Sunday, March 14, 2010

Derision, Division, Decision

If you witnessed a father severely abusing his little girl, would you say something? do anything? hope it would just go away?

If this father were calling the little girl filthy names, would you suggest to the father to choose a different tone? What if this guy’s behavior toward the little girl persisted unrelentingly for 17 years? Would you feel compelled to turn him in to law enforcement? What if he was law enforcement? and well known?

If you would anonymously request intervention, you’re like I am. If you would sit back and observe his behavior for years, you must be my mother.

It wasn’t until I was three weeks short of 17 that I told my mother to leave the house before he killed one of us. A week after she was gone, he came close. It’s a long, traumatic story, told to the court on January 6, 1977, but fortunately, it is in the past and I’ve moved forward.

But my mother is still stuck. She cannot move past all her ex-husband’s iniquities, including a purported out-of-wedlock child, info she scraped off her plate onto my 17-year-old’s. After 33 years, move on.

If, while visiting my mother, I have slipped and mentioned my father, she erupts into convulsive, tempestuous hatred. She disowned me because I mentioned my father on my last visit with her May 2006. But she was so drunk that she didn’t know what happened, just that when she woke up the next morning, my daughter and I were gone. And even through all the alcohol, she cannot forget her ex and seems more vehement in her wrath.

Whenever I am with her, I am accused of and berated for being like my father.

Of course, whenever I am with my father, I am accused of and belittled for being like my mother.

But according to her family, including words from her now-deceased mother, it’s who my mother has always been, long before I existed. This woman’s siblings shared with me that, even when their sister was in high school, she was different, affected,* and “she just never grew up.”

Beginning when I was in ninth grade, friends said, “You know your mom acts younger than you.” When I’ve had a boyfriend, she glides up next to him, ignoring me, as if there were competition. Or worse: desire. She still clings to my ex of 18 years, a man of her approximate age.

And not just friends have alerted me. When I jumped onto planes at 18 to make a nationwide visiting tour, relatives on both sides of the family told me during that trip that when I was 10, I was taking care of my parents. I had to referee and ensure they didn’t let the ire escalate or all hell would break loose. And it usually did.

Divisiveness is her MO, and she is that schism between my daughter and me right now. This person who disowned me, the little girl in 70-year-old clothes who witnessed and, through her inaction, condoned severe and continual abuse of her child wants to spend time with her grandchild—without my supervision.

Her request, accomplished secretively and subversively through my ex, her beloved son-in-law, will probably involve his accompaniment to her Arizona home for intoxicated poolside chats. And as anyone who has dealt with victims of sexual abuse knows, secrets bespeak subterfuge.

So let me think: With a fully loaded pool and liquor cabinet, she wants to spend time with my ex and my daughter without my supervision?

Over my scarred body.

* artificial, pretentious, and designed to impress

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