Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Eleven: Part Two of The Sacred Monster

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Eleven

The Sacred Monster, Part Two

I’m sorry it took so long to publish this chapter. It was the most difficult to go public with…

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

 

“How can this be? Your mother cleaned the Church!”

 

I can easily recall my anger at a friend when she spoke about women who volunteer to clean the church, or better known as, “church ladies.”

My friend felt the women who clean the church are “good” trustworthy people. My anger was quick and potent, “Just because someone helps clean the church; it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of harming of children!”

It was Butch who had become angry that day. Butch was the part of me that carried rage, and she wasn’t afraid to express it, and Butch hated women.

It was Butch who blew up the day I saw a reality television program where a joke was played on a pizza delivery man. The producers (disguised as employees of the pizza restaurant) had sent the unsuspecting man to deliver a pizza to the home of a male customer. The customer, who was an actor playing a role, answered the door naked and paid for the pizza while totally exposing himself naked to the unsuspecting, and innocent, pizza delivery man.

The surprised pizza delivery man handled the situation reasonably well. He had no visible sign of distress or anger.

I, on the other hand, flew out of my mind. Before I knew it, I found myself running to the telephone. Frantically, I called information to find the phone number of the television station. When the person, at the TV station who was taking customer complaints came on the line, I heard myself screaming into the phone receiver, “You just can’t do that! You can’t force a naked person onto someone else!!! You just don’t know what that person has been through in their life!!! How dare you?!”

The person on the other end of the line didn’t have a chance to respond before I added, “If that man had been abused by another man as a child, then this would be devastating to him!” Butch quickly hung up the phone.

A few weeks later, while watching a documentary on the biography of Hustler Magazine’s, Larry Flynt, Butch became furious upon learning Flynt’s wife had used her bisexuality to push herself on other women. Butch was so angered by Flynt’s wife, that it gave me a momentary feeling of satisfaction when the program revealed she had died of AIDS.

I assumed that my unexplained and unchecked rage over the pizza delivery man incident, and my horrible, yet honest, feelings about Larry Flynt’s wife, was because I had been forced into sexual abuse by my father.

I was also certain that my friend’s comment about church ladies, had to be based in the anger at my mother for her crime of protecting my father, and for her having physically assaulted me as a child; but I began to notice a strange pattern of over-reaction to seemingly benign situations.

I kept a list of these experiences which created anger, depression, or physical suffering: The list began to form an interesting pattern:

  • A daily television program called “Woman to Woman” began to disturb me. I never watched the show, I merely became repulsed at the name of the show when it flashed on the television screen -“Woman to Woman.”
  • A close female friend jokingly referred to our seeing a movie together as “a date.”
  • The film Boys Don’t Cry caused me to become enraged over the main female character’s deception by pretending to be a boy. The girl, based on a true life story, fooled an entire town of people, and even tricked a young girl into thinking she was her new “boyfriend.”
  • Each time that I visited a certain establishment –whose owner was a lesbian- I became nauseous.
  • Oprah Winfrey did a show on mothers who were too busy for their children. One mother had agreed to be filmed at home while performing her daily routine. In the opening segment, the woman’s little girl was shown (discretely) going potty while the mother was busy at the other end of the house. The little girl cried from the toilet “Mommy, come and wipe me”. It was a distressful moment for the child because the mother was in another room and out of hearing range. The curious thing was this: While the audience, Oprah, and her panel of experts were all reacting to the mother not being available to the child (which was terrible), I instead, was feeling disgusted inside and felt mentally disconnected because the little girl was asking her mother to touch her in the genital area.
  • A long-time friend gave me fancy underwear for a birthday gift and I was extremely uncomfortable and hated every moment of opening up a box and seeing lacy underwear that had been given to me by a woman.
  • I never wanted to have a female friend over to my home if it meant that I would be alone with her, and I coiled in rejection at the thought of doing yoga with any female friend in her home —or in mine. I also refused to join a yoga class and shunned the idea of attending a woman’s day spa.
  • I had always been repulsed at the idea of having a woman gynecologist, but when my male gynecologist allowed his female nurse in the room during an exam, I became extremely uncomfortable with it.
  • I began to experience severe chest pains while in women’s clothing stores and several times, while trying on clothes in the dressing room, I almost blacked out.
  • One night a friend called me from her bathtub just to have a chat. I had not been at home at the time but the fact that she had made the call from her bathtub, I shot into a seething state of anger.
  • I found myself repulsed by innocent depictions of normal mother/daughter situations, or of two women friends. Any photograph or television program showing a mother and daughter hugging, or a mother kissing her daughter, or touching her hair, or even seeing two women friends being physically close, caused me to look away, change the channel, or brought on physical symptoms.
  • A well-known actress commented about another actress’s breasts in a very causal way and I found myself screaming at her on the television set.
  • Lesbian scenes on television, or in films, had begun to send me into furies of rage.

My sexuality was never in question. I had always been attracted to boys in Elementary School, Junior High, and in High School.

As an adult, my only interested was men, sexually and psychologically, so I slowly started to realize that Butch was a part of me that could no longer be ignored. Butch was filled with rage towards homosexuality and Butch did not like the gay lifestyle normalized, or to be forced on anyone.

Over the next two years, I became more aware that lesbian and gay situations, or female to female contact –no matter how innocent- was very disturbing to the part of my Subconscious mind that I decided to name “Butch.”

I don’t quite know where Butch was all the years prior to this. Had she been sleeping? Had she been waiting silently in my subconscious mind until she felt that she couldn’t take the pain any longer, or could not live in denial for one more second, and that she just had to heal? To be heard…To scream out her pain?

Until Butch decided to make herself known to me, I always felt that what people do in the privacy of their own bedroom was their own business. I did not want the gay lifestyle to be forced on my mind, intruded on my daily life, or seen on television, but I was never vocal about it. I also never liked to see children exposed to affection and sexual acts between adult homosexuals, but until Butch decided she had had enough, I never showed any antagonism or anger towards gays and lesbians.

But now, Butch had woken up from her deep, life-long, slumber of “I am not ready to deal with this yet.” She now wanted to be heard.

Butch, who had lay dormant for years, wanted me to know that she despised any mention of gay or lesbianism, and that she was extremely disgusted at the sight of two women together. Butch freaked out when some states began to legalize same-sex marriages. Butch was so pissed off that she couldn’t even look at any of the headlines about gay marriages, or legal proceedings surrounding the controversy. Each time Butch witnessed a gay or lesbian scene in a movie or on television, she let me know that she felt personally violated; and any attempt by society to normalize gay and lesbianism, sent Butch into fits of rage.

I didn’t recognize Butch at all, but it slowly became clear that Butch’s anger and disgust was coming from personal experience. I was forced to recognize Butch as a very distinct, but powerful part of my psyche. The ugly truth was reluctantly beginning to sink into my mind, and as it did, Butch rejoiced inside me because her voice and pain was finally being acknowledged.

The possibility that I had been sexually abused by my mother as well as my father was alien to my life. Yet, old experiences and thoughts, which had not entered my mind in a very long time, began to be re-examined.

I thought about the fact that when I first developed Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (ME), I had just returned home from a trip out of town with a group of female friends. I had shared a bunk bed with them in a mountain resort and when I returned home from that trip, I experienced severe and prolonged nausea and dizziness.

I also allowed myself to finally acknowledge that the neurological twitch, which had plagued me for years, was very noticeable with any connection to the movie “Sybil.” At the time of the twitches, I didn’t understand the association, but when I realized that Sybil had been sexually abused by her own mother, the reason for the neurological twitch was something I needed to face.

At every turn, I was given signals, by my mind and body, that something unfathomable was coming into my consciousness.

This was a strange, yet enlightening, time of my life. For the first time, I gained clarity about why I had started to hate fruit (unless it was chopped up for me), and why I became mentally disconnected in sushi bars, and why I my heart rate always accelerated after eating fish tacos. Suddenly, I was able to know why I refused to eat tuna fish —even though it had always been a favorite food of mine.

Upon reflection of this new hatred of fruit and tuna, I realized that many different fruits are associated with female body parts. Women’s breasts are often referred to as “melons,” “coconuts,” or “grapefruit,” and there is a song by a popular 1980’s rock band which refers to a vagina as a “pineapple.” Women are sometimes called a “peach,” and when a girl loses her virginity she is considered to have just “popped her cherry.”

Fish tacos, sushi, and tuna have all crudely been used as words to describe vaginas.

A colorful and appetizing grocery catalogue had sickened me for weeks until I finally realized that, on the cover, was a picture of a papaya which had been cut in half. For the first time, I consciously realized the photo looked exactly like a woman’s open vagina. Until that moment, my subconscious mind had seen the photo in a vulgar way, and caused me to be sick every time I saw it. Yet, my conscious mind had not been quick enough, or intuitive enough, to have figured that out —that is, until I was emotionally prepared to handle it.

Photos of orchids also bothered me because of their similarity to a vagina.

The sickening reality of what was happening, was solidified by the fact that, weeks before the memories of sexual abuse by my father, I had gone to get a massage hoping that it would relieve the terrible bladder problem that had plagued me for weeks. It was the first massage I ever received in my life, and at the time, I had no conscious knowledge of any incest, yet the very thought of a massage had always disturbed me —especially having a female masseuse.

As much as I did not want to be touched by a woman in such an intimate way, that was a very desperate time of my life, and I would have done almost anything to relieve the painful and debilitating urinary problems, so I reluctantly went to the massage appointment.

I immediately experienced fear and trepidation upon entering the home of the massage therapist. The masseuse told me that a person usually takes off all of their clothes for a more relaxing and effective massage. At the time, I had a deep need to be liked and accepted, so I reluctantly removed my clothes.

My body was tense, and the massage was deeply disturbing to me. I hated every minute of it, and even though the woman seemed to come way too close to my breasts and genitals, I lay there and allowed it to happen without protest. I kept telling myself, “this must be the way a massage is done.”

It was easier for me to convince myself that this was a routine massage, and not that I was possibly being violated by the masseuse, or that she was inexperienced and was unintentionally crossing boundaries.

However, even if she had been doing a routine massage, with no personal violation intended, the fact that I felt violated, and did not open my mouth to protest, was a terrible blow to Butch.

So the very thing that I assumed might relieve me from the terrible inability to urinate properly had instead caused my bladder to feel as if it were on fire. As I got dressed after the massage, my bladder felt like it might explode in fullness and pain. What I had hoped would be a cure, had disrupted and inflamed by bladder to the point of it being so unbearable that I wanted to die.

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.

 — Marilyn Ferguson

Similar to the sexual abuse by my father, the first memory of my mother having sexually abused me came in a dream.

In the dream, I was being given oral sex by my mother.

The dream was highly disturbing at the time, and I could not even discuss it on the telephone with my therapist. Instead, I sent her an email telling her of the dream because I could not handle speaking the words about such a vulgar violation. I could barely write the words, much less say them out loud to anyone.

Coming out of denial and facing the very real possibility that my mother had sexually violated me, and then transforming that awareness into my personal truth, was like walking a steep and narrow cliff side trail, with rocks and waves below, but no end in sight. I just wanted off that trail.

Once the trail began to become wider and less dangerous, I eased into the journey with less resistance, and less of a need to run back to where I started from.

One of the first memories after the initial dream, was that after my father died, when I was twelve, my mother would sit on the front porch, in the middle of the night, crying. She did this right next to my bedroom window. We lived in a hot climate and my bedroom windows were nearly always open at night. She could have sat on the back porch, or gone somewhere else in the home, but she chose to sit directly outside my window, knowing I could hear her sobbing.

This created guilt in me because I knew she missed my father.

By the time I was thirteen, she made me a replacement for him.

The first clear memory of my mother’s sexual degeneracy, was in an age-regression therapy session for the feeling of something being wrong with me, deep inside myself.

I had carried this feeling for decades, and it always made me cry out loud for no known reason. I cried from some deep emotional wound that was unavailable to my conscious mind.

This feeling had become stronger in recent months, so and when I did an age-regression for this, it led me straight back in time to being in a hotel room with my mother, in bed, being forced to be in the “69” position with her.

The next few memories were of sleeping in the same bed in a hotel room somewhere, and my mother sexually abusing me in the bed. I had wanted to run and tell the desk clerk at the hotel but knew that it would be my word against hers. I felt very trapped, knowing the hotel clerk would accept her word because she was an authority figure.

My mother took me on a few road trips when I was a teenage girl, so the hotel room made sense.

Weeks painfully passed in therapy sessions as memories of being told by my mother to keep her secret began to surface. At first, the memory was more subtle, with my mother making it seem like our little secret. After I could handle it, the more serious threats began to awaken out of the storehouse of my mind, where I had kept them hidden because it was too dangerous to remember.

Remembering meant I might tell someone, and revealing her secrets meant death.

“The idealization of children denies the humanity of children. We think of them as little angels. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy. So when we find children who have the nerve to behave like human beings, we hold it against them.”

