Content: Discussion of childhood sexual abuse. Processing a life of lies and abuse that leaves us unable to connect to others. Being raised by a female sadist.
I hung up from my therapy session and tossed it out of my head. These sessions have been too hard to deal with.
The main thing I got from therapy was that I am able to stand back and look at a person’s track record and see that person as multidimensional instead of having just one characteristic. The reason that’s important is because it makes me better able to see myself as the sum of my experiences without defining myself by just one.
If you ask me, my mother was primarily an abuser. She was a self centered, me first, sadistic abuser. If my mother was an abuser, what does that make me? The immediate answer is, guilty. Was I guilty of being bad and that’s why my mother abused me? Can I really back up that claim? Even if my heart fears I am bad, I know for a fact that being abused had nothing to do with who I was as a child or who I am as an adult. My heart can deny that truth but it still stands firm that it was about her needs not my behavior. No matter who was born to that household, they would have been abused.
My mother started on us very, very early. I was there to witness how early she started on my brother. I know the problem was her. Even if I was a willful child, it doesn’t excuse abuse. Even if I was an angry child, it doesn’t excuse abuse. I was a child just like my sister and my brother.
In therapy we talked about how other children spoke openly with me and my sister about abuse by an adult. How did they know it was okay to talk to me or my sister? It was almost as if abused children saw a beacon and instinctively knew they wouldn’t get in trouble. There were countless times I was sexually active with those girls who talked to me about their abuse. My mother was well aware. This was as early as the second grade.
No one can be as abused as my siblings and I were without needing medical attention. Often times we moved to throw off officials. When officials got involved we were ready and well trained to answer their questions. We were ready to stick up for our mother and turn things around on the social workers. We were instructed on where to sit in the social workers office so that it was the three of us facing her almost like a panel. The social worker sat alone with no one on her side. The mother wanted a visual statement that we stood firm as a family and they couldn’t break us up. “I’m the only person in the world you can trust,” my mother said.
The mother had us trained perfectly, yet we were wild flowers. We were off the charts sexualized. There was a girl in the 2nd grade I wouldn’t touch because when she had her pants off I saw that she had an STD. We were all over the place yet refined enough to put up a show of perfection and privilege. She ate it up when people commented on our appearance, our speech and our conduct.
Living a life of lies and deceit stunted my ability to connect to others as living, breathing, beings. I learned that everything is false, nothing is real. People weren’t who they appeared to be. Reality was that I could be abused, then two hours later I’m sitting at the dinner table laughing with my abuser as if nothing happened. There was no time to do anything but shove it down. I learned through repetition that basic desires could be filled without concern for the other person’s needs. I saw others abused in my family and knew to act like it didn’t happen. Even while hearing the abuse in the other room, everyone acted like nothing happened. That’s what abuse taught me. That was my first education. Then, at a critical point, someone challenged that way of life. Had I not been put on a different road, would you see my name next to the long list of serial killers who grew up just like me but never got that critical moment to challenge their first education? It leaves me speechless to think how easily things could have put me on that track.
My childhood and young adult life were extreme, but not unique. Countless others lived a well crafted lie and now attempt to see life beyond their first education. To them I say, it gets better, living outside of the lie is worth it.