Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, June 21, 2012

what I've learned in the last week

Dr. Mind is going on vacation for a week after tomorrow.  I asked him a while back to try to get me to a place where his leaving wouldn't make me suffer.  After my suicidal time period about 2-3 weeks ago we took a break and got me calmed down and so moving into sexual abuse a week ago was a calculated move with the plan kind of being to get me to where I was ok to coast (and have a suicide check with another therapist while he is gone).  It worked better than we'd hoped.

I wrote a few posts ago about our prayers that I be led to find what I needed.  I can't explain the appearance of the diaries, only that I've never seen them before.  And God can do anything.  So I'm calling that an answer to prayer I'll never understand except that the one from 1979 was precisely what I needed to cope with this.

Background:  My mom had said I told her when I was 2 and I have scoured that diary for answers.  They did not exist.  That's because she lied.  The set-up is too clear for her to not know when it happened.  But thanks to my grandmother and my ability to understand the twists in how she says something as her way of not saying it (because I've read these diaries repeatedly, including aloud to her while she was dying, so some stories were clarified then).  But 1979 has the key.  My sister was born just before Christmas 1978 and I turned 3 three weeks later.  My mom took a long maternity leave when I was born because she hoped to be able to stay home and they were financially experimenting.  Because of the way she accumulated days off at that job at that time she didn't have much left for my sister.  My sister was a surprise baby and I was a bit of a miracle after a botched procedure left my mother without a uterine lining.  They'd said there was no way that she would ever be pregnant or that her lining could return.  (Essentially she had an unwanted endometrial ablation before that was a procedure).  One day her cycle returned and a few months later she was pregnant.  (This is why I laugh that my father would say he was tricked into having me.  It was a years long process, not an oops in any way).  So my mom hadn't really worried about saving leave for another pregnancy that was was rather unlikely.

From the age of 8 months I had stayed with my grandparents when my parents were working, so pretty much 7-4 daily if not later.  Sadly the 1976 diary pretty well tells when my grandfather started molesting me. It lines up with my vague memories and it happened because I was well, the diagnosis was SEVERE colic, like as in I was on phenobarb. except it scared my mom by sedating me.  Now it would probably have been called severe GERD and meds would have helped.  But at 8 months I was only barely starting to not cry 20 some hours/day (really, like as in my mom didn't sleep in her own bed for 9 months).  I had been cared for only by my mom because she couldn't really just leave me in that condition and my father wouldn't help.  (Introduce bonding issues.  He changed one diaper.  I don't think I had a relationship with him until I was 2 1/2 or 3 and even then it was limited.  We'll get there in a few weeks).  So when I started staying with my Gram I cried almost all day every day.  I wore her out completely and she couldn't get anything done because I was being held.  So after a few weeks of this they decided my grandfather would take me upstairs and rock me and try to get me to nap in the crib.  Except that isn't what happened.  To my grandfather the pedophile it must have felt like being handed a pile of gold; a child to molest who couldn't talk and wouldn't for months.

Anyway, when I started reading the 1979 diary I noticed right away that I would ask someone to help me call my Gram daily and even though when I stayed with them I loved going everywhere I could with my grandfather (he had village and church responsibilities that had him out all morning most mornings; I was also molested during these excursions if he found a place and time.  I was also well known as being "bashful".  I was shy but I was terrified of men with facial hair and everyone was moderately amused/confused by this.  There were reasons I'm not going to give here; I'll say it is related to why I gag at the dentist.  So he had this reputation as a wonderful grandfather with the little girl with him all the time.  Makes me sick that I made him look good, but I did. But after being home with my mom for a few weeks I didn't want him; I wanted to talk to and see Gram.  In February, I think the middle to end (my memory of the diary gets wobbly for a bit as I realized instantly what was going to happen) my sister and I both went to my grandparents' daily.  I resumed the morning of errands with my grandfather, lunch, nap/molesting, afternoon with my grandma.

I should add here that my mom's pregnancy had been really rough.  My sister was much bigger than my premature brother or me; I was just petite.  My sister had about 2# and 3 1/2 inches on me and was approaching 3x my brother's weight and 5 1/2 longer.  And she was full breech but the dr. never told my mom.  So my mom spent the last month or so in horrible pain with my sister's butt engaged in her pelvis, while managing a toddler and a freshman in high school and working.  Then my sister was born without any interventions except a double episiotomy (no clue how to spell that).  It was a very rough birth and she signed herself out of the hospital 24 hours later because of me and Christmas (and my brother but he understood).  I made her life miserable during the time she wasn't allowed to climb stairs after the birth because nobody else had ever, once, put me to bed or read to me.  I think my brother (who had read to me) had to do that part because my father had no idea.  I have never cried like I did that first night.  I knew my sister's crib had been moved downstairs and that mommy couldn't hold me but not that she wasn't going to be upstairs when I needed her.

