Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life
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…
© 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.