These are some of the lies he told me about why he “had” to have incestuous sex with me. Be clear, they didn’t come out as a long list in one incident. They are various statements he made to me directly over the period of abuse from 1961 until I moved out in 1975.
- You are so beautiful, I can’t help myself.
- since your real dad doesn’t want you, you are just trash,
- If it weren’t for me, nobody would want you at all.
- There is something wrong with you.
- If you don’t do what I want, I will just go get one of the other kids.
- Your Mom won’t have sex with me, so you have to, other wise I will leave your Mom, and then who will take care of you.
- I can’t help myself. I have to do this.
- All really good daughters do this with their daddy’s, but its a secret.
- You will like this even better when you are a real woman.
- I have to teach you how to do this right, so you can get you a husband and keep him.
- We have to do it this way, so you will still be a virgin.
- I love you Kimmy, that is why we have to do this.
- I will give you money, or a clarinet, or let you go out somewhere, or something special , what ever you want if you will just (fill in the blank). Then he would break those promises.
- You are very brave because your not crying about it anymore.
- The only reason you are telling anybody is to keep from doing housework.
- You are really hurting your Mom by telling her, you must hate her.
- It’s not that bad how it felt. In fact, I know you liked it. That’s the only reason I kept doing it.
Lies I was told about my abuse by my mother. These were what my Mother had to say to me once I told her. Until at least I gave up trying to get her to understand. She couldn’t help me. I wanted to be brave in attending to my wounds,
- It wasn’t that bad what he did to you, not as bad as what you are doing to me now. (by telling her what he was doing).
- Are you really sure this happened to you.
- I don’t believe you.
- Well at least he didn’t do it to his real kids.
- You really have a big mouth, Kim
- I can’t imagine why you would lie to me about this.
- You seduced him into doing it to get back at me.
- Don’t tell anyone else what he did. I would die if anyone knew.
- You obviously enjoyed it for a long time before you told anyone.
Even though, you could recognize them as lies, for me these lies took a long time to discover. The first hurdle, my unwillingness to admit the damage. I wanted to believe I could ignore what had been done for years, namely, being sexually abused for most of my childhood. There were plenty of adult years, I couldn’t think about it. I wanted it to be true what people said, what’s past is done and over with, no use crying about it now. But not being willing to reexamine the past, to feel those feelings and thoughts, I started drowning in a depression built on suppressed feelings. Not necessarily an evil habit, having been born of a desire to spare me unnecessary pain. But they were hurting my chances of having a fulfilling life. Sorting out the particular lies I was told, instead of accepting the general lies and misinformation about incestuous families, has helped me move forward in my emotional healing. I could address specifically how I was harmed. And then how I was hurting myself by nurturing emotional bad habits.
Being able to recognize the lies I was told during my years of abuse has been important emotional work for my healing. But it hasn’t been easy. It was complicated because I was young and unformed as a person. Many of the lies were uttered under blankets, held in secrecy, whispered during the act of rape. Said during moments when I had given up escaping what he was doing to my body. Even though my heart was pounding, my arms and legs frozen, my mind still recorded all the details. And for years they played over and over in my mind.
They are etched in my memory.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t want to go back to the scenes of the crime. I felt compelled. I needed to go back to feelings of being powerless, helpless unable to protect myself because I needed to know what he said to me. It’s still important. I reminded myself, I have already lived through it. They are painful memories, but, as any survivor knows in her heart, we have to go back and look at it again to see if any progress has been made in the healing. And there is no one can do it for me.
It was only once I reexamined those memories that I could see it wasn’t my fault what happened. Here is what’s funny to me, I didn’t even know I thought it was my fault. I recognize now at 53, the difference between my own thoughts about what happened and what others family members seemed to think. In the early years after telling, trouble came from family members who tried to impose their ideas on me about what happened. Telling others that I was crazy, there is no way it could have happened like that. The conflict between what I knew as reality and what my family thought and what he thought forced me to clarify. Those deeper places inside me held my precious child. Only then could I face reality. It’s not the grim reality of my childhood.