Hiding it isn’t as easy as one might think, but neither is coming forward

Looking at me, one wouldn’t know of the pain I have had in my life.  I usually have a big smile.  I could be heard talking about the latest animal fact that I have learned.

My coping mechanism when I was a kid was to suppress it.  Might as well since everything else was covered up.  I drowned my feelings in reading.  I loved to daydream that one day some one would come save me.  Better yet, I dreamt that one day he would be called from the pulpit at church like the preacher did some people.  That never happened.

As I grew up, I learned to allow myself to go numb at the mention of him and the thought of what he did to me.  I couldn’t even think about what my mom had done.  Both of the people whom I trusted abused that trust and used me. I reverted deep inside of myself and closed off.

Moving 1000 miles away, everything came crashing down on me.  I couldn’t hide it any longer.  The denial that my family was holding too wasn’t going to work for me.  I couldn’t bear the pain and anger anymore.

A lot of people think that I am sad.  I was.  I really was sad, but lately I am very angry.  I want to take a sledge hammer to a car.  I want to go to a shooting range.  I want to punch something.  However, I just allow myself to feel anger.

Tonight, I started laughing much like when Gisele gets mad for the first time in Enchanted.  I reacted that scene with my husband.  I realized that anger is good to feel.  I was allowed to be ticked off that someone I loved and trusted used me.

Well, technically, 4 people who claimed to love me and protect me all used me.  Him for his own gain, my mom for her sick pleasures, my dad to keep my quiet, and his wife to not embarrass her.  Well, I guess you know now that I am not going to keep quiet.

I recently realized that by keeping quiet about what they did to me, I am helping them continue their evil way.  I am helping them inadvertently hurt other kids.  I am helping that man hurt other kids.  I can’t have that on my conscience.  I refuse to be an accomplice. 

I  just came to a point where I had to say that I have to save that little girl that is crying herself to sleep begging for someone to help her.  I have to be the one that steps forward and cries out against the wrong so that he won’t do it again.  I will not stand silently knowing what he is doing.  If I stand alone, so be it, I have truth on my side. 

Advertisements

God is not a tattletail.

I grew up in a ‘religious’ home. More like I grew up in a cultish home.  Not like the typical live on a compound and reject all outside influences cults, but one that is a little more odd.  The cult I grew up in is called a Pseudo-Christian Cult.  The definition of a Pseudo-Christian Cult according to an essay written by Kevin Bywater, “a Pseudo-Christian Cult is one that looks like Christians on the outside, but they don’t teach truth.  They use the bible to twist things to make them say what they want them to say.”  http://www.summit.org/resources/essays/discerning-pseudo-christian-religion/  Whether this twisting is on purpose or not, I don’t know.

I grew up being taught by my parents what we had to do whatever the pastor said because he was the mouth piece of God. According to my parents, if the pastor said to come to church naked on Sunday, we would have went to church naked.

In our home, my parents never opened the Bible to teach us from.  They just quoted scriptures.  There were a few times I was being mouthy and asked where those scriptures were found, but they never could tell me.  On my last conversation with my dad in November, he told me,”God says, if you raise your hand against a Child of God, He will strike you down. ” I am sorry, but I laughed.  I really did.  It isn’t in the bible.  It is just another example of how they twisted stuff to make it sound how they wanted it too.

Growing up, I was always grounded for something.  Usually it was questioning what they had told me.  Sometimes it was rolling my eyes, and sometimes it was because I didn’t get my chores done because I wanted to read.  Sometimes my siblings would tell on me, other times my mom claimed God told her.

One such thing that God told her I did was hold hands with my best friend. I liked him off and on and my parents hated him.  Anyways, we held hands for about five minutes.  No one saw us.  I go home and am in my bed when she walks in.  She says she was laying in bed when God told her I was holding hands.  I got grounded for a week for that.

There was another time that I had to do the laundry.  We all hated doing the laundry and would take as many short cuts as possible.  The girls were the ones that did the chores, the boys would play outside.  Sometimes we would have 6 loads of laundry to do on our day.  That is sad because we had laundry everyday.  I am not saying I did the laundry perfect, and I would take shortcuts.  Sometimes if there was half a load to fold, I would put half of that back in the dirty clothes to be washed the next day.  Laundry would take hours and as a teenager, you have homework, and fun stuff to do.  I didn’t want to be stuck doing laundry all day.  So, one day, my dad said that God told him what I was doing.

I grew up with a very judgmental God.  One that is just waiting to trip you or cause you to fail.  My parents forced me to sit on the front pew right next to the pastor’s wife.  There I had to worship, or they would have preacher’s lay their hands on me.  They would try to pray demons out of people.  Sometimes my mom would egg preachers on to pray for her kids so she could go up there and start crying and begging me to pray that my soul was saved.

Most of the time she just sat back on her bench in the back and watched us. If we didn’t worship like good little Pentecostal kids, we would be grounded until we learned to participate.  So, as a way to preserve myself there were times when I didn’t want to shout at church but I did anyways.  I tried to limit the faking to just when she was looking.  There was a time when the women of the church ran around the sanctuary and my mom told me to run.  I refused. I thought it was stupid for women to run.  She looked at me and said, “God said if you don’t run you are going to Hell.” I was terrified, so I ran.  When I got home, I was grounded for not listening to God’s voice.

To prove we were not lying as children, we had to swear on a Bible.  We sometimes walked around wondering when God was going to strike us down with cancer or something.  If we did something really bad like make a bad grade on a test, my parents would pray down curses on us.  We would have family prayer meetings to pray for the sibling that needed God’s touch.  We would all gather in the living room in our special places.  We would hear our parents pray some thing like this: “O God, I pray for Morgan.  You know she is so disrespectful.  I just don’t know what to do with her.  I lift her up so You can teach her a lesson.  God, make her sick.  Make her sick until she learns to be respectful and not question authority.” I would get sick, but not from God.  It was from power of suggestion.

Another perfect example of this praying curses down.  My brother calls me one day to tell me that when I left I hurt him.  He went on to say he got on drugs.  I was thinking he was on pain killers and such.  Well, it turns out he was calling smokeless tobacco a drug.  Our mom found out about it.  I called and talked to her about it and she said she already took care of it.  She talked to him and prayed with him that if he did it again he would be so sick to the point of death.  A few weeks later, I got a call from my mom.  She was so happy that God answered her prayers.  My brother did it again and got sick.

I know now that God isn’t a tattletale.  My mom was using God as a way to manipulate us into self incrimination.  We were not bad kids, I was not a bad kid.  We were just products of our environment.  We were taught awful things about God that were not true.  God is not waiting to beat people over the head with a baseball bat.  He isn’t waiting around the corner to trip you as you walk by.  He is loving and kind.  He wants to see you succeed and be happy.  My parents were just that controlling that they didn’t want us to have a true grip on who God really is.  By making us think that God would tell on us, they were able to control us even when we were not around them.    My parents were that hateful that they wanted us to think we served a God that hated us.  I am so glad they were wrong.  God is healing and loving and one day I will fully begin to understand that.  For now I will just settle for knowing they were wrong.

Guilt does a job on each one of us.

It has only been recent that I ever admitted to feeling guilt over what happened to me.  Guilt that i kept it secret.  Guilt because there was “Just something about me” that attracted him.  Guilt for keeping the secret.  Guilt because by keeping the secret it means I am helping him in the long run.

I know I was underage and not responsible for what happened, but if I had done something…..I don’t even want to have these thoughts, but I think it is healthy to question it.  At least to question it to a point.

I never even felt guilty about it.  Once I realized the magnitude of keeping silent, I felt the guilt wash over me.  I used the regular excuses like: I am a victim, I have no control over him, and I was made silent.  Well, no one is making me keep it silent now.  I can’t ‘help’ him hurt others.

According to the law, victims do not have to report rape to the law.  They are not obligated to do it unless they want to.  It has been 3 and half years since my attack and I am finally feeling ready to make a report.  The thought of him being a Sunday School teacher and hurting other kids just makes me sick.  I think I feel guilt knowing the pain it caused me could happen to another.  I can’t live with myself if he hurt another.

So, does anyone who reads this ever wish they had press charges?  Or does anyone who did press charges regret it?  To be honest, I keep saying one thing and thing change my mind.  Like I said earlier, it is the victim’s decision.

There is a plan

Sometimes people don’t understand how much it hurts inside.  How it feels like to drown in the sea of pain.  How it feels to be pushed under by the wave of depression and how it feels to feel like the sadness and anger is crushing my next breath out of me.

Why can’t I just drown and let it be?  Why do I have to keep fighting to live?  Why does every time I smile feel fake?  Why can’t I cry?

Depression isn’t about being negative.  It is about being so angry on the inside that it makes you sad.  I am not an angry person, but this is how I am for right now.  I hate feeling this pain inside me that makes me want to cry and scream at the same time.

Oh, but scream I do.  Scream I have.  Every day through high school I screamed the scream so loud that no one heard.  I screamed so loud through my heart that it was drowned out by my laugh.  A laugh that didn’t reach my screaming heart.

So, I just keep drowning.  Waiting for a life preserver.  I keep riding the waves hearing that it has to get worse before it gets better.  Just when does it start getting better?  Others think that I should be getting better.  Why are you still sad?  Well, I don’t know, why didn’t you listen the first time I told you?  It isn’t something you get over in a day or a month or a year.  It takes a lifetime and believe you me, healing hurts.

It is like an infection that just started healing and it itches like crazy.  You can’t scratch it because you will just make it bleed, but it is an infuriating, burning itch that won’t go away.  It is constantly there reminding you that the infection is leaving.  That is what healing is.  It isn’t about  being positive, because being positive through the hurt I am dealing with takes a lot of energy that I don’t have.

There are days that I feel like I am getting better, but I get knocked down again.  Sometimes, I want to cut myself, but I don’t.  I know it doesn’t help.

Then I ask myself, why do I let them do this to me?  They don’t care about this, but I do.  I care.  That is why it hurts so much.  I feel the pain deep down into my core that somehow it has become part of me.  I don’t want to hurt, maybe it is time for an amputation of the hurt.  I feel things too much, but there is a plan for it.

I feel like being abused, raped, and rejected has given me an amazing testimony.  One of how I never gave up on God, but still blamed Him yet learned of that mistake.  One of how my faith grew so much and how God will one day take the sadness and pain away.  One of how justice was served after so many were hurt by this man.  One of how when people come together, just how much it can help someone. For healing, you must have a support group that stands by you no matter what.  I am like the caterpillar in the cocoon.  It is painful for it to be a butterfly, but it doesn’t stop the caterpillar.  When it breaks out, it is beautiful and confident.  I know that is God’s plan for me, it just takes time.

Hiding it

When I finally told my rapist’s wife what he did to me, my mom started texting from her work.  She works “under the table” for sitting with elderly people.  It is under the table because she doesn’t pay taxes.  She doesn’t pay taxes because if she made money, Dad would lose his Medicaid.

She kept trying to call me, but I didn’t answer.  She texted me that she was hiding in a corner at work because she didn’t want her employer to know.  She would die of embarrassment if they knew what was going on.

“If I had known that you were hurting, I would have done something about it.” This was one of the text messages  I got from her.  I texted back, “How could I not be hurt by this?” That was when it all went downhill.

She claimed I went behind her back and wanted to start problems.  To which I replied, “She deserves to know her husband is sleeping around with underage girls.”

What mother wouldn’t know that when her daughter was forced to have sex against her will that it hurt?  I would have thought it was common sense.  If she honestly was dumb enough to think that I didn’t have any emotions, then I feel sorry for her.

