Psycho-Babble Social Thread 221574

Shown: posts 72 to 96 of 101. Go back in thread:


Re: Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. leeran

Posted by Tabitha on May 1, 2003, at 0:31:15

In reply to Re: Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. Tabitha, posted by leeran on April 30, 2003, at 14:56:06

posting links is perfectly fine.. unless it's to sites that sell meds without prescription.. I was just being sneaky, cause it's about -shhhh!- sex toys! just my silliness.


Re: Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. Tabitha

Posted by leeran on May 1, 2003, at 2:06:43

In reply to Re: Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. leeran, posted by Tabitha on May 1, 2003, at 0:31:15


I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know . . . probably everyone knows about this place.

The Starbucks of sex stores is on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood (I guess it's just called "The Hustler Store"). We went there one night when my son had something going on and wouldn't be home right away. I suppose it was a nice diversion considering a big night out for us is a trip to both Ralph's AND Von's (our two local grocery stores).

I found some weird solace in the fact that there's an enormous, well-decorated sex store with a Barnes & Noble type book section, and a coffee/dessert bar. I see it as the yuppification of sex, or coming full circle in a world where Dick and Laura Petrie had to sleep in twin beds.

It took the stigma out of sex toy shopping. No blinking signs with arrows on the top of the building, no little peep show hall, no weirdos dressed only in trenchcoats and black shoes/socks lurking around out back. The D*sney approach to marketing sex. I'm glad I've lived to see the day when that product type is sold on!

I'm glad the world has changed in this regard since the fifties/sixties/seventies (but I do hope my son remains a virgin until his wedding night).



Re: Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. leeran

Posted by Tabitha on May 1, 2003, at 11:55:36

In reply to Re: Warnings, ratings, aversions, etc. Tabitha, posted by leeran on May 1, 2003, at 2:06:43

Wow, no I did not know of such a place. Sex Toy Disneyland! Next time I'm in Hollywood I'll check it out.


Re: I wonder....

Posted by noa on May 1, 2003, at 17:16:28

In reply to Re: I wonder.... noa, posted by Dinah on April 28, 2003, at 17:44:41


I am certainly not one for assuming there was abuse or trauma just based on someone's current symptoms. As we all know here, there are often multiple possible causes for various symptoms, and often biological bases are overlooked in favor of attempts to attribute symptoms to psychological experiences.

I have also seen a friend decide she was abused based not on any memories but on current problems that friends of hers in abuse recovery programs told her were signs of having been abused. Maybe, maybe not. But I know that she had enough about her past to have caused her unhappiness and particular problems anyway, along with whatever biological pre-dispositions she had, and that it didn't seem necessarily the case that she was also sexually abused. Like I said, maybe yes, maybe no, but I feel it can be dangerous to assume based on current symptoms. I saw how that danger played out with this friend (this was back in the 80's when this kind of thing was "popular" because the lid was finally being taken off the secrecy of abuse).

But I guess, like another poster (sorry, I can't remember who it was right now), there was something about your post that spooked me.

Maybe it was the details that you remember about your outfit, from such an early age. Or the distinct memory you have of the blood stain. Or the size of the blood stain you describe. Somehow it is hard for me to imagine a blood stain that size just from the abrasions of shorts too tight.

Did your mom or aunt check you out physically?

I hate writing all of this because it may be totally off and it seems too intrusive and perhaps dangerously provocative.

I guess the other thought is that the gyn exam doesn't totally exclude the possibility because of several issues--partial tearing of the hymen, and also that sexual abuse with penetration doesn't always involve vaginal pentration.

I'm sorry. This is way too graphic and intrusive, I'm sure.

Anyway, it probably signifies nothing about you and your memory and that day that *I* am a little spooked by the story, but that is it, fwiw.

Like I said, there are a lot of unknowns and I am not one for assuming abuse or for forcing memories, for sure.


Re: I wonder.... Mair and

Posted by noa on May 1, 2003, at 17:35:51

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Mair and, posted by likelife on April 29, 2003, at 0:23:47

I agree--I think I was a mismatch with my parents in a lot of ways.

I remember way back in the early 80's I was reading August, a novel by Judith Rossner, (sorry no double double quotes because for whatever reason this particular book doesn't get a match) and being a novel, it, of course had a kind of neatly packaged linear cause-effect thing going with an uncovered early trauma, too early for ready access to memories. At the time, this made me wonder a bit about any trauma I did not know about, but I think I came to realize after not very long that there didn't have to be something dramatic that happened to explain my problems.

I had a friend who, during the 80's, when recovered memories were coming out of the closet, and recovery support groups were becoming popular, spent a lot of time with recovering abuse victims, and in that context, began to be convinced that she must have been sexually abused by her father, even though she had no memories to that effect, just based on her depressive symptoms. It just felt that way to her because how else could she explain her depression and unhappiness. To me, there were plenty of "reasons" (aside from biology) based on what I already knew of her background. But to her none of that felt like "enough" of a reason to have the problems she did. Of course, I have no idea whether she was or was not abused but I remember how disturbing I found it that she assumed she must have been based on her adult symptoms and the support she was feeling in the recovery groups. BTW, she also went through a brief period during this time when she was hanging with the recovery friends, of believing she was a lesbian. She had never suspected this before, and had had relationships with men before, and this ended after less than a year, and a couple of years later, she called to say she was getting married (to a man).

So much of this is biology. And then there is the plain old, garden variety, "mismatch" that you mentioned. The story behind my depression is kind of lackluster and would make a terrible Hollywood plot. I think we like a good story--to be able to reveal something that makes us say, "Aha! No wonder. That explains it all so perfectly". A nice clean, wrapped up story with obvious cause-effect and dramatic appeal.

Sorry to put it so glibly. I definitely don't mean to be trivializing all of this. I think far too much abuse probably goes unreported.


Re: I wonder.... Mair and noa

Posted by mair on May 1, 2003, at 21:15:50

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Mair and, posted by noa on May 1, 2003, at 17:35:51

> "So much of this is biology. And then there is the plain old, garden variety, "mismatch" that you mentioned. The story behind my depression is kind of lackluster and would make a terrible Hollywood plot. I think we like a good story--to be able to reveal something that makes us say, "Aha! No wonder. That explains it all so perfectly". A nice clean, wrapped up story with obvious cause-effect and dramatic appeal."

Noa, I think you're so right about this. I think I'd like a direct explanation because I feel so guilty about how I feel about my father and because I'm struck by how truly difficult it is for me to overcome depression (or even better control it) I told my therapist once that I didn't deserve my illness. She agreed with me wholeheartedly until I realized that she misunderstood me. I meant that I wan't "entitled." (I feel like I'm repeating myself - I hope I haven't already said this somewhere else in this thread)

I think the other reason that I'd love an explanation is that I'm a mother now and it's frightening to accept that I could be as benign as my parents were and end up with a kid who feels as alienated as I do.


The Sins of the Father

Posted by Zo on May 2, 2003, at 4:18:53

In reply to Re: Well... (unpleasantly graphic and overdisclosing) Cecilia, posted by mair on April 28, 2003, at 7:42:38


Re: I wonder.... noa

Posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 8:25:52

In reply to Re: I wonder...., posted by noa on May 1, 2003, at 17:16:28

Hi Noa,

I guess there are some things that concern me, as well. The main one being that I remember it so well. I hadn't consciously thought of it for as long as I can remember, but the memory was pretty complete when I recounted it to my therapist. Of course, my immediate thought wsa that it was a dream. However, every external part of the memory, everything except how I felt, was corroborated by my mother without any hints on my part. What was I wearing, what did I tell her, everything. I never thought to ask her what she did to check it out. The memory is just a snapshot and doesn't extend for more than a few minutes in either direction. I imagine she would have at least done an exterior review. Perhaps one day I'll ask again, although asking about it twice might make more of a deal of it than it deserves.

One thing I know about my mother was that she was aware of these things, even at a time when they weren't widely spoken of, and wasn't afraid to speak up. She was a schoolteacher and had been turning in parents to the equivilant of child protective services when that was not at all popular with principals.

I don't know that it makes much difference though. The memory is a snapshot. Whatever happened before or after is irretrievably lost. And in what I do remember, I didn't even remember at that time that anything had happened. So if I perchance blocked it from my memory, I did it by the end of that day. And in the end I'm left with the fact that I have sexual aversion, problems with dissociation, and some other various and sundry problems that need to be adressed in the here and now, whatever their origin.

One sort of humorous note about the memory. The night after I had the memory, I had a dream. In my dream I was angry at my mother. She was sleeping while I was being attacked by these bugs. The bugs were large sluglike creatures who grew larger and developed a hard shell. Then they would regurgitate masses of this cotton ball like material before returning to their former sluglike form. I dutifully recounted the dream to my therapist and was horrified to learn that he thought it was a dream about sex!!! Imagine! It honestly hadn't occurred to me that what I was describing could have been viewed that way. This was early enough in the therapeutic relationship that I was mortified, although I can now look back with amusement at the look at his face as he attempted to delicately phrase his interpretation.


Re: I wonder.... mair

Posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 8:41:54

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Mair and noa, posted by mair on May 1, 2003, at 21:15:50

Oh Mair. I hate that you don't feel entitled to be cursed with your illness. I do understand though. My life is so wonderful that I sometimes feel my smile should be graven in my face by now. My problems are so obviously cyclical that it's easy for me to see their biological component. It may be different for a person with depression (I've had two to three bouts of major depression in my life, but depression isn't my major diagnosis). I also know that that kind of thinking is part of the illness. I suppose you know that, though. It's just hard to let it seep in to that place where you believe it.

