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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 Step-dad (5)


Full Circle


I watch my father's bowlegged walk back to his car, alone. Snow falls like a soft scolding, dusting his bare head and the shoulders of his coat as he reaches in his pocket for the keys. My knees dig into the scratchy couch fabric as my intense gaze out our living room window wills him back inside, willing him to burst through our front door and scoop me into his arms and carry me, as if I'm delicate from swooning for want of him, out into the snow the snow the snow.

Headlights burn into the gauzy night,  burn a bleak light on the white humpbacked bushes bracketing our front walk. As the windshield wipers jerk to life and his car begins to back out of our graveled drive, my heart lurches. There are no words to call him back. There will be no words with which to woo him back to me and I, little and drooping against the couch, my skin hot with sorrow, am ignorant of the fact that I won't see him again for 7 long years.


Late one night when the house has been hushed for hours, Willie Ray sneaks into my room.   I awaken with a start to his hands undressing me; he doesn't need to hiss at me to be quiet, I already know better than to cry out.

My body thrums with fear; I squeeze my eyes against the sight of him bending over me, his face flushed with desire. When I am naked he tells me to get up. As I do, he grabs the sheet from my bed, drapes it over me, and scoops me up in his arms. Without a word we begin an unholy journey. He carries me through the kitchen,  mother's meticulously clean domain, where I see by the teapot wall clock that it is just after 3 am. How odd everything looks to me in the dead of the night, being carried naked through its modern banality. The window over the sink is but a blur as Willie Ray nudges open the playroom door with his shoulder. Our destination is the laundry room off of the garage. There I am plopped down on top of the washing machine whose surface is so cold it shocks me through the thin sheet.

A variety of odors assaults my nose as I sit hunched on the washing machine, closing my eyes to whatever comes next. At the squeak of the playroom door opening, Willie Ray swears softly and snaps off the light before hurrying into the garage, leaving the laundry room door open a crack.

Through the open slit of the door I  see him standing casually in the middle of the garage while  Mom says, "What in the world are you doing out here at 3 am?"  

With hands in his pockets, Willie Ray gazes up at the ceiling. "I was  thinking I could build some kind of shelving for storage up there."

"Well for heaven's sake, that can wait. Let's get back to bed."  

They move from my line of vision; I hear the shuffle of her slippers, a loud whispered contrast to  the smack of his hard soled shoes on the concrete floor. In my mind's eye I follow them all the way to the door. When the light goes out I give a hiccup of a sob. Darkness looms like another presence, pushing up against me from every side like a taunting bully. The only sound  is my heartbeat pounding in my ears, as thunderous as the summertime sound of metal skates up and down Brightwood Street.

In the soupy darkness my hand flies to my knee scab, like anxiety to a worry stone, seeking its puckered comfort. My stiff fingers read its bumpy landscape like another kind of Braille. My naked body begins to shiver, a mini earthquake that starts at my tailbone and works it way all the way up my body until my teeth chatter. Am I trembling from the cold, or from the growing realization that Willie Ray may come back to finish what he started? Whether or not he does, in the meantime here I am trapped inside the laundry room, dark as a pocket,  with its smells of bleach, detergent and wet diapers, picking at my knee scab.


Do all journeys eventually come to an end?

This is what it is. It's not that I think I'm still that little girl, stuck in that laundry room, terrified of  the dark and what awaited me if I lingered there, or what awaited me if I tried sneaking back inside.

It's not that I think I'm still the broken-hearted 7 year old who watched her daddy walk to his car in the snow, his headlights intruding on my sorrow.

I know I am in the here and now.  It's not a matter of grounding myself, of reminding my parts that it's now 2014 and we're safe, all safe. But in a very real sense I am that little girl, hunched naked, picking at her scab. I am the one on the scratchy couch, limp with loss.

I haven't been able to make a home for myself here, in this apartment. I'm out of do-overs. I've lost my touch, or more accurately my motivation.

This isn't my home, I lost that decades ago and there is no going back in time and regaining anything.

Home wasn't a place, home was my father.

Home was the safety and comfort of his presence. I get that now. When he was lost to me I lost all ability to ever feel at home anywhere.

I've tried over the years. I've made each home as cosy as possible, but when night falls and I'm alone again, and I really might as well still be that naked little girl hunched over the washing machine waiting to be raped, well who am I kidding. This is not a home; none of the places I've moved to with regularity have truly been home, it was all make believe because, really, what else was I to do?

I am not healed. My sorrow is still raw, my wound gaping.  I've come full circle, after having spent decades thinking I was out-running my childhood.

None of us want sympathy or validation or anything of the sort, it's just that I knew if I didn't write this out something bad would follow. It always does.


Connecting the Dots

Having grown up in a house of secrets, it's been difficult throughout the years separating truth from lies. The explanations and stories I've received regarding certain events of my childhood have often contradicted one another.

Of great concern and puzzlement to me has been the reason that my mother kept me from my dad and brothers for nearly eight years. I've never been able to make sense of it. When I learned that she had been secretly visiting my brothers infrequently over the years, my puzzlement deepened. Why wouldn't she have taken me along?

