First Things First
Getting Down to Basics
Please Sign
Ponder This

This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in Abuse (38)

Wednesday
May282014

Well of Darkness

I've been belly punched by the discovery that someone I was once married to is a pedophile.

At first my response was "ugh." At first. And then it began snowballing from there. I thought of how my mom had married a pedophile; if I "married" my abuser by choosing a hubby that shared his perversion, did that somehow make me my mother? Double ugh.

I thought of how, for decades, I've felt guilt over not sticking it out with that marriage. Sure, I knew he'd been unfaithful on many occasions, but he did begin to settle down and become a family man. And yes, it's true he was a lousy provider, lazy as all get out. In fact my baby at the time ended up malnourished, which is when I got myself a job in spite of the fact that my hubby threatened to leave me, and take the kids with him, if I did.

Still. In spite of all that I've carried this guilt around with me like a heavy sack of spuds slung over my shoulder. I've castigated myself for not trying harder. I'd taken vows! Didn't that mean anything?

But now this: he tried to rape one of his own relatives.

This is the same man who pointed a loaded gun at my stepfather, and threatened to blow his head off for abusing me.

I don't know what to do with this, where to turn. Why has it hit me so hard? I'm not with him and haven't been for over 30 years. I had no knowledge of his nasty little secret. Yet it's plunged me into a well of darkness which reminds me of that horrible time when my mom brought my abuser into my life. Of the years following with its midnight invasions, after school rapings and everything in between.

It reminds me of when I was married to this man and sometimes, oh sometimes when he would fondle me in the middle of the pitch-black night, I thought for an instant I saw my stepfather's face looming over me, and I'd flip out. I couldn't explain to him what the problem was, for I went through years of not remembering the abuse. So why would my stepdad's face be superimposed over my hubby's?

I've thought for decades that with a bit more growing up on both our parts, we could have made the marriage work. If I hadn't been so impatient, it could have worked. My kids could have grown up with a father.

It should be freeing to realize that it really couldn't have worked, because even if he'd become faithful and a good provider, I couldn't have stayed with him if I found out about his pedophilia. These things do have a tendency to surface sooner or later. And my sons? They didn't need his example.

I've got to work through the depth of this depression to come out the other side where I can be thankful I let this marriage go after nearly 7 years of trying.

I don't know what to do with these feelings in the meantime, though. My parts are all pretty much wanting to shut down.

 

Wednesday
May072014

A Wisp of Memory, A Bit of a Dream

In my dream my adult self is lying across a bed, weeping my heart out. My father comes and lies down beside me, asking what's wrong.

"How c-could you?" I cry, "How could you leave me with mom and him all those years? You knew what a freak he was! Why didn't you rescue me?"

My father's voice sounds puzzled. "But I tried," he said. "Didn't you know? I tried."

I am not to be consoled, for if he did try to rescue me I never saw any evidence of it. Like so many dreams this is surreal. In real life my father would not have stretched out next to me. When I was a child, yes. But during my adult years there was that gaping distance between us, the emotional distance brought about by divorce, and the very real geographical distance determined necessary by my mother.

And I'm weeping profusely in the dream, something I wouldn't have allowed my father to see in real life. I had spent 8 years of my childhood stoically braving his absence in my life; as an adult I could have no more let him see me break down like that than I'd have let him see me naked.

And then there's the flitting memory which surfaced the other day out of some nether land where it has lain buried and smoldering for decades. My mother, during the first year or so of her marriage to my new stepfather, is wearing ski pants which outline her curvy hips and fit snugly across her crotch. I'm used to my mother in her sensible housewifely cotton frocks, and I rather like that she is dressing differently now, more modern. But there is the troubling memory of my stepfather running the palm of his hand up and down her leg. When his hand reaches her crotch he gives a playful pinch before running it down her leg once more.

My 7 year old self doesn't know what this means, but judging by his sly look which is met by the coy expression on my mother's face, I know it is something, well, if not bad then at least something I was not supposed to see. But it was done right in front of me, and in fact my stepdad turned his head slightly as his hand met her crotch, to make sure that I was watching. Not something a child should see then, but something that my mother and stepdad didn't think was such a big deal.

The ski pants didn't last long, a mere phase after all. I can remember them getting relegated to my mother's bottom dresser drawer where she kept the things she seldom wore, before finally getting rid of them for good.

Back to the house dresses, except that now housewives in the 'burbs were wearing gaudy muu-muus and shifts. There was nothing sexy about them; I felt that I was safer now that my mother had stopped trying to dress younger and returned to her former, more domestic self. I never saw the stepdad run his hand up and down her leg now, in fact I never saw him touch her anymore.

I never saw him touch her now because there was no need for him to: he'd begun touching me.

 

Monday
Nov252013

There's No Place Like Home

 

I hesitate to write this post because I know how it's going to sound.

For the record, I'm not suicidal.

I'm simply homesick, homesick for the eternal home that awaits me. This world, aside from the ones I love, holds no attraction for me. I'm tired. Physically and in every possible way, I'm tired and flat out weary.

When I see on the news that another monster has stolen a child's innocence, I'm weary.

When I awaken with an argument inside my head with the mother I don't even have a relationship with, I'm weary.

Abuse and its aftermath will do this to you, it will make your very bones tired. While dealing with yet another loved one's addiction (for the hundredth time) I feel as if I can't take it one more day. I can't get my hopes up one more time that this person will break free from the bloodsucking leech of addiction, and live out the rest of his life with hope and stability. But I can't allow myself to go to the opposite extreme either of giving up, of shrugging my shoulders and telling myself, "There's nothing I can do about it. I might as well accept that he's going to lose his life to drugs."

"There's a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar . . ."

Old-fashioned words from an old fashioned hymn. Some will think this hymn, and the faith of those who can sing it sincerely,  pathethically simple and out of touch with reality. I don't care. I've been longing for my eternal home since I was a child. I'm drawn to it, I long for it. I live in this world; I have a body which takes up space in it. Everything I do sets something in motion, like ripples in a pond. I breathe, I eat, I sleep, I move my body, I wash it, I take it with me everywhere I go.

What a responsibility it is to own a body!

Standing on my head against the living room wall while my family stares blank-faced at TV sitcoms, I see The King of the Mountain leering at my body. Were it not for the fact of my mother and siblings in the room with us, he would pounce on me. I know this vaguely and the knowing causes me to allow my body to fall into a heap on the floor where it is not so much on display. It is because of my body that he is able to do such despicable things to me, and yet I must carry around the burden of this body for the rest of my life.

Once upon a time I knew the luxury of giving my body little thought. It was nothing more than the vehicle through which I lived my life. If one's body can become such a burden, how much more of a burden is the self-consciousness that comes from having it gawked and leered at night and day. And more of a burden to have it preyed upon, crushed, contorted into awkward and sometimes painful angles by careless hands.

And so I'm tired, weary of this life through which I propel my aged body. Nobody leers at it anymore, so there's some compensation for having lived this long. I want....oh, I want so much more than what this world ever offered me.

I want to not feel the shame of my flesh.

I want to not hear of another child ravaged by unrestrained evil.

I want to not have every memory sullied.

I want to be free in a way that this world has never allowed.

Dorothy said it well in The Wizard of Oz: "There's no place like home."

She was right; and when I get to my eternal home I will, at long last, be free of earthly constraints and know the luxury of having my existence never again depend upon this earthly, traitorous body.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Aug102013

A Perfect Fit

Now that I am once more living in my own place, no longer babysitting full-time and running a household for 8, I look back and wonder how I managed to do all that. How on earth did I get up day after day, and immediately begin watching kids, cleaning house, grocery shopping, and laundry, as well as drive kids to and from school? What motivated me to even try such daily feats with my health issues?

As with most things that drive me, I suspect that I was compelled to go above and beyond the call of duty because of the kind of childhood from which I emerged.

I was able to do what I did for a year and a half because it felt familiar. Familiar to me wasMy mother and I cleaning up after the Columbus Day Storm. the sense that everything depended on me. More than that, I couldn't even relinquish some of the responsibilities to other household members. I needed to do it all myself. I've wondered if I had the need to play a martyr, and on the surface it might seem that way. But when I dig deeper, what I discover is something entirely different.

I was programmed to feel that the well-being and the fate of my entire family depended upon me. My stepdad programmed me to steer away from any admission to anyone in my world that I was being abused. My mother, whether or not she realized she was his co-conspirator, contributed her own brand of guilting me into silence. Upon walking in on her hubby molesting me, so much of the well-being of my future depended on how she handled things. Had she said to me, "I don't care if we lose his income, I don't care if we have to give up our new house--all I care about is protecting you," well, that would have set in motion a whole different adulthood than the one I eventually stumbled into.

