~ There’s A Long Road Left To Go ~
A JOURNEY OF PAIN
My sister, Anne, shows every sign of having been sexually abused. She has terrible, terrible insomnia and has since she was a teenager. Several years ago she told me she still takes a derivative of valium to get to sleep.
She had a terrible high school experience, as did I.
She gained a tremendous amount of weight in high school, as did I, but she can’t remember exactly when she gained or when she lost the weight. She has been extremely thin ever since.
She had gynecological troubles and had a partial hysterectomy many, many years ago.
She had a terrible problem with sexual intimacy.
She has never married and rarely dated in her lifetime.
She went into therapy years ago because she said she just wasn’t happy in her twenties and because our parents had such a bad relationship.
She moved to Minnesota to get away from my parents.
She ran, beginning in high school, and for many years after until foot and ankle problems made her stop.
She is scared to death of my father.
The list goes on.
When she found out that my brother Tom had criminally molested our 13 year-old brother twice, she immediately emailed me that this was terrible and meant that Tom’s own sons were at risk. Yes, they were.
And yet, several months later, she emailed me that twice, “was not a ‘pattern’ of abuse” and somehow that sick phrase, which likely came from my father, made it okay and we were back to being a “good family.”
She refuses to address that our family is not “normal” and sent letters to my therapist saying that I was literally crazy for even suggesting that my father molested me. Why? How did my parents pull this off? Control. Absolute control and belittlement - ensuring their children would never “amount to anything” so they could never be challenged. Parents who molest their children are not “nice” people. And my parents are two nasty, vicious people.
As partial explanation for all of this, I go back to my opening paragraph from the Incest Story,
“We are desperate to believe that we had a happy childhood. We are desperate to believe that our parents loved us – that they would never do anything to harm us.
“When that belief is shattered, we crumble. I crumbled over Thanksgiving three years ago.”
My sister doesn’t want to crumble. She doesn’t want to have to throw out everything she was told and has believed. She doesn’t want to believe her own father and mother could do this. She doesn’t want to believe her own parents are frauds and liars and criminals. She doesn’t want her life and belief system thrown into chaos. She doesn't want to have to start over.
I somewhat understand.
I am reprinting my email “Journey” that I sent to my brothers and sisters on April 20, 2003 and also published on the front page of my special edition of LIP; INCEST - A FAMILY TRAGEDY; The Holzinger Story:
As all of you know, I have been on a journey. A journey I did not choose to take - but one that began with a few memories of a long ago boyfriend - and the journey has taken me to places and people I never would have dreamed possible. It has not been pleasant, and there’s a long way yet to go - but I will follow this road because the truth does set us free.
I thought at one point I would send a long e-mail before things begin to happen in Lancaster, trying to convince my siblings. Sadly, there is so much evidence, no one but my own siblings need to be convinced.
Emily, if one of your students came to you and said they had sex with their foster brother, you would be required by law to report it. If one of your students came to you and said he had sex, one a criminal molestation, with both of his brothers, you would be required by law to report it and the children would immediately be removed from the home.
It is a sign of how incredibly dysfunctional this family is that criminal, horrendous behavior that changes and destroys people’s lives, has been reduced to "improper behavior." You say Tom is sexually conflicted. Where did that come from? The well water at Sylvan? Why don’t you run that by your school psychologist?
Anne, you knew years ago that something was dreadfully wrong. I am sorry that none of us listened back then. I guess we were busy with our own lives and never understood your need for therapy. I understand it now. I don’t think you went far enough.
I have told Anne this story, but I will tell the rest of you, because, unfortunately, it is one of the many defining moments I have had over the past two years. I asked my therapist what could cause a girl in high school to have such terrible, terrible insomnia that it continues to this day. Her answer, "Terror."
I have so many memories in my head. But there is one that is so strong and so traumatic, that one of my siblings simply doesn’t remember it - the Christmas without presents. All of the money went to charity, so we were told. Of course, that Christmas fell on a Sunday - why do such a thing unless everyone at Meeting is aware of such a selfless, amazing, giving act on the part of our parents? I think Tom got into trouble that Christmas - I think he disobeyed Dad. That was cause for punishment - severe punishment.
I left the table between dinner and desert. As a child, I knew something was desperately wrong with a Christmas with no joy, with nothing special planned - just act like it was any other day so our parents could teach us the wonders of charity. I went to my bed and cried. And I believe that Tom disobeyed Dad and came and comforted me.
In this professor’s house, a house that should have been full of ideas and questions and challenges, no one disobeyed Dad.
Well, at 49 years old, I’m going to disobey. I’m going to do what I have to do. Actually, I’m glad I get to throw out all of their criticisms and their "values" and their horrible relationship. Something in my gut told me there was something dreadfully wrong there. My gut was right.
I hope to see some of you down the road.