SUBJECT: I am an Incest Survivor
FROM: Carolin -
FROM: NAASCA Volunteer - United Kingdom (London)
DATE: Feb 18, 2013
I am an Incest Survivor
I am 55 years old, and still the legacy of childhood abuse haunts me today. I am a mother and a wife, and I manage to work part time with the general public on a daily basis. For all intent and purpose I am “Mrs Normal,” but appearing normal to the outside world takes every ounce of energy I have.
It all started when I was seven. My dad had been touching me inappropriately so I went to my mum and told her in the language of a seven year old. My mum, a young and barely educated woman, married 2 days after her 16 birthday, and at that point had 4 children under 8. She went to my father and asked him if there was any truth in what I was saying.
Naturally my dad said no and that little Carolin was telling lies. My mum was faced with the choice of a quiet life in denial or the upheaval of a life with four young children and no husband. She opted for the former, and believed my father.
So I was beaten for lying first by my mum, and then by my dad.
This detail and poor judgement by my ineffectual mum gave my dad the green light to do exactly as he pleased. With the words “Mummy doesn't believe you” whispered in my ear night after night, he went from inappropriate touch to rape after rape after rape. But I think the worst thing for me was it often took place in broad daylight in the very next room from the rest of the family. Apart from his breathy whisperings it was always in complete silence. Pushed up against the door, I was terrified that someone would want to enter the room. But no one ever did. How weird is that with a house full of kids?
The shame was unbelievable and affected me profoundly. I began to withdraw and stopped speaking all together. My school work suffered and I withdrew from friends. The teachers asked my mum if I had a problem with my hearing, as I was now in a world of my own. I was taken to see a specialist, but no fault was found with my hearing, so then I was labelled as having “special needs.” I was so slow at school and unable to engage anyone in any form of conversation. I was the problem child.
And so it went on, day after day, and night after night, and twice and sometimes three times on the public holidays. It took me forty five years to cope with public holidays without some form of crisis and trauma.
I turned eleven and changed schools. I was placed in the lowest class, a child without a bright future, a child with next to no social skills, no academic skills. I was also a child who was absolutely useless at sports. There was no way I was undressing in the changing rooms. So I began to avoid school altogether and hung around the local cinema watching anything that was shown. I sometimes saw a single film five times in a week. This is where I found my education, on the silver screen. This is where I found the morality in life, as the bad guys usually would get what for in the end. I found an escape and a solace on the big screen. I identified with the Hollywood and Pinewood screen writers.
I spent my teenage years in the company of Garbo, Monroe, Hepburn, Barbara Stanwick, Bette Davis and the like, all strong female personalities, all women a world away from my reality, but all women I would aspire to be.
Exams at school came and went and I failed them all miserably, I turned 16 and began to stay out in the pubs and bars in town until kicking out time. I would sleep half the night in doorways, going home only when I hoped my dad would be asleep and not up to a rape that night.
At 18 I found that boys would focus their attentions on me, and their interest was like a drug to me. I spent the next five years in the arms of every boy in town. Anything to not go home. I realize that I could attract boys and men sexually without having to actually speak much at all. I would flirt with my body until dawn. If I went sexual then it was curtains for the boy, as I would never see him again often giving him the wrong phone number. I wanted their attention and affection, not just their sexual advances, but always, always felt so completely dirty and awful afterwards. I just didn't know how to attract boys without being overtly sexual. From 18 to 23 I spent my time in an alcoholic daze at the cinema by day, in the pub during the evening and sleeping in the back seat of some boy's car by night.
On a holiday in Ireland my father's brother, Paddy, took it upon himself to rape me in a lay-by on the Cork to Dublin road. I still don't understand how he saw me as a target. Maybe I had a neon sign over my head that said I was available. Or maybe it was because I was the quiet one, less likely to make a song and dance of anything. Like my father, Paddy was a big strong man and struggling didn't help. I could hear the noise of the traffic passing as he told me it was what I wanted. This uncle is dead now and died a very long and painful drawn out death. Good.
Then I met my husband, a man with a sense of humour, a man like no other I had met before. My sexual charms didn't seem to move him. I tried, oh boy I tried, but he was turned on by words. I had found a romantic. This was not what I was used to. If I couldn't use my sexual charms what was this guy seeing in me? It was very confusing at first. It was unsettled having to actually talk some about myself, or talk at all for that matter. After a while it went sexual, but with my husband, John, cracking jokes at every juncture. I would laugh instead of beating myself up quite so much. I would start to feel dirty and then start to giggle.
You would think being a married woman that my dad would leave me alone. But no. The bastard kept coming round asking for sexual favours. I always said no, but the bloody cheek of it! At 28, after five years of marriage and five years of my dad persisting, I fell pregnant with my husband's happy giggle-child. One day my dad came round and asked for a sexual favour. The maternal instinct set in and I lunged at him with a knife. Fortunately for him I am not good at combat moves, and he managed to avoid being hurt. But he could see I meant business and never came round hoping for cheap thrills again.
I gave birth a month or two later to a beautiful baby girl and set about bringing her up away from my relatives, with just my husband and myself as her family.
When she turned seven the memories began to flood my mind. 24/7 I'd remember how my seventh year had begun the nightmare. I began to break down. I cried, I shouted, I drank like a fish to quash the pain, I tried to take my own life, and was advised to seek counselling by my doctor. After 9 years of counselling I was able to function again and had learned to forgive myself for the sins of my father. It was hard, as I was treated for bi-polar and delusional order at the same time. I still take my medications, because every time I stop I end up in a lock-up hospital for my own safety. The medication calms and slows my brain and I have been stable now for seven to eight years.
After a telephone call from my mother, I learned that my brothers and sisters were leaving their small children with my parents unsupervised. I knew my dad was still a pedophile and that my nephews and nieces were at risk, so I went to the authorities and asked that these children should be supervised at all times. A check on my father revealed that he had two convictions for child abuses in the 60s. This knocked me for a loop, as I realized my mother must have known and never ever said a word to me about his convictions. Letters were sent to my brothers and sisters saying they should keep their children supervised in the company of our father and mother. And did my brothers and sisters pay any heed? No, they did not. Each and every one of them continued to leave their children in my dad's care.
I repeated the procedure once again when my nephews and nieces had children of their own, as once an abuser always an abuser. The same thing happened again and my family, “the denial family,” ignored my concerns once more.
I don't know what more I could have done. I had the authorities behind me, but my family saw me as attention seeking, a woman with mental issues telling tales.
Today I am happy, mostly due to not having much to do with my family, apart from a weekly “daughter” telephone call. I have a job, a wonderfully supportive husband, a few great friends and a daughter who's not been touched at all by abuse. I still love my movies, although the old black and whites are my favourites.
I went back to night school as an adult, and studied English, French, Italian, Spanish History and Sociology. I proved to myself I was at least of average intelligence, and not slow-witted at all. At first I'd found concentration really hard, but I applied myself until I was satisfied with the results.
I still suffer a little from anxiety, and have a fear of being driven in cars. I think that's because I have to give all the control to the driver. So I use public transportation a lot and walk everywhere else.
Social phobia-wise I am now able to hold conversations with just about anyone, as long as I have asked them how they are first. People love to talk about themselves, and I have perfected a method of having a conversation for twenty minutes without saying very much about myself.
I hope my telling my story like this is helpful to you in some way. If you need to share, or want any more information, please email me.