Follow up…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, I’ve been extremely overwhelmed with obligations as well as recovery from surgery that took some of my time.  I’ve promised so much to so many people and I can’t keep up with myself. In addition, I’ve been trying to be positive so finding it hard to write about my past right now.  This is always such a difficult time for me even though I like the summer.  It’s the anniversary of my father’s death 31 years ago so I’m especially raw and I’m pushing myself to keep from spiraling again.  I will just post this letter to my mother that I’m thinking about sending.

Dear Mom,

Telling me you love me is not enough, your actions tell a different story. I don’t believe your words because you choose to regard my rapist’s life and feelings above mine.  Most people can’t understand a mother that would ignore such a crime against their own child and for the life of me, I can’t explain it to them.  As a mother myself I just can’t imagine this and believe it’s some sort of mental illness that allows you to rationalize his behavior as well as your own.

I do miss having a mother and I wish we were close. I wish I didn’t get angry every time I think of how you abandoned me when it suited you.  Whether you believe it or not, it is abandonment. When I was young I told you what was wrong with me but you abandoned me then by ignoring my story and punishing me so I put the secret away again.  When I told you again as an adult you abandoned me once more by lying and protecting my rapist.

I can’t pretend that I’m ok with your relationship with him and your unwillingness to face the truth. I can’t turn a blind eye while you continue to put other children in danger by sending them to him.  I can’t turn a blind eye to you ignoring your granddaughter, also victimized by this monster that you continue to protect.  What does he have to do for you to treat him as you have us?  We were just little girls and yes it was too late to stop my torture but you did nothing to prevent him from harming others even after I asked you to.

I don’t believe you want a real relationship with me. It seems to me that you just want to continue some sort of fake family image you like to picture yourself in.  You have always tried to hide our real family from your friends and extended family.  I can’t be a part of your fantasy world any longer, I have to be honest to have real relationships.

It may seem like nothing but I wish you wouldn’t include me in your dishonesty. I was already hurting when I went to my uncle’s funeral but because you can’t tell the truth I had to navigate through all the questions about his absence and to top it off, you included my name next to his on the flowers and in your speech.  It’s not ok and you need to stop, he is not my family.  I should have just told them all the truth right then and there, next time I will.

Finally, I will just say that if you continue your relationship with him then you must stop trying to have a relationship with me. I will not waver on this decision.  I have felt so betrayed that it hurts to even think about a relationship with you.  He ruined my life and I have suffered for 38 years so I will do whatever it takes to finally heal from this.

Tracy

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Open Letter Series: To His Mom

I’ve wanted to write you so many times but I never felt like it was appropriate. I think about you and your family every single day and pray that you are finding peace. I’m never sure if it would make things worse to reach out to you or if my silence is worse. I thought my life was starting to gain some positive momentum last year until that day.  I’ve been through quite a bit in my life, I’ve dealt with a lot of pain but I will tell you that this was by far the worst thing that has ever happened in my life. The pain of this loss outweighs any I’ve ever had to deal with so I can not imagine how you must be feeling,  I won’t pretend to compare what you are going through to what I’ve faced. I’m not going to try to convince anyone that what my son did was not wrong or that I’m blameless. I still don’t know why this happened and I can’t make it go away but I want you to know that I’m not oblivious to your pain.

The night that I got the call I was at an event, I was driving home alone, crying, breaking down. When I was almost home I started screaming at God and pounding on my steering wheel, I passed my street because I wasn’t finished, I just kept driving and screaming on the empty road.  I knew that up ahead there was a steep drop off on the highway and thought I would drive off in hopes of ending the pain but I drove past the drop off because I thought I might hurt someone else. I turned around and started begging God to give your son his life, I wanted him to take me instead.

I got home and everything bad that ever happened to me just came rushing in like a flash flood of thoughts. I couldn’t stop myself, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t speak and I was absolutely terrified for your son and for mine. I tried calling my psychiatrist for medicine but was rejected, I knew that was the first of many rejections that were to come in the wake of this tragedy. I don’t remember much of the next few days except that I did finally get some medicine from another doctor. Without thinking, I tried once again to end my life but thankfully I was unsuccessful. I know now that this would be the last time I ever tried to do that because I found out my son was on suicide watch. He was so ashamed and upset over what he had done and I could not add to that .

