Friday, February 20, 2009

I wish I didnt know now...what I didnt know then

2 years 4 months and 13 days ago I thought my husband (now ex) of 20 years was just a miserable controlling jerk that lived off of my constant sorrow and depression. I knew his level of hypocrisy was seemingly immeasurable and unknown...he constantly surprised me on a daily basis as to what new low he could sink too....but I preferred to desperately believe there was a point into which he couldnt go any lower. In other words...I gave him the benefit of the doubt...even when my heart was crushed...even when my mind was in turmoil...even when my soul was bereft and on the verge of hopelessness ...I continued to have hope that eventually he would bottom out and the only way to go was up. All the fool me for assuming that every human being on the planet has some redeeming qualities...its just a little harder to see in some people than others.

Now heres the strange thing...the part that doesnt add up, at least in my mind. The two personalities that lived within one body. There was the controlling abusive hypocritical Muslim wannabe on one hand and the often funny hard working (when he chose to work) get us whatever we wanted, take care of us when we were sick good with the kids father/husband on the other.

Oh yeah, then there was the pedophile I guess that makes 3 personalities in one body. The first 2 I lived with on a daily basis...never knew from moment to moment which one was going to make a showing and either let me relax for 5 minutes...or get me all worked up frustrated and angry again. The third personality...well...I never knew it existed. Didnt have a clue. I have retraced 20 years of marriage. I have gone over memories with a fine tooth comb...looked for hints, clues, flashing neon signs...anything that would make this soul crushing guilt Ive been feeling since my daughter whispered those two little words 2 years 4 months and 13 days ago....alleviate it in some small way....but...nothing.

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. We look back and smack our foreheads and berate ourselves for what we didnt see then but is so goddamn obvious now...our ability to remain blind while surrounded by facts...but as they say...sometimes you have to step back to see the big picture. So I step back...again and again...every time I close my eyes I step back...and I search, I probe, I rehash and re account every little detail of this marriage from the time my first first first daughter was brought into this world. I search desperately looking for the exact moment in time when that man, my husband, her father, made the horrific and disgusting decision to take from his daughter what he had no right to take. I tear apart every moment of interaction between them looking for that sign...that little clue that all was not right between them. I listen to my daughters voices (I have two daughters and yes...both were victims) and try and hear cries for help...I try and pick out phrases and clues that were calling me...trying to get me to open my eyes and open my ears and HEAR...but apparently I was so self involved with my own miseries that I couldnt hear my childrens silent pleas for rescue...and for that the guilt rages on. I was firmly convinced that he was a jerk as a husband...but a fairly decent father..the thought that he could possibly sink so low as to do what most animals in the animal kingdom dont even engage in was something that never even snuck in the backdoor of my mind...I guess you had to be there...sigh.

People who hear of such things (barely able to utter the word incest much less acknowledge it in this part of the world) always ask two things...what was I doing when this was happening....and why didnt the girls say something sooner. So in one fell swoop blame is placed on us...I wasnt being a good mother and they were accomplices rather than victims in this heinous crime. Its enough that I blame myself...I dont need all and sundry to chime in too...but the fact that my daughters are meant to share the blame for and seen as co conspirators in this crime against them has to be viewed as raping them all over again. They are being violated over and over again...their bodies gone over with a probing tongues...every minute part of their behavior scrutinized and picked apart...from what they wore to how they spoke when in the company of their father. It matters little that they were toddlers when he started his "special relationship" (his words, not mine) with them and that by the time they were old enough to "know better" his behavior had become "normal"...the sort of thing that daddies that "really love their daughters in a special way" do to show it. In other words, it was as "natural" a daddy behavior as say...taking them to the doctor when their sick...or buying them new shoes etc when they need was his way of "loving" them and being a "good" daddy.

Only a victim of incest, of pedophilia can know the depths of the psychological reconstruction that goes on from day one...the total mind altering choreography that turns a normal daddy/daughter relationship into something dark and secretive...nobody knows the constant guilt and tennis game that goes on in a childs mind...he is my daddy...I love him....he is my daddy...I wish he would die. I know....Ive been there.

