The other day I wrote about my recent dive into my genealogy after getting my DNA results back.
I wrote about some of the shockers in my family story, one of them being that it was my father’s side of the family who were early settlers in California. Another that my grandfather had three living siblings at the time of his suicide.
In the piece, I also wrote about how isolated my little branch of the family was as I grew up and so, I made the assertion that my grandfather had moved his family to isolate them. That is what my memory tells me and it is how I remember my life. No one has ever been around to share otherwise and none of that family has ever cared much to keep in touch.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that both my father’s brother and sister are reading this website.
It is still sinking in that after all these years, they both have been perfectly fine estranged from me until now. Now they feel the need to come out of the wood work to set the facts straight, publicly, on this one specific topic.
They were raised in California.
Their pedophile father didn’t move the family to isolate them as I had suggested. He left California when they were adults and then they all followed him, keeping the dirty family secret tight under their belts.
Glad we got that straightened out.
The Oldest Son
I haven’t seen my father’s oldest brother since 2005 when my father died. Prior to that I think I was 12 or 13 because it was before the trial against his father (my grandfather) for molesting me. I remember him as always being pretty cold towards me as a child, which clearly hasn’t changed.
I never felt comfortable around him or his wife the few times I remember visiting. I am quite certain he didn’t care then, and he doesn’t care now.
The last time we communicated was in 2009 or 2010 when he took issue with me liking a page on Facebook called “I like the word Fuck” and he thought it would be a good time to drop into my DMs, not to say “hello, how are you” but to tell me to be a more well behaved young lady.
Now his choice of words for me is to tell me how I have an imagination.
That side of my family is good at telling me I have an imagination. It’s what they all did to me my entire childhood.
It couldn’t be that I simply have it wrong due to a childhood of trauma, bad memory due to abuse and dissociation, and no one to help me put the pieces together.
I always thought she would be the one family member from my abuser’s side who would always have my back.
She did, until I didn’t line up politically or religiously, then she and her children thought nothing of blocking me from social media and estranging themselves completely for almost 5 years.
Then there was a weird, detached, completely uncomfortable reconnection a few years back that hasn’t really amounted to much other than a few snappy messages when she doesn’t like what I posted online, or the couple times I tried to say hello with little response.
She never offered to exchange numbers or addresses, we talked through Facebook – so impersonal.
She sent me a “care package” of photos of my father a couple years ago, with no return address. That was pretty much the last time we had any communication, until two days ago.
Funny this aunt wants me to recognize how she put herself out there for me and she was shunned by her family – I’ll get into that in a minute.
Get My Facts Straight!
I wonder how long they have been reading my site.
It seems they only care about making sure the story about them is told properly, yet they aren’t brave enough to reach out to me personally. I have a contact page, and the same phone number for 20 years. Instead they both attempted to show up in the public comments on my blog.
What was the intention? To publicly call me a liar and make the people reading my story question me?
My aunt in a long comment that read as cold and detached, set me straight on my misguiding by telling me I was too busy playing as a child to know any family history, and then it gets good:
She let me know how she put herself out there for me and her and then was shunned by her family. Specifically, she is talking about being a witness at the trial against our shared abuser.
Let me tell you what actually happened.
I spoke up.
I put myself out there and yanked the curtain on the dirty family secret. I’m the one who stood up for me, not them.
She was perfectly content, silently surviving my entire childhood knowing full well what a monster he was and how available I was to him.
I wonder if she remembers as clearly as I do the phone call where she told me she couldn’t go to the police on her own.
My grandfather has been arrested and the investigation was active, she told me (at 15) that if the police came to her she wouldn’t lie but made it clear she wouldn’t initiate speaking to them. Then she made sure I understood she wanted me to send them to ask her about what she had shared with me, which was that she was abused too.
So, forgive me if I call BULLSHIT!
If I hadn’t said anything, and my grandparents on my mother’s side hadn’t reported it – this family secret would have gone to the grave.
But At Least We Know Where They Were Raised
I’ve learned a lot in the last 48 hours.
I’ve learned that I can manage intense emotional flashbacks.
I have learned that I have an amazing and supportive community of followers who are reaching out as I move through this bullshit.
I have learned that I can hold anger, accountability, and compassion, in the same space.
I learned that my pedophile grandfather raised his children in California and they need everyone who reads my story to know unequivocally that I had my initial facts wrong.
I also learned that my desire to be no contact is exactly what I want. I’m not interested in “family” that thinks this is a healthy way to communicate.
Lastly – I learned how to block people from this website because this is my space!
What Family Is Not
In less then 500 words (and through their actions) those two people displayed exactly why they don’t deserve to be a part of my life. They give meaning to the phrase blood doesn’t make you family.
When I first started writing this post I was shaking from how hyper-active my nervous system was as I tackled how I feel about their comments. Now I feel more calm. Writing is so cathartic, and it really helps put things into perspective.
My inner child started writing this piece, my adult self is finishing it.
This is probably the best self-created closure I have ever had, in all the traumas of my childhood and the lack of accountability for it.
I’ll take it.
Stay tuned – I am sure the emotional processing to come will make for some good writing.
On goes the journey …