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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Phone Call

I had an interesting conversation with my mother-in-law tonight. It seems my sister-in-law has finally come forward and told her family that she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of some older girls. My SIL is ten years older than I. So, because my MIL has limited knowledge of my past, she immediately thought of me--how I could certainly help her daughter!!

Now, first of all, I have to say that not all victims of abuse can be lumped together in one pot, stirred about, and come out as something well-cooked and tasty. We all have vastly different experiences--and abuse from older girls (they were about 10, my SIL was 7), is completely different from abuse from an older young man which took place when the victim was 12. Apples and oranges--sorry, but I firmly believe this. It's like asking me to compare my situation to a victim of rape--I can't. And I have no desire to hear about my SIL's experience, given that my personal healing isn't really going so well right now.

So here's how the conversation went:
MIL: Samantha, I just know it would help Cindy if she knew she wasn't alone. I think it would really help her if you two talked things out.
Sam: I'm willing to talk to her if she wants that, but I probably won't share any of my experiences. It seems to me that those things just inspire even more frustrating emotions because you not only have to deal with your own hurts, but you are trying to deal with the feelings stirred up by learning of a loved one's abuse, as well. But she can talk to me, I'll listen.
MIL: I think it would be helpful for her to hear of your experience. She just feels like she's the only one in the world who's been hurt this way, right now.
Sam: I don't mean to sound callous, but she CAN'T feel that way--she just adopted two foster daughters who were both victims of abuse by their mother, her girlfriends, and their grandmother. I'm sorry, but it seems to me, if we're talking comparatively, the experiences of those little girls are far more deplorable than anything she or I have gone through in the abuse department. So I have a hard time believing Cindy feels she's the only one who's ever been hurt.
MIL: Well, you're probably right, but she just needs to talk to someone who understands.
Sam: I hope YOU understand that her experience is totally different from mine, the residual effects will be dissimilar, and, honestly there's nothing I can tell her that will be helpful.
MIL: Why don't you just give me the address to your blog. Then she can read about things there.

Now I just have to interject--I mentioned my blog to my MIL when she came to visit in April. I told her I'd found so much relief by spilling my guts here. But I also told her that I didn't allow anyone but Darrin to read it. And my MIL knows nothing about my sexual inclinations and evolutions--one needs to be a bit selective when disclosing personal information to those who WILL NOT UNDERSTAND!!!

Sam: The address to our family website?
MIL: No, your blog. The one you started in order to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Cindy needs to read it. What's the address?
Sam: No.
MIL: What?
Sam: No. That blog is anonymous for a reason. It would not be good for her to read it. It's not good for ME to read it. It's not good for ANYONE to read. I don't recommend it, I don't EVER send anyone to it, and I NEVER will. The address is not something I will share.
MIL: Not even if it might help Cindy?
SAM: I've already said, it won't--but even if it would, I can't share it with her. This is a part of me that stays with me.

So then my MIL talked with my husband, asking him to help me see sense. And my Darrin--have I mentioned that I love him???--told his sweet mother that she had no right to even ask to for the address. He said it was the equivalent of asking me to parade naked in front of the family, and that HE would be uncomfortable with his sister reading my words, given the deeply personal nature of them.

So now we are both in the doghouse. We've been labeled unsympathetic, unhelpful, uncharitable, unloving, and any other "un-" word you can think of.

But it's not true. I feel terrible that my SIL went through sadness and hurt as a child. But I'm intelligent enough to know that the best help she can get will be in counseling, with someone who REALLY knows what he/she is talking about. And my blog can only help ME. So I stand by my decision.

We have a family get-together in November, for a cousin's wedding. It's in New York. That gives my MIL three months to get everyone there hopping mad at me. Should be terrific fun. Just because I know what to look forward to, Darrin took me shopping today for a dress (the wedding is one of those outrageously expensive, formal, go all night and get drunk things at some upscale NYC place). We found a GORGEOUS one, so at least I'll look really great while everyone is snubbing me. Also, Darrin's helping me practice my flirting skills. He thinks if all the men fall in love with me, his non-practicing homosexual wife, the women will have to stop being catty about my inablity to feel empathy to a fellow victim of abuse. And I don't follow his line of logic in the least, which leads me to say--WHAT A FAMILY!!!!

This is too weird to even talk about anymore.


  • At Friday, August 04, 2006 6:09:00 AM, Blogger Retarded Poet Smurf said…

    It sounds a lot like MY family, actually.

    Also, my mom and I had a similar discussion. She has inadvertently become the posterchild and flagship for all kinds of lds women who suffer from abuse. There was a time when she spoke up about it and went to Wings and everything. But now she hates getting reffered to other women who have dealt with it. She got mad at me for telling another woman that my mom had been through the same sorts of abuse. Not that she hasn't gone and told the ENTIRE extended family that I'm gay. But I can understand; she just wants it to be over, and nobody's letting it be. I should put you two in contact so you can commiserate about how everyone tries to put you in contact with people so you can commiserate.

    Lastly, I think this might be the first time I've ever seen your blog....

  • At Friday, August 04, 2006 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Ward Cleaver said…

    Your greatest fear....your biggest hurt....your deepest anger......your weakness...


    ....become your most fantastic hour. It will become your finest ministry.

    Sharing anything personal is NOT necessary to help but JUST talking to your SIL will.
    Just because you KNOW you're not the only one doesn't mean you're ok. You know, we all need to FEEL like we're not alone.

    There's a difference in KNOWING and FEELING.

    How would you want to be treated if your were in her shoes?

    What would Jesus do?


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