Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Do We Remember?

The other day I was thinking on the time where my mother threw hot, boiling water on my brother.  He was trying to get away out the back door.  As he was making his way through the kitchen, she grabbed the pot of boiling water and through it on him.  It saturated through his clothes and began to burn his skin.  The kitchen was filled with church members and they were trying to grab him to keep him from running out the back door.  I had been sitting at the kitchen table eating some cereal when the entire event unraveled.  As soon as I saw the fight coming I ducked underneath the table for some protection from all the adults that were filling the kitchen up even further.

It was the last time I remember my brother ever living at that house.  I have not thought on that particular situation in so many years.  In fact, it brought to mind another very dramatic event in my life.  It was at the dining room table in the same house. My step-father lit a match under my brothers bottom while these men were holding him down.  It happened in the middle of dinner and I was on the other side of the table when the entire thing began.  My mother screamed "hold him down, light a fire under his bottom," she said.  It was almost as if these events were practiced, they both went off without a hitch.  My step-father was always ready with whatever he needed in hand to fulfill the wishes of my mother. 

On this particular occasion I had made it all the way around the table and blew two of the matches out.  This was all before a man grabbed me and held me back so I could not blow the third one out.  I remember his pants catching on fire, he jumped and screamed as he was being pinned by whomever had their hands pressing down on his shoulders. Then my memory goes blank. Similar to what happened with the boiling water. My memory of the incident goes so far and then it just goes blank.  I find it frustrating to relive the moment and never be able to see it to its completion.  Never knowing how the entire incident ended.

I often think that my mind is incapable of finishing the memory due to the horror and the shock of the entire event.  When I think about it along these lines I understand that it just may be to much for me to finish the memory of the entire situation.  But if this is the case then why would we remember any of the bad events of our childhood? Especially if we are prohibited from knowing the end-all result.  Is our mind just reminding us of something to beware of that we are coming to close to again?  Is it just our time to remember old things to possibly come to terms with the abuse and the neglect?  What good is it to remember any horrors at all? 

I am 46 years old and have gone through much of my life never having to do much thinking on these events. I put it all into paint cans in my mind.  I sealed each one with a hammer and carefully placed them into hiding.  I kept them secret.  I  had decided at 18 years old, when I ran away from all of this, that it did no good at all remembering that which I can never change.  I also decided not to report any of the abuse or neglect to the authorities because I did not think anyone would believe me.  This has always been a huge sticking point to me.  Even as the years passed and I did try to share a little bit here and there, people would always give me a side ways look and then comment, "you should forgive them."  It was odd how often that was told to me.  Many people even told me that I should begin going to Church so that I could finally find forgiveness for myself.  I have always found that a very odd one to be told, especially since I was so terribly abused with "The word of God."

When I was growing-up my mother would greet me by saying, "The spawn of the Devil has arrived."  She was so pointed in her comments that there was a time around the age of 13 or 14 years old that I did the oddest thing.  I was convinced that I must somehow be marked with 666.  So, I stripped naked in front of one of the bathroom mirrors upstairs and took a good look at myself.  I looked everywhere, in my hair, on my neck, my forehead, my back, there simply was no mark.  I felt better about myself that day but still was very confused about why she insisted I was 666, the spawn of Satan.  I used to be afraid of myself and think that somebody should most definitely kill me if I was this thing.  I had heard of all the acts that 666 was meant to do and it really did frighten me to be this thing. 

Being the spawn of Satan or the Devil depending on the which she called me that day never frightened me as much as being referred to as 666.  I am not sure exactly why, it is rather odd when you put any thought into at all.  I remember the nights that they would barge into my bedroom, with two to four church members in tow.  All of them together, my  mother and step-father in the lead, would start screaming Hallelujahs and a bunch of Blessed Be's over the Satanic Spawn, me.  I never woke until they hit the door with such excitement and anger, it would slam against the wall upon entry of so many.  I slept in this beautifully carved, single oak bed.  I would hear the door hit the wall and would immediately sit up on the side of my bed.  The attack in my room would generally last a couple of hours.  It would depend on how all the excitement of the attack drove the group.  I sat in silence, never speaking, I mean really, what would you say?  They would all take turns saying that the Demon of Silence had my tongue.  I never understood all of what they said, I would go into a sort of trance myself.  It kind of shut all the voices out. I used to think while I was sitting on the edge of my bed, "I'd rather be in here with all my demons then out there with your God." 

Every once in a while over the years I would think on these times and wonder what on earth they thought that they were doing.  It's strange, as the church members began to fall by the wayside I wondered if they ever thought about what they did to me.  I wonder if they live with their children and have happy lives never thinking what they left behind with my mother.  Do they ever think that they are also responsible for the abuse and neglect I suffered?  Or, do they believe that now they are free of my mothers clutches that they are also free of the responsibility of the acts that they committed?  I know that their children have had to go through extensive therapy.  I know that there children tell the therapists of satanic worship, drugs in the tea, of being in my mothers bathroom, of being laid out on a table in front of the congregation, of hours of being yelled at and screamed at, of being locked in the basement of the Church building, inside of an old elevator in the pitch black.  I know that my best friend did not make it, he committed suicide.  I know that his sister is one of the ones that does tell of these things.  I know that everyone believes that I should just magically move-on, while the children of these members are still in weekly therapy, still talking of these very dark times.

How am I meant to move-on when it is their parents that were part of the horrors of my life.  If the children of the Church members are still having troubled lives, unable to work or function at any kind of level, how am I expected to just drop it and get over everything?  Is it because people believe since I am the daughter of the monster herself, I can just march on through being called a whore, a dirty girl, beaten, raped, manipulated, locked-up, called a thing, an it, surviving incest and severe neglect.  I suffered all of this so that this stupid church could be started and they could live enlightened lives at the time. Did I suffer through them taking up all the time with my mother as if she was there mother, to just live an adult life with the nightmare of it all. They were unable to make a move without her approval or say so.  I know that this is what makes this a cult.  But, what I am asking is, do these same people think about everything they did to me while they were carrying out the orders of my mother on me?  I am not saying that their children are not damaged, for Christs sake they are not that much younger than I am.  In fact, some of them are older than I am.  What I am trying to say is, are these members not also responsible for the damage and bad memories I am having today? I am the only one in my family that has no contact with any of them. So, I am all alone in this world.

I went half of my life moving forward and never talking of the abuse and neglect.  I did not think it would do any good, since my abusers were my parents.  I mean think about it, where would you turn for support or even help.  As the members abandoned her, they would cut off all communication with all of us.  As if somehow I was going to go and do something cult like to them.  In fact, at one time I tried to contact a few of them just to ask them why they did the things that they did to me. I wanted to know if now they believed that it was wrong.  (It was so unfair.)  All they could do is ask me how I got their phone number and did I know their address.  They said that they were worried I would give the information to my mother.  I had told them that I had looked them up personally for my own well-being and hopeful healing.  Again, all they were worried about was that I would tell my mother I had spoken to them and that she would soon be calling them again.  They said that they had finally been able to get their family out of the clutch of the church and wanted nothing further to do with it or anyone related to her.  I told them that I had no support because as they already knew I had been the defiant one since I was young.  They wished me luck and said that my mother was to powerful.  They said they could not help me because they had been under her manipulative control for all those years.  They went on very quickly, saying that they had already lost years of their life, that their children had lost out on having parents and it was time to end things with this time in their life.  I didn't know what to say at the time, so, I hung up the phone with none of my questions answered.