Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sometimes I just don't understand

Well Readers, I'm back after a long break. I've had a lot of things on my plate lately. Trying to prepare for a move across country. Starting school. Dealing with the past. It's that last one that has mainly kept me away from this blog. I'm finding it hard to cope with the things that were done to me and that someone has recently told me about. I'm going to share some of those with you to get them off my chest and out of my head space.

I was talking to my aunt several weeks ago about things in general. Gradually the conversation steered towards childhoods. Mine, hers and my mother's. She'd told me about the sexual abuse she and her siblings endured at the hands of their mother growing up. This was in addition to the physical, verbal and emotional abuse that I was already privy to from my mother telling me. From another aunt, I have since learned that everyone denies the sexual abuse. The ones most affected have since passed on, and the person accused of the abuse died almost ten years ago.

I really don't know what to think when my aunt tells me about that. I want to see her the way that everyone else in the family does, as a crazy overly religious loon. I've never known her to lie to me and she's always been forthright in everything I've ever asked. But the things she's accused my grandmother of doing are mind boggling. Is it possible that the sexual abuse of someone else close to her has caused her to see sexual abuse everywhere? I've known people like that. Convinced that a pedophile lurked behind every bush, hedge and tree.

If that were all we talked about, I wouldn't be writing this post. Being sexually abused by their mother was something I'd known for at least ten years, though my other aunt claims that she only heard of this within the last few years. But then she also managed to avoid talking about the physical abuse when I pointedly asked her. The next time we talked she was more open and admitted that their mother did hit them, and often. Eventually, it got to the point where I had to be more open and out there about the abuse my mother did towards me. I didn't want to tell her, as I knew that my mother was her favorite growing up. She spoke a lot about the compassion, love and caring that my mom gave her, and how that impacted her as a child.

It wasn't all gravy, as I picked up some other feelings that she seemed to harbor towards my mother. She seemed disgusted by her weight, attitudes and outlook on life. Wanting someone to love her, and trying to see the positive in life made her seem weak to my aunt. Being obese made her almost worthless to any man that would have wanted her if she'd been slimmer. It became less about how much she loved and looked up to my mom and more about how much of a sucker she was. I'm curious to see if there are any additional dynamics to that relationship that I don't understand. Her point of view did give me some insights into why she may have abused me, especially in the ways that I'm about to describe.

My mother was very difficult to be with sometimes. If we all have a cup to lug around that holds all the stuff that we've dealt with, hers had overflown a real long time ago. She seemed perpetually on the brink of tears, when she wasn't moving frantically around the house sporting a maniacal smile that scared me when I would greet her at the door after school.

I never knew if the same Mommy that sent me off to school would be the one who would greet me at home when school was over. The same hands that lovingly applied lotion to my face, or combed and braided my hair, could strike out to slap or hit. Sometimes it made no sense which reaction I would receive. The same offense could merit a thousand different responses.

Once, I made the very bad mistake of telling secrets to a cousin of mine. For this, I was stripped of all my clothing and made to lie face down on the bed, spread eagle. Using a phone cord, my mother made sure I understood that what happened in our home, stayed inside it. Acting up at school was another no-no, as were bad grades, and not being obedient to her every demand. Sometimes during those beatings, she would talk about my body or I might get caressed on my butt. Eventually I came to have sexual feelings during them, so I'm sure that I'm blocking out some details. I know that I consciously choose to do so in order to keep loving her and to avoid hating myself.

If that were all that happened, I could stop there. There would be nothing to understand. But my aunt told me something. My mom confessed to her that she had molested me, starting from when I was a toddler. One day she went to pull my panties down for a spanking, and ended up masturbating me to orgasm instead. I don't remember that. I do know that I was very sexualized starting around that age, and my mother was verbally reprimanded by more than one person for my sexual acting out.  Some people felt I was too sexually precocious, and I had a habit of being sexual towards other children and men. I spoke with my other aunt about this, and she said something my mother always used to say. My mom would tell anyone who asked that I was a "sexual being" and that children were born being able to express sexual feelings and desires. People just assumed I was a horny little slut destined for early motherhood or prostitution. Almost word for word I got to hear the same things my mother used to say, in a voice that was eerily similar to my mom's.

I also remember the time when my mother reached her hands between my legs after trying to touch my breasts. I pulled away from her before she could touch me, and she laughed so hard at me. I always wondered about that, and that incident has disturbed me more than anything else she did. I think it was the point at which she realized that she could no longer touch me. I dissociated a lot back then, spending hours in a daydreaming state. Pretty much ignorant of the world around me, I created fantasy worlds to escape into. That's when I wasn't masturbating for hours on end.

According to my aunt, my mother liked touching me. She enjoyed my responses and liked to watch my clitoris become bigger and bigger. I know that my mother had a fascination with my body. The way it looked, responded and changed. She talked about it constantly, and it made me uncomfortable and ashamed. If my nipples became hard, that warranted a comment. There was a lot of focus on making sure that my genitals were always sweet smelling and clean. I had to sneak to masturbate as she would call attention to it, even if I did it in private. My mother also felt that men who touched young girls weren't always necessarily at fault. Sometimes, the little girls pursued them or were hot for it. She didn't feel men should be prosecuted in those instances.

For my sanity, I'm willing to see the aunt who told me the way that everyone else does: As a crazy overly religious loon. Otherwise, I can't deal with the thought that a mother who's hands were sometimes used to love and sometimes to hurt, touched me that way. Why would she do that to me? Even though it meshes and it makes sense in light of what I know and remember, I deny that. I refute it and it will never be a part of my truth. So Readers, what do you think? I really don't know what to think, and I've put up a wall around this piece of information. It perfectly fits the puzzle that is my childhood, but I don't want it to fit in. I just don't understand sometimes, and I don't know what to think or feel.


Imma Writa said...

You're so brave, MJ. This story made me cry for the little girl in you, and the woman you've become. Real tears not a figure of speech. So little is known or accepted about female perpetrators of violence against children, mostly because of society's idea that the hands that apply lotion and braid hair couldn't possibly hit, molest or torture... "A mother could never do that" is the biggest lie we tell in this world.

Marie Jones said...

Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot! I didn't add this to my post, but the aunt who gave the "sexual being" comment, also made me jump through hoops to prove I was telling her the truth. She kept trying to give her sister, my mom, so many outs for her behavior. She still maintains that she was never sexually abused, but she has finally admitted to a lot of physical and emotional abuse suffered at the hands of her mother.

Sometimes you have to be the black sheep of the family, in order to speak out and say, "This is wrong". When one person speaks up, it gives others courage to do the same! I wish more people would know that there are female perpetrators of sexual violence. No one wants to talk about it. It's easier for a mom to fly under the radar because it's not expected. Women have easier access to children's bodies and minds than a man would.

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