If it comes back around in the form of rumors, roll your eyes as if to say, "Oh, the wee little one who couldn't handle a woman? Does he still even work here?" When the pit of your stomach starts rumbling, tell yourself you ARE actually the hot older woman (you can rock it, we know it).
posted by motsque at 6:41 PM on July 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

"... I woke up this morning feeling lighter and I'm on my way to putting this incident into perspective. ..."

I'm glad you're feeling a bit better, and I put off posting this comment, until/unless I could see some sense of balance returning to your psyche.

A friend of mine is a corporate/private jet pilot. He flies several different types of planes, some of which are now certified for single pilot operation, although every plane he flies has two control seats in the cockpit, and could regularly be crewed by a two person pilot/co-pilot crew. We got to talking one evening about how it feels to him to fly with an empty right seat, and a cabin full of millionaires trying to save a few bucks on crew costs. I'm paraphrasing his comments from memory, but they went something like this.

"It's funny," he said, "what that empty seat means to me, and it changes, in various flight phases and situations. I always feel more cautious, knowing there is no one to pick up any small mistake I make, or cover for any momentary loss of concentration on my part. I hope the flight deck automation makes up for some of that, and I always fly on autopilot when flying solo, with courses and weather settings I've triple and quadruple checked, on the ground before leaving. And I probably take every opportunity to check in with other aircraft and flight traffic control by radio, in situations where if I were flying with a co-pilot, I just wouldn't."

"What really comes across," he continued "when something like weather, or passenger requested change of route or destinations occur, is how little 'reserve' we have, when I'm the only crew. By myself, with the flight deck automation, I can fly 95% of the missions possible from our initial starting point, for any flight plan I've ever filed. But once we get airborne, and the trip starts to unfold, I always get a fresh sense of the limitations I, myself, bring along. Far before our fuel load, our flight envelope, our passenger load and expectations, I become the limiting factor in what we can do. My needs for legal rest, my ability to both fly and re-arrange ground support on new destinations, my ability to manage and handle passenger expectations, all become more crucial than they ever are on a fully crewed flight, with the same aircraft, the same passenger profiles, and the same initial mission."

I think his comments apply, at least allegorically, to most single parent situations, too, and maybe more. Unlike my pilot friend, you never, as a single parent, "land," in terms of getting a complete cessation of responsibility for errors or lapses in judgement. At 37, if you're flying with an empty left or right seat, and the Most Important Passenger in the World in back, you can't take a night off, with your own safety, and still have any reserve to offer in helping your daughter complete her childhood. You've got to fly around any significant weather, not try to climb over it, and you've got to load fuel reserves accordingly, before taking off. You've got to say no to passenger requests more often than you might, if that second seat were filled with a wise and capable co-pilot. And, you've got to talk a lot more, at every stage, with other aircraft and with air traffic control. Your own limitations become significant factors in every decision you make, and the opportunities to fulfill your own needs are certainly fewer, and farther between, until and unless you find ways to "land," to transfer the responsibility for your daughter's long term, not just short term, welfare, seamlessly to others, in case of your immediate complete failure of judgement, or simply being overwhelmed by the universe with situations beyond your ability, resulting in your inability to return from a mission away.

"... Although as one poster said, I did put myself in a bad position, and if something ever happened to me, it would effect her. Now it's done, and although I plan on getting tested for everything under the sun, I just pray I can put it all behind me. ..."

If you understand and believe the first sentence that you wrote in that pair, you can't believe, or act like the second. You got a pass from the universe on a bad decision, but karma alone requires that you don't just "put it all behind me." You've got to take it as a lesson, put some thought into the future and your own freshly evident limitations and human fallibility, and think about your daughter's welfare, and make sure your will is updated, and your life insurance paid up, and that whenever you leave the house, that your papers are easily found, and contain a plan, complete with executors and guardians pre-arranged, for your daughter to survive any errors in judgement you make, or actions of the universe that overwhelm you, while out on a mission...
posted by paulsc at 8:33 PM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm super late to this party, but I wanted to point out that this:

It's still very odd to me that at 11:45 I sent a friend a very coherent text, but then at 1:10 I showed up in her room crying, not knowing what happened? Regardless, I went to that room willingly.

is not normal, and, to me, smacks of some sort of drug. You don't have to accuse him of anything--you don't even have to tell him--but if you only had three drinks, the possibility that you were drugged is definitely not something that you should be ruling out.

Even if you went up to his room willingly, he didn't have the right to have sex with you if you didn't want to, or if you were too inebriated to consent--and if you were so drunk that you can't remember, you were too inebriated to consent.

You're not the bad person in this scenario.
posted by MeghanC at 12:23 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you reaction to the drinking was very different than your usual reaction to it, maybe some drug might have been used on you.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:30 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

And just wanted to say: all the concern raised here about him possibly drugging or taking advantage of you while you were just really drunk has its merits.

But for what it's worth, even if you were utterly sober and went ahead and flirted/had sex with the guy, or even if you deliberately got really wasted and had sex, in my opinion, you would still have nothing, nothing at all to apologize for and it would be none of anyone's business to judge you.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:06 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

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