What’s Eating Me

I have been incommunicado this week. With myself, and with you. I watched teevee three nights out of five. Damn it! And I went out with my friends and drank wine the other two. Then again, I drank a couple glasses of wine each night on teevee nights, too. I’ve been feeling surly. Okay, downright bitchy. I checked in with myself briefly a few times, and asked why. I told myself I should write, and maybe I’d work it out. But I couldn’t think of one thing to write about. I read blogs and made no comments. It was too hard.

I went to my therapist on Wednesday. We talked about my family. I cried. But still I didn’t have a clue what was going on with me. Then last night, I had a dream. I dreamt about my brother-in-law and my sister. I raged at them both in my dream. Ah, maybe that’s what’s been bubbling up. Again.

My mother had a birthday about a month ago. When I called to ask her how she’d spent her day, she gushed over the fact that my sister and her husband had taken her and my father out for dinner.

“Oh, so we’re now pretending he’s not a pedophile,” I said.

My brother-in-law (I’ll call him Rob) molested my niece, his daughter with my sister, for years. He molested me, but on a much smaller scale.

“Well, Patty’s okay with him,” my mom replied.

“Patty’s okay with him? Who gives a fuck that Patty is okay with him? I’m not okay with him. And let me tell you this: if he starts coming around again at holidays, I will not be there. Ever. You need to know this.”

My mom claims she heard what I was telling her, but you can never be sure with her.

Time passes. I ignore the fact that my mother once again has become chummy with my sister; the woman who stayed with her husband after learning he’d molested their daughter for years, beginning when she was young enough to need diaper rash medicine. (That’s how it started.) She stayed with him. What kind of woman stays with a man who molests her daughter? A woman who’s been taught by her own mother to put up with abuse, I suppose.

When I found out that Rob had molested my niece, I called my sister and told her he’d also molested me. I was fifteen when it happened. He was teaching me to drive out in the country. Rob was twenty-nine. He spent lots and lots of time with me for years. I thought Rob was the greatest guy ever. He thought I was interesting, and he gave me the attention I so desperately craved. My own father was mostly absent, traveling on business. And when he was home, he drank too much, physically abused my brothers, and verbally abused the rest of us. Later, when I was the last kid in the house (being the youngest), he would physically abuse me. So when Rob showered me with attention, I lapped it up. I’ve been told by more than one therapist that he was “grooming” me. I can see that. Pick the seemingly weak animal in the herd, and stalk her.

So we’re out in the country, I’m fifteen, and he’s teaching me how to drive in his little stick shift. After a bit, he tells me we should be getting back, so I pull over onto the gravel shoulder, put it in neutral, and pull the parking brake. Such a good little student. We get out to switch sides. At the back of the car, he stops me. He strokes my cheek. And he leans in and kisses me. A disgusting, open-mouthed, slobbering kiss from my brother-in-law. I’m barely fifteen; he’s fourteen years older than me and married to my sister. For some reason, he stops himself from going further and says, “We’d better get back.”

Apparently he stopped keeping his demons in check after he had two girls of his own.

Back to my sister. When I found out Rob had molested my niece, I called her and told her what he’d done to me, and I reminded her that on some level, she knew. You see, on the day he kissed me, when we got back to their apartment, she was angry. She told him to stop spending so much time with me. He protested and said he was only teaching me to drive.

“Her father can teach her how to drive!”

“Her father doesn’t teach her anything!”

My sister remembered the incident. She remembered knowing something wasn’t right. How then, could she not know something wasn’t right with her own daughter? And even if she didn’t know, when she found out, how could she stay with him? I asked her that over and over during our phone call, and she had no answer other than: “Because I love him.” And she made excuses for him, hinting that he’d been molested himself as a boy.

Being sexually abused does not excuse you from later molesting a child.

So yeah, all this has been weighing heavily on me. My mother becoming chummy with my sister and Rob again, everyone pretending he’s a stand-up, all-around, great guy. Doting father and husband. It makes me sick. After my mom told me she’d had her birthday dinner with Rob, I didn’t talk with her for a month, until she started calling me early this week. Finally I called her back on Wednesday on my way to see Annie. I called all her numbers and finally got her answering machine at home. She and my father can never seem to manage the answering machine, and it’s often not on, or on but there’s no greeting. Only this time, there was a greeting, in my sister’s voice. Oh they are on speaking terms, all right. My sister is taking care of my mother and father again. And apparently her pedophile husband is, too. In my father’s defense, he doesn’t know what Rob did. My mother begged me not to tell him. I agreed. But now, after a three-year estrangement, my father, unbeknownst to him, is spending quality time with the man who molested his granddaughter.

This upsets me. And I find myself burying my anger by zoning out with television and drinking wine with my friends. And not getting enough exercise; not taking good care of me. Feeling the beckoning of the dark black pit. And wishing I could be free of my family at long last.


  • Oh dear.. wow..what a dark and heavy load to bear…I have to ask why this has been kept a “secret”.. you are an intelligent woman (from what i have read) and the secrecy is what is weighing so heavy on you..
    I would never profess to tell you how to live your life, but if it were me.
    1- Grandad would know
    2-Sister would be read the riot act again and brother in law would be read the riot act again.
    3- I would then cut off all communication with said sister & BIL..forever..

    I have to ask, when it was know about your niece, why was law enforcement never brought in the picture? Was she over 18? I’m confused on that..

    In case it matters, I think about your struggles and silently send you some sunshine from my state.


    • My dad is 83 and has dementia. At this point, it seems better to not tell him. I’m not sure if that’s the right decision, though. When I found out … wow, it’s been five years now … I beat them drum hard. My niece told me when she was 25 and about to get married. She was struggling about telling her fiance. She hadn’t told another soul since she was fifteen, outside of a school counselor and then her family. When she told me, I told her what he’d done to me, and I told my mother, and my brothers, and had a long talk with my sister. I couldn’t get through to her, so I gave up. I haven’t seen him or spoken to him since 2006. I was very close to my nieces before this happened. Now, we talk, but rarely. My oldest niece (the sister of the abused niece) didn’t speak to me for a few years. “How dare you talk about my family!” she said. She’s softened a bit but I have a very difficult time with them pretending it never happened. Seeing happy Facebook photos of their family makes my skin crawl.

      My niece kept the secret for years while the abuse was ongoing. He’d stopped for a bit, and then tried again (but she stopped him) when she was 16. She found the strength to tell him no, and told a school counselor the same day. CPS investigated and made him move out while they did. They then put a “protocol” in place to keep him from abusing again. But he was never prosecuted. I don’t understand why. I’m confused on that, too. Maybe the statute of limitations had run on the last act of abuse.

      I feel your sunshine. Thanks! We have some of our own in central Texas. I’m about to go outside and put my bird feeders back up, now that the new fence is in.


      • I understand better now, thank you for explaining. We all have things in our “past”, and a good friend told me “history does not travel well” and I have tried to keep that focus in my life..
        you are a good, strong woman and besides your are going abroad soon..new beginnings!! Yippie!!!!


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