As for guilt about your feelings towards your dad, please don't feel guilty about that. My mom never sexually abused me, and never seriously physically abused me, not enough that I wouldn't be ashamed to call it abuse even. Yet my feelings towards her are negative, and remain negative even though she's behaved herself pretty well for years. It's not that I don't forgive her, I do. But our opinions are colored by years of knowing these people. And just because you were born to someone doesn't mean you have to like them. I look like my mother, and whenever someone mentions it I want to scream. Because my mother is ugly to me in a way that has only a bit to do with how she looks. I feel bad about it sometimes, because in her own way she loved me. She sacrificed for me, She did many wonderful things for me when I was growing up. But after you live through certain things, it just isn't possible to go back to feeling how you think you should feel. With my mom it was things like her screaming that she hated me and I wasn't her daughter, vicious things, when she was angry. The occasional physical losses of control. And the half apologies after - "I'm sorry you made me so mad I said that. If you hadn't been fighting the belt, the buckle wouldn't have hit your face." If I feel differently about her now, it's because I had to to function. What your dad did was different, I'm sure. But I'm also sure that you reap what you sow. You aren't an unreasonable or vindictive person, Mair. If you feel the way you do about your dad, there is good reason to do so, I'm sure. And no reason to feel guilty. And I honor you for honoring him as a parent the way you do, despite your feelings.


Re: I wonder.... Dinah

Posted by leeran on May 2, 2003, at 13:49:14

In reply to Re: I wonder.... noa, posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 8:25:52

Gosh, as a casual reader I can only say that the symbolism of what you wrote is very powerful. At first, I thought it might be rooted in your issues with vomit (the word regurgitate made my barf-a-phobe antennae go straight up) - but then, as I was rereading the words, I was really struck by the imagery:

"large sluglike creatures who grew larger and developed a hard shell. Then they would regurgitate masses of this cotton ball like material before returning to their former sluglike form."

Dinah, this almost seems like "dream code" (don't know what else to call it - symbolism, subliminal meaning, etc.) for the entire process of the male erection. I don't know any other way to put that, and I'm sure you've realized that and so has your therapist so I feel certain I'm not triggering anything you two haven't already covered.

How do I word this next part?

Once I got past the regurgitation notion (IOW, put my own vomit issues aside) and read your description yet again, in terms of it being sexual, something immediately came to my mind: an uncircumcised penis.

Then, I thought - why does that word "slug" trigger that image in my own mind? Could I be the only one?

So, I did an internet search and found several references to uncircumcised penises and slugs, as well as penises in general referred to as "slugs." In Australia, men's "bathers" are referred to as slug holders.

I now know more about slugs than I ever thought possible - including the term apophallation, which is a unique term for slugs and their mating ritual.

This dream of yours really intrigued me, as you can tell. It was so graphic - almost as graphic as the description of the event itself.

I don't want to go back through the threads and find the original post at this moment, but didn't it involve a cornfield???

I looked up the word "corn" and "slug" and there were 33,900 references that came up in the search. Apparently, slugs are a real problem with corn crops.

Then, this series of thoughts came to mind -

If you look up the word "apophallation" you will find 32 results for that word. The process of apophallation is one of fascination it seems, even to a few "bloggers" out there.

Now . . . I don't know if this term is unique to ALL slugs are just certain varieties - so I'm just throwing out a theory here.

The blood in your panties . . . perhaps from squatting down in the cornfield (corn row?) to look at something very close to the ground, out of fascination, as children are wont to do. At first entranced by these slugs - and then, horrified by what you saw unfold? Look up that word apophallation and you'll see what I mean. One website has a video and I couldn't allow myself to even click on the link to look (admittedly, I may be more "grossed out" than the average person by slimy worm-like things .

In squatting down to see something so closely/intently, could it be that your panties (or whatever you described wearing - I wish I had the post in front of me because Im thinking you said they were tight to begin with) dug into you without you realizing it at the moment - because you were so distracted by what you were seeing?

Dinah, I initially extrapolated "uncircumcised penis" from your dream description (strictly in a visual sense) and since I haven't found your original post I'm going mostly on the dream sequence versus the event itself. Because of the immediate visual your slug description created in my own mind's eye (of an uncircumscribed penis), the blood in your panties, your photographic memory of what you were wearing, etc., it's hard to ignore the possibility of sexual abuse. Either way, it seems that there was something about that day that made it different than a lot of other days in your childhood.