I got past that finally and don't remember my mom's maternity leave at all.   I remember my sister as a new arrival and then not as much for a while, then more when she disrupted the routine at my grandma's. The point of all that is my mom physically was in a rough spot to go back to work at 12 or less weeks and then because she did all parenting she was getting up at 5 (presumably after feeding my sister in the middle of the night), getting up up, fed, dressed, me to the potty, etc.  (Interject funny story:  My niece is fully potty trained for BMs and pee is hit or miss.  She's been trying underwear a few days lately.  She was playing in a puddle from pouring her water table water over my feet b/c I needed a bath and suddenly looked up and said "splashing in pee puddle?"  hehe).  Then she had to make 3 lunches, load us into winter clothes and drive 20some minutes to my grandparents, unload us, say goodbye, work all day, and spend the evenings doing baby and toddler care and being involved in my brother's life as well.  So stress seemed to make perfect sense.  But it started to get very apparent she wasn't holding up well one week and that Friday she left work early and took us home, saying it was nerves.  (I have no memory of this time period).  My father stopped in that night and told my grandparents that my mom was considering taking a leave for the rest of the year, possibly not going back at all, and that they were considering moving several hours away, closer to my mom's sister.  As far as I can tell my father did not speak to them again for several months.  I suspect that there was an unspoken time he pulled his father away during that visit as someone had to confront him.  Dr. Mind believes that both my parents were possibly sexually abused; he nearly certainly was and my mother behaves like she was too.  I don't know most of her family so I have no idea what lurked besides alcoholism.  That would make this all harder and explain their ineptness.   His birthday was in the midst of the turmoil and it wasn't celebrated which was very atypical as well; I have a feeling my announcement may have been his birthday gift.  And we never made a huge fuss about his birthday again.  So maybe they wrecked my birthday for me but I think I ruined his.

The following Monday my mom didn't go to work.  That afternoon she called to tell my grandma that she had hired a babysitter to watch us at our house starting the next day.  My grandmother wrote a page that showed her love for me so very strongly.  She wrote that she cried and my mom cried and then my mom came in and they cried together.  They cried together I am 100% sure because my mom told my grandma what was going on.  The diary that day is full of shock, but none that shows why.  Yet reading that diary I noticed that if I wasn't there my grandfather took a nap per the diaries.  If I were there a different word was used.  I even know how she avoided knowing, sort of.  She knew but kept herself distanced in her sewing room which there is no way would have captured sounds from where I was.  She had reasons to be there, she made extra money sewing so while she was avoiding it it's not like she was listening as I have always thought/feared.  I can't explain my relationship with my Gram but it is hard enough to know that she let me be hurt because until I realized that about 2 years ago I thought she was nearly perfect.  Obviously not perfect but in some important ways she's who I want to be.  I spent so much time with her when she was sick and dying, and when she was dying she was on morphine and had been non-responsive for several days.  I came in, took her hand, and said Hi Gram, it's Jen.  (I nearly typed Just Me :).  I had been making a point of praying when I came in so you imagine how I jumped when she opened her eyes and started talking to me.  That's another story (an amazing evidence of Heaven if you remind me to tell it) but she made it extremely clear that she was getting closer and closer to Heaven, that she was happy, and that it was something she was looking forward to.  Then she had some words only for me, and made sure I knew where my graduation gift (used towels, but she had been basically comatose).   She and I were so close and I have trouble believing she took part in the conspiracy that led to awful things happening to me.  It's not fair as I'm angry at virtually all adults involved but her.

Anyway, my parents thought that this protected us.  I think they may really have believed that words could be enough.  I think the new babysitter, a WONDERFUL older woman we both loved, was aware of what happened to me; she was very sensitive with dressing, pottying, etc.  The reason I think they felt their words were enough is that 3 days later I was back to stay and was alone with my grandfather for hours.  My sister was not left there again until she was about 6 months but the restrictions were easier to enforce with her and I don't think she had nearly the alone time that I had.

This diary was a gift.  Dr. Mind believes it was both written as a gift by a woman who knew I'd need to know someday (if I asked anyone questions it was probably her) and that her insistence that I inherit the diaries did not stem from the hours we spent reading them when chemo was making her too tired to read for herself, he think she knew I needed that week of entries.  I hope he's right.  That kind of makes up for anything she didn't do because writing this was a risk.  Also, she usually stopped writing for weeks or months when something horrible happened and this time she kept on going, often about missing me (and my sister but she's only had my sister for maybe 3 weeks and me for years and my sister was still in the eat, sleep, cry, poop stage).  And again she may have let me know how much she missed me as a way of saying sorry.

The diary also showed something.  My parents kept my past from me despite the high likeliehood that I'd have problems and my clear issues with the opposite sex.  I had a boyfriend for a few years in high school and it's possible that they thought this meant I was ok.  Which is why I've had one boyfriend touch me (put his arm around me for a picture) and one tried and was punched.  They showed anger.  Not the way that would have been best, but in attempt that was in line with the desire to protect me from questions or even court, that nobody would have believed me anyway because of my age, and
criminal action would have meant I grew up with everyone knowing and being "that poor girl, she'll never be normal".  I do not believe they did the right things, and I think they ignored huge clues as well as signs it was continuing and signs that I was psychologically in trouble.

