Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sexual abuse

Right now my extended family is closing ranks against me.  I am the problem.  Right.  I shouldn't have said anything because I have hurt people who didn't need to be hurt.  Wow.  Because it's totally my fault that I was raped as a kid.  But they think it is my fault.  And I can explain!

I have been a sexual aggressor since I was a small child.  I was taught to give blow jobs and to be obsessed with sex.  When I say that my mother and my sister participated in my sexual abuse, sometimes my violent sexual abuse I don't think people are picturing the right thing.  English is kind of useless that way.  I am not claiming that my mother or my sister ever touched my cunt.  There.  That's been said.  But when my mother violates court orders to send me to my father over and over, and when she ignored frantic phone calls to pick me up... she is just as much to blame as my father.  She chose over and over to leave me in situations that were very dangerous.  She refused to accept parental responsibility.

Most of the people who know me now probably think of me as being sexually adventurous in an at least mostly healthy way.  Some people have their doubts, but I think that overall people think I'm not still acting out constantly.  Seeing as I've mostly been vanilla and monogamous except for a few very brief, very safe forays for almost five years means that I feel like I am probably past the dangerous choices.

I don't even know how to tell this story.  I want to show what it was like to grow up being brain washed that I was supposed to have sex any time any one else wanted.  I wasn't supposed to consider my needs.  But part of it overlaps with Tom and I feel kind of bad combining those stories.  Ok Krissy, just start.

From when I was an infant I was constantly exposed to people having sex.  I have independent verification that I was shown a lot of porn and many adults flagrantly had sex in front of me as a toddler.  After the intense conversations with my brother I think that my father was already touching me, but it was the least of my problems.  I remember my father touching me from my earliest memories.  He wasn't extreme early on, but he liked to uhm, make sure things were developing ok.  This would be why I can barely handle wiping my daughters when they have a poopy diaper.  When they pee mostly I change without looking or touching because I don't know what an appropriate level of touching is.  I'm afraid to keep tabs on what is happening with their labia.

Anyway.  I grew up in an atmosphere that breathed sex.  Adults (who were on drugs) would have sex on the couch while watching porn.  While the kids played in the living room.  That is what my baby/toddler experience was like.  Why did I start giving blow jobs at 3?  Because 3 year olds mimic what they are shown and I was constantly shown that girls are supposed to go down on boys.  It was talked about in front of me like, Oh of course!  That is what you do.  And when I said things that were considered less than acceptable, like if I said I didn't want to... I was hit or sent to my room.  My mom isn't going to remember it that way.  Because my mom was the adult and my mom exerted no control.  My mom refused to set the boundaries.  She numbed her pain (because there is no fucking way she thought this was ok) and checked out mentally so that she wouldn't have to be responsible for anything.

I'm not real interested in granting her that grace.  My mother has spent her whole life trying to evade responsibility.  And so I tried desperately to pick up responsibility as a child.  My mother would do the same shit I am doing.  She would get locked in her memories and start blurting out inappropriate things.  My mom would tell me intense scary stories about my father raping her.  My mother told me from when I was very little that I was the product of rape and if she hadn't been Catholic she would have aborted me.  That wasn't a common thing.  She didn't say that a lot.  And to be honest she usually had to be pushed to say it.  When I was fishing around to figure out what the fuck happened in my parents marriage, because nothing was talked about in a straight forward way, she would drop in little bits about how horrifying things were.  And he is a monster.  And he did all these terrible things to her.  Then she would cry.

Then I had to be the adult and comfort her.  I listened to her stories.  They became my stories.  When my Aunt Vonnie tried to outlaw Sweet Valley High books for being too graphic my mother turned around and let me read graphic historical romance novels that talked explicitly about pony play, sodomy, rape, harems, incest...  My mom thought those were perfectly appropriate reading for me at 7/8.  And she didn't talk to me about what I read.  She just had the books all over the house and she ignored me reading them.

That wasn't ok.  That was my mother abdicating responsibility for me.  I was a child.  I should not have been reading pornography.  My children will not be allowed to read books that are primarily pornography before they hit puberty.  I just don't fucking think so.  But she feels like she did nothing wrong.  I was a reader and that was all we had in the house.  It wasn't her fault.

My sister brought men to our house.  Basically all of those men propositioned me in some way.  Many of them explicitly.  My sister would say it is my fault!  Because when those men came over and my sister had sex with them with the bedroom door open... I watched.  My sister talked to my about anal sex when I was really little.  She would talk about how awesome it was when he was fucking you really slow and gentle and he pulls all the way out and pushes back quickly and oops it switches holes and it hurts but it feels so good that you don't mind that he's hurting you.  That conversation happened in the downstairs bathroom of my Aunt's current house.  My sister lived in that apartment when I was in the 11-15 range.  That was a sick thing for her to tell me.  I mean, it's true.  But she should not have told me that when I was a child.  She gave me extensive stories about her sex life and the drugs she took.  My sister was thrilled that her tubes were tied because she had no interest in using birth control.

