When a child is forced by the fear of abandonment of family to hold in the crimes and despicable acts against her and her body by others in the ‘family,’ those deep wounds go unhealed, unprocessed, and remain as painful as if the wounds just occurred even fifty years later.
At sixty-four my thoughts keep yammering, “Stop crying. You are mature and need not make such a big deal about this.”
When hurt by the slight or the ‘stuff’ of another close to me it is like a scratch. It seems on the surface that I am making more of it than need be, like Samuel says. And here we go again with a rift in my present day family, my real family, where I am deeply hurt and withdraw. That can last a long time, too long and it is no fun for anyone as I hover in my cave all alone.
But this time, my head bent over the puzzle, the tears dripped down and the wracking sobs were allowed. Why was this scratch a bleeding wound? Do I keep crying or try to shove it away? The tears come throughout the week, while walking the meadow, or sitting by the creek, they erupt with a primal gasp that surprises.
Do I bang at my head for being an idiot and seemingly sad all of the time, or allow what is there to be there, be curious, and accept it. It comes, and it comes in waves over a period of days.
It is Tom, Tom and a life of criticism so veiled the others in the ‘family of origin’ aren’t aware, or have become so used to it that it is accepted. No one ever came to my aid from his put-downs.
The cutting sly remarks began early on at age eight when he crept up in the night to commit cunnilingus on my little eight year old body while asleep. The next day, and ever after, his guilt made me him hate me for my very existence. And he surely made me pay for it.
I believe Chet hated me for that too, for existing and reminding him of he had done. I feel it at times now. If only I hadn’t been born. Given a choice, I would choose not to. But we, none of us, are given one.
Even here at my table about ten years ago when I tried getting everyone together in the hopes of a family, he put me down using the same snide sneer. I knew then it would never happen—a family. He talked to my younger brother, a realtor with his own company, eluding to my stupidity regarding my not knowing the legalities about buying this house.
Not one person at the table took a stand to say that I couldn’t know about buying houses because it was only the second one I’d ever bought. No one, not one. And that is how it has been in the ‘family,’ not a true family, only the group of people I was unfortunate to be born unto.
This is typical. The families shame victimizes the victim further to keep her quiet. They all collude with the secrets making each one as culpable. What about the child? How does she heal, how can she possibly? She cannot. Over fifty years of stuffing the pain deep makes it seem not there, yet it colors every interaction with bloody red pain.
That kind of abuse, psychological, is the one that destroys. I would much rather be like my friends who always seem to smile and have such positive energy. When do I accept that it’s OK to be who I am? A woman who never grieved her past or healed from tragic wounds, some wounds never to be healed but lived with and managed.
So I understand…finally. And in allowing the pain to come up I can forgive the loved one who hurt me and forgive my past ways of withdrawing and retaliating. I can smile a real smile, but first I had to get through the pain a little bit at a time. And it is OK to cry. It opens me.