Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Story - Part 3 - Non-Touching Abuse

Part One and Part Two are in prior posts.

In Part Four, I'm going to have to get into the actual touching part, and I'm wanting to put that off a bit. In addition I realized that there are a few things I left off. And the non-touching abuse was just as bad and continued far longer, so it definitely warrants attention. So here is Part Three.

Apartment (cont.).

We lived in the apartment for one year. During that year I started my period for the first time. I had horrible cramps - bad enough to keep me curled up on the couch for days. Mom had always had vicious cycles so she told me it was "normal" and offered ibuprofen with a tiny bit of sympathy. One day I was having a particularly rough time and lying on the couch with a hot heating pad, kind of rubbing my lower abdominal area. Toilet came over and started rubbing it for me.

It made me feel uncomfortable but I didn't say anything. (see this Post for more on this)

Sometime that year, my sister mentioned something disturbing to me. She had left to get on the school bus, but realized she had forgotten something in the apartment. She went back and used her key to get in. Apparently Toilet had woken up and was walking around the apartment naked. Now he and Mom's room/bathroom were at the opposite end of the house than anything else. So no cause for him to be in that end of the house without clothing. Sister said he made some excuse and she just dismissed it. Although she did mention it to me.

At the end of 6th grade we moved into a house and switched schools again. It was okay with me - I hated that school anyway and didn't have any friends there.

This is where my time line gets really fuzzy. I hate not being able to narrow down a particular date or event or time.

In any event, sometime after we moved, life became crazy. My Dad had moved too. He found a girlfriend and she moved in with him. They had a house nearby and Sister and I visited alternating weekends. Dad's house was in our old school district and so we had friends over there too.

Toilet as the Protector

I ~think~ (best as I can recall) that this happened before the touching. Dad was still drinking quite a bit. I had a friend stay the night at his house.

(deleting rambling paragraphs wherein I try to sort out timetable because it drives me absolutely bonkers that I can't figure out when things happened or whether one event happened before or after another - drives me to a panic attack).

Dad was drinking and drove Sister, friend and I home. Dropped friend off. Then took Sister and I home. Somehow Mom and Toilet knew. They came outside and a fight ensued. I don't remember details. But Toilet hit Dad's car with a baseball bat. He was protecting Sister and I. He made me feel safe. It was amazing to have someone stand up for me. This incident stood out in my mind later when I was forced to choose between Dad the drunk, violent one and Toilet the evil sex monster.

Toilet - the Good Side

(wondering why I find myself compelled to put the good stuff first. I know some of it didn't happen chronologically here. A long time ago I didn't want to remember the bad stuff because it made me feel guilty for continuing a relationship with Toilet and my Mom. On the other hand, I feel compelled to post the good stuff so that I feel like I have an "excuse" for letting the abuse go on and not saying anything -- as if to say "see, he wasn't totally an awful person.")

My mom worked odd shifts. She managed a convenience store. Toilet worked as a public transportation bus driver and then a long distance truck driver. Well, except that they both ran this lunch truck delivery service together for about 1-2 years. But in any event, they worked odd hours. My Sister and I were pretty much on our own. We cooked our own meals and took care of ourselves. If we wanted to go anywhere or do anything, we arranged it ourselves. Toilet was pretty good about offering rides places. He was also less strict on what we ate and would let us have the "forbidden" foods and drinks, like Pepsi.

On one occasion I started smoking. I was in middle school at the time. My friend, Sister and I would swipe half-smoked (or whole, when we could) cigarettes and go out in the woods and smoke them. My Mom, who smoked, caught us and decided to get creative with the punishment. She grounded me two weeks and required me to write a 2,000 word essay on smoking. I was a stubborn creature and refused, on principal grounds, to accept the punishment. I stayed in my room for two weeks. My mom informed me that I would continue to be grounded until I had written the essay. I let her know, in no uncertain terms, that unless she was there to babysit me, that I would do what I wanted and that I was not writing the essay. In effect, my mom was "grounded" too. She knew that as soon as she left the house, I would be off at a friends, watching TV or in the pool. She was miserable after 3 days. Toilet came downstairs with a magazine article and told me that he didn't agree with my mom punishing me. He begged me to copy the article and just write something so he could get her out of the house. He tried to intercede on my behalf. In the end, I wrote a "fictional" story about a hypocritical mom who punishes her child for smoking when the mom, herself, smoked too.

The Non-Touching Abuse

I don't remember the first time it happened. Neither my sister nor I can remember it happening in the apartment. But looking back, it just seemed such a way of life. In fact, Sister & I weren't so sure it wasn't "normal." We didn't realize that other families didn't live this way.