I was so scared that other people were going to attack our family for what happened and it was so hard to tell anyone. I know my son and I know his heart, this act is not him but if you don’t know him you can’t believe that. He did do this and it’s his fault but I began to doubt the facts because it didn’t make sense and I was sure something was missing or someone else had a hand in this. I wanted so badly to wake up from this nightmare and forget about this. I went to work every day and pretended everything was ok because I believed I would lose my job if they knew. I assumed that nobody would forgive me and I would lose all of my friends. I blamed myself, I wasn’t a great mother, I was not strong enough or supportive enough for my children. I thought that I had tried my best but I see now that I could have done better.

I was losing my mind everyday, I just wanted to run away from everything. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that I was cursed and everyone I loved was in its destructive path.  I went to church and it was great but it made me feel worse sometimes. In my eyes it’s hard to see what others are going through because I’m so consumed by trauma and sadness. I could not be away from my husband because I was terrified, I began to feel the same knot in my chest that I used to get all the time. I just felt nauseous and light-headed and sometimes I felt like I could not breathe. I didn’t go anywhere for a while

I did not go visit my son in jail because I could not see him like that, I was too selfish about my own hurt that I could not be there for him when he needed me most. I wanted to help my son but it also felt wrong in some way. He made a terrible mistake that cost a man his life but I love him and I knew that it was an accident. I wanted to let him remain in jail until his trial and maybe that was wrong of me but I thought it would help him in the long run. The lawyer advised us to get him out so my son was released and I got to see him, it was bittersweet, when he came home I was happy to see him but consumed by guilt. I was holding my son and thinking of you, how can I enjoy this when you will never hold your son again because of us.

With therapy I slowly began to do things again and spent more time with my son.  I knew he would be serving time for what he did so I wanted to spend this time with him.  I wanted him to talk to me about what happened but he was not allowed to, all he ever said was that he just kept seeing it over and over and was haunted by what he had done.  I’m sure that you believe he deserved to feel this way and you’re right but it’s hard as a mother to see you child in so much pain.  My son was still breathing and doing what he could to get through this but I knew that his life would never be the same.  He would pay for this for the rest of his life no matter what.  Even if his sentence was light, he would never realize his dreams.  He was going to be discharged from the military and he will never be able to be in law enforcement again.  This will follow him forever both emotionally and professionally.

We tried to think of ways to help you but were restricted. We wanted to honor your son in some way but were not allowed.  A year has passed and I’m still feeling the guilt over what happened, I still think about you every time I try to enjoy life in some way. I’ve thought about you on every holiday, your son’s birthday, the anniversary and every other day this past year. Every time I have an opinion on something in the news I think of you first and try to put myself in your shoes. For instance, what right do I have to think  rapists and other criminals should have harsher sentencing when I prayed so hard for the judge to be lenient with my son? Is it ok for me to be mad at how my mother is protecting her son when I have been protecting mine?  Even small decisions are difficult because I feel guilty and I worry about the repercussions of all words and actions.

I only know how to tell you what I’m feeling which is why I’ll never send this letter. It’s not fair to lay my guilt at your feet for some kind of forgiveness. I wish you could scream and yell at me until you felt some kind of relief. I wish you could feel some peace and hope you find joy in life despite this tragedy. You were wronged and I want you to feel some sort of justice even though it’s at my expense. I will never stop grieving for your son.

 

 

 

 

Open Letter Series: Dear Bestie

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The first time we met it felt like two split souls were finally reunited.  I was instantly drawn to you and immediately comfortable in your company.  I think many people were drawn to your beauty without really knowing you.  Once people got to know you it became obvious to anyone that you are not just beautiful on the outside but inside as well.

When I met you I was a different person, I was wearing a mask.  I wanted to hide my fear and shame.

You liked that girl but you allowed me to take off the mask when it was just us.

