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.

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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…

________________________________________________________________

  1. Used with personal permission from Marylin Van Derbur

_________________________________________________________________

© 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, Headlines, Health, Holistic, Mind, Body, Spirit | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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…

_________________________________________________________________

© 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 | 1 Comment

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Four: Clawing to the Surface

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Four

Clawing to the Surface

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

When the tears ended, I looked in the bathroom mirror. I studied the reflection of the woman who had just remembered her father having sex with her as a child. Thirty years had passed through my face in a few short hours. My skin was pale and my expression vacant. My hair seemed darker with shades of gray, never seen before.

I looked around my home and it appeared dirty and disgusting to me —yet it was clean and everything put away. I felt shaky, weak, and the constricted feeling in my chest had returned. The urge to urinate persisted the rest of the day, and I couldn’t shake my still unexplained fear of death.

The following days and nights were hazy. I felt nervous upon waking, but at the same time, sluggish and fatigued. My bladder made me miserable, I felt a sore throat and a shingles outbreak coming on, and the pathological hunger refused to cease.

The memories of my father dry-humping me on me had been asleep far too long in my subconscious, and I really had to fight from being drawn back into my pattern of pushing away anything uncomfortable or painful. As an adult, I had been conditioned by my mother to only accept information about my father which created the image of a “good man” or “hard worker.” This unspoken rule had been instilled and kept alive by my mother and it caused me to question my memories. Not because they were not true, but because I did not want them to be.

It seemed impossible to have mentally blocked childhood incest from my mind. I spent days vacillating. One moment I trusted my memories and in the next, I challenged them, and had intense gratitude that my therapist had interpreted the dream of having sex with my father as not being a memory of actually having sex with him. If she had not done this, then I would have considered the actual memory of having sex with my father, as being implanted in my mind with dream interpretation.

Knowing the memory was true, became the most difficult thing I had ever been forced to come to terms with, but the most brutal times were still ahead of me and the hardest work yet to be done.

In the following weeks, my fear of dying became completely overwhelming. When I went to bed at night I regressed to child-like behavior and lay awake, afraid to move, while clutching a little stuffed bear I had kept since childhood. The bear had become a security blanket. I fell asleep with him in my arms and woke with him by my side. I even wondered if my little bear had once witnessed what my father had done to me.

I had in a sense, become a child again. The little girl inside me was attempting to gain life and trying to surface. Until that moment, she had died somewhere along the way, or had withdrawn into a safe hibernation, but now she had awakened and she wanted protection and love. Most of all she desired to be heard, but a deep and powerful fear held back her little voice.

*****

A few weeks later, during a therapy regression, I found myself as a child walking down the hallway of my childhood home. In that moment my mind switched from remembering in the mind of a child, to recalling the scene from the grown woman I had become.

In the regression, I peered into my childhood bedroom and saw myself as a young girl lying face down on the bed trying to hide under the covers. I saw myself pretending to be asleep while my father was getting ready to take advantage of my need for love, but as a grown woman, I could now rescue the child.

In the memory, I saw my father coming down the hallway, so I visualized pushing my father aside, ran to my childhood bed, and gently pulled the little girl out. I put her safely behind me and protected her with my body.

Mentally going in as an adult to rescue myself as the child allowed me to take back the power my father held over me. After mentally confronting my perpetrator, a large part of the emotional weight had been lifted and many of my physical symptoms disappeared. Yet I remained perplexed as to why the crushing tightness in my chest and the fear of death lingered.

A few days later, I was resting on my bed when a flash of a knife appeared. The dimness of the stormy day caused the shimmer of sharp metal to pierce the room, and just as quickly, the flash was gone. I had no understanding what the knife meant but my therapist had me focus on the knife in the next therapy session.

This regression began slowly. My mind did not want to enter my childhood home. I circled warily around it, afraid to get too close. At first my mind went to the backyard, and then around the side of the house to the service porch door. After a minute or two I went inside and felt immediately drawn to the hallway closet. After staring at the closet for a moment, the memory swept me off to another part of the house where I found myself hiding in the corner of my bedroom closet.

The memories quickly picked up speed as my father appeared in the room wearing his street clothes, not his police uniform. Instantaneously, the scene changed to me lying face up on the bed, fully clothed, with my father’s huge body holding me down. It felt as though my father could have easily crushed my chest with his body weight, but the knife he held to my throat overpowered all other pain. He told me, “Do what I say, or I’ll kill you!”

I lay frozen in terror as my father pressed his body down harder on me. Then, as if the memory was not shocking enough, I saw my mother standing at the bedroom door watching my father on top of me. I searched her face for clues and would like to have seen fear, but what I saw was satisfaction.

As my mother walked away, unwilling to help me, I felt the ugly pit in my stomach where her abandonment had wedged itself. My mother saw the knife and she knew what my father was doing with it. Until that moment I thought maybe she had suspected abuse but that she could never prove anything. Prior to this memory, I had convinced myself that my mother must have been unaware of the incest, but the dreams and visions of my mother in her chair, always reading a book, finally made sense. This image was symbolic of my mother willingly allowing the incest to continue right under her nose.

By recalling my mother’s total disregard for me as a human being, the first real rage welled up inside of me, and I found myself screaming out the hatred that I had bottled up for thirty years. I shook, cried, and moaned.

When no more words could be said, I felt as though I had been run over by an eighteen wheel big rig. My mangled body lay on the bed in the fetal position and I wept softly. My therapist told me to feel a white healing light come down upon me and to feel it surround and embrace me. The light began to illuminate and heal thirty years worth of grieving left undone.

