Continued from : An Adventure Awaits
When the show aired, a new level of healing came…but it wasn’t immediate. It took time for everything to ruminate, circulate, and eventually sink in…honestly it still is. The haze on my mirror was thick…after all, it had been gathering grime and dust for over thirty years.
When I saw my step-dad (from here on referred to as him) on stage I could not help but feel sorry for him. That was always my downfall –feeling sorry for the people who hurt me the most. I just could not understand how someone could or would hurt someone else intentionally. Why? There must be a reason behind it. That reason took away my anger, but it also took away my ability to see them as a danger.
A gift and a curse life gave me –to find the good in people. It was what kept me alive, but I now see it is also what kept me in situations that were unsafe.
As I heard him speak, I could not feel the anger I should have felt. I felt sad. I felt sad that he was alone. I felt sad that he did not understand what he did was wrong. I imagined his life now, and I wanted to help him. This empathy, or pity really, kept me from acknowledging my own feelings. It kept me from being able to own what he had done to me, to my sister, to my mom.
George sat with me as we watched the shows. His anger was visibly present. I still could not see what George saw. It had not sunk in yet. As we talked after the show, about what was aired, and what was not, I still felt sorry for him.
“That’s what he wants. That’s what he’s always wanted.”
“Maybe, but I still can’t help it. I still remember the good parts of him.”
“After what he did to your sister? After what he did to you? Your mom?”
I could see there was nothing I was going to say to explain it. I didn’t even really understand it myself. “But, he didn’t understand what he was doing.”
“Did you not hear him only admit to what he was charged with? He knew what he was doing then, and he still knows.”
As George’s words hit me, I saw it. I saw that he did know. He admitted to only what he had gone to jail for. Nothing else. My pity turned to anger. For the first time in my adult life I could see him for who he was.
That’s when it shifted. That’s when the mirror started to become clearer. Nothing was what it had seemed. Nothing. It got worse before it got better as I went back through my life with this knowledge. It is life shattering to realize that your whole life was a lie. You are not who they told you you are. So who are you?
Who am I?
What if all of my memories were a lie? What if my gram wasn’t who I thought she was? What if I didn’t really know anyone as I thought I did? These thoughts took me down. Back down to where I had fought so hard to get out of.
When I was ready to stand back up, I saw the world differently. I saw myself differently. I understood that the trauma I had gone through as a child was worse…much worse than I had accepted before. Not only had I been abused physically, sexually, and emotionally…I had been forced to live in an alternate reality…and forced into believing that it was me that was damaged. This belief was still haunting me, causing me to see who they wanted me to be, and keeping me from seeing who I really was.
Imagine for a minute that your eyes are blue. Beautiful, sky-blue.
“Your eyes are brown.”
“No they aren’t, they’re blue.”
“No, they are brown.”
“No. My eyes are blue.”
“Don’t be crazy, they are brown.”
“No! They are not!”
“What, are you color blind? They are brown.”
“I am not! I know they are blue, I can see them.”
“Stop being difficult. You just want to make everyone out to be a liar, when we all know you are the liar.”
“No, I am not! I know my eyes are blue.”
“We all know they are brown. Tell her.” A nod of the head.
Maybe they are brown? “They are blue…I think…I thought…”
“Go on, look in the mirror…see…they are brown.”
“Maybe I don’t know my colors. I do have brown eyes.”
“See, we told you.”
What color eyes did you have again? The above scenario is how my entire childhood was, and followed me into adulthood, when my ex-husband took over.
What I realized was that every person who had ever hurt me, had been introduced to me by my mom. My dad, step-dad, the man who raped me, my ex-husband…all were sent to me through her. Each and everyone of them shared this connection. As I took this in, I realized that the lies they told me were all similar, almost as though she had handed them the book, How to Keep Jessica in the Dark.
Continued on: Trauma Camp