As if grieving during the painful process of a loss isn’t enough. She thought she had dug her way down to the delusional bottom of the pile and wait, oh yes, there is another heap to dismantle. She had begun to breathe, even find a little peace now and then as she made her way through those still, sometimes agonizing days. She actually found her smile again.
The stages of grief, she can recite those off the top of her head, but more importantly, she understands them when they hit. “Oh, you again, fuck off”, but she didn’t mean it. Embrace each one. Look it square in the face little one. We are survivors, sure, but really, we are resilient fighters and most of all, important as fuck.
She took her almighty shovel out today and said, “alright crap, let’s just see what other bullshit you have for us today” and with one sturdy plunge, the hunt was on. For fuck sake, she thought she had uncovered this one, but there it was in all its glory, hiding like the coward who put it there. “I see you” she said, “and you can no longer hide from me”. As she fought deliberately to force the pile apart, she felt the all too familiar sting of tears welling up in her eyes. What the fuck now? Haven’t we shed enough of these for all we’ve been through girl? As she thought these words to herself, she remembered what she had learned (again) from her oldest, long time friend in her world, “cry till you’re dry honey”. How the fuck is there anything left?
Ah, it was beginning to make sense to her. Every layer has another story to tell and all the cover up is eroding away to tell you what you need to know love, one small piece at a time. We can’t possibly take the 9 years from the most current abuser, the 18 years from the one before and the 10 years from the original source of childhood where it all began and have it magically be healed, over and done with it. It just doesn’t work like that. We have more work to do and so it continues.
Here we stand, together but alone, digging, sifting and sorting through the debris and rubble we have been left with. Let’s call this here, “experience”. Some would rather happily shove this shit under a great big rock and never look at again. Others, like us girl, will not only take it out from the dark place of which it’s been buried, grab the microscope and start the deep internal examination. Let’s call this here, “analysis”. This part of the process will help us determine the “whys, how comes and what for’s”. All the answers to these inquiries are crucial to why the fuck we do what we do, love who we love, follow and attach to what’s familiar, accept the unacceptable and tolerate the intolerable. Let’s call this here, “lessons”. The question that often arises during this portion is, “why is this happening?” When the better, more affective one would be, “what am I getting out of this, what am I learning?” No one wants to believe that the mounds of bullshit they’re uncovering and discovering is actually useful information for their own growth, but it truly is beneficial to the sometimes excruciating, always imperative, healing path.
What we will find next is becoming like a treasure hunt to learning who she really is, on her own, with no other outside influences controlling her thoughts and emotions, her soul and her body, just her and her alone on this fabulous ride called life. Why then does our princess in the story of her newfound life keep bumping up against more wreckage that can sometimes halt her in the middle of the deserted road? She asks herself this often while she keeps pushing on.
It is in the ashes where beauty remains. Yeah, yeah, she has this expression down cold having had her spirit burned to the ground and torn down, both literally and metaphorically. Each time she has risen, more grateful than the time before, but she has grown weary of them all. Let’s call this here, “strength”. “Diamonds are created under pressure and can cut through glass. A mighty oak grows strong in contrary winds. A palm tree might bend but it won’t break.” She often relates herself to these well defined comparisons and smiles, then wonders for how long she must endure and drudge through the remaining piles. It all comes down to educating your brilliant, sweet, smart, feisty ass girl and so she digs a little deeper into the soil of her soul…
Feeling like her skin has been peeled back as the sun bakes down on her exposed flesh. She is burning from stripping the layers of denial off, leaving her with the searing pain of the truth. She relives every detailed moment of each incident as if it were happening right here, right now. She tries to outrun them, but she can’t escape the memories. Her dreams hold her captive and startle her awake at times, bringing her anxiety back until she can awaken enough to remember where she is and that she is safe in her space. She bolts out of bed planting her feet on the ground, gasping for a breath, just one will do, but it takes many minutes to fully inhale and exhale.
They never understood their breakups, the discards, and this time, they don’t realize how the trauma has bonded her so tightly and why she cannot just break free. Neither does she, but fuck, she tries hard to sever it, all of it. Those ordinary people are living a common, vanilla, flavored life. She is tormented by the years of the secret lifestyle suppressed by his every move, his very nature, his discipline, corrections and punishments and now she will say it out loud… his abuse. Her body has been keeping score with faint marks still remaining upon her soft flesh while the flashbacks in her thoughts trigger her. Hyper vigilance has become part of her everyday life. Her mind kept tabs that were deeply engrained, creating new pathways that would continue far past their innumerable separations, including their last, their final.
In their world, she wasn’t initially picked out of a lineup for her soul to be crushed, but that was what took place over a slow, calculated period of time. She was carefully selected by him because of her strength and confidence she exhumed. She would make an excellent supply source. He was drawn to that. She would be his. His clay to mold, his property to own, his body to create and modify. He wanted what she had for his very own undoing. It all went into the choosing process. She would become a kept woman and that would require a complete breakdown of her human spirit she once possessed in order for him to transform her into the little pet toy he wanted her to be, the one he needed her to become.
