Confronting My Molester

I don’t know if it was necessary. I don’t know if it did anything for me.

I’m still overwhelmed by the coincidence that brought me to the moment I felt it was time to accuse him. I felt like… well, hell, I’ve always nominated myself the one to speak for any disenfranchised “us” I’ve decided I belong to.

I started dating a guy a month ago who immediately read my blog. He got to the part where I mentioned having been molested by the neighbor, and knew him by name! I got sick. I haven’t said that name in 30 years. “How do you know?!” I learned that I had not been a fluke, as I believed. I thought that I just happened to get caught up in it because, as the best friend of the sister he was sexually abusing, I was in the home.

No. He targeted the entire neighborhood. In fact, he raped some of the young girls, including the ex-wife of this guy. She had been a childhood playmate of mine.

I was outraged. The first thing I did was call my sister and make sure she had not been victimized, as well. No, thank God, but not for lack of trying.

Then I wondered, why have I never sought him out? Everyone’s on Facebook. Sure enough, there he was, with his schmuck smiling face, boasting of his son’s military service. I typed a rapid-fire message and sent it before I could chicken out. Normally, I try to withhold words at a time of intense emotion, but he deserves no such sparing and I deserve to accuse my attacker. Panicked at the moment I hit “Enter,” I scrolled back to read what I could not suck back from the ether… to learn that he had contacted me 4 years earlier in a breezy message that went to a junk inbox I never noticed. He was casually wondering if I could put him in touch with my brother, as though nothing ever happened! I FLIPPED and wrote again, then blocked him.

I don’t feel any different. Was it necessary? It feels so strange to come from the trauma with Christine in Spain, wrestling with why I didn’t leave sooner and grieving because I know the answer: I was perfectly groomed not to. I went into a place of survival, where the little girl in precisely that circumstance couldn’t leave. I feel as though I’m recovering from my childhood all over again.

And now here’s my molester. I can’t face it all at once! How do other people process their foundational injuries and move on, meaningfully and successfully? I try so hard. I mean to rise above it every goddamn day. I just keep falling back into it, as though it’s happening now. If others are visited from time to time by the shaky beginning that formed them, it’s the exception in functional, happy lives. For me, it’s the exception to be well. It never lasts.

I’m so tired. I’m so confused. I want so desperately to believe that this confluence of early-life traumas is a poetic, timely event designed to help me at last to put my past to bed. I’m sad to know that it’s really all just random. It happened. It’s done.

And then Sunday came. I’m reeling anew.

Since Jeffrey’s death in 2011 I’ve been wrestling with shame and guilt for verbally abusing him during the lowest days of the heroin addiction that killed him. We were roommates. It was awful. I’ve made peace with the fact that I was fully triggered, and even a healthy person might lose it. Not at the level I did.

Words are weapons, and he got my worst. I abused his parents, too. They came into my home, in what felt very much like an ambush, to accuse me of stealing from Jeff through the utilities. (How do you figure? Half is half.) It’s amazing how addicts can convince themselves of anything to get the money they need for a fix. It was more amazing, and beyond insulting, that his parents believed him and challenged me to prove my innocence, which I refused to do (though I kept meticulous records and made copies for Jeffrey that I explained, and he agreed to, EVERY MONTH). Basically, I told them to go to hell. Actually, I told them they were enabling him to death.

And then he died.

Sunday, his brother and I were headed to the drum circle when his folks pulled up to deliver fresh garden veggies. I haven’t seen them since that day 4 years ago. They couldn’t see me in the car, but I was moved to act and terrified to do so. I had to apologize. I knew through the grapevine that his mother had forgiven me. I’m not surprised. Jeffrey was the most forgiving person I’ve ever known; it came from someplace. But I needed to ask for it, and simply to tell her how very sorry I am for contributing to his suffering and theirs. So I did.

She hugged me. I … feel terrible.

Why EVERYTHING? Why all at once? I suppose I will put this behind me. Even if we don’t consciously put the past behind us, that’s where it goes. But I feel like I’m drowning in regret and failure, while yet knowing I’m doing better than I ever have before. Why don’t I feel good about it?