I remember as a little girl, seeing a male dog who was in pursuit of a female dog in heat. The visual of that male dog (I don't think I need to go further with this) just seemed disgusting and naughty to me (and I get the same feeling as I sit here remembering it). I remember my mother's reaction as well, not in these exact words - but the gist was "don't look at that, it's nasty."

I hope all this doesn't trigger anything negative. It seems like you are trying to make sense of the memory of that day, and perhaps it does have a sexual basis - but maybe NOT in the child abuse sense.

The sexual act in nature can be (for me) both fascinating and horrible (i.e. the Discovery channel has those specials on "Sex in the Animal World" and I can really get the willies watching all that).

Just throwing all this out . . .


I became so engrossed in this post that I completely forgot about the dog's grooming appointment until they called to remind me (ahhhh, the annoying habit of overfocusing). So, I'm finally returning to this stream-of-consiousness mega post

On the walk over there I tried to figure out why slugs equal "uncircumcised penis" in my mind.

Then, I remembered an incident in college with this guy who was a very close friend (or that's how I saw him). We went places together, ate in the dorm cafeteria together, etc. and he even built a loft bed in my dorm room out of some boards and a tree trunk (pre-Trading Places / Martha Stewart era).

One day, he invited me to his dorm room (I had never been there, but he had often been to mine) after dinner and said he wanted to give me a massage (maybe I complained of a sore neck? I don't remember).

Anyone who can see where this is going might be thinking "didn't SHE see this coming?" But I honestly didn't. In fact, I had a boyfriend at another school and that was all made very clear to this friend months before. Plus, I've always been naive to a certain extent.

He started giving me this massage and all of a sudden it became obvious that he was getting into it in a non-therapeutic way. I turned my head and he used that opportunity to escalate the situation.

It was one of those weird moments. I felt heartsick that our friendship had just taken a wrong turn, guilty because he had been so nice to me, and in typical fashion for me, felt (for a split second) that I "owed him something" (i.e. affection - not sex) for being so nice, helpful, etc.

As I turned around he started kissing me, breathing way too heavily, and unzipping his pants, all in this awful "oh h*ll, now THIS is ruined moment." You can guess the rest - he was uncircumcised.

I shot out of that room like I had been sprung from a circus cannon, with him following behind apologizing (I assume after he had zipped his pants).

Of course, our friendship was over. I suppose it didn't have to be - but I wasn't mature enough to get past it.

When I remembered this, walking to the pet store, I immediately thought of what seeing "him" reminded me of - a slug.

NOTE: (to any uncircumcised male who might be reading this) - PLEASE, PLEASE know that I was 18 years old and more horrified by the situation than by the appendage, but it is part of the memory - and is apparently the reason why I associate the two words I've used here in this post with such frequence.


Now, on a totally different note.

I'm trying to conserve posts because I feel like I've posted SO much lately, yet, how does one transition from all this to . . . beverages?

The dotted line was supposed to help.

Regarding drinks - Dinah, the Diet Ice Sparkling drinks are excellent (I've consumed several since mentioning them in my post two days ago). And this is coming from a confirmed Coke addict. I've never seen them anywhere but Costco - but here's a link to the product.


Re: I wonder.... Dinah

Posted by judy1 on May 2, 2003, at 14:24:26

In reply to Re: I wonder...., posted by noa on May 1, 2003, at 17:16:28

this is all a little triggering to me so I'll keep it short, but all the warning bells have been going off since I started reading your symptoms, and when you recounted your memory, well it became a cacophony. my therapist claims it's rare to have one incidence of abuse and have the range of symptoms i was experiencing- that's when i became aware of how well my dissociation was working. i don't want to imply you had more going on then the one memory you wrote about, i just think it's really worth exploring deeply with your therapist. take care, judy


Re: I wonder.... Dinah

Posted by leeran on May 2, 2003, at 14:30:05

In reply to Re: I wonder.... mair, posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 8:41:54

"vicious things, when she was angry"


I've always said my mother's tongue was one of the most vicious on earth.

When she is enraged - for whatever reason, everyone else has to take the blame, pay the price, atone for the sin of not seeing things her way.

She'll lash out with a barrage of words until the right combination of them will finally hit the mark and her target is felled.

I was privy to one of her "episodes" as an adult and the words she said to my father were appalling. If I repeated them here people would be shocked. Two of those sentences are now ingrained in my memory, like so many other word combinations that were really proclamations of what she had deemed to be "so" or "not so" over the years.

She has this uncanny ability to take a negative quality in someone and recreate that person in an image based on her vitriolic words. The result is this persistent static that makes it difficult to see the numerous POSITIVE aspects of that same person ever again.

Of course, she can come off as one of warmest people you've ever met. I don't know how many people (in my adult years) have said "your mother is one of the nicest people I've ever met."