She feels the tightening of the straps that hold her tightly and the strike of the cane upon her tearing, searing flesh. The stings ignite her fresh wounds, feeling as if they’re on fire. Another one follows and she thinks the last will never come, but then he tells her to count them down. Sobbing, she is finally allowed to drag her snot filled nose across the tear stained sheets, then abruptly everything just stops. There are no more sounds. His voice went quiet. Faint footsteps fading away is the only sound she hears over her own shallow, deep breathing.
The room went deadly quiet as he disappeared for a moment, emerging again with a bottle of soothing gel. At last he released the ties that bound her, literally, and she collapsed across the bed, shaking, trying to catch her breath, but all she knows is the relief of being free, for now. The hyperventilating subsided, but she can’t stop shivering. Then suddenly she feels him lying behind her, covering her with a warm blanket. He holds her tightly in his arms at last, her limp body whimpering in agony as he whispers softly in her ear, “good girl, suffering so beautifully for me. You know this makes you even better for me, right? That makes me so happy.” Her brain can’t engage or comprehend anything, only the warmth of him. She easily focuses on her broken, aching body and his words. The echoes of them run across her mind, jumbled and unclear, yet all she can do is sob and nod as he pulls her closer to him, stroking her hair, kissing her neck, “shhh, good girl.” Sleep now little one. Exhausted, she passes out.
She awakens what seemed like hours later. It was dark outside and everything was silent and eerie in the cold room where he tucked her in after, after… and then she remembered her punishment he had administered only an hour before. The sting was intense as she dragged herself up from the bed. She took her aching self down the hall where she knew she would find him, sitting at the computer, waiting for her arrival. “Hi baby girl, your’re awake”. Her eyes burning, her voice barely above a whisper, she nodded and he motioned for her to come closer. As she did, he pulled her to his lap, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her gently as he whispered his famous words, “it’s over, it’s done, it’s in the past”. She was quietly weeping and melted into him. This wasn’t the first time nor would it be the last…
His depravity haunts her still and she tries to outrun the affects, the visuals, the hauntings of what her life once was, but she always catches up and finds herself waiting there. Right where she left herself. Fuck, You again?
She was his kept little girl, as he addressed her as, his. The reality was, she was a grown woman with severe daddy issues and the coercion he was inflicting upon her, the brainwashing and gas lighting had convinced her that all little girls receive this kind of “love and attention” when a daddy truly loves and desires them. She didn’t have a daddy of her own and she’d been abused for so long by her step monster, how could she possibly know any different? She believed him. She trusted him.
She’d lay there at night, a tear rolling down her cheek asking herself questions. Questions she didn’t have the answers for and he’d pull her close to him, whispering, “shh, sleep now baby girl. Everything’s alright.” but it never was.
Why did this please him so? Who was he? What was happening? How did she get to this place? Where had she gone? The amazing power of denial and the complete destruction of control. TPE a total mindfuck…
Married at 18, 2 kids by 19, divorced by 21, remarried by 26, 1 more kid by 29, fading into the darkness by 33 and by 41, she was dead. So what happened to this lady during those in between years? Her death, though shocking and painful, was not too mysterious, yet a heart wrenching loss to those 3 children. Could she have known the ramifications that leaving them would hover over them for the rest of their lives? Her first 2 born already suffered from abandonment from their father leaving when they were toddlers and now there was new fuel added to the fire. Her youngest child would never fully heal from the shock and all of them would be left with this poor excuse, version of a worthless father. Well, technically a step-monster to the older ones and short-changed, selective, convenient, when it worked for him, weak father to his one and only blood offspring.
As life would have it, the abuse happening to her would later manifest into PTSD. She was a newly 13 year old girl, trying to cope with life the best she could when her once devoted, doting, loving and proud mom that she had known was beginning to fade. Shortly after marrying this man and the birth of her baby brother, mom began drinking, heavily, and daily as anger was ranging inside her. She remembers every detail of what mattered to her as she was growing up, but then developed amnesia for the parts that created her traumatized soul. What the fuck was happening? She couldn’t stop her world from spiraling down and the more she tried the worse it became.
This broken framework of a family would move to a whole new town, several hours from the only place she had ever called home. She now had to live in a town so small they only had one stoplight. Her anger intensified, but it had been serving her. It’s what kept her safe and from falling apart inside. It fueled her so others would perceive her as confident. What they didn’t know was it kept them at a distance, far enough so they wouldn’t learn her secrets. No one else lived this way she couldn’t imagine. This dark place where her mom drank herself into oblivion every night so she wouldn’t have to feel, could hide from the truth of her torment and his cruel, viscous ways. Take her into the land where no one spoke of the dismissals and discarding she experienced so he could continue his sorted affairs, blaming her for his indiscretions. This once beautiful, vivacious, confident, fun loving woman, reduced to nothingness. Stripped of her self worth and told of her undervalued existence. This replacement father wasn’t just an asshole, he was a fucking asshole and I had wished for so long that he would die.