My fear of an untimely death now made perfect sense. The terror that my life would be taken at any moment had been rooted in my father’s use of a weapon to threaten my existence. He may even have used his police knife. This could be why his police belt and the hall closet frequently entered my regressions. Nevertheless, my reality as a child was to lay awake each night wondering if my father would be entering my room, if my mother would ever come to stop him, or if I would violently die at the hands of my perpetrator.

Yet, a part of me still didn’t want to believe any of it. The denial remained intrusive because I had spent so many years remembering the father I wanted to remember —the man I loved so much that I almost worshiped him.

“Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy.” – Felicia Hemans

Following the memories of incest and being threatened with death, I noticed something serendipitous about my father’s high school picture. In spite of my memories, the photo had remained in my living room and was sitting on a table near the Christmas tree. Several times since the memories of incest first emerged I had pushed the photo face down. Later I would feel better and prop it up again.

After moving a small lamp to a new location in the living room, I turned it on and immediately noticed that the new position of the lamp resulted in a line split right down the middle of the photograph. Half of my father’s face was lit up, and the other half was a dark shadow. The two sides of my father had been exposed; the one I had chosen to remember most of my life, and the twisted side that my inner child had blocked out.

A major part of me desperately desired to cry out my truth, but to tell was to die. My father made certain that I was to keep quiet, under penalty of death; but I also knew I would never completely heal if I didn’t disclose what I had remembered.

*****

Over a period of weeks, the denial dissipated and euphoria replaced a number of physical symptoms, including the crushing chest pain. The exhilaration stemmed from the self-awareness that truth brings. Although the hunger and fatigue remained, the healing of the other symptoms resulted from the memories coming into consciousness instead of being stuck in my physical body. Until I had been ready to consciously process the memories, the somatic pain and suffering was the only way my soul could expel the unresolved emotional and physical trauma, which had been forced to remain hidden from my conscious mind for more than thirty years.

The storyboard of my physical suffering began to display what I could not see clearly before. The acne on the inside of my upper thighs near my vagina had been related to being sexually abused by my father. The enormous pressure in my chest had originated with the weight of my father’s body being too much for a small girl. The pustules from the shingles virus appearing only on one part of my neck also made perfect sense. My father held the knife to that side of my throat. These symptoms were a cry for help from my subconscious mind, and now that I heard those cries, they began to disappear.

I could now comprehend why the words, “Do what I say, or I’ll kill you!” had come into my sleep years earlier —it was my father’s voice, making its way through time and space.

My problems with rage and panic attacks now seemed so logical, and it became obvious why I wet the bed until I was nine years-old. It all became excruciatingly and abundantly clear why I blocked my entire childhood, and that the illness had forced my conscious mind to wake up from its self-medication of denial.

*****

With the exception of my therapist, I still hadn’t revealed my memories to another soul. When I ran into Linda, a compassionate neighbor and friend, I felt it was time to enable my transformation. I decided to defy my father’s threats, and I knew she would be the person to tell.

Linda seemed happy to see me, and when she asked how I was doing, my emotions couldn’t be restrained. I cried as I revealed my secret…and I did not die.

Exposing the truth did not kill me. Instead, Linda held me as if she knew exactly what I was going through. She gently told me she was sorry, and that she had a feeling that I would be just fine.

That night, the hunger stabbed at my gut and throat because I had dared to disclose the incest to a non-family member. Telling the secret to Linda dynamically mocked my father’s death threats but it would be a tremendous action towards healing. My next step would be to speak openly about the incest with my sisters, and one day, to my mother.

*****

In my next therapy regression, I recalled sitting on my wood chair in Catholic school. The memory was so vivid that I recalled the seat feeling as smooth as glass after being worn down through the years. I looked down at my standard saddle shoes, white button-up shirt, and plaid skirt. On the outside I looked like just another student, but on the inside, I felt incredibly different. The other children were learning, whispering, and giggling, but not me. I was staring off into space. My therapist interrupted my memory to ask why I felt so abnormal.

“Because my father is doing bad things to me.”

The regression reaffirmed that the incest created my separation from the world. Desperately out of place, I was not a child and not an adult.

I ended the regression by telling my father that he caused me deep confusion, and thwarted what a child is supposed to feel about their bodies and about life. Then I pictured myself going to Mother Superior to tell her about my father. I told her that she should require instruction for the teachers and nuns on how to recognize a victim of child sexual abuse. I imagined her calling the police and sending them to my house to take my father to prison.

As I came out of the regression I cried for the child I once was –the child who tried desperately to be just like everyone else, but that would never be possible. She had been taught how to be different by her father. The incest was the only way she knew how to gain attention, affection, and love. My father falsely taught the child in me that male sexual attention equaled love. I felt as if I was ‘daddy’s little girl.’

This was the first time in my life that I allowed myself to realize why my self-worth always centered on the number of men who looked at me. I had an obsessive need for male attention, and in any way I could get it. I dressed scantily in high school, and as an adult, I wore even less clothing. My outfits consisted of short skirts, mid-drift tops, and no underwear underneath dresses. In the summer I wore cut-off shorts with my buttocks hanging out, and no bra. It made me sick to finally comprehend that I measured my value by the sexual attention I received.

In grade-school, and again in high school, I used to allow the boys to touch me between my legs during class. At the time, I had accepted this behavior as a natural part of me. Yet, no matter how often I allowed boys to touch my vagina, or how many men I attracted as an adult, when the sexual intoxication wore off, nothing but emptiness replaced it.

 

Chapter Five: Letters to My Sisters, 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, Health, Holistic, Mind, Body, Spirit | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Three: Hallway of Secrets

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

Chapter Three

Hallway of Secrets

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

A few weeks following the dream, an unexpected phone call became the beginning of the end of the image of my father that I had so carefully and dutifully created in my mind.

The call was from the Police Protective League, a charity-based organization.

