I don't hold feel any animosity toward my family because I know they can't help feeling pain over the story I proposed to tell in my memoir. I knew they would be very upset about certain aspects of it and would have trouble believing me which is why I waited until I was 58 to discuss with them the role I thought my dad played in the molester's decision to target me. I doubt if I would have told then if my mother had not come out with a disturbing memory of her own she had never told anyone, which she included in her memoirs about life with my father. I must say the family was thrown into upset and turmoil then, and the very act of talking about it all threw me into a giant depression that did not lift for 2 years. I found out that something is more real than it was before if you start talking about it. If you never talk about it, it can kind of recede to the deepest recesses of your mind until it almost seems gone.
I want to include here an excerpt from an e-mail my sister Ann just wrote me after receiving the news that I was going to put the writing for publication off for a while. I just can't do it now.
"Did you see that show with Oprah with child molesters? There is
another one this Monday to come. Oprah was trying to get across how
molesting changed her...she was no longer the person she was before
being molested. This one molester started on his cousin when she was
five..(both parents extremely disfunctional..the five year old just
wanted attention.) to
17 or so. All stages. He said, "I murdered the person she was."
That was chilling, but I thought very accurate. Oprah picked up that
and said that she was murdered too. She was saying that no one that
has not been molested would understand that. Her molester did not
cause her pain...but wanted her always to find pleasure, and that
added to her guilt (her fault) She kept telling everyone, "It is not
the victim's fault". I do think the reaction you get is also the
reaction that Oprah says she always gets ... that she should not talk
about it, just shut up...and she says she can't. I think everyone
sort of has that reactions...don't talk: it is too awful. So add to
that a very real drunk for way too many years, which we all know more
than well, a drunk, gay man...seems almost too much. You, the
molested child, talks and talks...the rest of the family draw away.
Oprah says her family just tells her over and over to shut up. Then
put abortion in the mix of family. It's
overwhelming. I think not talking about it is worse than talking
about it. I do both. No one wants things as bad as they are!
That's why I think people blow...not wanting to deal with the whole
mix. I think you have insisted on talking about it all over and over.
Your sisters just don't want to go over it again (especially with a
new person). So that might be it...getting out the story to the
world, even more than it is...is still too much. Does this make
sense? It's pretty important to be able to just enjoy what is around
you...which I think you do pretty well, your kids...grandkids,
whoever. I have laughed with you on the phone a lot, so we moved away
from the grimness. I think that it is important to fight to the light
part and enjoy it."
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