Sunday, January 15, 2006

When they were young.

Warning: This is not a pleasant post. This is therapy in writing. If you know me in real life, but haven't told me you visit this blog, now is the time to stop reading.

I used to love figuring out what my parents were doing when they were my age. It can really give a new perspective. At eighteen, I thought about my parents getting married at that same age, and felt very young. When I was twenty, I thought "This is how old my birth mother was when she had me" and suddenly, I could empathize with what a sudden pregnancy did to her life. When I was 26, and getting married, I realized that mom had an eight year old, and was adopting a two year old at 26. At thirty, my parents had 3 children, ages 12, 6, and 4. When he was my age, my father started molesting me, his 11 year old daughter. Suddenly, one of my favourite games is not so fun. I don't like the new perspective, and I don't want to make him seem human, like me.
I look at my husband, and try to imagine how someone like him, the age of his friends, could touch an 11 year old girl. How could a man beginning his ministerial career think God would forgive him, over and over, if he just knelt next to his daughter's bed and prayed. He had a wife, a teenager, two younger girls. What made me stand out? What convinced him I would be quiet?
For years, I've quietly put those parts of my life away, tucked into a dark corner. I thought I had forgiven him. In my mind, he has always been an indefinite age, a distant shadow from a different time. Now, I am there. The same place in life. Beginning a career, a family, a home.
I cannot fathom what went through his mind the first night he came to my room. I know he planned it. I know he had carefully set the groundwork in place, checked my reactions, eased into the situation. He justified each step to himself, to me, and ultimately, to his God. "It's important for children to know what adults look like naked" He explained to mom, after I told her I had seen him change his underwear. She turned to me. "Well, you should have known better and left the room". That was the last time I told her.
Each step was carefully checked and re-checked, to make sure I wouldn't crack. The increments were small to reduce the chances of shocking me into talking. If seeing is okay, then touching must be fine. One finger is all right, so a child-size hand wrapped around an adult should be no problem. And so it went. For years and years, an entire adolescence defined by Time within his reach, versus Blessed time away.
It's been many years since then, and until this week I thought I had let go of the anger, but I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I have so much anger I don't know what to do with it, or how to get it out before it consumes me. I had managed to reduce him to a ghost, a faded snapshot, another world. Now, thanks to my "at this age" game, I'm being forced to see him as a contemporary. He is suddenly so very, painfully real to me. He was someone's husband. He had friends, the same age as my friends. He had car payments, a house, a life. He was a Daddy.
I am 35 years old. When he was my age, my father started molesting me.


JustLinda said...

Oh, honey... I don't even know what to say. There are no words. I have never met him and my relationship with you is all zeros and ones, but I hate him, hate hate hate.

Last week, Oprah had an episode of fathers who molest and I just wanted to puke. Like you, I sat without comprehension of how these men could possibly hurt their children.

Lock them up and throw away the key. Disgusting.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Gee, Mom, that is sad. Is it too late to put him in jail?

I can't imagine how you feel, but if ever there was a time for turning your back on an experience, it is now. Don't let it consume you. "So it goes" is a little weak for this circumstance, but it's the best I got.

Chin up. Gimme a smile.

debby said...

Oh Sweetie,,, I so admire you for being able to put that into words. Sometimes just to be able to vocalize things helps a bit. Not that it can ever undo what was done to you, for that he will have to pay to his God, but to at least let you be able to know that it wasn't your fault. He will have to answer to a higher power.. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

The fact that happened to you saddens my heart. I ache for that little girl that you were. And now that you're an adult...the realization...the rationalization of why it happened. I hope your heart heals and that you'll be able to release that anger...

Raehan said...

Have you talked to anyone about this? That's a big burden to carry.

I'm so sorry. Wish I could be there to give you a hug.

Beth said...

My beautiful, brave girl - I'm so proud of you!! Bringing those memories out of the dark closet and shining the light of day of them will, I hope, lessen their power to hurt you. I'll write later......when I can stop crying.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible thing to grow up with. I was physically and mentally abused from a very young age (five? somewhere around there). No bruises to show (except the ones within), but I had a LOT of anger towards my Dad until well into my twenties when he finally changed (for the better). It's NOTHING compared to what you went through, and it took me forever to let go of it.

I think once we have kids of our own, we finally realize how YOUNG we were when things happened to us and it makes us even angrier - we become the Mother Bear to ourselves, to the child we once were - we become the warrior that we never had growing up. And yet we're powerless because we can't go back in time and kick some adult ass.

I think we also imagine the same things happening to our kids and it just brings all that anger and hurt and resentment back tenfold. It's a tough thing to get over. I don't know if someone ever does.

But we CAN do everything possible to prevent our kids from going through the same thing. We know what to look out for. We won't be how our mothers were, just standing back and ignoring what was going on. I would kill for my child (or seriously maim, anyways).

Sorry, don't know where I'm going with this. I hope you find a way to make peace with all of this. He's not worth the misery.

Michelle said...

powerful post. I know what you mean about it being easier not to humanize the people who hurt you. I find it's better for me to see them as the monsters they truly are. because anyone who would ever hurt a child is a monster. no matter how they look to the outside world. hope you're feeling a little better after getting that thought posted.

Northern_Girl said...

I never know what to write or say or do when people share this kind of thing. So. I'm sending support vibes your way and I hope that is appropriate.

Prego said...

... um .... uh ... hmmm ...

I am stunned. If there is a god, I doubt he'd forgive that.


J&J's Mom said...

You are a strong and beautiful person to be able to be so candid....I wish you peace and strength to work through the hatred....the biggest of cyber hugs..hope that helps a little.

Kathy said...

Here from Michele. What a powerful post. You sound like a strong woman, I'm off to read more from you.

Lisa said...

My favorite fantasy - telling off the old B that molested me when I was 5.

I have seen him once since I was little, but it was at a funeral. Seeing him in that setting caught me totally off guard & instead of telling him off as I'd hoped, I froze & couldn't say a word.

If I could remember his last name, I'd probably write him a "posion pen letter."

One thing's for sure though, if by chance I ever see him again, you can bet I won't "freeze" & lose my words this time.

"Have you ever confronted your dad?"
"What about your other siblings - similar accounts?"

carmilevy said...

No justice system in the world can ever return to the victim what has been lost.

I wish I had more than mere words to share with you. They seem so...inadequate.

I've written about molesters in the past, and how society's refusal to be more harsh with them makes it easier for others to become victims.

I pray for you that you find it in your soul to somehow move forward. I pray for society that we figure out a way to minimize the damage.

I guess I have a lot more ink to spill before I'm done.

Jeannie said...

I wonder just how many of us were molested. It is so sad and kept so secret because somehow the victims carry the shame. My father molested my daughter and my brother (among others) molested me. I went through hell dealing with it but have managed to forgive a lot. I know my baby is not there yet but she is working on it.

Anonymous said...

Ijust can say nothing, so strong for me ...
All my respect and my kindness
Sorry english is not my main language