She started maturing into a young, pretty teen and by 15 she had her first boyfriend. Really he was the excuse that got her out of her crazy ass house on a Friday night. She had convinced herself she was in love with this boy, as much as 2 teenagers could be, but they bickered more than they got along. Could her hostility have been the cause for that? She wondered today. The asshole, as she so fondly referred to him as now, had started snooping around in her room when she wasn’t home. She found this out when her mom brought the contents of her diary up in a private conversation, asking about her losing her virginity. She was fuming, seeing red and wanted to kill him, but her mom was gracious and kind about it. Now and then that loving, adoring mom would surface, in a semi sober state. Terrified her only daughter might end up a teen mom too, but was satisfied to know the 2 of them were “safe”. Humiliated and pissed beyond measure, she broke up with the boy she “loved”, leaving him confused and hurt, but she didn’t care, much.
Soon after, the leering was becoming more intense and uncomfortable to the point that she loathed having to even go to the kitchen for a snack or even water for fear of him being in the living room where she would have to pass through. Usually no words were exchanged, only a slithering, slimy look that made her shiver with ice through her veins and blood in her eyes. Sickened by the very sight of him, she found opportunities to be gone more than she was home. One day she came home from school to find a woman in the kitchen, a stranger to her. Thinking nothing of her until mom came home and asked if she saw this person. A few months later, these parents would separate for what ended up being 1 1/2 years this time. Another discard, the fond, control game he played. By this point she had deemed them both crazy and she wanted no part of their insanity. She declared to them she had a job, a car, friends, school and a life, finally and would not be moving. She further informed them that she knew they would reconcile and the fuck if she would turn her life upside down for them ever again and she didn’t.
She had chosen the worse of the 2 evils to remain in this God forsaken town that had grown on her. Convincing herself this was temporary and short term. He works a swing shift so she would rarely have to experience the abuse and inappropriateness of his behaviors. She could handle this. She had toughened up more than ever. Her life depended upon it. Less than a year went by and they proved her right when they bought their next home on the other side of town, big enough for us all to have our own rooms. It was 2 months before her graduation and she’d had enough. She was done. Dramatic exit scene. Her first experience with her newly developed dissociative behavior. A screaming match with her mom, explosive words of I hate you! Followed up with shaming accusations of you’re weak, why can’t you just quit drinking?! A quick packing of her things and she was gone. There may have been more expletives, but she was tapped out, checked out, already gone. She left behind an older brother whom she loved and wondered why he stayed after graduating the year before and her baby brother whom she adored and worried so over, but she feared to stay even though she was terrified to leave, but what choice did she have? This would start her pattern for the rest of her life.
The next 5 years would deliver her into the early makings of her first real, adult relationship with the man she eventually would marry and have 3 sons with. She never went back to their home, not to live, but now and then to see her growing up little brother and even her mom. She avoided interactions with her first abuser as much as possible. She often wondered if her mom ever knew, had any inclinations or concern for her only daughter’s well being, but then how could she as she was drowning deeper and deeper in her alcoholism. That was a word she had learned and identified with, qualifying her mom as one. Anger was still very much alive within her, seething at the core of her being. It was just showing up as less of a frequent visitor. As those years rolled on, her mom sank further into depression and into her bottles, hiding them more and better, so she thought. She came around less and less trying to normalize her own life, whatever that meant. It mortified her to remember this once shining light of a lady who was reduced to her darkness of hell. She blamed him for all of it. Mom’s shame, her pain and our abuse and neglect.
It was nearly the weekend and her mom called, wanting to visit her now grown, young, adult children and their significant partners. We lived close by one another and just short of flipping a coin, she surrendered and said mom could stay with us for the weekend. We all got together for a family dinner, just the 4 of us and mom. By Monday morning everyone had work to get to including mom. She needed to “get going” she told her. Reluctantly, they said goodbye, unbeknownst to any of them it would be the final time they would see her sad, sweet face. It had been a surprisingly pleasant weekend. She chalked that up to his absence. We parted ways, as we all went off in our separate directions to live our own lives now.
A week went by and it was 5 am on a Saturday. She was at work when she got the call. His voice on the other end, so blunt and cold, your mother was in an accident, she didn’t make it. She sank to the ground, the corded phone still in her hand as the tears sprung to her eyes and ran down her cheeks. All she could repeatedly ask him was, “was she drinking?” His answer never came, but in her heart, she knew. She sat there, numb, not knowing what to do, needing to do something, but what? Last week she had a mom. A mom she had forgiven after all those years of despising what she considered her weakness. A mom who loved her with all she had, but had none to give herself. A mom who she accused of neglecting her for some man who abused her, them, all of us. A mom who deserved to live because she had so much to live for, but she never knew any of it. A mom that was loved even though she couldn’t love herself. She will forever wonder… Where had she gone?