Tag Archive | secrets

Dances With Pedophiles

Get ready for a post full of pain.  I’m angry and hurting and not quite sure what to do with it, or how to find peace again. I’m still struggling with what is right.

I made it to my niece’s wedding. (See this old post )

The day itself was lovely. My niece was so obviously happy and in love, full of hope for her future. It was amazing to share her special day. I just wish I didn’t have to share it with two known pedophiles.  Yes two. This family has two abusive grandfathers, one is my father, and the other is my sis-in-law’s father.

I was prepared for my own abusive father to make an appearance. I was feeling strong and knew I could handle it. I was completely taken aback to see the other grandfather there, and seemingly welcome. Just 2 years ago, he was caught touching a few of my nieces. They stopped talking and visiting at that time. I guess they asked the bride not to invite him, but she did anyway – since the grandfather had never violated her and she had nice memories of him and missed him.

So let’s paint the picture. It was nice small wedding, in a tiny chapel, and then a fairly small reception hall. My own abusive father did not attend the wedding (I personally think he fears the lightning bolt may strike him down if he dares enters a church) but the other guy did – all smiling and proud like he owned the place and nothing was ever wrong. I felt like a hand was gripping and crushing my heart when I saw him there. But I focused on the ceremony and how happy the young couple looked, and how much in awe my own children were since this was their first wedding. (I did not like the old churchy phrases in the vows of her submitting and obeying her husband, but I didn’t dwell on that)

After the ceremony we had a couple of hours before the reception, so we explored the quaint college town. After a stop at McDonald’s, we visited a tiny candy shop with many flavors of popcorn, a cool antique shop, and an art gallery/store with many amazing handmade items like wooden boxes, felted creatures, mobiles, candles, etc. We were all truly enjoying our time there. I was not feeling nervous at that point. (Although the interesting and over-friendly shop owners in the small town made me wonder if I was actually in a Stephen King novel at one point)

We knew in advance that this would be a dry reception and had made the necessary preparations. Hubby bought a dozen little airplane or mini-fridge sized bottles of whiskey. We dosed our sodas before going in, and filled my purse and his pockets with extra bottles. Not that we couldn’t make a few hours without drinking, it was for the fun of it. We felt like we were in college and sneaking a drink became a fun distraction for us. We’d sneak off to the restroom and have a secret shot, and giggle together while the pastor and best man spoke of the evils of drinking.

After the long, way too long, toasts and introductions, I heard a waiter say they needed to make room for a man in a wheelchair. They were making room at the table next to mine, right behind my seat. Yup, you guessed it. In came my abusive father on his motorized scooter, with his mini oxygen tank. His emphysema makes him unable to stand any more. I looked out the window and at my kids across my table as I heard the scooter behind me. I did not turn around. Hubby put his chair closer to mine and sat with his arm around me.

Somehow we had our dinner, with a pedophile directly behind us, and another a few tables away. My daughter asked “Is that Grandpa?” and pointed behind me. I said yes without turning around. She looked away and went to talk with her cousin, completely uninterested in him. My boys didn’t even ask. My youngest doesn’t even know who he is. I felt so good that they would never be a part of his world, never miss him, and never know him. So happy I was able to do that for them. Even if he is still alive, there will be no confusion about wanting him invited to special events.

Then my little guys needed a potty visit. I went with all 3 kids out to the lobby. As I waited outside the Men’s room for the boys to finish up, I saw my abusive father, my brother and his youngest son heading outside. I was curious but not worried since my brother was there. When I got back to my seat, my mom said she overheard my abusive father asking the little boy to go out to his van! She said she told my brother right away and he went along with them. No idea what that was about, and I’m not letting my thoughts wander too far about it. Needless to say that brought me up to high alert level and made me question if we should stay, but everyone else was having a good time, so I should be as well, right?

