Lesser Of Two Evils Growing Up

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brat17

MyPTSD Pro
Recent posts have brought up memories of my teen years.
My mom was depressed alcoholic, likely abused herself and maybe ptsd. While I witnessed things no kid should have, was put in bad situations, neglected, and somewhat abused, no recall at all of sexual abuse besides repeated witnessing adult acts. Last of 5 girls, court put me in orphanage before 6th grade, but she won custody back by going to AA before 7th grade. Drinking again and moved with sister before 8th grade. End of 8th grade, sisters husband took job 500 miles away. Part of me did not want to leave friends and I told my mom that . She got attorney to attempt custody and was supposedly sober again. I went with her to meet lawyer without telling my sister and brother in law. I told attorney that I wanted to live with mom and he was to start proceedings. As we left, going down elevator of business building with law offices and I dont really know what else, the elevator was crowded. Someone behind me put his hand up my dress and grabbed my crotch. I froze. My mother could not have known this. I wanted to scream. Something such as this would make her go nuts, draw attention, and even drink. (this thought flashed) as I continued to freeze. Mom was not effective in anything she did. She over reacted at the cost of others regularly. As repulsed as I was, I feared her more.

I went home feeling guilty for going behind sister and brother in laws back and knowing that I had to tell them that I wanted to go back to my moms rather than move across country, after all they had done for me. However, what happened on that elevator caused me to reconsider. Mom was not effective at dealing with such a thing. She was hyper-vigilent and always asked me if my dad touched me every time I saw him. Only later I learned what that meant and was grossed. Yet her drunk brother had tried to molest me in 5th grade and she told me not to tell their sisters or anyone else.

My brother in law was protective, rational, and effective in solving issues much better. When the court contacted him very soon, I told him that I had second thoughs and told her attorney such, but was sorry that it was wrong on my part, but not anything about the elevator. He was not angry surprisingly. I was so sorry for causing a problem and changing my mind. Even my mother wasnt so mad but hurt a bit I think.

Brother in law remained protective about boys my age or bit older, but never suspected sexual harrassment by a teacher in high school, and in the early 70's we did not excuse. That teacher got fired when caught on a reel to reel tape with students was uncovered after I graduated.

At 17, went to homecoming with steady boyfriend that I really loved (and married). We drank and went parking after dance. I was sexually assaulted by someone else and my boyfriend held against will to hear screams. I had blood all over a mint green gown as I was having my period. He took me to his house and vascilated between trying to comfort me and pacing with tension. We talked about leaving town with nothing. He took me home at 7 am with mascara all over me, and blood all over my dress. In his defense, dried it could have been wine and he never asked. I was chronic late for curfew by 5 minutes, but never 7 hours.

I now see what my therapist means when she says that there was nobody to protect me. I always thought that my brother in law was there for me. But the real clincher is this. His daughter is exactly 12 yrs younger than me, so when she was 15, I was 27. Her friends dad and soft ball coach raped her while staying all night with friend. She never told anyone until telling me a few years ago. She has addiction issues.

I dont know why, it was the 70's, I dont know if I thought I wouldnt be believed, or if I would have admitted to parking and drinking, that my boyfriend bought the liquor (he was 19) but I didnt tell of the perverts of the world. Maybe if I had of, my little niece would not have been raped or would have been able to share rather than repeat the situations when her parents were not there for her. I know I was young and afraid, even too embarrassed, and not knowing what would happen.

I had sex with my boyfriend 2 weeks later on his birthday and became pregnant. We never heard of any rythym method and although he insisted we were getting married and was initially happy, started questioning the baby being his. The dr gave me a due date of exactly 9 months after the assault. I delievered 3 weeks later. She is his in every way, but even though he was bi polar, I wonder if he would have been kinder without this. My husband raped me during 2nd yr marraige and brought this up a few times in vulgar ways. He blamed me so I thought, but as I learned later, he blamed himself most of all. There are few secrets in my family, but this is one I will take to my grave to save my already injured daughter. She will be 40 next month.