"Just don't cross her" is what I'm thinking - but my mouth forms the words "yes, she is, isn't she."

Her defense to this would be "when I'm 'down' like that I don't even know what I'm saying." Okay, whatever. Who is going to argue with her?

I'm so sorry to hear your mother also used words as weapons. My mother was never physically abusive, but I've always wondered what I would have remembered most - being hit or those perfectly chosen words. It's hard for me to imagine enduring both.

"If I feel differently about her now, it's because I had to to function."

Dinah, you always have a way of describing in one sentence what it's taken me years to try to figure out.

As I've said (and thought) so many times in these last five or six weeks, thank you so much for your incredibly honest posts.



The biggest shock in my life.....

Posted by maryhelen on May 2, 2003, at 17:04:38

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Dinah, posted by leeran on May 2, 2003, at 14:30:05

I know that we do everything we can to protect our children. I certainly thought that was the case with my daughter. In fact I know I was overprotective.

When my daughter was 11 and we had moved into a new neighbourhood, we came to know a grandfatherly gentleman, who lived alone just up the street. All the neighbourhood children spent time at this house. I checked him out the best I could with the neighbours, some who had lived their all their lives and they said he was wonderful with children. So I did allow my daughter to also spend time there with the other children. On one particular day, he was taking the children to the store for popsciles, when I got a call from a friend of mine who lived across the street and had seen him with the children and my daughter. She worked at the local community centre and told me that he was a known pedophile. I thought I would die. I work in a school and called the social worker in a panic for the best way to deal with this. Please, bear with me. I began to ask my daughter if he had ever touched her inappropriately. She kept maintaining that he hadn't but I just couldn't leave it alone.

She finally said to me, "Mom, John has never touched me or hurt me, but Grandad has". In that moment I thought I would die. My parents only lived 4 blocks away at the time and I was at the front door ready to leave and I swear to God I would have stuck a knife and twisted it right into my father. However, one look into my daughter's panicked face told me to get a grip and deal with this in a better way. I subsequently learned that I probably handled the situation as well as I could have, most importantly, never having doubted what she told me for a moment.

I won't go on with the follow-up because it is too long but I can tell you, that, although I learned through my own therapy years later he had also sexually abused me, there is nothing worse for me to bear than what he did to my daughter, who is now 29. The feelings of guilt that I didn't protect her and should have known will probably stay with me forever.

Thank you so much for listening.



Re: The biggest shock in my life..... maryhelen

Posted by noa on May 2, 2003, at 17:22:23

In reply to The biggest shock in my life....., posted by maryhelen on May 2, 2003, at 17:04:38

Wow. I am so sorry you and your daughter had to experience that. But please don't blame yourself. You didn't know. And don't think you "should have" known. Trauma is so powerful and the way our brains block things out to protect us from the trauma is amazing. You really didn't know. And when you learned about it, you did what was needed to protect her. She is so lucky to have you as her mom.


Re: The biggest shock in my life..... maryhelen

Posted by noa on May 2, 2003, at 17:25:57

In reply to The biggest shock in my life....., posted by maryhelen on May 2, 2003, at 17:04:38

I was also thinking about how the neighborhood known pedophile served an important purpose for you and your daughter, in a most unexpected way. But it was also the neighbor warning you about it, AND your taking action--asking your daughter about it, etc. that opened the door to learning about your father and therefore, being able to take action to protect your daughter.

And your smart, fast, action to keep her safe and stop the abuse helps your daughter as well as all the future generations that follow.


Re: I wonder.... judy1

Posted by noa on May 2, 2003, at 17:27:14

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Dinah, posted by judy1 on May 2, 2003, at 14:24:26


I'm sorry about the triggering. This is a difficult thread, it is true. I wish I had put something in the title of my message that warned people it could be triggering.

Do what you need to to take care of yourself.

See you in another thread?


Re: I'm sorry :( judy1

Posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 17:33:53

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Dinah, posted by judy1 on May 2, 2003, at 14:24:26

I didn't mean for this thread to be so triggering, and in fact worried a bit that it was.

After talking to my mother today, I'm willing to admit that it's entirely possible that I have dissociated a wide variety of memories. The childhood she describes contains entire chapters that I have absolutely no memory of. And although my mom is well known for living in a world of her own creation, the things she described were so really unflattering to her that there must be at least some truth to them. She told me herself that I've probably repressed the memories because things were so unpleasant.

It's odd, and I feel like I've wandered into someone else's life. Of course, it is my mother, and I need to take what she says with a grain of salt. I'll try to get corroboration from my dad.

I'll explain some of it in my post to Lee, so if you want to avoid triggers, you might want to avoid that post.