Sometimes I lay there and try and blank my mind...try and erase these disgusting heinous "videos" that replay over and over again from my memories...I try and "go back" to a time when I didnt know how truly low he could go....just an asshole...but believing there were hidden redeeming qualities in there somewhere....but I cant...once we know or learn something...we cant unlearn it.

I learned my husband of 20 years was a incestuous pedophile...and that you can never go back and wish that "you didnt know now what you didnt know then."

Of course...if I didnt know...if I had never found children would no doubt still be suffering from should I focus on the silver lining or what?


Beyond Danielle said...

This is one of my biggest fears. As a child I never knew any differn't I didn't experience that from my father, yet other surrounding men had there way with me. And I live my life trying to protect my daughter from this. If I had to hear those words out of her mouth, I might fall out and die.

Monica said...

I think you should not blame yourself but I also think, if its possible, to get yourself and your kids back to the US as soon as possible and get counselling for all. But before you do all that I think you should chop his thing off.

janice said...

I completely agree with Monica, come home to the US, But before you leave pull a Lorraine Bobbit!

Suroor said...

Fucking Bastard! I hope he rots in Hell and gets AIDS and all the STDs in this world. I wish his effing dick shrivels up and drops off!

The Bahraini laws protect no woman. The court helps no woman. I really hope your girls get their due justice. What an arsehole!

Chiara said...

One of my professors who is/was a feminist female psychiatrist specializing in women's mental health (all the adjectives are necessary), said that expecting the mother to know about incest was a farce. Her exact analogy was that she could choose to suspect her husband every time he tucked their daughters in and kissed them goodnight, or follow the normal trust one places in a husband/father (the statistically most likely correctly placed trust) and assume he was being appropriately fatherly.

While some women do know and collude (these make the best dramatic hollywood TV movies) most don't. In fact many women only leave an abusive relationship when it becomes clear to them the children are being abused either physically or sexually (if the mother is abused the children are being abused psychologically almost by definition).

It is to your credit that your girls trusted YOU enough that when they became of age to realize the inappropriateness of their father's behaviour, they or at least one (an emissary for both? the oldest one? the most sensitive one? the one closest to you? the one who was abused the most?--all rhetorical questions, of course) spoke to YOU (an incredibly difficult decision for a child given the various psychodynamics involved, and the usual threats of abusers eg. if mommy finds out she will be jealous and we will have to stop, if mommy finds out she will be mad at me and I will be mad at you, etc). Also you obviously believed your children and took action right away--factors that give a better prognosis for the children.

Children of course are never to blame, and especially when the abuse starts so young they have no way of knowing that this is not normal behaviour (as taught to me by a social worker specialized in incest therapy). Some never tell because they have not yet learned the behaviour is abnormal, before a pediatrician discovers an STD (sometimes from a urinary tract infection), or the behaviour is discovered by someone else, or a pregnancy occurs--(silver linings for you indeed!)

As I understand your daughters are in the US already and your sons are headed there after they finish their school term. I would agree that counselling, individual and family, would be advisable for all, since the boys must have feelings about this too, and there is enough in the abuse you received, and the ongoing divorce behaviours, and abandonment by the ex-s family of his children to merit psychotherapeutic intervention. I know this can be expensive in the US but there are also counselling services sponsored by public health, schools, church groups (they usually take all comers and don't necessarily emphasize religion)and University affiliated hospital outpatient services.
You are probably aware of what is available in Bahrain (where there is an expat community there are counselling services) for you and your sons now.

Religion can be a help here, since religion, and Islam, are very clear about who the guilty party is in incest, and about the inherent innocence of children.

The shrink in me wonders why this topic came up for you now, but the blog commentor refrains from asking :-)

Good luck!

Chiara said...

PS (because my first comment wasn't long enough :-) ) the 3 personalities in one is common since the psychopathic are often charming (how else would they get victims or keep the victim so mind-f***'d for so long--sorry but this is the most accurate term), and pedophiles need to be experts at deception, and those engaged in incest more so. All abusers are experts at blaming the victim, and, more importantly, making sure the victim blames him/herself through sometimes amazingly subtle but always effective psychological means. Hence the need for counselling even for those who seem to be doing well.

The Queen said...

I don't know how you can share a country with the man and not end up a murderer! I applaud you for your strength in dealing with this monster. DO NOT even consider blaming yourself for anything that sick animal did.

coolred38 said...

