A Day for Writing Truth

Old pen with decoration isolated on white Stock Photo - 9100247This is the hardest thing I have ever written, I would rather write about almost anything else. 

I hold no grudge against my Mother and in fact I love her very much, I really doubt she ever knew the extent her words had on my self-esteem or how much they have haunted me through out my life.

Unvarnished truth is always the hardest thing to write.

I can not stop writing today.

So, I guess it is a day for writing.

I have kept so many things bottled up for so long I am afraid of starting.

Afraid of being overwhelmed with emotions.

Afraid!

Always afraid!

If I boiled my childhood down to one word it would be chaotic.

Not in a good way, if there is such a thing as a happy chaotic childhood mine wasn’t it.

The fights between my parents where brutal and their was no censoring of content at all.

Girl suffers while parents argue vehemently in white background. Conflict in a family.  Wife is striking husband. Couple fighting Stock Photo - 6446291

I was 8 when I learned that my father was having an affair(s), though no one told me directly.

It was around that same time that I learned that my mother had a child out of wedlock-my oldest sister.

Now, in today’s world that might not seem like such a big deal, but then it was a big deal.

My father would throw that fact up to my mother like a weapon and she retaliated with ammunition of her own.

Neither was above literally throwing objects at each other, nor above calling each other unprintable names as the children watched, eyes wide with fright.

All this is etched on my memory.

Daughter covers ears while parents argue Stock Photo - 4409758

As was the verbal abuse, sometimes, hurled at me by my mother.

Her name for me was often stupid or I was asked repeatedly , “Why are you so stupid?”

I didn’t know, but I believed her.

I grew up to ask myself the same question, “Why are you so stupid?”

And I grew up to bristle and becoming angry at anyone who called me stupid or  at anybody I thought was making fun of my intellectual abilities, whether it was rational or not.

On top of all that, I was being sexually abused by a family member.

It finally came to light when I was an adult.

He was defended by most of the family and I was made to feel ( intentionally or not) like the bad guy.

I was told to forgive.

I was told to forget.

Teenage girl depression - lost love - isolated on white background Stock Photo - 6954886

I wasn’t told that none of it was my fault.

I did not have someone tell me that they were  sorry this happened to me.

I had no defenders.

And that hurt like hell.

Still does.

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18 Comments

  1. Oh dear precious Rachael… I had no idea. I went away from social media and the blogging world for a long time and I lost touch and never saw this until just now. OH. My heart goes out to you. I wish I could hug you tight.

    I am glad you wrote this and posted it and that you did not delete it! I have similar truths, some of which I have posted over the years, but nearly all of which I quickly deleted.

    You are brave and kind and I like you very much.

  2. I’ve been thinking a lot about this post since I read it last night. It made me feel all kinds of emotions.

    Mostly what I feel is compassion and sorrow for the precious little girl you were.

    In 2003 I was diagnosed with PTSD stemming from repeated childhood trauma, so I can relate very much to what you have written here. Some of the trauma I survived in my childhood was very extreme, to the point of almost being unbelievable. However… when I ask myself what it was about my childhood that caused me the most harm, I don’t think it was so much the really horrible things that hurt me the worst long term, I think it was the simple fact that I was not liked by my parents. Just that.

    I have gotten a tremendous amount of help over the years by reading good therapeutic books. My favorite is COMPLEX PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma by Pete Walker, MA.

    Mr. Walker has been a therapist for over 30 years, plus he also has Complex PTSD from repeated childhood trauma, so he is very knowledgeable on the subject. He mentions in his book that verbal putdowns coming from a primary caregiver when we are very young and our personality and psyche is developing, can do as much damage to us, over the long term, as horrific beatings and other forms of abuse.

    Your mother calling you stupid when you were growing up certainly qualifies. That, and the evil sexual abuse you repeatedly endured from a family member — and THEN, when you finally were able to tell what had happened to you, to be treated like your sexual abuse wasn’t important, to be given the message, in so many words, that the abuser’s feelings mattered more than yours did — OH!! When I read that it made my blood boil, Rachael!!!

    I… oh. Ow. This hurts my heart.

    A couple of years ago when I left the blogging world for a while, it was because I had just discovered that my then 15-year-old granddaughter had been abused by a family member, with whom my granddaughter was then living. It took me a couple of hours to make the extremely difficult decision to report the abuse to child protection services in the state where they were living. Most of my family was FURIOUS with me for doing that. Because I had put the rights and the feelings of the child victim ahead of the rights and the feelings of the adult abuser!!! OMG!!!!

    I knew in my heart at the time that it was the right thing to do, all things considered. I still know it was the right thing to do. It was what should have been done for ME when I was an abused child… and it was what should have been done for YOU.

      • I think those memory gaps may be your mind’s way of protecting you from things that are too painful to remember. The mind is an amazing thing.

