Ordinary Evil: Memoir of a Buried Life
Sobriety of the Soul
“It is understandable that some would choose to deny their memories, preferring to endure the anguish of symptoms rather than the anguish of the remembering process.”
by Alethea Marina Nova (all rights reserved)
After the memories of pleasure and shame became clearer and less painful, I kept in touch with my mother. Although the abuse remained the elephant in the living room, my mother now had to endure its presence and she knew I was now aware of the elephant too.
Madison and Abigail kept their word; they didn’t speak with me again.
Occasionally, Kylie and I spoke of the flowers and the weather.
When my mother decided to come for a visit, I wanted to believe she was coming to talk about the past and to reach out in some small way. I began picturing a confession over a cup of tea and her hugging me so tightly that I couldn’t breathe.
I was also apprehensive about whether my mother had planned to bring up the past. Athena hoped my mother would be willing to speak with me openly, but Punkin wanted to remain the good girl and the subject to remain unspoken. The two forces within me were still working against each other.
I anxiously worked on preparing my home for my mother’s comfort and enjoyment. I arranged fresh flowers in the guest room and bathroom. I booked a trip to a museum she had always wanted to see, and bought her favorite foods and magazines —forever striving to please my mother in hopes of one day finally receiving her love.
Just before my mother’s arrival Athena was strong in me. Athena made the decision to not allow any mention of my father, in any way, except to openly deal with the incest. The balanced part of me planned to politely tell my mother that I remembered a different side of my father, and therefore would not discuss him unless she was willing to speak of the incest. I felt ready for this brave step.
My reality was painfully different.
On the way to pick up my mother from the airport I had to stop every ten minutes to use a restroom. My bladder reminded me that some serious issues with my mother were still unresolved.
When I saw my mother’s face in the airport arrival area, Athena vanished, and Punkin stood anxiously waiting to cater to my mother. Punkin would not stand up to my mother, she did not dare.
The four days with my mother seemed like a lifetime. Her mere presence emotionally and mentally drained me. On the second night of her visit, my mother, a friend of mine, and myself went out for a casual dinner. Out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason, my mother told my friend at the restaurant that I had been “a miserable child.”
During the remainder of the visit she seemed determined to alter the memories of incest, but without even mentioning the abuse.
My mother deliberately kept trying to reinforce her delusional idea of my father and drown out my own. She constantly reminded me of what a good provider he was. A steady paycheck seemed to be her justification for allowing him to violate me… “Mommy is it okay if daddy wants to put his penis in my mouth?” “Yes honey, as long as there is food on the table.”
When my mother was not reminding me of my father’s work ethic, she made me listen to little anecdotes about him. She may even have been testing, or challenging, me to see if I would still be the quiet little mouse.
Punkin didn’t disappoint her. I remained silent.
Despite my intention to stand up to her, I sat and listened to her stories like a dutiful daughter. Suffering in my silence, Athena was no where to be found because Punkin was so paralyzed in my mother’s presence. Her power over me was intoxicating. I was thirty-seven years old, but in front of my mother, I was three.
No mother-daughter moments of bonding or joyful laughter came during the visit, and the entire time I wondered why she was even there in the first place.
After she flew home, new physical symptoms manifested in the form of a throbbing pain in my upper chest muscle and severe tooth pain of unknown origin. I began to see stars before my eyes for no reason and unprovoked choking started up again. My dentist could not find any reason for the tooth pain and when it began waking me in the middle of the night, My therapist induced me into a regression for the pain.
Although I felt unsure of my age, I was very small in the regression. The memory was not clear, except that I told my mother, “Daddy is doing bad things.” My mother commanded me, “Keep quiet, it’s a secret.” Transcending her demand that I remain a victim, I defied her in the regression by imagining telling my mother I was no longer willing to keep her secrets and would tell everyone about the incest if I damn well wanted to.
The regression eased the tooth pain, but did not resolve the memory or its power over me, because after the regression ended, I immediately began to involuntarily block the memory.
I don’t know how or when I blocked it, but six months later, in another regression for the small amount of remaining tooth pain, I once again recalled my mother’s words, “Keep quiet, it’s a secret.” When I recalled the memory the second time, I had no recollection of having remembered it the first time. I questioned the “new” memory because I could not believe that my mother had brazenly told me to keep the secret. In spite of my disbelief, I immediately went to my computer to write about my “new” memory. When I accessed my computer there was a stored document titled, “Mother Regression.”
