I don’t think I’ve made it clear that I have spoken of two separate events in my life, thus far. My uncle who molested me, did so over a span of a year or so. It was covert, with his hands where they didn’t belong as I sat on his lap. Yet, it happened in rooms full of people, who seemed not to notice. Perhaps they were uncomfortable, but weren’t exactly sure what was happening. Perhaps, they simply looked the other way. Regardless, he was alone with me one time, briefly. There is something strange about that event, but it eludes me.
In talking with my sister about my uncle, she told me of others who were victimized by him. Everything he did was so sneaky, and nothing violent to my knowledge. It’s so confusing. She also pointed out that when he stopped so abruptly and treated me with indifference and sometimes scorn, it’s possible that someone noticed and told him to knock it off. Children were forced to give affection to adults. I had no right to refuse a hug or a kiss from any adult. It’s not uncommon for people, even in today’s society to allow this forced affection to continue. If I shied away from anyone, the response was the same, “You go give aunt so-and-so or uncle creepy a hug goodby right now!” I was still required to kiss him goodby each time I saw him, and it was always the same. There was whiskey on his breath and he always used his tongue, however discreetly, it was so grotesque.
I had a recurring nightmare when I was a little girl. We were at the neighbors’ for supper. A large platter, like one for a turkey with a big silver cover, was brought to the table. When the cover was lifted, I was on the platter. Knives were being sharpened as I cried out to my mom, “It’s me, Mom. Mama, can’t you see me? Save me!” But I was invisible, my cries inaudible. Just as the knife touched my skin, I would wake. I know now that this nightmare was about the fact that I was being molested in rooms full of people who didn’t see or chose to look the other way. It seemed that children were sacrificed, so as not to ever offend or hurt the feelings of the adults around us.
That uncle died when I was pregnant with my second child. He had cancer, and was in a nursing home for quite a while. I would go with my mother to visit him. I had compassion for him. He was suffering and vulnerable. Perhaps that’s why I was able to forgive him through his death. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, and ultimately a gift to myself.
The long-lasting damage is mine to deal with. The need for approval, for love that never seems to be satisfied, it’s so embedded in me that I don’t know how to repair it, get past it. I turn my back on God, who has enough love for me and adores me. How? My self-destruction has hurt others and myself through the years. Sometimes I feel like I deserve the pain I feel.
I’ve put myself in dangerous places with untrustworthy people so many times. I’ve deemed people harmless, only to find that my trust was undeserved. In high school, I was raped at a bonfire. It was cold and I was not dressed warmly enough. I went with an underclassman, seemingly harmless, to his car to get a coat. He said we could hop in and he would turn the heat on. He locked the power locks of the doors. I knew nothing about power locks as they were fairly new in the automobile industry at that time. I thought I was trapped. He grabbed me by the hair, unzipped, told me not to bite him, and history apparently repeated itself. I didn’t fight him. I froze. I thought it was my fault. Now, with full memory of what had happened to me years before, I understand why I froze. Ultimately, it was truly risk taking behavior. The answer is the same when I ask myself why I’ve taken these risks. I was trying to get it right. I don’t know what that means, I just know that is the answer that comes to mind immediately when I think of myself and others like me. I was trying to get it right. When I figure out what that means, I’ll write about it here. If anyone else out there can explain it, please do!
I continue to seek healing and understanding. There is a local rape and abuse center near my community. The people there deal with trauma every day. I should contact them for help. Timing is everything, and things tend to fall into place the way they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to. I try not to put pressure on myself. I’m trying to be kinder to myself and that little girl who lives on inside of me needing comfort and nurturing. Who better to love and shelter her than me? After all, I know her by heart.