Over the years, readers have asked me to share my story. I have been reluctant only because it is so long. I have told two offline friends my full story, and it took many passes to get all the way through it.
My story is triggering, so proceed with caution. As it publishes, I will save a copy to a permanent page so readers can find it easily.
*******trigger warning – mother-daughter sexual abuse*******
I was born to two people who probably never should have had children. My father was an immigrant from another country. He was a young child during WWII and suffered from all sorts of things that I won’t go into here. As a result, he was very detached with his focus on making lots of money so he would never have to go hungry again.
My mother was born to a family that I suspect was involved in ritual abuse. She has told me that her father was both physically and sexually abusive. Her family was a bunch of social climbers with a fair amount of money but not enough to break into the level of society they sought.
I have no idea why they hooked up. I suspect my father wanted access to my mother’s money, and I suspect my mother just wanted someone to marry. I think they married at all because they were supposed to, and they had two children because they were supposed to. My father really wanted a son but wound up having two daughters. Both treated me like a son rather than a daughter. They cut my hair and dressed me like a boy, and they gave me a gender-neutral nickname but spelled it like a boy. Until I hit puberty, people always thought I was a boy.
My mother started sexually abusing me when I was a toddler. My first memory is of her fondling me during a diaper change. I kept looking at the drapes and sucking my thumb. That moved to her performing oral sex on me, which is completely gross on so many levels.
After my mother gave birth to my sister when I was two years old, she forced me to perform oral sex on her for the first time. At age two, I already knew “the look” that she was going to hurt me, and I fought her taking me back to my bedroom with all that I had. My father and grandparents (her parents) just thought it was a “terrible twos” tantrum and acted like everything was normal, even afterward when I chose to sit on the floor in the shadows holding my toy dog.
I was three years old the first time my mother performed oral sex on my baby sister in front of me. She took us to the basement and tied us to chairs with my father’s ties. (My therapist says that there is significance in her choice to bind us with my father’s ties.) First, she performed oral sex on me while my sister watched. Then, she forced me to watch her do the same to my sister. That day, I watched my sister “die.” My innocent, carefree baby sister was gone forever. I was wearing pink pants when this happened. To this day, pink pants trigger me.
I reenacted the scene a few years later. My mother opened the basement closet, and I saw the chairs she used. That triggered me, and I set the stage. I stole two of my father’s ties and tied stuffed animals to the chairs, positioning them just as my mother had positioned us. I then ransacked everything in the closet. My parents were very angry and sent me to my room, but I crept back to the top of the stairs because I wanted to know my father’s reaction to my “telling.” I heard him say that he wished they had never had children at all. This told me that he would never save me.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt