Wednesday, October 1, 2014
It's Like A Disease....
XXXXX..................WARNING POSSIBLE TRIGGERS...............XXXXX
It's like a disease, a poison that drips it's sickness down onto generation after generation. The abuse that happened to my grandfather and then the abuse he inflicted on his children, has harmed us all. It affected my mother and aunt as well as their children and in time it will affect ours as well.
They may not see it yet, the dysfunction. One day they will notice as the talk to their friends about their families, that ours is much different...The fact that we do not call him by his name. We rarely speak of the years he was abusive. We are a broken family. Maybe not broken but more twisted like a tree that has been struck by lightening and healed but now grows more sideways than up. We are that tree, healing but still struggling to grow past the damage that was done.
With the recent loss of my aunt I struggle with the renewed anger and disgust of my grandfather's actions that made her turn to drugs in the first place. Now, the huge holes that are in my family have gotten bigger. There is no denying that the things he did affect us all and will for many generations. No one wants to describe their grandfather with such horrid words as pedophile, child abuser, molester...but that is what he was. He was a preacher, a father, a husband and behind all of those smiling family pictures full of false family togetherness, he was a monster...
I grew up being told to watch out for Grandpa. Never be alone with Grandpa. If Grandpa ever touches you in anyway that feels funny tell someone immediately. I was never left alone with him but I was warned just in case. I grew up knowing he did bad things to my mother and aunt. There was no way to shield me from that when my mother was in and out of mental hospitals, shattering all of the plates in the house by throwing them on the floor, hiding in closets, crying like a wounded child in the corner. There was no denying it when my aunt was in and out of prison, turning tricks for money, or on the street with a needle in her arm.
I always knew, it was my way of being protected. My mother made damn sure I was aware that this secret would never be a secret that would make it possible for him to hurt me. He was supposedly a changed man by the time I was born. He did not molest after my aunt and mother grew up. I knew him as a different man and my mother said it was okay to have love for him because I did not know him like that, and I do but I also have hatred for him too. My mother forgave him but she forgave him so she could let go of the bitterness and hate. She will never forget and although she managed to have somewhat of a relationship with him, she still has to deal with the destruction he caused. Even though he is dead, his abuse will never fully leave her. It will never fully leave any of us. She still suffers from it.
I never considered that at some point I will have to explain this to my children. My oldest asked me about my grandfather the other day. I felt my mouth go dry.....what do I say? How much should I say? Oh my God what do I tell him? These questions hung in the air so thick and heavy I felt them choking the life from me. I do not want to tell my sweet innocent children that we are all related to such a creature or that such horrible things happened to the people they know and love. I don't want to tell them this stuff and yet I will have to eventually. I mean, they have questions about this person and I refuse to lie. I refuse to keep up the lies he made my mother and aunt tell when they were his victims and not his survivors. At some point my children will notice how strange and fractured our family is compared to other families and they will ask why.
I just told my oldest that his great grandfather was a not nice man who had been abusive to his children and that is why we do not say his name around my mother when we discuss him. He asked me his name and I told him. He asked what he did and I just said that one day I would tell him in better detail but that he did bad things and it hurt the family but it was too hard to describe right now. One day it would all make more sense but he would have to wait until he was a little older.
I don't know what else to do at this point. He doesn't need adult situations in his life right now. He needs to spend time enjoying being a child. I figured it would be best to just tell him that my grandfather was abusive and leave the details for when he is older. That way it isn't a total shock when he does find out later on but it doesn't screw him up right now. This is so hard. I never thought this would be something I would have to discuss with my children.....It changes one's perspective of life and I just want them to not have to deal with that perspective yet. I wish I never had to tell them but there was so much more about it that I haven't written about that will make it necessary for them to know when they are adults...ugh. Sometimes, I wish my Grandfather hadn't been cremated so I could dig him up and punch him in the face. Abuse is so devastating. Not just to the one's that it was wielded at and onto. It doesn't just hurt those in the years it was inflicted, it hurts the generations afterwards as well.