Recently I had another flashback…I was a young child, in my dark bedroom, where I was naked from the waist down, bent over a chair and being beaten with a shoe. It’s ridges and textures burned so severely that at the end it was difficult to move, to climb into my bed where I was laid down on my stomach and raped by my father. But the room wasn’t completely dark, from the time where he started beating me until he informed me that I had “learned my lesson” and closed the door behind him, the entire scene was flooded with light from the hallway. Anyone and everyone in the house, in our family could have heard and seen what was happening. It was no secret.
This brings back yet again that time when I told my sister how effected I was by our parents coming into my room at night to beat me. She laughed at me, and said that “I would have known…” (see entry: the accusation of inconsistency) if something like that happened. I would amend that statement today by saying simply that it did happen, and she did know. Our parents didn’t bother trying to hide their sexual abuse within our family, they simply left us to use our own devices and methods to repress and avoid the knowledge. Just like I had to hear my parents having sex…they didn’t even afford us the dignity of trying to hide things, we had to dissociate and banish the knowledge all on our own. It’s very interesting, having this memory now, as I see that my sister’s vehement denial at the mere mention of a scenario like this shows that I hit too close to home for her, too close to the truth she was avoiding.
I’m certain she was sexually abused in the exact same ways by both of our parents, our grandmother (who she even lived with for a time in her early childhood!) and possibly other relatives or family friends I might never even have met. When I was perhaps seven years old, I first began to have dissociative flashbacks of sexual abuse at school. They were very hazy at that point, and pointing primarily to the memory I have come to recognize of the son of my mother’s best friend, but quite disturbing. One day I tried to tell my sister about them, and she cut me off abruptly by laughing hysterically, exclaiming, “that’s called remembering!” I had told her that I began to feel sick, my vision turned red, and strange images came into my mind…and she turned it into a joke, like I was so stupid and incompetent that I would experience normal memory (like, oh, that’s where I put my lunchbox…) in such a way. When, in fact, I already had a near-photographic memory at that point, I would unintentionally memorize every little detail…
What she did to me that day was not only cruel, ignorant, and despicable, it was yet again a part of her own defense mechanism in the role she decided to play of denying, hiding, and covering up the pervasive incest in our family. Years later, at 17, I tried to tell her about this again, after she had begged me to open up to her. But still, I got nothing back, no encouragement, no comfort, not even a suggestion that it might be the truth. She just kept her distance, took it as a random speculation and felt glad that she had sucked the information out of me. She even said to me, “I think mom should know…” as if to say, it’s not my responsibility to care about this or be nice to you, it’s hers. And quite a disturbing statement given the fact that our mother sexually abused us herself; why should she know about this, except to cover it up or possibly put me in a mental institution to silence me (which my mother later said she wished she had done when I was minor, after I revealed that I had been sexually abused but insisted I was going to be in control of my own recovery at 21.)
Two weeks ago I dreamt I was a teenager, attending a large gathering of extended family at my grandmothers house–many of her sisters and my mothers cousins who I rarely saw were there. My grandmother kept putting her hands down the back of my pants and rubbing my crotch. I told her to stop very loudly, and pushed her hands away, at which point several of my mother’s cousins came over and started to physically threaten me for daring to do so. They had to hold each other back from assaulting me, while I insisted that actually, I had a right to establish my own boundaries. I turned around and ran up the stairs. But later on I walked halfway down, and heard them all whispering that I had fathered one or two sons via my grandmother, both of whom were then absent. Later in the dream, oddly, my brother asked me, “where’s your son-in-law?” At which point I said I didn’t know…
This dream has stayed in my mind since then. It was so vivid, and shocking. While I can’t take it literally (my grandmother was in her late sixties by the time I entered puberty, after all…) it’s made me wonder if there could have been an incest pregnancy in my family. Just like the abuse was projected onto me, it seems that in the dream things are twisted around and I am put into the position of my grandfather…I know that my mother considered my sister to be the sort of surrogate for her dead father, perhaps I was seen as the surrogate for my mother’s own absent father…Shortly after my older brother was born, my mother became extremely depressed and had the family move all the way across the country to the same state where she grew up, and where her father lived. Could it be possible that after they all moved back here, she had a rendezvous with him, became pregnant, and therefore had me?
My mother constantly repeated the story of how when she was perhaps seven years old, her father left them, she tried to hold onto his legs to keep him from leaving, but was unsuccessful…he went off and remarried someone else, and had children with them. Yet she retained a sick bond with him through all of those years; I’m sure that her father’s side of the family was just as incestuous. I’ve also considered whether I could possibly be the child of my father and my (then nine years old) sister; which I guess is unlikely, but still a possibility. Especially given the way the family dynamics ended up, with everyone almost acting as if I was my sister’s child. My mother had some major surgery when I was five years old, involving her uterus or ovaries so I don’t think she could have still gotten pregnant afterwards, regardless if she had raped me after the time when I was able to produce viable sperm.
Before I moved out, I once asked my mother why she had had so many children only to neglect, hate, and resent their very existence. She was taken aback by the question, and later said this had hurt her; but she refused to answer me. I’m sure now that beyond the status that she wanted–the opportunity to put on a facade as a loving mother, we were there in an attempt to fulfill her emotional and sexual needs. She shouldn’t have had any children, let alone three to be used as playthings and then thrown out when she and the rest of her relatives that she openly shared us with grew tired of us. That she felt herself entitled to demand grandchildren to abuse and repress after all of this makes it even more sick.