Monday, September 26, 2011

Strange thing happened the other night...

During yet another night of horrible, nightmare-laden sleep, I woke up and - for whatever reason - a memory popped into my head. I think I've mentioned it on here before somewhere but, for those new here (and for those who don't want to have to sort through all the existing posts to find it!), I'll tell the story again.

**NOTE: This will contain some offensive words as well as some details that some may find triggering. Please, consider yourself forewarned before you proceed.**

I was in my senior year of high school at the time so that would make me 16 years old. Like most of my friends at the time, I was really into the whole hip hop/rap/pop type music that was popular. NHS and I were listening to some of our cd's as we got ready for school like we often did. As I was on my way to the back bathroom to finish getting ready, I passed by the hall bath which was NSJ's bathroom. He yelled at me to "turn that nigger shit off". I immediately turned to comply and said - quite politely, I felt - that all he had to do was ask as well as making a comment that everyone had their own preference of what they liked and NHS and I happened to like that kind of music. I wasn't rude or being a smart-ass, just making a factual statement.

I turned the music way down and then proceeded toward the back bathroom again, thinking the issue was settled. I had no sooner begun to wet my hair in the tub when I felt my head being yanked back forcefully by my hair. My head was yanked back so quickly that my skull cracked on the faucet. Despite the water clouding my vision, I could see it was NSJ though, if there'd been any doubt, this screaming in rage at me would have made it instantly clear who my attacker was.

NSJ screamed curses and insults at me, calling me a "bitch" and the "c" word (rhymes with "runt") as well as a "nigger lover" and how DARE I insult him and be a smart ass little bitch, etc. As he screamed at me, he would pick me up, slap me hard across the face, shake me, throw me to the floor and kick me in my rib area. The entire thing was like a dream sequence in slow motion. I just couldn't believe it was happening.

I remember looking up at one point to see my NHS standing there in the adjoining room's doorway, just staring blankly at what was going on between her father and I.

As quickly as the attack had begun, it was over and NSJ went back to his bathroom and finished getting ready for work. Terrified and confused, I remained in the back bathroom until I was sure NSJ had left and then I hurriedly finished getting ready and ran out to the bus stop to go to school. After I got to school, I remember going to the bathroom and looking at my side and finding bruises all up and down my right side. Despite the hard slaps to my face and other parts of my body, the bruises on my side were the only marks left on me.

At one point in the day, I can't remember what prompted it but I showed the bruises to a couple of my closest friends. Years later, I would be very glad I did.

When I got home from school that day, I attempted to tell NM what had happened though, looking back, I don't see how she couldn't have heard or witnessed it for herself. The house was small and noise carried well due to the plaster walls so I find it very hard to believe NM heard and saw nothing. When I'd finished telling NM my story, she looked at me blank-faced and said coldly, "I have no idea where you got those bruises, probably did it to yourself for attention, but I DO know that NSJ didn't do it." Ever NM's little sidekick, NHS claimed she hadn't seen a thing and that I was lying which only served to further the belief in NM's mind that NSJ wasn't at fault.

I remember thinking at the time very distinctly that I couldn't count on my NM or NHS and I was all alone in life. I also felt extremely hurt and betrayed by both NM and NHS, all the more since I'd often come to their defense and done what I could to protect them when they'd been the target of NSJ's rages. This was especially true of NM since NHS rarely got in trouble with NSJ.

For years later - and it continues to this day were I to bring it up - NM and NHS insist that the event never happened, that I'm making it up and it's just evidence of my mental issues, etc. It got to the point that I began to believe maybe I really was crazy and had made it up. Then, a year or so ago, I got back in contact with an old friend from high school who just happened to be one of the friends I'd shown the bruises to that horrible day. I asked her if she remembered anything like that happening and apologized for the uncomfortable discussion and was extremely elated to see her respond that yes, she remembered it well and how worried she and her then boyfriend ( as well as the other couple girls there that day) were about me. At that point, I just cried and cried and cried. I was so relieved to have it confirmed that I hadn't imagined it, it had happened and I wasn't lying.

So anyways, I'm lying awake in bed at about 3 or 4am the other night and this memory of this event pops into my mind. As I'm remembering it, a voice in my head startled me by saying, "It never happened." Immediately, another voice spoke up and said, "Yes it did. Remember your friend on Facebook who said she remembered seeing the bruises?"

The strangest part of the whole memory is that while I remember fairly clearly what went on that day, it's like it didn't happen to me. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, put myself back in that day and relive it in my mind. It's kind of like having a memory but having no memory of the event, if that makes any sense. It's just very, very strange. My best guess is that my mind is trying to protect itself from fully remembering at this point and that, when it's safe to fully remember, I will.

I think of the teenage me and all that I was forced to suffer and endure - especially this day which is the worst physical beating I ever got from NSJ - and I am just so damned angry. More than just angry, I feel rage. I want to take a baseball bat and beat the ever-loving shit out of NSJ. Let him know what it feels like. And yet....the saddest thing of all is that he DOES know what it feels like because his father used to beat the crap out of him daily when he was a young boy. I just cannot fathom for the life of me doing to my child (or in NSJ's case, my step-child) what was done to me, to continue the cycle of abuse. It's bad enough to do it at all but to do it when you know that kind of pain intimately yourself just makes it so much worse in my mind.

I thank God that my ds will never know that pain. That he'll never know what it's like to be demeaned or beaten or made to feel less than human. To feel unloved and worthless and like a burden. To have his spirit crushed. I thank God for giving me the strength and courage to fight and keep on fighting to heal my own issues so that I can be a better mother to my son.


  1. I used to collect "evidence" to help remind me that it really did happen. One particular was a funny stuffed animal. I remembered being dragged to the hospital. My parents swore it never happened. Until a few years ago, when my sister said, "I remember that." Then the whole story poured out. I had been given the stuffed animal at the hospital. Once I knew it was real, I was able to let go of the silly thing. I didn't need the "evidence" anymore, because my sister had confirmed the truth. I'm glad someone was there to confirm the truth for you. And congratulations on being a chain-breaker, breaking the chain of abuse. Good for you!!

  2. Makes total sense. The fancy word is dissociation and it is a powerful survival tool. Everyone uses it to some degree. I happened to be considered severe. You are one of the world's amazing chain breakers. Choosing not to repeat what happened to you in your childhood. Your son and grandchildren will be blessed by your choice. Tough to remember but if you lived through it, you can remember it. I am glad you found the validation that you needed. It makes a big difference.