Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It Doesn't Matter

It doesn't matter.

Does it? I always thought it did but I'm beginning to think otherwise.

My bonus daughter says this phrase a lot. Mostly to make herself feel better about an otherwise irritating situation. The kids are in the habit of calling "shotgun" when we get in the car. It's an easier way for them to "take turns" than to keep track of who sat where last. When she forgets to call it, even though you can see she's mad about it, she says, "It doesn't matter." And then she lets it go.

I usually get so angry when someone lies about me. I worry about what people think about me, especially if their perspective about me is off. I fight for the truth to be known and will argue and push until the other person sees it.

But hearing my bonus daughter vocalize that phrase repeatedly over the past month has changed my view on things.

I love honesty. I love truth. I love simplicity and peace.

I found out this past weekend, (a lot I already knew), that another person has been bad-mouthing me and telling lies about me and my mom. She has emailed and called other family members repeatedly spewing trash from her mouth. My family welcomed me with open arms despite her attempts to destroy those relationships. Each one of my aunts and uncles told me not to worry about it. They are tired of hearing from her. Tired of her lies and complaining. Angry by the fact that a person would do that to another family member.

"It doesn't matter."

My uncle told me that one reason nobody believes her or even wants to listen to her is because they know who I am and who she is. It is my character that speaks for me. And hers for her. It has never been me that has bad mouthed her or gone to other family members and spoken ugly things about her. Yet since we were young, it has been her that has stirred up drama, talked bad about each of her family members, and told lie after lie. And in light of the events of the past 2 years, they are disgusted that she would stoop to the level she has.

"It doesn't matter."

I have held my tongue through the worst because it doesn't matter.

I have turned the other cheek time and again because it doesn't matter.

There is only ONE that matters. God. We should be concerned about what He thinks about us. We should care how He sees us.


I have learned that when I let things go and don't try and "fix" it on my own ~ the truth comes out. It may take a month. It may take a year. It may take a decade.
But it does come out.

Does it really matter what lies are told about me? Does it really matter what people believe about me? Does it really matter how someone else sees me?

Honestly? NO. If I just keep living my life and letting the unnecessary things go ~ The TRUTH will come out.

It's been proven over and over in my life. And it's taken me this long to realize it.

Backing down to confrontation doesn't mean you are giving up.

Not fighting back doesn't mean that you know the other person is right and that you're wrong.

Being assertive isn't about fighting back and responding.

Sometimes standing up for yourself and standing up for the truth means that you have to close your mouth and turn and walk away.

The rest will take care of itself. It doesn't matter ~ let it go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Letters, Deceptions, and Games

I began a writing workshop for survivors.

One: I love to write
Two: It was something I could do just for me

My advocate is the leader for the group. I love her. She's been with me since the beginning of this mess and has helped me through in so many ways.

We started out with three lists of 5: Things I feel right now, Things I have anxiety about, Things about writing that scare me. As I was making my columns, I was thinking how easy this was going to be. Then I started writing. Not as easy as I thought. I could only come up with 4 things in each column and the last 3 things in each column were squeezed out of my head along with blood and sweat. We went on to do other exercises where our creativity was allowed to flow.

Blank pages give me anxiety. They just seem to stare at me and taunt me.

We finished with one of the exercises and began discussing it. One of the women spoke up about how she had a hard time with letting her thoughts flow and somehow ended up on the subject of confrontation. She had just had to deal with a stalker and reporting him to the police. It was the first time she'd felt strong in her life. The first time she'd stood up for herself. It made her want to pen a letter to her abuser because she felt she could finally confront him. If only on paper.

While I applauded her desire to confront him, I was also worried about it. Rarely, when confronted, will the abuser admit to any wrong doing or apologize. Even if they've openly admitted guilt in court or to their families, it is just a formality. Inside, they still take no responsibility. Everything that goes wrong or has gone wrong, including the abuse, is always someone else's fault. Even after being in treatment for years and years, no change will have taken place inside.

