A Head Full of Regret

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Recovery from abuse is a process. It’s like grieving the death of a loved one. Right now, not only am I coming to terms with what happened to me but I am also having to face my own regrets surrounding the abuse and grieving the “death” of my parents. They aren’t really dead but in my heart they are. That part has been hard. When I first sent my mother the “break-up” letter I had regrets about it. It was difficult and took me almost 30 minutes to hit send. I cried and was sad for a couple of days after that until she went public denouncing my brother and I. Then I didn’t feel so sad about it and knew that I did the right thing. Now my regret is the fact that I waited so long to come forward about it. Those that are close to me know that I was molested by my step-father but most don’t know to what extent. I really didn’t talk about it other than just saying that it happened. Just like my mother, I was trying to paint the facade of a functional normal family but I couldn’t keep up the charade any more. This week I have been flooded with questions that I have asked myself. Some of them I disregard because I know that it wasn’t my fault while others I am beating myself up about them a little. Some of the questions are the “what if’s.”

What if I had not lied to DFS when I was little? My parents threatened me and told me that I would be taken away and put in foster care with families that wouldn’t love and would beat me more than I was already being beaten. I realize now that probably wouldn’t have happened. I know now that I have always had a family that loves me and given the opportunity they would have probably taken me in. I highly doubt that any of my grandparents or aunts and uncles would have let me go into the foster system without putting up a fight. So, if I would have just said something, would I have had a better life? Would my brother have had a better life? I don’t know. I was so young that making that kind of decision back then was 100% my mother’s responsibility. I had another opportunity when I was 11 or 12 and again, I was too afraid to say anything.

Why didn’t I cut them off when I was finally and independent? When I was 21, I was finally broken free from them and lived about 5 hours away. I didn’t really speak to them for about a year but it had more to do with my mother trying to control me than about the abuse as a child. I had the opportunity to just say “sayonara” and be on my merry way… but I didn’t. After a while I was still trying to maintain a relationship with them. I think this time it goes back to the fact that I was a Christian and was trying to do the right, Christian thing and that would have been forgiving and forgetting.

I left the confines of religion when I was about 27. At this point, Christianity wasn’t holding me back anymore but I still didn’t change my relationship with my parents. I think that I had just gotten used to what we had and at that point I was married and had our son. I always had that underlying guilt of letting my mother go. She would always ask me, “If I don’t have you, then who can I talk to?!” She always made me feel guilty for not being there for her even though I told her several times that I didn’t want to be her friend. She really had nobody. She had no parents or siblings. She did have a couple of cousins and her aunt and uncle but they were in California and Pennsylvania which wasn’t close enough, I guess. I was conflicted, there’s no doubt about that. I always felt uncomfortable being around Dave or allowing my son around him but I disregarded those feelings by trying to convince myself that he wasn’t a danger to anyone and that my mother deserved to be a grandmother. After writing almost 40 posts on this blog I now wonder what the fuck was wrong with me! Why did I find this relationship necessary? What took me so long to cut them off??

My main regret, right now, is that I allowed this relationship to go on long enough that they became a part of my son’s life. Luckily, my daughter is young enough that she will never remember them but my son is not. Every once in a while he asks when he can call his grandma or when we are going to visit. I just say “sometime” and change the subject. He’s only 7 so he is way too young to share with him. I feel bad for dragging my husband along when I should have been done with this before I got married.

The good thing is that I have so much support from family and friends. I am so grateful for that! I feel like that have spent a lifetime running a marathon, I’m at the last mile and here is all of my family coming out to support me. I guess I could say that I am lucky. I know that many victims of abuse get shunned by their entire family but that’s not the case for me. Instead the perpetrators are being shunned. Sometimes the support is overwhelming but it is what is getting me through. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would have just shoved all of this back down and not gotten the healing that I deserve. The professionals are right when they say that it takes a good support system to heal. Everyone in my circle (and beyond) has been wonderful. I don’t think I have ever felt more loved than I do now! 🙂

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6 responses »

  1. You can’t regret what you are not responsible for. You did all you could to fix your family, sadly, your parents were never as concerned about you and your brother as they were/are caught up in themselves. I am REALLY sorry that they manipulated you consistently and chose not to love you unconditionally.