What she said, in fact, was, "If you want me to send him to prison, you should know that we'll lose the house and have to go on welfare."

In addition, then, to bearing my stepdad's ugly secrets so that he didn't follow through on his threats, I now had to shoulder the responsibility for keeping things on an even keel so that nothing in my mother's materialistic world would change.

Yes, I could slip easily into my role of the responsible one in such a large household, for not only did it feel familiar but it also kept me grounded. I had a purpose. My role was pivotal to the household.

And now? And now I don't have that heavy responsibility on my shoulders. A relief in some ways, yes, but at the same time it feels as if the rug's been yanked out from under me. This is why I could long for my long work days to come to an end and, now that they have, greatly wish they never had.

I don't want my worth as a human being bound up with what I do. I want my life to have meaning simply by virtue of being alive. I shouldn't have to be over-worked and over-burdened in order to feel that my life has meaning. No one should feel that way.

I can look back in retrospect and see what I did wrong in not delegating some of my responsibilities to other family members. That's a kind of progress, to be able to come to this realization. But deep beneath that realization that old, old belief persists that this is why I exist: to take care of everyone.

Who knows if and when I'll be able to fully recover from that faulty belief? I say it's faulty because intellectually I know it to be so. Logically it is so. Emotionally I'm still the Cinderella of the family, sweeping up the ashes other have left in their wake as they blithely trip off to the ball.

Any progress I make with my recovery is slow going. That's okay with me; as long as I'm moving forward, however slowly, I'm getting somewhere. Somewhere different than I was yesterday or last week or 5 years ago. And unlike the original Cinderella, I'm not waiting for Prince Charming to rescue me from  my life of servitude. There is only one who can do so, and that's me. I will eventually (so I believe) take that outworn sense of responsibility for others and aim it back on myself. I will shrink that all-pervasive sense of duty down to more sensible proportions until it's a perfect fit for taking care of myself.

 

 

Monday
Jul222013

Journeying Toward Home

Sitting on the front porch just now with the sun streaming down on me, I had an epiphany. As a young child I played happily by myself for hours, in our backyard, often making a private little home for me and my dolls under the shade of a weeping willow tree. What contentment to sit in its shade, absentmindedly absorbing the serenade of bird songs, or the dull roar of an overhead airplane as it arced through the sky to some unknown destination.

Time seemed at once to stand still and to flow, washing over me the sweet assurance of being loved and cherished. Grasshoppers jumped to my delight and bees droned in their lazy way, seeking to suck the nectar from sweet  summer's lavishness.

Before, this is how I knew life. Before, the sun was kind to me and the long summer days were resplendent with hope and the promise of eternity. After, I found no delight in the season whose brightness rubbed me the wrong way: and here's where my epiphany enters the scene. I once loved the sunshine, for it made things glow and throb with eternity. I reveled in the promise of one day living in a land where we will no longer need the sun, for the Lamb will be our light. I loved how time went on and on, seemingly endless. But once abuse grabbed me with cold, grasping hands, I could no longer delight in the unendingness of summer, for it meant now that the abuse would never come to an end. It meant that forever and ever I would be at the mercy of evil, and for me that meant that the sun had eternally set on my soul, never to rise again, bathing me in that glow of well-being which now seemed foreign to me, a tale told out of school.

Because the abuse began on a hot summer's day I've always assumed that's the reason behind my lack of fondness for summer. But I see now it goes deeper than that, all the way back to those earliest memories of complete contentment broken now, shattered beyond repair and me with nothing to look forward to but vague terror and a degree of heart sickness for which there could be no cure.

I sat on my porch just now and the sun warmed my bones; it lightened the sidewalk to a near glow, and brought to mind a normal I once knew with the ignorance of one who has only ever known love and safety and, because of that, has no fear for the future. Oh how careless and reckless was I in the those early days, for my place in this world hadn't been contested.  I had no need to prove my value for no one had questioned it.

Yes, the time came when I thought I would exist forever in a kind of purgatory of the soul, lost in a limbo of hot, perverted hands and the searing hope for a rescue that never appeared.

On the porch, then, my heart felt a slight uplift of hope as the sun warmed me. I've already begun eternity, I thought, nothing has changed after all. The sun isn't evil and I'm no less valuable than I ever was, for nothing can change what awaits for me at the end of my long, convoluted journey toward home.