When Melanie asked me if I wanted to add a guest post to Deliberate Donkey, I was overwhelmed and excited. I couldn’t believe that someone read only part of my story and had interest enough for me to share on their site. I happily accepted – and then I panicked. What was I going to talk about? I didn’t want to repeat the parts of my story I have already written about on my own blog and I didn’t want to give an overview that would take away from the path my blog is heading, so as not to give away the rest of my story. So what should I write about? I knew but the thought of putting it all out there…even more than what I already have…has been freaking me out. Just a little.
This is the story about my relationship with abuse – in all of it’s glory.
When I was a little girl, my (paternal) grandfather molested me. Not only me but my cousin as well. I know this because my first memory of this was of her and I in the living room and he had one hand down my pants and the other hand down hers. We are only four months apart in age and so we had to be about four years old when this happened. As luck would have it, he never penetrated me. It was mainly fondling. I remember several episodes after the first incident that he had me in his bed. His “manhood” exposed and he guided my hand in stroking him. In total, from memory, there could not have been more than five times that this had gone on. And as I got older I actually forgot, blocked it out, suppressed it, whatever the experts say happen after events like this…is what must have happened. I didn’t really think about it again until he passed away which was about 20 years after the fact.
When the memory came flooding back, I had told my mother and sister. My mother questioned me as if she didn’t believe me. She said, “he never watched you and your cousin at the same time. I don’t think he even ever watched you alone.” Guess what, apparently…he did. Our family was very close growing up and so my grandfather was always around. There was never a strained relationship with him. More evidence (to my mother) that this could not be a true story. I quickly dropped it. I never spoke about it again with her so I don’t know if she ever truly accepted what I had said as true. I let it go. At the wake I leaned over his body and said, “I forgive you”. I don’t know if that helped me in anyway but I felt like it was the right thing to do.
I also never spoke about this with my cousin. So I don’t know if she recalls the same incident I do or whether or not there were other one on one incidents with her. I do have my sneaking suspicions though. After all…if we are a textbook case of the aftermath of sexual abuse then the evidence is clear – she went on to be involved with drugs and I became sexually promiscuous.
Moving right along to my own father. He never sexually abused me. He did however physically abuse me. Going back to probably about five years old, I remember being hit with the belt mostly. I got my mouth washed out with soap many times mostly by my mother. It seems I had a penchant for profanity. Which is kind of hysterical being as I have a mouth like a truck driver but still do not curse in front of my mother – but I digress. My father wasn’t what you’d call a constant abuser. He didn’t hit me for no reason. I did stuff that deserved a spanking. I can’t for the life of me remember what I had done at that age but I was devious. As I got older, I would skip school, sneak around with boys, shoplift (candy, etc.), answer my parents back (with attitude) and of course all of this deserved a “spanking”. What can you do. My parents were young when they had me and almost everyone got beat back in the day. So it was not a case of “child abuse” it was the same everyone else got. We knew a family that had several children who were “child abuse” victims. They came to school with bruises and burns, etc. Nothing like that happened in my house. So it couldn’t be that bad.
As I got closer to the legal age of 18, I started proclaiming to my parents that I was going to move out. I’m not sure if they believed me or not but I was determined. When I started dating my husband about six months before my 18th birthday it was clear that he was going to take me out of my house as soon as I was able to go. He was also a very determined man. His intentions were clear…I was his (possession) and he would keep me at all costs. No sooner did I turn 18 that I found out I was pregnant. I’ll never know if that was intentional or not but it was what it was – I moved out two months later. The years since have been violent and tumultuous to say the least. There have been days of peace and quiet, family vacations, relaxing Sunday’s watching movies. Far and few between but it’s been mixed in there with the non-stop arguing.
Once again, a classic textbook case of the aftermath of physical abuse. I went from one hand to the other. Did somewhere deep inside I believe this was the normal way that women were treated? Who knows. Of course the experts would have you believe that to be the case. I can’t confirm that to be true. After all, I knew what real love was. Without being mistreated. I had it for a year and a half – before I left to go with my husband. It’s hard to wrap my head around what exactly I was thinking after my husband hit me for the first time. I was shocked, I remember that. But he had a logical explanation. It was an understandable accident. And he apologized. Who would’ve known the snowball effect that one moment in time created.
The point of me talking about these situations is because sometimes, when I look back at all that I have been through, I wonder to myself, did these things happen to me for a reason? Was I someone horrific in a past life that I am being treated this way by the men who should have cherished me? I wonder the true damage it has done to me. I am a pretty tough chick so the fact that I have put up with what I have is shocking to say the least. But all of the so-called experts can spin the story of my lifetime of abuse into a perfect picture of all of my flaws and how they fit the bill of the aftermath of abuse.
Kudos to the experts. Big fucking deal.
Here I am. A wife and a mother, among other things, and at the very least – a grown woman. Still married to a verbal, emotional and these days (only) an occasional physical abuser. He is nothing but a mental terrorist waiting for my brain to explode. I know what you’re thinking. Why am I still here? My sole reason for being here this long…I have kids. And although that should have been more of an incentive to get out – I didn’t. I chose to wait until my kids got to an age where they could get out on their own. When I wouldn’t have to drag them into hiding or have the state take them. Two down, one to go. Yes, over the years I have sacrificed and suffered, as have they. But now I can see the finish line. I am in training for the biggest day of my life….the first day of the rest of my life. The time is near.