My mother still maintains she knew nothing of her hubby's fondness for little girls until the night, when I was 11, she walked in on him molesting me. If this is so, then why did she keep me from my dad long before that? If she had nothing to hide then there was no reason to rob me of my relationship with him.

By blocking my access to my dad and brothers, I thought tonight, she effectively kept me from the only people in whom I very likely would have confided the sexual abuse, and the only ones who would have most definitely come to my defense.


I had a light bulb moment. Of course. Of course her refusal to allow me access to them was deliberate, and not the result of some whim, or the need to be in control,  as I've always thought.

Maybe she didn't know before I was 11 that her hubby was a pedophile, but she must have sensed something off about his manner of interacting with me. So much so that, not only was I kept from my dad, but she never during those years of secretly visiting my brothers invited them to our home to celebrate holidays or birthdays. I've always assumed she wanted nothing to do with my dad once she'd left him, and that's why she kept us apart. I figured maybe it was guilt for the way in which she handled things that caused her to want to avoid having to deal with him. But she had to deal with him to some extent, didn't she, in order to see my brothers?

If she didn't even want me to see them, well why would that be? Was she afraid of what I'd tell them that would get repeated to my dad?

I was kept from the only ones who would have protected me. This doesn't seem like a coincidence to me. This seems very ruthlessly thought out.

It wouldn't have served any purpose for her sake to take the risk of letting me see my dad, not if she had misgivings about what he might have learned from me. In fact, allowing me exposure to my dad could very well have resulted in the one thing I believe she feared above all: the collapsing of the house of cards she'd built with my stepdad, the Joker.

Imagine it. She allows me to visit my dad and brothers, I spill the beans, and her hubby ends up either in prison or murdered. Then what? What was she supposed to do then when her very reason for marrying my stepdad was to get her hands on his steady paycheck? What good was he outside of his role as provider?

Oh mother, I can't help wondering, what were you thinking? Were you totally blinded to the repercussions of your decisions? Did you really suppose it was better to stay married to a sadistic pedophile than to cut all ties with him and possibly be on welfare? Could the first alternative really have been better for your children?

I'm connecting the dots as I can, as new truths come to me. I'll probably never have the big picture, but I can occasionally make a new connection which helps me separate the wheat from the chaff. The truth from the lies.

There may not be comfort in realizing some things about my mother's character and priorities, but there is a certain comfort to be found in uncovering truth. Small comfort, perhaps, but comfort indeed.


On the Road Again

After reading one of my older blog posts the other day something nagged at me. What was it about the post that troubled me?

Nothing earth shaking, as it turns out. It was simply that I'd written that my abuser, my stepdad, who was a truck driver, was absent 2 days a week.

2 days a week? That doesn't even make sense to me. He was supporting a wife and 5 kids; how could he have done that working only a couple days a week?

Looking back at those childhood years I realize that it's much more likely that he was home 2 days a week. I've discovered this error wasn't limited to this one blog post; I've been making this statement infrequently ever since I began blogging 7 years ago.

I'm not sure what it means that my memory is faulty in this area. Perhaps it indicates that when he was home it seemed he was everywhere at once; lurking around corners, dogging my steps, showing up unexpectedly when least expected. No wonder it seems as if he was home most of the time! Apparently the 5 days he spent on the road wasn't a long enough span of time for me to relax, let down my hyper-vigilance.

How I must have anticipated his going back to work after those couple of days at home. No doubt I didn't dare allow myself to even think how eager I was for him to return to work. I can imagine how I guarded myself from that anticipation, fearing I would jinx something by allowing myself to focus on such thoughts. Maybe if I longed too fervently for him to be gone that very longing would result in the loss of his job, or a reduction in hours worked, and I'd be stuck with him all the more.

I'm not sure what mind games I played, what mental hoops I jumped through on a regular basis in order to deal with the overriding dread of those 48 hours when he would be a fixture in our family circle, lying on the couch in his saggy undies,  so at ease with his dictatorship--so confident of the power he wielded over all of us--that he had only to lie there and bark out his orders, with no fear of insubordination.

I cringe at the rememberance of his dreaded days off. I may have wrongly remembered how often they occurred, but one thing I've never forgotten is the oppression of being exposed to my abuser's cruelties and whims for 48 straight hours, until he was once more off the couch, back on the clock and on the road again.








This Girl's Life

Sissyface and I had a conversation last night about our home movies. She told me that the first thing that came to mind when she saw the scenes with me, my brother, my mother and stepdad (she herself hadn't been born yet) was the movie, This Boy's Life, with Robert De Niro.

For those of you who have seen the movie, you'll recall that De Niro played the sadistic stepfather, Dwight. This has long been one of my favorites, though I can hardly credit my love for it. Perhaps it's as simple as the movie being one of those rare Hollywood gems that shines with truth. The truth, in this case, is ugly and raw and messy and painful to watch. I flinch during certain scenes, such as the one in which the stepfather shoves a jar of mustard into his stepson's face and screams, "Does this look empty to you?"

