It is Monday evening. I want to treat myself to some food that I really enjoy because I was rewarding myself for going thru some really tough stuff this past few weeks. Besides that, I am having dental surgery the next day and probably won’t have a good meal for quite some time.
I picked a restaurant that’s very well known in the south for Chicken N’ Dumplins. It sounded so good and so comforting. I knew it would transport me back to being at my Grandmother’s house as a small child. We used to tease her because occasionally one of us would get a bone in our bowl and we would joke with her about trying to kill the grandchildren.
Anyway, I stepped into this restaurant, which also has a small store attached to it, and started to look at all the cute things that they sell.
All of a sudden, off to my left, I hear a voice. It is my cousin. She is with my aunt (her mother) who is the wife of the uncle who abused me as an early teenager for 2.5 years. I haven’t seen them since my mother’s funeral two years ago, and it had been 5 years before that. At the funeral my aunt put on a good show in front of everyone of pretending to like me and be interested in my life.
Anyway, my cousin says in a loud voice, “Hey, we know her!” I gave a slight smile because I literally was frozen. My aunt replied in a downward tone, “yeah!” and at that moment she turned her back towards me. She looked at me with true disgust. She looked at me with hate. This is the only one of my abusers that my family knew about, and they all supported him. Apparently, at 12, I led him on, and he could not turn down my advances. (That is the story that was told by him.) Back then, this excuse was acceptable and something that was used quite often by child predators. My parents were angry at him, but also told me that I must have enjoyed it, since I did not tell them.
When she turned her back to me in the restaurant that night, I turned around and ran out the door. I couldn’t breathe. I got in my car and screamed, “Why God?”, over and over. After a few moments, I started by car and drove about 3 hours to literal nowhere. Running away or “getting lost” is how I have dealt with fear in the past. Also, if I can get a separation from something that has hurt me, I won’t feel the feelings. I will be able to numb and move on.
I was angry. I was hurt. Why did God allow this chance encounter? We don’t even live in the same city. I tried and tried to reason it out in my head. It has taken me a few days to gather my thoughts and try to regroup. In the middle of all of this, I have had some pretty awful dental pain and trying to work as well. I needed to understand the purpose of this encounter.
As a victim of child sexual abuse, trying to make sense of things is a big theme in our lives. Especially if the abuse came from a beloved family member, and the abuser gets the support of the family. The child victim is outcast because he or she has made waves in the family and has caused the family to have public shame. As a result of this, the child is constantly questioning his or her own self-worth. There is no longer a sense of family safety and the feeling of belonging.
On Thursday, I had a session with Mrs. A, and tried to explain to her what had happened. I told her I was angry and upset with God. I told her that there was no purpose in that encounter except to humiliate and embarrass me once again. She said that the encounter definitely exposed an area in my life that still needs some growth. She said that I haven’t yet admitted or discussed the feelings I have towards those family members. For me, forgetting them and moving on was how I dealt with it. Isn’t that what everyone always says? “It happened so long ago. Get over it!”
The truth is that I haven’t dealt with those feelings. I avoid anything that has negative feelings. I avoid anything that may make me cry. I avoid things that make me angry.
Another big theme in my life is having fun or a good time. I get aggravated when people seem to be in a bad mood and act as if they hate their life. I also may be having fun and enjoying my life, but inside I feel like a fake. Like if anyone really knew who I was, they would be disgusted with me, too.
As therapy is ending, I told Mrs. A that I’m so confused. And she asked me what my confusion is about. My reply was this: I don’t understand God. I don’t understand life. I don’t understand why I disgust my aunt, but her child molester husband is adored and loved. How does a woman get to a point in her life where being secure with a husband is more important than the 3 children who were victims of your husband? (by the way, that is 3 publicly acknowledged victims, but probably many more).
I’ve been thinking so much this week about what I need to learn from that encounter and where I’m at in this whole healing journey. I beat myself up for reacting the way I did. It is embarrassing. I’m an adult but at that moment felt like that 12-year-old child. I felt all the shame and disgust of those past days. I definitely did not make the right decision by avoiding all the feelings. The question is, how do I suddenly allow those feelings in and not be scared to death of being overwhelmed and consumed by them.
That night, my aunt and my emotions were too close for comfort.
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.