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Guilt. Fear. Don, my niece, her boys… How could I not go to the city for the party? I didn’t. The pressure in my heart is the hole of no family realized at last. A family doesn’t conspire to silence a little girl raped, or abused sexually to the extent I was for years and by so many.

Shames YOU, you say? How horrific for you, that you have to face that your brothers attacked me. So you don’t face it. And in not facing it, you force the death of who I am. You will interact with me, act caring, act like I am always in need and that you will be there to help, but only if I’m silent. And all three impose this life coffin on me. And I acquiesce. And my chest hurts with the killing pressure of silence. I have no family.

My family is inside my heart where I have found me at last. And I am opening up to that little girl all others abandoned. My mother knew, twice. It was only on time three that action was taken. Too late.

Two brothers knew, Don and Seth. I protected the younger one, Stevie, until now, when he called months ago asking for donations for Chet’s grand-kids after dying  of a massive heart attack. Stevie did so out of guilt because he had no contact with Chet throughout adult life, no one did.

And now it is too late. And it has nothing to do with what he did to me. It was about Tom and his wife. Chet became romantic with her during their divorce.

It has always been about Tom, the worst abuser. Not because he committed the worst abuse. Danny’s was so violent, my psyche still won’t allow it to surface. Chet’s was ongoing, predatory, vile, disgusting, and betrayed me in every way.

I don’t talk about brother four in my book. He died from a heart attack before the book was written. There was no reason to risk the chance of his surviving wife and three sons to learn what their father did. When he attacked it didn’t seem to matter. I was garbage. Just one more. It doesn’t matter. It does matter. Every wrong touch matters.

In adult life I dared ask him. He said, “I don’t remember.” 

Despite the torture of Chet’s abuse, I didn’t despise him, I pitied him. But Tom? The psychological torture of putting me down for years after to make me look inconsequential nearly destroyed me. He is the one I could cut up into little pieces and feed to the sharks.

No others worked so diligently to defile my character. He was methodical and persistent in yearning to destroy me. No others treated me so vile after their attacks, not at all. Not Danny, not the brother I don’t speak of in my book, and not Chet.

My heart hurts. I don’t go to the city to Don’s 70th birthday party, where I could also see my niece who is visiting all the way from Texas. This is a brother who took me in, cared for me, guided me. Mom would shame me if she were alive, but I’ve taken on her criticisms very well without her. How could I not go? Because on that day we returned from the Adirondacks. Doing both is too much. Not good enough. Squeezing pressure. The pressure tightens because without that excuse I’d have to go. I didn’t want to. 

This Saturday we go to the lake where Stevie lives in the summer managing properties. I spoke up to Stevie for the first time when he asked for money for Chet’s grandchildren.

“So you don’t want to donate?” he asked again hopefully.

“No, I don’t feel obligated,” I responded. And we left it at that, until I felt compelled to send an email admonishing him for even asking. “Didn’t you read my book? I sent you a link,” I wrote. 

“No, I didn’t see a link,” he emails back. I sent the link again. 

Stevie has learned through the years from Tom’s expertly crafted put-down’s that it is OK to treat me as if I don’t deserve the same respect and consideration as others. It must have been a shock to him that I spoke up.

Being with family, isn’t it supposed to be fun? I am wary. I am not the person I was. And the lake visit may be the end of the one last relationship. During my hospitalization in November I could have died and none of those three would have known. There is no real family, there never was, only a clinging to the hope of one. People can’t be close when they must spend the rest of their lives licking their own wounds. 

I had always thought at least I have three brothers that have not touched me, who I could call brothers and have relationships with. No. I am learning now, especially after Seth’s wrath, that that is not so.

The conspiracy of silence is as much or more of a betrayal than the attacks and the attackers. The pretense of caring that is conditional kills. I care about you only if you don’t talk about the truths of sexual abuse. Pretend you are something you are not. You must be what I want you to be.

How have I stomached it, forced it down…like swallowing a live python…how?

I am part of a family… Samuel, Shane and Cory.

15 thoughts on “CONSPIRACY

  1. “Being with family, isn’t it supposed to be fun?”
    That line is so hysterically painful and drips with sarcasm. I truly love it. I would rather have a root canal and colonoscopy at the same time than spend time with my siblings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I care about you only if you don’t talk about the truths of sexual abuse. Pretend you are something you are not. You must be what I want you to be.”
    well said.
    I went to my father’s funeral earlier this month and saw one of my abusers and someone who knows but acts as if she doesn’t. Told me I was lying. Made me never want to tell another. I trusted her. Believed I could tell her and never be judged. I was wrong. I saw them. They hugged me. They are close to my sister. She knows. I dismiss that. She sees but she doesn’t see. I still find myself making excuses for her actions, how she loves them, how they are so close, how she at one of their houses right now on vacation. I over look this, because I still want family. The two that really hurt me. The abuser and the first person I ever told. They hugged me, told me they loved me, acted as if they cared. I know after this I won’t see them. I will not be a part of the family. That’s okay. I don’t the biological family (at least I try hard not to). I have a chosen one I love much more.


  3. ((()))

    So glad you didn’t go to that party. No more “forcing” anything. You are taking care of yourself now. I’m so happy you created a family. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The hypocrisy of abusers. The betrayal of people who choose to believe the abusers over their victims. These are the things that make us CRAZY! I am so sorry that you didn’t get the love and protection you deserved, or later the regret and sincere apologies that were owed to you. It’s simply not fair.

    It helps that you have learned to make friends with yourself, to stand up for that little girl. You do that so beautifully. But it’s still not fair that you have to do everything because your family won’t take responsibility.

    Sending you hugs, Q.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very poignant Patricia. Your imagery and metaphors too; especially the cobweb, the chest pain, the death of the old you, the python, the swallowing. The crime took place in the body and your imagery reflects this.

    Does this piece point to the death of the “you they wanted you to be” tinged with grief for the little you that has been subsumed into their truth–the beautiful you as a beautiful little girl making sandcastles. It’s a painful wake-up call (awakening?) You swallowed their stories, their version of the truth; and you became their version of the truth. Now you realise you have a new family and a new dawn? It’s a roller coaster ride isn’t it dear friend xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Heart wrenching and way too familiar to me. I have lost my family and have gotten the silent treatment when I treaded lightly in the world of disclosure…it’s so sad and the void I feel is overwhelming sometimes. I’m sorry for these experiences you have had to endure.

    Liked by 1 person

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