I've not been in a rush to see my family in the 3(?) weeks now since my flashback. I was afraid the haunted look on my face would bring unwanted questions. With the worried phone calls I got the day after the episode, I was sure that parents felt a "disturbance in the Force" so to speak.
With so many doubts, and only a single therapy appointment under my belt, I was very unsure how to proceed with the family, so I opted for the "too busy" approach (it wouldn't really be out of character for me).
Well, circumstances led to my brother coiming home before I left my parents' house, and him stating that I was avoiding him on purpose. Since I really did have lots to do that day, I made a hasty exit. I never would have actually called him back, if my best friend (the first confidante about the abuse) hadn't encouraged me "It sounds like he really needs to talk to you." So I reluctantly called him up, and he came over.
It turned out that the main reason he wanted to talk was about the annoying behavior of my cousin (the other confidante for the abuse) in the week before my flashback. So I turned on the "therapist" mode, so he could bitch about her behavior (as she had done about him, 3 weeks ago).
But I had a number of things that I wanted to ask him, but I didn't want to approach MY abuse situation, so I covered it with "stuff that's been on my mind from work" or about the history of abuse in the older generation (that we all assumed ended before my generation).
In our family (my mom's side anyway), it is acknowledged that members of the family were sexually abused, and that one of our cousins beat his kids. Acknowledged, but no one actually says or does anything to stop it. To our knowledge, all the sexual abusers have died, and the kids that were being hit have all grown (late teens/early 20s), so there is no continuation (that we're aware of).
I asked my brother if he remembered an episode when we were young, and we stayed the night at our grandparents' house. I remember my grandfather being angry, and pulling my brother's hair, him crying, my grandmother standing by, trying to discourage my granddad (and failing), and me watching in silence. My brother's response, when I brought this up? "I probably deserved it." He didn't remember it though. I had told my parents while we were on a camping trip when I was 9 (and my brother wasn't with us), and after I said it, it never came up again.
It just makes me wonder... I'm sure he's got repressed memories, too. There's more than enough evidence in his current life to make me think that he was also abused way back when. Interestingly, he's always been "a horndog" (his phrase) from an early age. Me? I'm practically asexual.
For a while, as I tried to piece together possible culprits for my abuse from my brief flashback, I thought it might have been my brother. I've got more doubts about that now, and I've also found that the memory of my abuse has faded in the last 3 weeks. For the sake of completeness, I want to remember more, but that really scares the shit out of me.
In other news, my mom has been doing her own work to deal with her own abuse issues (writing a family history, that includes that certain members of the family molested their children), and from the conversations we've had about my work with abused kids, I think she wants to have a more serious (or candid, anyway) talk about that. The main question (there are plenty more) I want to ask is, what ever happened after I told her about that episode of Granddad pulling my brother's hair?
I used to idolize my grandfather. When he died, that was the first time I had to grieve in my life (summer after freshman year). And coming to grips with that led to my unshakeable faith in God. But as time goes on, I find out more and more about him that sickens me (my uncle told me 2 years ago that he had a recovered memory of my grandfather sexually abusing him). I find it hard to reconcile the 2 images of him, and to appreciate the gifts he gave me, when he caused others so much pain.
I'm sure a lot of you can sympathise with that emotion.
Anyway, I need to end this post. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
We're all in this together.
We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails