When you live in a family whose whole life has been about covering up abuse, you have a tendency to doubt. You doubt them, but most of all you doubt yourself, your doubt your memories, and you second, third and fourth guess everything from the time before (your childhood). A perfect example of this happened last night, we were having dinner together – mom, dad, my uncle – Abel and one of my mom’s friend’s. They were discussing Babylon (grandmother) who is once again in rehab, because she broke her other hip. Anyway they were talking about how Babylon gave up drinking Coffee because of the way it made her act, and how the nursing gave her coffee instead of tea. I spoke up not even really thinking about it and said “I remember that – the way she acted on coffee”. I said “that I remembered her trying to hit someone with the glass coffee pot”. My mom immediately opened her mouth and said “Oh, no Babylon gave up coffee long before you were born.” I sat there for a few minute doubting my memory, then I looked around the table and I got this eerily feeling like they were are waiting for me to doubt my memory and believe the memory they were trying to put in its place or rather the fact that I didn’t really have that memory at all.
I know that I should have just shut up, but I clearly remember Babylon having a cup of coffee with my father and then about a half hour later her going ballistic because someone left the coffee pot on and burnt the last 1/2 inch or so of coffee to the pot. I remember her threaten to break it over someone’s head if the person responsible didn’t clean it up. I can still hear the metal bottom ringing as it hit the counter and I can remember with clarity that she was the last person to touch the pot but that you couldn’t tell her that because it would have made her more violent. I also remember that the rest of the time we stayed there my dad would always make his cup of coffee, dump the rest down the sink, turn off the pot and make sure it was washed out before my grandmother could have any.
When I mentioned the part about her threatening to break the pot over someone’s head, my family back down enough to say MAYBE that happened but they don’t remember it (which only tells me that they do, but they don’t want to admit it).
Because the tricks my mind plays with repressed memories I already have doubts enough to fill an ocean, which makes it harder is when the people around you are trying to make you doubt your memories too.
Doubt is a tricky thing in that it makes you want to believe that what you remember you really don’t. After all it would be so much easier not to believe in your memories, to go with the flow, instead of fighting the current. The problem with that is that:
I KNOW WHAT I KNOW. And even when I doubt it, it is still the truth.
I’ll never forget the first time I faced doubt, the first time my memories where called into question, it was the first time I realized that the only one I could trust was myself. But that is a subject for another post – Trust.