Thoughts of an abuse victim- who fought to be a survivor
| It's with a heavy heart that I attempt to write this. These words are not ones I write .. ever, in fact. Those close to me know about these happenings in my life, but that is truly it. You see, I have never truly been... a victim, per se. I have always been a survivor- a fighter. But at some point, I have to realize that I had in fact been a victim- who fought to be a survivor.
You see, there is no pain like mental pain. Physical stuff- heals, maybe leaves a pretty cool looking scar. But mental, emotional stuff, that just sits there and festers. And I can NOT tell you how many times I heard - "You gotta let it go" or "You should move on with your life". The story I'm about to tell you though, it's not one that goes away just like that.
What's the scariest thing in the world to a young child? The dark. It holds all kinds of monsters- boogeymen if you will. Not all of them are figments of our imagination either. At the age of three, I learned the boogeyman was very much real. And he had nothing but bad things on his mind. And just like that, in the dark, my grandfather- the boogeyman- took my innocence. This wasn't the only time, no you see, this happened for thirteen years before I grew brave enough to tell someone who could keep me safe from him. You know what made me so brave? He put his hands on my baby brother. That was last straw to me. All those years of all the dirty things he did to me- to others in our family. And nothing happened to him, at least not of man's justice. No police were called- not that it seemed to matter. You see, once when I was say- 10, I had made a comment to the school guidance counselor that sometimes grandpa touched me or said dirty things to me. They called Department of Child Services- who went on to tell my mom that if she were to get me counseling and keep me away from him, then nothing else would ever have to happen. And of course, mom sat in on those meetings, and coached my every word. My mom was quite a bigger woman than I was- and her hands were not merciful ones, so there I sat, letting her pull my strings- playing me like her little puppet. So for another 6 years, he has his way with no repercussions whatsoever.
To this day, I can remember every dirty word he ever said to me, remember every little thing he tried to do. These are things that haunt me in my waking and sleeping life. I am a 28 year old woman - well 27 but close enough to 28 now- who is terrified of the dark. Now, my grandma- my nana- God rest her soul- she became suspicious of what was going on probably when I was about 13. We had went to our favorite Chinese buffet- my mom, my dad, my nan, me and him. I rode with my parents there because I was supposed to stay at Nana's when my grandfather went in to have some work done on the arteries in his leg. Now by this point, I really only stayed the night when he wouldn't be home. My whole life, I went over no matter what to spend the night with Nana. But the longer he was allowed to do what he did to me, the more suicidal I became, the less I went around. My suicide attempts and cutting were hid well enough for a long time, but I was slowly spiraling and was beginning to get caught. And I think deep inside she had the feeling that it was him. I was asked about how I was holding up and such when my oldest uncle was in town, but I grew good at hiding how I was. But I think this just added to her suspicion- how happy I seemed.
Once when I was 18, long after he had stopped hurting me- and he was in the hospital- Nana asked me if my mom ran away at 17 with an older man because my grandpa was doing bad things to her. I told her the truth- 'I don't know Nan, Mom doesn't really talk about that with me'. I am 1000000000% positive that is the EXACT reason my mom ran away at 17, but my mom never once talked about it with me, so I wasn't lying. Months later, while my favorite uncle and my nana were completely alone, she asked him. He was the adult I ran to when I finally was brave enough to let someone rescue me. With tears in his eyes, and guilt in his heart from the inability to have stopped the monster from getting his hands on me, he admitted to my Nana everything. Now- lemme (yes I know that isn't grammatically correct- no I don't care) interrupt myself with a little back story. Nana, wasn't an emotional woman. Affectionate, yes; emotional; no. She grew up in an orphanage in NY in the 40's-50's. She was as tough as nails and twice as sharp. She broke down sobbing. She blamed herself- and she swore to take what she had left of her life to make him miserable. And she did.
But you see, the physical things that happened to me- they were over within minutes. They healed within days. But those emotional things- the words he said, the shame and dirt I felt. Those have stuck with me for 25 years. They eat at me everyday. They make my insides twist and turn with sickness. And I get angry when I hear- "It's a cycle, it was probably done to him". Or "Forgive your mom- he probably did the same to her". And? They would know how shitty and broken inside it feels; they could have stopped it. I know because I have. I have broken the chain of abuse we were caught in- the web of lies and pain. The only person I have ever wanted is myself- just to make those memories go away- those awful things he used to say to me.