When Toilet moved in, Mom became very 'free-spirited.' I was allowed to read her Harlequin romance novels -- the ones she started reading all of a sudden. Dad was not happy and I learned not to bring those to his house. Mom let us listen to any music we wanted. Dad confiscated my Too Live Crew tape because it was too lewd and he didn't think the cover picture was appropraite. Mom let us watch cable TV and any show we wanted. Dad banned Night Court at his house because it was "obscene." Talk about a dichotomy split. It was no wonder these people separated.

Dad was very private. He was never so embarrassed as the time he had to talk to me about buying "feminine products." He would never think to walk out of the bathroom other than fully dressed. In fact, he did not consider it appropriate for Sister or I to walk from the bathroom across the hall to our bedroom, in a towel. At Dad's house, all phone conversations were from the hallway - no phone in our room. No boys were allowed in our bedroom at all. We had to be accountable for where we were and who we were with at all times. Dad was strict on what we ate. We had to have family meals and eat healthy foods. We were required to spend time as a family. For all his anger problems and drinking problems, Dad (in those years) was a pretty decent parent - at least on an alternating weekend basis.

Mom was different. She routinely left the bathroom door open at all times. Walked from her bedroom into her bathroom without clothes. Could not understand why I got so upset when Toilet would play games. Toilet liked to shut the hot water off when I was in the shower -- or just shut the main water valve off altogether. I had to get out of the shower, yell and scream, walk out in the hall in a towel and throw a fit. He thought it was funny. I did not. At mom's house, we had phones in our room and a TV that my sister and I took turns having in our bedroom. My bedroom was downstairs - the rest of the bedrooms were upstairs. I had to leave a note saying where I was, but otherwise did what I wanted. At Mom's house I told her what I was doing - never asked permission. We never ate family meals, and if we did, it was hamburger helper in front of the television. For years the kitchen table held junk or huge puzzles Mom was working on. We had extended cable and no shows or channels were banned. Mom and Toilet's collection of xxx videos were on the night stand in their bedroom in open sight.

Toilet encouraged my mom's openness. When Sister and I would object, he would berate us for being embarrased - it was "just a human body." He talked often about vacationing at a nudist colony. When they later bought property out of state in a rural area and talked about building, he said there would be no clothing requirement. For awhile we went hiking on weekends. One time I turned around to catch him taking pictures of my Mom flashing him. He called me a 'prude' for objecting. Mom said nothing.

On weekends, Mom and Toilet liked to go to the Farmers' Market - a nearby indoor/outdoor flea market. One time Sister and I agreed or were drug along with Toilet. He stopped by the magazine stand. Sister and I were down at one end looking at Teen Beat and Teen magazine. He called us over and wanted to know which porn magazine we thought Mom would like best. Then when we got home, he told us how embarrased he was. He showed us the full spread of the magazine. Apparently the title "men - something" was supposed to denote a magazine for men who prefer men --- not pictures of men for women. In other words, the magazine he thought he purchased for my mother was a magazine for homosexual men. I think Sister and I laughed - what else were we going to do. Again, Mom said nothing.

Toilet hated clothes. We had little money and often our air conditioning unit would break. Even when it did work, we couldn't afford to have it running too much. Toilet walked around in maroon shiny shorts with gold trim. The 70s style short shorts. Nothing else. Or else he wore a maroon bathrobe - the kind that just ties around your waist. Nothing else. To this day, I refuse to allow my husband to wear bathrobes, and hate to be in the presence of any male in a bathrobe, no matter what they are wearing underneath. I'm also not particularly fond of the color maroon on men.

I can't remember there ever being a first time - it seemed to always be happening. Toilet would sit cross-legged or one leg propped up on the couch or chair. He would hang out of his shorts or bathrobe. Other than the porno magazines and my baby cousin, I had never seen a naked man before. I found myself ashamed and curious at the same time. Compelled to look, yet disgusted. I confirmed with my Sister that I wasn't seeing things. My mom was in the same room when this would happen. Often we were all watching TV. Other times Toilet would walk out of the shower or bathroom with his bathrobe on, but hanging open and then say something like "oh sorry, didn't realize any one was around." Mom never said anything.

Once he determined that nothing would be said, Toilet progressed to fondling himself in the open. It was a non-stop, continuous thing. The comments started then too - inappropriate comments to my sister and I. Comments about things he and Mom did or things he saw. Comments about women on TV. Comments about me developing and that I was "built just like my mom." Mom and he started drinking more about this time too and most of the "family time" was spent downstairs in our basement rec room. There was a full bar down there, complete with beer keg. One day I was in my room reading one of Mom's harlequin romance novels. I ran across a word I had never seen before. Mom always encouraged us to read for context clues and, if that failed, to look the word up in the dictionary. It wasn't in there. So I went out and asked my mom what it meant. I didn't say it correctly. Toilet finally figured out I was asking what "masturbate" meant. He laughed hysterically and gave me a crude and detailed definition. I was so red with embarrassment. But at least now I had a name for what he was doing.

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