They were merely calling to ask for a financial donation for police officers. To most other people, the phone call would seem normal and innocent, but after hanging up the telephone, anger began to well up inside of me.

I had no idea what triggered my rage. The request for a charitable donation was nothing strange, and the person on the other end of the phone had been polite and understanding when I declined to give them money.

In the days that followed, the chest pain, rapid heart beat, and hunger were close to unbearable. I felt certain that I would have a heart attack and die, or simply collapse from the incapacitating feeling of hunger that had no end. The chest constriction was especially puzzling because it was triggered each time I opened my shower door.

My bladder problems worsened again, as did the diarrhea, and I suffered an anxiety attack in a restaurant. My body felt like it needed to explode.

The rapid heart beat had become so intense that I could barely sleep or concentrate on anything other than the sound of the thumping in my chest and head. I also couldn’t get out of bed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night without an unexplainable fear of being attacked or dying from an unknown threat. The thought of making my way down the dark hallway, and being alone in the bathroom, far outweighed the discomfort of a full bladder.

In my next therapy session, I asked my therapist if we could work on the rapid heart beat.

Within a few minutes, the age-regression brought me to the memory storehouse of my mind and straight to the bedroom I once shared as a child with my sister Madison. This memory was triggering something connected to my bladder problems because I could feel my urethra twinge and flutter during the session.

In the memory, I sat on my childhood bed with my knees pushed up to my chest and my arms folded around my legs, as if protecting myself. I recalled staring at the closed bedroom door. I knew my parents were out in the kitchen and for reasons unknown, fear paralyzed me. My mind would not take me any further with this memory, but I knew I had to release the fear from my body.

My therapist had me breathe in a hectic manner and then gather all of my strength in order to mentally blast my father. I envisioned opening the bedroom door and cautiously walking down the hall towards the kitchen.

My father and my mother were standing near the kitchen table, which held several bags of groceries and there was broken glass all over the floor. I didn’t know how the glass had been shattered, but my father was furious and my mother, as usual, was silent and expelled coldness.

The memory began to bring out my emotions towards my parents. I imagined myself growing as big as a house and looked down on them so that I would not be afraid. As I did, my parents became the size of two ants and were no longer a threat. In that instant, a small voice came from my depths of my soul, and the child within me told my father he had a serious problem with his temper. I told him that he scared me, and that it needed to stop. Then, surprisingly, my inner child became stronger and she began yelling at my mother for putting up with his temper and for not protecting me from his rage. This was the first time in my life that I experienced such anger, as well as any true awareness about an on-going lack of protection from my mother. The feelings towards my mother were a total surprise, but they flew out of my mouth –corked up for decades.

When I came out of the regression, I felt pretty incredible and looked forward to my day. Even though slight apprehension hindered me, I headed for the grocery store to get some much needed shopping done.

Supermarkets and grocery stores had persistently caused me agonizing physical ailments or disturbing psychological feelings. Even writing down a grocery list brought on psychosomatic symptoms or anger, but my feeling of rejuvenation kept me from worrying about how I would feel at the market.

As I drove into the parking lot, I mentally prepared for the market to trigger me, and I was ready for it, but to my surprise, as I began walking towards the entrance, an unbelievable sensation came over me. It felt as though someone had lifted a 500 pound weight off my shoulders —as if I was floating on clouds instead of the sidewalk.

This strange, yet exhilarating, feeling ended the moment I entered the market. Inside the store I felt an enveloping sadness creep over me. I could barely get the shopping done and left the market without buying the things I needed.

By the dinner hour I had full-blown depression. I tried to take a nap, but my heart pounded while drifting off to sleep, and the bladder contractions erupted.

Two nights later, I dreamed I was in my childhood home and standing near the closet that held my father’s police uniform, policeman’s hat, and some weapons he used on patrol. The closet was at the entrance of the hallway, and I could see my mother sitting in the living room in her usual position —in a chair, with her nose in a book.

In the dream, I looked down the hall towards the bedrooms and the voice with no gender came into my dream and said, “This is how you get to the core.” The voice seemed separate from the dream, as if it was watching the dream from inside my head, or as if the voice had choreographed the dream. I felt this was the voice of my soul and that I could trust it, and in that moment I woke up from the dream and knew that whatever had me so afraid, sick, depressed, and emotionally unbalanced for over thirty years had taken place down that hallway of my childhood home.

The next day, my therapist asked me to mentally go back to the dream and use it for the age-regression. I remembered the dream vividly and began to feel myself in the hallway again. Discomfort came over me, but I didn’t feel any fear. I started visually walking down the hall and looked towards the bedroom of my two oldest sisters Abigail and Kylie. At this point the fear began to invade the regression and I felt myself curling into the fetal position on my bed. The anticipation enveloped me.

When I looked at the small bathroom that my family had all shared for many years, the terror rapidly increased. I could feel it in my stomach, chest, and legs. Suddenly, a memory came back to me without thought. I was no longer standing in the hallway. I was now remembering being in the shower at a very young age.

The water was not running, so I must have either just finished showering, or was about to take one. In an instant my father appeared and he tried to get into the shower with me. A wave of confusion drowned out all thought. I could not understand this memory and I revealed my distress to my therapist. She told me to tell my father to get out of the shower.

“Daddy, get out! I am a big girl; I can take a shower by myself!” I yelled it again, and felt the fear float out of my body. This felt great and I ended the regression by kicking my father down the hall. I then mentally transformed the shower and bathroom into a room with butterflies and angels.

After I came out of the regression, I asked my therapist what she thought about the shower memory because it made no sense to me. She told me that sometimes parents take showers with children in order to save time and water. This explanation had truth to it, but I could not understand why I would have felt such fear about a simple shower. When the thoughts became exhausting, I put them to rest. All that mattered was that the deep depression from the day before, lifted immediately after the therapy regression.