But something happened.  My father stood up for me.  That happened once in my life and I didn't know it until Saturday.  My mother and grandmother cried together I assume in sadness for me and in  helplessness.  My mother (and father since he helped decide) almost quit working to protect me.  And they somehow procured a sitter with no advance warning (easily done in a small town) and she was the perfect one for me then.  The next one was also wonderful to me.

Another thing that I have learned from this out of thin air diary and the one that follows it:  My father had a friend.  I'd forgotten that.  Actually he had 2 friends.  He participated in a club and was quite active and had lots of not as close friends there.  I don't remember when that changed.  But it's good to know that he did have a period of social skills good enough to have friends.  I even remember them.  My parents also got along very well with our 2nd non-family sitter and my father did some carpentry work and other stuff for them, probably in trade for sitting.  They came to a picnic at our house and everything.

I still am broken in ways that probably won't be fixed.  There is no reason to work at it and if there is one then we'll handle it.  For now I'm ok there, just knowing that I don't want to try to fix it.  My parents still betrayed me and soon we'll move on to they abused me.  I still need to learn feelings.  I think that I need to be able to read this with expression and am going to ask if that's what I can work on while Dr. Mind is away.  The nice thing is that this  time through because of the diaries and how hard I worked writing I think that the only memories left hidden are the ones I should never, ever know.  I will never fully understand the decisions of the adults in my life.  I will never know why me although I think that several factors came into play.  I think my grandfather was always molesting someone and I was little and incapable of fighting when he needed a new victim.  I was available.  And as a bonus I couldn't run away or tell because I was a baby.

It is very hard for me to see my niece and all this sparkly personality and her trust of her family and her love for us.  The worst thing that has ever happened to her is my sister raised her voice she she was driving and my niece bit me so that I couldn't extract myself.  Oh, and she fell in the creek and her daddy immediately rescued her.  I didn't get to be that kid.  She's 23 months today.  At that age I knew things and had experienced things that someone my age shouldn't have to know or experience.

It is still horrible.  But this blessed gift of a diary told me what nobody else ever has.  My grandma died just over 18 years ago.  This was her gift to me, not the towels she told me about.  Especially since cleaning the bathroom buried in those towels was my cousin's gay porn.  I doubt that was intended to be part of the gift although my mom and I had a good laugh about my grandma's curiosity and if she'd ever seen this and then shoved it back.  Nobody will ever know unless a diary entry has huge hints.

The biggest thing is that I am finally able to work on shifting from being so angry to knowing that even though it seemed like nothing happeneId (made worse because he was very cruel after I told knowing that was against the rules), a memory confirmed by what my grandma wrote (again I thank God because I NEEDED to know my memories weren't crazy.  Instead I have found accuracy, over and over.)  And at least there was anger and there were tears.  It finally feels like someone cared enough though they were clueless.  Which isn't even their faults; that is how my part of Appalachia was in the 70s and even now; family secrets stay in the family.

Ok, bedtime (ha, pretend bedtime) for me.  I have Dr. Mind and some running around to do tomorrow.  Yogurt and watermelon must be purchased.  I finally made my own version of cat food and she ate a bunch but I need some bland foods.  She clearly is still nauseous.  I need to call in about that too.  She's getting enough and behaving normally to more than normal (wants held a lot) but she isn't all better. I do know that this is not the end.

What a week.
Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com


Anonymous said...


I read your entry twice already and am still trying to wrap my mind around all that happened to you.

The things that stick out to me, if I am reading corrctly, is that your mom and dad DID take steps to get you out of the situation with your grandfather. I can only think this must be some kind of relief/validation for you(?) It's important to realize they actually did something, isn't it?

The other thing is that it seems like such a relief to you to know that your memories are accurate and make sense. From what you write, this realization seems important.

I am curious if you have talked to your mother about this. Or, if you ever will.

"Broken in ways that probably won't be fixed." --- I think we all are broken to some degree. Maybe the trick isn't to "fix" (?) I don't know. I am just glad to know that you are at an OK place right now. You actually sound a little relieved.

Have the discoveries you've made and working with Dr. Mind helped to lessen your PTSD symptoms? Can you sleep better? Eat better? I sure hope so!

Glad that your cat is on the mend. You didn't need to deal with that right now.

I don't know what else to write. I am overwhelmed with this information, but it does seem it was healing for you. Your Grandma did give you a gift in those diaries - and once again, God's Hand leads you on the rainbow path.


Just Me said...

Becky, no I will never talk to my mother about this again. When I did when I was 22 it took me a year to be able to talk to her normally again. There is so much of this that really happened versus what happened in her mind. I am willing to say that they tried, but they did a great deal wrong and she doesn't see that. And really, knowing more can only hurt her. Dr. Mind has mentioned having her come to a session to talk about my anger at her but I will not do that either as 50 minutes of agreeing to whatever Dr. Mind says won't make her think differently. And honestly I don't need her input. It just confuses me because in her version many things that did happen don't. In her version I didn't think at 3 or 4 years old that I had to protect her by keeping horrible secrets.

Basically neither of us needs the pain. I have always felt this was my secret. Sometimes that was bad, but it helps to feel control when I own it. Control is something I desperately need after those experiences.

But who knows? If she is 90 and asks I'll answer. Mostly though it is a secret that only a few members of hte family know although many suspect.