~Ken Lanning, former FBI agent and child sex crimes expert

This period of my life was riddled with unrelenting physical symptoms that were horrible for me to endure, yet I found myself thankful for the suffering because the somatic symptoms had become my guide to the truth, and I  absorbed the reality about my polite and tidy Catholic mother.

The physical symptoms were diminishing, and disappearing with each therapy session.

The worst, and most humiliating, de-humanizing, part of my memories, was connected to the unparralled confusion over enjoying sexual abuse by a female –especially, my own mother.

I denied it for a very long time, but my dreams forced me to face the truth.

In one dream I had purchased lesbian porn magazines. In the dream, my mother found them and I denied that they were for sexual stimulation. My mother asked me in the dream, “Are those magazines for being with your mom?”

In another dream, I was watching two women on a couch together. One was sexually aggressive against the other, and the other woman was a victim, but then she got into it.

As my dreams turned into memories in therapy sessions, long-repressed rage began to spew itself from my mind -wrath that my mother had robbed me of my own femininity –stolen my true nature, which was an intrinsic desire for men.

During this time, I saw Gregg Milligan on Oprah, and heard him speak the ungodly words, “It was very difficult to come to terms with the fact that I was my mother’s lover.” I wanted to die inside because I knew that I too was made to be “my mother’s lover.”

One memory in particular helped me understand my hatred of the word “honey.” I finally made the connection when I remembered my mother calling me from down the hallway in the home I grew up in. She would say, “honey. Honey, come here.” This was when she needed me to do something sexual for her, like give her oral sex.

I was thirteen or fourteen years-old, and did was I was told because it meant some form of “love” and attention, and it meant she would treat me better…for a little while at least.

…That is, unless I tried to tell someone.

If I was a “good girl” by keeping her secrets, she treated me well, even buying me gifts. But she was always watching me to see if I had told the secret. She took a job at my school as “yard duty lady,” joined my softball league as a coach, and I have one memory of her telling Mother Superior at my school, that I tend to “make things up” –sort of a pre-emptive strike in case I ever told.

The deep personal humiliation created destructive rage and profoundly affected my dignity and self-respect. I felt quite culpable. I was the victim, but when the victim begins to enjoy the rewards, and when their body responds to the physiological stimulation, the self-loathing and guilt becomes like a cancer.

Guilt can be a killer.

***

It’s funny how interesting serendipitous experiences can appear ‘out of nowhere’ when we are experiencing life-altering events.

During the period of remembering being sexually abused by my mother, and while I was not quite sure about the memories, I received a phone call from my sister, Kylie. She knew nothing of the memories of mother/daughter incest, nor had I shared these memories with anyone except my therapist.

Kylie and I were talking about how she had recently gone to church with my mother, and how she didn’t like the part of the ceremony where everyone in the pews turn to the person sitting next to them and gives them a handshake while saying “Peace be with you.” I asked why she didn’t like it, and Kylie described the moment when our mother shocked her by turning to Kylie, and instead of a hug or taking her hand, my mother kissed Kylie, right on the lips. This made Kylie very uncomfortable and Kylie said it “grossed her out.” She then said, “Maybe mom is a lesbian and we never knew it.”

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

One thing was certain, as I processed the memories of incest with my mother, a lot of things began to make sense. I had much deeper issues with women than other people who had been sexually abused by a man.

I use to be a little envious and perplexed over other women –women who had been sexually abused as children, having the ability to form deeply personal friendships with women. I could never understand how other female survivors were so comfortable with having their female friends over to their home, giving one another good hugs, or that they could easily share a hotel room with another woman.

“Truth comes only to a prepared mind”

  ~Unknown

It took six years to allow my conscious mind to know the seemingly unbearable truth –to bring forth the most foul and degenerate secret…that I was angry and hurt when, at some point, my mother stopped the sexual abuse. When my mother stopped being sexual with me, I felt abandoned and betrayed.

So angered over the rejection, that I tried to tell someone about the incest with her.

I tried to tell -not to stop the abuse- but because the abuse had stopped.

The person I told (I will not say who it is) called my mother and told her.

Then came the punishment.

My mother called me into her bedroom, “honey,” she said.

Dutifully, I went to her room. She pretended to want to show me clothing in her closet. As I turned my back to my mother to see the new clothes, she struck me over the head with a blunt object. I passed out for a few moments, and that was the end of my memories of incest with my mother. I never told another living soul, and she did not come to me for her sexual needs any longer.

I know there are going to be many people who read this chapter and say “oh come on, she’s making this up; mothers and daughters don’t have oral sex with each other.” This same denial system is a major part of the reason why I had mentally blocked it out in the first place. It took me nearly forty years to allow myself to remember.

It then took me well over seven years to bring forth the memories of having enjoyed the attention and physical stimulation –even to the point of having orgasms with my mother.

 

I have published this chapter on Mother’s Day. I dedicate it to the woman who raised me…

…I forgive you.

Coming soon, Chapter Twelve…

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

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Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Ten: The Sacred Monster


Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Ten

The Sacred Monster

 

“Mother’s are only good when other people are around”

~Sybil

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

The true abomination of my childhood slowly began to make its way through time when my mother was diagnosed with a serious tumor and would need an extremely complicated surgery.

I surprised myself when I offered to fly across the country in order to comfort the woman who had caused me a lifetime of suffering.

I knew that I could carry my mental sword and shield with me to the hospital, and that I would survive the experience.

I had to, my mother needed me.

Arriving at the hotel in Maryland, I immediately knew this trip would be life-changing. I took my time checking into my hotel room, adjacent to the hospital, because after years of countless painful memories, the reality of having to face my mother was about to come to life.

Most of the patrons in the hotel were either ill or family members who came to be with loved ones who were being treated for a disease or having complicated surgeries. I could feel the emotional pain that lingered in my hotel room from the previous guests, and the room emitted sadness and despair. I made sure to pamper myself with comfort food like hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwiches. I also placed photos around the room that reminded my heart of home.

As I changed my clothes, anxiety rushed through my veins. I was supposed to call my mother in her hospital room when I arrived, but I needed more time before I could pick up that receiver.

After I finished my grilled cheese, I fidgeted around with my suitcase and surfed the television channels but I knew it was time to stop avoiding the inevitable. Soon I would be standing two feet from the woman who had systematically robbed my childhood of any love, and who had ripped my heart out with her silencing fist.

I reached into the depths of my spirit by remembering that there was no room inside of me for anger or hatred.

I guided myself to the telephone by pretending that my mother was a stranger who needed my help. This way I could remove myself from the situation and not be affected by her. I picked up the phone and called the hospital. I waited as the nurse said she would check on my mother.

I wanted so desperately to hear that she was sleeping and that I should wait a few hours before coming by. My heart dropped into my stomach when my mother’s frail voice came on the line.

“Oh honey, I am so happy you made it here safely. I am waiting for you. I’ll see you soon.”

Had she been as concerned about my safety when I was a child, she would have heard joy on my end of the phone, not disappointment that she was awake.

When I entered the main nursing station of my mother’s hospital wing, I approached the desk and asked the nurse where my mother’s room was located. She gave me the room number and directed me how to find it, but my heart was pounding so loudly in my ears that I didn’t really hear a word. I repeated the nurse’s instructions in my head, 206B, 206B. Okay, now I’ve got it, 204B. No, 206B. Calm down, she is just some woman who had major surgery and she needs my help.

            Bullshit, it’s my mother, the woman who physically abused me and protected my rapist.

I called upon my inner warrior and reminded myself that I would be able to get through the next few days, and prayed that I would do so with grace. Before entering my mother’s room, I took a deep breath, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. The woman who had been as tall as the ceiling in my regressions, and who smacked me across the face with strength and conviction, had been replaced with a crumpled up elderly woman sitting in a chair. My mother looked like she had aged twenty years in the last five. She was weak and small, and would not lift her hand to hurt me. For now, my mother the sacred monster, had been tamed.

The tubes and machines attached to her fragile body were difficult to look at. I pretended not to be disturbed by their presence but my legs felt like two wet, limp noodles. It was clear she had been through a traumatic surgery. I smiled at her and even found myself walking over to squeeze her hand. She seemed genuinely happy to see me and this was the first time in my life that I felt like my mother wanted me around. She was vulnerable, and I felt nothing but compassion for her.

I sat with my mother as she told me how nice the doctors and nurses were. I listened patiently while she told me the woman who shared the room with her kept her up late at night with a noisy television set.

In turn, my mother listened to how my flight had been and what my hotel room was like. At one point I began to feel a bit uncomfortable, and nervous so I got up and wandered around the room. I tried to find comfort by slowly touching the now wilted flowers sent from well wishers and by reading the get well cards.

A very energetic and jolly nurse came by a few times to check my mother’s pulse and to flush the bile from her tubes. At some point I asked my mother if she would mind if I left her to get a bite to eat. She agreed that I should get some dinner. As I was about to leave I stood at the foot of the bed, and with a twinge of irony, she looked at me and pleaded, “But don’t abandon me.”

I had become the mother, and she the child. It was more than I could bear. I went back to my hotel room, got in the shower, leaned my head against the cold tile wall and softly cried.

*****

The next day, my mother and I watched a movie at the hospital and I began to experience a connection with her. To my memory, this was the first time I felt any kind of feelings for my mother that were similar to love. I stopped myself from calling it love because I don’t think that’s what it was. It was more like empathy.

Part of this strange new feeling may have been because she was incapable of hurting me. She was pretty much strapped to a bed and impotent. I was safe. I had control and nothing to fear. In the simplistic way of a small child, Punkin felt content with my mother, but Athena stood by with her sword in case anything unsuspected arose.

A few days later, my mother was released from the hospital and we flew back to her home town where Kylie met us at the airport. When Kylie took my mother by the arm, I observed it as a symbolic gesture of Kylie taking over her care while I collected myself and took a breath.

I checked into a hotel, because even though being in my mother’s presence had not caused me any physical problems, I couldn’t bring myself to sleep in the same house with her. My mother’s guest bedroom was close to her own bedroom, which was too close for me. I absolutely had to have boundaries. Kylie would sleep in my mother’s guest room and I would spend all day and evening at the house, but would return to the hotel to sleep.

The hotel room became my sanctuary at night. During the day, Kylie and I cooked for our mother, changed her clothes, and cleaned the dressings on her wounds, and miraculously, I experienced no physical symptoms, and I remained mentally strong and emotionally calm.

I held my mother’s hand and took care of her requests. Punkin was content and Athena’s protection was not needed. My balanced self had become dominant throughout the entire experience —with one exception….

Kylie and I had been tending to my mother at her bedside and I noticed that blood from my mother’s incision was leaking onto her beautiful white quilt. When I pointed out the blood, my mother looked directly at me. Her tone was a mixture of accusation and condemnation, “What did you do!?” she scolded.

In that moment I was no longer in my mother’s bedroom in her well-kept home in the mid-west. I was a small child being blamed for something that was not my fault. When I was a little girl, she put the culpability for the sexual abuse on me, and now she blamed me for the blood on her quilt.

My mother’s mental state was perfectly coherent, and it was obvious the spot came from the blood which oozed from her surgery incision, but my mother chose to blame me. She didn’t look at Kylie when she spoke those piercing words. She glared straight at me, and Athena lashed out at her. In one second, and without thought, I pointed my finger at her,

“Don’t you dare blame me, mother!”

I can’t lie. It felt great to say those words. In that moment it was no longer about a blood stain on a lily white quilt, it was about standing up for myself against the woman who put fault for incestuous behavior on an innocent child.

Even though this was the only incident during the entire trip in which my mother affected me, it was a significant one. My mother had showed her true nature —the mother from my memories.

She had slipped up. Her facade’ was unveiled in that moment.

*****

Something good, and unexpected, came towards the end of my trip. Abigail and I began to speak again. We had been forced to communicate about my mother’s illness, and although it was slow and uncomfortable for both of us in the beginning, a new relationship began in the years following my mother’s recovery.

Abigail and I did not speak about her decision to cut me out of her life nine years previous. She made it clear she did not want to talk about it. Although it was discouraging to not discuss what had happened, I still allowed myself to be satisfied with simply enjoying my sister’s company again.

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children”

~William Makepeace Thackeray

On Mother’s Day 2006 I woke up feeling like shit and immediately knew why. I hated Mother’s Day. I grumbled to myself knowing that I would have to face another meaningless conversation with my mother that always ended in my hanging up the phone feeling as though I was a lie to myself.

So, for the first time in my life, I decided not to call my mother on Mother’s Day.

What would be the point? I was certain she had received the flowers and card. I knew it would be the same trivial conversation where she would pretend that she had been such a great mother and was entitled to the phone call. In turn, I would pretend that she deserved the call just because she was my mother.

I never believed the Mother’s Day cards that told me I was supposed to express to my mother how much she meant to me and how much I appreciated her. Those cards dripped of apple pie bullshit and I always refused to buy one. Instead, every year, I purchased her a card that had a nice picture on the front, but was blank inside.

It was so important to write what was true to me, and not sign my name to a card that made me want to vomit.

