As little children of the sixties, we were taught to do as you were told, to never talk back, and to never ask why. At least that was the way it was in my very strange, but oddly normal, home.
I was raised mainly by my maternal grandparents, as were my younger sister and younger half-brother. Our mother and our uncle, (my mother’s brother), lived in our home also. The only thing I had ever been told about my biological father was that he never wanted my sister and I, and when confronted about it, he wasn’t man enough to stand up and fight for us girls.
At one point and time we were even told he might even be gay. Eventually, he would sign my sister and me over to one of the many abusing men who passed through our young lives. This would become just another letdown to me, of the cycle of adults, who are supposed to protect children, who would actually become their abusers.
My mother was the type of woman who thrived on the affection of men. She had to be the center of their world. Not caring about her three children at home. Our grandmother was tending to us anyway. My grandmother was my rock. She was the only thing that was actually grounded and stable in our lives, but still I couldn’t bring myself to tell her about the abuse her own son was causing to her two granddaughters.
It was with my uncle that it first began. I will call him Uncle Mark because to even write his real name makes my stomach turn to this very day. Uncle Mark used to volunteer to “babysit” us while my mother and grandmother went shopping or to pay bills or for any reason he could to have us alone. As soon as the door shut, my stomach would knot up and I would await his dreadful voice calling out our names. We would always try to hide or ignore him but no matter what, we were found. The sexual abuse from our uncle went on for many years until, thank God, he married and moved out of our home. Uncle Mark became the father to one son and two daughters.
At age ten my mother remarried for her third time. Our new “daddy” was a very wealthy and upper-class man. He was a local business owner and a deacon in the church. So who in the world would believe his two little step-daughters of him committing any kind of wrongful doings? I knew better than to even mention to my mother that my step-dad was fondling me at night and doing the same to my sister.
I often wonder why she let me go so much with him at night on his wrecker service calls. Shouldn’t she have thought it odd that her new husband would want to take a little ten-year-old out at all hours of the night on a job instead of her? And I would have school the next day. Those were some horrible times.
My sister and I never openly discussed with each other what was going on, but we knew what was. We could see it in each other’s eyes. Sometimes I would hear my step-dad call for my sister and I would run to him first so I could spare her the pain. That step-dad died suddenly out on a service call, of a massive heart attack. I don’t remember shedding a tear.
Soon after he passed away, my mother began dating a guy thirteen years her senior. Welcome abuser number three. My mom received quite a lot of money from the life insurance and by selling all the businesses he owned. So naturally the first young guy who came along, that was interested in her, received a brand new Harley motorcycle.
My mother went through around $25,000 in a little over six months on her new boyfriend. By then he had already fondled me more times than I could count.
Now what I can’t understand and never could then either was—why me? Did I have a huge fluorescent sign on my forehead that only perverts could read that read “ABUSE ME—EVERYONE ELSE HAS”? I actually would get deathly sick and have the most horrible headaches! The headaches would get so severe that I wouldn’t be able to even bend my head.
Finally, my mother did carry me to the doctor about the headaches and the doctor told her they were nervous headaches due to too much stress and that it would be in my best interest to move me from the town I had lived in for so long. He never asked me if I had been sexually abused. I wonder if he read my sign.
Thank goodness for a new place and new people in my life! There were several boyfriends of my mom’s who came and went within a three to five year time period, some looked at me with that sly look, some didn’t , but I never let my guard down. I had gotten older and to let it ever happen again would require a fight from me. I had lived a horrible childhood and I didn’t plan to live my teenage years the same way. Still I bottled it up inside and planned never to let it out. But then, I hadn’t met the love of my life yet either.
My little sister became pregnant at the wee age of fourteen and married within a few months after finding out she was expecting. When she was five months along she lost the baby. Studies show that most girls who come from abusive home quit school, become pregnant, do drugs, marry at a young age, and marry an abusive spouse. My sister did all five.
I on the other hand married the most wonderful man in the world. I did become pregnant at seventeen, but it was a blessing. I was still living at home when I began dating my future husband and by this time, my mother was already with another husband. My poor brother was subjected to nothing short of acts of slavery from this “step-daddy.” He eventually left my mother as soon as the money ran out from the last man’s life insurance.
So becoming pregnant and soon becoming the wife to the man of my dreams, was the only good thing that had ever happened in my life thus far.
Now as I look back and have to dig up old bones to write this story, I actually understand why life dealt me the bad hand of cards I received. Today I have three children who are the loves of my life, eight precious grandchildren who make my day the best day ever, and my wonderful husband is still by my side after thirty-one years. And if you ask does he know about my past and the abuse? Some of it he does and some of it he doesn’t. Some of it I couldn’t even bring myself to write about for this story. It is too hard to dig that deep. Some things are better left where they lay.
Being abused can have a good side unbelievably. What? Am I crazy? No, I am not but I have learned that the people that walk around weeping and blaming their abuse for the reason they abuse others is nothing but a huge cop out! Being abused is the main reason NOT to abuse anyone else! So when I see reports of people using this for their plea bargains and insanity cases, I have no compassion. Get over it! Find the good in yourself, learn from your past, and apply it to the good in all you do.
I myself love children. I don’t know what it is but they all seem to love me back also. I am very sensitive to their needs and wants. I have always said that God never gave me a talent other than being able to love children. In my life, I have worked in day cares and even had my own day care at my home. I have worked with children in our local school system. My life has been wonderful.
My Uncle Mark passed away two months ago and I didn’t attend the funeral. God have mercy on his soul. I lost my mom to breast cancer in October. She died a very painful death and I miss her to this day despite her past mistakes with men . She is forgiven in my heart. My grandparents died many years ago—they never knew about the pain their son caused my sister and I. My brother died in a car wreck when he was twenty-one—too soon, too young. My sister divorced her first husband but not before they had two daughters. She re-married and now owns her own local daycare. I love her very much. I still do not hear from my biological father.
Life isn’t always smooth sailing but as a child, you have to take what you get. As an adult, life is what we make it. So, I say a prayer for all the children who live in the darkness of hidden abuse for I know how they feel. I hope that they will one day be able to come forward and make their abusers pay for what they did and maybe somehow we as world can figure out how to unite and stop this abuse.