    • It’s difficult to completely avoid negative feelings or thoughts during the healing process. Good thing I have an amazing support system to keep me going!

      • I’m sorry Julie, I hope I didn’t come across as bossy, I didn’t mean to. I just know what it’s like to regret choices I’ve made, and even choices others made for me year after year. I don’t want you to suffer for things that you had no control over, and other situations that were just merely your response to those injustices. I just want you well, and realize that you are not alone, and the abuse…of all kinds….was never, ever your fault.

  2. I just went through all your posts… And I just to say all the adults that knew the abuse was going on but did nothing to protect you or get you away from it are the ones to blame – mother, grandmother, uncle, aunty, cousin, teacher, neighbour, friend… whoever… but not you. The authorities dealing with such cases must go beyond just asking a child about their abuse in front of their parents, but should conduct physical and psychological examinations of children to rule out abuse. I strongly feel the need for that. As for church and Christianity, all I can say, Jesus is probably crying blood at the way Christians lack love and understanding. How they lack the ability to protect victims or the guts to get out of their comfort zone. Must I add I am Christian. But, I am ashamed of the namby pambiness of most Christian folk. I was told that I shouldn’t help my mom divorce my father even though I knew it was best for her and us. I did not listen to them… And I am glad. I do not care what they think of me. Cos even Jesus says adultery is fine cause enough for a person to divorce their spouse. After much time of being guilty, I came across some wiser, more compassionate and better Christian folk.
    Furthermore, Jesus said forgive, but not forget… Read me clearly – He did not say forget!!! I cannot forget or be forced to forget what has happened. Accepting what has happened, talking about it and being real about it, has helped me heal. The Christians around me have been supportive and have been good listeners and motivators. Some have even chided other Christians for condemning me.
    Jesus never said you have to live with an abuser. Far from that, He said flee from evil and live in peace. Christians themselves twist and turn the gospel without understanding or reading it right. I forgive my abuser, but shall never live with him nor ever spend any time with him. He may or may not have changed, I am not God to change Him or be a facilitator of this change. I pray that God changes him, but far be it from me being in the same room or ever calling or emailing him. My forgiveness is shown in the fact that he is still alive and walks around on two legs. I haven’t hurt him in any way nor intend evil, but I would definitely not condone what he did to me and make it clear that I protest everything he did to me when I was an innocent little child. I do not talk to him, nor act like nothing happened. I did not speak to my own mother for more than a month and made it clear to her that something did happen and I better not be asked to forget.
    Having said all of this, it is your choice to choose Christianity or not, but not all Christians are as the ones you mention in your posts. I am glad to meet the ones who stand with me and have saved me from the pain of my abuser. They ever stand to protect me and have offered me shelter away from my own home if ever I felt threatened. Having said this, the problem is not Christianity, but the inability of Christians to ask for wisdom on how to handle such cases. Reading your story has made my blood boil! I am so sorry you went through this and had no support. I wish you to be surrounded by better people and friends. I would like to personally thank people like your husband and his family for all the support they offer you. It is indirectly help they have rendered to other victims of abuse. Just knowing that there are better people out there is so comforting.
    Hey you know what? Jesus did not come to make all of us preachers, pastors or leaders, but to become whole and healed individuals, who spread love, joy, peace and healing. Strength and comfort as you stay away from your mother. I pray she opens her eyes some day to all the pain you went through. It took some time for my mother to see it, but it happened. I pray you have that joy in your life. To be honest with you, I pray you never have to see or be in the same room as Dave ever! Just like I do not have to be around my brother anymore and that he now lives far away. I have no clue about him and I am at peace. May that peace be yours too. Yes, I am crazy! However, in a good way or at least I think. Let any other Christian sure me for that lol. I really do not care. However, I do care about you and want to see you win. Not only for you, but for me and for us all! You go girl!
    – Hugs and love to you, your husband, kids and supporters,
    Bloggerita.

    • Thank you for reading my story! I have another post soon that explains some of the family’s involvement. Just know that the family that did know did call DFS. Many of them didn’t know until I was an adult. I was visited by DFS twice and went to a psychologist and was coerced to lie everytime. My parents were very manipulative and Dave puts off such a “good guy” impression that its hard for people to believe that he is such a monster.

      Thank you so much for your support!

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