My post yesterday disturbed me on a lot of levels. As you might expect. I went out for a walk and some fresh air and spent a lot of that time standing stock still, gazing out at the distance and thinking deep thoughts.
The pair of swans down at George’s canal moved on, or at least they weren’t there yesterday. George was the first duck at my feet, jumping the way he does. And I must not be the only person who was put off by the damned swans; those ducks were HUNGRY and I could barely get the bread out fast enough for them. Felt so guilty getting some bread and going back there is high on my list today.
When I got back I was ready to talk. Use my words.
My brother joined the family after his baby years were over, so what I had to say was news to him. In many ways I envy my brother. He didn’t look at my parents as perfect. He’d had too many disappointments with adults prior to that. He saw them more for what they were: imperfect people doing the best they could with the knowledge and tools they had. My mother’s covert narcissism didn’t touch him the same way it touched me. He didn’t buy into it. And he wasn’t subjected to the abuse my mother heaped on the rest of her ‘babies’.
What he did do was listen. No judgment. Just empathy and understanding. We ended up talking earnestly for about two hours.
My mother was an RN in the local OB/GYN dept. She was known as a ‘baby expert’ among local mothers. I realized that someone who was very good at hurting babies would, of course, be an expert on babies. You gotta know how to treat them well to know how to hurt them well. I’m not saying my mother was so sadistic that she purposefully set off to hurt me or any other person while they were babies. I AM saying that when you consider her background and medical history, she should have known better. But her own anger made her do those things. She took it out on the most helpless of victims – babies – because (1) they couldn’t fight back and (2) if they started to scream or cry they were just being babies, it was natural, and not because of anything she did. Or that’s what I imagine her internal justifications might have been. Not that those thoughts were conscious. I don’t think she actually thought ‘now I’m going to hurt her by doing this’. No. But she did hurt me, she knew she was hurting me, and she never stopped hurting me. It was her own twisted self that led to that behavior.
I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want it. And I didn’t deserve it, in any manner.
It’s hard to acknowledge that underneath that perfect mother everyone saw, a covert abuser lived. She never bruised, burned or cut me. But she hurt me a lot.
She hurt me through her actions. She hurt me by ignoring my pain. She hurt me with her words, with her thoughts – which settled into my brain. She instilled so much guilt in me that by the age of 10 I couldn’t see a purpose to life. It was all bleak nothingness. There was no reason to go on, because if people who loved me hurt me that much, why bother? THAT’S the good side of love? Damn. There’s no upside to that.
Now’s when I’d like a world class therapist on my side. Because I really don’t know how to proceed. I don’t know how to work through this. Yesterday I said the words out loud ‘My mother sexually abused me’. Just to see what it felt like. I disconnected; felt like I was reading the words aloud from a script. I couldn’t make the connection between the words and what happened. Just saying ‘my mother abused me’ is tough, never mind adding the adjective ‘sexually’ in there.
I imagine somewhere underneath all the shame and guilt there’s a lot of anger at my dad, too. For standing by and allowing it to happen. Right now I still rush to his defense. He was as much under my mother’s control as I was when she was alive. But he was the other adult in the situation. And he knew what was happening was wrong. I could see it in his face. I still see it in his face when I close my eyes: he was as scared and upset as I was. And just like me, his protestations went unheard.
Memories burned into the brain forever. It’s not fair that something that happened so long ago should have such a lasting affect on me. I’d like to shake it off like a dog and move on. I can’t. No matter how much I try.
*sigh* I’d like to smoke something other than a cigarette, too.
And I’d like to get back to the headspace where I can read other people’s blogs and interact a bit more out here. I’m not; my head is up my own butt with heavy, deep, and rather shitty thoughts.
I guess that’s what I really want: for it all to be over. All the thinking, the processing, the not understanding, the epiphanies, the new levels, the comprehension, the integration, the forgiveness. Just be done with it. It’s scary to be somewhere in the middle of the process with no end in sight.
Today I just want to let it rest. Let those thoughts be there, but not try to think them through. Just take my walk, see George, tackle the dishes and the tidying up all without trying to process any of it. See what it’s like to walk thru my day with the words ‘my mother abused me’ hanging in the air. Not to play the victim. I’ve BEEN a victim. No. I want those words to hang there for me. So I can accept them. So I can accept what happened.
So I can forgive myself.