I’ve had a headache for weeks. I’m exhausted, though neither sleep-deprived nor sleeping too much. I can’t sit with a book. My food addiction is out of control. My eyelashes are getting more and more sparse. (How can it be psychological when they hurt?) I’m irritable and weepy. I’m not coping well.

Thank god for drumming. It’s my happy place right now. Thank you, angels.

***

TO THE SEXUAL PREDATOR OF MY YOUTH:

July 14, 2014

“I just found out I’m not the only girl in the neighborhood you molested. You made the rounds victimizing everyone! You are a sick, violent pervert who traumatized precious young girls. You fundamentally changed us. You robbed us of our innocence. You raped us. All my life, I thought it was a fluke, that you got out of control with your sister and I just happened to be injured because she was my best friend and I was in your house. But you sought us out. You went out of your way to pursue us, to degrade and mock us, and force us to gratify your twisted sexual appetites. In truth, you know as well as I do that the rage it took to perpetrate your crimes was born of your own impotence and weakness. You’re a disgusting loser who has to act out on children in order to feel empowered. That hasn’t changed. Til you die, you’ll be a child molester and rapist. I don’t know how you live with yourself, and I don’t care. I’ve long-since been rid of you, but I found out just hours ago that I wasn’t the only one. You can never make up for what you did to us. You can never restore what you took. I finally decided to reach out and identify you to your face. I see you. I know who you are. You’re a fraud and a liar. You’re a rapist and pedophile. When you take the Sacrament, you are spitting in the face of God, who made me and all of your victims. Shame on you.”

and then…

“oh my god! are you insane? i just saw that you contacted me years ago asking after my brother, as though nothing ever happened! how are you not HUMILIATED? how do you look in the mirror? how do you not kill yourself? i couldn’t live with the burden of being the monster you are. you’re sick. don’t contact me again. I have the right to speak. you do not.”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner

I’m working through it, presently.

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Ask a Question, Get an Answer!

Wow. I’m still buzzing in the high of release. I asked myself last night, “At what point am I just rehearsing the script?” Well, from here on out. I’d never written it! For me, there’s catharsis in the tangible. It came out of my fingers; I saw it with my eyes. And it’s gone! Now I stop telling the story.

I don’t need to forgive my sister’s husband. I don’t care about him. He’s her family, not mine. It’s actually a relief. I never again expect myself to consider his humanity or success. I did that for twenty years. I don’t have to anymore.

Mom is forgiven. I understand. I only love her.

My dad, well, I could record the moments I knew he moved me into “step” status – Particularly appalling was yet another hypothetical I failed – but I won’t. I didn’t accept it until the Christmas I just wrote about. Now I do. He’s not a hate-monger. He’s just narrow-minded. He’s a good man. He and my mom are their own quiet brand of happy.

I accept that I will never “graduate.” There’s a freedom in giving up. I’ll breathe it in when it sucks, and exhale confidence that it won’t someday. Who knew I was Buddhist?!

Happy Anniversary, indeed! Thanks, worldwide web. And there’s more reason to celebrate: Mississippi outlawed slavery this week.

Through The Store Window

I try, I really try. That’s what we’re all doing here. Hence, they must be trying, too, but from my perspective my family is comprised of walking shells. “Turn a blind eye…” Repression, fear, and the unexamined self make for superficial, unfulfilling relationships that I cannot abide. I devolve into my lowest self, that angry brat who insists she will be HEARD, dammit! The more I demand it, the more they zombie out. For me, they are crazy-makers. I have to walk away. It is the act of courage it takes to grow up at long last and, in future, treat them and myself with gentleness, respect, and love. Developmental trauma’s a bitch. But I continue to repent myself, re-parent myself, forgive all of us and look on the whole sorry lot with tenderness and compassion. For now, I can do it only from the outside looking in.

“Friends are god’s way of making up for family.” I have been blessed with the companionship of like partners who treat each other as the therapist’s couch, and laugh and cry and love and hug and connect. There is nothing superficial about my urban family.

I never dreamed that my family of origin and I would fail, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, as they say. They cannot be different. I must be.

Grow up, Darling Daughter. The time is now. Forgive. And remember, you cannot perceive the future. Not even with your connection to Spirit.

