Sunday, April 6, 2014
We Are Family
I went to Survivors of Incest Anonymous meetings for just over a year. After a few months, I separated from my ex husband and then moved out of the area. They helped keep me sane through all that. I loved those gals and the fellowship we developed over that time.
In 12-step programs we talk about two kinds of relationship ties: family of origin, the one you're born into and family of affiliation, the one you form from friendships. I've always been closer to people outside my family of origin, mainly because I felt unwanted by the people who were supposed to care for me.
Since my father died last year, I've been quite wary of contact with my sister and niece. I don't say this to hurt them. I wish all people peace. I say it to explain my point of view.
My sister told me that my mother made her take care of me and I bonded to my sister as if she were my mother. I have no memories of it, but my she told me that I wouldn't let my her new husband sleep in bed with her. I do remember when she had a baby and I didn't want to hold him. I wanted to push him off my lap and step on him. I didn't. I was four. Sounds like sibling rivalry to me.
I am closer in age to my sister's oldest children than I am to my own siblings. Though I didn't bond that close with them. Mainly because my sister's family moved far away not long after she had her first baby.
My parents divorced and my other sister and I went to live with dad for less than two years. Then we moved in with a babysitter. That lasted about the same amount of time as living with dad. My mother took custody back and I lived with her and her new husband for just over a year.
My older sister had her own family difficulties and after she moved back to my home town, I ended up living with her and her now two children. At some point her first born went back to live with his dad. My sister started dating a man and they decided to live together.
I'm sure my sister didn't want to be taking care of me. Though I know I was never her child to raise, I felt rejected again. I deeply resented my sister's now husband. As I got older, he never made any effort to understand me.
While the rest of the family praised my brother in law's high powered job and monied background, I felt he put me back into a terrible family. I have no memories of further abuse, but I had to live with my mother and the man who molested me.
To be fair to my sister's husband, he might have had zero knowledge of what had happened to me. It's also possible that my sister didn't know. I hope that if they had, they would have take care of me.
My brother in law always treated me like the outsider "bad seed" child. Well, no, they all treated me that way. In light of life threatening abuse and sexual molestation, the rest of my family's action seem almost mild.
No one ever spanked or did time out punishment. It seems they all had either crazy over reaction or ignore as their parenting tools. Mom once pulled me around the house by the hair because she was upset I didn't answer the phone. She left me home alone at night and I went next door to be around the neighbor kids.
I happened to be at my sister's house when her husband returned from an out of town trip. He brought trinkets for the little ones and I asked if he brought something for me. He replied, "You're not my kid." I didn't think about it at the time, but neither was my sister's daughter. He didn't have to be an asshole about it. I so desperately just wanted to be part of a family.
I remember being quite a needy little girl. For years, I felt guilty for being molested because I liked the attention. I learned that guilt runs deep and springs from a common river in children who survived sexual abuse. Kids take on a lot of family problems.
I don't feel guilt or shame about what other people have done to me anymore. At least not for the really bad stuff. I do feel some guilt, a little naggy bit, about all the rejection. Knowing that it isn't about me helps. Not always enough.
I have some small talent for finding a family of affiliation. Though, I do see that I don't bond too close to people. I put Murry off four years before I would even meet him in person.
When we had to ask a customer to leave because he was rude to one of our employees, he asked, "What? Are they like your kids or something?" I thought, YEAH, they're FAMILY! Now get out of my store and stop being a jackass.
Either stop being a JACKASS or get out of my life. I know that sounds harsh, but I put up with and felt guilty for.. too many already. No more. Kind people are part of my family. Unkind people are sick and I hope they find their happy place, it's not near me.
As always, kind comments welcome!