10 September 2004

Sexual Abuse

I have an opportunity tonight to attend a dharma talk by a Chan master from Houston. I'm not sure whether I'm going to go, mainly because I'm a little worn out today. The larger issue is one of discomfort with the idea of going someplace by myself. since my mother moved here, I haven't really gone many places alone--I'm usually with her or Hubby. It's funny in light of my long-standing preference for being alone. I think the talk will be attended mainly by Korean and Chinese students, so I wouldn't even have to interact with anyone...just show up and sit down. It's been a while since I've focused any attention on my spiritual studies.

Most recently, I've been reading a lengthy article about Ah-nold Schwarzenegger. Now there's a pretty scary guy. He apparently runs California almost exclusively by fiat. I also started a novel by Steven Wright called "Going Native." Very Pynchon-esque, but not quite as dense.

Last weekend I saw the documentary, "Capturing the Friedmans". I had tried to mentally prepare myself before watching it because I was afraid it would trigger sexual abuse flashbacks. I haven't had any problems, but I was surprised to find that many people who saw it didn't believe there had been any abuse committed...or that, if there was abuse going on, it was perpetrated only by the father. I'm almost certain that children were abused and that both father and son participated in it. I think the thing that makes it easy to believe the charges were false was the fact that some of the children had some pretty wild stories to tell. Perhaps all of the activities they related didn't in fact occur, but that doesn't mean that there was no abuse. The father was a pedophile--there's absolutely no doubt about that. People who aren't pedophiles do not own kiddie porn. It's highly unlikely that a pedophile would create many opportunities to be with little boys (in this case) and have the self-control to not abuse.

As for the son, I do believe he was abused by his father. As a matter of fact, I'd be surprised if all the sons weren't abused. Again, that's a very unlikely scenario. There was an extraordinarily high level of denial going on with all of the family members. It could be that the other sons could only cope with it by blocking out the memory. That's certainly what seems to have happened with the perpetrator's brother, who was sexually asssaulted when he was a little boy. We know this is true because Friedman the elder confessed to it. I also think the fact that David, the eldest, made a career of being a clown for children's birthday parties speaks to the likelihood that he was abused, too. As for the third son, there was not enough information to guess one way or the other.

watching Jesse (the son who participated in the abuse) talk about the entire situation convinced me of his guilt. As you know, I see child abusers around every corner and I recognize my propensity to think the worst of people when sexual abuse allegations are levelled. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean that my judgment in these cases is incorrect.

As for my own sexual abuse issues, i haven't spoken with my therapist about it in a month or so. The week before Becky died we had begun to discuss the issue because I was having flashbacks then. I can't always tell what triggers them and I don't recall right now whether I knew then. I've spoken of the abuse to so many people, both therapists and "counselors," that I pretty much believed there was nothing left to say. Therapist pointed out to me that much of that talking was useless at best and very harmful at worst.

The first person I ever really talked to about it was my high school guidance counsellor. just thinking about that makes me angry to this day. as I would talk about it (and the other more bizarre elements of my childhood) to her, I could see a voyeuristic pleasure she got out of hearing it. To make matters worse, her only advice to me was to lay my problems at Jesus' feet. You can not imagine how contemptuous of her I was. It still makes me angry.

The second time I talked about it at length was with a psychologist when I was in college. I ended up seeing a male psychologist, which was definitely not in my best interests. As a matter of fact, I have refused to see any male mental health providers ever since. The guy in college wanted me to give him the particulars and I believe I did so to whatever extent I was capable. So much of it is unavailable to me because when it happened, I dissociated so effectively that I really wasn't present for much of it. At the end of every session, he wanted to hug me. I didn't really feel that I had much of a choice, even though in retrospect it's clear that was, in itself, abusive. I think I've reached the limit of my tolerance for thinking about it.

07 September 2004

The Jamie Saga, Part 2

Jamie told me that his most recent girlfriend had been living in California, which is where he lived when they met. Details were a little sketchy about that relationship, but he told me he decided to end the affair because she was unable to have children. He said she'd phoned a couple of weeks prior to our lunch and informed him she'd be coming to the city that weekend (the weekend of the lunch date). He said she might well be there when he got home. Jamie seemed to bitterly resent the fact that she sold her house in California and made a profit. Once again, I was amazed and baffled.

I told him Kenyon called me to let me know you died and how much I appreciated the fact that calling me with that news was very brave and very kind. Jamie asked if Kenyon knew Bill wasn't his father. Bill knew he wasn't the father, I told him, but I'd never asked about Kenyon. I just naturally assumed he knew because I can't imagine you withholding that information. The fact that Jamie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis must have reminded you of the necessity for telling Kenyon. Anyway, I said I decided a long time ago that if you wished for me to know, you'd tell me. Jamie said he has no interest in taking a role in Kenyon's life. He acknowledged that Bill raised Kenyon and, therefore, he really has no right to intrude into that relationship. He also asked me to contact him should Kenyon ever ask me about his birth father. I agreed to his request, knowing that scenario is highly unlikely.

At that point, lunch was over and, since Jamie didn't express any interest in how things are going for me, it was definitely time to leave. I said I'd get in touch with him if i was able to find a job that seemed right for him. (I'm still interested in doing that, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what he's qualified for.) He glumly requested that i call him sometime. Another disconnect. What the hell is that about? Furthermore, I can't imagine why I'd wish to spend another couple of hours listening to him complain.

On a more positive note, I looked fabulous. I know this is shallow, but I work very hard to maintain myself. In fact, I sometimes wish I could just send some photos of my butt around to all of my former boyfriends. It looks much better than it did when I was 20. I hope he passed that info on to E.U. Jamie is about as close to him as I care to get. I don't think I'm really ready to get together with any of the men I slept with 30 years ago. Don't you think that would be just too weird?

Enough already. Please know that I tried to do what I thought you'd wish. Jamie wondered how I might find out whether you had a chance to tell Kenyon about him. I have absolutely no intention of pursuing that information. I can't imagine anything more destructive.

Quote of the day:
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” Leonardo daVinci