I sat there remembering the countless times I had confronted my abuser and told him exactly how I felt. Not just recently. Beginning all the way back to 1990. He totally disregarded me and more lies came. Lies that placed the blame on me, lies that made my anger with him about something else. Lies that turned my step-mom against me because he made her believe I was the problem. Her and I have talked so much these past couple years now. Both of our eyes have been opened and we see everything so clear now. These lies not only destroyed our relationship but I had to turn my back on him. I had nothing to do with him for years because his abuse continued ~ emotional, psychological. It was the only way I could protect myself from any more pain.

I confronted him almost 10 years later. This time he apologized. But then more lies came. Lies and deceit. Though this time, they wouldn't become clear or be discovered for almost another decade.

Once this mess began, I started on the side of being compassionate and understanding. After all, I HAD forgiven him. It wasn't something I was going to take back. I told him that repeatedly. I don't hold the abuse against him at all. I wrote him about how I loved him and how we could get through this together. See, even though I had talked to the police and given them evidence against him, I was still determined to be there to help him through.
This phase lasted for 5 months. Not once did he ever acknowledge how I felt. Never once did he validate my pain or fears or feelings. I then visited him along with my brother. The visit went good. I still felt like we could make it through.

I decided to visit him by myself. A decision that sent me reeling and hindered my progress in therapy. He took full advantage of me being alone and began playing his mind games. He continued what he'd been saying to me through letters those months but added onto it.
He had the nerve to sit there and tell me that HE was the victim in all of this and actually asked me if I wanted to trade places. He told me how miserable he was and that if I hadn't talked to the cops, he wouldn't be sitting there. He actually told me that all I had to do to fix it was talk to the cops and take my statement back. That it was up to me and as soon as I left there, I needed to make the phone call. His wife was thinking about leaving him. This he blamed on me, my sister and my brother. That if we hadn't been such brats and been so mean to her all these years that she wouldn't be thinking about divorcing him now. Her love for him had died because of us~ nothing he had done. He blamed me and the other girls he had violated. Since when are children to blame for sexual abuse? He sat there and complained about my mom and how all of this was her fault and how my sister was just like her. He said things about my sister and the life she'd lived and then blamed my mom that she was still alive because he should've let her die instead of reviving her when she almost died of SIDS. He blamed the police and everyone he'd ever come into contact with for his situation. Then he came back and started in on me again. I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was going to vomit. I was scared to death but couldn't move. I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. But I was glued to that chair.

I left that day and drove the long trip home bawling my eyes out. I don’t even know how I got home.

During the months that led up to his sentencing, I wrote him several times. Telling him in detail how I felt, what I needed from him, what I thought. But he continued to deny responsibility, to lie, to blame those around him. It was then that I knew I had to take him out of my life. I was trying to heal and all his actions were hindering that. It wasn't just me he was doing it to. It was our entire family. Though not everyone could or can see it.

I stopped all contact with him. He was released in October 2008. Never once did he try and contact me. I felt strongly that I was supposed to call him on Thanksgiving. So I did. I gave him yet another opportunity. He ignored it and acted as though nothing had happened and went on to tell me how miserable his life was and blah, blah, blah. Not once since then has he made any effort. Not once. Recently I found out that he still blames my mother. He still blames me. Really. All of this came about because of everyone else and nothing you did?

My step-mom, along with many others, told me recently that I have made every effort to reconcile and it is no longer my responsibility. That I've given him more than enough chances and every time he has spit in my face. She told me that I need to come to grips with the fact that he will probably die without making peace with me. She said that God gave him chance after chance and he never took advantage of those, either. God heard my cries all these years for healing, for peace and in His time…..answered those prayers.

My letters of confrontation are over. My days of being controlled by mind games are done. However, the deception lives on because there are still ears that want to listen.

But not mine.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Peek Behind Me....

It's almost the end of the quarter ~ next Friday! I feel SO good about what I've accomplished my first quarter in school. I have straight A's. I was pretty nervous about going back after 20 years. After all, in high school, I passed most of my classes with D's. I got A's in German, Art, and my writing classes….but the rest, I just didn't care about. That stemmed from feeling I was just not worth it after being sexually abused from age 10 on.

Being sexually abused changes everything about your world.


