A new relationship from the ashes of an abusive past
He came into my room at night:
If you feel what you do to your children at an early age, doesn’t affect them the rest of their lives, you are sadly mistaken. I’ve just left the home of my parents. I spent a week with them, and was amazed at how dysfunctional a family we still are.
In 1992 I was at the farmers market with a dear friend, when the most disturbing thing happened. For as long as I can remember, I had these little snippets of memories, like single stills from a movie. The stills, never quite coming together to form a movie. Well this particular afternoon, it all came together. The thing I had shaken my head at, trying to make go away, reared it’s ugly face and, jumped out at me.
My father was a fighter pilot, and he was killed in action. At that time, we were living with my mother’s family in Hawaii, and after the death of my father we returned to Texas to live with my father’s parents. I was my father’s only child, and my mom and I returned to Texas; to two uncles, my father’s mother and father.
My grandparents and uncles adored me, spoiled me, took me places and showed me off. Uncle Pierce, the baby (next to me) even pretended I was his daughter. I was 6 years old, and was missing my daddy. Dad had been my best friend, and hero. I welcomed the attention, and clung to my dad’s family. My memories of my mom at this time are pretty dim. In fact it would appear that after being informed that my father had crashed his plane, and was burned over 85% of his body; I started blocking hurtful memories.
Now something strange was happening, I was remembering the things I had tried so hard to forget. Strangely enough a box of blueberries brought all these memories, flooding back. An innocent visit with a friend to the farmers market, a box of fresh blueberries should cause all those snippets to come together after all these years.
My grandfather (my real father’s father) used to care for me and it would appear we must have napped together, as the things I remember, happened in the bedroom. I’m not sure who’s bedroom, either his, and grandmothers or mom’s and mine. Granddaddy had a little game he played, called picking blueberries. The blueberries were my nipples. We would play pretending we were in the fields where the berries grew. After ‘picking blueberries, he would say that he must have gotten chiggers (like a little itchy bug) and he would retreat, to the bedroom closet to scratch his private area. There was also had a little play house in back of their home, where children could play, sometimes he joined them in their games.
My grandmother was guilty of inappropriate behavior also. She used to breast feed me, or have me suck on her breast. I don’t know what to call it, when a woman sticks her breast in the mouth of a six-year-old, and tells the six-year-old to suck. Damned if I know what to call that (improper behavior)? My mom used to walk by see her doing this, and mom would tell her to stop. Grandmother also did some other things I’m too embarrassed to mention. But I do remember crying and begging her to stop, and kicking at her.
After these of memories, I confronted my mother with the fact that I thought my granddaddy had abused me. Her reply was, almost word for word, “I’m not the least bit surprised daughter, your granddad was in prison for that”. If that wasn’t enough, two days later while on holiday with my parents I remembered something else. We were all watching TV, when all of a sudden it was like someone hit me in the back of the head with a 2×4. My dear sweet stepfather, who I had compared to Christ, the officer and gentleman, was as guilty as hell too! The man that I had trusted to take my father’s place, to love me, protect me, honor me as his daughter. Had touched me like a ‘man’ and had ‘come in my bedroom at night’.
Well I believe for the time being we have enough details about my family and their inappropriate behavior. Since the birth of ACPO, I’ve learned a lot about my past, my feelings, other people’s feelings, and experiences. Actually It’s quite awkward putting into words the things that hurt you to the bone, tear at your being, but I’ve always been the kinda gal that loved taking a risk, putting it *all on the line. I’d like to share a couple things (one something an old friend wrote me, and a new volunteer sent something that caught my attention).
1/ ( I am a 26 year old guy. ………….I believe that the worst crimes that can ever be done are child molestation, child abuse, rape, and spousal abuse. These crimes are worse than murder because in a sense it is murder. When a kind caring and innocent woman or child is raped or abused the good person inside of them is extinguished and they become something terrible inside. …… ) from: Volunteer
2/ ( ……….. The memories to our last ‘real conversation’ on IRC still linger on inside of me, and I’m still horrified of your over-excited reaction then. It was so pure and anxious, like cries from a child’s soul, hidden deep within … before some protection schemes on your side took over control again to preserve you from further damage. ) from: Vespucci
I have has several people ask me why I went to my parents home for Christmas, or how I could go to their home. Let me try to answer their question, not just to explain to them, but to try to understand my self.
I think what Vespucci said helped me to define my feelings about my parents. I started out in this world a little girl, innocent, and full of natural feelings. Love being one of those feelings, trust being another. It’s natural for a child to want to be loved, accepted, nurtured. These are the safe feelings I was supposed to learn from them. You know what I got instead. It was all I knew, it was my programming. I had no idea what they were doing to me wasn’t normal. And this entire inappropriate behavior was reinforced by the fact that more than one family member had his way with me. And to add insult to injury, my mother was aware of the occurrences. (Let me interject this right here, I came from a very wealthy family, and was schooled in private boarding schools in Europe)
But you see my mom and step-dad are the only family I have. Let me put it to you this way. You have one pair of shoes and they give you a blister when you wear them. But you live in a country where it snows, and the pavement is cold and you need shoes to keep from freezing your feet. You’ll wear those shoes as bad as they are, because they’re all you have. Pitiful I know, but the truth. See I was in a dysfunctional marriage too, so I know about ‘sick love’.