That Mother’s Day, I looked in the bathroom mirror and thought to myself, why the hell should I call her when this is a day to celebrate mothers and to thank them for the wonderful job they did? My mother didn’t do her job.

So I wished myself a happy Mother’s Day. I went shopping, treated myself to lunch, and enjoyed a beautiful day. Rain fell softly on the roof of my home that night. The drops of water were like a symbolic cleansing.

 “If people aren’t going to believe fifty-three year-old me;

then who by God is going to believe a child?”

~Marilyn Van Derbur, Incest Survivor

In the winter of 2005, while using a restroom in a restaurant, I had an encounter with a man who had lost his wife’s sunglasses. When the man, wearing dark glasses and a baseball cap, abruptly entered the women’s restroom, a small case of panic invaded my bloodstream. Overriding the panic with common sense, I figured he was just a maintenance worker. I asked what he wanted, but the man ignored my question. His silence caused me to quickly leave the restroom. I went straight to the hostess and told her what had just occurred. She explained the man had been looking for his wife’s sunglasses, but I felt something stir inside me when the hostess acted as if it was no big deal.

The seemingly harmless incident immediately provoked my subconscious, and that night I began to re-experience dreams of feeling trapped and being unable to speak. The nightmares continued several nights a week and continued for three weeks. During the day I was on the edge of tears and didn’t care if I died. The incident with the man in the restroom had re-triggered the severe trauma from my childhood that had not been fully dealt with. Many symptoms returned; fatigue, depression, fear of the good being taken away, headaches, bladder problems, gas pains, hemorrhoids, and the false hunger. I woke at night not being able to breathe, and after months of being free from the rapid heart rate… it too returned.

I began to clench my teeth at night, and it eventually led to a destroyed nerve, and a subsequent root canal. My entire body was heaving out memories of trauma.

My therapy regressions kept taking me back to the feeling of being forced, being unable to speak, people not hearing me, feeling smothered, and being overwhelmed. The man who walked in the restaurant bathroom had prompted the index card of my mind which led back to the rape on the bathroom floor. My subconscious was letting me know that I had never truly faced the betrayal, feeling like a piece of garbage, and the physical pain of the rape.

Once in touch with the memory storehouse of my mind, I became a small child, who should have been playing board games with friends or maybe roller-skating. I should have been painting or creating a play. Instead, I was lying on a bathroom floor, unable to move, or scream.

I described the memory to my therapist.

“I can’t move my arms. I can’t move my legs. I’m trapped, being held down. It feels like a knife is being stuck in between my legs. I can’t breathe. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t scream. Someone else is holding me down. It’s my mother.”

I was pinned down by my father’s enourmous body, and held down by the Sacred Monster.

The tension in my body had been enormous. The pressure had to come out of my body somewhere, so I clenched my teeth during the rape. It was the only way that I could express the terror and anguish.

Athena made her way into the regression, and took my hand to gently help me off the floor. The walls of the past melted away and the sun shined on the scene in a light of emotional cleansing.

In my mind, I pictured Athena and my inner child walking hand in hand out the front door of the house and we turned to watch it fall into a pit. At the end of the regression, nothing was left standing except some hand-made signs that I imagined being posted by Punkin on the front lawn of my childhood home.

The signs read, “two child rapists lived here,” “I will not remain silent any longer. I am tired of the lies.”

After the age-regression ended, I felt as though I had been through a major surgery. My body shook and I was a bit disoriented. Remembering things which outwardly make no sense is a heavy burden to carry. Not only did I have to battle the system of denial that is ingrained in my family, and the denial embedded in society, but I also had to deal with my own denial system —the one that said to me, “but your mother was a good person.”

I had gone to great lengths to survive my life without having to remember that my parents were not who I wanted them to be. Yet my subconscious mind has always known. The truth was always there, hidden in the depths, where it remained for safe keeping, until one day, when the physical suffering became too much to bear, it had to be replaced with the memories.

I stopped clenching my teeth after that day, and the other symptoms vanished as well.

 

Coming soon, Chapter Eleven: The Sacred Monster Part Two

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Crime, female sexual offenders, Headlines, Health, Holistic, Mind, Body, Spirit | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Nine: Sobriety of the Soul

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Nine

Sobriety of the Soul

     “It is understandable that some would choose to deny their memories, preferring to endure the anguish of symptoms rather than the anguish of the remembering process.”

~Anne Hart  

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

After the memories of pleasure and shame became clearer and less painful, I kept in touch with my mother. Although the abuse remained the elephant in the living room, my mother now had to endure its presence and she knew I was now aware of the elephant too.

Madison and Abigail kept their word; they didn’t speak with me again.

Occasionally, Kylie and I spoke of the flowers and the weather.

When my mother decided to come for a visit, I wanted to believe she was coming to talk about the past and to reach out in some small way. I began picturing a confession over a cup of tea and her hugging me so tightly that I couldn’t breathe.

I was also apprehensive about whether my mother had planned to bring up the past. Athena hoped my mother would be willing to speak with me openly, but Punkin wanted to remain the good girl and the subject to remain unspoken. The two forces within me were still working against each other.

I anxiously worked on preparing my home for my mother’s comfort and enjoyment. I arranged fresh flowers in the guest room and bathroom. I booked a trip to a museum she had always wanted to see, and bought her favorite foods and magazines —forever striving to please my mother in hopes of one day finally receiving her love.

Just before my mother’s arrival Athena was strong in me. Athena made the decision to not allow any mention of my father, in any way, except to openly deal with the incest. The balanced part of me planned to politely tell my mother that I remembered a different side of my father, and therefore would not discuss him unless she was willing to speak of the incest. I felt ready for this brave step.

My reality was painfully different.

On the way to pick up my mother from the airport I had to stop every ten minutes to use a restroom. My bladder reminded me that some serious issues with my mother were still unresolved.

When I saw my mother’s face in the airport arrival area, Athena vanished, and Punkin stood anxiously waiting to cater to my mother. Punkin would not stand up to my mother, she did not dare.

*****

The four days with my mother seemed like a lifetime. Her mere presence emotionally and mentally drained me. On the second night of her visit, my mother, a friend of mine, and myself went out for a casual dinner. Out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason, my mother told my friend at the restaurant that I had been “a miserable child.”

During the remainder of the visit she seemed determined to alter the memories of incest, but without even mentioning the abuse.

My mother deliberately kept trying to reinforce her delusional idea of my father and drown out my own. She constantly reminded me of what a good provider he was. A steady paycheck seemed to be her justification for allowing him to violate me… “Mommy is it okay if daddy wants to put his penis in my mouth?”  “Yes honey, as long as there is food on the table.”

When my mother was not reminding me of my father’s work ethic, she made me listen to little anecdotes about him. She may even have been testing, or challenging, me to see if I would still be the quiet little mouse.

Punkin didn’t disappoint her. I remained silent.

Despite my intention to stand up to her, I sat and listened to her stories like a dutiful daughter. Suffering in my silence, Athena was no where to be found because Punkin was so paralyzed in my mother’s presence. Her power over me was intoxicating. I was thirty-seven years old, but in front of my mother, I was three.

No mother-daughter moments of bonding or joyful laughter came during the visit, and the entire time I wondered why she was even there in the first place.

After she flew home, new physical symptoms manifested in the form of a throbbing pain in my upper chest muscle and severe tooth pain of unknown origin. I began to see stars before my eyes for no reason and unprovoked choking started up again. My dentist could not find any reason for the tooth pain and when it began waking me in the middle of the night, My therapist induced me into a regression for the pain.

Although I felt unsure of my age, I was very small in the regression. The memory was not clear, except that I told my mother, “Daddy is doing bad things.” My mother commanded me, “Keep quiet, it’s a secret.” Transcending her demand that I remain a victim, I defied her in the regression by imagining telling my mother I was no longer willing to keep her secrets and would tell everyone about the incest if I damn well wanted to.

The regression eased the tooth pain, but did not resolve the memory or its power over me, because after the regression ended, I immediately began to involuntarily block the memory.

I don’t know how or when I blocked it, but six months later, in another regression for the small amount of remaining tooth pain, I once again recalled my mother’s words, “Keep quiet, it’s a secret.” When I recalled the memory the second time, I had no recollection of having remembered it the first time. I questioned the “new” memory because I could not believe that my mother had brazenly told me to keep the secret. In spite of my disbelief, I immediately went to my computer to write about my “new” memory. When I accessed my computer there was a stored document titled, “Mother Regression.”

I did not recognize this document, so out of curiosity, I opened it. To my surprise it contained all that I had just remembered, and in almost the exact same detail. I was amazed at the fact that the notes I had made about the first recall of the memory were virtually the same as what I had remembered again. I was grateful that I had logged the previous memory in my computer because otherwise I might not have believed any of it.

Prior to this second age-regression for the remaining tooth pain, I had not been ready to accept that my mother was a more powerful force in my childhood than I had originally allowed myself to know. Instead, I catered to my need to believe that she too was a victim of my father.

In order for these memories to awaken it took a willingness to finally let go of what I wanted my mother to be, as opposed to who she was. It was not a conscious action on my part. I had no idea that I was preparing myself for anything at all. I had been under the impression that all the strength I had gained in therapy was to free myself from the pain of what I had already remembered. I had no idea that my mind was preparing me to face even deeper pain.

After reprocessing the memory in regression therapy, and consciously letting go of my denial about my mother’s power in the family, my strength returned and the tooth pain disappeared. The power my mother held over me was fading, and as it did, fragmented memories of a different magnitude began entering my consciousness, and they were staggering.

In 2003, I recalled that as a young child my mother had smacked me in the face. Once again, I rejected that the memory was real. I denied it quietly to myself and didn’t speak of it again for almost a year –not even to my therapist. Only this time I didn’t block the memory, instead, I consciously chose not to believe it. I knew my mother was capable of protecting my father instead of me, but I never felt she would physically harm me.

This memory went against everything I understood about my mother’s seemingly victim-like nature. She did not openly display the kind of personality which would suggest violence of any kind. This memory was completely foreign to me because I always equated my mother with a weak woman —a person who would have just obeyed and looked the other way.

A year later, I managed to give myself permission to face the memory once again. Sobbing uncontrollably in a regression, I recalled my mother’s fit of rage and the distinct taste of blood in my mouth. My mother hit me so hard that I landed against the wall. But the sting of my mother’s fist was nothing compared to the pain of her emotional abandonment.

After my crying stopped, I took power over the memory, and decades of torment instantly drained from my body. Next, I mentally took my mother by the hand that struck me and led her down to the church we had attended when I was a child. Once inside the church, I imagined an entire congregation sitting in their nice “Sunday clothes.” Some of the women had lace veils on their heads, and the men were in dress pants and ties. It had been twenty years since I was in that church, but in my mind I could remember it vividly —even recalling the faint odor of incense which lingered within the walls.

In my mind, I sat my mother down in a pew at the back of the church. I walked closer to the altar, and looked back at my mother sitting in the pew. I then imagined her holding her head in shame. The parishioners and priest were waiting for something to happen, so I didn’t want to disappoint them.

Still a child in my mind, I headed for the choir loft and went up to the microphone used for the lead singer. One step closer to freedom, I cleared my throat and said, “Excuse me ladies and gentleman, but I will not remain silent any longer. I will not conform to the lie anymore. You all think you know my mother, but she has been putting on an act. She cares more about not being shamed or embarrassed than she does about protecting her daughter. It is important for all of you to know that so-called “good church ladies” are not always so nice behind closed doors. You all need to open your eyes and see that there are many parents like my mother who pretend to be holy on the outside, but are harming their children when they leave the church and go home. Children need protecting. You must believe the children.”

It was vital that I told the parishioners that child molesters can be among them, and that they needed to listen to children who say they have been abused by someone who appears ‘good.’ My mother’s hypocrisy had affected me my entire life. As a child, watching her go off to church every Sunday and clean the church during the week gradually destroyed any spirituality I had inside me. Although I cannot recall the exact moment in which I lost my belief in God, I do recall my mother kneeling in the pew of the church, clutching her rosary with the same hand that struck me across the face.

Releasing my pent up anger over my mother’s lies brought me a sense of peace in the regression, and speaking my truth -in my mind- to over one hundred people, brought further liberation to the once-silenced child who hated her my mother for being such a religious fraud.

I concluded the regression by mentally placing the physical symptoms and the memories into a brown box. I placed a big pink bow around it, and envisioned myself dumping it into the water off the San Francisco Bridge. I brushed my hands free of the dirt, and saw the little girl I once was running across the bridge into a Heavenly meadow. My inner child ran through the grass and softly touched all the flowers. Then her perfect mother appeared. This was myself, as the strong person I had become. I took the hand of the child, and together we walked through the meadow…one step closer to freedom.

*****

The memories of my mother using physical force against me had unknowingly allowed deep-seated anger to surface. This is because fearlessness often follows anger, and as I transcended fear, I remembered that my mother not only silenced me, but she was the one who forced me out of the closet and sat me on the bed to wait for my father to come stick the knife to my throat.