That night, as I lay my head down on the pillow, I felt a sense of peace. As I listened to the crickets outside and the soft sound of the river in the canyon below, I realized that for the first time in months, my heart wasn’t flipping around in my chest. It wasn’t racing at alarming speeds or pounding loudly in my ears. In that moment I knew the shower memory had been true, because for the first time in seventeen years my heart beat felt normal.

“There are pictures of everything except the fondling and the oral sex that my father forced me to perform for him” ~Joyce Allan

The memory of the shower incident quieted my heart and drove away the depression, but a few days later, strange acne appeared on the inside of my upper thighs, the abnormal hunger intensified, and the bladder problem returned in a dramatic fashion. The symptoms became inflamed after taking showers and I woke at precisely 3:00 a.m. every night.

These were unexplained somatic pieces of a puzzle that I didn’t even know existed, and the pieces were beginning to fit together in a very disturbing pattern.

*****

On a crisp November morning in 1997 my life changed forever. That day rocked my existence to its core and there was no turning around to become the person I had been prior to the sun rising.

That day would influence how I viewed everything on the planet, as well as how I treated each person who crossed my path. That day opened up a door in my mind –a door to a room that was nailed, cemented, and chained up decades earlier –only I didn’t even know that door, or the room, existed.

The day before that November morning, I felt oddly unsettled by the upcoming therapy session. The shower regression had completely quieted my abnormal heart rhythms and racing heart beat, and had revealed a non-threatening and simple event in a child’s life, so I had no conscious reason to be afraid of therapy. But a few short hours before the session, as I began to drift off to sleep, a sharp and violent pain came over my entire abdominal area. I had never experienced anything this painful before. At some point I finally managed to fall asleep, only to be awakened two or three hours later to the sound of a child screaming. The pain in my stomach was gone but the cry pierced my sleep, and woke me with a horrific familiarity. It sounded like a child crying out in agony. The horrible wail made me sick when I realized the child’s screams were coming from inside my mind. The intense physical pain from a few hours earlier were gone, and had been replaced by the howling anguish of a child’s cry for help.

As I came into consciousness, the wailing ended.

The next morning, when my therapist relaxed me into my unconscious state, she wanted me to concentrate on the stomach pain from the night before. I felt certain that my subconscious had been protecting me from my father’s violent outbursts and I was more than ready to face his temper and finally heal.

As my mind floated into the past, I began to be aware of feeling nine years old and re-experiencing a camping trip with my parents. We had driven north and stopped at a number of campsites along the way. Up until the regression, I had retained only two memories of that trip. The first memory was of the camera I had beside me in my father’s old pick-up truck. The other memory was of my mother reading a book inside our tent at one of the camp grounds. Until this regression, I could not remember anything else about that trip.

In my subconscious state -in the therapy session- I soon recalled that my mother and I had gone for a walk through the woods near our tent at one of the campsites. The darkness of the woods and the sun setting made us decide to skip like children back to the tent and we sang songs to keep us from being afraid. Until this moment, this had been a repressed memory; it was also my only memory of laughing with my mother while my father was still alive.

Within a few seconds of remembering the joyful moment in the woods, I could feel the fear begin to creep into my legs, and it quickly moved into my stomach and chest area. My body was tense and my mind on guard. Suddenly I was no longer singing with my mother in the woods. The memory had skipped forward.

I was now on the outskirts of the woods and just outside the tent. It was near dark in the memory, and I watched my mother walk towards the campground bathrooms with her towel.

I suddenly felt like an extremely vulnerable child. As she slowly walked towards the bathrooms, I noticed her shoulders were hunched forward, as if she was ashamed. In that moment, I knew she had left me alone with a monster.

In the next segment of the memory I was inside the tent. I saw the sleeping bags, a lantern, and the place where I had always remembered my mother reading her book. As I became familiar again with the scene, I was acutely aware of my mother being at the campground bathrooms. This made me exceptionally nervous. Then in an instant, a strange phenomenon occurred. For the first time in two years of therapy regressions, I was remembering something from outside my body and it was as if someone was showing me frightening home movies.

It all came flooding back to me as I saw myself sitting in a folding chair inside the tent. It was so bizarre to be watching myself from a distance. The brutally painful trauma caused my mind to protect me by revealing the memory in another dimension. It was a defense system designed to shield me from memories no one could have prepared me for.

Seeing myself sitting in the chair with my father standing over me while shoving his penis in my mouth was shocking and unavoidable, yet undeniable. Then, in an instant, my father struck me across the face.

While describing the memory to my therapist, I realized that I had bitten my father’s penis, or possibly hadn’t satisfied him correctly. I knew this was why he smacked me.

My therapist urged me to gather up all my strength, to imagine that I could grow as big as a giant building, and then to push him away. I took a deep breath and grew into a powerful force. This swiftly brought me back into the first person. No longer observing the scene, I was now inside the tent, and inside my own body.

I pictured myself shoving my father off me, and taking power over the memory by stopping the oral sex, and by expressing my true feelings for him.

At the end of the re-enactment, I envisioned folding my father up in the tent, and imagined stomping the tent into the ground with my giant foot.

Taking control over that memory was the first step towards a metamorphosis from victim into a warrior for the child inside of me. My mother didn’t do the job of being my protector, so I saved the little girl who was being sexually assaulted by her father. At age nine I wasn’t able to throw a chair at my father or tell him to stop shoving his penis in my mouth.

At age thirty-five, I had that power.

The negative energy I released by facing this memory, confronting, and then overpowering my father for the first time in my life, was a crucial part of my new strength. I may never remember the details, but after my father ejaculated, and when my mother returned to the tent, I probably behaved like a good girl, as if nothing ever happened.