Dinner was over and the happy couple had their first dance. It was so sweet and tender, I was bursting with joy for them. And then it was time for the father-daughter dance. I saw my brother head out onto the dance floor, but then my mind turned him in to my own father, and I was immersed in a flashback. Instead of my brother and my niece, I saw my father and I dancing at my own wedding. I felt my father’s hand on my back as we danced. I felt the crowd watching us, so few of them knowing our secret. But the ones that did, let me dance with him, so I took my cues from them. And then I was back to current time, the flashback passed, but I was afraid I was going to scream, cry or vomit. I told Hubby I had to get out of there. We rushed out of the room and went to sit in our van for a while. My vision restored, my fear passed, and was replaced with a deep seated anger – nearly rage – that I was out here suffering while the pedophiles were in there having a grand time. So I steeled my nerves, downed another mini-whiskey, and went back inside.

Like anyone raised as prey, the first thing I did upon re-entering the room was locate my children and the two predators. I realized I shouldn’t have left them and felt so guilty. They were fine, more than fine, dancing with their cousins and not even aware I had left the room. My Mom was watching them and motioned for me to join her. I wasn’t ready for that and shook my head as I scanned the room for the predators – the scooter-bound one was taking picture after picture of the children dancing (vomit rose in my throat as I thought about them lustfully viewing those pictures later) and the other was on the dance floor, twirling one of my nieces (She was 18 and seemed to miss her Grampa). Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and only I was suffering or worried. Although I am used to this now, it is still surreal to feel like the crazy one. The only one with problems, why can’t I just relax and have fun? That’s what they say to me, not to let these creeps have power over me, to ruin my day. I tried to eat the wedding cake and convince myself that we were all OK and safe, but it wasn’t working. I couldn’t take my eyes off those men for a second.

My other brother brought his new girlfriend over to meet me, and I cringed. I didn’t want to meet her, and I had no energy left for small talk. She started asking questions and demonstrating ownership of my brother, with her hands all over him, and telling him where to sit and stuff. I don’t like her, and view her as manipulative, though I don’t really know her. But I’m an expert at spotting fakes. I was ready to leave, and about to leave soon, and told the kids just a few more dances. They were having a great time and hadn’t seen their cousins in nearly a year. To them – nothing was wrong. I so much wanted for them to have this wonderful memory and begin thinking about falling in love some day.

But then something was terribly wrong. I felt it before I saw it. The other grandfather left the dance floor, and walked over to one of my nieces (about age 13) that was holding my youngest niece (about age 2) who had fallen asleep in her arms after making her pretty dress twirl and twirl the hour before on the dance floor.  Her grandfather held out his arms and though I could not hear him, obviously asked to hold the littlest one. I watched in horror as my niece easily handed over the tiny sleeping girl and went off to dance, never looking back, never thinking twice, never viewing any harm or threat in the situation.

I lost my mind. It’s a good thing the music was very loud, because I screamed, “Oh hell no!!” and then “I can’t fucking do this any more, I have to get out of here!” and I ran out of the room blinded with rage. Hubby followed me again, made sure I was OK, and then went back in to tell my brothers and my mom.  I paced around the lobby liked a caged lion ready to attack, so full of adrenaline that it felt like my heart was thumping in my head instead of my chest. It took every ounce of energy I had to remain outwardly calm and not cause a scene. I just needed to feel safe, and to know those little girls would be safe.  And to stay grounded in reality. Why was no one else upset? Why?

My brother and sis-in-law were shocked when I went back in there, pointed at the grandfather holding the little girl, and said very clearly, “This is not OK. I can’t pretend that this is OK. I love you, but I have to go now. Please keep your kids away from him. Please.” I walked around the room, fists clenched, my fingernails digging in my palms to keep me grounded and present, and hugged everyone and said goodbye with the best smile I could still manage. Luckily everyone was so busy chatting or dancing, and the music was so loud, I don’t think anyone noticed a problem. It made sense for us to go, we had a long drive home.

