Guest Blogger today!
“Said the spider to the fly, ‘come on in.’”
My Uncle Dick is the spider and I am the fly. He used to have me wash him when he was in the tub. Oh yeah, you can wash my front, too, he said.
During the summers when I was 10-12 years old I spent a lot of time at my Grandmother Inga’s home in Lowell, MA. She and Herman, her husband lived downstairs but slept upstairs. My Uncle Dick (her youngest son of 3 boys) lived with his wife Pat upstairs, as well. It was 1959-61. I was just beginning to get breasts. I was tall, lean, long legged, and very shy.
I think my parents sent me to stay with them for weeks or weekends because my two younger sisters were like a different family: There was 10 years between me and my youngest sister and 7 years between me and the middle one. It was more “cozy” for them without me there to disrupt the idyll of the young family.
In reality, my Mom was a paranoid schizophrenic on clozapine, had had numerous shock treatments at an insane asylum in Maryland, where we lived in an apartment in the mid-1950 and my sister Laura was born in 1956. Postpartum depression turned to psychosis.
The fights between my parents I witnessed were excruciating and physically violent. I was stabbed by Mom with a pencil because she was jealous Dad rubbed my thigh. She made all sorts of accusations that he was cheating on her. She did crazy things like filling his ignition with glue and match sticks to keep him at home. All in all, it led to Dad having her committed to the asylum. She was there almost a year before my Aunt and Uncle, Mom’s siblings, came from Massachusetts to sign her out. Laura had been sent to live with my Aunt during this time, Maria was not yet born.
So out of asylum and on drugs she was mute, passive, and scared to say anything. We moved to Massachusetts so we could all live near Mom’s family, as that seemed best for her. Dad got another job working for the government and was away a lot. I had to make sure Mom took her meds while he was gone, under threat of punishment.
When Maria was born in 1959, Mom had her second nervous breakdown. The cops came and took her away in a strait-jacket. Screaming. She had tried to kill my Dad with a knife. She was in for a year again at Worcester State Hospital and had more shock treatments.
My Grandparents came to stay with us so my Dad could work. So we formed a tight bond. I loved them a lot. They were the “normal” in my life. So after Mom came back from the hospital I began to be sent away to their house in Lowell for summer weeks…
That was the beginning of my Uncle Dick “grooming” me for sex. He would buy me things, take me driving, sit me at the bar at the Country Club” and buy me Shirley Temples to drink. He liked to rub my thighs and have me sit next to him on his sofa upstairs. His wife Pat and my Grandma Inga would go to choir practice. Uncle Dick would make popcorn and play cards or Monopoly with me. He usually made me cry at some point of the game. Power-Over was the game here. He would threaten to not let me go home if I didn’t be “nice” to him.
Then one hot summer evening I was sleeping on his sofa, everyone else was also sleeping, I thought. But he came to the couch and put his hand over my face and said “Shhhhhhh.” He had his penis in his hand and stuck it in my face, forcing my mouth open. I was choking, but trying to be “good” to be “quiet”…And so the ritual began. All sorts of weird sex. With the threat not to tell or else I would be severely punished.
After almost 2 years I finally told my Mom what was going on. It was in the kitchen doorway near the dining room table. I will never forget what she did. She slapped me. She said I am going to tell your Father what you said when he gets home. And she did. I was 13.
Neither of them believed me. Oh, they would not let me go to Grandma’s house anymore. But they told me to forget it. I was a liar.
So I took Mom’s whole bottle of clozapine, and tried to commit suicide. They found me and had my stomach pumped out at Clinton Hospital. Then I was sent to St. Vincent’s in Worcester for “observation”. A psychiatrist wanted me to start treatment but Dad came to the hospital and said “I am the Doctor in this family. I will treat her.” And he signed me out. He neglected to say he was a Doctor of Physics, not medicine.
I will NEVER forget the ride home. I was in the backseat and he drove with Mom in front. He looked in the rear view mirror at me and said “If you ever tell anyone anything that goes on in this family, you really will wish you were dead.” Mom turned in her seat and parroted “Yes, Kristy, you will wish you really were dead.” My little soul was crushed.
I never did tell or talk about it again until I was 40 years old. I had a mini- breakdown of my own. I got counseling and healed best I could, but it was recommended to get the truth out, not let it fester. So I confronted them and they were horrible. Laura was horrible, too, taking their side. She said “Get over it.” She sent me a book in the mail “Co-dependent no more” or something like that. I had already read it on my own. I am an avid reader.
To this day we do not speak. She showed her true colors again when my parents died, by taking over their estate when Dad contracted Alzheimer’s. My younger sister Maria and I no longer speak to her.
We never saw Uncle Dick again, at least I didn’t. I got pregnant in senior year of HS, then married the day after I turned 18. It was the only way to get away from them that I could think of at the time, other than suicide.
And the moral of the story is “Believe what your children say and help them heal from sexual abuse. Nurture their lives with love and understanding.”