what got me to here–part 2

***TW: childhood sexual abuse, abuse

In a corner of my soul there hides a tiny frightened child, who is frightened by a corner where there lingers something wild
– Shaun Hick

My mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings. I think I’ve reached a sort of calm, detached place but things feel anything but okay. Growing up, our shadows grow up too and become ghosts that we grow attached to. The problem with this though, is that they hide the truth from everyone.

I wish T was here, to sit with me and help chase away the demons that steal my sleep in the darkness of night.

Here’s a little more of what got me to here….

V.

This part of my story; it’s so hard, so shameful and hurts right down to my core. I think it feels the way it does because some of my story is some of his story as well. It’s hard to remember him. I know there is nothing that excuses what happened but I know most of the things my brother did weren’t because he was born defective. He didn’t stand a chance. He really didn’t. He was born into a completely dysfunctional family. We both were.

I don’t remember growing up in a home where we were ever told we were good enough. I don’t remember being told we were loved and I don’t remember being held when we were crying or hurt. My father wouldn’t chase away the monsters that came in the night and my mother wouldn’t hold me as I fell asleep in the dark.

My father decided early on that rather than discussing things with his children he would beat the ever-living crap out of them. For my brother, his main goal was to toughen him up and ‘make a man out of him‘. My father would lose it on me often enough too, but what my father did to him was absolutely brutal. My brother wet the bed for years and my father would mock him and call him a baby and beat him because of it. A combination of factors led to my brother bearing the brunt of my father’s rage and that caused my brother to hate me and take it out on me.

My brother preferred to spend time indoors, reading and staying in his room. He never strayed far from my mother. He didn’t want to play sports or hang out with the kids in the neighbourhood. He absolutely hated having to do anything with me and would be irate when my mother would send him outside.

Siblings inherently fight, so at what point does what happened cross the line from normal to physical abuse? The unanswered questions remain.

Being anywhere near each other usually ended in him punching or kicking or slapping me. He would pin me down in some sort of hold I couldn’t get out of and he would pinch and spit on me until he felt I had, had enough. He pushed me out of trees and down the basement stairs and would lock me out of the house. One time, he held me under the water so long I thought I was going to drown.

My shinbones collected permanent dents from kicks by hard-toed shoes. My developing breasts ached from closed-fisted blows accompanied by sexually disparaging insults. All the anger he held for my father was taken out on me. He was bigger and stronger and I couldn’t fight back. It was all about power for him. And if I cried or tried to tell anyone the next time it would be worse. Eventually I just learned to keep quiet.

When I was eleven years old, it escalated to sexual abuse. I still remember the first time it happened.

My parents had gone out for the evening and for some reason W was there with us. He came into my room and brought my brother with him. He turned off the main light and closed the door. The only light was from the little nightlight I kept beside my bed. He made us touch each other. W touched me and then tied my hands above my head and told me he won’t hurt me and it’s just a game that we can play together. Then he held my legs down while my brother was on top of me. He told me that ‘this is what big girls are supposed to do and this is what good girls are supposed to do‘. I just stared at my Holly Hobbie wallpaper as the tears fell silently down my face.

Afterwards it would hurt to sit and I would bite my lip to keep myself from crying. I bit so hard that I could taste the blood in my mouth. After that one time, my brother continued with the abuse. I had to do what he wanted or he wouldn’t leave me alone. I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone afterwards. He was the athlete, the honour-roll student and the popular boy who had the best parties when his parents were away.

It lasted for 5 years and I was 16 when he left. I should have been happy but I was thrown into a world of chaos and confusion. My teachers told me I needed an attitude adjustment. I was screaming on the inside for someone to come and save me and all I was told was that I needed an attitude adjustment. They never would have believed the popular, honour-roll, athlete and pretty-boy golden child would have done those things anyways, so I put my head down and shut my mouth and prayed for the day I could escape.

It is such a secretive act, what happened with him. Sometimes I think that it would be easier to deal with it if it had been a stranger, because most people more easily accept that type of behavior as abuse. I used to look at the relationships my friends had with their siblings and wondered why my life was so different. I sometimes wondered if it happened in all brother and sister relationships and maybe I wasn’t so different after all.

I could never comprehend the things that had happened over the years, especially in my own house- the one place where you think a child would be safe from all of this.

12 thoughts on “what got me to here–part 2

  1. I am so sorry this happened to you Kerry. I can only imagine the trauma it caused. Do the two of you have a relationship now?

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    • There is a lot of internal conflict when it comes to my brother. Sometimes I hate him. Sometimes I feel sorry for him. Sometimes I feel absolutely nothing at all about him.
      I’m never quite sure which one it should be.
      I tell myself often that I’m okay but I don’t know. Am I really okay? Or am I just trying to convince myself that I’m okay?
      I feel like there is a giant piece of the puzzle missing when it comes to him. There is so much time during my childhood that I don’t even remember him at all.
      He lives 8 hours away, so I only see him about once a year and never talk with him on the phone. Contact is really limited.
      I think one of the main barriers to being able to know how I really feel, is the feeling that others won’t understand. That’s how it feels most of the time–misunderstood. Sometimes you just want someone to say ‘I know how you feel; I know what that kind of pain is’. I don’t know if it would sink in completely, but at least it would feel as though somebody, somewhere, gets it–even just a little bit.

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  2. You hit the ail n the head with the people aren’t as accepting of ‘in house’ sexual assault. A whole lot more palatable for the stranger danger random rape pfft, and not to demean that … but its something I’ve struggled with for years, wondering why there was no-one lining up to give this bitch a hand, or just believe me. A few years ago I realised that when its an in-house dysfunction, people get overwhelmed with complexity (supposed) of it all and don’t know who to ‘blame’ as a simple solution. Its a family problem and most don’t want to deal with a ‘family’ issue, just individuals.

    I’ll say it again … you one goddam badass!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

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