This post is going to be rambling but I so want to share this … even with just my blog.
I’m in therapy. Have been off and on for years. I have depression and an anxiety disorder. I recently re-started therapy. Today was my second day with Mrs. R – my new therapist.
While taking my psychosocial history --where I tell here where, how and with whom I grew up – we got to the part where I told her that my older sister and I were sent back from the Philippines (where my step-father was stationed in the Air Force) to live with our grandparents when I was about six. The two younger siblings, not in school, stayed to finish the rest of the two year tour with my mother and her then-husband.
The therapist asked me why I was sent back home. I asked if she wanted to know the truth as I knew it or the truth as my mother told it. The answer was both.
The truth as I know it:
Due to the poor schooling system, older sister and I were sent back to live with our grandparents.
The truth as my mother told it:
My sister and I were molested by Filipino men and we were sent away to save us.
I never believed the molestation memory. My mother’s version of truth is often at odds with what other people actually see. Today though, for the first time ever, I had a moment where a memory came back so real. So clear. So right on I actually became dizzy and light headed.
My therapist told me she thought perhaps someone within the school system had noticed (or been told) of the sexual abuse that was on-going at my home. I was being molested by my step-father. Mrs. R suggested that maybe, just maybe, a teacher told the authorities and that is why we were sent home. This would have been 1974-ish. Reports of abuse would have been investigated, but more or less swept under the rug. My sister and I were sent home. Problem solved (in my mom’s eyes).
Much of this time frame is a blur to me. I was between six and seven years old during this. Years later, when I asked my mother why, she told me that it was the school system that was so lacking and we were sent home for educational reasons. Another time, she told me it was the molestation of Filipinos,
Looking back now, I see how ludicrous this was. First, I was going to a Department of Defense school. These are wonderful schools. Coincidently, Mrs. R informed me today that DOD schools became some of the first schools required to report abuse. Remember, this was before the mandatory reporting laws.
There are so many facts that are now swimming in my head. I remember my sister and I had a female escort – an Air Force officer. I remember this clearly. Why? Why would we have an AIR FORCE escort if the situation was one that was only of poor schools?
As I sat talking to Mrs. R today, something hit me so hard from out of the blue. Not a repressed memory but a buried memory. Not long before I was sent home, my sister and I were caught playing “doctor” with the children of a couple my parents were friends with.
The parents of these children were far more concerned than what I remember my parents being.
So now, my mind is reeling. I have a new reality. What I firmly believe is a closer version to the truth. I was not sent home because of the schools being horrible. Or strange men molesting my sister and me. Rather, my sister and I were sent home because either my sister or myself told someone, or our actions told someone, what was going on. Back in the early to mid-70’s the way this would have been dealt with was to send the problem away. Thus, my sister and I were sent back.
When I had this revelation today, I seriously got light-headed. It was a genuine moment in my life where the facts finally, FINALLY, added up. So much of my childhood is a re-telling of the facts via my mother. My mother, the queen of fabrication. Today, cold-hard facts, finally made sense to me. Things that never had quite fallen into place, did today.
While I’m “over” my abuse. I have “dealt” with it. It no longer defines who I am. It certainly attributed to some of the issues I either have, had or will have, but I don’t dwell on it. I have not been mad at my abuser or years. I have long ago forgiven him. I actually feel sad for him and wish him the best.
Today, though, I realized something wonderful: SOMEONE HAD CAME TO MY DEFENSE.
For many years, I would mull over my abuse and wonder why, oh why, did no one do anything. Did teachers not see things? Did no one suspect things? All these years, I really felt that I had been abandoned by so many people so many times. Nameless, faceless people.
But someone, all those years ago, PROTECTED me. He or she bought me a year of living away from my abuser. Living with my grandparents in a stable home.
Whoever you are, thank you.
Today’s session wasn’t a life-changing moment, per se. But to have a small fact from so far in the past finally neatly explained makes me feel more whole. More solid. Sounds hokey, but it’s true.