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! 🙂