I went back out to the lobby while Hubby gathered our kids and belongings. My mom came out to wait with me, and kept rubbing my arm and telling me it was all OK, that everyone was watching the Grampas and no one would let anything bad happen here. She insisted they were safe. Every time she touched my arm I had to control an urge to punch her or her push her right through the door. I was so sickened that everyone was more concerned about appearances, that they actually thought it was OK for that man to hold that sweet little girl. And what about the girls he touched? What were they thinking? I’m sure they were minimizing what happened, and thinking it must not have been so bad if Mom and Dad allowed him to dance with them now. Those mixed messages are so dangerous and can open the door for that man to contact those girls in the future. They listen to him because he is an adult. Even though that teenage niece knew what he had done, she didn’t think twice about giving her little sister to Grampa. It’s just Grampa. Yes he’s weird, but that’s just Grampa.

———————–

And now I’m so confused. I spoke with my brother the day after the wedding, and he said he felt he didn’t have a choice here, not a good one anyway. He said his adult daughter invited the grandparents even though he asked her not to. He said he had everyone on high alert and was shocked at first that his daughter listened to Grampa so easily. But then again we weren’t shocked. Children rarely defy adults, we’re just not wired to do so. He said Grampa was watched much more closely after I left, but that they could not tell him to stay away from the children. They said he is angry and unpredictable and would have no problem making a scene and ruining the wedding. So for fear of a scene, a toddler was held by a pedophile. Because it was ok, calm down, everyone was watching, so nothing bad could happen. Why am I the only one that thinks something bad already happened? Why do they allow these people to control them, to do things they know is wrong, to avoid a scene, and actually protect the abuser? Should they have put their foot down and demanded the Grampas not be invited? And then he said that my own father had no formal invitation, that he showed up anyway. I’m not sure I believe that. I think the young bride acted the same way I did, and wanted an image of a perfect wedding, which for her needed to include grandparents. For me, at my wedding, it had to include my father or I would have had to tell hundreds of people why he wasn’t there, and I was unable to do that yet. My delusional world of denial was the the only thing that kept me alive at that point.

But now, me now, would I have done the same for my own daughter’s wedding? Would I have allowed this man to touch my youngest daughter to keep things going smoothly for my oldest? No. Never. If it were my own daughter in his arms, you better believe there would be a scene. Even if it made me look like the crazy one. Maybe they’d accuse me of being drunk. Whatever. It’s bad enough that these creeps get to enjoy viewing children. No way would I allow them to get within arms reach.

But for them – I played along. I can’t change them, I can’t protect every child, and it isn’t up to me to scream pedophile. No one would believe that charming man, smiling, laughing, and dancing with his grandkids was actually plotting out ways to get them alone. At least this man will go back to his own state and leave us all alone. But I still feel responsible and like I let down my nieces some how. Like I should have done more.

Damn these men for putting this burden on us. Damn them.

 

Drinking and Speaking Freely

I have some friends that I can go pub hopping with occasionally, and the last time I went, something amazing happened. Again. I love these girls.

We were considerably buzzed and found ourselves in a Denny’s at 1am, needing pancakes and chicken fingers. We were talking about random stuff, when one friend told a story about her dad. It was something cute, something sweet that I can not relate to whatsoever. He is a nurturing, supportive dad that actually looks out for her. She may as well be talking about Santa Claus or unicorns, because I have no frame of reference for parents like this.

Apparently the beer buzz made me forget to shield my face from showing the pain, frustration, and general crappiness I feel when others discuss their amazing parents. One of them noticed, stopped talking, and said, “What?” I said “Oh, nothing, just my father is a major a$$hole and has never done anything like that. Your dad is so great!”

And then my heart raced and I felt a little sick. Did I say too much? Will these friends abandon me now like so many others?

But she didn’t even pause, just said, “Ooo, that sucks. Yes my dad is great, don’t know what I’d do without him” and went on to some other story about “shark-nados” some terribly bad show on SyFy.

I was still a little worried after going home that I had said too much, too negative, too soon.

But it has now been almost 3 weeks, and those friends are still calling me, and if anything, we’re a bit closer now. I don’t know. Maybe she always felt this close and the change is only on my side. I always feel like I am holding back a huge part of me when speaking in these small social groups like this.

It felt fucking amazing to let it out. And more amazing still to have this part of me known and – drum roll please – accepted.

I don’t think I’ll ever share more details than that with them, just doesn’t seem to need it. This is enough.

Diagnosis – Biography of my Schizophrenic Brother, Part 7

We now come to the part of this biography, that although expected, is devastatingly sad. The part where we find out my brother, at age 24, has Schizophrenia and will likely never recover.

First I need to back up a bit, to my Junior year of High School, when he was 23. The last post he was still living in CA, still independent, though definitely living dangerously with his choices and affiliations with drug dealers, and using drugs himself.

An update on the rest of my broken family:

My oldest brother got married during my Sophomore year, and I became an Aunt during my Junior Year. I can not recall if my CA brother came back for his brother’s wedding. I doubt it, but I just can’t recall if he was there or not with all the holes in my memory, and not one person will discuss this time period with me to confirm or deny anything. I was not interested in my niece at first, and in fact tried to ignore that I had one. I think I was just not overjoyed at another little girl starting life in my family.

I was still living with my father when school started that year, but at some point my boyfriend that year (who I used to refer to as my First Love although I now know how tainted that love was – this past year has taught me so much about love, that I will now give that title to my husband) gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to tell my Mom about my Dad’s abuse, and get me out of his custody. My relationship with my Mom at that point was non-existent and I wasn’t even sure she would take me in, but she did. And I wasn’t sure I was actually any better off over there. I don’t recall moving out, more holes, but I do recall having Christmas at the apartment that my Mom and the youngest brother shared. Perhaps that is another reason my PTSD flares up and causes me great pain each November, just figured that out as I was preparing to write this post.

But before I moved out, my CA brother came to stay with Dad and I for a bit. He brought his live-in girlfriend too. Our apartment was suddenly very crowded. His girlfriend dressed like Madonna and was a professional groupie and lawsuit fraud specialist – meaning she specialized in falling in various McDonald’s across the country and suing them for fraudulent pain and suffering. She showed me he neck brace. She said it was so easy, and as long as you started a new case in a new state, no one ever looked up that you had done it before. Her Mom taught her how to do this, that is how her mom supported her family. Her appearance was so startling in our little town, her bleached blond wild hair, black lace bustier, low cut super tight jeans showing her navel ring and thong panties, 6 inch heeled boots, and so much jewelry on each finger, wrist, earlobe, eyebrow, toe that she jingled with each breath. And the makeup, all the makeup, wow. This girl was as tacky and trashy as they come, and she tried to become my best friend, or big sister or something. I politely listened to her stories of “banging” band members back stage to get passage on the latest tour bus. She showed me pictures to prove many stories. But she also assured me that life was all done now, because she loved my brother. I did not want her to love my brother, I wanted her to disappear.

At first it was great having my brother there with us, hearing him play guitar and just hang out and play computer games. But I noticed that when I came back from school, he’d still be laying right where he was when I left. He’d ask me to borrow cash for cigs. Told my Dad he was looking for a job and would get his own place soon, but it was pretty obvious he was not trying to get a job. My Dad got angry, and kicked out his good-for-nothing butt, and said not to even call us until he had a proper job, that he didn’t raise any free-loaders. Or that’s what my Dad said he told him. I didn’t get to say goodbye, I just came back from school one day and he was gone, and my Dad was so proud of himself. (Soon after, Dad decided it was time for me to have a “real job”, that babysitting was not enough and he was terrified I might get ideas from my brother’s ways. So he made me a fake birth certificate with our computer and scanner to show me as 16 and not still 15 to start earning some money and not be a loser like my brother. I did start working, and was then required to buy my own clothes, bus fare home from school, and even contribute to household expenses, like using the laundromat and my own medical bills. He often showed me his paycheck and the alimony deduction, and made me feel so guilty for any expense I caused him.)