I have felt guilty about my new feelings toward my mom and stepfather, since I have discovered the abuse. For the most part of my life I have acted out in one way or another, doing my own thing, or as some would say “marching to my own drummer”. A lot of my actions have been rather unorthodox to say the least, and I have been made to feel like I was the sick puppy in the family, the one with the attitude. I was the promiscuous one, not settling down, not having a healthy marriage. Let me share something else with you.
I did everything in my power NOT to get pregnant. The reason being I had inappropriate dreams of my touching a little girl. I was in horrified for years by these dreams. The day I realized I had been touched *that way, the dreams made sense. I was dreaming about what was done to me, not what I was going to do to a child. The dreams have since ceased.
Today I am finally able to see the difference between them and me. I’m the good guy, I was the one abused, and I was the one striped of healthy feelings, normal behavior. Now I feel it’s ok to not like my mother and stepfather. And as far as forgiveness is concerned how do I forgive someone that hasn’t admitted he is guilty? My mother admits to the neglect but says she was powerless over the situation. Is it possible that if I hadn’t been abused, I would have chosen a more ‘normal’ life style? Well we’ll never know.
Part one of my story was written after my last visit to Texas. Things have changed since then.
Around the first of May 2000, I made the decision, to confront my mom and my stepfather. A dear friend of mine had confronted her abuser, and worked with me for about two weeks getting me ready to do something that scared the hell out of me.
I knew when I confronted my parents, that I could lose one if not both of them, but I had lived with this secret for eight years, and I wasn’t willing to continue the lies. Jan told me to stick to the facts, try to keep emotions and feelings out of the conversation, just give them the facts. I made notes, so I wouldn’t get distracted.
Bandon one of my other friends who had also been abused, came over the night before I was going to confront them, and spent the night. We got up early the next morning had a big breakfast I prepared myself to do something I really didn’t want to, but I had to. I could no longer live having to hide the truth, and my anger was eating at me like a cancer.
I got my notes out, and I prayed to God for strength to handle whatever the outcome was. I picked up the phone and made the call. I had both of them on the phone and told them we need to talk, and to please hear me out before they commented. I first told them that I had been going to counseling, to deal with my child abuse. I again told them what my grandfather and grandmother had done to me, mother tried to defend grandmother, and I told mother to be still and listen. I then said to my stepfather, “you too abused me”. Next I went into the details, specific details. He said he remembered nothing. At one point my mother said in a very loud voice “you damned liar”. “You have always been a damned liar”. I knew what was coming, the end of my mom’s and my relationship. We had a very strained relationship as it was. I had a ton of anger toward her, and she didn’t understand me or any of my behaviors. I was ready for the worse when, she yelled his name and then called him a son of a bitch. I couldn’t believe it, she believed me.
Not to go into much detail about what happened the next two weeks, but it was living hell for mom and me. She and my stepfather lived in separate rooms; she wouldn’t talk to him, look at him.
The upside to all of this is our relationship as mother daughter was blossoming for the first time. We were growing closer and closer supporting each other. She felt guilt for marrying the man after my father was killed, but I explained he appeared ‘perfect’ to the world. He was an officer and gentleman, to all appearances. Everyone loved him respected him, wanted to be around him.
May I suggest you don’t let financial status, the fact that someone is a deacon in a church, all the good things they appear to be fool you. As Doug Stead says, “If you want to know what a pedophile looks like, look at your well respected Judge, with a fine job, upper middle class, involvement with people.” My stepfather after retiring from the military became a teacher, scary huh?
I was shocked during the Rootfest.org conference; we were attending and had a speaking spot. I got a phone call on Thursday morning June 15 th 2000 from my mother. She said my stepfather still insisted he didn’t remember the abuse. He did remember one day she was gone, and his bedroom door was closed, and I came in and tried to rape him. To get me off of him and defend his self he hit me in the croch.
Well, I went off, he was on the other phone line. I couldn’t believe his gall. I later told mom if I was a father, man, stepfather, and a girl came up to me and tried to rape me I would immediately inform the mother. He said nothing to her until June 15 th 2000.
As of June 19 th he no longer lives with my mom. He did on June 22 nd admit to her that he had actually abused me. The smart thing that mom did, was to get him to put that in writing. She knew when he left people would want an explanation, she knew they wouldn’t easily believe her or for that matter me. People just don’t want to know this exists, and especially for them to have known a pedo had him in their homes. The first reaction the pastor had was the same as mom’s best friend. Counselors sometimes put these thoughts in people’s minds, false memories. Smart lady (mom), now she had the proof.
Mom is getting stronger and smarter everyday. I can’t say she’s ok yet with all of this, her attorney returns from Paris next month and will help her with the financial arrangements. To divorce, legal separation, all that has to yet be figured out. My ex stepfather lives in another state now with his family, I have no idea how he’s explained this all to them.
And how do I feel today. Actually, I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. I am finally free, and as far as my anger is. I now know who I was angry with, the people that had abused me. And I confronted the ones I could, I wasn’t angry at the world anymore. And I now have a new best friend, my mom.
I thank you for taking the time to read this, and I suggest you do the same. Confront your abusers, free your self, and if you want to or if you can, write it all down, get it out. Quit blaming your self and place the blame where it belongs, on the Child Abusers.