Chiara-thank you for your thoughtful post. I do indeed have my children in therapy. Ive read up alot on pedophiles etc as well and I realize that the art of deception is a whole way of life for them. They spend 90% if their time working on not getting dicovered...but it still seems that I should have been aware of something for gods sake...I lived right there alongside them...either he was very good at what he does or I just didnt want to see it...sigh!!

And yes I did take quick action (story for another post)...he was out of the house and we were divorced within months...almost unheard of over here (I had tried divorcing him for years without even a glimmer of hope to achieve it with my children with me so had to stay put by force).

I have one small disagreement with you though...religion hasnt been much help these days...sigh. Another story for another time.

And the reason this "came up now" is that all the choices I have made for my children since that fateful night have not always been the right ones (all though at the time it seemed right) and so now I find myself with all kinds of new guilty feelings...Im a bit overwhelmed is all...had to vent.

Susie...thanks for the support.

Queen...believe me when I tell you just how hard it is to know I am sharing breathing space with him. Hopefully it wont be forever...

coolred38 said...

Oh Susie...Im sorry...I was deleting your duplicate posts and accidently deleted all 3. I apologize and hope you post again. I should check what Im doing before hitting the ok button...sheesh!!

fitrat said...

Me and my sister have been a victim of incest and we were able to tell our mum only when I was 17 and my sister was 14 and out of teh country and away from the man. It is not easy and this stays with you for the rest of your life.

My family has been dealing with this issue for 8 long years now and seeking therapy as well and overtime it helps.

You and your daughters are very brave to come out like that and tackle this issue. We need more women to just come out and fight this instead of just shoving this under the carpet.

jana z. said...

how completely sad i felt when i read this. i guess i wasnt expecting it for one thing. ive never been a victim of incest or sexual abuse but my guess is that the parent is so adept at hiding it and forcing the children to hide it that, as its often said, the mother is the last to know.

i know you wish you could go back in time and find the first signs so that you could have stopped it sooner but you just didnt know.

had you known and did nothing about it, that would have been different altogether but you didnt. how could you do something about it when you knew nothing.

try to stop combing the past..whats done is done. just be there for those girls now. try to keep them and yourself going.

my daughter and ex were close (she's 6 1/2 now). reading something like this makes you start wondering....

Chiara said...

Thanks for your comment. Perhaps if not now, in time religion will be more of a comfort to you and your children. Although, you can do well without finding that particular source of comfort.
Most normal people are no match for the psychopathic, and incest is so rarely detected by a spouse you really should take more heart in the fact your daughters came to you and you acted appropriately.

Not all choices are perfect, especially since one cannot control for all factors; and, in time, some may seem better than others. Children are not necessarily wise about their best interests, and are usually conflicted about anything to do with divorce, family separation, and geographical/cultural changes.

I do hope that as you feel comfortable you will tell more of your story and use the support in this way of your blog community.

I'm glad your children are in therapy, and I hope at some point you are able to get therapeutic help as well.

Admirable restraint from mariticide (it took me months for a research project to find the latinate term for homicide of a husband so I try to use it as often as possible) indeed! Remember "best interests of the child" ie mom alive and out of jail. :-)

Susie of Arabia said...

Sorry about the dupe posts, but I don't know what happened. I only hit enter once! All I said was that the blame falls squarely on your ex's shoulders for choosing to be a rapist, pedophile and pervert instead of a father to his daughters, and that I agreed that someone needs to cut off his wee wee! Don't feel guilty and don't let your girls feel they are to blame for what happened - none of you did anything wrong - HE did!

coolred38 said...

Furry...Im glad you and your sister got away from that life finally. I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.

Chiara...will do more post about it here and there in future...writing is cathartic and better than anything sold at the pharmacy, in a bottle, or smoked or snorted. worries...and I realize I shouldnt shoulder as this guilt and blame by myself...but easier said then are so many things.

coolred38 said...

jana...I try very hard to stop combing the past...I wish it was an easy thing to switch off...but our minds have a mind of their they say...sometimes Im just not in control...sigh.

Aafke said...