We didn’t know where my brother and his girl went for quite some time, but apparently they crashed at his girlfriend’s parents’ house for a while, in some Northern state, until the girlfriend completed another lawsuit, and my brother stole a car. Now some of these events may be out of order, but did occur within that year or two. I remember hearing the word felony, and that he won’t get off easy this time, that he crossed a state border with a stolen car. My parents just pretended it wasn’t happening. My Dad felt my brother was getting what he deserved, as he always knew he was good for nothing. My Mom said nothing at all – nothing was wrong. I overheard something about early release if he was willing to cooperate with a halfway home. I had no idea what that was. I thought it was like a free shelter, I had no idea it was a prison, and he was only allowed out to work, which he was for some reason unable to do.

At some point he got out, and he and that girl got an apartment with her latest settlement cash. Here are some other events that may be out of order:

She called the police and had him arrested for domestic abuse on many occasions. We learned later it was when he would try to break up with her (from the girlfriend’s father), and she would attack him, and he would push her away. We learned that SHE actually hit him quite often. You don’t often hear of this, but I do believe my gentle brother never raised his voice, and definitely not his hand at her, and instead fell victim to another abusive relationship. (I now know my first boyfriends were actually toxic, if not actually abusive to me, but we didn’t know better or how to help ourselves)

My brother disappeared. Vanished. Missing. His girlfriend called and said he had not come home or gone to work for several days. She said she called the local police (they were living a few states away from us, not as far as CA, but still very far) but they weren’t helping much because they were so lazy (not because of how often she calls them).

Park Bench

Park Bench (Photo credit: pigpogm)

My Dad, and I think one if not both, of my other brothers loaded in a car and went up to search for him. It took several more days, but they found him. They found my brother sitting alone on a park bench, a few blocks from his home, staring off into space. Sitting in the same clothes he had left in days ago. He did not know who he was or how to get home. He did not know his own Dad and brothers. He was dehydrated, shivering cold, and hungry. I guess he mostly slept in the car, on the long way back to us, but never did figure out who he was or where they were taking him. He just went with them because they asked him to. No fight in him. My oldest brother told me he seemed grateful to be going some where, and acted more like a lost 4 year old than a lost 24 year old.

I was living with my Mom when my Dad came in with my brothers. (I think, real fuzzy about this too, I may have just gone to my Mom’s while my Dad went away to look for my brother depending on the timing) My Dad just said to my Mom, “Here he is. I found your son.” And then he sneered and left, acting disgusted. My Mom tried to hug my brother, but he was not making eye contact with any of us, and instead was staring through us, and laughing. Not a happy laugh, but a disconnected laughing sound that came from a non-smiling face, and empty eyes. I think at first, everyone thought he was high on something, so they just sent him to the couch to sleep it off.

But sleep did not improve him. He was talking and laughing to himself and seemed to be very busy, although he was sitting all alone. He would respond when we spoke to him, but he was also responding to the invisible people he saw and heard next to us. My mom took him to the hospital. They tested for drugs and found him to be clean. I’m not sure how long it took, days I think, with many referrals, many specialists, and many appointments, but one day my Mom came back alone, without my brother, and plopped a huge binder on my lap. Told me that my brother was not well, that he was going to be in the hospital for a while, and that I should read that binder, that we should all read it, but that I could not tell anyone, not a soul, this was not to leave our family. I said nothing, but opened that binder and read the title, “When someone you love has Schizophrenia.” My mom just stood there as understanding crept in my brain, and then must have showed on my face, but she said nothing else to me. She motioned to the binder again, as if begging me to read it, and then left the room. I heard the stifled sobs coming from her bedroom as I sat on the couch with this weight. The binder itself was heavy and imposing on my lap, but it felt like the ceiling was sitting on me, not just a binder.

I read that title again, and immediately thought it was stupid. They had to be wrong. I, like most people, only knew about Schizophrenia as a stereotypical joke. I was in the habit of calling my friends “schizo” if they were acting nutty or two faced. It was part of my teenage vocabulary, like “lame” or “gay”. It didn’t mean anything. And then, all I could think about was one of the terrible poems my Dad had taught me when I was little.