Yet, ending the memory from a place of power, instead of being a victim, was the beginning of finding my way through the maze of illness, fear, and depression.

*****

After I came out of the regression, I reflected on the fact that my therapist’s explanation about parents taking showers with children to conserve time and water had not been why my father tried to climb into the shower with me. He did it to molest me, and it became abundantly obvious why showering triggered the powerful feeling of something being terribly wrong.

Clarity finally presented itself about why numerous physical problems plagued me in the shower. It also became clear why the phone call from the Police Protective League had set me off. Police officers are supposed to protect and serve the community and their family. My father was not a protector. He was a sexual predator and a hypocrite.

I quickly realized that it had been important that my therapist did everything she could to imply a perfectly normal reason for a father to want to shower with his daughter.

My therapist telling me that parents often take showers with children for benign reasons, was brilliant. This way I would never think she had planted the idea of incest in my mind. The memories came from me, and no one else.

In the days following this memory, my fear of death curiously grew stronger. Irrational fear dominated my life. My therapist suggested that we work on the abnormal fear of death in a therapy session.

As soon as she induced me into an age-regression, I found myself in my childhood home lying in bed in the room I had shared with my sister Madison. My father stood in the doorway wearing his police uniform and he looked big and powerful. I could go no further in the memory. My mind went completely blank. By this point I had come to terms with the fact that he probably went into my room to sexual abuse me, but that was not revealed to me.

I could not confront the memory in the regression, so I imagined my father to be two inches tall and sternly told him that I would not live in fear anymore and that he had no power over me. I cleansed him in a white light and erased him from my mind. I waited for a calm feeling to come over me, but it did not. I continued to feel tense. Something was unresolved, so I took a deep breath and allowed whatever it was to drift slowly into my mind.

Again I was back in time, but now in the role of observer. I watched the scene unfold from outside my childhood bedroom. The room was dark but I could see the bed and the covers. As the image became clearer, I saw myself as a young girl lying face down under the blanket. As I began to recall trying to hide and pretending to be asleep, my emotions came flooding back.

The memory brought back the awareness of Madison in her bed next to me with her face to the wall. She was awake but I sensed her fear, and with some confusion, I felt sadness for her. Not certain where this compassion for her was coming from, my focus went back on my father. He was wearing his police uniform and this time I noticed his holster belt. Something significant about that belt stuck in my mind.

I watched my father approach the bed like the flickering of an old-time movie. Short frames flashed before me. My father sat on the edge of the bed and began to massage my back. The memory of my sister still in the other bed with her face to the wall continued to find its way into the flashes. The memories quickly turned disturbing and vile when my father stopped massaging me, lowered his pants and dry-humped me. Then my mind went blank. It was as if someone suddenly shut the movie off and turned the lights on in the theater.

Although the memory had ended, I still needed to allow the child within to speak, so I pictured my father standing before me. I heard my voice change from that of an adult to a child. I was no longer in control of my emotions or words. It was imperative that the victim inside of me express herself. The little girl I once was, pushed me aside because she had waited thirty years to speak up and nothing would stop her.

When my inner child finished with him I held her, and we sobbed.

Chapter Four: Clawing to the Surface, 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 , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life, Chapter Two: The Plastic Sheet

 Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life

by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)

Chapter Two

The Plastic Sheet

 “My mother hurt me more than my father ever did, and she never lay a hand on me” ~Former Miss America and incest survivor, Marilyn Van Derbur 1

From my journal February 20 1996:

The odd sensation has invaded my mind again, always disturbing a peaceful shower. One minute the warmth of the water is streaming down, cleansing me, and in the next moment, there’s a sick feeling flooding my gut. My insides are screaming at me like a built-in body alarm, “Something’s wrong! Something’s wrong!” I can’t understand why virtually every shower I have taken for the past six years has created an intuitive, but dreadful feeling about something unknown. It seems to come from a transcendental place, but feels like an inner madhouse.

*****

The bizarre feeling in the shower had gone on for years, as did waking at 3:00 a.m., but I didn’t know these strange occurrences, combined with the new physical ailments, was my inner child attempting to make contact with me. A crucial message needed to be heard, but the truth remained too devastating for my conscious mind.

By March of 1996 the terrible fatigue in both my mind and body dominated my life. I was bed-ridden for days at a time and developed gas pains that ripped through my side. The dizziness had intensified, and I continued to stuff food in my mouth, but this was a starvation driven by my mind.

My lower abdominal lymph nodes became so inflamed that the throbbing woke me in the middle of the night, as did much of the physical suffering. Although I had experienced heart palpitations and an irregular heart beat since I was eighteen, my heart had now begun jumping around in my chest like a bouncing ball. One night, feelings of electricity shot through my chest and sent me to an emergency room. The attending physician and a top cardiologist found no cause for the abnormal heart rhythms.

The intense rapid heart rate grew into a daily experience. The thumping in my chest came in my sleep, while watching television, even while reading books; but it became strongest after eating food. I repeatedly saw a cardiologist in a desperate attempt to find an organic reason for the heart disturbance, but the tests always came back negative for any problems.

The nightmares were unceasing, and nearly every night, I continued to wake at the ghostly hour of 3:00 a.m, only it was no longer just the numbers on the clock which taunted me. Now when I woke at 3:00 a.m, I felt the hunger. Other nights I woke up choking, and each time the clock glared at me —3:00 a.m.

Therapy, while progressing in a myriad of ways, had become stuck on the issue of my mother’s lack of love for me. During this time, I had such intense diarrhea that food went right through me and into the toilet within a few minutes of eating.

My instincts told me the diarrhea had to be connected to my mother’s impending move to another state. My conscious mind had no loving thoughts or memories about the home where I grew up, nor for my mother, but I felt that the sale of the family home and her leaving the state was disturbing the child inside me.

My mother, like her home, was always meticulously clean. Her now grey hair was recurrently treated and styled at the beauty salon, and my mother loved to wear navy blue. She was never overweight, but she carried her body in a way that seemed as though she held deep sorrow, shame, or possibly repressed anger.

My mother had a quiet, yet harsh way about her, but it seemed hard to believe that such a well-groomed and relatively quiet woman could create such tremendous physical suffering in me. It’s not like my mother was a raging alcoholic or a belligerent person. She was more passive aggressive than anything —but would never admit to it.

In spite of my belief that the diarrhea was related to my mother, I went back to my internist. He politely listened as I rattled off my new list of ailments, and told him about the diarrhea. He scribbled more notes on my chart which had grown an inch thick. When he examined me and found nothing physically wrong, I explained to him about my mother’s move and that I had a feeling my violent diarrhea stemmed from feelings of having been emotionally abandoned as a child. My doctor said nothing, but he did raise his eyebrow and jotted more notes. I could only imagine what he was writing. Patient thinks her mother is causing her acute diarrhea. Patient is nuts.     

      *****

In the early morning hours of Father’s Day in 1996, several nightmares and the sound of my own crying woke me up. I could not remember what the dreams were about, but by the end of the day, I continued to have difficulty shaking the intense emotional pain that lingered from the dreams. When I searched my diary pages from previous years, I realized for the first time that Father’s Day always created a multitude of symptoms and nightmares. I just had no understanding why, and attributed it to his death when I was twelve.

*****

In late summer of 1996, my mother and sisters decided to unite for a reunion at a resort lake in the mountains of California. Although I knew that being around my mother might be a challenge, I looked forward to using my mental tools and testing the progress I had made in therapy over the previous year.

I fully expected to enjoy the trip with hopes of drawing closer to my mother, but the moment the reunion began and I stood in her presence, time and space were swept away. Once again, and with considerable disappointment, I found myself reacting to her like a child who longed for her mother’s love and approval.

I could not understand why my mother’s close proximity caused me so much stress. Big steps had been made in therapy with regards to my feelings for her, yet something was very wrong. Every time I became closer than ten feet to her, my neurological system went haywire. My body shook, and it felt like electrodes were zapping me. My body behaved fearful, yet I had no conscious fear of her.

The second day of the trip my mother slipped and fell from a canoe. She was soaking wet and unable to pull herself back onto the dock so Madison and I had to physically lift her out of the water. My mother acted a bit shaken, but she quickly assured us that she was physically fine.

However, she had been so embarrassed by the fall that she made my sister, Madison, and me swear not to tell anyone. Standing on the dock, dripping wet, my mother looked at us with conviction, and almost as if it were an instruction, not a request –she said,

“It’s a secret; you have to keep the secret.”

As I stared blankly at my mother something stirred inside of me. Those words awakened an undeniable feeling that I had heard them as a child, but I had no memory of ever hearing those words before. Yet, that command struck me as being connected to something shrouded from the past. “You have to keep the secret.”

What power that request had!

After returning home from the trip, the dreams of being raped returned and invaded what little sleep I managed to have. Although the rape dreams were frightening, I always assumed they were merely the result of normal fears that women have from time to time. Yet, their frequency and intensity could not be ignored. The majority of the dreams ended just before the rape took place, but occasionally my mind experienced the terror and pain of the physical violation. My therapist did not interpret the dreams as anything too urgent, or as real events, but she did feel they were linked to issues with trust.

A few weeks after the reunion, early one morning, just as consciousness crept into my sleeping mind, I heard a man’s voice in my memory. He was angry and authoritative when he demanded, “Do what I say or I’ll kill you!” The words shook me straight out of sleep and I froze in my bed. The threat came from my subconscious but differed from a dream. They seemed more like a memory.

I wrote the words down in my journal, but quickly stopped wondering about it, and just hoped it wouldn’t happen again.

I quickly discovered that pushing away subconscious messages is detrimental.

*****

My father died an agonizing and spiritless death in a rented hospital bed in the den of my childhood home. I was twelve years old and always retained a vague recollection of sitting by the hospital bed looking at him in a coma.

I could always recall the skeletal body that lay motionless, but I could still see him breathing. He died in the quiet darkness of the middle of the night. I was told by one of my sisters that he died at 3:00 a.m., but I have no memory of that.

I could always clearly remember watching the emotionless medical technicians wheel his body out the front door in a body bag. There was also a vague memory of my mother turning my head away in order to shield me from seeing the strong and tall father that I loved –seeing him reduced to a corpse in a black plastic bag. To this day, it is the only memory I have of my mother that involved any kind of love or compassion.

From my teenage years, and well into adulthood, I carried an almost defiant certainty that I mentally blocked out the vast majority of my childhood because of the death of my father, but this really made no sense. If my father’s death caused my lack of memory, then surely I would have retained wonderful recollections of him. Certainly I would have remembered fond moments between father and daughter, fun filled vacations, birthdays and Christmas mornings beside the tree. If his death was disturbing to me, and if he had been a loving father, or at least a decent man, then I would not have blocked out my entire childhood.

By winter of 1996 my mother’s lack of maternal love stopped coming up in therapy regressions and the diarrhea subsequently ceased. My father’s death now seemed much more important to my subconscious because my regressions began to take me directly back to age twelve and to the night he died.

The first regression brought the awareness of being in my childhood bedroom. The intensity of that night came into my memory. I had been dozing in and out of sleep that night because we all knew his demise hovered.