The sexual perpetration and threats of death by my father somehow felt less destructive than recalling this serious abuse and betrayal by my mother; and facing the emotional pain about her violence caused physical manifestations to disappear with each regression.

However, the rapid heart rate returned. The pounding in my chest only came when I picked up the telephone to make any kind of call. I also began to frequently dream of calling 911 and receiving no response.

While concentrating on the rapid heart rate in a therapy regression, I soon felt about three years old. Then a telephone floated into my consciousness. It was a big, black, old fashioned telephone that had a dial instead of buttons -resembling the telephone from my childhood home.

My feelings at age three were that I knew the telephone was something used by the adults to speak with other people outside the home, but I didn’t know how to utilize it. Panicked and terrified in the memory, I wanted desperately to contact someone outside the home, but could not figure out the telephone. I also knew the threat of death permeated the house.

My therapist had me imagine a warrior Angel who would show me how to use the phone. Suddenly a large red button appeared on the base of the telephone with 911 in big numbers. I knew instantly that all I had to do was push the button, but still, I hesitated and said, “I need protection because there are big people here.”

To a small child, my parents were huge and I felt powerless. In order to resolve this problem I imagined Athena, who would guard me with her life, coming to defend me while I made the call. With this fearless feminine warrior by my side, three year-old me made that call using the big red 911 button.

The first person I contacted was a well-known television commentator who works with child abuse cases. I saw myself as a child speaking to her about incest taking place in so-called “good” homes. Then I pictured the police coming for both of my parents, and they took them away in handcuffs in the back of the police car. I pictured a trial and my parents going to prison for their crimes. My inner child felt great, and she felt no guilt.

Although in the regression, I did not remember why I tried to use the phone, or what preceded the fear, overcoming the terror of calling for help quickly drove away the accelerated heart rate. I did not need to remember why I tried to use the phone; I only needed to face the fear and take back my power.

*****

A few weeks after my mother’s visit, while helping a friend move, I found myself in a slight daze as I watched her pick up towels from her bathroom floor. The scene made me terribly nauseous and an alarm in my mind went off, “something is terribly wrong.” There was no logical reason for the nausea or for the intense feeling of dread.

A few days later, during a therapy regression, My therapist had me focus on the moment I saw my friend picking up the towels. Going into the regression I had no idea what could possibly have triggered such a strange reaction to my friend’s actions.

When the memory of my mother wiping blood off the bathroom floor made its way through time, it was as if someone had punched me in the gut. I had been in the shower, and my tyrant father had just raped me for the first time, on the bathroom floor. I was seven years-old.

My mother, his accomplice, cleaned up after the crime.

The rape was devastating to remember, but the fact that my mother cleaned up the bloody mess was too difficult to comprehend. As I had done before, with other memories I did not want to face, I pushed my mother’s actions aside in my mind. It was less painful for me to heal the rape than to face that my mother silently cleaned up after it.

In the past I had explained away the memories of my father dry-humping me in my bed as being something I endured and took pleasure in so I could feel loved. This memory forced me to see the rapist side of my father. Unlike the memories of rubbing my body along with his, this memory made me feel like an inanimate object —just a piece of flesh that needed to be tied down and ripped apart.

Up until this memory returned, I had persuaded myself to believe that my father loved me, and had slowly become sexually affectionate with me, sort of like two people falling in love.

This was pure self-delusion.

My soul sobered up. I wasn’t ‘daddy’s little girl.’ I was nothing but a piece of gum on the bottom of his shoe -something to scrape off.

And as I allowed myself to face the memory of my mother wiping the mess of water, and my own blood, off the bathroom floor…I saw for the first time, that she was a Sacred monster.

 

Coming soon…Chapter Ten: The Sacred Monster

______________________________________________________________

© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Health, Mind, Body, Spirit | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Eight: Monsters in the Bedroom

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Eight

 Monsters in the Bedroom

“The monsters in the bedroom are not always what people think they are.”

~ Alethea Marina Nova

 by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

Unlike Madison’s scribbled diatribe on scrap paper, my mother’s letter was handwritten and she used personal stationery. I also felt a slight sense of relief come over my body when I saw the word “Dear” in front of my name.

My mother’s letter held no real validation for me. She wrote that as far as she was concerned, nothing gave her any reason to be suspicious of abuse. Yet, her casual advice in the next paragraph told an entirely different story.

She wrote, “What you say happened was thirty years ago, go on with your life.” She concluded the letter with, “I think we all have said what needed saying, so let’s put the past behind us, where it belongs.”

Let’s put the past behind us? I just accused her and her husband of serious crimes against a child, and she tells me “what you say happened was thirty years ago, go on with your life.”

A bombshell had been dropped on her, yet she brushed it off as if my memories were of my father running over the family cat with his car.

Then I read the most painful words. She said she knew my father as a man who worked hard and loved his family very much.

My tears fell onto the paper. Those were the memories she had chosen to compose in her mind, and the ones she convinced herself of for decades -to her, they were true.

Punkin wanted to believe my mother truly did not know about the abuse, but my instincts resisted this.

Even though I wasn’t ready to fully grasp it, I knew the truth within my depths. Yet, I could not accuse my mother of lying, just as I would not wish to be accused of it, but my heart knew my mother had written an untruthful letter to me. It was a letter of self-protection.

I chose not to write back to her because I had already expressed everything that needed to be released and knew it was impossible for me to sway her position. I could not possibly convince her to think or behave differently. Any further push from me would be like beating my head against a brick wall.

After placing her letter in a drawer, I heard nothing from my mother for three more weeks. Then my heart dropped into my stomach when I picked up the telephone one day and her voice was on the other end.

“Hi Honey.”

It was the same old mom.

“How is the weather?” she asked.

So we chitchatted and discussed current events, and talked about her latest church meetings, and I was in complete amazement. She did not say one word about the letter. I had disclosed that my father had sex with me as a child and had threatened to kill me, and that she knew it; yet my mother behaved as if everything was perfectly normal.

Denial was her self-survival system.

In spite of her avoidance, the conversation was a good one, probably one of the best in years. But for my mother, the subject of incest had ended. I suppose that my decision to not write her back, and to not mention my letter during the phone call, had helped my mother assume that I had taken her advice to drop it.

By not replying to her letter, I essentially told her that I was taking her suggestion to “go on with my life.”

I could feel Athena growing impatient and angry that I had not asked my mother about the letter. Athena was tapping her foot with irritation, so I told Athena that the important thing was that I had let the secret out and that my mother was aware that I had remembered.

I don’t think Athena liked my rationalizations.

*****

For a time, my relationship with my mother changed after the letter. During the following year, she called me more than she had ever called me in the previous fifteen years. But the incest and my letter, were never mentioned. Nor was the fact that Abigail and Madison would never speak with me again. My relationship with them was just another forbidden subject… ‘your sisters don’t ever want to talk to you again, but let’s not discuss why.’

During that following year, my mother stopped talking over me, she listened to me and she respected my opinion about politics and religion. For the first time in my life, my mother and I began to speak about more important things. We never spoke of the letter, but after the initial phone call, we also stopped talking about the flowers and the weather.

Telling my mother, and moving on with my life without any validation from her or my sisters, was enormously empowering. I had found my strength in the middle of the emotional chaos of being treated with such cruelty by Abigail and Madison.

I cried deeply over the loss of Abigail because I always thought she loved me.

Madison made it clear since we were children, that she merely tolerated my presence in the world, and occasionally, she even went out of her way to be mean-spirited towards me, but Abigail was always someone I felt loved and accepted by.

However, my sisters both chose to have nothing to do with me and they made it clear, that to them, I did not exist. Without me in their life, they did not have to think about the word incest, and this is where their comfort remained.

Kylie stayed neutral.

I eventually learned to grow past the pain when I realized that my sisters had to work things out in their own time, and in their own way. I continued to concentrate on my healing, and knew the reactions from my family had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with them. I had handled the entire situation from a place of love, and was prudent in how I presented things.

Breaking the secret to my mother gave me the courage to move forward but it also accomplished something extremely unexpected.

My new strength had begun to unearth the most humiliating memories, and they were not buried in trauma, but in deep personal shame and guilt.

*****

“I wanted to have sex with my father.”

That’s what I said one morning in therapy as I touched on the fact that my mother resented me and blamed me —a little girl— for going to her father for sexual attention.

If my mother had loved me, I would not have wanted what my father was doing to me, nor would the incest have continued because my mother would have protected me when it began.

As my memories surfaced, it became clear that my mother did not see herself as the problem in the cycle of the incest. She believed I was the problem and refused to see that I was only longing for affection, attention, and some kind of love –not to be sexually violated.

My mother wanted to think I was the sexual aggressor. She wanted to think her husband was being seduced by an over-sexed little girl.

If my mother blamed her husband then she would be forced to look at her own culpability. In blaming me, she conveniently relieved herself of her own guilt.

Until this very important therapy session, my mother had succeeded in removing the guilt from herself and placed it on me as a child, which allowed me to carry it into adulthood. The result of this unwarranted guilt was that I sabotaged my life with self-denial of pleasure, and with self-sabatoging behavior, self-punishment behavior, and self-loathing.

Even my love of good food had been ruined by the guilt that my mother instilled in me as a child. Eating good food commonly brought even more hunger, depression, or irritability; and eating something that tasted particularly good often caused guilt and fear when the food was finished.

During the next several therapy sessions, I allowed myself to remember that I received favors from my father, and some of what he did gave me the feeling of melted butter through my body.

But the most difficult to deal with, was rousing the memory of moving my pelvis right along with my father as he lay his adult body on me in my bed.

Madison said that I made her sick. These memories were vile and degrading for me, so I made myself sick too.

Following this recall, I lay in a ball clutching my gut and I wailed. The pain was not because of the memories themselves, but because I knew they were true.

*****

The crime of causing a child’s body to feel pleasure by being sexually molested is a felony against the victim’s soul, not just the flesh or the mind, and my mother was just as guilty of this offense because she withheld her love and abandoned me, so I took what my father offered and my body responded.

I cannot say for certain how or when I began to enjoy the abuse because fear had been coupled with pleasure. Fear that my father would come into my room, but eventually letting go and allowing the human closeness and sexual gratification to smother the anguish. Children will pay almost any price to be accepted and feel loved by their parent.

I know my father massaged my back at times before the sexual assaults, so the abuse was not always forced or violent. The dynamics are so complicated. It’s not as if I had been attacked by an unknown and physically heinous rapist. I loved my father.

The awakening of these memories gave me instant clarity about living with shame my entire life. Long before my memories returned, my subconscious carried the weight around in the form of hunched shoulders, hiding my face from people, and sabotaging things that brought joy and pleasure. The child inside me felt she deserved punishment her entire life.

These emerging memories led me into a very dark period of my life. I sat alone at my computer late at night writing my thoughts to other survivors on the internet because they were the only people who understood my pain. I quickly became thankful to the other women, and men, who validated my feelings of degradation when they shared stories of their own shame. Due to their honesty, it had finally become okay to say that I experienced sexual pleasure with my father.

I was dumbfounded by the number of people who felt both enjoyment and pain while being sexually abused, and how many of them rarely spoke of it to anyone in their personal life.  My head lay on the keyboard in tears because I didn’t have to suffer in silence anymore. Every day, messages from other survivors filled my email inbox, and as they did, more memories emerged.

I had to be honest with myself if I ever wanted to truly heal -in a dynamic way.

Within a few weeks, I recalled having orgasms with my father.

I shared my pain on child sexual abuse survivor forums, other survivors were so grateful that someone dared to be so honest about having climaxed with their perpetrator, and I was grateful to know I was not alone.

Society does not want to hear about this part of incest. People don’t want victims of child sexual abuse to be honest. They want us to lie to ourselves, and to them. People do not want to know that the monsters in the bedroom are not always what people think they are.

Lack of love from a parent is like an empty pit in the child’s soul, but the void cannot be filled by any kind of sexual act. No matter how often I looked for physical pleasure to fill my need, I was never satisfied, and continued to hunger for more. As a child I went back to my father over and over; each time hoping for a different outcome. As a child I thought to myself, ‘maybe this time he will just hug me and I won’t have to see that thing between his legs.’ My wish as a child was, ‘maybe he will just sit with me, read me a story, and touch my hair.’

I needed a hug, not an adult kiss. I only wanted to hold my father’s hand, not his erect penis. I desired to sit on my father’s lap and hear him tell me a story –not learn how to give him oral sex. I just hoped to hear him say, “I love you sweetheart,” but when I received sexual contact instead, I accepted it because it was better than nothing, and the price I was willing to pay.

 

Chapter Nine: Sobriety of the Soul, coming soon…

_________________________________________________________________

© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Headlines, Health, Mind, Body, Spirit | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Seven: “Liar Liar Liar”

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Seven

“Liar Liar Liar”

“When I told my mother, I thought she would die, but she went off to get a corned beef sandwich”

~Former Miss America and incest survivor, Marilyn Van Derbur 1

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

A few months later, the silence which once again dominated our lives, was allowed to continue when my mother called to see what I wanted for Christmas. When Punkin heard her voice on the other end of the telephone, I froze and attempted to collect my thoughts, but her question encased Punkin into a small panic. This was an opportunity to be real with her, but a scratchy, weak voice found its way through my throat and into the phone receiver. Punkin pretended as if the emotional scene at the reunion had not taken place. We instead chatted about Christmas presents and the weather.

