Merry Christmas to all my online friends and acquaintances; to everyone who stops by my blog. And by the way, let’s all take a moment to enjoy the irony of a sexually compulsive atheist wishing others a merry Christmas. < hehe > And let’s take another moment to notice that I have not had to reset my sobriety date! < hooray >
With my oldest son in Iraq, this was the first Christmas we haven’t our entire family here but we adjusted. We put a bunch of pillows on a chair and perched the laptop on top and did a long video chat with Skype so he could see what was going on. I usually hold the video recorder, so every time I got choked up, I could fiddle with that until I regained my composure. He’d opened his presents when he was home over Thanksgiving, but Santa brought a few more.
Many people in the US send care packages to our soldiers. I’m not going to dwell on this because it makes me cry, but if you are a person who does this, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. My son received two care packages from two different families. Now remember, he’s a typical 21 year old male, so he was pretty cavalier about opening them; but for me, his mother, I can’t tell you how grateful I was that someone cared enough to go to the time, effort, and expense of sending my son a Christmas gift. Okay. Enough about that, except I’m also grateful that another family invited us to share Christmas dinner with them so we didn’t have to have an empty chair at the table. I brought a green bean casserole, which turned out okay (a minor miracle).
At this time of year, thoughts naturally turn to extended family. We got a package from my husband’s parents, which was nice. A few years ago they actually wrote refused on our Christmas card and had the post office return it to us! We haven’t spoken to them since right after I got out of treatment.
My daughters went to visit my mother a few days before Christmas, and had a wonderful time. I feel weird about that. On the one hand, my mother is a smart and interesting woman and I’m glad that the girls had a good visit with her. On the other hand, she doesn’t believe that my grandfather molested me. She doesn’t believe that my step father molested my sister. Her disbelief is so resolute that if I hadn’t told her at the time it happened, I’d be questioning whether my memories were real. Of course, my mother did a lot of things right. As I screamed at the therapist I saw when I was 30, I was never abused. I was never raped. I was never burned with cigarettes. I had a good family. Which is true. But it’s also true that closed doors were thrown open. I’m not sure what my sister did, but I leaned against the door or used my bedroom closet when I had my period. Saying that now, it sounds crazy, but growing up, that’s just the way things were. To this day, I feel guilty and ashamed when I close and lock the bathroom door. When friends came over to play, we’d always have to make them wait by the back door while we went through the house to make sure my mom and step-dad were dressed and that nobody was on the pot with the door open. Now, that seems odd to me, but when I was a child, it’s just the way things were. But again, I wasn’t beaten, I wasn’t raped, I wasn’t burned with cigarettes or dipped in boiling water. In some ways, it wonder if it would be easier if I had been burned with cigarettes. (My mother smoked a lot). I could then point to those scars and say, “See, this happened to me. This was bad. This hurt.” And everyone else could see those scars and know that I’d been abused. But that’s not the way it is. I don’t have any visible scars. So when I act out sexually, people can’t judge me as the survivor I am because my wounds are all invisible. I judge myself that way sometimes, because I have no firm reality of myself as abused. I’m 46 years old. I remember exactly what happened to me. I have always remembered. These are not recovered memories. When I take myself out of those memories and play the same tape with another baby, 8 year-old, 12 year-old, 13 year-old; the picture is clear. I had bad parents. But when it’s me, I can’t say that. If I had a bad mother, what does that mean? How do I act with her? How do I feel toward her?
It’s much, much easier if I’m a bad person and she’s a good mother.
Now there’s a weird insight that I don’t have a clue how to manage. So I think I’ll put that little gem up on the shelf and take it down next week when I see my therapist. But let’s be real here. What do you do with something like that other than say, “Gee. That’s weird. That sucks. That hurts. That’s confusing. That’s yours.” Maybe my therapist has access to a gem disposal unit.
< hehe > Gem disposal unit! That’s actually pretty funny!