A lot of my friends who knew my when all of this was taking place have commented that I hid it well.  I don’t know why, but I am sure if they had a mom like mine, they would self-preserve if they could.  I call my hiding my emotions self-preservation.

I just locked my emotions so deep inside me that I could function.  I advise against this, because one day when they come out, it is overwhelming.  Only one person in the whole world knew what was happening to me outside of my molester and rapist.  He was my best friend.

With him I was able to talk about how I wanted it to stop.  When he moved, I wrote in my journal.  I have an entry about how much I wanted him to stop and how disgusting I thought he was.

Another reason I hid it so well was because he made me feel like it was my fault.  I thought that if I told people would hate me.  I though I would be an even bigger outcast.

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel angry, sad, upset, betrayed and all other emotions then.  I did, I felt everything to my core.  I was just in a situation where I could count down until the day I could get out and never look back.  Then when I got out, nothing could keep my treasure chest of emotions locked.

I know that if I had loving parents that would have let me talk about what happened to me rather than the ones I had that denied it, I would be OK.  I know that God is there, but how many more have to be hurt before He steps in?  When I ask myself that, I always come up with God is waiting for you.  What if God is waiting for me to take a stand against them?  What if I can stop this?  I can’t allow myself to be an accomplice in their twisted game of denial.  It happened and he will be punished.

The failure of a father

Growing up, we were taught that the man was the head of the household.  In practice at our house, our mother was the head.  My dad and I didn’t have a good relationship.  I assume it is because I thought he was a wimp. 

When I was in 6th grade, he beat me with switches because I couldn’t remember, at the exact moment he asked me, what my homework was.  I was eating my after school snack and chatting with my sister when he asked me.  I asked if I could check my planner to be sure.  When I went to my room, he followed me with the switches.  He has always said, “I may not have deserved the spanking that time, but there were times I deserved one and didn’t get one.”

When I still lived at home, we would go to church every weekend.  Three times a weekend we went to church where we pretended to be the perfect family.  The perfect family that was so dedicated to God, when at home it was Hell.

At home, I never in the 11 years I lived there saw my parents with a Bible in their hands.  Never once in the 11 years I lived there did my mother or father sit down with me to study the Bible that we claimed to live by.  We kids did it together all the time.  We would pretend to preach, but never once did we ever get biblical teaching from our parents. Oh, they knew the 5 bible verses that they had memorized and everything I asked them was traced back to those verses.  All of the Biblical teaching I got was from church and my own personal study.

There was a time that I was reading an African American novel that was written during the time period my dad was in high school.  He had told us stories of how he spit on the first black person that came to his school.  So, I asked him some generic questions just to see how accurate the author captured the struggle for black people.  He got so angry at me and started calling all black people N****** and saying they needed to learn their place.  I was so upset that I argued back saying it was the 21st century and that word was vulgar.  He forbid me from reading African American Literature. He called it the, “N****** books.”  Well, that just made me want to read it more because I realized education was the only way to stop racism.

  When my older sister got a new foster child that was just a few days old, my dad fawned over how much it looked like the couple.  Well, it wasn’t a few weeks later and everyone found out who the dad was that my parent’s treated the infant like it had a disease.  They kept telling her that she needed to let the baby be raised by its own kind.  My sister adopted the baby.  As the baby grew, my dad would refer to it as the “Little N*****”.  One day, the child came in with a paint brush in one hand and a bottle of white paint in the other.  She asked my sister to paint her white.  I have no doubt it was because my dad never let an opportunity slip that he could remind his granddaughter that she was inferior because of her skin color.

When I was 13, Hurricane Katrina blew through our town.  The day after, my parents were going through the safe.  They handed me a booklet of papers.  I was told they were my adoption papers.  I think that moment was when I felt my first panic attack.  I sobbed as I frantically tried to understand the words.  All I knew was that these papers transferred me to these people.  They proceeded to tell me how much we cost.  “We got you on sale.” My mom told me with a smile on her face.  Sale?  What did that mean?  How could we have a price?  All these questions swam through my young mind. 