When I hung up the phone, I felt nauseous and sat on my bed crying. I realized the lies had to end and it was up to me to stop them. Reality and truth were essential. I could not talk about holidays and flowers until I spoke the truth to her. It was vital to find a balance between the two fragmented parts of my wounded self. It was time to allow Athena to take her magic shield and gently help Punkin stand up to my mother.

Punkin quickly let me know she didn’t like this new plan, and she blasted me with stomach cramps and diarrhea. I also experienced the rapid heart beat each time I picked up the telephone receiver to place any kind of call. Even if it was to schedule an appointment for a hair cut, Punkin would freak out and make my heart race. My bladder was inflamed and the hunger became relentless.

No matter how much Athena tried to calm Punkin’s fears, Punkin was still terrified of what could happen.

As the days drew closer to revealing the secret, the symptoms increased dramatically. I began to wake in the middle of the night with terrible abdominal pain. Terror pulled me out of my sleep only to see that the clock screamed 3:00 a.m.

These were weeks of living outside of my own body, and I floated in and out of reality.

In January of 1999, I experienced a vivid and significant dream in which I was with my mother in an unfamiliar house. She was cooking hamburgers in the dream. She prepared the patties on the kitchen counter, shaped them, added spices, and then she placed them in the toilet to cook. She put the burgers inside the rim with a spatula, as if the meat would heat up and cook perfectly fine in a cold dirty toilet. In the dream I knew this was wrong and refused to eat one.

The next scene of the dream brought me to finding a note my mother had written. It said she was going to die soon, but that she was not afraid. During the dream I knew I had to come out with the secret because I did not want her to die before I exposed it. I comforted my mother in the dream, and then woke up.

I looked at the clock; it was exactly 3:00 a.m. In that moment I knew it was time to expose the truth.

The unknown house in the dream represented my present state of being, which was unfamiliar to me. In real life, as in the dream, I was finished with catering to my mother’s needs. This lack of fear was previously unknown to me. My mother cooking hamburgers represented nourishment, or in this instance, a lack of it because she put the food in the toilet. She contaminated it, just like she polluted our family by pretending the incest didn’t happen. Cooking the hamburgers in a soiled toilet, and behaving as if this was perfectly normal, had symbolized the fact that my mother felt it was just fine to stay in denial instead of allowing truth or providing any proper love.

The fact that I didn’t want to eat the burgers was a sign of personal strength. I knew it was wrong to cook meat in a toilet, just as I knew it was unacceptable for me to maintain the family deceit. My mother’s note about her pending death represented the demise of my my remaining silent. Her lack of fear had been a symbol of my own lack of fear because I was ready to tell her about my memories.

Within a few days of the dream, I experienced an intense therapy regression where I dealt with the fact that as a child, my mother often gave me dirty looks. I regularly caught her doing this to me when I was an adult, but in therapy, I remembered for the first time that she had also done this to me as a child. It was definitely a look that was similar to jealousy and resentment.

Involuntarily, this regression brought back the memories of my mother having to take care of my urine-soaked sheets until I was nine years-old, and in my childhood memory, her resentment over my soiling of the bed seemed more connected to jealousy, than anger about having to do more laundry.

After the memory was resolved in the regression, I realized the possibility that, at times, semen might have been on those sheets. My mother’s hostility may not always have been that she had to wash my urine but that she sometimes found evidence that my father was in my bed. My mother’s looks of jealousy meant that she allowed herself to think I was an over-sexed little girl who lusted after my father. My mother’s necessity to place the blame on a child, had embedded itself in my entire being, and I permitted myself to accept her blame. Somehow, through the years of my childhood, my mother had subtly convinced me that I had instigated the sexual abuse.

Overcoming the shame that was induced by my mother took weeks of intensive therapy. But when I overpowered her emotional hold on me, the gap where my guilt had lodged itself made room to fit emotions other than pain and rage. For the first time in my life, I opened up to feelings of compassion for my mother. I had stopped hating myself, which enabled me to cease hating my mother.

I could now go to her with my memories, only now, the words would be powered by love instead of venom. This was terribly important. I could not permit myself to go to her with the secret and have it come out with pain. I knew that placing her on the defense would bring disharmony and I could not lash out at her.

*****

Before I began writing the disclosure letter to my mother, I needed to alert Abigail and Kylie of my plans. The possibility of losing them was exceedingly real because they did not support my desire to speak the truth to my mother.

As a child I kept silent out of fear of being killed. Now that my fears of death were minimizing, I needed to address Punkin’s concern about not being accepted by my sisters. She would need help from my courageous side, but Athena had difficulty expressing the truth with love. Athena was more of a warrior.

I began to write Abigail and Kylie about my decision, but excluded Madison because it was hopeless to expect her to hear me about the incest, much less for her to understand my need to be honest with my mother. She still knew nothing about my memories and always refused to hear anything negative about our parents; even if it was true. I also knew she would go straight to my mother with the information. This would mean no chance to present my side of things.

Ultimately, the threat of losing my biological family was very real, but I was willing to sacrifice Christmas get-togethers, family reunions, birthday cards, and everything else in life that don’t mean a damn without honesty. I had always thought that bringing out the truth would stop my life, but in gaining strength, I realized that being truthful with my mother was the only way I could move forward.

*****

It was Athena who drove to the post office with the letters informing my two sisters. Athena had awakened earlier that morning. She had rubbed her eyes, stretched, and rejoiced that her voice would finally be heard. As I dropped the letters in the mail slot, Athena knew she was needed for an exceptionally important job and she got busy polishing her sword of truth, and prepared her shield to combat the lies.

As I sat down to write the letter to my mother, fear caused me to pause for a brief moment. Then I remembered that being true to myself, as well as true to my relationship with her, was imperative. The words began to find their way onto the page.

I had chosen a letter for the communication because trying to do something this intense on the phone could result in complications. I knew she might hang up on me as soon as I broke the family code of silence. A letter would offer her a chance to digest everything. I needed to do this gently because it’s difficult to be graceful when using words like “molested,” “incest,” and “he threatened to kill me.”

The false hunger attacked my insides as I typed out the words which I never thought I would have the strength to say. Occasionally, the hunger became insufferable and forced me to stop. The terror my father had instilled continued to jab at me just like the knife he used to threaten me, but I needed to be stronger than I ever thought possible.

My heart raced with each sentence.

*****

Abigail was the first of my two sisters to respond to my decision to confront my mother. She left a message on my answering machine. Her words were as jagged as ice and she almost sounded desperate. She made it clear that I was no longer a part of her life, and just like that, thirty six years between two sisters was gone. I re-played the message three times to make sure I understood every word and to be sure I was not misjudging her tone.

Each time, her voice pierced me like a dagger. Her emotional knife was cutting me off from her life, just like the knife that my father once held to my throat.

After truly digesting Abigail’s message, I was in so much pain that I lay down to cry and soon found myself clutching my gut in the fetal position. I could not understand why Abigail had become so vindictive. She could have said she did not agree with my choice, but that she loved me just the same. She might have left a message to have me call her so we could discuss it rationally, but this was never done.

I had lost my sister.

Soon afterwards, I spoke with Kylie and learned she had decided to stay neutral. This would enable her to continue a relationship with everyone.

But it also meant that I would stand alone.

There would be no support, no one to say they believe me. The affirmation I had received from Abigail and Kylie when I first shared my memories with them would not be repeated.

Kylie told me that it didn’t matter if she or anyone else believed me because they were my experiences –my memories. Even though it hurt to lose her as an advocate, she was absolutely correct. Kylie did me a favor by not validating me, because the isolation meant that I could not use anyone as a crutch. So in spite of both of my sister’s choices, I refused to crumble. On the contrary, I continued to write my mother, and it was Athena typing out the words.

I explained in my letter that the truth being spoken was to liberate both my mother and me, and was not being exposed to attack her. She needed to understand that the letter was not written with hate or vindictiveness. As gently as possible, I communicated my memories and how they were connected to the disease I was suffering from. I made sure she would understand that my memories came from me, not from the suggestion of anyone else. I clarified to her that, in therapy, as I remembered what was once blocked out from my mind, and as I removed the feeling of being a victim, the physical symptoms were disappearing.

I concluded the letter by disclosing that in my memories, she knew the incest was taking place.

As the last paragraphs were being typed out, Punkin stirred inside. She made me think about the moment my mother would open my letter. I could feel Punkin pulling my arm and pleading, “Let’s not tell her!” I tried to comfort Punkin by telling her there was nothing to fear, but I could feel her weakness. She didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.

Oh how I just wished Punkin would listen to Athena.

Then, without really thinking about it, the balance of the two opposite parts of me began to center themselves. Punkin and Athena merged into one in the moment I realized that even if I had chosen not to speak with my mother, she would still carry the knowledge about everything, in silence, for the rest of her life. Whether or not this was conscious or unconscious, the sexual abuse would have always affected her, and our relationship would always suffer. Just as important, I knew that caving in to my fear would be forcing myself to live a lie and to be a lie.

The wounds which remained in our family would never truly heal unless it was brought out in the open and faced with honesty. If I did not send my letter, the grief would be like a suitcase filled with dirty laundry chained to my ankle. The only way to break my binding chain was to send the letter. So in late February of 1999, and one an a half years after remembering the incest, I typed out the final words to my mother:

            The healing of our family is long overdue. The truth can never hurt. It may be painful at first, but once it is out in the open, the veil is lifted, and we realize the lie was much more hurtful to our souls, to our functioning in every day life, and to our family. I will always love you; I will always be here if you need me. I will not yell at you, or try to make you feel guilt. I will always be here, no matter what. If you need time to get yourself together, I will be here when you do, no matter how long it takes. But remember, life is short and, each moment precious. I would love to have some time with you as my mother.

        Love always, Alethea

 *****

I sat on the floor of my living room looking at the seven page letter. I re-read it three times to make certain every word was perfect. Then it struck me, “If I send this, I’ll die.”

What power the past has over our lives!

Instead of allowing my fear to control me, I pulled out a drawer containing some envelopes. I chose one with butterflies to announce to her that my letter was not written with anger. Once the envelope was sealed, I placed it next to my purse. It was Sunday so I planned to take the letter to the post office the following day. My next step was to call Kylie.

I told Kylie that I was mailing my letter to our mother the next day. Abigail had asked Kylie to be informed when I was about to disclose the incest, so I requested that Kylie please pass the word along. Kylie was supportive, even saying she loved me.

I hung up feeling a sense of peace come over me. It was done. The letter was finished; the phone call had been made. Athena’s sword of truth was ready for battle, and she took Punkin’s hand. Together Athena and Punkin would face whatever was on the horizon.

*****

The next day I was about to leave for the post office when I noticed the light flashing on my answering machine. Abigail had called. Her words were controlling, malicious, and her voice had a tone of self-satisfaction. The phone call was made from my mother’s house.

Abigail had just told her everything.

Abigail went behind my back and deliberately put herself in the middle of what was between my mother and me. I had been so careful to present my letter with love and gentleness. Abigail had no right to think she could ever speak for me. She robbed me of being able to express my pain in my own way.

It is so important how one’s truth is presented. I spent weeks on that letter and poured my heart into it. I had no idea if Abigail gave my mother an accurate account of my memories or not. She most likely gave her own vision of things. This was totally unfair to me as a human being.

These were vital, important issues for me. I could not comprehend why Abigail did this, nor could I understand her hatred. Abigail exposing my memories and my personal experiences to my mother felt as if she was trying to get back at me for going through with my plans.

After I stopped shaking and collected myself, I realized that I could still send the letter to my mother if I ran to a letter express office to send it overnight.

That is exactly what I did, and my next step was to send an email to Abigail. I let her know that this was between my mother and me, and that I had a right to speak about the violation I suffered as a child. There was nothing in my letter to my mother about Abigail, or any of my other sisters.

This was about my memories of myself and my father, and of myself and my mother. My letter to my mother was private, and about no one else.

The next betrayal was learning from Kylie why Madison had acted so cold and distant at the family reunion. Months earlier, Abigail had told Madison about my memories.

Things quickly came together in my head. Now I understood the strangely impersonal Christmas gifts I had received from Madison and why Abigail had grown distant in the previous weeks. It became obvious that Abigail and Madison had been corresponding about me and my memories. It was clear that Madison had influenced Abigail into disregarding me and disbelieving my memories. Abigail had believed me when I sent her a copy of Letters to My Sisters, but now she was treating me like garbage, and I knew why.

Madison’s version of things probably catered to Abigail’s self-comfort.

I could understand if Abigail and Madison had called to discuss the situation with me, but this didn’t happen. Instead, their desire to keep me quiet had caused an atmosphere where I received backlash instead of support. I decided to call Madison to see if she might be willing to talk. I left a message on her answering machine.

