SHADOWS

G

She could have loved them. Instead of popping out babies like a drunken rabbit, she could have had her two or three and stopped. They, Mom and Dad, liked to drink and party and could not get out of bed and go to the drawer where the rubbers were, so made baby after baby, so cute when little.

But they grow. And so does the drinking and partying. Until he dies. Then she is alone with eight of us. She must work. Though on our own before, now we are really on our own. Because her partying drinking became serious. And my brothers took their hate on me.

One after the other, soiling the one girl baby who attracted the most attention because she was one girl out of eight. I hate you for being loved when I’m not. You deserve my attacks because my burgeoning hormones have no other place to go, no one to listen, no one who cares. I will spoil the pretty cherished child that I wasn’t, because my Dad, who ruled with ‘iron fists’ so harshly, who wouldn’t love me no matter how hard I tried, died.

Attack, attack, attack. I’ll get even.

I blame myself. When someone dies, this time my nephew, by pneumonia, I feel to blame. I think back of my nephews Dad, my brother, and “if only.” He died at 52,  13 years ago, pulling off to the side of a busy highway another state apart, away from his wife and sons, and died of a massive heart attack.

“If only” I’d been closer to him and his family perhaps I would have bothered to talk him out of moving to another state when he lost his job. He found similar work there. Living in a tiny apartment alone because his wife was not ready to pull up roots, leave our little town, and move with him. She painfully told me the dilemma, that he was going to move to where the work was and she just couldn’t, and I did nothing.

Did I help by trying to talk him out of it? No. By then I had moved apart emotionally. Where once she had given me a baby shower for my first child, and my nephews played with my son frequently, and I had dinners with them at my house, and interacted almost daily, I pulled away when I began to face my past.

I do not speak of this brother in my book. It was only one time. Hardly significant compared to the others. And I didn’t fight like I had with Chet. I must have given up fighting because fighting made it suffocating. So I lay there as he did what Chet did and I still remember the same revulsion now as I felt then. Still a little girl, but already gone. Whoever I was then, or was to become, was gone.

If only my mother had loved them. My father. And me. If only I could.

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21 thoughts on “SHADOWS

  1. The events we have survived are horrific. There are parts of our lives that seem worse for the lasting damage they wrought on our psyches. Saying this doesn’t mean the physical violations are insignificant in anyway. They are not to be ignored or slighted in any way. They hurt and damage.

    Its the last paragraph that breaks my heart.The lasting damage is so evident in this telling. I can so identify with the giving up and letting them do what they are going to do. Thats the poison in our blood.

    What I admire is your willingness to write about your experiences.. Tell us what happened, the events speak for themselves.

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    1. The ‘poison’ you speak of..self-blame? I am blameless, but it took until my fifties to believe it. Most children do not fight. They trust and love the offender so become confused and blame themselves. I blamed myself for most of life until my mother died, and the book arose out of me with the details. It was then that I saw I was only a girl who had no power or control over a bigger, stronger person who I loved and thought I trusted.
      It is ‘poison’ in that each little girl takes it in and blames herself. The attacker knows this, and the other family members who know what’s going on and do nothing, know too. Yet no one helps her, me, because then the secret, the crimes of the family are known. Sacrifice her.
      That self-blame did poison me. Though I know now finally that I am blameless, that my revulsion is for what they did, not for me, the imprint remains. When anything around me is negative or goes wrong, I look to see how I’m to blame, what I did wrong. Raymond http://wp.me/p4Qpte-a6
      called it personalization. http://healthypsych.com/psychology-tools-what-are-cognitive-distortions/
      So at least I know what I do and why I do it, but I often need help as I fall into a pit and can’t get out. I find so much help here on this blog and from others.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That self-blame is always worse when there is more than one abuser. I remember always feeling as though I was somehow to blame because I was the common denominator amongst these family members, therefore there had to be something wrong with me, I had to be the evil one. It took seeing my own daughter at the ages I was when my abuses occurred before I truly realized how backwards that thinking had been. I was the innocent. I was the baby, the child. I could not have stopped it no matter what I had done to try to stop it, as I was a child. I’m so glad to know that you no longer accept the blame or guilt of what you went through. I think once we get to that place in our lives, we experience a freedom, or at least a lifting of some of the burden we carried most of our lives.