The age-regression brought me the awareness of my mother and my grandmother (my father’s mother) talking at the other end of the house. The light from the kitchen seeped through a crack in my bedroom door and at some point I got up to walk into the hallway. In that moment my mother came into my room. She and my grandmother stood at my bedroom door and I could read their faces.

“Your father has gone to Heaven” my mother said.

In the next part of the regression I re-experienced watching the technicians carry my father’s body out the front door and, in the regression, I attempted to experience the pain of his death. Up until that moment, I had consciously felt his passing had been dreadful for me.

Even in my teens, I had always remembered sobbing at his funeral, yet anguish did not surface during this age-regression. My certainty that this was the most painful event of my life deflated. I could not find an ounce of sorrow over my father dying.

My therapist had me end the regression by erasing my father from my mind with a giant magic eraser, but this would not wipe out what had been left unsaid at his deathbed.

Over the course of the following weeks, therapy regressions repeatedly brought me back to my father’s death bed where I sat staring at him in his coma. The only thoughts which had survived the passage of time were of a young girl’s confusion about why her father was leaving her, and there was some anger about his lack of fatherly love.

Then, in a breakthrough regression, I finally told my father how this made me feel. I also told him that it had been emotionally destructive not to have any memories of him ever hugging me or telling me that he loved me. I then told my father that I was sorry he got cancer but I would not allow any guilt to stop me from telling him off. These regressions to his deathbed alleviated a number of physical symptoms, so I knew the emotions of anger were true.

By the summer of 1997, after three years of immobilizing fatigue, and after a year and a half of therapy, I was finally able to ride my bike two days a week, and walk the beach every morning.

Being able to enjoy such simple luxuries without becoming bed-ridden, was a miracle of the therapy. Some physical problems remained and I was not able to exercise like I had before the cfids/ME first struck, but walking on the beach and feeling the wind in my hair while riding my bicycle, was like finally being allowed to come out of a dungeon.

In July of that year my renewed pleasure for outdoor activity and mental improvement hit a brick wall when I attended another family reunion at the lake.

Just like the previous year, I looked forward to utilizing my new strength in the presence of my mother. However, similar to the previous get-together, old wounds were about to be pried open with a pair of hot pliers.

I handled the majority of the trip well, and unlike the year before, my mother did not evoke much physical discomfort. I even enjoyed a portion of my time with her, but on the last morning of the reunion at the lodge, my life changed dramatically when we were all preparing to leave for the airport.

My mother stood in the kitchen of the lodge looking at me. She asked in an accusatory way, “did you strip your bed sheets?”

Her inquiry hit me in the gut. Her words affected me just like the previous year when she told Madison and me, “You have to keep the secret.” Only this time, unlike the command to keep her secret about falling in the lake, I knew exactly why her remark about my bedding had such an impact. Her question reminded me of the plastic sheet that lay between my mattress and my bed sheets as a child.

Unlike the vast majority of my childhood memories, wetting my bed until I was nine,  remained indelibly in my mind.

If I happened to be invited to a sleepover, the plastic sheet came right along with me like an unwelcome guest; but until I heard my mother ask if I stripped my sheets, I had not remembered the absolute mortification of the plastic sheet.

The humiliation always began with my mother making a phone call to the parents of the child who invited me to spend the night. This is when my mother informed them of “my little problem,” and off I went with my overnight bag, toothbrush, and plastic sheet under my arm.

This had been the first time in over three decades that I allowed myself to remember the oppressive shame attached to the plastic sheet, and wondered if anyone in my family ever thought it strange that a nine year-old girl was still wetting the bed? The most likely answer was that —just like everything else in my family— no one ever talked about it and I was never taken to a doctor.

My mother’s comment about my bed sheets had unknowingly aroused a malignant mass, which had lodged itself inside the depths of my unconscious for over three decades. Within a few short days of returning home, I suddenly lacked the ability to relieve a full bladder. I sat on the toilet in tears as only a trickle came out.

Assuming I had contracted a bladder infection, I promptly drank more water, as well as a glass of cranberry juice in order to flush out any bacteria, but my bladder felt as if it would explode. I tried to urinate again and barely a drop came out. In order to gradually release my urine, I continued to go to the toilet about thirty times a day.

Two separate gynecological exams found no infection, nor any medical problem. I eventually cut myself down to one small glass of water per day and only took sips from it every few hours. I deliberately went to bed with an empty bladder, but continued to wake up ten or fifteen times during the night, feeling like I had to urinate. Each agonizing time, nothing came out.

Therapy regressions for the bladder did not bring up any specific memories, but kept leading my mind to my life-long and almost obsessive fear that the good can be taken away at any moment. In spite of healing work for this fear in the regression, my bladder problem persisted. I confined myself to the house, became afraid to drink water, and continued to strain to release my urine.

When I could no longer bear such debilitating physical torment, I went to a top urologist. The doctor did an ultrasound on my bladder and inserted a tube up my urethra. Nothing was found. The doctor told me that if the condition did not improve it would be necessary to insert a camera scope up my urethra to check for a tumor. I said thanks, sounds lovely, but no thanks.

My decision to decline the camera scope was based on the other negative findings by doctors, and that my bladder problem began soon after being reminded about wetting my bed and the plastic sheet. Further research about chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome/ME led me to discover that the feeling of a full bladder, or frequent urination, has been linked to the disease.

I made an appointment with a cfids/ME specialist.

*****

As I entered the office lobby of the specialist, the stark lack of male patients in the waiting room was immediately noticeable. Women occupied every seat, and they all had a familiar look to them. They were mostly my age or slightly older, and each of their faces portrayed desperation mixed with hopelessness.

After checking in, I sat down and waited my turn. I watched as each of the other women entered the door that led down the hall to the treatment areas. The women who came back out never looked any better, and I briefly contemplated bolting for the exit. My plot was spoiled when I heard the nurse call my name as warmly as they do at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I sighed and tried to remain as positive as I could.