I am just feeling like I never do the right thing. My ex died last year and could not give my daughter the one thing she asked for, she wanted him and asked him on his dying bed to tell her that he loves her. He could not do it. Her entire life, he never found the words for her "I LOVE YOU" and I think it is my fault. We divorced when I was 22 and I was never able to assert myself and bring up the topic, but it was a dark shadow that came up when he got drunk.

Once I divorced him, it was as if the rape no longer existed and I denied it totally. I did not forget, but I did bury it deep. I overcame the shame by disconnecting with everything affiliated with it, not only my ex, but our mutual friends and other things. I met a man with little interest in sex. I thought I healed. I didnt I guess because it re-surfaced a few years ago.

Sorry I cant write a journal. I am too scatterbrained to follow any path at all.
I empowered myself and then advocated for women. It was real good for awhile. Then someone brought me to my knees again. I still life in the same city and women cannot really be empowered and equal here. Just my opinion, or loss of hope for change.
 

sedna

MyPTSD Pro
Recent posts have brought up memories of my teen years.
My mom was depressed alcoholic, likely abused her...
brat17, thanks for sharing all of that. Its getting a little easier to let go of the resistance to accepting my own history because of the thorough forums like yours. I'm sorry you had to deal with all of that. I think it's impossible to protect yourself when you've never known what it feels like to have someone else be there for you that way. Non existent boundaries and questioning your sense of situations are a result of childhood neglect. Sometimes people who you think are protective of you, but aren't actually doing much, like your brother in-law, are more harmful to our sense of reality than people who obviously wont be bothered.

I'm a little further ahead as a teenager in the early 80's, but no one talked about anything then either, and it was almost always blamed on the girl if they did. At least times have changed quite a bit since then.

I'm wondering if your mom was abused also, you said you weren't sure. It does seem odd that she's ignore her brothers behavior but keep asking about your dad for no reason. The alcoholism is typical , but I bet there's a clue in why she handled it that way.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you gizmo. It just seems that until someone screams this shit to the mountains, that it repeats in history. Wake up parents. But then what do I know. I was that over protective parent and almost went nuts single parenting 2 beautiful teens girls with hound dogs everywhere. One daughter did have an inappropriate band teacher about 25 yrs old and she reported him and gave up band. The school would not reveal "action " taken but in her freshman yr of college, the sheriff asked us to come in and another girl had letters he wrote basically stalking the teen. So she escaped that bullet, but what other one got her??? Their dad was a wus as far as protecting them. Just stayed away and worked….poor me attitude….my wife left me. Makes me sick.

I know this was a lot to read but it triggered much and I wonder if I really do hate men, I have been told that I do- not by anyone really educated, just ex husband or ex ??. Maybe I do. They only ones I really like seem to be the ones that are in a group I attend and are married, gay, or what I really trust to be sincere. Not all.

coco-thanks for reading. I think I write like a f…ing monster. I think Im too thorough and I dont know how others can maintain attention…I get lost. IIf it helps anyone, then it is worth it but I am really glad if it helps you to let go of some resistance of your history.

I really dont know what it feels like to be protected. I dont know what it feels like not to be called a liar or at least doubted. I have thought that if I summarized a few yrs of bad events to someone who didnt know me, they would think I was a big liar. Such as, granddaughter died of SIDS, daughter to prison, quadropalegic nephew shot to death by addict who broke in, 2 grandaughters molested and perp confessed, slip and fall that was proven due to video but gave me traumatic brain injury and many other problems….list goes on and on.

The sad fact is, my brother in law might have done something, but my shame prevented me from telling. He use to leave my sister with their company to come and pick me up from a dance, but he would come an hour early to lurk somewhere and make sure I was really at the dance. I think he was often pissed because I was. If I went across the street for a burger with friends, I was grounded for a month. I told my sister about another uncle that was gross and asked me to fix him up with a girlfriend when were 15. I did tell my sister when she kept taking her daughters there and they were approaching that age so I might have been about 30-mature enough to protect. But you are right, I knew how weak my mother was, but I held my brother in law in high regard as an adult even after my sister and him divorced. He was truley the only father figure I had. (he scared me, was assertive, smart, tale, male, had authority, my sister obeyed him)

coco I dont think attitudes had changed much in the 80's. It was about 1984 when I heard on news that the first conviction was made for a man raping his wife. I sat there and cried because I could never say rape in reference to my first husband. He just forced me to have sex, the first time very violently. I became complacant and just checked out and got it over after that . Women, especially young girls, did not speak up until I dont know when, or how many still do not even to this day, but I know a lot still dont until yrs later and a good reason. Lets not be emotional, be dramatic, or make waves, right? I think the attitude still exists to a degree.

Our mother, a single parent with 5 girls, got a lot of child support when she divorced in 1958. She was able to pay off the house and have 30K in the bank and sell the house for 30k in 1968. That was a quite of bit of money for a woman who never worked. Of course she did not buy light bulbs or toilet paper and we likely still had the comics on our rears when we all delivered our first born. LOL. She put adds in the newspaper and rented our bedrooms to men who paid $10 a week with kitchen privlidges. Once a Mexican guy came and gave her $10 and was going to store for lard (which I guess is an ethnic thing). He said, you girls wanna go with me, and my sister about 12 and I about 5 said, ya ya ya because we never got to go anywhere much- our mom didnt drive. She let us go. Can you imagine. I dont remember much about it but have vague memories and think my older sister might have something happen, nothing definate at all. Another story that is vague, and in general, I have an excellent memory from a time in the high chair so vagueness is a bit suspicious to me and have never tried to recall some things, just remember clips of incidents clearly.

My mom lived through depression, was poor with family of 10 kids, her father had a still and was alcoholic too. Very poor with 8th grade education. I do think there was sexual abuse and sure much more. However, she married man 10 yrs older, had 4 daughters, divorce, got pregnant with me by her attorney who was 68 and she was 38. She was a beautiful woman in her day. Attorney told her to seduce ex and then tell him she is pregnant and he would not let her be single pregnant mom in 50s and he would get her divorced after I was born. They re-married I think he was perv actually.( Gave me sloppy drunk kiss on mouth once when he picked me up at orphanage.) Of course I never told her or any sisters this. She made many claims about him, but I do think oldest sister was abused by him. She got into prostitution and I think he was part of cause. He definately treated her different than rest. I can only imagine what my poor sisters were exposed to. My mother seemed crazy but I think she knew the score about much more than others gave her credit for. Her husband was alcoholic. I think she questioned me about him touching because she thought that he would use me to punish her for tricking him. I think she knew that he knew, but there was not this DNA stuff back then.

My mother said that one sister (about 12) at time, threw me on floor when I was a baby. She told me she found her husband changing clothes and his tie was around my neck when I was an infant and I was turning color. One sister says that I got my head stuck between crib bars and was blue and he saved my life when infant. Who knows what to believe. My sister is in a fantasy land and does make things up too.

Bottom line is this I guess. I never wanted to be a distrusting woman like my mother, and in an attempt to be different, I was foolish. When you get burned enough, you become distrusting. The only real time I think I was safe was during a marriage of total neglect, but I was satisfied with getting by in the mid class financially, having the opportunity to raise my kids and find myself to a large degree, get over a lot of anger, explore-exercise, pta, appearing normalcy, college, consistency, reliability, etc. He could not handle my leaving the bubble I lived in though, ie actually going to work, making committments that were not family first even when not necessary. In a passive agressive way, I was under his control. Complicated and for another post. So I was safe inside a bubble. Just as 1st husband beat me, extremely jelous, raped me, emotionally abused regularly and was bi polar. Second was opposite, flat personality, no jelousy, neglectful, easy going so all appeared anyway. Attempts for opposite often get us the same thing, just by a harder,obscured, confusing route. At least when we get it in the head but not fully in the heart, without real healing, which I must have missed regardless of what I use to think.