Re: The biggest shock in my life..... maryhelen

Posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 18:29:34

In reply to The biggest shock in my life....., posted by maryhelen on May 2, 2003, at 17:04:38

Oh, Maryhelen. I'm sorry that you and your daughter had to experience that. I don't know what I'd do if I found someone had hurt my son.

I'm glad you are able to recognize that you did the right thing when you found out. And as much as we would like to protect our kids from any possible harm, we can only do our best. If you didn't remember yourself, you couldn't have known to do differently.


Re: I wonder.... leeran

Posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 18:51:41

In reply to Re: I wonder.... Dinah, posted by leeran on May 2, 2003, at 13:49:14

Ewwwwww!!!!! Those things are Disgusting!!! Worse even than my nightmare. Sorry about the "R" word; my phobia probably played into how the dream was structured as well. As obvious as the symbolism is now that my therapist (with a half laughing/half halting and embarassed face) explained it, I swear I had no clue at the time. Or I probably wouldn't have mentioned it to him. I still thought of him as male at that time. Somewhere along the line, he's become "therapist" instead and I can talk to him about sex without a blush.

I screwed up my courage and asked my mom about the incident again. She says that neither she nor my grandmother examined me, but that she took me to a doctor (she was unclear as to how long after) and he said I was fine, and that it was probably caused by riding a horse. Trouble is that we didn't have any horses (unless I've forgotten that too). We did have a cow that would let us sit on her back while Grandpa led her, but that only happened when the older cousins were around to nag and beg him into giving us a ride.

But in the course of the conversation, I discovered that there were tons of things I don't remember. My mother left to live with her parents because she found the notes my dad was keeping to try to get custody of me in a divorce. He had documented her "mental illness" and violent rages that included physical violence towards him, which she admits was true but swears there was none directed towards me.

She also told me that my dad moved up to the farm and lived there for months right before we moved back down. I have absolutely no recollection of that, and in fact distinctly remember that as we drove to my new home where we were to live with my dad, that I thought of him as a complete stranger and was really worried about living with someone I didn't know but was expected to call Dad. I guess it's possible that the car accident I had between the time he left and the time we came here might have jarred my memories right loose. I know I was knocked unconscious and spent a day or two in the hospital.

But that doesn't explain what she told me of what happened when I was well old enough to remember. I remember she used to storm out of the house when she was angry. But she says that she would head for home and go far enough (several times, she says) that she would have had to be gone overnight. I have no memory of that at all. And I was a preteen then. In all it seemed like she was telling of someone else's life.

I'm confused now more than ever.

Of course, my mom could be wrong about these things. She usually lies in her own favor, but perhaps she made an exception for the sake of drama.


Re: The biggest shock in my life..... maryhelen

Posted by ayuda on May 2, 2003, at 22:08:10

In reply to The biggest shock in my life....., posted by maryhelen on May 2, 2003, at 17:04:38

Maryhelen --
My sister just found out about two months ago that her 7 year old daughter had been repeatedly sodomized by a neighborhood boy she had as a babysitter for several months last year. This boy had also propositioned my 11 year old nephew (my sister's son), and hinted to him that he was abusing my niece but my nephew didn't know it was true until my niece told him (and he in turn told his mom).

My sister also feels like she did not do enough to protect her children, for the attacks were mainly done in her own home. Luckily, like you, my sister's immediate reaction was protective: 1) to trust everything her daughter said, 2) call the police (who are still dragging their feet on doing anything about it), and 3) let her daughter know that she did nothing wrong, and is a good girl.

My niece is handling the situation very well, better than someone 5 times her age would. Then again, she also knows that she was not the only girl in the neighborhood who suffered this situation, but she is the only girl with the guts to confront it head on. She is one of my heroes now.

Like you, my sister thought she had checked-out every MAN who was in her daughter's surroundings, but never did she suspect a 14-year-old boy, just like you would never have suspected your dad at that time. It's not your fault that it happened -- you cannot blame yourself. Like my sister has told me in the past about dealing with irrational people, a person who is not inclined towards, say, child abuse, cannot think like a child-abuser.

It's just sad that children still feel scared to tell their moms or other trusted adults about this and have to live with this "secret." As someone else said here, the neighborhood man, and the neighbor who contacted you, both acted as a catalyst to your finding out. As soon as you thought your daughter was in trouble, you asked, you cared, and you acted. That's what a good mom does in that situation. You did not fail your daughter at all.


Re: I wonder....

Posted by leeran on May 3, 2003, at 1:30:04

In reply to Re: I wonder.... leeran, posted by Dinah on May 2, 2003, at 18:51:41

"I screwed up my courage and asked my mom about the incident again"

I've got to hand it to you. I don't think I would have had that much courage!

This sounds incredibly confusing. On the one hand, you remember such detail about that one incident when you were three or four, yet it sounds like your mother presented you with these missing chapters today that you wouldn't have even known were missing.