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
I am schizophrenic
And so am I

I remembered laughing at how clever that poem was, because to rhyme, it should have ended with “you” but ended with “I” instead, because obviously schizophrenics think they are more than one person. So clever, so funny. Wrong. I closed the binder as that poem taunted me, pushed it aside, and left. I just could not be in the same place with those terrible sobs and that terrible binder. I don’t remember where I went, probably to the parkway for a drive. I had no friends at that point, everyone had abandoned me when they found out about my creepy Dad. But even if I did, I was forbidden to share this burden and embarrass my brother (or my Mom in reality) any further. So it was one more thing to swallow down and feed my ulcers. I had two actively bleeding by then.

My brother does not have a split personality, or multiple personalities. Instead, he sees and hears multiple personalities all of the time, and can’t distinguish which sounds and sights are real. He lost touch with reality, but he does know he is not one of those voices. His senses lie to him. He hears people talking, and the real ones and the hallucinations all sound the same.

I’ll share more on what it was like for him those first few years of experimental meds and hospital stays, and living and struggling nonstop, 24/7 with this terrible disease in another post.

I did eventually read that binder, multiple times, but just as my family could not cope with my recent news of being molested, I could not cope with this news of my brother not being able to be my brother any more. That there was no hope of recovery-ever, and that managing symptoms would be difficult, if  not impossible. It also said his lifespan would be greatly reduced, and hope for assimilation in any normal lifestyle was severely limited, if also, not impossible.

And so we all continued in our lives, as shells of who we really were, living in shock and denial, hiding our painful pasts, hiding our painful current lives and just trying so damn hard to be OK on top of all the pain and secrets. We all withdrew into ourselves, into our work or studies or boyfriends or girlfriends and had taken the final step to becoming not a family as I now understand a family can be, but separate strangers tied together only by the same last name.

 

Stopping the cycle of Child abuse by Talking about it

(Triggering)

I am finally ready to put into words, an event that rattled my soul last year. I need to talk about it.

Shame. Shame and guilt have been my primary modes of operation for most of my life. Abusive fathers make you feel like everything was your fault, and growing up with that, makes it very hard to let go.

I finally understood it was never my fault once I had my own innocent children. The PTSD attacks from seeing my daughter, who looks just like me, at ages when I could remember some terrible incidents sent me back to therapy. I had been plodding along miserably, but I was so miserable that I was indifferent. I no longer cared about improving life or setting goals. I went through each day like a robot, cooking, cleaning, but remaining disconnected from every human. I never thought to stand up to husband’s verbal attacks. I accepted that he was right, and I just accepted that I was nothing and lucky he kept me.

I had finally gotten my abusive father out of my life, and definitely out of my own kids’ life. But I had never grieved for my lost childhood. I started to enjoy my kids and all the magic they bring. And I cried – cried that I never had that magic.

And then my sister-in-law called me one heart-stopping day, just about a year ago. Her news made me nearly drop the phone and vomit, but as she spoke, I felt my strength, and my mind clearing to help her and my nieces. My sister-in-law’s father had been molesting my nieces. I heard her say this, but it was surreal. How? How could they let this happen?

My sis-in-law had been molested by her father as a teenager. So yes, my nieces actually have 2 grandfathers with sexual abuse in their past. I can’t think too much about that fact, it is just too much to handle. Unlike my decision to keep my dad away from my kids, sister-in-law was still in denial, never had therapy, never healed, and was still in la-la land essentially. And my brother was trying to support her decision, just like my husband had in our early years of marriage when I actually invited my dad to my kids’ birthdays. Why can’t the husbands stand up and say “Hell no, my kids aren’t going anywhere near that monster!” Because they are afraid to lose the wife, and so they go along with unhealthy relationships. Because they figure if we are willing to forgive the man, then they should too. Because they don’t understand the pain and shame we live with.

