This is part of stream of consciousness saturday https://lindaghill.com/2017/06/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-317/
Every family has secrets. Whether or not the family chooses to live in those secrets or face the truth, will ultimately determine each of their fates. “Did you hear Bethany tried to kill herself?” That was a secret whispered in the gossip town.
“Did you hear Bethany was put in a mental hospital?” A secret whispered even further than the town lines.
Deadly secrets really. Had the truth been spoken, ” Did you hear Bethany was molested? After nothing happened to Billy Banks she tried to kill herself. Her parents put her in the hospital. A pastor tried to help her but was denied,” then perhaps I would not have faced the next phase of my life alone. Whisperings of secrets gave no validation to me. It left no place for the truth. My parents didn’t even tell their friends. It was a secret.
Abuse should never be a secret.
Had my mother’s friends known they could have supported me. Instead, I was alone.
My mother had her secret. She gave up her baby for adoption. That secret came to light when her son found us. It was no longer a secret. But some secrets are harder to let go of than others, for those keeping them, as I saw my mother continue to not be able to claim her son as her son. That is her issue. Her secret must have been a hard burden. My brother didn’t need to be a secret.
There should be no shame in adoption. There should be no secret. It just complicated lives when the secret came out. It didn’t complicate mine. I had another brother to love.
My nana was abused by a family member. He abused many family members. That, was kept a secret. Everyone was so afraid of the perpetrator and his threats that they allowed that secret to run rampant until countless women were abused. Even after his death his power still rules as none will speak of what he did. Instead, they suffer alone, not even able to comfort each other because they each think they were the only one.
Abuse should never be kept a secret. I will never waiver on that.
Infidelity in the family. Secrets. So many secrets. One secret will take another to cover it. One secret will be used as leverage for another.
If a secret causes pain, inflicts pain, causes suffering, then it should never be kept. Eventually those secrets will come to light. And the pain will be ten fold. The ripple affect will be unstoppable. All because of the secret.
My family had secrets. I knew that. I was one of those secrets. I thought that the secrets were what bound me. I thought the secrets, once set free, would release me. Even if they chose to stay in the secrets, I was no longer tied to them.
Whether my truth is to be believed or not, it is and always be THE only truth.
In discovering the truth, I saw the most painful wounds were not what lay behind the secret but what was right in front of it. Just because the rest of the world heard the secrets, or denied the secrets, should have had no affect on me, as a child, behind closed doors. My family’s secrets should have not affected how I was loved when the door was closed to the outside world. But the secrets were secrets to their core. Even in the confines and safety of our own home, the secrets ruled. If we spoke of the secrets then I would have been loved right through it all. But I was not.
When I became pregnant, my mother was ashamed. I was not married. I was to keep this a secret. It was not until now. Right now. I see that as my mother created this secret to others, it should never have affected how she treated me. She made my baby and me a secret. I am sure it tapped into her own shame of her own baby. But she put that secret on me. I abided by it. I was under the power the family always held over me to keep the secrets. My secret pregnancy was a secret even between us. In that secret I was denied excitement over the birth of my child. There were no cute little bags handed to me with pink tissue paper hanging out, a little newborn outfit tucked inside. There were no flowers sent to my door congratulating me, wishing me well, wishing me happiness for this child growing inside of me. The world did not have to know. But between a family and their daughter, I should have been cherished. I was not. The secret was all too powerful so that it overshadowed any joy I could have over the birth of my own child.
When a secret keeps you from loving your child, it should never be kept.
As I am realizing that my pregnancy was shameful to them and therefore so was I, I also discover other sad facts.
In the family’s hellbent decision to keep so many secrets, they forgot about ME. I honestly, at this moment, don’t think they ever knew me or saw me in the entirety of my life.
When I was diagnosed with a muscle disease it was a devastating day. Absolutely devastating. I received a phone call with the results of my muscle biopsy. I had a rare disease. Incurable. Untreatable. There was nothing anyone could do for me. What would you do for your child if you found out this news? A card? Flowers? Anything? Something! There was nothing. There was nothing for 11 years. My family acted as if nothing had ever happened because that was their programming. No one was over here helping me as I deteriorated. None of them. I was alone as I had always been. Fit in to their schedule when they felt it convenient. Now at some point my mother woke up from her dream state. Her trance of her rose colored glasses. It was for my daughter. She needed to be picked up from school because I could nolonger drive. My mother realized that we needed some help. She would take my daughter to dinner after school, make dinners a few days a week, and help around the house. I always put my mother up on a pedestal for this. I thought she was extraordinary. I see her now as just a mother doing what a mother is supposed to do. It should have not been a surprise that when I detailed my life to her and my father that they all vanished back to their secrets and chains. But it was a surprise. Because I thought my mother was extraordinary for helping me these past few years. Coming to the hospital when my daughter was ill. I thought that made her special. So she fell from grace when she deserted me. But that was my fault. I put her on a pedestal she did not deserve. This same mother who didn’t acknowledge my abuse. This mother who did not acknowledge my muscle disease. This mother who did not celebrate my child until she decided on her terms that she would. This is not a woman to put on a pedestal. None of my family is. They failed me over and over again. A few dinners and car rides does not make up for that.
See the real secret was no secret at all. That is the real kicker in all of this. There was no secret and it was plain as the nose on my face. My family did not really love me. I did not matter to them. When I finally did get married there were no gifts. There were no congratulations. For them it was just one more thing to scratch off the Bethany list. I was never real to them.
Do you understand? Whether or not they will ever see this is not important. I can see it.
See, I blamed Billy Banks. The one man who molested me, who ruined EVERYTHING. Had it not been for him then I would have had my life on the lake skiing and my family would have been perfect. But no family is perfect. There ARE secrets, infidelities, divorces, etc. But none of that should have stopped my family from seeing me. They never saw me. They only saw their secrets. The secrets that have bonded them and bind them.
It would have ended the same way. Had I never been molested. It would have ended the same way. Because my pregnancy would have been my first exposure to the power of the secret. Then my marriage would have been my second exposure to them and their ways. Then my muscle disease would have been the nail in the coffin to this group of people who painfully obviously care nothing about me. I blamed the abuse. It was not just the abuse.
Whether or not the abuse started the secrets, the abuse was not the cause of my family falling apart. They were. They always were.
It was never the secret. It was them.
It was always them.
The weather has turned ominous outside. The sky is dark and I can see the rain moving the leaves on my azalea out of the corner of my eye. A sadness has fallen onto my heart.
The truth was staring me in the face all along. It wasn’t the secrets. It was the truth of them. I didn’t matter. I never did. I never will. I know that now. Whether or not my mind can accept it…only time will tell.
The ironic twist in the story of my life is that my husband and my daughter and I, have no secrets. There is no power struggle. There is no leverage. We see the beauty in each other. We cherish each other. The family I have created is my real family. Hopefully, one day, my old family, will pass like the weather is passing outside. Hopefully one day, me not mattering to them will not be so painful. For now, it still is.