Almost daily diary!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The phone call. Part 2

............In true stepfather style, he stepped over the decent limit of what is natural and good. I stopped him, but that wasn’t enough, I was caught, we were both caught, in a web of lies and blackmail that has lasted all this time.........

“Don’t tell your mother” He'd said afterwards, when I was 13 “She’d make me go away and that would make her very unhappy”. So goes the speech of many a ‘bad’ daddy. And so I didn’t tell, we, him and me, keep the secret, because we know, I knew, he was right.

Eventually though, children do tell, though it is common for them not to be believed. About 4 years later, in a fit of temper one day, in the middle of an argument, I told my mum. Not all of it, that only happened tonight in the phone call, but I told her enough, or so I thought. I expected something to be done, I'm not sure what.

She did nothing.

I left home when I was 17.

Apparently, what I'd told her, still protecting her even when I was angry, was merely that he had had intentions. Perhaps that is just what she chose to hear, but that is what she believed until the phone call. Was she naive? Perhaps she didn't want to face the truth. "It's not been easy living with him over the years" She said to me last night on the phone. I know that it has been hard for her, but it was her choice.

I said nothing.

Like a large black crustacean, clinging to the back of our minds, scratching and pawing to be released the memory lingered. During the following uneasy years after I left home, we buried it, slowly. We kept the secret and the creature diminished with the years. Untalked about it faded. Perhaps that was for the best.

I was never close to him, could never be close. We never hugged like ‘normal’ families do, or touched or kissed goodbye. It was OK, we could do this, on the surface everything was fine. We looked like any other family, from the outside. Though I did sometimes wonder how my mum could stay. How could she know what she knew, and still be with him? I still don’t have the answer to that question.

Yet I have accepted. I have accepted and forgiven. It is water under the bridge, gone now, and there is nothing to be done. You can't change the past, you can only make the future, and bearing a grudge is not my way, it is not healthy. I do not hold it against him, it is far too long ago for all that.

The nasty dark creature was safe in it’s box for quite some time, until I had my own children in fact. My daughter. How could I protect her? (Let me tell you now, I never ever leaver her alone in his presence) How could I make sure that nothing like that ever happened to her? She was still a baby when I asked that question to a councillor. He replied that by the time she was 13 my step father may be dead! He is not. Though one day inevitably he will be, and that was how the phone call began...........

You can read Part 1 below, or here.

24 comments:

Chic Mama said...

I'm so sorry, like you I had an evil step father......I also understand why children feel they can't say no or don't say anything to 'rock the boat'. I was more worried about upsetting my mother, and him than getting it stopped. It still affects my life now and I always vowed never to leave my children alone with another man other than their father. I hope you are okay?

Maggie May said...

You are very forgiving and I am afraid that there was no excuse for what he tried to do. He was always the responsible person who should have known better. You were always the innocent. He let you down, not only in the way he did, but for letting you suffer in silence all those years.
Glad you never left your daughter with him.
I am quite cross with him and I don't even know the man.

The Dotterel said...

I don't know what to say, Sub, so I'll simply leave a comment to let you know I'm reading and I'm feeling and I'm hoping that your writing puts this all where it belongs...

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Maybe it has come back to haunt or perhaps it is time for you to heal. I wish you the latter and admire your forgiveness.

Steve said...

There are few things more damaging to a child than a toxic parent. What a dark burden to have had to carry around with you all these years. I do hope you will feel lighter now that it is all out. And your daughter is lucky to have such a wonderful mum. Please do take pride in that.

ewix said...

Chilling reading.
So very sad.

Liz said...

Bless you, suburbia, and I pray that time heals the deep scars that remain from your betrayal by him and your mother.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation with my father. I am adopted and wondered if he did it because I wasn't really his. When I was 9 he left us for another woman. I kept the secret until I was about 32 (14 years ago) my Mum completely denied all knowledge but did say "you could still have him charged you know" but I haven't seen him since I was 26 and he has never been around my children. I couldn't have faced going to court over something that finished when I was 9 but what is scary is how old was I when it started? He died a couple of years ago, I did cry, but only once, I don't know why I cried, I felt no remorse for his death.

TechnoBabe said...