I did not recognize this document, so out of curiosity, I opened it. To my surprise it contained all that I had just remembered, and in almost the exact same detail. I was amazed at the fact that the notes I had made about the first recall of the memory were virtually the same as what I had remembered again. I was grateful that I had logged the previous memory in my computer because otherwise I might not have believed any of it.
Prior to this second age-regression for the remaining tooth pain, I had not been ready to accept that my mother was a more powerful force in my childhood than I had originally allowed myself to know. Instead, I catered to my need to believe that she too was a victim of my father.
In order for these memories to awaken it took a willingness to finally let go of what I wanted my mother to be, as opposed to who she was. It was not a conscious action on my part. I had no idea that I was preparing myself for anything at all. I had been under the impression that all the strength I had gained in therapy was to free myself from the pain of what I had already remembered. I had no idea that my mind was preparing me to face even deeper pain.
After reprocessing the memory in regression therapy, and consciously letting go of my denial about my mother’s power in the family, my strength returned and the tooth pain disappeared. The power my mother held over me was fading, and as it did, fragmented memories of a different magnitude began entering my consciousness, and they were staggering.
In 2003, I recalled that as a young child my mother had smacked me in the face. Once again, I rejected that the memory was real. I denied it quietly to myself and didn’t speak of it again for almost a year –not even to my therapist. Only this time I didn’t block the memory, instead, I consciously chose not to believe it. I knew my mother was capable of protecting my father instead of me, but I never felt she would physically harm me.
This memory went against everything I understood about my mother’s seemingly victim-like nature. She did not openly display the kind of personality which would suggest violence of any kind. This memory was completely foreign to me because I always equated my mother with a weak woman —a person who would have just obeyed and looked the other way.
A year later, I managed to give myself permission to face the memory once again. Sobbing uncontrollably in a regression, I recalled my mother’s fit of rage and the distinct taste of blood in my mouth. My mother hit me so hard that I landed against the wall. But the sting of my mother’s fist was nothing compared to the pain of her emotional abandonment.
After my crying stopped, I took power over the memory, and decades of torment instantly drained from my body. Next, I mentally took my mother by the hand that struck me and led her down to the church we had attended when I was a child. Once inside the church, I imagined an entire congregation sitting in their nice “Sunday clothes.” Some of the women had lace veils on their heads, and the men were in dress pants and ties. It had been twenty years since I was in that church, but in my mind I could remember it vividly —even recalling the faint odor of incense which lingered within the walls.
In my mind, I sat my mother down in a pew at the back of the church. I walked closer to the altar, and looked back at my mother sitting in the pew. I then imagined her holding her head in shame. The parishioners and priest were waiting for something to happen, so I didn’t want to disappoint them.
Still a child in my mind, I headed for the choir loft and went up to the microphone used for the lead singer. One step closer to freedom, I cleared my throat and said, “Excuse me ladies and gentleman, but I will not remain silent any longer. I will not conform to the lie anymore. You all think you know my mother, but she has been putting on an act. She cares more about not being shamed or embarrassed than she does about protecting her daughter. It is important for all of you to know that so-called “good church ladies” are not always so nice behind closed doors. You all need to open your eyes and see that there are many parents like my mother who pretend to be holy on the outside, but are harming their children when they leave the church and go home. Children need protecting. You must believe the children.”
It was vital that I told the parishioners that child molesters can be among them, and that they needed to listen to children who say they have been abused by someone who appears ‘good.’ My mother’s hypocrisy had affected me my entire life. As a child, watching her go off to church every Sunday and clean the church during the week gradually destroyed any spirituality I had inside me. Although I cannot recall the exact moment in which I lost my belief in God, I do recall my mother kneeling in the pew of the church, clutching her rosary with the same hand that struck me across the face.
Releasing my pent up anger over my mother’s lies brought me a sense of peace in the regression, and speaking my truth -in my mind- to over one hundred people, brought further liberation to the once-silenced child who hated her my mother for being such a religious fraud.