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    1. I wanted to add, that for me, I’m not sure if it mattered whether it was one or twenty attackers–and by attack, I don’t mean force, I mean the sweet soft voice, manipulation, and all the other methods used on a child that do not include force, because force is not needed when you use a child’s love and trust to abuse (attack) them.
      Once touched inappropriately by a loved one, trusted and looked up to, my trust was shattered; my belief in a safe world, over. That soft voice by Danny then what came after;
      http://wp.me/p4Qpte-gX

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      1. I definitely agree with that, but what I am meaning is that when there are multiple abusers (especially family members), as a child we begin to truly believe there is something wrong with us and thus we carry the self-blame of more than one abuser. For myself, when I saw other family members treating each other with respect, kindness, love, and I was the one that received none of that, I truly began to believe there was something wrong with me. They treated each other okay, but not me, so there had to be something wrong with me to cause them to mistreat me in the manner they did, otherwise they would have treated every one the same. My trust, however, was shattered with that first experience, but I did not begin to truly carry the blame and shame of those experiences until a few years later, when I began to realize it was not normal.

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  3. I’m trying to come up with words of comfort, but I’m not doing a very good job. All I can do is remind you of what you know: you are not responsible for the shortcomings or evil doings of others. You have worked hard to heal yourself, and you give love, where and when you can, to people who deserve it, and that is wonderful. All the others, they need to be responsible for finding their own wholeness. Hugs to you, Q.

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    1. Thank you.
      There is such relief in just getting something out. My nephews death brought all this up, the sadness of a family blown apart, the thoughts, feelings and memories, of, what if. What if I hadn’t been touched. What if I hadn’t been born, then they wouldn’t have touched me.
      All these thoughts that do no good come up.And after I wrote that yesterday with the tears along with it, almost like a confession, I have felt more at peace and back to myself.
      Caring comments from others help guide me there. Thank you…

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  4. We are not responsible for other peoples actions. Even if we believe that we can help them. We are still not responsible for other peoples actions and feelings I think It was Gandhi who said “you cannot take away another persons suffering” I believe this, whole heartedly. No matter how hard it is to watch someone suffer, not matter what we think we can do. We cannot take it away that is their responsibility. Every person is on their own journey.
    I know I could offer support my brother right now, i believe it would help him. I don’t because It would hurt me to do so and because he needs to find his own way out of this.
    I hope that one day you are able to shed the blame that you carry with you. It always seems so heavy when you speak of it. And I am more than sorry to hear about you nephew.
    I send my love and condolences.

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    1. Your wise and kind words bring tears. It is a special thing to feel understood. I suppose I do still carry burdens, burdens of each and every one of them. I wish they were all my children so I could love them like they deserved. So they could have grown to their full potential, and were whole, and loved their own beings. But they look for that love externally, just as I do, or did.
      Walking the field yesterday, truths began to flow. One, that no matter if I had a great relationship with the brother who died alone on the side of the road, Would I have been able to talk him out of moving?
      I only realized after he died, that he could have stayed put because his wife kept paying the bills with her teacher’s salary all on her own . I just wish she had him with her now, and didn’t have to suffer this loss alone. I do not think I could.
      And were all his drinking, smoking and other problems about me? No. When I asked him a long time ago about what he had done to me, he said he didn’t remember it.
      The blame goes to our mother. Our parents did not extend the emotional care that each child needs to thrive.
      I still work at not taking burdens on, and taking stick after stick, or rock after rock out of my cart, and off my back. It seems to still be my first response; What did I do or not do to cause this…
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know that feeling of believing that that you are responsible for everything that happens but as you know, there is nothing you could have done differently that would change the fate of your nephew. It is so sad that the victims of abuse feel this way for the rest of their lives through no fault of their own. I understand it so well! Sending you a big warm hug!

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    1. No, I cannot stop a disease, yet I hunt scrupulously for other ways to load up on fault and blame. The change of season is most likely also affecting me. I fall as the leaves fall… thank you for that warm hug on a frosty morning….

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  6. I think it is easy not only for abuse survivors but for mothers to want to help the ones they care about. It is the mothers role to love and care. Your mother did not fill this role and I imagine as you were the only girl in the family it can be incredibly hard to watch the people we love hurt when we know exactly how to help them.
    When I think about the things that my mother didn’t do for us kids and I start thinking about what I could have done or can do I stop myself. I say stop very loudly (either out loud or in my head) Then remind myself that even if I could do these things it’s not my responsibility to.
    Blanked x

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    1. That makes sense, very much sense to me.
      And that word, STOP. Thanks for reminding me. It’s something I need to say to myself, especially through the winter months, because I tend to think of a thing repeatedly; not a positive thought, but one that brings me down.
      I hadn’t thought of applying it here, but I find that very appropriate. Programs, or plans for mental health are as important as those for physical heath.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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