A Life of Compromise: 7. How to Be Hurt and Not Believed
Last updated: 21 May 2020 17:50
When you have been hurt and traumatized in such a grotesque and shameful way as a child, you have two ways of getting out:
- Tell someone
- Wait for someone to rescue you and tell no one because you riddled with grief and shame
As you might guess by the story thus far, I choose the latter. And I would have gotten away with it for the rest of my life if it was not for those literal meddling kids that are my half-brother and half-sisters.
The shame I carried was: one, being molested and raped by my Dad and two, not having the courage to tell another living soul. That all came undone one day after school as I was trouncing through my senior year with about a 1.70GPA. I get home, preparing a snack as my grandmother somberly approached me, “Joe, I have something to tell you, and it is about your dad.” When she said that in that tone with those words, I know it could mean only one thing: my Dad was busted. I was so scared that all of my shame and guilt was going to be exposed, I swore my testicles leaped up into my throat like I am standing on the edge of the roof of a skyscraper on a windy day.
She proceeds, “The police have arrested your Dad and your stepmom. They said they had touched the kids inappropriately. Now, I think that’s a lie because I think there is drinking or drugs involved…”
“Mom,” I interrupted, “I need you to shut up and listen to what I have to say. There was no drinking or drugs involved. What those kids are saying is true. Every single word of it. Because what their Dad did to them, he did to me as well.”
Well, I thought, that wasn’t so bad. That was easier said than done. But when you have lived through the events a million times over and over in your head, nothing but nothing could ever prepare you for what my grandma did next. It was not necessarily the shooing of the hand as though it was hard to believe (which I will throw her a bone and say I think I understand) and not even any remorse or empathy. Not even, “I’m sorry.” (Trust me, one thing that life has beat into me is that if you are going to hold your breath waiting for the person who hurt you to apologize to you, you will pass out long before that happens.)
My Dad arrested. My grandma posted bail.
Then my Dad came to live with us.
I could talk about the pseudo-chumminess of my Dad towards my brother and me. I could go on about the arrogance of my Dad towards God and the law in how he was going to beat this rap.
That was nothing compared to my grandma not believing me and making sure I knew it by bailing him out and having him come live with us until the trial.
I learned that if you are hurt, no one is going to believe you. So you better make sure people believe you or they are not to be trusted. If they cannot be charged, they must be banned from your life.
I wish I could say that my seventeen-year-old self was braver after that day. But I was not. I was still scared. I even thought about physically punching the crap out of my stepmom. I dreamed of the moment I could physically remove my Dad’s head from his shoulders. To kill him with my bare hands.
But I just stood there, awkward, shame-filled, porn addicted, a sin-filled sinner. Alone. Confused. Angry. Pissed.
Because of my glorious aforementioned high school career, I figured all I can do is go into the military, and I shipped off to the US Air Force the summer after graduation. I got to my first base in Washington State and called my grandma. She told me, “Your dad was sentenced to four consecutive terms of 99 years per term.” I shouted for joy because justice was won, and it was real. But then I remembered I was talking to the man’s mom and I had to restrain myself.
I have always wished for a day like that day. I thought if justice prevailed, I would be better. I would be healed. I would be made whole.
Nope. I was still sick. I still was completely addicted to porn.
Do you know what was ironic? I get pissed when people don’t believe me, but yet, I used to lie always. That was me—hypocrite to the fullest. Play the “nice guy” to all the girls, and all I wanted was to get into their pants so I can fill that deep, dark hole in my heart that never had intimacy, love, protection, or joy.
I was lying to be lying. To keep people at arm’s distance. Just having every girl I ever dated away from my heart so I can remain protected and never to be hurt again.
My adult life was a train wreck. My relationships were a sham.