Conversation with my daughter - and a sudden memory of the past
We were sat in Wagamama's - her favourite restaurant, and she said "Mum, why haven't you been going to work?". I knew she had noticed I was off, and I warned DH this morning that if she said anything, I would tell her the truth. So I did. I didn't tell her about the CSA, but I gently explained that Grandad had had a tough up bringing that meant when I was little he struggled and used to drink a lot, which made him a bit unpredictable and violent. I also explained that Grandma had a hard time with 2 small children, an alcoholic and aggressive husband, and coped by withdrawing into herself. She has done psychology and understands about core schemas, and immediately 'got' what I was trying to say. I pointed out that both my parents are now different people, and that I loved the fact that she and my mum are so close, that my mum has always been very loving and cuddly with her, and I think this is brilliant. Also, that my dad gave up alcohol when I was 10 or 11, and stopped being so violent (although he is still very aggressive, but he has MS, so she understands that his MS can also make him aggressive too).
When she was 12, my DD came home from school really upset. She was aggressive and horrid and said she couldn't tell me because "Some boys had been really horrid and she didn't want to talk about it". I reminded her of this because not long after, her and my DH had the most horrendous row where she then accused him of being a 'disgusting sex maniac'. I have NEVER known my DH get so upset, be so very hurt. She said at the time she said it because she was angry and it was the most hurtful, disgusting thing she could think of yelling at him. I reminded her of this and asked if these boys had done anything that might warrant her saying this. She laughed ruefully and said: "Mum, NO ONE has ever been sexual with me. I was just a grumpy, hormonal kid who was being as bitchy and horrid as possible". I was so relieved.
But as I was out on my bike this afternoon, I had a sudden memory. When I was 14, my mum took me out shopping. We sat and had lunch together, and she suddenly said: "When I was 14, I was sexually abused." And I remember looking at her and saying (this shows you how VERY naïve I was) "What's sexual abuse?". And she replied: "When a man touches you, touches your boobs and things, and you don't want him too. Has a man ever done that to you?" So of course, I answered "No." Because even though at this age it WAS happening, so far as I knew, it wasn't abuse BECAUSE I WANTED HIM TOO. I realise that mum asked this because she had been taking me regularly to the Dr's for a couple of years. It was the classic - bad headaches, sore throats, extreme exhaustion, not eating, being aggressive and suddenly withdrawing (although that might be construed as normal early teen behaviour), but I also had thrush, and my glands were up all over my body. I remember them taking blood and checking for Glandular Fever (which is notoriously difficult to diagnose as the virus is only active at certain times, so you can have it, but not test positive if it is dormant). It was negative. Every time I was tested.
And finally, FINALLY I have my answer. I have wondered how I let so much happen without really being aware of how very very wrong it was. Because I was groomed from the age of 3. I believed it was love. It was how HE showed me his love. This was how it was done. Cue another 'slap hand to forehead' moment. I'm going to end up with a bruise at this rate.....
But doesn't this just show how CSA continues unabated. How easy it is to brainwash and groom small children. So that they can go for years without even really realising that they have been abused, right into adulthood. Scary really.