We became inseparable, two opposite halves making a whole.  Completely different but exactly the same.  We loved the same music, movies and scary books (Bwahahaha) :-).  You became my beautiful sister with the flawless hair and makeup while I had the closet full of the latest trends.  You were the good girl playing by the rules while I went to parties and stayed out late.  We always did our thing, eating some good food and going to the dance club.

We invented our own language and some great food combos…mashed potatoes and popcorn with some sweet tea!  We wrote some amazing notes at school that I still have.  You were the best listener a friend could ask for.

We had the most amazing connection and when we told each other about our pasts it became clear that we were meant to find each other.  We had so much to talk about, so much to carry for each other and so much love for each other.

I have cherished every moment of our almost 30 years together.  I often think that if one small thing had been different in my life, I could have missed you but it was meant to be.  There were so many times I felt like I couldn’t go on but you were there pushing me to survive.  I was always perceived to be the strong one and you so delicate but you fought for me when I couldn’t.  I wonder if that girl ever figured out “who you are” ha!

Never once in 30 years have we not been able to be ourselves with each other and be honest about our feelings, our pain or our few disagreements.

Our lives were linked before we ever met, when you hurt I hurt and vice versa.  I love our long conversations over lunch or dinner and how we always know what to say to make it better.

I still think you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met, the most caring and thoughtful girl with a contagious personality and a wicked talent for crafts!

We will never lose each other, no matter what happens in our lives.  We will be the colorful crazy old ladies in the home laughing it up.  The old birds in there will be so jealous of us.  Our bond will last well beyond our time on earth.

I hope we’re reincarnated as witches or mermaids next time!

I love you with my whole heart.

Love,
Tracy

P.S. I’m in a Buffalo Stance at this very moment!

Open Letter Series: Dear Husband

Dear Husband,

I know that I tell you every day that I love you (like a hundred times a day…).  I tell you this so much not only because of course I do love you but I’m reminding myself that I love you.  wp-1461952286050.jpgYou see I have issues remembering the good stuff, I have so many bad memories that my brain is programmed to be sort of negative.  I have always felt that if I’m happy or if I get excited about something then I’ll just be let down when it doesn’t work out or something bad happens.  I don’t trust my fate or destiny or whatever.  I have always felt cursed and when something good happens I’m just waiting for the curse to destroy it.  I hope that makes sense.

I want you to know that I don’t think like normal people.  I’m hyper vigilante which means I always think something bad is lurking everywhere I go.  I think if I’m not doting on you or pleasing you that you will stop loving me.  I can’t speak normally and often just scream in my own head because I’m afraid of being attacked for how I feel or think.  I know none of this is normal and I never want you to think that I’m trying to hurt you when I don’t speak.  Some days I just have a bad feeling come over me and I can’t tell you why or I’m scared to talk about it or I don’t exactly know why or how to articulate my feelings.  I’m working on that.

I want you to know how much I truly appreciate your patience with me as I heal and just how much it means to me that you have stuck by me through some of the worst times in my recovery. You are strong so you probably don’t know what it’s like to feel empty, alone and afraid while surrounded by people.  Letting me lean on you has filled my heart, it has given me hope and it has made me stronger.  I no longer feel like I’m battling these things alone.  That in itself doesn’t make sense because as you know I try to get away when I’m having an anxiety attack.

I know you have struggled with how all this has made you feel but you have always done your best to protect me and stand up for my well-being.  You have given more than you know and I don’t feel like I will ever be strong enough to return the favor but I’m giving you all that I am and all that I have because I love you so deeply.

When I was a little girl I always dreamed of being rescued from the pain by a prince and maybe you don’t ride a horse or wear a crown but you are the prince.  You have treated my like a princess from the moment that I met you and you are an amazing role model for my children.  I appreciate the hard work you put in to keep our lives comfortable and our home safe and beautiful.  I also appreciate the hard work you have put in to our relationship.  When we went through bad times and I felt like it was over and there was no way you will stick around, you fought for me.  You fought to get me through the tough times and you gave me the strength to recognize how important I am to you and my kids.