        Something like that happened to me. When I was 12 I woke up one night to the sounds of my parents fighting. That was not unusual, sorry to say, but this fight was extreme. I could hear my father telling my mother, in a horrible guttural voice, to prepare to die and meet her maker. I heard my mother begging for her life. “Think of the children!” she cried. Then I heard my father say, “They will be better off without a mother like you.”

        I could hear the sounds of their violent struggle as he tried to strangle her. I jumped out of bed and took the screen out of the window, intending to jump out and run to a neighbor for help. I was part way out the window when I heard my mother scream “NO — NOT THE GUN!” Then I heard a sound that… strangely…. I still cannot remember hearing. But that awful sound made me think: “It’s too late to get help, he has already killed her.” A few seconds later I saw through the window my dad running out of the house with the gun in his hand. He jumped into the car and sped away.

        After that, all I heard was a deep ringing silence. I thought the silence was because my mother was dead. I kept thinking that I had to go to my mother, because she needed me. But I also kept thinking that it was too late for me to help her, because she was dead. I turned from the window and headed toward my bedroom door, intending to go to my mother, although I knew that all I would find would be her dead body. The distance from the window to the door of my room was only about ten feet, but it seemed to take me forever to walk across that floor. I felt like I was weighted down by a ton of steel. Each step was like trying to wade through thick molasses. I was in shock, of course, although I did not understand that, then. All I knew was that my mother was dead and she needed me.

        When I finally made it to the door, I reached up for the doorknob, but right before my fingers touched the knob, the door seemed to fly open all by itself. My mother was standing there in her blue nightgown, her dark hair all disheveled, with terrible purple-red bruises in the shape of fingers circling her pale throat. My mother’s mouth was moving, moving, moving, and she was waving her hands all around in the air like she often did when she was very upset or excited about something. But, even though her mouth was moving as though she was talking, I could not hear a sound! I thought, “My mother is dead and this is her ghost. That is why I can’t hear her.”

        Then, apparently realizing that I was in shock, my mother grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. When I felt her solid fingers digging into my flesh, then I knew she was alive. In that same moment, my hearing snapped back on as though someone had turned a switch inside my brain. Then I could hear her telling me to help her lock all the windows and doors before my dad came back, and asking me if I thought she should call the police.

        I often wondered what the horrible sound was that had made me think it was too late to get help, that my dad had just killed my mother. What did I hear that was so horrible, it caused me to go deaf?

        I did not know the answer to this until 3 years ago. More than 40 years after that terrible night, a therapist helped me to partially remember. I still do not have a real memory of hearing the actual sound, but I do know what it was that I heard. Right after my dad gave up his struggle to strangle my mother, he went for the gun that he kept loaded on the top shelf of his closet. My mother screamed “NO, NOT THE GUN!” — and immediately after that, one of them SLAMMED their bedroom door very hard, right after my dad ran out of the room and then out of the house with the gun in his hand. Although I still do not remember actually hearing it, I am certain that this is what I heard. He grabbed the gun and ran out. One of them, probably my mother, slammed the door very hard right after he ran out. And that hard slam of the solid wood door, echoing down the hall with its bare wood floors, sounded just like a gunshot. When my brain thought that I had just heard my mother being murdered, it was so terrible, so unbearable, that I blanked the sound it out of my memory and I went completely deaf — until I discovered she was still alive.

        Truly, the mind is an amazing thing.

  3. PS:
    None of your childhood abuse was ever your fault, Rachael.
    I am so sorry the abuse happened to you.
    I am angry that you had no defenders.
    I am furious that you were given the message to “forgive and forget.”

    In my opinion, “forgive” is the other “F” word. Its misuse is just as vile as the original “F” word.

    Forgiveness is a wonderful thing — when it is done correctly. We all make mistakes, sometimes really bad mistakes, and therefore we all could use forgiveness from time to time.

    Forgiveness done correctly involves genuine, heartfelt, sorrowful repentance and — whenever possible — recompense on the part of the person seeking to be forgiven.

    According to the Christian Bible*, God does not forgive until the wrongdoer has sincerely repented. In the Lord’s Prayer, Christ taught his disciples to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” …..”As” means “like,” or “in the same way.” Since God, according to the Bible, requires repentance before He will forgive, it stands to reason that if we mortals are expected to forgive “in the same way,” this must mean that we are NOT required to forgive IF the person who wronged us has failed to repent.

    *I am not trying to push religion on anyone! I only mention Christianity and the Bible because that is where the prevailing “forgive and forget” idea originated in our society. For many years I was agnostic. Although I am now a Christian believer, I still have doubts and more questions than answers, especially when it comes to certain very odd verses in the Bible! Some of my favorite people are agnostic or of eastern religions. I respect everyone’s right to believe, or disbelieve, as each person sees fit.

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