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.

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