Am I remembering correctly that your mother is eighty? I might be confusing that with someone else's mother. I know you said she is diabetic and has lost some of her toes.

Do you think she could be somewhat delusional? I hope that doesn't sound rude, but I'm not sure how else to word the statement. However, if she's like my father (seventy six years old and also diabetic) her memories of what happened years ago may be more vivid than memories of the last ten years.

Your family adopted your brother when you were eleven as I recall. I consider eleven to be a pre-teen, so it would seem that a lot of what happened in your life during your years as an only child is rather fuzzy, yet - I don't think I've ever heard anyone describe a memory as lucidly as you did that story of being four years old. Right down to the pattern of the outfit.

You mentioned that your mother referred to your brother as the son they always wished they would have had (I think this was when we were exchanging the "R" aversion accounts). It almost sounds as if his arrival marked a "starting over" for your parents. Do you remember much about the years from eleven through junior high and high school?

My childhood memories can be rather disjointed. The years seem to be marked by particular incidents, or by what teacher I had in what grade. I've found it amazing since marrying my husband that he can remember his childhood much more clearly than I can mine.

Since you were an only child for those eleven years you really don't have anyone else to help put the pieces together, do you? I can relate.

What about your father? He's still living - right? If he's like my dad that road may not get you too far. He was there throughout my childhood but my mother was the constant presence.

I just reread your post again. It sounds like there was a period of time when you lived with your dad, or maybe she took you with her when she found the notes . . .

Has your mother mellowed with age? These sound like some memories that she might not always have been as willing to share.

My own father has told me some of the strangest things since I've been an adult. Some of it just seems ludicrous, but then again - who knows? For example, he told me that my mother was having an affair with this friend of his, and from what I could gather, this would have taken place during my high school years.

I find this almost impossible to believe on several levels - not limited to, but including the fact that I know my mother always found this man disgusting, both physically and in his mannerisms.

He also told me that my mother had had an abortion before he met her and his friends warned him not to marry her. This was one of those bizarre t-ball field revelations about ten years ago.

My mother later told me that he has always been jealous and accused her of having affairs, but she looked straight at me and said "I'm a lot of things, but I've never been unfaithful" and quite honestly, I did believe her when she said that. There was something in the way she said it that was completely open.

Of course, I've wondered so many times why my father would say these things. Could he have fabricated some of this out of jealousy? Was there any truth to all this? It seemed like I spent nearly every day of my childhood with her. Wouldn't I have seen/heard something?

She was never one to leave me with babysitters or by myself, unless she had some guy down in her subterranean hide-out (I say that in jest, there was no outside entrance to her basement retreat).

Doesn't it make you wish you could replay it all like a movie and see it with adult eyes?

I always felt so imposed upon, forced into this triangle - so it seems strange to think that something big might have happened that I missed.

I'm guessing you'll be discussing this with your therapist . . .

Since reading Maryhelen's post (which I responded to and saved for some more editing before posting) I've been pondering the mind's ability to shut down for safety purposes. Actually, I've been thinking about it since the Elizabeth Smart homecoming, which was the first I had heard that her sister couldn't remember much about the night of the abduction until several months later.

Thanks for sharing this. I can understand completely how confusing this day must have been!
I wonder if you'll dream about all this tonight.


Re: I wonder.... leeran

Posted by Dinah on May 3, 2003, at 9:22:21

In reply to Re: I wonder...., posted by leeran on May 3, 2003, at 1:30:04

I'm surprised you were ever willing to go to t-ball again. It must bave been awful hearing those things. Perhaps your father was putting his own interpretation on your mothers' actions all those years, or perhaps her actions were in part a reaction to his assumptions. I guess as much as we think we know about our parents and their relationship, we really don't. I always thought I knew too, because both of them confided in me. But I guess they confided what they wanted to confide. :)

After a night's reflection I've been able to fit what my mom said into what I know of my life. I think she was probably just a few years off on her running away from home story. If she was gone overnight just a couple of years after she sets the story, I probably wouldn't remember because it wouldn't be important to me. My conception of my mom had shifted by that time.

And obviously moving here was that major life circumstance you describe. My memories after that are pretty intact. Before that I just have a handful of snapshot memories, plus photographs and stories other people have told me. I clearly can't say with any certainty what happened before age 4 1/2 other than the snapshot memories.

My memory of moving back to live with a stranger was probably from the visit the previous summer when we did come back to visit my dad. I have a snapshot memory of that occasion where I did have those thoughts, so I must be confusing the two drives down.

