My first impression upon uncovering the memories of being sexually abused by my mother was that I felt great; it must be odd to say so. but this buried memory, so important, so vital finally being unlocked…it provided untold relief. And it is like a bomb has been dropped, capable of blowing them all away…the hypercritical, abusive voices of my mother, brother, sister, father. They are illegitimate. The guilt and fear I once felt in the face of my mother, this ugly, mentally unstable pedophile who tried to use me as her therapist when I was a child. No more! With this knowledge, I’ve felt, the power is mine again….
But then last night I realized that under this feeling, I was actually very emotionally raw and vulnerable. When I tried to do some very light gardening in the afternoon, I found myself physically exhausted and aching after only ten minutes. I tried to write something else, but found myself dropping off; that experience was so intense, like nothing before. This knowledge has been life-changing, but I’m still going to be feeling-through what the changes are for some time, and I see that I have to take things slowly from here.
Since receiving this and the first clear memory of my brother raping me a few weeks ago, I’ve kept cycling through an index of my easily available memories, trying to put them into a new context. It’s like going through a pile of old things with another person when we both have different intentions–I want to get rid of everything, while they want to save as much as possible. So they will grab onto something and hold it up asking “You don’t mean this too?” only for me to say yes, I do. It’s like some part of me wants to find something that would disprove what happened. It is very difficult, sometimes, to look back on things in light of my dissociation–not only do I have trouble precisely pinning down most memories of abuse (I can only class them in a period of 3-4 years) but the fact that I separated out so much also effected the way in which I remembered other events.
There was unbelievable cruelty, but now I see there was another element behind the condescending, moralistic behavior of for instance my sister in the last two years that I tried to have a relationship with her. When I brought up the possibility that my older brother might have been sexually abused as well, she went off on me, painting it as the most absurd notion possible. When I tried to tell her about my memories of being sexually abused, she was always trying to nitpick on bizarre technical details like ‘how long do you think it lasted,’ which should sound absurd to any dissociative, but when I couldn’t answer, she would then cast doubt on whether the memory was real. She was living in a heavy state of denial, and she expected me to settle into it as well, when I had no intention of pushing away my past, my feelings in order to stay in the family. She was involved in the cover-up of the profound incest in our family, whether she consciously knew it or not. And she was, year by year, turning into our mother.
Of course it’s obvious that my brother would have been sexually abused given what he did to me, and I’m not terribly concerned with his story, but only in the sense that while I hold him responsible, I hold our parents, and my sister, equally responsible for what he did to me. They abused him physically, sexually, and emotionally first, and then they neglected and abandoned me, leaving me alone with him all the time despite the obvious signs of what was happening, of the fact that I was being destroyed as a person. That is unforgivable, in fact everything I talk about here is unforgivable. None of these people had any right to lay a finger on me, to make me feel inadequate, to invalidate me.