Thursday, February 26, 2009

This Is Not My Beautiful Life

Within the past few weeks, I started actually paying attention to my Facebook account. I set it up before all this crap started and believe it or not, on the day when I found out the whole truth, I came home that evening to find that an old boyfriend had tracked me down on Facebook and wanted to be my friend.



Since that time, I've had a lot of contacts with old friends from high school. It always starts out with their question "So, what's new in your life?"


How do you approach that?

How, after not seeing someone for 22 years, do you immediately lay all the shit of your past two months at their feet and then say, "So, hows about you?"

No matter what, they will never believe that you haven't spent the past 22 years in and out of rehab, incarcerated for writing bad checks, sleeping in gutters, and making meth in your lovely claw foot bathtub. When you find yourself in the midst of a nightmare, inviting outsiders in can be less than easy.

I've just told people to come to this here blog and if they really want to know what's going on in my life, pop some popcorn and start in Mid-December. Maybe crack a beer and put your feet up. Might as well get comfy.

Right after it all hit the fan, I was quite insistant in letting mutual business acquaintences know why I was leaving my husband. Our car insurance representative got a little more than he bargined for when I told him why we were splitting the insurance up. The common reaction to initially finding out we are getting divorced is "Oh, sorry to hear it!" To which I've taken to replying "I'm not. I found out I was married to a pedophile. He admitted to me that he molested our daughter. Kinda makes getting a divorce a relief..." Yeah, I've gotten used to the jaw on the floor reaction. Our mutual tax preparer? Yeah, we had a half hour counseling session before we even broached the subject of taxes. Our old neighbor that fixes our copier at work? Completly incredulous. The phone calls I get for STBX at home from people trying to find him get my standard "He doesn't live here anymore and he's been charged with being a pedophile after molesting his daughter. Do you STILL want his cell phone number?" So far, no one has pursued it any further.

I'm so tired of him hiding like the cockroach that he is. The light of publicity and knowledge is not something he wants and it's something he so desperately deserves.

I refuse to hide from this. I refuse to act like we have done something wrong. I refuse to play into his face saving game.

At least when he talks to the insurance office, they'll get off the phone with him and perhaps have the desire to go wash their hands.

I swear, if they don't read the charges out loud in court on March 9th, I will personally stand up and shout them.

But until then, I will try to smile when I hear from old friends. I will try to take in their question of "So, what's up with you?" and not wince. I'll stand in front of the mirror and practice my lines:

"Oh...nothing much."


Rebecca Hartong said...

You're in a tough situation. (Yeah, I know... duh?) What I'm referring to, specifically, though is the whole issue of disclosure.

On one hand, you don't want your daughter to feel in any way like this is something she should be ashamed of because, of course, she was the victim here. Also, you want the rest of the world to know just how much of a shitbox the STBX really is. For all sorts of reasons.

On the other hand, you don't want your daughter to be forever self-identifying as "she-who-was-molested". After a point, a girl's gotta move on.

The tough part is figuring out when and if YOUR need for disclosure is inhibiting HER need to move forward.

I'm sure you've considered this. You're a smart cookie. And it's not like I've got some magic formula you could use to calculate it. I'm just saying... if you haven't discussed that particular part of all this with your daughter, it would probably be good to do so. She's a smart cookie, too, and she should be encouraged to tell you if you've reached a point where she is feeling like, "Mom... just give it a rest for a while, okay?"

Shelly said...

Parallel Lives, Debbie--I'm having very similar Facebook experiences.

I have opted not to contact anyone, for the same reason--when they ask what is new and you say things like, "well, I found out my 16 year old stepson was taking porno pictures of himself and posting them on the internet, and also victimizing my daughter's friends by calling them on their cell phones late and night and talking them into doing sexual things over the phone, AND his father didn't think that warranted any kind of serious reaction, but that may be because HE was apparently getting head from any man or woman who would give it to him, and was a bit of a sexual deviant himself..." They get that glazed over thing, and most of them immediately change the subject.

Still up for that beer when we find the time!

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the whole world of sex crimes, pedophilia, child abuse and neglect continue to thrive in the warm and cozy morass of shame and secrecy. The silence and packing away of not so fond memories in an attempt to create a happy, normal mom & pop family scenario has nightmarishly allowed another worst case scenario to be perpetrated upon the next generation.

Maybe the right approach is not to "give it a rest".

Maybe it is time for an approach that is well connected to the real truth in real time.

Maybe there is no "right" path for this family to follow and (as the dearth of helpful literature so blatantly declares)maybe it is the time for someone with the fire in her belly and the strength and intellect and experience to match - to take this discovery and healing process down a whole new road.

And maybe inspire others to start seeing things for what they are, not shoving Teddy Bears into young arms with soothing sounds.

There is no such thing as "one size fits all" for healing, whatever the wound. There are rules that are strong, as in laws that intimidate people by threatening to take away their money and or freedoms, and those must be followed until they are learned well enough to bend and shape to fit the need.

Honesty and awareness cannot be silent. Truth has a way of making her appearance at some of the most awkward and inconvenient times, but she is Truth, after all.

And love isn't only one color in several shades. It is up to each individual to carry their own responsibility of love (et al) in a situation like this. Sometimes the only answers, the only sense of direction, comes from within.

Debbie said...

I am so sorry for what you are going through! Definately parallel lives here.

What so many people don't seem to comprehend is how finding these things out colors everything about your marriage. You can't rightfully grieve when there was so much crap that was totally screwed up.

I also realize what Rebecca was trying to day in regards to keeping my daughter's best interest at heart. I don't discuss anything with other people while she is with me. She is in agreement with me though that to keep silent about it is giving a perpetrator permission to do what he does.

There will be a time to heal. There will be a time of silent reflection. There will be a time when we just hang onto each other quietly. I forsee it as coming after the last court date has happened.

Shelly said...

I sometimes don't think I have the strength to do more than just walk away. Luckily, I do not live in the same city as my STBX. If I did, I'm sure that I would be doing the same thing as you. My ex has (not one but) TWO sexual harrassments lawsuits happening, one from a guy, one from a girl, both former employees of his, that he propositioned. The two does not include the people who just said "No! Ick!" and quit without saying anything more about it--there are apparently several of those. It also does not include the ones that took him up on his offer.

Why NOT talk about it? Because he has some "right" to do this? Please...

And, it would have been nice if somebody would have mentioned it to his WIFE, so I could have ditched years ago...