Two things. One is continuing through life knowing your mother did not protect you. And two. Going through life with everyone acting. Pretending. Hiding. There are so many of us with this in common.

Rose said...

Suburbia, I don't know what to say, except that as a mother, I've never understood how a mother could know such a thing and just stand by. Yet, I'm not condemning your mother; I'm sure she had her reasons for not wanting to know the truth.

I was happy to read your next to last paragraph...this shows that you have taken a healthy approach to all that has happened. You will survive, not only this, but the other obstacles in your life right now. You deserve some happiness, girl!!

Carol said...

I don't really know what to say!!

You are in my thoughts and I really hope your hurts heal

C x

nick said...

That image of the crustacean is a vivid one. A good thing that it has come out into the daylight and hopefully been disposed of, even though the traces remain. What a shame your mother didn't respond when you first told her and somehow whitewashed it all. As Steve said, I hope you now feel lighter and that a hidden burden has been lifted from you.

Furtheron said...

my daughter is the same age... and I worry and like I say in our direct family we've never had a problem like that.

But I worry... you do don't you. She is staying over at a friends in a couple of weeks time. No problem really but then every now and then I suddenly worry about things like that you know.

Letting go of children is one of the hardest things, rewarding but hard.

Lindsay said...

Sorry I have not been leaving comments - I feel too inadequate to respond - but just to let you know I read every one of your posts. My dad is now 90 and has an evil temper. After my mother died he displayed his manic temper tantrums to me including trying to hit me (I know not quite the same thing as what happened to you). My dad is in a nursing home now but I still get butterflies whenever I visit which is as infrequent as possible!

Hullaballoo said...

What a burden you have been carrying Sub.

MissKris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MissKris said...

I'd appreciate it if you'd keep that comment to yourself and just think about my offer. (((((HUGS)))))

Akelamalu said...

I so feel for you.

My uncle and a neighbour were too 'familiar' with me when I was a child and like most children I kept it a secret. I thought I'd buried it but after 20+ years of marriage I told my husband and what a relief. The men were dead and no member of my family apart from my husband knows about it, but at last it was no longer haunting me. I hope telling your mother will give you the same freedom. I have to say I find it a lot easier to speak to friends and strangers about what happened. You are right not to let your daughter be alone with him.

Suburbia said...

Lindsay, thank you. Violence is just as bad.

Thanks to all who commented here. It is shocking to know how so many of you have shared this experience. I appreciate all that you have to say x

Furtheron said...

Looking over these comments again it strikes me that we live in a state these days of perpetual fear of the "stranger danger". I heard that if you are a parent and you give your kids and their friends a lift to something like a Sunday club football match you'll now need to be CRB checked. On one hand you could say that is a right and proper thing but then I look at these comments and hear commonly from the professionals that the vast amount of abuse of children is in the immediate family and so wonder if we're not paranoid about the wrong think and putting energies into a wasteful bureaucracy.

Maybe if we as a society was more open to people talking about this and encouraging children to speak out then that would be a better thing all round. Also is there some form of education (although to me it's seems pretty obvious) what is not acceptable.

Admiration to all who have commented here - I think that takes great bravery.

Finally (I'll shut up I promise) I should praise every day that I never have had this experience and as I say it isn't an issue in my immediate family - something to be treasured greatly I feel.

Suburbia said...

Furtheron, I have thought, like you, that as it is well known that the majority of abuse happens within the family, all the CRB checks in the world aren't going to make any difference. Thanks for your thoughts :)

Jennysmith said...

Suburbia, I really have this theory that children weren't so believed in that sort of way then. I mean they weren't taken as seriously as they are now.

I mean my uncle used to kiss me and my cousin, lingeringly so, but both my mum and aunt did not believe us. Nowadays, the old bastard would be visited by the Police.

Thats what i think anyway.

Bless you, hope you get through this xxx

Maggie May said...

I have come back to reread & I am sorry that I thought it was your mum who cut out Small Sprog. I have been in a hurry all day with one thing & another.

I am quite livid with your stepfather. That is so unjust.
He must have been really scared & that is because of his guilt guilt.
You are free of him indeed and well shot of him.

gaelikaa said...

These things really hit you when you look at your own kids and think 'how would I like it if someone did/tried to do it to him/her.....