Saw two really good movies on Netflix over the weekend. The first was "Searching for Angela Shelton" which is about a woman named Angela Shelton who decides to travel the country and interview other women named Angela Shelton. In the process, she discovers that 24 out of the 40 Angela Sheltons she speaks to are survivors of rape, childhood sexual abuse and/or domestic violence. (The number jumped to 28 out of 40 when 4 more Angelas broke their silence after the movie was completed.) On her journey the filmmaker meets an Angela Shelton who tracks sexual predators and lives in the same town as the filmmaker's father, who sexually abused her and her siblings for years.
There was one scene in particular that really stood out to me. Just prior to this scene, Angela had visited her father for the first time in, I think, 12 years to confront him about the abuse he perpetrated on her and her siblings. Much as my N FOO has done anytime I've confronted them about the abuse, her dad sat there and denied everything. In the next scene, the one that really hit me, we see Angela stopped on the side of the road in the motor home she's been traveling in and she is furious. It was a scene of righteous anger so intense and pure that it struck me as beautiful in its intensity. I could totally relate to that feeling of pure, unadulterated righteous anger as it's something I've felt myself a couple of times in my life. Particularly after confronting my NM and having her just sit there and deny everything.
The other movie I saw was called "Jake's Closet". The movie is about 6 year old Jake and him trying to cope with the fact that his parents marriage is falling apart and they are divorcing. A neighbor boy convinces Jake that there is a zombie in his closet which leads to Jake becoming obsessed with learning about zombies and how to get rid of it.
There were scenes in the movie that really triggered some feelings in me that I had thought were dealt with or that I had repressed. In one scene, for example, we see Jake's mom and her friend interrogating Jake and asking him questions like, "Has your dad ever hit you? Does he hurt you?" In another, Jake has been left alone with his mother's friend - who is a nasty, mean woman if you ask me - and she finds Jake hiding in the garden and tells him to go play with her bratty son. Jake, depressed and worried about the zombie in his closet, tells her he doesn't want to play and the woman launches into him, yelling, "What? You think you're BETTER than my son?" Poor Jake stammers, "No.", to which she responds, "Good! Because you're NOT!"
My heart just broke for the sweet little boy and as I watched everyone fighting and worrying about themselves, it reminded me of being a very young child and the fighting between my four parents that went on for years and how me and my needs were ignored. In another scene, the dad has just officially left the home with all his stuff in boxes and the mom makes to walk into another room and poor little Jake grabs a hold of her leg, obviously terrified that his mother will leave him too. Instead of comforting the child and reassuring him, all she can think to do is chastise him for being a baby and go on about how SHE is hurting and doesn't need this right now. It SO reminded me of my own NP's and their constantly only thinking of themselves and THEIR feelings when I was so clearly hurting.
Ever since watching those two movies, I've been a bit sick inside and so very angry. I think of all the times I was forced to call my NM by my dad and SM and tell her I wanted to stay with them or something else. Once I was promised an extra piece of chocolate cake. I think I was around 10 at the time maybe? I finally agreed to call her and said what they'd told me to say...or so I thought. As soon as I hung up, my dad and SM lit into me about not saying the right thing or giving the wrong answers a few times. Needless to say, I was sent to bed and never got that piece of cake I was promised.
Other times I was sat down and interrogated for what seemed to me like hours on end. I'd be asked by my NM, "Did you daddy ever touch you in your privates? Does he ever kiss you on the mouth?" or my dad and SM would ask similar things about my SJ or whether or not my NM left my NHS and I home alone, etc.
When the part of the movie showed the nasty neighbor lady telling little Jake that he wasn't better than her precious son, dh said to me, "Who says something like that to a kid?" and I said, "I don't know. Probably the same sort of woman who would say something like, 'You'll be pretty when you grow up but you'll never be beautiful like my daughter.'" Dh asked who'd said that and I told him, "My SM. When I was about 9 years old maybe and already feeling ugly and insecure about how I looked."
Sometimes, like this weekend, I think of all I've been through and it just makes me so sad for little DisturbedAngel who had to endure all that crap. The adult me is also extremely angry. How could they, my parents - those supposed adults - be so cruel and care so little about how I must have felt all those years? How DARE they use me so thoughtlessly like that, just to get at one another! And yet they all go on and on ad nauseum about what wonderful parents they all are and were.
About 2/3 of the way through the second movie, "Jake's Closet", dh and I were in the kitchen and I just walked over and hugged him, crying, and said to him, "Thank you so much for being a good father and husband to ds and I." Dh asked what was wrong and I told him that I just couldn't believe all that I'd been made to suffer. I then added that my only consolation was that our ds would never know that kind of pain. He'll never know the pain of a broken home or being used as a pawn to get at other people. My dh and I are committed to giving our ds as stable a home as we can possibly provide. Truly, ds and his needs and well-being will ALWAYS come first. Dh and I feel so strongly about this that we both agreed long ago, before we ever got married, that should we marry someday and have children that even if we fell out of love, we'd keep our feelings to ourselves and go on as if everything was perfectly normal until our child or children were grown and out of the home. Only THEN would we divorce and pursue our own lives. Dh knows what I've been through and he's seen the damage that was done psychologically to me over the years. Therefore, barring an exception like abuse or drug/alcohol abuse, we agree that our wants and needs come second to ds' well-being.
If only my NP's could have felt the same...