I started therapy when I was 17. At the time I didn’t have any clear memories of my abuse or my abuser. All I knew was something happened to me and it wasn’t good. I couldn’t let anyone touch me. God forbid you come up behind me and touch me. I would scream and leave the room in tears. I had no one that I trusted and very few people I would even call my friends. It took over a year of group therapy to recover even a small portion of my memories. I’ll never forget the group session that I first recovered the fact that my abuser was my grandfather. It was like a light went on. But then I had to deal with telling my family. I agonized over that for months. I wasn’t sure of how they where going to react. I finally decided that I was going to face my abuser FIRST with the knowledge of his abuse. So I round up the one friend I had told and we drove the 3 1/2 hours to my grandparents house.
I knocked on the door, they answered and I said I needed to talk to my grandfather. I think at the time I was hoping that he would be able to explain away what I was remembering as a mistake, something that he was ashamed of, just something that I was remembering out of context. I don’t know, I think part of me was still in denial that what happened had really happened. I remember my grandmother wouldn’t leave the room even when I asked her to, so we all sat down in the living room. I simply stated I had been abuse sexually and the I knew grandfather had done it.
The first thing I heard was laughter, followed by screaming. At this point I had already started to disassociate because I was in the place where I had been abuse with the man who abused me. So at first I didn’t process anyone’s reactions as their own. It was mostly just sound waves coming at me. Then pictures like on TV and then I finally snapped back to reality. It was then that I realized the laughter was coming from grandfather. The screaming my grandmother. At first I thought she was screaming at him, how wrong I was. She was screaming at me.
It went something like this:
GRANDFATHER – Laughing and saying I was wrong and delusional and a fool and who was going to believe that.
GRANDMOTHER – Screaming and Yelling calling me a lair, and saying How dare I come into their house and say such things. In one breath she wanted proof, she wanted to know what he did to me exactly.(at this point I still didn’t have clear memories) and in the next breath she was back to telling me I was a ungrateful lying crazy person and that I needed to get out of their house and stay out.
At this point my grandmother was in my face and I started fearing for my life as she can get violent when she is mad. So I left. All I wanted was to go home, shut down and be safe, except I now had a 3 1/2 hour car ride hour and a friend who started to question me. I still have a hard time today with the way that she flipped on me. The whole ride to my grandparents she was supportive and telling me I was doing the right thing. Then came the flip and the whole ride home she was asking me was I sure. Maybe I remembered wrong. I finally just went to sleep.
Little did I know that the battle had just began. My accusations traveled faster than I did, so when I got home I once again had to go into battle. Instead of it being my safe place it was a battleground and I stood alone against the world. Once again I was asked was I sure. I so wanted to say that I was mistaken, but I knew that that was a lie and I could no longer live with that. So I stood my ground and remember what my therapist told me – you don’t make up stories of being abused.
Here’s how each of my family members reacted:
Mom – She was upset and guilty that she had allowed me to be abuse yet she still would not cut ties with my grandfather – the man who abused her and then me, her daughter.
Dad – ( I truly thought my father would kill my grandfather with his own hands when he found out. It was one of the reasons I didn’t want to tell him. I loved my father and I didn’t want him to go to jail for murder) Instead I lost my father that day. It was like I became diseased and he no longer wanted me. Oh he still talked to me but that relationship was SO different. I was no longer the apple of his eye. It was like I had lost my shine.
My Sister – It didn’t directly effect her so it didn’t matter.
I still sometimes think about what I lost that day and I wonder if I should have keep quiet. Then I think of the suicide thoughts and attempts and I know with a certainty that I would not be here today if I had.