CW/TW for mentions of abuse
This past Saturday morning, as I was luxuriating in bed and just enjoying the moment without an alarm, I checked the time and it was only 7 am. My grocery delivery window didn’t begin until 10 am. So back to sleep I went. I wrapped myself up and hugged my pillow and drifted away. I woke up a few more times, not surprising since my weekday schedule is to wake by 7:30 am, but I was insistent, I wanted more sleep. Finally around 9 am as I was awaking again I got this very clear memory/flashback of two specific instances in my past where my father told my abuser things instead of me. One was when my grandfather had died, my dad had paged me I think (it was the nineties!) and I was at a shopping center with my abuser and a friend. I called and my dad just asked for my abuser to get on the phone. My abuser said a few words and then hung up the pay phone. Then he told me my grandpa died. That was it. But it was so crisp and clear that even all these years later the voices were immediately recognizable. A few more moments of similar feelings and memories and I started to become enraged. The kind of rage where hot, thick tears stream down both cheeks and you can barely breathe!
The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I was fourteen years old! No one ever tried even a tiny bit or even pretended to fucking protect me from a twenty-one year old man! Oh wait! Yet my father would tell my abuser things because he thought I was too young to understand?! That can’t be it, right?! Being my father, certainly he would know best how to communicate difficult things. And then it hit me, oh yeah, my dad was hitting on my high school friends before I had even met my abuser. He would always make inappropriate jokes about “bumping uglies” in front of me and my friends since I was around eleven years old. My dad would often tickle me and my siblings growing up, but as I got older it waned a bit, until he decided it was an easy way to grope my boobs in a very obvious manner. My dad couldn’t protect me from my abuser because he didn’t see what was going on as not normal because he himself was fucked up! I hate it here! (Mind you, I was molested by a friend of my best friend’s family when we were seven years old. The whole protecting children thing, though much touted, wasn’t as big in the eighties as it is now.)
I am unbelievably grateful for my bff M who was already texting me that morning about something else entirely when I woke up with all of this absolute shit popping off in my head. I was so angry! I still am! I don’t think I was able to put these things together in my head until now because my brain was trying to protect me. As I sobbed until I couldn’t any more, she let me unload all of this and was so caring and patient with me. It is not easy to hear, from anybody, but especially from those we love that have been hurt by those who should have loved them. I realized that a lot of what I was feeling about my parents was right and I really do need to trust my own instincts so much more! The more I connect the dots of my past to one another and the full truth of all I survived, the more obvious it is to me that people had to know, and simply didn’t want to know, or it was just so normalized that it didn’t register at all.
Having giant realizations about one’s parents within a short amount of time is hella exhausting, y’all! The first was a few months ago while on magic mushrooms with a friend when a very clear memory came back to me that I never actually forgot but soon realized how pivotal that moment was for me. It was about a year or so after my bio mom had left us, I don’t recall the reason for the visit, only that it was at our house which I think only happened once. I had this deep hope that somehow my mother would see my abuser for what and who he was. I hadn’t seen my mother since the day she had left and she and I had been on bad terms well before that. The child in me desperately wanted at least one parent to save her. Instead, the woman who birthed me offered my abuser a joint to share between them. It was at that moment I knew that no one would ever save or help me. It took me a couple more years for me to escape my abuser, but my feelings of hate towards my mother preceded even this memory when she kidnapped my brother, and tried to get my sister and I but failed, and my dad had to get the cops involved to get my brother back. I will never forgive her for either of these events.
Is it any wonder that I had a meltdown on my 35th birthday when my dad texted me “happy birthday”, as I sat on my ex-husband’s couch, when I realized “I hate my dad!” I couldn’t understand why or where those feelings were coming from. The thing is, I know and saw and remember waaaaaay more than my parents or any adults back then knew. People were not so worried about things like what was said or done in front of children back then. My dad had a full on affair with someone he reunited with at a high school reunion and brought me along because she had a kid my age. We had a blast, too! Chris was a really smart nerd and I was just a weird and shy kid, so we got on great! I never really questioned why my mom or brother weren’t invited over to Cathy’s house, but I always had a good time and was glad for the break from the norm. My dad had several affairs, but not in the grand or dramatic or even romantic sort of way at all. I think he just got lucky (ha!) and then just boned them. He had no money to speak of, a retail job with 3 kids at home, and these were independent working women, too. My mother was far too isolated for anything ongoing, but did have a fling later on, but that guy was later found out to be a child molester (later convicted). I used to babysit his kid. What a fucked up world!