I went from an outgoing little girl, who was always happy and laughing, and had tons of friends to a sad, angry little girl who withdrew from everyone and trusted no one. I remember my life before the abuse. FUN. Carefree. Trusting. Curious about the world. Loved playing with my friends. Loved my family. Slept peacefully at night. I often wonder who I would've become had I not experienced the violence and pain of the abuse.

I turned into a girl who trusted no one and hated lies. After all, I had trusted one of the first people I had ever known and loved unconditionally…and he hurt me beyond words. He would tell me he loved me ~ and then abuse me. He would tell me I could trust him ~ then betray that trust. He would tell me it was over and he wouldn't hurt me any more ~ but it went on for over 5 years. I stopped believing everyone in my world ~ except Grandma. To this day, if I'm lied to, I get angry. I get the same feelings I had when I was little. If a person destroys my trust, they rarely get it back. It's my way of protecting myself. Everyone tells white lies. "Those pants look great on you." Not the lies I'm talking about. Major lies ~ lies that destroy, that hurt~ are unacceptable. What's the motive behind the lie? It truly shows a person's character when they lie and think nothing about the way it can destroy the person they're lying to or about.

I grew up feeling I wasn't worthy of anything good. That I didn't deserve to be happy. I still struggle with this one sometimes. I'm afraid to be too happy because I feel that God will rip it away from me. With the help of the therapy, I've come to learn that I AM worthy, I AM precious, I AM deserving. I do things for myself now that I would never had dreamed of doing. I let others serve me ~ an idea that used to make me nauseous and uncomfortable. I am currently the happiest I've ever been in my life and I make it a point to name my blessings everyday. I can't believe how much GOOD is in my life. I can't believe how CONTENT I am even when there's turmoil around me.

August 2007 until October of 2008…THE worst time in my entire life, aside from the abuse. My abuser was being investigated based on some other reports, and through a letter I had written to him years earlier, my abuse had been found out. It started a storm I thought would overtake and kill me. I had put the abuse and everything associated with it into a room and bolted the door. Suddenly, I was being forced into facing it head-on. There's no way to even begin to describe the hell I went through on a daily basis. Fear, nightmares, insomnia, guilt, flashbacks…and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There were periods of time I actually thought I was going to die. Times where I wanted to die. Times I felt as if I was already dead. The pain was unbearable. The entire process from interviewing, to sentencing, to his release took me on a trip through hell that I am thankful for even now.

I was allowed to break my silence. I no longer live in fear that nobody will believe me or that he will come back for me. Everything was brought to the light and out in the open and it FREED me.


My abuser still has his demons to wrestle with. He still has to confront himself in the mirror and deal with what he has done. Now HE is the one that must live with the same feelings I lived with all these years. It's his turn. I thought that now it's all said and done that somewhere along this path, we could reconcile. That he would realize the magnitude of pain and destruction he brought not only to my life, but to our entire family. But no. I heard the other day that he still blames my mom for what he did. (How does that work?) And he still blames me. After all, I'm the one who told my story to the police. I'm the reason he sat in jail for a year. (Never mind that he got off with a hand slap for Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 1st and 2nd degree) I'm the one that turned my back on him. (Forget how he destroyed the life of a child and stole my innocence.) I've come to accept the fact that I will probably never to speak to him again or have any kind of relationship with him. And I'm fine with that…………………because I'm FREE.

What I don't understand, however, is the fact that my sister turned her back on me. She continues to tell lies about me to other family members. She continues to try and destroy my character. This has gone on our entire lives. It's actually nothing new. But she chose the time during which I was struggling with these demons to not only kick me down and repeatedly stab me, but turn around and play the innocent victim and lie about why we no longer have contact. Who does that to family? Who does that to anyone? I don't fight back, yet she continues. She reminds me of Gollum ~ stroking her "Precious". I know my abuser plays a part in it. His bitterness has rubbed off onto her and she believes everything he says since she is so desperate for his love and attention. It has been like that since we were little. It's so sad.

I will never let her back into my life. Not after taking years of lies and her trying to destroy my life. I've let both of them go.

I've grieved for the loss.

I've moved on.