“When you turn 18, you can have these papers for your birthday.” Both of my parents gave their word.  They both promised me and I started counting down the years until I could see those papers again.  My parents took the papers and put away my bill of sale never to be seen again.

I am 21 and I am still waiting on them to fulfill their promise.  Although I don’t know why considering everything.  I did find out from my bragging mother that she gave my younger sister her adoption papers for 18th birthday. However, every request I make for my papers has been denied.

I cut all contact with my family on July 23, 2013.  I sent them one last text and changed my number.  When I got home, I found out they had deleted my email account I had had for eight years. I had no communication with them until the week before Thanksgiving.  I wanted to know if they had changed.  Strangely, I had hoped they had as I dialed the familiar number. 

“Hello.” My dad answered the phone.

“It is me, Morgan.” He was happy to hear from me and wanted to know what I had been up to.

“Well, I have been helping rape victims.” That was when the conversation turned sour.

From there he called me a bald-faced liar.  He said that after I told him I was raped I still went up to my attackers house.  Well, I was asked to baby sit his kids when I was home from college. 

“What did you go up there for round 2?” He said. I literately felt my blood freeze.  The thought of actually wanting to sleep with this man made me physically sick, so why would I want to ever see him again? 

“I wish I could be unadopted.” I said speaking my greatest wish.

“Well, I wish I could unadopt you too.” He replied.  Of all the people in the world that was suppose to be my protector, my daddy was suppose to be on my side.  A loving father would have stood up for me.

Last week, I figured since I was no longer considered part of their family I could get my adoption papers.  I asked Berquin to call for me because I didn’t want them to have my phone number.  So, he called.  My dad tried to tell Berquin that I couldn’t have the adoption papers because I ‘screwed’ around.  Although I am still chuckling over that one, I still am in shock that after all the filth they are part of that they would have stooped so low as to break a promise made to a little, confused 13 year old girl who waited all this time for them to keep their promise.  Why am I still waiting?  Anyone that can molest a child, know that she is being raped, and turn their backs on her can’t be trusted to keep their word, can they?

I refuse to run from the truth anymore

In my home, my adopted mom’s word was law.  No one crossed her.  Maybe my dad just felt that since he was disabled, she could keep up with us.  He often was know to have said that he couldn’t deal with us because his nerves were bad.  There were a few times that my dad did stand up to my mom, but mostly he let her have her way.

When my mom decided that it was time to have the talk, my dad of course let her have the room. She would take us into the bedroom and practice what to do on dates that never happened. I never even thought something was up with that until later.

After an emotional visit with my therapist, I asked if she had a teddy bear.  She was confused and said that she didn’t.  However, she did have a stuffed dog.  In my heart, I knew what my therapist would say. 

“I am so sorry little doggie, but there is something I need to know.” I pet the dog. 

“My mom would frequently take us into her room to practiced and learn what to do on dates.  Sometimes she would touch my inner thigh and ask what would I do if a boy touched me like that.  Multiple times when my breasts were going, she would check their progress or rub them.  More often, she when my top showed the least amount of cleavage, she would pull the neckline out so she could look at my breasts.” By the end, my voice was more of a whisper as tears flowed downed my face.  I knew in my heart I knew what had happened. 

My therapist proceeded to tell me that I had been molested by my adopted mom.  I was crushed.  Not only did she put me in a position to be molested and raped by a man, she was also molesting me too.  It finally made sense why she didn’t want me to tell, everyone would know her secret.

To be honest, I don’t have a flowery story of how I can forgive her for what she did to me, but I can say this: I refuse to back down.  I am no longer going to carry the burden of secrecy any longer.  Speaking out is so freeing.  It takes away the power they held over me.    Speaking out also takes away the pain because I realize that I am stronger for speaking out.