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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entries in childhood home (3)

Saturday
Feb282015

Full Measure

I didn't give much thought to accepting the set of metal measuring cups Sissyface was getting rid of as she sorted through kitchen items, preparatory to moving.

Days later something nagged at me, and finally I texted her, "Are these the original measuring cups from Brightwood Street?"

"Yes!" she texted back, stirring within me a tornado of emotions.

When the stepfather napped, we were all to be quiet. Tip toeing around became second nature to me, and a bane to my existence.

The measuring cups were kept hanging from a metal rack inside a cabinet door. Whenever I opened that door to put things away after our evening meal, I had to be sure to open it slowly and cover the cups with one hand so they wouldn't bang against the wood and awaken the fury of my stepfather.

If he was away on a trucking trip and my mother was in the garage beating Doreen to near unconsciousness, I welcomed the noise of those measuring cups clanging against the cupboard door, and would sometimes open and shut the door harder than necessary in an attempt to drown out my step-sister's whimpering.

I'm not sure why I do this, why I accept things from my childhood which I know can only hurt me beyond words. I think this is a way to test myself. Can I see and touch these cups without flinching? What about the reels and reels of home movies I might also inherit? Can I see them in their metal canisters and not think of what they contain of my childhood? Will I be a stronger person for not wincing with shame and anger? Will I win this strange silent battle with my mother if none of this makes me cry? Oh! Am I so much like Doreen, then, with this not wanting my mother to succeed in reducing me to a weeping, blubbering mess?

I thought of how my mother's contempt for Doreen was so apparent, not only in the severity of the beatings but also in her general at-arm's-length attitude toward her. I thought, well I didn't fare so much better myself, but atleast my mother didn't show contempt for me. And then it hit me: what was her refusal to do anything about seeing her hubby molesting me if not absolute contempt for me and my welfare?

Yes, I have the measuring cups here within easy reach. It would be taking it too far to hang them inside a cupboard, so I won't be doing that. After all I'm not attempting to replicate my childhood, simply to understand it as best I can. What I want to do, what I hope to accomplish eventually is to take full measure of my character with as much honesty as I can muster.

Have I clung with tenacity to my childhood dreams which made it possible to survive the unthinkable?

Have I exceeded my mother's set of priorities, choosing a life focused on the heart of things rather than on outward appearances and financial security?

These are questions I love to mull over. They are much more answerable than the other kinds of questions I can't help but ask myself such as, Why doesn't my mother love me?

I will take stock of myself, and where I see that I fall short of measuring up to the person I choose to be I will make an effort to change. I will own those parts of me I'm not too fond of, and allow myself room to grow and experience and change.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday
Nov142014

Before Night Closes In

I keep thinking I'll blog again, telling myself several times during the week, "Remember this so you can write about it." But the moment passes, and when I consider it in retrospect it appears too frail, too thin, too hollow.

Yesterday in my car at my granddaughters' school, I sat gazing out at the deserted playground. A brisk wind stirred up leaves and stray bits of paper, and bark dust (which I've always hated because the first time I saw bark dust was after moving to our new house on Brightwood Street).

The slides and swings and play structures looked cold to the touch. I shivered at all that coldness. When I was in grade school I ran and climbed and swung through the playground at school, recklessly and with anger pushing me, shoving my face into the cold air of late autumn or early winter. My coat always hung open, my hands stung with cold. I didn't care. I pushed my little body as hard as I could in an effort to fortify myself against what awaited me . . . at home.

Sitting in my car slightly shivering, I took in everything. The flock of birds which suddenly swept across the sky as if practicing for a professionally choreographed dance number, their flight effortless looking, graceful, gorgeous. No stragglers spoiled the beauty of their flight; they were all perfectly in sync. I watched them fan out then come together with easy precision, and then it was over and they flew back to wherever they'd come from.

The wind blew the swings, giving the illusion that they contained invisible children, pumping their legs fiercely. This led to the thought that I was an invisible child, or at least visible only by a very few: my friends mostly, and the occasional teacher like Mr. Hansen who used to wink at me and call me Blue Eyes. Though come to think of it, he was probably a pedophile which is why he could see me.

But the scene before me is telling me something and I ignore thoughts of my invisibility so as to narrow my focus and capture the nebulous thoughts which suddenly drive me crazy, like an itch I can't scratch. I may not find the source of that itch, but knowing me I'll scratch myself raw in search of it.

The sky is hazy and smoke rises from a distant chimney. A chain link fences separates the playground from the backyards of several homes. I wonder how anyone could like living so close to a school. I see a man enter one of the backyards and wonder about him. Did he move there because he wanted to be close to a school full of kids? I discard the thought, I won't go there, not now. Not now when I'm trying to break through the protective gauze that seems to enshroud my thinking and perception abilities whenever I'm about to feel something about my childhood.

The concrete, the swirling leaves, the metal poles denuded of their tether balls. What does any of it mean? To me. What does any of it mean to me? I see symbolism everywhere. I can't help it; especially where children are concerned everything has some underground meaning. Not always sinister, but I can't afford to take things at face value.

Suddenly a knot of children bursts through the back door of the building, exploding on the playground in a riot of color and noise. They run for the swings and the merry-go-round, the older ones wandering off by themselves to taunt one another or dare each other to do stupid things.

A boy bounces a ball and runs out to the parking lot to retrieve it when it goes too far. Immediately a male teacher yells at him, calls him over and scolds him for a good minute or so. I can see the kid squirm under the teacher's condemnation, and I inwardly squirm with him.

Enough, I tell the teacher silently, let him go. He stopped hearing you about 45 seconds ago.

Released at last, the boy wanders off, his former excitement deflated. He shuffles his feet, head down, keeps to himself while all about him kids scream and laugh and act like little savages while they can, before they are commanded back inside.

How many of them are being abused at home, is what I wonder. I don't want to. I don't want to have to think this everytime I see a group of kids. But I can't help it. It's instinctive with me to wonder this. How many others besides me were being abused back in the early sixties? Did any of them fare better than I?

My concentration is lost to me now, broken by the little boy's scolding and the thought of the kinds of homes some of them will return to later that afternoon. I may never know if the scene before me held some secret it was about to unfold. I'm used to this, used to feeling on the brink of some great or small epiphany which will reveal something withheld from me for decades, and then the fading away as the protective gauze falls back into place. Once more I am left looking at a scene which holds nothing of interest, just some kids I don't know, and dancing leaves which stir within no well-thumbed memories or unrealized longings.

My granddaughters will run out to my car, grinning, hair wild in the wind, their glasses smudged and their backpacks slung carelessly over their vulnerable shoulders. They'll climb into the backseat, excited to tell me the news of the day, quibbling with one another, vying for my attention. My focus now is on driving the five minutes to their home, getting us there safely before night closes in and we are lost forever, out in the cold.

Wednesday
Mar262014

Not My Father's House

On one of my reluctant visits back to my mother's after moving out at the age of 15, I found myself alone in the living room one evening with my stepfather. By then the beautifully hued blue/green short napped wall to wall of my earlier years had been replaced with a strident yellow long shag. My mother used a rake to keep it from getting matted like the fur of an unbrushed cat.

This change in living room decor always disconcerted me, as if a demur woman of great gentility inexplicably became overnight the raucous life of the party. Then too, I seemed to equate shag carpets with hippies living in vans, or at least with those who disdained the bourgeoisie of an earlier, more decorous era.

My stepfather's knees rested against the marble coffee table, as cold and brutish as it ever was throughout those years of banging my ankles and shins into it. I glanced at his knees clad in the familiar dull green trucker's pants and wished fervently to not be alone with him, to not be expected to be immune to the burden of King of the Mountain with my sisters.memories evoked by those pants, that table, the framed Vikings art work above the couch, that mantelpiece from which my oversized Christmas stocking had hung every year. Of the memory of my mother blundering into this very room one night when I was 11 to the sight of her husband with his hot greedy hand down my pj bottoms, right there on the couch on which he now sat across from me, his expression its customary blend of sardonic arrogance.

I babbled to fill the silence, possibly I commented stupidly on the weather.

"Dad," I called him, and then realizing my faux pas blushed as deeply as any wallflower who finally gets asked to dance, only to realize miserably as she is led out to the dance floor that she has two left feet.

I backtracked, desperate to set the record straight.

"I'm sorry," I stuttered as my neck and face flushed all over again, "I didn't mean--"

"Hey." He lifted a hand, brushing off the apology. "It's okay. You can still call me that if you want."

I didn't want. Yet despite the years piled upon years of his intrusion into my life through the vehicle of my flesh, I didn't desire to hurt his feelings.

"I mean, it's too confusing if . . . " I let my voice trail off.  If I call you both Dad, I wanted to finish. If I call the person who stole my virginity by the same name as my true father, now that you are both in my life simultaneously.

Who can calculate the enormous strain sexual abuse puts on a child on every level, the strain not just of sudden invasions and attacks, as horrific as those are, but the daily strain of attempting to have some kind of relationship with the abuser(s) and other family members? All my interactions were freighted with anxiety. Was I saying the wrong thing, holding my face wrong, using an offensive tone of voice? Should I even be talking at all?

I didn't know how to relate to my stepfather. He was my abuser, my sex-education teacher, my rapist, and the thief of more than just my virginity. Sexual perversions aside, I didn't know who he was supposed to be to me. He wasn't my father. Even if he wasn't an abuser, I still would not have thought of him as that. He wasn't my friend, and could only be considered my guardian in the strictest sense of the word, or perhaps what I mean is only in a monetary sense.

I didn't know who this man was meant to be to me. No one explained anything, which left me full of worry, especially when the abuse began. I knew he worked hard and was a good provider. I knew that when he was home he was King of the Mountain. I knew my mother didn't much like him, I could see that, though she was too refined to come right out and say so. I knew she didn't like him but I could also see she wasn't afraid of him. And yet she deferred to him in every way possible. He was, in many ways, a monkey preening as a man, but knowing this she nevertheless all but bowed down in his presence.

Who was he to me? I remember sometime during his first year as my stepfather my school held a father/daughter dinner. I wanted desperately to go; all the other girls were going. I couldn't bring myself to think of my real father, he was clearly lost to me world without end. I didn't like to ask my stepfather to accompany me: it seemed traitorous to my father, my heart. But I did. And I think he was touched that I asked him. Beneath the habitual smirk, I saw momentary surprise and a little jolt of pleasure. Legitimate pleasure.

And years later, visiting his home which was no longer mine, I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I still didn't know, any better than I had at the beginning of our unholy journey together, who he was supposed to be to me. I knew only that I was free physically from his grasp, and I would not go out of my way to impose pain on the one who had made my evolution into many a necessity.