I had a feeling there was more to the memories I recovered last week. Before being forced to “kill” my baby sister and being buried alive with her “corpse”, I saw Santa Claus, which explains my aversion to Christmas as well as when these things were done to me. This part of the memory has no triggers.
I was in a very expensive room with leather furniture and wood paneling on the walls. (Keep in mind that this was in the 1970’s.) I looked at the Christmas tree while waiting in line to talk to Santa.
My guess is that this was at one of two places. My father belonged to a Country Club for a while, and this location would be my first choice. I don’t see the chaos that you typically see with lots of children waiting to visit with Santa. This seems like a low-key affair for a select group of children. My second choice guess would be that my abusers set it up, and this took place at some sort of exclusive club, just not the one my father belonged to.
When it got to be my turn to sit on Santa’s lap, he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I asked if my sister and me could go live with him at the North Pole. This helps me determine my age because I had cracked the Santa code by age 8, so I was 8 or younger when this happened. Santa asked me why I wanted to live with him, and I was silent. Santa blew it off, saying something about how my parents would miss me, and asking what would I like for Christmas.
The next flash goes back to right before they forced me to “kill” my sister. By asking Santa if my sister and me could go live with him at the North Pole, I was at risk for “telling,” which is why they put me through what they did. S, my most sadistic abuser, had always told me that the consequence for telling was my sister’s life, so they followed through in their sick, staged way to keep me silent.
I was impressed with my gumption as a little girl. If Santa had been real, escaping with him on his magic sleigh and disappearing to the North Pole would have been a clever way out. Sadly, what I took from this experience was that I couldn’t trust Santa, either, and that is likely when I started thinking through whether he actually existed.
Photo credit: Faith Allen