The last year my mom lived with us was tumultuous as fuck! Every day it was something new with her, something sticking in her craw, and it always seemed to be my fault somehow. Or at least, the brunt of it fell on me, at least until my dad got home from work. The last month or so it was non-stop fighting with me and her. I just wanted to be left alone to enjoy the last of my summertime before I started high school. She was an emotional wreck! Every morning when I would go into the kitchen for my orange juice she would start on me about how my dad treated her like a whore or she’d wait until I had friends over, burst in unannounced and tearfully exclaim she was a lesbian (we were thirteen). I just wanted to hang out with my friends and kiss boys, nothing else really mattered to me then. But my mom was at wit’s end with no support and I was a stubborn ass kid, we fought a lot. It was never fair, but she would hit an emotional wall and just decide I was to be punished. I remember the first time I had had enough of it and slapped her back. I don’t know how many times my dad came home and had to play diplomat with my mom and me. Often having to unground me just minutes after my mom insisted I was grounded (my siblings were never grounded once, mind you they didn’t have lives outside the home, yet I was pushed out from age four) for some trivial thing that may or may not have even happened.
I won’t pretend to have ever been a model child or an easy to handle teen, but the ways in which my parents forced me to be an adult very early on are shocking to me now. Is it any wonder I didn’t want my own kids when I had to raise my siblings? Is it any wonder I never bought into the domestic bliss bullshit when I saw firsthand that all adults are liars at best?! I feel as though I will never escape the mistakes and baggage my parents brought into my life. When a cousin reached out to me through 23 and Me in order to get in touch with my mom because her parents’ health was in rapid decline, I became furious! I simply didn’t want to hear or know about her or that family period. I have nothing against my cousin, but we were cut off from that family because of my parents divorce. It’s a long story and more complicated than just that, but that family never truly included us because my mom was the oldest of her siblings and had a different father. Thinking back, the majority of fatphobic bullshit heaped on my mom came from her mother and sisters. And having had no contact with my bio mom in close to thirty years when I got my cousin’s message, it was a lot. I don’t know where she is, and I honestly don’t care. I don’t want to know.
Fuck forgiveness! What was done to me is not about me at all, but about the abuser who decided that I was an easy target for their abuse. I carry no fucking shame for what I was put through, but they absolutely fucking should! The fact that my dad still texts me on birthdays and holidays is proof that he has no idea why I don’t talk to him. I haven’t talked to him in years, at first because of how he and his 2nd wife would treat my brother, it would trigger me horribly and leave me depressed for a week plus after a visit. I didn’t even realize it myself until my then husband confronted me about it. Then his 2nd wife got the entire family to stop talking to me for over three years through various lies and manipulations. When my great aunt and I compared notes one day it became clear that this was orchestrated and his wife was a pathological liar. When I told my dad that his wife had tried to rip me off of $5k, he simply replied, “Well, I don’t believe that.” I didn’t even argue or question it, I knew right then where I stood and that it wasn’t worth fighting for. It was his wife that wouldn’t allow my brother to use the internet for years because he looked at porn ONCE, AS AN ADULT! Once I found out, because he was also not allowed to talk to me (AS AN ADULT), I figured out if I bought him a PS3 he could get online through wifi and they’d be none the wiser. It worked out great!
All men have power in some form. All men are corrupted by power in some form. It may not always be abuse, it may not always be towards women, but in any given scenario, a man will abuse his power. I believe this because I have lived it and seen it with my own eyes every day of my fucking life! It is the ones you least expect, too. I don’t believe there is an exception or exemption in this. I hate it. I wish it wasn’t so and I wish those who can recognize it and have the power to do something about it fucking would already, but they won’t. They benefit far too much to even see it for or in themselves. The things I have seen and know to be true are upsetting and it’s taken decades to put the pieces of it together thanks to the abuses dealt to me that have traumatized my brain to that extent. I am hoping that through these newer connections and deeper understanding that I will be able to further my own healing. This weekend’s breakthrough left me exhausted and unable to do much elsen though I would have loved to do anything else. My C-PTSD brain wouldn’t allow it, I mostly just spaced out. There is only so much our minds can handle at once.
The next day I didn’t not bother even trying to sleep in.
To all of the abuse survivors that might be reading this: I love you. It was and will never be your fault. You are worth every ounce of energy and effort in this world. You deserve to be loved wholly and completely for who you are right this very second, no changes needed. I love you. I cherish your existence. Please take care of you.
I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.
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