When I was 13, I moved in with my mom and her husband. I was very happy and still quite shy. I was used to not really talking very much. I always looked forward to visitations with my mom so living with her was exciting. As I got older around 15 or 16, the phone calls started. If you read the blog titled stolen innocence, the grade school years, you know I was molested for years by an older cousin. I had started to hang out with the wild crowd at school. We often went out on the weekends to house parties, keggers, or cruising the drag. In other words, drinking. Curfew was usually 11 unless my step dad was out of town hunting and then my mom gave me extra time.
It was the middle of the night when the phone rang. I heard my mom answer the phone and she said “she’s sleeping and who is this? why are you calling in the middle of the night?” I heard her hang up the phone and thought I was probably going to be in trouble. Almost immediately the phone rang again. I heard my step-dad answer it and he sounded mad. He told the caller not to call back. That was it, for that night anyway. I said I didn’t know who was calling and apologized. I wasn’t lying, I really didn’t know who it was.
Often times, my mom and step-dad would stop by the bar on their way home after work. I would watch tv or do homework. Sometimes I would talk to friends on the phone. I remember one night in particular. I was listening to music, U2 to be exact. I heard the door handle jiggle and assumed my parents were home. I waited for them to come inside, but the handle just kept jiggling. My dog started to bark. I went to the bathroom window to look out. My parents vehicle was not in the driveway. I started to get scared. I saw a man in the yard. He was wearing a dark jacket and had a hat on. I went to the door and put a stick against it so he wouldn’t be able to get in. I turned all the music and lights off in the house. I sat by the door so I would know if he tried to get in again. I waited there for about an hour with my loyal dog right next to me. I heard my parents drive up. I made sure it was them and ran outside to the driveway to tell them what happened. My mom took me inside and my step-dad and the dog went to look for the man. About 3 in the morning there was another phone call. Each time the caller would ask for me and each time he was told that I was not going to talk to him. This night however, I was mad. I grabbed the phone and yelled at him to stop calling me and leave me alone. I heard him laughing as I hung up. The next morning, my mom and I went to the the police station. They put something on our phone line to trace calls. There wasn’t a phone call the first night. The second night though, the phone rang at 3 a.m. like always. I heard the man on the phone telling my step-dad that he was mad because I was pregnant with his baby and threatening to have an abortion. It was complete bullshit. I hoped my parents knew that. The man was crying and yelling on the phone. We kept him on the line as long as possible as we were instructed to by the police.
The next morning, the police called and said they knew who was making the phone calls. We went in to the station and they pulled out a file folder. They told my mom and I that they had a long history of trouble from the person who was calling. They flipped open his file and there on the desk was a mug shot of my cousin who had molested me. The police officer said that they contacted him and told him to stop harassing me. They also said they thought after talking to him that he had been to our house several times watching me, but couldn’t prove that. After they talked to him, the calls stopped. He stopped harassing me.
Several years later, I ran into him downtown in the city we lived in. By that time I was married and had a son and a daughter. He commented on how much my daughter looked like me when I was younger. The person who had been quiet, shy, and timid was gone as I told him that he better never touch my children with a few choice words. Of course he laughed and walked away.
He passed away a few years after that encounter. I thought I would have felt better knowing that he could no longer hurt anyone else. I say this because I have talked to other family members who experienced very similar harassment by him. I am finally learning to let these memories and feelings go. I do still wonder though, why he acted like that. I have been using E.M.D.R. to retain my thoughts about what happened so long ago. I was told that I need to forgive myself for not standing up to him. So that is what I’m trying to do.
In therapy, I was told to picture my feelings as a mask that I wear to protect myself. This is what I wrote:
If feelings could wear a costume, mine would be heavy
It would take away my air. Don’t trust anyone would be
seen as a rubber material. When I try to remove it, I feel
it’s roots deeply planted in my head. However, everyday
that I face fears and set boundaries the roots begin to die.
One day, I will be completely free of my fears and negative
thoughts. Slowly, I will begin to trust others and I will
see that not all people are bad and not everyone is out
to hurt me. I am a survivor!