So my brother thought he was keeping his kids safe all these years, even though they would spend the night at that Grandpa’s house for Christmas. Thought he was watching close enough on each visit. Did not recognize what was happening. Abusive men like that do NOT deserve second chances – they are sick and will repeat the offense. I don’t even give my dad pictures of my kids, as I don’t want to think about his fantasies while looking at them. (He sent me to a photo shoot when I about 11 and put me in sexy poses that I should have known better but I didn’t – I found those pictures still in his dresser drawer when I was 25)

My brother found out the truth by accidentally overhearing one of his daughters talking to the other. They have a huge family, with many many girls. He was just walking down the hall when he heard “Does Grandpa do that thing to you too? I don’t like it”

Now thankfully my brother knew enough to take action and inquire. This could have been innocent, like Grandpa was pinching her cheeks (my kids complain about this by an aunt) or interrupts them while talking, anything, but not in our family. We know the dark side of these men’s minds and what they might do to little girls.

My brother had some uncomfortable conversations with each of his kids, and realized several girls were being ‘groomed’. Which means Grandpa was slowly moving his hands closer and closer and holding it there longer an longer on each visit, and had fondled several girls now. This was bad, but it could have been so much worse. My brother was furious, and I believe may have killed the man if he were in the same state right then. My sis-in-law was devastated and sunk into a deep depression, vomiting each time she thought of it. She blamed herself entirely – and well, I kind of did too. But I also supported her, and answered each phone call to offer my love and advice if I had any. First was – therapy for her, possibly kids too, but she needed it to save herself. I had been where she was headed, and the end result of that much guilt and shame is suicide. Her kids needed her, and she knew this, so she hung on.

Please listen if kids ever say they don’t like Grandpa’s or uncle’s ‘hugs’ or ‘tickles’. True affection is sweet and lovely and never should make anyone uncomfortable. And explain this to kids. Please! Kids are good about telling when someone hurts them, like if Grandpa had hit her, everyone would have known. But kids don’t know to tell about the little snuggles and caresses, because they don’t hurt.

Even with this news, my brother and sister-in-law tried to continue a relationship with her parents. Just like her mom never believed her when she was young, she didn’ t believe it now. My brother thought they should stop visiting, but still could not say this to his wife. Until the next visit, after Grandpa had been confronted, and he of course denied everything, calling the girls silly and everyone overreacting, etc. They went to their house again to “restore a sense of normalcy” in my sis-in-laws words. I was very afraid for all of them, but powerless. Everyone was on high alert, the grandparents were outraged at the accusations.

Thankfully, the oldest son, then about 13 years old, saw the grandpa take a 10 year old sister into his room, and he heard the door lock.  My nephew started pounding on the door and screaming, and got everyone to come running. The grandpa opened the door, and acted insulted that his guests could all be so ‘rude’. My brother got everyone into the van, and they have not returned to that house. I am shaking now to think what my nephew just saved his sister from experiencing.

So why do we put kids in danger like this? Because we have not healed and are still afraid of the abusers. They hold such power over us. So please, stop the shame, stop the cycle of abuse, and talk about it to everyone. One day, when my abuser is dead and I no longer fear him, I will attach my name to these statements. But now, I have to admit I still fear him, and I fear for my children the wrath that could come down on us.

Break the silence. Please.

Mental Illness Stigma – Keeping Quiet about Depression

Cover of "No Talking (Thorndike Press Lar...

(Cover via Amazon) I have to remind myself to keep my own secrets

Today has been slow. Agonizingly slow. Slow to wake up, slow to get up, slow to move, slow to think, slow to speak.

I have not been able to work yet today, but my boss does not know this since I work from home. I do what I can , when I can, and somehow it all gets done. When they don’t hear from me, they assume I am crazy busy. Not just crazy.

I hate that I can’t share my struggle with my boss and coworkers. But I know that I can’t. Another coworker is struggling to recover from surgery to remove endometriosis. We all know the details and have taken some of her chores to lighten her load. Another coworker just returned from maternity leave and has shortened hours. Another coworker has just had shoulder surgery and can only type 1 handed, her load is reduced. We all know these facts and jump in to help out.