While waiting for her to call back, I calmly realized that even though the nightmare with my sisters had taken place, the secret was out, and I handled it with dignity. I had refused to behave in an ugly manner, or to react to the ugliness being thrown at me by Abigail and Madison.

In addition, even though my mother did not hear it from me first, I was the one who began the process and who took the steps to break the silence; so Punkin rejoiced inside me.

*****

I was beginning to develop a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Athena was retreating because Punkin was feeling insecure and abandoned. My phone message to Madison had not been returned and my mother had not yet responded to my letter.

The silence was overwhelming for Punkin.

I now understood why so many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and incest keep quiet. The pain of the silence is too much to bear.

The sick feeling eventually grew into anger because the little girl in me who was raped, molested, and threatened…also had to live with the guilt. I had been an innocent child, yet it felt as if I was the one who had committed a crime.

After a number of days, I opened my mail box and saw an envelope from Madison inside. That one small piece of mail had so much power that I paused before taking it out of the postal slot. When it was in my hand, I felt a brief sense of relief and said to myself, “Well, at least it’s something.”

As I opened the letter I knew to prepare for the worst, which was exactly what lay within the envelope. The letter was more like a note scribbled on a sheet of scratch paper. It could not have been more impersonal. When I began reading, my stomach churned and adrenaline rushed through my chest. Nothing could have prepared me for Madison’s words.

I had long been aware of her hatred of me and that she had the strongest denial system of all my sisters, but her words were like death. She said she was so angry she could barely even write. She said she never wanted to hear my voice on her answering machine again. She called my mind “malignant, twisted, demented,” and wrote that she would no longer be “contaminated” by my memories. She told me I was delusional, called me a “liar liar liar,” and said that I no longer existed to her.

She concluded with, “you make me sick.”

Her hate-driven words were enormously effective. I walked into my bathroom, looked in the mirror, and wondered out loud, “Maybe I am demented? Maybe I did make it all up!” One small piece of paper had succeeded in making me question myself. For a few minutes I thought I would lose my mind, and wanted to die.

“I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties

through my love for truth, and truth rewarded me”

—Simone de Beauvoir

Still looking in the mirror I saw Punkin staring back at me. Athena was long gone, and at that moment I thought she was gone forever. The part of me that felt like shit was the little girl who didn’t dare speak up.

Punkin’s fears had come true. It was painfully clear why victims and adult survivors retract their accusations, or back down from their own truth. They cannot bear the wretched feeling of being condemned and then punished by people they thought loved them.

When Madison called me a “sick demented liar,” I felt the pain from every survivor or child victim who has ever found the strength to voice what happened to them. If I had come out with my memories before I gained enough strength to deal with the ugliness then I may have gone right back into denial. I may have retracted what I knew to be true, and would have catered to the family code of silence.

I would once again, have become a lie to my own self. I had to go beyond Madison’s cruelty and lack of love, and move forward. I could not look back.

As I examined my reflection in the mirror, I decided to transform my misery into action to help others and I became thankful for Madison’s words of hate. Athena was now looking back at me in the mirror.

Madison enabled me to feel the exact emotions that survivors and victims go through when they dare to point to their abusers. Without this awareness, I could not honestly help others be true to themselves, or to honor their experiences. I began to cry deeply for victims who finally find the courage to verbalize their suffering, only to have family members crush their strength.

Athena had somehow managed to crawl out from under the rubble. She had found her magic shield, and I began to go through something profound.

Pain is often the doorway to a true metamorphosis, and so, my transformation began.

While I continued to wait for a response from my mother I received one last tirade from Madison. Her new note was short and to the point. She informed me that if I sent her any letters they would be promptly burned and “flushed down the toilet, an appropriate receptacle for your crap” she wrote.

She then announced that she would be monitoring her phone calls and would exercise the delete button on her computer if I tried to email her. And that was that. It was over, and the silence picked up right where it left off.

*****

Looking at the severe reactions from my two sisters, from an objective point of view -instead of from pain- allowed me to discern that their anger was unjustified and their reactions greatly exaggerated. Madison had always harbored resentment for me; I just didn’t know how deep it was. She seemed to have kept something hidden within herself for an extremely long time. I felt it when we were children and it grew worse when we became adults. Such hatred cannot be waged against a sibling if there is not already something going on inside the person.

Madison might not even know what her resentment is rooted in. It may be subconscious anger from a painful childhood event. Nevertheless, her letter was judging me with anger, she used personal insults, and it lacked human openness.

People attack when they are afraid to face painful things, but those who hide from emotional pain still hold onto it.

Confronting emotional or physical trauma is a cleansing. I had looked at the jaws of my past and said, “You cannot hurt me anymore.” Abigail and Madison will carry their anger until they face the root of it. It was time to pick myself up, dust myself off, throw my shoulders back, and move on without looking back.

*****

While standing with my full grocery cart, I could not help but notice the man in a wheel chair in front of me in line. He only had a small number of items and seemed a bit down on his luck. He looked as though he could have been a veteran of the Vietnam War, or a poor man. He definitely had been through trials in his life.

As I waited to pay for my groceries, my thoughts anxiously focused on the fact that I had not yet heard from my mother. Out of nowhere the man in the wheelchair turned around to look me in the eye, and said, “You know, after the clouds have disappeared, there will be a silver lining.”

I was stunned. It was as if this stranger could read my thoughts, or he was an Angel in disguise, sent from Heaven with a message for me. Not really knowing what to say, I just looked at the man and smiled. I was too surprised that he knew exactly what I needed to hear at that precise moment. Appropriately, this took place in the grocery store, one of the biggest triggers for my psychosomatic ailments, and a place that still haunted my dreams. It was a Divine moment, and one that will remain with me forever.

*****

When the letter from my mother finally arrived, I was too afraid to open it so I placed the envelope aside. I wondered if my mother’s words would equal Madison and Abigail’s cruelty.

The pain and abandonment from my sisters lingered within me like smudges of dirt and grime on a clean window, but I was determined to continue transforming my grief into positive energy. A powerful surge ascended from my soul which told me that I needed to help other survivors get through being vilified, ostracized, and disbelieved.

With my new strength, I opened the letter from my mother.

Chapter Eight: Monsters in the Bedroom, coming soon…

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  1. Used with personal permission from Marylin Van Derbur

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© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

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Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Six: Interrupting the Silence

 Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Six

Interrupting the Silence

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

“I think the silence was worse than the rapes.”

~From the film, The Prince of Tides

It had been four months since Kylie and Abigail learned the truth, so surely it was time to inform my mother. Yet most days I didn’t have the strength to undergo such a turbulent task. But on the days when I decided that I must tell her, the feelings were undeniable. So I decided that the coming family reunion at my mother’s home would be the perfect place to allow my inner child to speak.

Almost a year had passed since first unlocking the door to my childhood, yet I continually fought the voice in my head that begged me to block the memories again.

In my old life my family accepted me. When the memories were locked away I didn’t have to think about the agonizing moment when I would finally say, “Mom, I’ve remembered that dad sexually abused me.”

*****

The constant hum of the airplane engine could not distract me from the hounding fear of telling my mother what I remembered.

I looked out the window of the airplane so the other passengers couldn’t see me cry about being forced to carry the burden of the secret.

The dilemma of whether or not to tell my mother was creating profound guilt –guilt for daring to talk about crimes committed against me.

I kept reminding myself that if I told my mother about my memories, she wouldn’t drop dead right there on her kitchen floor. Yet the real fear was that if I spoke about the past at the upcoming family reunion, somehow my father would return from the grave, take his knife, and kill me.

As the plane descended, I closed my eyes and fantasized. I pictured what it would be like to see my mother’s eyes flood with tears, a confession pouring out of her mouth, and then to experience a long overdue embrace. I envisioned her crying to me that she was glad the secret was finally out in the open. I visualized heartfelt talks and joyous laughter as decades-old tension evaporated.

When the captain’s voice came over the loud speaker, I quickly snapped back into reality. There was no way in hell that my mother would express an ounce of regret for not protecting me, much less that she would admit to the abuse.

An apology wasn’t even what I wanted the most. “I’m sorry” is meaningless without true remorse and those two words cannot repair a lifetime of misery. I needed to hear her say that she had thought about nothing else through the years, and that she wished she had made a different choice. It would be comforting and healing to know that she prayed daily for forgiveness and felt some kind of pain for choosing her husband over her daughter. It would have been influential to hear that she deeply regretted her weakness.

I reached into my backpack and pulled out the poem I had composed just before the trip. I allowed the words to envelop me.

She is in control, No, I am.

Will she lie? It does not matter. It will be out, I will be free.

Everyone will know, but I am strong.

Don’t see her face -you know, the one when you were three.

Love her, embrace her. Now I really am free.

There was a torn and crumpled list stapled to the poem. Each item on the list was a positive motivation to disclose the secret. Truth for mother and daughter was the number one reason. I found myself clutching the paper as tightly as I clung to the hope that after three decades, she was as tormented as me about keeping secrets. No matter what I decided, the superficial and decaying relationship I had with my mother would be dramatically affected, but it could not go on as it had been —cold, distant, pure pretense. Each conversation with my mother ended in my hanging up the phone disturbed, angry, and sick inside.

It pained me to picture what bringing up the incest could do to her. I imagined my mother pacing the hallway of her home thinking about my father fondling me, with his penis in my mouth, or dry-humping me in my bed. Even though I knew she deliberately didn’t protect me, I still did not want to impose these images on her. This, in and of itself, had great potential to stop me from coming out with the truth.

*****

The horizon revealed the airplane being close to the ground and the flight attendants were scurrying around collecting trash. My thoughts drifted to a time when I was about five years-old. I was standing in the bathroom of my childhood home. I was confused and frightened. I knew I had been doing something wrong because my mother had a funny look on her face; anger mixed with resentment. My small hand was in hers, and she had just smelled my fingers. My mother roughly shook my hand. “Don’t you touch down there! Keep your hand away from that place!” she said.

The memory of being scolded for masturbating was one of the few memories I had retained long before therapy. After recalling the incest, I read that children who are being molested, frequently masturbate.

Time passed through my thoughts, and brought me to age fifteen. As a teenager, I knew something was not right with me mentally or emotionally, I just didn’t know what it was. I had asked my mother for help and she reluctantly signed me up for group therapy at the community hosptal. Her displeasure was made known by her piercing silence while driving me to each therapy session. At the time I thought it was the fifteen dollars and the fifteen minute drive to the clinic that bothered her. She always seemed so resentful when she dropped me off.

For the first time, I realized she probably feared I would remember the abuse and talk about it to the therapist.

However, I never accomplished anything in the group, and my mother was pleased when I eventually abandoned the therapy. Her secret had been safe…at least for the time being.

My mind raced forward again, to my first memory of incest when my mother was headed off to the restrooms at the campground. In my memory, she looked so tired and defeated. She appeared to be ‘doing her duty’ by leaving me alone in the tent with my abuser. Surely my father would have known the risk of forcing oral sex on me when my mother had only left a moment before. She could easily have forgotten her soap or perhaps her toothbrush.

The emotionally debilitating epiphany struck me over the head upon the intuition that my father didn’t have to worry about being caught because my mother already knew, and he had her silent approval.

No sick verbal agreement between the two of them was even necessary; just a glance from my father may have been the signal for my mother to leave my father and I alone. These truths needed to be faced.

*****

The flight attendant announced the passenger safety instructions, and as the plane began to land, my heart twisted into a knot inside my throat. This was the first time that I would be in the same room with my mother since remembering the truth. Soon I would see the face of the woman who stared at me with no feelings as my father pushed his huge body on my chest while holding a knife to my throat.

Due to my mother’s incredible ability to deny and repress what she had done to harm others, there was every possibility that I was about to drop a bomb on her. I feared the shock would kill her, but due to her old age, I also feared she would pass away before I had a chance to confront her about the trauma and pain she helped my father inflict.

When the airplane was on the ground I felt so isolated. I was completely alone in a strange city with my vile secrets. At that moment I had a mother, but within days she could no longer be any part of my life. I wondered if that was really so terrible. Our relationship had been so superficial anyway, kind of like apple pie on top of dog poop.

*****

While disembarking the airplane, I carried the heavy baggage of constantly having to pretend. I was mentally prepared to speak the deadly secret but stopped silently in my path. I could not breathe. I saw my mother waiting for me at the terminal and it was the mother that I had always wanted and created in my mind as a small child. I watched her search the crowd for me. She looked so frail with her white hair and thin bones. I could feel my strength slipping away into the airport floor.

I was three years old again.

My mother spotted me as I made my way through the swarm of travelers. Punkin was tugging at my insides, trying to get me to turn away, go back home. The child inside desperately needed reassurance. I could even feel both of her tiny arms wrapped around my legs. She pleaded with me, please don’t tell!

As I wrapped my adult arms around my mother, I ached inside because I felt the arms of Punkin clinging to me. My mother’s presence created a terrible conflict. The part of me who found strength, power, and fearlessness over the past few months was overpowered by the child in me who still longed for my mother’s approval.