This was the environment I grew up in.  I acted out.  In kindergarden I took a little boy behind the book cart and I gave him a blow job.  When I came back to that school in sixth grade I found out that little boy told people I raped him.  I called his mother and told her that he was a disgusting liar.  I am a sexual predator too.  I was raised to be.  I was taught to push everyone near me's sexual limits.  I was the aggressor with my high school boyfriends, most of whom were virgins when I met them.  Pretty much all of them quickly backed away from me because I was too intense and scary.  I wasn't having sex because exploring sex was fun and exciting and new.  I was having sex because otherwise I was invisible and I felt like no one in the world loved me.

Which is to say, an awful lot of my youthful encounters can be read as sexual assault.  Either me doing it to other people or them assaulting me and me not saying no.  I feel sad and scared.  For my first 20 year I acted out the programming my family gave me because I didn't have much choice.  How much responsibility should I hold for what I did?  Well, I tracked down the guy I went down on in kindergarden.  I told him that what I did to him was wrong and I was a very messed up kid and I desperately hope he has found someone to talk to about it.  I am so sorry I hurt him when I was flailing around from being hurt.

I am a monster too.  And I have to live with that.  Apparently my brother's wife has been begging to adopt a daughter for years but he doesn't want to have a girl in his house.  His plan is to wait a few generations and then the taint will be gone.  But it doesn't work that way.  I have to look at myself in the mirror every day.  I did these things.  This legacy is not over by me not molesting my kids.  It's deeper than that.  I have to learn where I end and other people begin.  I have to learn how to hold the right boundaries for my kids.  The right answer isn't locking them in their rooms till they are 18 so they are safe.  The right answer isn't even sheltering them completely so they are safe.  The right answer is asking questions and not volunteering information that is too adult and inappropriate.  The right answer is exposing them to many many kinds of people and talking to them about what they see so they learn how to evaluate people.  My daughter's will not know how to spot a sexual predator when they see one.

But I do.  And I need to teach them how to be safe without teaching them to be afraid or teaching them to go looking for danger.  That's hard and scary.  That is the last hurdle preventing me from emailing my friends and saying not to come today or tomorrow because the crisis is over.  I do not yet feel like I have control over my mouth.  I had more than one day where I was terrified I would hit my kids.  Right after seeing my mother and my sister and having them do the "We are such a great family" act I freaked out and wanted to come home and beat the shit out of my children.  That is why I freaked out so badly this time and went to such a deep, horrifying place.  My family is that toxic to me. So the pain of staying broken, of keeping contact with my family became much much harder than blowing everything sky high and saying, "Ok mother fucker!  You want to start cycles with me!  All right!  Let's talk about some cycles!"  I am not going to step blindly into what they are doing any more because I am able to step out.

But right this minute that used all of my reserves and I don't know how to maintain boundaries with my babies.  Because my boundaries with my babies are different than my boundaries with my family.  And never the twain shall meet.  With my family I have to be loud, aggressive, angry, and borderline abusive in order to prevent them from hurting me.  I'm sure people will think I should find a better way.  But I survived being raped, beaten, molested, and thrown into houses alone with sexual predators.  I needed every ounce of righteous fury in the world to know that what they did to me was wrong and I should not have gone through it.  My family would love it if I killed myself so they could point to me as a victim of my father's abuse and canonize how I went down in the struggle but look!  They are so much better off than me.  Fuck them.

Instead I will take a couple more days to blurt things out inappropriately.  Then I will get around to scrubbing my bath tub (it's pretty gross) and I will take a long bath.  And I will recite my memories to myself because I don't want to forget them.  As weird as that sounds to everyone else, they are part of me too.  If I try to forget them or act like they aren't important I am negating most of what shaped me.  I am not a strong vibrant person in spite of what happened to me.  I am a strong vibrant person because I went through just about the most horror a white person in America can go through as a child.  And my response was to say, "Fuck all of you.  I'm going to go do better."  And my family is rotting on a mountain top.

And I am free.  Now I just need to stop talking about my hurt in front of my kids.  And I will.  But not today.  That sounds like I am talking about my stuff in front of my kids now!  Oh man.  That's the wrong impression.  I sort of am.  I come out and I talk to my friends about things in chunks.  But my friends are watching me and listening and I am watching me and listening.  When I start to get intense I just walk away.  Because that is what I can do when memories are hitting me this strong.  Suppressing them really isn't a good idea at this stage.  It's rare for me to have this much.  But I've had a bad week, you know?  And this week will end.  And next week is Shanna's birthday week.

I can't be broken on Shanna's birthday week.  That would be placing my needs above hers and I'm not going to be like my mother.  My children deserve better than that.

1 comment:

  1. We'll be there for the birthday party. Let us know if you need us sooner.