Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life
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”
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.