“… which they dismiss as utterly insane!” I scream back at my angels. I’m loath to let go my screaming little banshee. She protected me for a long time.  

*sigh*

We’ll love in our own broken way. At an arm’s length that is miles and miles long. My heart breaks to acknowlege my personal truth. Historically and currently, my immediate family is harmful to my mental health. And I to theirs. Blah.

I miss them. I mourn the loss of a dream of domestic bliss with them.

I been cryin’. Must be Christmas.

(Super stoked for 2013! Hope we don’t all die next week. 🙂 hehehe.)

Equanimity

… is a state of stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

“What lies behind us
and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to
what lies within us.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” -Marianne Williamson

I’ll be fine. Oh, fine! (I rather prefer my tantrums sometimes.)

I Need Jesus and His Nice Mom

My friend owes me a reading. I sold her a hoop. She channels Jesus and Mary, and I decided to cash in today. Here’s our convo on ye ol’ Facebook:

Christie: sweetie, could you please check in w’ mary and jesus for me? i’m going through it right now! let me know when you’re less busy… or something. just needin’ reassurance, guidance, love fairly desperately right now. thanks. ♥

Grace: yes! do you want to do a phone reading? i’m available. otherwise i’ll check in and email you a response within 48hours. so sorry to have lagged so long. what would you like the ‘focus’ of the guidance/reading to be about?

Christie: ugh, so much. i’ll give that some thought, flesh out the riff raff. i know what it is, just haven’t sat down for half a second to consciously get rid of it. relationship anxiety, partnership, worthiness. some stalker creep just got in my head, it’s the dumbest thing. i know he’s an angry, imbalanced person who has no bearing on my anything, but when he says something as pathetic as “you don’t deserve any man! suffer!” i think, “you’re right, i already knew that. okay.” i’m hurting. i’ll call you tomorrow around 7 my time?

still Christie: it all stems from lack of basic parental kindness and love, and that particular issue is at its zenith (again) right now because i’m currently in the longest estrangement i’ve ever had with them. it continues because i haven’t gone back this time and made everything “right.” i’m not going to. so i feel unloved, unloveable, and unworthy – permanently. even useless people can jump on that nerve and get a response, if privately. (he doesn’t know he got to me. i just ignored him, but it hurt.)

stiiill Christie: basically, i want love and i want to give love. i don’t think i can. i think i’m fundamentally broken and i wouldn’t trust/respect anyone who would trust me to love them. i don’t know what to do about that. i need jesus and his nice mom. there. i guess i figured it out, and now i’m crying. at work. 🙂

Grace: i love you, christy. thanks for sharing.

Christie: thanks for taking it to the authorities! i love you, too.

***

My Jewish atheist suitor would absolutely cringe. So would my bestie. So do I, a little, but it’s all just nomenclature. That’s her lexicon. I’m so excited! I love Jesus, even if he’s just a story or an idea or a dude with a lot of stuff attributed to him. Even if He’s God! I don’t know and I don’t care. I’ll know someday. Or I won’t.

Our Animals Do Important Work

I’m at my desk – running behind, can’t stay long – doing data entry in the Bereavement Log. “Social Worker spoke with husband, who verbalized feelings of loss and loneliness. He struggles to enjoy activities he used to share with wife. Family got him a cat to keep him company.” I began to cry. You know me.

How We Cope

First, all life is adaptive. This is Survival 101. Coping is a kind of adaptation. We do it as surely as we breathe.

Next, we each come with our own distinct natures, strengths and weaknesses. For me, gratitude is capricious; indignation, insistent… but so is dogged determination.

Ultimately, choice is how we cope. “It’s a choice. It’s a choice that you can make. This can be a cue for meltdown or a cue for coping.” -Dr. Phil

It’s hard for me to choose grace. Sometimes, knowing the task is mine alone to accept, forgive, and love unconditionally pisses me off. So sometimes I take the day off. But I always get back on that goddamned horse. As for nightmares? Well, you wake up.

Finally, Spring is balm to a savage soul. Thank god for fine weather this week and the freedom to be out sweating, chasing pockets of cold air, giggling as I pedal through downpours of fragrant falling petals.

“If your strife strikes at your sleep, remember that Spring swaps snow for leaves.” -Mumford & Sons