I had been working hard to find the balance between Punkin and Athena. This would be an emotionally centered place, where I could speak the truth, but with love and compassion. This meant the secret could be released without anger, and if I was not accepted by my family, then I could walk away instead of lashing out at them. Yet, it was now Punkin hugging my mother. Punkin was overwhelmed in my mother’s presence and Athena could do nothing but guard Punkin and patiently wait for her to find her voice.

*****

The day after my mother picked me up from the airport, Abigail, Kylie, and I took a long walk in the woods. Months earlier, when I first told Abigail and Kylie about the incest, they had been supportive, and said things like, “now so many things about our childhood fall into place.” But over the past few months, the incest had once again become the unspoken subject between us, and reluctantly, I had along with the silence by pretending that my memories did not exist.

At first, the conversation on our hike remained fairly superficial until suddenly, out of nowhere, my two sisters decided it was okay to talk about the incest again. I don’t recall who brought it up, but before I was even aware of my own voice, I began expressing how difficult it had been to pretend that nothing had happened to me as a child. How invalidated I felt, and how alone. Speaking the words triggered a surge of emotions. I sat down under a tree and began sobbing on a beautiful fall morning, and the only thing I could hear besides the sound of my pain, was the wind whispering in the trees.

As I cried, I kept hoping for a comforting voice of validation or outstretched hand to ease my pain, but my sisters could not provide the support I ached for. After what seemed like a life-time, Kylie eventually hugged me, but the affection came too late and the arms that embraced me gave little comfort.

Even though my sisters knew we had a dysfunctional family, neither of them were able to connect with me on an emotional level. They even suggested that I go to group therapy.

At the time I allowed myself to be hurt by that recommendation. I wanted my sisters, not a bunch of strangers. Little did I know that I would soon need the support of other survivors more than my own blood relatives, and would learn the hard way, that strangers would have more compassion for me than my own family.

The discomfort I created for Abigail and Kylie was not something they could overcome. I made them uneasy with my talk of incest; I made them wish I would just shut up. I would soon learn that the only people I could turn to were those who were also trying to heal from child sexual abuse.

Strangers would become the only people who could help me bear my pain.

*****

I was shaking uncontrollably in the hours leading up to having dinner with my mother that night.

There was a very real possibility that I might be strong enough, or desperate enough, to reveal my memories to my mother. But this would mean Punkin would be called a liar, and immediately cut out of the family, so I did not express my potential intentions to Abigail or Kylie. Maybe because I really didn’t think I could go through with it… or possibly, because I feared my sisters would try to stop me.

*****

That night, after dinner in my mother’s new home, the tension was noticeable.

I don’t think any of us were ever completely comfortable in my mother’s presence. She was a cold, judgemental woman who frequently tried to impose her opinions and beliefs on others. She was a non-affectionate woman who did not know how to love.

My sister Madison was more quiet than usual. She had grown very distant from me lately and exuded discomfort since my arrival for the reunion, but this was not unusual for her. Madison never cared for me. Even as a child I felt her hatred.

Everyone sat around the kitchen nook and I took a seat on a barstool. This being the first time in my mother’s new home, I glanced towards an entryway that led out to the main hall. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach and a rush of fear took my breath away. I had unknowingly positioned myself directly in front of a doorway which exposed a picture hanging on the wall.

It was a large framed photo of my father in his police uniform.

As I gazed into the past, my father stared right back at me. He had been dead for two decades and I still could not escape. I was trapped, just like I had been as a child. There was no way of asking to switch chairs with someone without explaining why. So there I sat, ready to tell my mother about my memories of incest, and my perpetrator was glaring right at me, in his police uniform.

Although the photograph captured a small smile, my father still seemed to have that familiar look which said, “Keep quiet if you know what’s good for you.”

Tension permeated the room and my mother sensed something was going on. I watched her look for ways to mentally escape. She fidgeted around the kitchen with mindless tasks. Any kind of serious conversation was foreign to us, and it was forbidden by her.

Anything real was not to be discussed; this was an unwritten family rule.

I could feel the clammy sweat under my arms. I had no idea where the conversation would go. I kept an eye on my father’s photo while telling Punkin that he was dead and gone.

Earlier that day, it was the warrior part of me who decided that I needed to speak up to my mother. Athena had prepared for battle and gave me the strength to consider speaking about the incest. It was Athena who held my sword and shield when I walked into my mother’s home, but with my father staring at me from across the hall, it was now Punkin sitting on the barstool.

As the evening lingered, the superficial kitchen conversation was not pleasant, or even productive.

At some point I could see that my mother wanted to retreat from our presence, but to my surprise, a voice that was my own told her I needed to express some feelings. Athena had suddenly grabbed her sword and shield. Punkin stood behind Athena, knowing she would be protected.

I began by saying, “Mom, do you know how much it hurt for me to find out that you didn’t really care about the terrible physical problems I have been suffering from?”

My mother didn’t flinch; she just stood there with a blank expression. Her cold stare disclosed her total lack of compassion. Amazingly, my mother could drain me of all strength without even saying a word.

With every second of my mother’s callous gaze, Athena diminished. Punkin had emerged, and she was aching for maternal love. Punkin wanted my mother to wrap her arms around me. She longed for my mother’s embrace and to hear her bewail, “I’m sorry sweetheart, I am so very sorry,” but those words would never come. Instead, my mother flippantly said, “I just couldn’t understand your physical problems because, after-all, I bore the pain of having four children.”

What? Sorry? Do I need to clean my ears out? You are comparing the choice of giving birth, which is a miracle to some women –comparing it to a terrible disease that inflicts pain and suffering on a person so unbearable that they want to die, and some people do die. They die from taking their own life because of the pain and suffering the disease causes.

Oh how I wish I had the nerve to have actually said those things to her.

Instead, weeping and clutching my stomach, I could barely believe what I just heard. The emotional pain seemed to embed itself in my abdomen. I was no longer suffering from invalidation about the debilitating cfids/ME symptoms. The profound torment was coming from a child who, for the first time, truly understood that her mother did not love her.

The agony magnified, but I somehow drew out a small ounce of courage.

“Mom, your lack of ability to love me has affected my entire life.”

Her cold dead stare pierced Punkin’s heart. I waited for an expression of concern, but it never came. My mother could only muster a half-hearted, and amazingly, almost resentful, “I’m sorry.” When she said those two dead words, my heart crumpled up and rolled under a chair.

Even seeing how much pain I was in, my mother never approached me. She remained motionless on the other side of the counter and she silently watched me bend over in the fetal position. I was crying so hard my stomach had formed an array of twisted knots that could only be untied by a loving mother, but she could not fill that role. She instead continued to stare at me from across the room. After a few minutes, it seemed she felt obligated to force out one more generic, “I’m sorry.”

Within seconds the pain transferred itself into the root pain of her not protecting me from my father and Athena was close to emerging. I could feel her inside of me searching desperately for her sword and shield, but Punkin had hidden them. Punkin knew that if Athena were to wave her sword of truth, it would be the end the family as she knew it. So Punkin hid those two powerful weapons and did what she always did; she became a good girl, because silence meant acceptance in the family, and in Punkin’s mind, acceptance was “love.”

*****

Soon I was invisible to everyone in the room, and I went into a mental fog. I faintly heard them agree among themselves that no more needed saying. Their voices lingered and murmured around me. Everyone ignored me, and I was no longer a part of the room.

I sat motionless in my chair, invisible, as I vaguely heard my mother say she just didn’t know how to behave any differently. Although the adult, healing woman I was becoming with the therapy understood this in a rational sense, Punkin could not understand it at all. Punkin was still a very traumatized and emotionally wounded child.

I listened half-heartedly as my mother said she had been in denial her entire life. My mother then expressed her pleasure that the conversation had ended, and referring to her entire life, I heard her say, “I just don’t want to feel any more pain.”

If only my mother understood that she wouldn’t experience so much pain if she stopped inflicting it on everyone else.

At some point I heard their conversation turn to sharing loving memories about our father. I desperately needed to retreat to a place where I no longer had to listen to the feel-good stories of a child rapist. I floated out of the room and found myself sitting on my mother’s front porch. I couldn’t bear to be in the same house with a group of people who wanted to live a lie.

*****

Trying to sleep that night was impossible. I drifted in and out of consciousness, and each time I woke up, the pain was like a jack-hammer in my gut. Even the sexual abuse was not as emotionally devastating as my mother’s cold heart. Her form of love was conditional to her comfort. It was more out of a sense of duty. It was frigid and mechanical.

I called my mother from the airport the next day and expressed that I loved her, but told her I needed to go home. She said she understood. The conversation ended peacefully and we spoke of her golf games. As usual, she could only truly function when she and I, and Punkin, all pretended everything was fine.

As I waited for my flight to board, I realized for the first time in months I actually felt good again. I did not have the shakes or the abnormal hunger. There was no fatigue in my head and my bladder was calm. As painful as the night before had been, the conversation had relieved part of the pressure inside of me. Even though Punkin kept her secret safe, I had managed for the first time in my life to express some of my true feelings to my mother.

When I returned home, I felt so healthy that I nearly convinced myself that I never had to speak to her about the incest. I think Punkin enjoyed the fact that she got to say some things without speaking the unspeakable. This way, Punkin was still a member of the family, while still being able to speak up a little bit.

I tried to justify my compromise by telling myself that my mother would never admit to the sexual abuse, much less that she covered it up. As I began fantasizing about a life without ever having to speak the truth to her, my body revolted against my decision.

The hunger resurfaced after a few days and became intrusive. My bladder flared up again and I could not properly release my urine, and once again, heavy fatigue kept me from leaving the house. I had nearly persuaded myself into thinking that being superficial was tolerable, but neither Athena nor Punkin would allow me to conform to the lie.

Punkin wanted her voice heard without having to speak, so she was giving me terrible physical symptoms. Athena wanted to give Punkin that voice, but openly revealing the incest was unsafe for Punkin. The internal conflict created self-doubt and physical turmoil. I had chosen silence but knew I was cheating myself. Punkin needed my real mother; she needed me. By not exposing the secret, I would be doing exactly what my birth mother did, which was nothing.

Chapter Seven: Liar Liar Liar, coming soon…

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© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

Posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Headlines, Health, Holistic, Mind, Body, Spirit | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Five: Letters to My Sisters

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Five

Letters to My Sisters

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

“You have no room in your mind or body for secrets”

~Former Miss America and incest survivor, Marilyn Van Derbur 1

In January of 1998 I made the decision to tell my three sisters about every one of my memories. This would be the second most difficult thing I would ever do.

The hardest would be to tell my mother.

There were no consequences in telling friends and acquaintances, but telling my family meant emotional trauma for all of us. I fluctuated between which anguish was worse, the truth, or the lie. I finally determined that I could no longer hold secrets and deception in my mind or in my body.

I felt that writing my sisters instead of telling them over the phone would provide the freedom to express myself openly, and it would give me a chance to edit and revise my words. I needed to be clearly understood without being hung up on, or interrupted, and without provoking my worst fear —being called a liar.

When I began writing to my sisters, one page soon grew into several, and before long it was practically a small book. I decided to call these writings “Letters to My Sisters.”

As I wrote the disclosure, I agonized over the fact that I might not be believed, but I was willing to risk losing my siblings in order to give a voice to the child in me, who had been silenced with a knife.

As I opened my heart to my sisters, not a page went by without the fear of death permeating the room. While writing the letters I could not walk down the hallway of my home, or sit with my back to it without fear, and every light in the house needed to be turned on. The hallway of my current home, had become the hallway of my childhood home. My father’s threat to take my life had pushed through time.

My bladder felt as if it was on fire and the hunger became excruciating.

I had given names to the two opposing aspects of myself, the part of me filled with fear, and my warrior side.

“Punkin” was the child in me, who wanted to conform to the family secrets. Punkin was told to keep quiet and behave herself. In my mind, Punkin was disheveled looking, with tousled hair, and always wearing a ragged red dress. Punkin was the abandoned and abused little girl who desired love from an emotionally unavailable mother. Punkin’s unkempt hair, and her red dress, were symbolic of having been in bed with her father.

The other aspect of me, was Athena -the guardian and the angry part of me who wanted to be heard. I had chosen the name Athena because according to Greek mythology, Athena was a warrior goddess and a protector. In my mind, Athena wore a white gown, had a crown of jewels intertwined with fresh flowers, and she symbolized strength. Athena carried a sword of truth and a magic shield to guard against lies.

Punkin was withdrawn and hung her head in shame. Punkin conformed to how her family wanted her to behave, which was to keep silent in order to be accepted, and Punkin dreaded confrontation.

Athena was not afraid of other people’s reactions, and was ready to speak the truth no matter what the consequences.

These two parts of my persona were not ‘different personalities,’ but merely opposing aspects of my unhealed pscyhe.

*****

The letters to my sisters were not even finished, but merely typing them out triggered the terror of being killed.

Punkin pleaded with me, “Oh no, you’re telling! Please don’t tell.”