You make me laugh and I love spending time with you whether it be kayaking, watching a movie, eating dinner or merely going to Sam’s together.  We have our things together and I love our everyday as well as the special times.  You get me better than anyone I have ever met and I love that I can say anything or do some stupid or funny things and we can just laugh about it.  I love that you spy on me while we are shopping so you can pick out my favorite things on holidays.  I love that you can come home to a table full of shopping bags and just say, “It’s OK, I get it.”  I love that when we go out in a crowd you throw your arms around me to protect me from strangers touching me.  I love when you come up behind me and just hug me for no reason.  I love that you understand my obsession with certain things and don’t push me to be something else.  I love that you will eat whatever I cook even though that is not my strength.  I love that you get it when I just need some girl time with my friends.  AND most of all I love that you understand my need to hoard toilet paper like the apocalypse is on the horizon.

You are my hero, my rock.  You have ALWAYS been there when I needed you most.  I could not ask for a better husband or friend.  I will continue to fight for the good and will love you till my death.

Forever My Love,

Tracy

 

Open Letter Series: Dear Abuser

d4ebd8f6f69971d549bdad804540912e.jpgDear Abuser (the monster under the stairs),

I hope by now you know that I am no longer keeping your secret and that I plan to speak out about terrible things you did to me and others.  I’m writing to you to free myself of your hold on my fear and unhappiness.

I was only 6 years old the first time you raped me and I had never experienced such pain and despair as you caused me from that day forward.  I want you to know that it was very painful not only physically but emotionally.  You were supposed to be my big brother and you were supposed to protect me from monsters but it turns out you were the monster.
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I lived in fear in my own home all those years and that fear has continued for my entire life.  You stole my innocence and my childhood from me.  You made me untrusting of others and scared to love.  I never knew what a child was supposed to feel, I should have been care free and oblivious to evil, trauma and torture.  I felt trapped in shame and was terrified that people would find out.  You made me believe that I couldn’t tell because bad things would happen to me.  I felt so disgusting and it kept me from making any real friends.  I couldn’t have my friends stay over, they would find out.  It felt like everyone knew anyway and I became the weird kid that nobody wanted to be around.

I was always afraid to go downstairs for any reason because you were down there.  I had to try to sneak down to play with my toys. I never slept because I was afraid you would get me.  It never failed, you always trapped me down there to torture me on the carpet.  I started acting out in school and got into a lot of trouble.  I couldn’t sit on the carpet with the other kids in class because of what that signified to me.

I still do not sleep, I still have nightmares, I’m still afraid of the dark, I’m still afraid to go downstairs, I still feel disgusting and sometimes visions of the abuse just pop in my head from any number of triggers.  I still have tantrums which I now know to be anxiety attacks, I suffer from PTSD and I’ve had to pay thousands of dollars in therapy to try to heal from the trauma you inflicted on me.  I’ve hurt many people in my life because I didn’t feel worthy of love or friendship.  I wasn’t a good mother because I was emotionally unstable and my kids had to help me instead of the other way around.  I almost lost my husband because I was having attacks but could not tell him why I was upset.  My son screwed up his life and many others because he did not grow up in a stable and normal home.

I missed so much because of what you did to me.  You should have at least given me the courtesy of owning up to your crime when I told at 15.  Instead you called me a liar and said I was crazy.  I was crazy, because of you and it’s your fault and mom’s fault that I nearly killed myself that day.  You ruined most of my life but I have put an end to that. I told my husband what you did, I told my friends, my kids, my in-laws, my husbands friends, our extended family, your kids, and now the world.  I have posted about my abuse on social media and I am blogging about it.  This is helping me to heal and I don’t care what it does to you, your job or your relationships.  I wish you were in jail paying for your crimes.  I hope you don’t think that I will ever protect you from the truth.

Don’t ever try to contact me again and don’t try to push yourself into my life when you feel an opportunity.  If you ever show up to any family functions that I’m attending I will yell it at the top of my lungs to be sure everyone knows what you are.  If I ever hear again that you have hurt someone or have been around children I will make it my personal goal to see you behind bars where you belong.  You are not allowed to keep skating through life as if nothing ever happened while me and my family have suffered at your hands.

