Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hungry Ghosts

As I've stated before, this entire incident is like an onion. Peel back one layer and you find an equally stinky layer beneath.

I've been here before.

I was sexually molested by my mom's boyfriend when I was a pre-teen. When I was 19 and struggling with not slitting my wrists, taking a bottle of pills, or driving my car into a concrete abutment (all before noon every day), I told my mother what had happened. Her boyfriend had died years before and was no longer an issue.

My mother looked at me and said "Well, you always were a slut."

The funniest thing about this situation was that I wasn't. Aside from the fact that a mother would accuse her eleven year old daughter of seducing a senior citizen, I was a hopeless, well behaved kid. She had known all along that something wasn't right. She had her suspicions. And when her suspicions were confirmed, she sided with a dead man.

Now, twenty one years later I look in the mirror every morning. Not only as the girl that was thrown away by her mother but now, as the mother that was clueless. The mother that was unable to protect her own child even when it was ingrained in every cell in her body. I was the one that ranted in front of the television when a story about a pedophile came on. I was the one that suggested they should all be publically castrated. I was the one that would feel such anger and nausea at the thought that anyone could hurt a child. And my own child was being hurt.

I'm fighting ghosts this morning. Ghosts of my perpetrator. Ghosts of my mother. Ghosts of the happy, normal childhood that I wanted to give my children. Ghosts of who I thought I was married to. Ghosts of every night of my childhood, laying in the dark, not able to sleep, not able to breathe.

Ghosts.

4 comments:

Wulfgar said...

Hi Debbie,

I myself have gone through the pain of realizing that I passed my childhood demons on to my own child, and they consumed her, despite my zealotry to the contrary.

I don't have any words of wisdom for you. I'm still struggling with it.

I just want you to know that you're not alone, and I understand.

Rebecca Hartong said...

Sweet, merciful Jesus.

I'm so sorry that for all that's happened and is happening.

I wish I had words that would take away even a little of the pain.

Just know that there are a lot of people who care about you -- and some of them haven't even met you. That's got to count for something, right?

Anonymous said...

I want you to know that you are far from being alone or exclusive in your experiences, both recent and distant.

All children have the right to grow up in a safe and loving environment where body and soul are nurtured and protected.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and things do happen to people when they are children by people that somehow seem to "get away with it" untouched. And many times we are not able to prevent the unmentionable, and tragically, that is another fact of living. It happens.

The shock and trauma of your recent discovery is huge. I cannot begin to imagine the depth of your mother guilt and helplessness.

The ghosts in my life still link hands and dance in my dreams at times, mocking me from time to time. I am over 50 years old, yet I remember events of my childhood as though they happened yesterday. In adolescence, the time of development meant a time of changing strategies for survival. It seemed to be "open house" for the males in my life at the time - brothers, friends of brothers, brothers and friends of girlfriends, father's friends and family uncles and cousins - to treat me no better or no more than a dog in heat. I spent my life until 18 fighting off male hands on my body. I was a "good girl".

For a few short years in early adulthood, I was wild. I was also raped on more than one occasion. And even then I was not allowed to express my anger. I was cutting myself before it was a trend, but I never felt the blade. Life as a female sucked.

When I became a mother, something changed. Perhaps it was the fierce protective nature that I didn't know I had inside. Eventually, I have had to disassociate myself from my gene pool. My friends are few and kept well at arm's length or further. I do not trust easily or exclusively.

I learned that you cannot change or control what has come before. You can cry, rage, write poetry, or some other expression that seems to take on an obsessive life of its' own. Forgive yourself. Grieve the loss of innocence. The loss of trust. The loss of what should have been and will now never be. And somehow you will need to forge a new path, day by day and sometimes one moment at a time to create a new life for you and your family. Don't skip the grieving part or denial will scream in your face.

You now possess the opportunity to break the chain of pain. Commit to healing what has gone before and creating a healthy future for you and your children. That will be the best 'revenge' of all.

And those ghosts? They will be around for awhile, maybe forever. But those ghosts will never have the powers you possess in the here and now. You are very strong. And you love your children fiercely. My thoughts are with you.

Shelly said...

We are ever-vigilant. Hyper-vigilant, in fact, when something like this has happened to us. I know that I am, and, for the same reason as you.

But the world tells us to calm down...saying only "monsters" do that sort of thing. And we are made to feel the fool for being watchful. Even when we know better.

I have felt that same anger, and revulsion at the "monsters" on TV, and even though I am vigilant, didn't do enough to protect my child the way I wish someone had protected me.

You are not alone. My wish for you is that you find a way to peace, and forgiveness for yourself--evil does manage to work its around us, despite our best efforts. What happened is not your fault.