Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Winning the Fight only to Lose the War

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This site here talks about the staggering statistics of sexual assault, child sexual abuse and more http://realitytesting.wordpress.com/2007/04/23/speak-out/ . The writer also talks about her own abuse and how she told her mother, but her mother lived in denial. My mother did the same thing. I was given a choice - to go live with my father (whom Mom left for being physically abusive) or stay and be quiet. She did make my abuser (her then-boyfriend, later husband) get some "counseling" - about 2 sessions worth and he didn't lay a hand on me again, although the other inappropriate conduct continued.

My parents had a pretty nasty divorce. There were domestic violence reports, restraining orders, nasty phone calls, "mediation" sessions we had to attend, counseling sessions we kids had to go to, and even some talk about our speaking with a judge. If the abuse had come to light, my mom would have lost a lot. She would have lost custody, for sure. She would have lost her boyfriend, her monthly child support check, her lifestyle, and her dignity. She liked to wear the label of "mom" even if she did nothing to earn it. So in convincing me to stay quiet, she won the Fight.

The writer on the link (above), says, "My mother had a lot to lose, if the things that seemed to be happening to me were really happening to me. Ironically? It’s thirty years later now, and it seems she lost everything anyway…including every ounce of self-respect she might have ever possessed. Odd, how it worked out that way." It is the same for my mother.

My Mom may have won the Fight, but she lost the War. She is pitiful now. She has no self-respect. She lives with a husband that she can't take anywhere. At family gatherings and reunions, she has to make up excuses as to where he is (if we kids attend) or where we are (if he attends) because Sister & I refuse to go if he is there. Mom lives with an alcoholic who does little to support her financially, emotionally or in any way. They've lived like roommates, in separate ends of the house, for years. When Sister asked why she stayed, Mom said because "she's comfortable." Mom doesn't often get phone calls from Sister and I - we're concerned Toilet might answer the phone. She'll never get a phone call from her grandkids. Pictures of the kids are restricted - no naked baby shots ever get sent to her. She isn't allowed to be left alone with her grandkids. No babysitting for her. She gets to visit so infrequently that the younger grandkids don't even really know who she is, or care about seeing her.

Mom fought so hard to keep things "hush" because she was afraid of losing her family. Well, guess what mom - you did.


Lynn said...

Ok, Enola. This is not something I've addressed directly in the open on my blog because it still makes me so sick with guilt... I was with a sick abuser. This was what I was used to. I had never known anything else. I didn't know that I was not the only person being abused. When I found out, I completely flipped out, beat the shit out of him, called the cops, got permanent restraining orders and sued him for everything he had and won. Nobody touches my kid or they will by-god deal with me and they will LOSE. OH MY GOD how they will lose!!!!!!!!

All of this happened immediately when I saw him doing that. Immediately. Even though I knew we would be penniless. When I left him, I had no idea that I would be able to successfully sue or find any means of reliable support.

Still, I often feel like garbage, lika a horrible mother. My friends did not like this man. He was a creep. This was what I was used to. Sometimes I feel like what happened was all my fault. The truth? I was pretty dissociated a lot of the time. Of course my ex-husband (who also abused me) was the first to blame me. Maybe there were signs and I should have seen. Well where the hell was everyone else if they "weren't surprised" to learn that he was some sort of dangerous criminal? Why didn't any of these friggin' geniuses call child protective services? Even though I acted when I learned what was going on, I still feel terrible.

I can understand not knowing, even though it still makes me feel like a failure that this happened on my watch. The only saving grace for me and my children were the actions I took when I did find out. I got rid of this sicko in very short order because my children need to be safe and it is my job and deepest heartfelt desire to provide that. That sick, sick, pig! I can't imagine allowing a man to touch me or even occupy my life in any manner after finding out what he was doing. He is lower than dirt.

I'm glad I still have a good relationship with my oldest child, because he needs my support. He is a good person and did not ask for this abuse. He was just a child and this was not of his doing.

I mourn for the day when he resents me for being a screw-up and blames me for failing to protect him. When that day comes, I WILL NOT INVALIDATE HIS FEELINGS TO PROTECT MYSELF! Still, I dread it.

Oh, Enola, I have come from the darkest depths of hell, but I couldn't abandon the soul of one of my precious babies.

I'm sorry for ranting on your blog. I don't even remember what my point was or how it related to the post. I'm sorry.

Lynn said...

Enola, I don't know what came over me to rant like that. Guilt, anger, anguish, sorrow... so many things. But just for the record -- I was in no way defending your mother. It was wrong that she silenced you and made you live with him. I know what it's like to live in fear. I guess I was defending you, even though some may see me as in the wrong for bringing an abuser into my life.

I wish I could roll back the clock for you and descend upon the Toilet and mop up the floor with him the way I did with Dirtball. I wish so many things...


Enola said...

(((((Lynn)))) Don't apologize for what you wrote. And I didn't for one moment think you were defending my mother. Hell, not only did I TELL her what happened - she knew before that about some of the innapropriate conduct. UNLIKE you, she did nothing. That's what makes her evil.

You protected your child. You wrote, "When I found out, I completely flipped out, beat the shit out of him, called the cops, got permanent restraining orders and sued him for everything he had and won." When I read that sentence, I said "YOU GO GIRL" really loud. My husband looked at me a little funny, but he's sort of used to my talking to my computer screen by now.

You didn't "bring an abuser into your life." He weaseled his way in, taking advantage of you in ways only an abuser can. I am glad that you have a good relationship with your son and I pray it will continue.

Rant, write, whatever any time. You can also email me at enolasemail@gmail.com (and please don't take this comment to mean that you can't comment here - I love your comments. I love your blog).

Lynn said...

Thank you for your understanding and acceptance, Enola. It means a lot to me.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Thanks for sharing your story. We can all have a part in losing the stigma and silencing the shame when we take part in this. I know it's painful and it takes a lot of courage. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Mothers who fail to protect their children from sick, vile,disgusting animals who prey on children are EVIL. Total sickening EVIL. I don't care what people say or make excuses for the sorry excuse of a mother who KNOWS that her somebody is sexually abusing her child and does nothing about it or denies. To every mother out there who has done this or is doing this GO TO h$LL.

Angel said...

This is a great post, Enola.

I find her behavior odd but consistent. She chose him over you and your sister then--no matter what it cost you--and she still has to choose. And she is sticking by her choice of him, no matter what it costs her. Somehow I find that comforting. Just as she chose your hell, she has chosen hers and isn't trying to relieve herself of her choices. (She may try to excuse them, but you know better.) Co-dependency in the dictionary might have her picture.

I'm so glad that you and your sister will not allow your children to be alone with her. She won't be able to manipulate your children that way.