Posted by: Marie | August 12, 2012

(688) The value of me – Part 3 of 3

Post #688
[Private journal entry written on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 10:00pm – continued from previous post]

When Caleb returned to our conversation, we switched to talking about his childhood. His dad and my mom are siblings, so I was interested in learning what parenting habits were passed from our grandparents to our parents. I asked Caleb how he had been parented . . . how he had been disciplined . . . if his dad used violence to control him . . .

Caleb told the story that, one time, he (Caleb) hit his sister and their dad turned around and hit Caleb while saying, “You do NOT hit people!” Caleb turned back around and asked why it was okay for their dad to hit Caleb but not okay for Caleb to hit his sister . . . their dad didn’t have a good answer . . . and that was the one and only time their dad hit any of the kids. So . . . bottom line . . . there really was not an environment of physical abuse in Caleb’s childhood home.

That let me know that the violence in my childhood home likely came in through my dad’s legacy . . . which makes sense since I know for sure my paternal grandfather was physically violent. But it also told me that, for whatever reason, my mom brought her position of powerlessness and no voice into my childhood experience – that seems to be what she learned from her parents.

Photo by Martin Chen

I told Caleb and Nell about the physical abuse I experienced as a kid . . . and how my dad demanded compliance and perfection. I shared how the rape fantasies I had as a kid were the absolute opposite of what my dad demanded of me and, therefore, I came to believe I was a really horrible person – that my parents could never love me if they really knew what was going on inside my mind – that God could never love me because I wasn’t able to keep from thinking sinful thoughts . . .

And, I explained that my dad had quit touching me in affectionate ways once I hit puberty because he didn’t want to be inappropriate with me. That caused me to start believing I was untouchable – that my sexuality was disgusting.

Both Caleb and Nell expressed compassion and empathy for my experience, and they expressed anger that my parents had not supported me in the way I needed to be supported in the wake of being molested at such a young age. Their response was shocking to me . . . it shocked me that they would place the responsibility on my parents and on the guy who molested me rather than on me . . .

Of course they placed the responsibility where it should be placed . . . and not on child-Marie . . . but, I guess I subconsciously expected them to do what my parents did (place the blame on me) because they come from the same cloth (gene-wise and religion-wise). But, they didn’t do what my parents did. They did what Edward does.

It just shocked me . . . it is something I guess I’ll just have to get used to since I’m starting to hang out more and more with people who think like Edward thinks, LOL!

Anyway . . . back to the conversation with Nell and Caleb . . .

I shared with them that my mom had also been physically violent a few times, but that I think it was likely because she was trying to deal with the stress created by my dad . . . maybe because of the pressure he applied on our family to be such a “good” family, or maybe it was because of financial issues . . . who knows . . . I was hoping Caleb could provide some insight into all of that, but he said he didn’t really know anything that would help.

Towards the end of the conversation, I thanked Caleb and Nell for setting aside this time for me . . . that it is such a positive experience to feel this connected with members of my family . . . that I’m not finding that sense of connection with my siblings.

When Nell asked why I didn’t feel connected with my siblings, I told her that I don’t feel I can share this journey with them because, in my gut, it feels like they think I wasn’t really molested . . . that I’m having false memories. But, there is too much evidence that says otherwise . . . but I think it is difficult for my siblings to imagine that something that horrid could happen in our family.

After a while, bedtime rolled around . . . we all started yawning. We decided it was time to head off to bed. I said “good night” to them and went into the “girls’ bedroom”. And here is the humorous situation I discovered in the “girls’ bedroom” . . .

All four of Nell and Caleb’s kids are tall . . . even the girls are about a foot taller than me. So, their youngest child (one of the girls) requested a custom-made bed for Christmas one year. Caleb is a master carpenter and owns a commercial cabinet shop, so it was easy for him to fulfill that request . . .

The bed sits relatively high – it is a twin bed – and it has some drawers built-in underneath and a trundle roll-out bed built-in underneath. The trundle bed is intended as a guest bed (or for when the older daughter comes home to visit).

The main bed was made up so invitingly for me . . . big fluffy pillows and a soft, handmade quilt . . . I got ready for bed . . . and climbed up onto the bed . . . or, rather, I tried to climb up on the bed . . . but it was way too high for me to be able to get a knee up on the mattress.

So, I tried a little hop . . . and slid right back off . . . I tried a bigger hop and grabbed onto the far side of the mattress with the idea of pulling myself onto the bed . . . but the far side of the mattress lifted into the air and I – along with all the pillows and the quilt – slid off onto the floor . . . the mattress banged back down, into its rightful place . . .

As I put the bed back together, I was giggling so hard I was afraid I’d bother Caleb and Nell . . .

Finally, I pulled the chair from the desk over to the bed and climbed up on the chair and onto the bed . . . finally . . . sweet success! LOL

Then, I realized I hadn’t turned off the overhead light . . . but I was a pro at this point . . . I climbed down, turned on the night stand light, turned off the overhead light, climbed back up the chair / bed combination . . . and now I’m relaxing and catching my breath . . . I’ll see if I can turn off my brain and get some sleep . . .

Good night! Sleep tight!


Responses

  1. A great conversation. Very glad it went well.

    I’m picturing the struggle getting in to be (I’m about 5’2″)

    • Hey, Evan –

      So, we are very close to the same height . . . you may have had the same struggle!

      Thanks for the positive words!

      – Marie

  2. This just gets better and better! I’m so glad that your positive risk in reaching out to your cousins was so richly rewarded, and that at this point you started to experience the miraculous truth that authenticity attracts authenticity. When you own yourself and show up with your truth, it’s amazing how real and truthful people show up as well. Which is not in any way to suggest that you were being untruthful before — but you weren’t allowing the real Marie, with all her lovable vulnerability and courage, to show on the surface. One of the best and hardest lessons we learn in therapy is that our defenses keep us isolated, and that putting them down, horrifying and terrifying though that is, allows us to be seen by the people who are looking for us.

    • Hey, David –

      It was a most wonderful experience . . . almost dream-like!

      This was the beginning of my reaching out to connect with carefully selected people . . . and that opened my world up way beyond my therapist’s office.

      Thanks for your continued interest and input!

      – Marie


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