I love true things. No matter how painful they may be to watch or face or absorb, at some point the beauty of their stark truth reaches me, grabbing my admiration.

I love when things are named rightly. I've written quite a bit lately about my home movies and their obvious fakery. During the filming of these movies a seed of revulsion for all things false was planted in my little soul. Even before the camera recorded these carefully poised scenes I had witnessed plenty about our ragtag family that bothered me.

My mother acted coy around my stepdad, in the beginning at least until she was sure of herself. I hated her sugary coyness, for I knew this was a mother with whom I'd never been acquainted. My stepdad laughed when nothing was funny, usually his laughter was directed at one of us kids as he mocked us for some stumbling or failure.

I love how This Boy's Life accurately portrays the kind of blended family that is more typical in our society than what is acted out in the saccharine sitcom The Brady Bunch. For many of us who grew up in such families, life was deadly serious, as serious as rape and molestation and every form of cruelty imaginable. We didn't have the goofy, affectionate Alice to help us through our little woes (and most of our woes, truth be told, weren't so little.) We didn't have two loving parents, or even one, and our troubles could not be resolved within a half an hour. Most of them weren't resolved ever, not until we were old enough to flee our prisons.

It hit me, when Sissyface and I were comparing the home movies with This Boy's Life, that she'd nailed it dead on. The details might have varied, but the atmosphere of violence and shame and sadism in my family were so similar in nature and depth that if I were to give a movie title to my childhood, it would have to be This Girl's Life.

This girl, yes. That girl, that little girl who bore the brunt of anger and perversions and somehow, oh somehow survived and grew up to write her stories.

There is something triumphant in the shining truth of this: I survived.

Ah, one more truth to admire and revel in.




Message In a Bottle

Sissyface went back to Arizona with Mom last week. For seven days I've been dying to ask her just who it is she had to defend me to for most of her life. She'd made that comment when there wasn't time to delve into the subject. Not until she'd left town did its significance sink in.

Last night she dropped by for a catch-up visit, and I asked her what she'd meant by that comment, fully expecting to hear that it was my abuser, The King of the Mountain, who'd bad mouthed me for years.

"You meant your dad, right?" I prompted.

She frowned in concentration and said, "No, actually I don't remember him talking about you. It was Mom."

Shouldn't I have expected this?

"But what kinds of things?" I'm sure I whined, reverting to a sniveling child.

"I honestly don't remember . . . and it wasn't so much what she said as how everything changed whenever your name was mentioned. Like suddenly there was all this tension, and she'd get an ugly look on her face."

"As she's always done when Doreen (our stepsister) was mentioned?"

"Yeah, that's it. The same kind of snippy, arrogant attitude."

"But," I objected, ready to plead my case, "what was I doing that was so bad? I mean sure my life was screwed up for a long time, but gee, I wonder why. Even so, I raised my kids, I didn't abuse or abandon them. I wasn't like certain family members who have consistently ripped off everyone in the family, or tried to have sex with their own sisters!"

Sissyface didn't have an explanation but, alone later that night with my thoughts, I found one of my own. Sometimes, I realized, sometimes it's got nothing to do with what you do. I could've been the perfect child (and in truth nearly was), but it wouldn't have made any difference. It wasn't about what I did: it was about who I was. My father's daughter. Oh but more than that: my very existence, the fact of it, was a constant trial to my mother. I must have aggravated her like an embedded sliver. And how appropriate a comparison: didn't she and my step-dad spend 8 years whittling me down to nothing but a mere sliver of my former sturdy self?

During Sissyface's visit in Arizona, our aunt and our other sister flew in to join them. One evening our aunt began recounting her tale of being molested by her stepfather. When she finally told her mother when she was a teenager, her mother promptly called her biological father and told him what was going on, and that she was sending their daughter to live with him.

I'd never heard this story before. My mother could've done the same for me, couldn't she? After witnessing her hubby's molestation of me she could've sent me where I'd be safe, with my real dad. But of course not, I decided. He'd once threatened to kill my step-dad, and that was without any knowledge of the sexual abuse. She couldn't risk the killing of the goose who laid the golden egg!

I asked my sister what, if anything, Mom said while our aunt was recounting her story. She said she didn't say anything, just kept shaking her head in disgust. I can't believe how phony she is. I shouldn't be surprised by it, but I am. As if their step father's perversions were disgusting, but her own hubby's weren't.

I'm digging into my past as if it were one big giant scab. Relentless, I probe and probe, not caring if I cause myself pain and actual blood. Let the blood flow, why shouldn't it. I want . . . oh! I want to send a message to my little girl self who had that whole wilderness of abuse before her. I want to tell her not to believe a word of what was said about her. I want to tell her she doesn't deserve any of the treatment she's about to receive. I want to comfort her. I want to be her. I want to curl up into a ball and be that little and innocent again.

I want to send a message in a bottle so years later she can look back and say, "Hey, at least there was one person who cared enough to tell me the truth."

I want to.