As the nurse led me towards the specialist’s private office, I passed two women slowly wandering up and down the hallway. Both seemed in a daze. Other women were sitting quietly in dimly lit rooms, and some were receiving intravenous medicine.

The atmosphere resembled a mental institution with lost souls and bizarre medical experiments.

As I sat down in the doctor’s private office, I told him about my physical ailments and emphasized the bladder problem. While the doctor wrote his mysterious notes I asked him about the women who were drifting down the hallways, and about those sitting in dark rooms with IVs in their arms. He told me the women had been treated with drugs for their cfids/ME symptoms and were waiting for any affect of the medication to begin.

The doctor could see the perplexed look on my face so he further explained that people go to him when they are desperate. The women in his office were trying any medication available in order to make their symptoms go away.

The specialist then told me, “every day a patient begs me to help them with the symptoms. They tell me that if I don’t do something, they will kill themselves.”

In that moment I realized that in spite of the misery with my bladder, I had been extremely fortunate that the hypnotherapy had removed so many of my other physical  symptoms.

Otherwise I would most likely be one of those women.

The specialist asked me about my family history and I mentioned my father’s unpredictable temper. To my surprise, the doctor told me that over half of his patients grew up in a home where they felt unsafe. I silently wondered if my father’s rage could be the root cause of the cfids/ME and all my emotional problems.

As the specialist spoke to me about trying a prescription drug to relieve the bladder problem, I heard my inner voice rejecting his words. I am strongly against flippantly taking pharmaceutical drugs, but I had become so despondent that I reluctantly ignored my intuition.

The first medication didn’t work, so before I left his office he gave me a different pill, but it soon made me feel high. Neither medication relieved the urinary difficulty, so instead of trying more drugs, I honored my intuition, and allowed the hypnotherapy to be my path to healing.

As I continued working in therapy on the dread of good things ending abruptly and without warning, my decision to decline the medication finally paid off. My bladder gradually improved with each regression. I still had to use the toilet abnormally often, but it was no longer painful, and I was able to drink more water.

Yet, the persistent hunger assaulted my gut like a jackhammer, and the rapid heart rate, dizziness, vaginal pain, and sore throats continued. The rapid heartbeat woke me from naps, and at night from deep sleep. The pounding in my ears became so intense that I felt it in my chest, and each night, as I lay my head on the pillow, I felt my heart thumping in my brain.

Although dreams about my childhood home were not uncommon for me, after the visit to the specialist, they began to enter my sleep with great frequency. The dreams focused mostly on the hallway that led to the bedrooms, or my mother sitting in a chair reading a book, and they also concentrated on the hallway closet.

Even twenty years after my father’s death, my mother still kept his police uniform, hat, shoes, and his old coin collection in that closet. When my mother finally sold the house and moved away, she gave me his policeman’s hat, coin collection, and the flag that had been draped over his casket at the funeral. I loved my father, so these items were sacred to me and I promptly placed them in my living room where I could see them daily.

It seemed important for me to preserve his memory.

*****

In late October of 1997 I woke each morning with tightness in my chest so powerful it prevented me from inhaling normally and I could not walk down the street without difficulty breathing. Once again I saw the cardiologist who pronounced me very healthy, and the problem was attributed to the cfids/ME.

During this period of time, dreams of drowning in huge waves resurfaced and I began to wake up in the middle of the night unable to breathe. Gasping for air, I sat up quickly in my bed and shook myself awake. Eventually I found my normal breathing pattern, but I became too afraid to fall asleep out of fear that I would stop breathing and die.

When I did fall asleep, my heart pounded like a loud drum, being beaten at a rapid pace. Halfway into a state of sleep I could feel it race at high rates, flutter, flip, and skip beats. I was terrified that my heart might stop out of pure exhaustion.

The only relief from my agonizing existence came in the form of a soothing and powerful voice which came to me one morning while still half asleep.

The voice had no gender, and told me, “You are going through a transformation.” It felt more like a supernatural experience than a dream. It was eerie, but at the same time I felt comforted. A sense of peace enveloped me because I felt it was the voice of my soul reaching out to me in order to assure me the suffering would eventually lead to something beneficial.

The morning after this took place, the voice came to me again upon waking, and as if my soul needed to confirm the message for me, the voice repeated, “You are going through a transformation.” My therapist also believed that my soul was helping me along in my journey.

In spite of this moving metaphysical experience, the multitude of physical problems was unceasing.

The tightness and constriction in my chest began to increase immediately after stepping into the shower.

*****

By early November 1997, I felt completely ready to face my father’s uncontrollable temper, but my regressions continued to bring up other issues. My subconscious was in control during age regression therapy so I had to let go and allow my unconscious mind to give me what I needed, instead of what my conscious mind wanted to face.

In mid November, I had a very disturbing dream, in which I found myself in an unknown house, in an unfamiliar bedroom. The room had flower patterned wallpaper, and in the bedroom of the dream, I had sex with my father. I did not dream about the sex in detail, I just knew in the dream that we had sex. After we had sex, my mother appeared in the dream. She sat on the edge of the bed where I just been with my father. She then stuck her tongue out at me like a child. I woke up immediately after this.

The next day, I communicated the dream to my therapist. Although the dream was shocking to me, she told me it had nothing to do with actually having sex with my father. She helped me interpret the dream to mean something totally benign. Her explanation made sense to me and I happily put the dream out of my mind…

Coming soon…Chapter Three: Hallway of Secrets

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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, child molestation, child sexual abuse, Crime, Headlines, Health, Holistic, Mind, Body, Spirit, repressed memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments