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Somewhere Oscar Wilde must be nodding.  The other caption to the picture above is, 'Imagine being gender dysphoric and a survivor.'  

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of my father's birth.  My brothers have planned a lunch together with all our families and a trip to his grave site.  Both brothers and their wives know of the abuse my sister and I suffered at the hands of my uncle.  What they don't know is that my father sexually abused both my sister and me.  I haven't told anyone in RT about that or about my gender issues other than my wife and my therapist.  Many of my friends 'here' know about Andrea, but my name in real life is the same as the uncle who abused us.

I'm struggling with the visit because while I need to go and will go, I am so torn about the day.  I forgave my parents a long time ago for what they did (my mother molested me, but I don't know if I was the only one - my diary here, 'The Pageant,' is entirely true and entirely autobiographical).  What I am having a hard time dealing with is the feeling of being isolated in the midst of many; that almost set aside feeling from not being able to speak.  

My brothers know it will be hard for me because all of us suffered physical and verbal abuse by my dad.  There won't be any temptation to speak of any other hurts on Sunday; what we all dealt with will be sadly sufficient enough to bring all of us to tears.  It's that helpless feeling; keeping silent because of the needs of others.

And while my wife knows I have a gender 'issue,' I haven't been able to discuss any of the most recent memories regarding 'me.'  Knowing at a five that I felt wrong and out of place as a boy.  Becoming a target because I didn't just resemble my sister, but that I likely acted much like how I felt inside.  My son knows nothing of who I am 'here.'  There's a longing to tell them both...and to tell my brothers as well.  Perhaps someday, but not on Sunday.

One of the most melancholic moments in my life has to be only a few weeks after I told my older brother about the sexual abuse.  We were at my late sister's husband's house and as we were leaving he had tears in his eyes.  I knew why, and I stepped closer and he hugged me.  Wonderful because he knew how much I hurt.  Sad because I so much wanted to tell him that the sibling he was hugging wasn't his brother...was never his brother in so many ways.  That he was hugging his sister.

And I know I'm not alone.    

Originally posted to Andrea DiMaggio on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do. ― C.S. Lewis Much Love, Andrea Lena.

    by Andrea D on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:41:08 PM PDT

  •  {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}} (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    j b norton, mookins

    Take care of yourself.

  •  Dear Andrea - (0+ / 0-)

    As you know, I struggle with similar issues regarding my parents and their inability to protect me.  And I understand all too well the confusing thoughts of respect/loyalty/blame/disgust/outright hatred as it comes to my family in total.

    And I am only musing aloud here, but I am wondering if it would be more helpful to you NOT to attend, to take a stand and tell your siblings (and show your son) that you have chosen NOT to honor someone who inflicted so much pain.

    We, as children, had no choice in who our parents were, our siblings, our immediate families (aunts, uncles, grandfathers...) - but as adults we CHOOSE who to surround ourselves with.

    And we also set the example for OUR families - as we are the head of the family now, the matriarchs and patriarchs for our wives/husbands/children...we lead, we show by example how to make our way in the world.

    I'm unsure how old your son is, but there will come a time when it will be okay to tell him all of it.  My oldest is 24 - we just had the conversation last summer.  But I thought it important so that he understands both the family dynamics and a bit about my abuse history to be aware for his kids (when he has them) and to let him know that yes, even in the best of families, even in our family, this ugliness can occur.

    You are a good person. Andrea, and the true FAMILY that you have is the one you CHOSE.  Your wife, your child, your friends, us here.  I would propose that you surround yourself with that goodness, this love and acceptance and don't expose yourself to the ugliness that was your past.  If they choose to do that, that's their choice.  But there is nothing that compels you to do the same.  

    If you want to see them, see them on your terms - in a more joyful setting, not gathered around a date and grave that brought so much pain.  Anyway, that's just my $0.02.  I stopped, about a year ago, trying to "make" the family I was born into work and started working instead on taking care of the family I CHOSE.  Because at the end of the day, that's the family that matters.  And we decide, as adults, how to lead our families and set the example.  And I am showing my son that he can decide what is best for him - not be tied to some family ritual or the phrase, "but we've always done it this way."  

    Life is about change and forward momentum.  And I see you moving forward in dealing with both your abuse issues and gender issues.  You are blessed to have a wife who loves and supports you and I believe you will find the same in your son, when the time is right.  You certainly have it here, in this community.

    Longer than I had meant this to be, but thank you for shraing this part of your life with us.  While many are silent, I am sure you help others who have similar gender issues and I know as a survivor, your writing and journey here helps me.


    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 05:28:31 AM PDT

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