And obviously I couldn't possibly have a clear memory of what happened before we left my dad. But my mother has often told of her uncontrollable temper as a child and she was fairly out of control with me a few times. Also, even the entries in my baby book from that time show an overwhelmed young mother with an unemployed husband with whom she argued. I guess it's not inconceivable that under those circumstances she crossed the line. She told me this in context of diabetes, by the way. She thinks my birth triggered the diabetes and she says she had wild temper tantrums. It might have been postpartum depression, but the result would be the same, I guess.

The only thing that doesn't add up is the papers where my father was trying to get custody. She says she recently ran across them in some old papers, and is going to destroy them so no one else can see them. But at that time, a dad had no realistic chance of getting custody, and I never had the idea that my father would want custody of any young child. Either she misinterpreted letters or a journal, or things must have been really really bad.

At any rate, thanks for letting me use this forum to work through these things. I feel much less like I fell through the looking glass today. And I have perhaps a bit more idea of why things may be the way they are for me.


Re: The biggest shock in my life....Noa

Posted by maryhelen on May 3, 2003, at 11:35:16

In reply to Re: The biggest shock in my life..... maryhelen, posted by noa on May 2, 2003, at 17:25:57

Thanks everyone for your assurances that I did the best I could and that I am a good mother.


Your observations that the neigbhourhood pedophile served an important purpose for both my daughter and myself struck me as both ironic and humorous. Not that anything is funny about sexual abuse. I think we have to keep a sense of humour when we are going through all the struggles that we do. One of the great things about this board is all the different perspectives, ideas, experiences, sharing, honesty and caring and that there are always different ways of looking at things. Here, where it is sometimes easier to talk to each other than our best friends.

By the way, the pedophile was quietly and quickly removed from his home. As I had mentioned I had a friend who was a social worker in the school where I worked. She also worked in the local school. I was such a raving maniac about something being done and threatened her that if one more child was touched it would be her fault. I think she probably got a little scared. He ended up in the other end of the city in a supervised home. Not great, but better than nothing.

Thanks again Noa. I kept myself entertained last night when I couldn't sleep, as usual, with thoughts of how I could thank the pedophile. Roses, dinner, introduce him to my nine brothers and sister "Meet John, the pedophile. He was instrumental in us knowing what our father has done, how he allowed me to almost destroy our family through my revelations." Then we all decided he would adopt us and be our father because ours is now dead. Sorry, you must think I'm nuts, but for me the images were cracking me up and helped me through hours of insomnia.

I better go for now before the white coats come to the door.



Re: The biggest shock in my life..... ayuda

Posted by maryhelen on May 3, 2003, at 12:59:16

In reply to Re: The biggest shock in my life..... maryhelen, posted by ayuda on May 2, 2003, at 22:08:10


Thank for you your kind words of encouragement. You know, for me it was the ultimate betrayal. The man I loved and trusted more than anyone in life. Then I had to struggle with the love/hate thing. Hating him so much for what he did to my daughter and yet (I think) loving the man as my father. Lots and lots of therapy sessions. Nothing resolved really. He's been dead now for 7 years so I guess it get's easier. Sexual abuse is a very difficult thing to know how to handle. I told my brothers and sisters who had children to ensure nothing would happen to them and to possibly initiate some sensitive dialogue between them. Because my memories were suppressed for so long I don't think they ever really believed me and that hurt so much. My daughter was a different story. Regardless, there was never a time after that that a child was left alone with my father. That is what I cared about.

I also had never intended to tell my mom about this. At her age and illnesses it was something I didn't think she needed to know. One of my sisters did, which I resented, and then left me holding the bag, so to speak. God love my mother. She walked into to my father's bedroom and confronted him. The shock for her after 55 years of marriage was almost too much for her. She is a tiny women and there is no telling how someone is going to react when put in a corner. I admire her for her courage.

You know it always seemed weird to me that my daughter and myself were the "chosen two." I have 9 brothers and sisters and all of them said that nothing ever happened to them. I hope it didn't. One brother even asked me how something like that could happen when there were so many people always around. At one point we lived in a 4 room house with 12 of us there. I asked him if he would like me tell him and he said no.

I did not mean to go on so long with this. Ayuda I am off to visit my daughter and grandchildren today but I would like to respond to your post about what has happened to your neice.

Wow, I just got tears in my eyes thinking of your neice. Why the innocent?



Noa and Dinah

Posted by judy1 on May 3, 2003, at 13:37:58

In reply to Re: I wonder.... judy1, posted by noa on May 2, 2003, at 17:27:14

I will see you all in another thread :-), i recognize when it's time to take care of myself. Dinah- no need to apologize, i'm glad that you have the courage to start confronting some of your issues.
my best wishes to both of you-judy

Go forward in thread:

Show another thread

URL of post in thread:

Psycho-Babble Social | Extras | FAQ

[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD,

Script revised: February 4, 2008
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.