At one point I experienced a mental flash of my father behind me with a knife, but nothing would stop me. I was determined to not allow his threats to take back the major steps I had gained.

While Punkin cowered under my desk, Athena comforted her with the knowledge that defying the threats, and letting the secret out, would help continue our journey from victim into a grown, healed woman.

*****

Now unafraid to confront the memories, things on the outside began to change as well.

One day after a grueling, yet liberating therapy session, I found myself rearranging the house. At first I didn’t realize that healing and rearranging furniture were related, but soon I saw the pattern. Changing my home and disposing useless items paralleled the act of continuing to expel the long-repressed negative emotions from my Subconscious mind. It was important that my home reflected my new state of mind.

Yet, the high school picture of my father, as well as the memorabilia in his honor, remained in my living room like a shrine. His police hat, coin collection, and the American flag that had been draped over his casket, were a daily reminder to my subconscious of the twisted loyalty I still held for my father.

One day I found myself in a therapy regression imagining that I was burning those things. Before this moment I had no conscious thoughts of anger about my father’s personal items.

Until the regression I had no awareness that these material items were hindering my growth. The desire to rid myself of the keepsakes stemmed from the child within me, and she was angry.

As soon as the therapy session ended, I honored that anger and gave away the flag and police hat. I sold the coin collection and gave the money to charity. The difference in my well-being was dramatic. A friend called that day, and without knowing what I had done, she commented that my voice sounded strong and confident.

I kept my father’s high school photo because, somewhere deep inside myself, I knew that the young man in the photo was carrying heavy emotional baggage from something that happened to him as a child, and that maybe he would have turned out differently, had he not been emotionally destroyed in some way as a child.

*****

Six months following the first recall of incest with my father, Letters to My Sisters were now coming close to an end and it was time to actually consider sending them. Physical symptoms and the fear of losing my family hammered my body and mind, but it was important for me to speak, and for my family to hear me. It also became imperative that I be strong for other survivors of child sexual abuse—especially those who had blocked out their memories. The fear which accompanied the writing of the letters brought me the awareness that incest and child sexual abuse continue because too many children and adult survivors stay silent.

Writing the letters had been demanding and liberating at the same time, but putting them in the mail terrified Punkin. I needed to take her by the hand and gently comfort her. It was imperative that she understood no physical harm would come to her, and that even if my sisters cut me out of their life, it was better than living a lie.

One last minute change was made before I finished the letters. I decided to not disclose my memories to Madison. I knew how strongly she denied any family dysfunction, and she had always denied my father’s temper as well as his alcohol problem. I knew how much Madison loved our father, and she retained a close bond with my mother. Madison also held a deep-seated resentment of me, which I never understood, but had learned to live with since early childhood.

Madison’s hostility towards me might have easily sent her running to my mother about my memories. I was not yet strong enough to deal with that. My mother continued to hold power over me. The child in me still feared her as a parent and continued to crave my mother’s approval.

*****

On a quiet spring evening, after many agonizing weeks of spilling my pain onto paper, I finally concluded Letters to My Sisters. I had finished them in spite of the program of fear my father had instilled in me.

I ended Letters to my Sisters with these words:

            I love you. These letters have taken a long time to write and were painful for me. Please do not hate me; hate is so destructive. Although this is my truth, we are a family. Even though the truth is painful, it can only help. Secrets, denial, and pretending nothing is wrong will only force us to live a lie, and that helps no one. “The truth shall set you free” is such a pure and righteous statement. It can break a person from bondage. I have repeatedly weighed the possible outcome of telling, and truth is too important to me. This is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. You are in my heart and in my thoughts every day. Love, Alethea

The letters were forty-four pages long. I made five copies and placed three in envelopes. I addressed the two for Abigail and Kylie, but placed Madison’s copy safely in a drawer.

Two days passed before I felt ready to take Kylie and Abigail’s copies of the letters to the post office. Unresolved fear tried to push me back into denial —the place where keeping the secret meant being accepted. In denial there would be no ugly words or threats from my sisters. In denial I could continue a superficial relationship with my mother and a false relationship with all of them.

When I realized that without the truth I didn’t even have a real connection, or a true relationship with any of them, something opened up inside of me that pushed me to the other side of the fear. With no anxieties I walked to the post office. The possibility still existed that Kylie or Abigail might tell my mother, but my decision was driven by the freedom which had begun to stir inside.

While standing in line at the post office, I suddenly realized that my heart was beating rapidly. It seemed impossible because I felt completely at peace with my decision. One of my neighbors spotted me and came over to say hello. She remarked how happy I looked. I couldn’t believe she saw no fear in me because my heart was pounding so loudly I thought it might jump out of my chest and roll across the post office floor.

Clearly the rapid heartbeat was not due to any conscious anxiety; it was the child inside of me who was making my heart race. My inner child was aware of the repercussions. She was begging me not to tell the family, and I almost listened to her.

I looked at the postal agent, who was peering at me from behind his glasses. It was my turn to approach the counter. I needed to calm my heart rate with clear, conscious action, so I silently told the child in me, “it’s going to be okay,” and walked over and handed the postman the two carefully sealed envelopes.

After I paid the man, I watched him stamp the envelopes with postage and drop the letters into the mail hamper. As I watched the letters disappear into the bag and realized there was no turning back, I smiled and walked away.

In that moment the rapid heart beat magically disappeared.

*****

During the period of waiting for a response from my sisters, even more profound changes were occurring. I grew tired of listening to my mother speak about my father as if he had been a Saint and our telephone conversations became strained. My inner child wanted a new mother. She needed a mother who would love and protect her, and who would allow her to cry out about being a victim of incest. The child within me needed a mother who would not ignore the pain. My carnal mother was incapable of this, so the new mother had to be me.

The revolution against my physical mother began with a phone conversation. As usual, we were discussing the flowers and the weather, and my inner child could no longer stand it. Even though my mother knew nothing about my memories, she knew I was in therapy. Kylie told her I had been sick for over four years, yet my mother never once acknowledged the illness or my suffering.

My mother knew my physical problems were extreme, but she never even mentioned the disease I had been diagnosed with, or asked about my psychotherapy. I simply could not comprehend why my mother never spoke to me about a physical illness that had plagued me for years, or why I needed psychoanalysis.

In fact, any time I mentioned therapy, she quickly changed the subject.

My deep desire to end the superficiality with my mother came when I relayed to her that I had been experiencing more social behavior, doing new things and making new friends. Instead of asking why, or how, this came about, and instead of hearing happiness in her voice, she said in a condescending tone, “Isn’t it nice that you’re beginning to get out into the world and meeting people?”

Anger welled up inside me because she believed it had somehow been my choice to be reclusive, develop an incapacitating disease, and to be psychologically dysfunctional for so many years. My mother’s disregard for why I had been so sick, and her refusal to acknowledge my illness, or the therapy, was devastating to Punkin.

The little girl in me felt like a worthless piece of shit.

After hanging up the phone, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Thoughts of hopelessness and suicide enveloped me. My mother’s power over me was incredible. Her lack of validation and total disregard for my physical and emotional well-being triggered the unresolved pain connected to her choice to not protect me from my father.

Although my hopelessness abated later that day, I continued to feel disconnected from the world and finally realized that I would have tell my mother about my memories.

If I did not, then I would always be a lie to myself and would forever betray my inner child.

*****

The first of my two sisters to respond to my letters, was Kylie.

There was a moment of silence on the phone when I heard her voice. I was preparing to defend my memories. I needed to be ready to challenge any disbelief. My fears melted away when Kylie referred to Letters To My Sisters, as a book by asking, “read any good books lately?”

Her comment made me burst into laughter and my anxiety floated away.

Kylie told me she was not surprised about the incest, and that she had always known something was wrong with our family, but she just never quite knew what it was. She mentioned that she too had felt the creepiness of the hallway as well as the coldness that enveloped our childhood home. She told me that no matter what, she would always be there for me and although she didn’t know for sure what happened in that house, she supported my personal truth.

With gratitude for Kylie’s response, I took a deep breath and asked about Abigail. To my surprise Kylie said Abigail was handling the news pretty well. She was planning on calling me in a few days because it was all very hard for her, but Kylie said that Abigail believed me.

In the following days I encountered more opportunities to disclose the incest. I told the nurses at my doctor’s office, and cried as I told a close friend that I had not seen in months. I shared my childhood with the woman who was in charge of my volunteer work at the local animal shelter, and revealed my pain to the other students during my writing group.

Each time I told someone, my childhood had been brought up innocently and unintentionally. The truth usually came out because the person asked how I had been doing with the disease I had been suffering from.

I explained to people that the disease was created by my mind’s reaction to being silenced and sexually abused as a child. I expressed that many of my symptoms had disappeared by dealing with the incest and most people were relieved that I actually dared to bring up the subject of child sexual abuse. The conversation often gave them an opportunity to share their own childhood difficulties and suffering. Their experiences were usually different from my own, but occasionally, someone had also suffered the same kind of trauma of sexual abuse or rape, and nearly every person I spoke with said they personally knew someone who had been sexually violated as a child.

I did have one strange reaction. A neighbor said she was “shocked” that “this sort of thing” went on in real life, but my speaking out had enabled her to understand and accept the fact that people who outwardly appear “good” are sometimes sexually abusing their own children.

Telling friends and acquaintances about my childhood was becoming easier, but as I contemplated telling my mother about my memories, the unnatural hunger persisted. Eating more food, or changing my diet, was pointless because the hunger did not want food. At times it became so physically painful that I felt it would be better to just die. Sometimes the hunger caused me to lay on the floor crying. It felt like being tortured from within. Although the therapy continued to dissolve other physical symptoms, the hunger puzzled both my therapist and me.

Then, a year after the first recall of incest, I went under a regression for the hunger and a small revelation emerged. In the regression, my mind took me inside the tent at the campgrounds. Prior to this regression I had not remembered having any thoughts as my father shoved his penis inside my mouth. This time, unlike past regressions, I remembered my exact thoughts.

In my child’s mind, inside the tent that night, I pleaded with my father, “Why are you doing this to me? Why do you do this daddy?” It was a justifiable question, and my inner child deserved to know the answer. My therapist asked me how this incident was connected to the hunger. I immediately replied, “I hunger for love and protection.”

This was the first real breakthrough in uncovering the root cause of the hunger. The connection had finally been made. I needed emotional nourishment from my parents, and the protection that my mother had been unwilling to give. As a child I was never emotionally satisfied, so as an adult, the hunger was a physical form of emotional pain and emptiness.

By my next therapy session, my inner child was angry. I think she finally realized that she had been cheated. She deserved —and had a birthright— to be loved, cherished and protected by her parents. Instead, their betrayal left only confusion in her mind. Confusion between love and sexual abuse. My father had twisted my mind into thinking that incest was love. The little one inside of me was beginning to understand the betrayal.

During the next therapy regression, my mind went directly to my childhood home where I found myself sitting next to my father’s rented hospital bed. I knew his demise drew close. Back in time, I looked at his skeletal body and felt no compassion for a dying man. Strength, truth, and clarity finally allowed me to feel the anger for my father.

As a child, I had not allowed myself to truly be angry. Instead, I had carried deep-seated guilt because my father had suffered from cancer and died young. My self-condemnation stemmed from feeling as a child that his cancer was punishment for his crimes. In this age-regression, thirty years became a few seconds, and I allowed my inner child to truly express herself about my father’s cancer; and to do so without fear of repercussions.

This became an absolute necessity for my healing. Repressing the thoughts I had as a child had allowed me to survive as an adult, but now I needed to absolve myself from any emotional culpability and release myself from the guilt.

Expressing my true feelings brought further health and strength to my life.

Yet, the subsequent result of my ever-growing power meant that more memories were being dislodged from my unconscious.

I wept as I recalled the actual moments of leaving my body as a child and dissociating from the actions that my father perpetrated on my body. As a child I remained consciously in my body when I heard his footsteps approaching my bedroom door. I was still in my body when I pretended to be asleep and rolled on my stomach with the bed covers pulled over my head. But each time that my father came into my room, lowered the sheets on my bed, massaged by back, and pulled my pajama pants down…a soft cry of sorrow melted away into the mattress, unheard.

I floated out of my body and over the scene, leaving the emotional trauma below, in my physical body.

It became a relief for me when I later read that other victims of childhood trauma have remembered seeing themselves below as they floated on the ceiling, or found themselves in a corner watching their abuse from a distance.

My mind utilized its natural defense of fight or flight. I could not fight, I could not run, and my mother certainly wasn’t going to help me.

Even more devestating to me, was that I could not endure the emotional pain of my father treating me like a piece of toilet paper –just something to symbolically wipe his behind with -to relieve his need to ejaculate.

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Anyone considering revealing their own secrets to someone in their family, should read my article series Voices From the Bedroom: Revealing the Deadly Secret  Click Here

Chapter Six:  Interrupting the Silence coming soon…

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  1. Used with personal permission from Marylin Van Derbur

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© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.

Posted in Child Abuse | 2 Comments