Coolred, here in the normal world where such issues are confronted and talked about in the hope of stopping it someday, we know that, however stupid in every other part of life, these bastards have the devil's cunning when it comes to decption and suppression. And the first thing they do is warp and control the minds of their victims!
Ah, Chiara said it all.
Thing is it is clear he was very, very careful to keep it from you!
See what happened when you found out!
And the fact that your children spoke out to you proves their love and trust in you!

And for putting the blame on you.. Please... The majority of Arabs are completely brainwashed into twisting everything so it's not the devine unfallible man's fault. Any reason to defelct blame and responsibillity will suffice , and as you and your daughters are female and therefore full of flaws it is automatically your fault.

You can't reason with such deranged minds.

coolred38 said...

Aafke...brainwashing the Arabs into believing its the womans fault doesnt really have anything to do with this...a mothers guilt at not being able to protect her children...her sole responsibility once motherhood is really all Im going on about...I would feel the same whether he (the asshole) was any other nationality as well.

But I know what your talking about of course...and thank you.

fred_says said...

I'm so sorry. Your poor children. (Have you asked the boys?!). You poor you.

Your inhuman ex. His fault not yours.


Chiara said...

Sad to say, Fred's comment about the boys is well-placed. Also, you are probably on top of it, but being boys in a family where these types of conjugal and incestuous sexual abuses are going warrants therapy too. Sons'/brothers' feelings of guilt in these situations can be pretty bad (mothers' feelings of guilt seem to take the prize though).

coolred38 said...

Fred..thanks for stopping by. And yes, I have asked the boys numerous far if anything happened to them they wont admit to it.

Chiara, lots and lots of therapy going on. I shall do a post in the near future as to how my children have all been affected by this, each in his or her own way. Interesting how the mind and body copes with such abuse.

Chiara said...

Mind-body interconnections, one of my favourite research themes--sooo definitely connected even before brain scans showed the biological evidence of the impact of psychological trauma.

Looking forward to your post, whenever you are ready.

Nzingha said...

You are a good mom that is why you blame yourself. As a good mom you feel you should have known, should have been able to prevent what happened, should have protected her daughters innocence. This is what a good mom would feel. A bad mom wouldn't. I think it is only normal, as you're a good mom, to feel the way you do.

And it seems to me the first two personalities were all about the third. The third, who he is, needed to break you down so much you couldn't see past it. The third needed you to believe he was a good dad one who may have been a shit to you but would be a father to those kids. He needed you to suffer and sink in depression in order to be who he was without being seen.

I pray that this cycle ends for your family. That your children grow, your daughters marry good men who are caring, loving, and truely good fathers. And I pray that your sons will grow to be good men, good husbands and loving fathers as well. And I pray that your life is filled with nothing but goodness.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams My Dear Coolred:

Oh sister, how could you have known? You couldn't have. If you did, you would have done something. But you didn't know. May Allah (swt) heal you and your girls. My heart aches for you!

Burgundy said...

i think cognitive therapy is also very helpful.

religion can also be very helpful: especialy dhikr and prayer.

and maybe if yur able to volunteer in a hospital or work w/ orphaned children somehow.

this stuff will insh'allah help to heal the really deep wounds.

Umm Ibraheem said...

As Salaamu aalaykum,

My father didn't do this to me (actually I am alive thanks to my father as my mom wanted to abort me) but i was raped every day for 3 years as a child. Unlike you though my mom did get an earfull through a blowhorn from me as I did tell but was branded a liar and a thief. Your guilt will always be there because you are a good mother and you love your children and you only want what is best for them.

coolred38 said...

Sorry ladies...I didnt see these additional comments at the time.

Chiara...Ive debated about writing that additional post...its coming along...slowly.

nzingha...I agree...he kept me sunk in misery and depression and constantly on defense...that helped him hide who he was...cause we were both focused on how much I sucked at who I was....sigh.

Saffiyah...ty...I hope so too.

Burgundy...Im not sure what cognitive therapy is so will check into it. Ty for stopping by.

Umm Ibraheem...Im sorry you werent believed the first time you accused your abuser. From the moment my oldest daughter told me...I knew it was true....a momentus CLICK went off in my head...almost as if I had all the pieces...just didnt know what the heck the puzzle was about...she told me and the puzzle came together in an instant.