I find that all my strengths seem to be my weaknesses as well. I am extremely loyal, empathetic, compassionate, honest, accepting, adaptable, etc. While they may sound like a pat on back, they all are the things that get me in the most trouble as well. They are weaknesses and prevent me from being self protective. Any drama in my life has started with some man, or by some man. I have had women hate me because of a man (that I did nothing wrong with). My kids because they felt sorry for poor dad. I dont hate men, I dont hate anyone. I just have had too many bad experiences, beginning with my sociopathic biological father, and at this point, think I have no use for them with few exceptions. I feel ashamed of that too. But I can really say anything here and accept judgement that I probably deserve.
 

sedna

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you gizmo. It just seems that until someone screams this shit to the mountains, that it repeats in...
Thank you gizmo. It just seems that until someone screams this shit to the mountains, that it repeats in...
Brat,
The posts you contribute do really help me, thank you again. A couple things I noticed in your history stood out to me, one is the type of mom you had and what generation she was in, and the other is that you view your weaknesses as being the same traits as your strengths.

I avoided or abandoned most my family after I was about 20, when I came back to CA I had to get involved with some of them out of necessity, due to my circumstances. What I noticed with middle aged eyes, was different than my kids eyes. These people also had huge families from the depression era, abuse, alcoholism and an over all feeling of endless secrets and lies. Illegitimate kids, orphanages, some of the girls who had probably been abused became prostitutes also. About half of the females in my family were unusually beautiful due to Irish and Native American mixed heritage, it was a very striking combination. All of those women used men and had too many children that they neglected. It was interesting and reassuring to see that similarity in your family history. I think some of the mistakes they made were from the times they lived in and the poverty level of the depression being a source of fear for the next decades.

The lack of boundaries you describe is something I'm just now coming to grips with myself, in fact thats why I'm signed up for an in person group therapy that starts next week. Its not even possible to understand a healthy boundary and how to enforce it without anyone ever showing you how by protecting you when you should have been learning it. Kids like us always end up either having poor or no boundaries...or they become the narcissists and sociopaths that refuse to respect others as a way of demanding their own protection. The line in the middle is invisible to us.

Whats most torturous, is what we do to ourselves over it. Whatever abuse or bad treatment we endure, is secondary to the way we kick ourselves for letting it happen. Thats because its hard to forgive yourself for something you were clearly smart enough to avoid. But you're forgetting that boundaries arent a thought, they are an instinct. They are instincts we had no reason to have.

I'm hoping to figure out how to develop some strong boundaries, because I'm basically completely uninvolved in life and I'm shutting down. If I find anything useful in these meetings I'll share it with you, its possible it'll make everything worse but I'm going to give it a try.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
coco- "out of necessity" is the key, the lesser of two evils I guess. What has to be tolerated just to survive? Not that I ever believed anything was suppose to be fair, but it is torturous. I can see how you relate to the similarities in our families. Many beautiful women, but if one values brains and equality over their own physical appearance, it is still not accepted by men in many communities, or maybe anywhere, I dont even know anymore.

So glad you are signed up for this group thereapy. You are so right that boundaries are an instinct, but even with the instinct, the freeze can take over, or even the over-reaction in form of fight. In my world, when boundaries are enforced, they are punished and it becomes an "out to get you" experience and is awful. We do play this out over and over. Each time becoming more of the self critic (unless narcicist or socio of course).

I completely relate to the feeling of being univolved in life and shutting down. .You seem very insightful and intellegent and open to all of this. I am sure you will benefit from this group if it offers what is promosed. I would love to hear your experience of it and all you learn. Please do share with me. Thank you so much for your responses and sharing. It sure feels lonely sometimes and I dont want to bore others with some of this, particularly when I know so many have had so much worse. It just feels like such a mind [email protected]$% at times and hopeless. Then I get up and try some more. I am just getting to old to get it right I am afraid.
 
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