I concluded the regression by mentally placing the physical symptoms and the memories into a brown box. I placed a big pink bow around it, and envisioned myself dumping it into the water off the San Francisco Bridge. I brushed my hands free of the dirt, and saw the little girl I once was running across the bridge into a Heavenly meadow. My inner child ran through the grass and softly touched all the flowers. Then her perfect mother appeared. This was myself, as the strong person I had become. I took the hand of the child, and together we walked through the meadow…one step closer to freedom.
The memories of my mother using physical force against me had unknowingly allowed deep-seated anger to surface. This is because fearlessness often follows anger, and as I transcended fear, I remembered that my mother not only silenced me, but she was the one who forced me out of the closet and sat me on the bed to wait for my father to come stick the knife to my throat.
The sexual perpetration and threats of death by my father somehow felt less destructive than recalling this serious abuse and betrayal by my mother; and facing the emotional pain about her violence caused physical manifestations to disappear with each regression.
However, the rapid heart rate returned. The pounding in my chest only came when I picked up the telephone to make any kind of call. I also began to frequently dream of calling 911 and receiving no response.
While concentrating on the rapid heart rate in a therapy regression, I soon felt about three years old. Then a telephone floated into my consciousness. It was a big, black, old fashioned telephone that had a dial instead of buttons -resembling the telephone from my childhood home.
My feelings at age three were that I knew the telephone was something used by the adults to speak with other people outside the home, but I didn’t know how to utilize it. Panicked and terrified in the memory, I wanted desperately to contact someone outside the home, but could not figure out the telephone. I also knew the threat of death permeated the house.
My therapist had me imagine a warrior Angel who would show me how to use the phone. Suddenly a large red button appeared on the base of the telephone with 911 in big numbers. I knew instantly that all I had to do was push the button, but still, I hesitated and said, “I need protection because there are big people here.”
To a small child, my parents were huge and I felt powerless. In order to resolve this problem I imagined Athena, who would guard me with her life, coming to defend me while I made the call. With this fearless feminine warrior by my side, three year-old me made that call using the big red 911 button.
The first person I contacted was a well-known television commentator who works with child abuse cases. I saw myself as a child speaking to her about incest taking place in so-called “good” homes. Then I pictured the police coming for both of my parents, and they took them away in handcuffs in the back of the police car. I pictured a trial and my parents going to prison for their crimes. My inner child felt great, and she felt no guilt.
Although in the regression, I did not remember why I tried to use the phone, or what preceded the fear, overcoming the terror of calling for help quickly drove away the accelerated heart rate. I did not need to remember why I tried to use the phone; I only needed to face the fear and take back my power.
A few weeks after my mother’s visit, while helping a friend move, I found myself in a slight daze as I watched her pick up towels from her bathroom floor. The scene made me terribly nauseous and an alarm in my mind went off, “something is terribly wrong.” There was no logical reason for the nausea or for the intense feeling of dread.
A few days later, during a therapy regression, My therapist had me focus on the moment I saw my friend picking up the towels. Going into the regression I had no idea what could possibly have triggered such a strange reaction to my friend’s actions.
When the memory of my mother wiping blood off the bathroom floor made its way through time, it was as if someone had punched me in the gut. I had been in the shower, and my tyrant father had just raped me for the first time, on the bathroom floor. I was seven years-old.
My mother, his accomplice, cleaned up after the crime.
The rape was devastating to remember, but the fact that my mother cleaned up the bloody mess was too difficult to comprehend. As I had done before, with other memories I did not want to face, I pushed my mother’s actions aside in my mind. It was less painful for me to heal the rape than to face that my mother silently cleaned up after it.
In the past I had explained away the memories of my father dry-humping me in my bed as being something I endured and took pleasure in so I could feel loved. This memory forced me to see the rapist side of my father. Unlike the memories of rubbing my body along with his, this memory made me feel like an inanimate object —just a piece of flesh that needed to be tied down and ripped apart.
Up until this memory returned, I had persuaded myself to believe that my father loved me, and had slowly become sexually affectionate with me, sort of like two people falling in love.
This was pure self-delusion.
My soul sobered up. I wasn’t ‘daddy’s little girl.’ I was nothing but a piece of gum on the bottom of his shoe -something to scrape off.
And as I allowed myself to face the memory of my mother wiping the mess of water, and my own blood, off the bathroom floor…I saw for the first time, that she was a Sacred monster.
Coming soon…Chapter Ten: The Sacred Monster
© 2016 Alethea Marina-Nova. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.