I've been turning this around and around in my head and heart for the past few days, and I need to just get it out on "paper" so I can think through it... or at least feel it less... or maybe feel it fully. I dunno.
Saturday night, my youngest (bio) sister J called me in tears. She said that she was breaking down and that she couldn't stop crying and she didn't know who to call 'cause Mom wasn't answering her phone so she called me. I was honored, but concerned. As it turns out, she was having a PTSD flashback attack, being assaulted by memories that she had previously been repressing, and she didn't know how to deal with it or how to stop the memories. I talked with her through it and managed to get her calmed down, and we talked for about 2 hours. She didn't want to talk specifics at all, which I totally understand, but she said that she had memories of bad things happening to her. I guess that I just couldn't absorb what she was telling me, so I assumed she was talking about physical abuse and went with that for the rest of the conversation.
R called me in a panic an hour or two later (well, as panicked as he gets, anyway) saying that J had texted him in the course of a text convo they were having that the same thing that happened to me had happened to her. After our conversation and my piecing together the big picture from context clues in our conversation, I fb messaged her and asked outright, "Those memories that are troubling you... are they sexual in nature?" She responded that they were.
Here's the kicker... we share the same molester.
He's her father. Her biological father. I mean, how sick is that?! One thing that I've clung to all these years is that, "Well, at least he was only my step dad."
She's been disclosing to family members and calling people involved the past few days... trying to make sense of the whole thing, I think, and also to validate her memories. She doesn't trust herself fully, so she needs someone to confirm that she was, in fact, abused and that she's not making it up. We've been in close contact since that night, whether it be through phone call, text, or Facebook chat. I am so glad that I followed the impulse I had recently to reach out to her and establish a deeper bond and to make myself available to her via regular phone calls. When she needed a support and someone to turn to, she had someone who was there for her.
Although I hate the situation with a passion, it did help to boost my professional confidence that I handled her crisis so well. I had no idea that I knew so much! I'm pretty much terrified of dealing with my girls when they're in crisis mode, and I have avoided giving out my phone number for that very reason. Besides my own trepidation, fear of somehow bungling it and damaging them further, and feelings of inadequacy, I know that it takes a lot of energy to deal with someone in an emotional crisis and I don't always have anything to give. I am selfish, I'll admit it. When I'm home, I don't want to be bothered with someone else's problems most of the time. Now, though... my perspective has changed. I realize how much I know, that I can help someone through a crisis... and I feel like my heart has been opened towards my girls a little more now. I have more love for them. It's hard to explain. But I'll be handing out my card with my phone number on it tonight to all of the girls, and I started a Facebook group last week just for them. I'm glad that I am involved in the teen/tween group again. It's not like it was last time when I was drowning, untrained and casting about on my own while battling my own demons without any weapons. I'm in a much stronger place emotionally, the turmoil of my romantic life has died down, and I've gotten some good counseling and experience under my belt. I've also gone through the program myself for a while, and that was worth more than anything in terms of training and learning.
So back to J. R called me while I was traveling the other day, and we urgently hammered out some of the details for me to fly back and be there with the folks for a few weeks next month. Mom will be having a hysterectomy and will be physically out of commission for a while and J needs a good support system more than ever right now. (She was hospitalized for suicidal ideations again last week.) She and I have really, really clicked and connected, and being a survivor of the same kind of abuse from the same abuser puts me in a unique position to minister to her. She sees that my life is good, that I have not only survived but thrived (HJ mission statement plug, lol), and I think that will give her hope. The beginning is hard, but the healing is even harder, and she's got a lot to work through. K was very abusive to her while they were growing up and it has affected her in dramatic ways. I'm trying to convince her to move here to Y with me for a year or two at the least after she graduates high school this year. I think that going through the HJ program with girls her age that are also wonderful, strong, empathetic survivors would hep her avoid a lot of heartache, pain, and dysfunction in the future.
Those are the facts. But the feelings? I guess I'm just numb still. I'm shocked, disgusted, sorrowful... but it's all kind of muted, far-off, tamped down. It'll probably be really intense while I'm there with her. I had restless sleep last night and woke up feeling all gross inside and I know it's because of this. I guess I've just written G off to such a degree that I can't feel anything about him right now, not yet. But I guess the biggest thing I feel is relief. I am relieved that I can do what I've been doing my whole life and rush in to take care of my family and help make things better, make them run smoother. I don't feel so helpless because I was there for J in her hour of need, I had the experience and training necessary to help her through the critical juncture, and I'll be there physically to be a support for her. I'll be there physically to help take care of my family's physical needs while Mom is out of commission (and even while she's not-- I've had reports that she's overwhelmed right now and not doing so well). I can do something, I already have, and that relief trumps everything else. I can't fix it; I know that. But I can help set the bone and make sure the fracture heals clean while the healing takes place.
I guess that I just never thought he would hurt his own kids, you know? Me, obviously. K, maybe. But his kids? They were obviously his favorites. I can't believe that even after all he did to me I still accorded him some measure of decency. Guess I was wrong. I would do a lot of things to make sure he never sees the light of day again... not for me, but for my baby girl, my sweet little sister. God. I can't even assimilate this. How could he? I don't have english words strong enough for my sense of outrage and repulsion. He is her father. I just... I just... I don't know. My heart is broken and inflamed all at once. My baby... he hurt my baby.
When it was just about me, it was excusable. (I know, I know, logic says it's not, but this is what the inner voices say, ok? I'm working on it. Give me a break.) I took the hit so the other kids would be safe. I took care of them, you know? But then when we were all taken away, when they were out of my care, he hurt her. He did bad things to her. There's nothing I could have done to stop it; I know that. But I spent all of these years believing that I had somehow saved the rest of them... that I had done my job as Second Mommy and taken care of my family to the best of my ability. But now I realize that I never could. I was just a kid, and he was a sick adult bent on draining the life and livelihood of those around him for his own selfish purposes. He never cared about us. It was always about him, only about him. This is proof.
There is no "I should have been there", because there is no way I could have been. The situation was out of my hands. I was too busy trying to take care of K and myself, and then Mom when we got back to her. The kids were with their Gramma and Grampa, so of course they were safe! They were taken care of. I didn't have to worry. Because, I mean, of course he singled me out... I was the oldest. The blonde one. The one that looked different. They were his. He doted on them. He'd take care of them, even if he despised K and I.
I was wrong.
But I can take care of her now. I can help. I can't change what happened, but I can change what happens from here on out... and I'm going to take care of my baby.
Hell hath no fury like that of a woman whose loved ones have been hurt.