You are a monster.

 

Open Letter Series: Dear Mom

 

letter-mail-envelope.jpgMom,

I know you think I hate you but I’ll say what you always said to me, “I love you, I just don’t like you.”  I wrote to you restating the facts of my sexual abuse by your son to which I received no response until several months later.  The response I received was in the form of a Mother’s Day card with a note enclosed telling me that I hate you, that my father wasn’t there for me either and that you didn’t know about the molestation.  You said you loved me and you are happy to have my children in your life.  I would like you to know that I did not feel any love when reading this note.  I felt again that you were playing the victim and still not acknowledging how I was wronged.

I told you when I was 15 years old that my brother had molested me for many years but you denied me and called me a liar.  My father was dead at the time so no, I don’t lay any blame on him.  I blame you for kicking the truth under the rug and denying me your help and support.  It took me 9 years to tell someone and when I did my worst fears were realized.  I got nothing from you except anger towards me.  You did not get angry at him for molesting me and I attempted suicide because I was so alone and depressed.  You never supported me in my struggle to overcome this and you continuously pushed him into my life.  I felt I had to keep this secret for you and for him for many years because if you didn’t believe me or support me than why would anyone else.

When I approached you about this as an adult you offered me nothing, just played the victim.  You wanted me to tell you how to fix it.  It can’t be fixed but I asked you to ask him yourself and to check on his children to make sure nothing had happened to them.  You later told me you had done that and that he did not deny it nor did he confess to it.  You told me you checked on his kids and everything was fine.  I believe you lied, I believe you never said anything to anyone.  I know for sure that you did not check on the kids because I asked.

When I wrote you that letter restating the facts of my abuse I did so to give you some glimpse into my personal hell.  I wanted you to know all the gory details because I was angry that you pushed it under the rug and left me to deal with it on my own.  I was angry that you abandoned me and my son when we needed you most during his hearing to be with him and his family.  I was angry when I found out that you invited my niece’s children to stay at his house knowing what a monster he is.  I’m angry that you talk about him as if he is some kind of golden child.  I’m angry that you keep trying to hide this fact about him and I’m really angry that you still protect him.

You keep asking me what I want so I’ll tell you.  I want you to acknowledge the truth and support me while I heal.  I want you to get angry at him and tell him why you are angry.  I want you to stop trying to force him into my life and stop talking about him to me or in front of me.  I want you to stop telling friends and family that I don’t get along with my brother as if I’m the problem.  I want you to tell people that he is not welcome to events where I am present or where there are children present.  I want you to tell people why I can’t be around him.  I want you to stop making me out to be this mean and hateful daughter that just does this to torment you.

It’s not fair that I have the carry this burden.  I can never forget what he did to me, he not only put me through excruciating physical pain, he damaged my soul, he stole my innocence and he robbed me of my childhood.  I have been afraid of the dark for as far back as I can remember, I chewed my nails until they bled up until 3 months ago, I have tried and thought about suicide more times than I care to reveal, I have nightmares and flashbacks triggered by dates, sounds, smells, places, people, etc.  I am hyper vigilante and jumpy, some like to call me an alarmist.  I get nervous in basements, close and dark spaces, I don’t like to be touched by most people and I get extremely anxious in crowds.  I have struggled with mental illness all of my life because of this and have to be on medication just to sleep or go to certain places.  I not only have emotional scars but I also have physical scars and abnormalities from the abuse that I now have to deal with as an adult.

I realize this is difficult for you to accept because he is your son but I want you to try to put yourself in my place.  How would you want to be treated and how would you want your mother to handle it?  It’s true I want him to suffer and be punished for what he did and I have a right to feel that way.  He should not be around children, not even family.  He belongs in jail for what he has done to me and others.  I’m standing up to child molesters and rapists and no longer keeping secrets.  I believe everyone has a voice, young or old and it’s time we start protecting the right people.  Please do the right thing.

Love, Tracy