No one knows I can barely sleep all night, that I struggle to rub 2 thoughts together, that I sit in a foggy haze all morning, that I can’t understand the request in the email even though I read it a zillion times. I can’t share that I have depression and still have them treat me with respect. Hell, I may even lose my job. If I ever make a mistake, and I do, they wouldn’t just brush it off, they’d blame my depression.

But the good and honest part of me feels like I am lying to withhold this information. I blame the kids for keeping me up all night, that’s why I sound sleepy in the teleconference. I blame the cable outage for losing my documents. I blame my busy schedule for missing meetings, not admitting I just forgot.

They picture me as a supermom, running around like crazy, getting everything done, and squeezing in my work on top of it. They don’t know that most days I have only managed to do the work, there was nothing else.

And then they praise me. What? seriously? Yes, they think I am brilliant, creative, hard working, responsible. Well, I am all of those things, but it is hard to accept compliments when I feel like I am barely doing the minimum requirements. But, even with my struggles, I get things done that others do not. I wonder if they have hidden struggles too?

A coworker was given a project in November, checked on her progress last week, and she had not even started it and never told anyone. I was shocked. They gave the project to me – they know I will do it. I started it, but the tedium is wearing on me, and it sits untouched most days. But I presented the part I had started in the last meeting, and got oohed and ahhed. They love it. They will wait for it. I could have it all done today if I could just focus. But I can’t focus, so it takes weeks, and then I get praised for putting in so much time.

The world is messed up. I just have to shake my head in amazement. But I can play the game for now.

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have you any Friends?

Come on, don't I look loveable?

Possibly just as devastating as being abused, is the social/emotional effects. Some of the effects are real, and some are imagined perceptions of how we think others feel about us, but both are equally painful. Let me explain.

After 16 years of enduring my father’s abuse, I finally was able to get away from him and tell my mom and siblings what had happened. I was never sure if they believed me right away. Everything I thought was so obvious, was only obvious to me, as what he did left no visible marks on my body, only in my soul. It is fairly common for abusers to selct and isolate one child. So asking my siblings to suddenly change their view of how we grew up was a bit too much to swallow. My mom, recently divorced from my father, knew about his darker side, but never knew quite how dark it was or what he was capable of. But my siblings, who suffered mainly from his indifference, not direct abuse, wanted to believe their little sister, but also just could not put this only face on the one they called Dad.

They asked me if they should stop talking to him, throw him in jail, or what? Well, the caseworker assigned to me decided that pressing charges would only cause more pain and never end up with a conviction – my word against his – so he got to go on living his disgusting life in freedom, just without me any more. The question then became, do we invite him to family dinners? Our weddings? Christmas? He’s still our dad. I agreed with them – then. I did not have the strength to do anything else.

So then I thought, if they can pretend, why can’t I? As long as I don’t live with him, he can’t hurt me any more, right? Wrong. Way wrong. His emotional abuse continued for years after I moved out, until I finally made it stop. To this day he still attempts to control, belittle, and discredit me as being a silly girl that exaggerates, even lies, to get attention. I no longer take the bait. It took me having my own kids to realize my true innocence in it all and just how terrible everything he did to me was. Although saddened by it all, I am no longer so emotionally invested. I have moved on. He is like a stranger to me.

But I still have the emotional scars. I will never completely trust anyone. I always look for ways people may be lying or trying to hurt me. I assume others do not like me and have trouble making friends. I am always the first to apologize, thinking I have caused whatever the problem may be. I always thought I was bothering people, so remained silent unless spoken to.

Last night a new friend called me to invite me over for dinner. Not to cook. Not to entertain. (I’m a musician) Not because we are related in some way. But because she wants to spend time with me. ME! I have not had a true friend since I told my dirty secret 18 years ago. I used to say my husband was my best friend, but now I’m not so sure of that anymore for reasons that come out in later posts. My high school friends abandoned me, told by their moms they could not associate with me any more. I agreed, I wasn’t good enough for anyone. I did not make any friends in college or the years after, which again I’ll save for later.

Here is a link to a great psych blog, and article about not fitting in.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/2011/12/feel-like-you-dont-fit-in-learning-to-celebrate-your-secret-self-help-therapy/