Friday, January 12, 2007

One step up, two steps back

Last summer, a proposed family get together brought an ugly old incident back to light. One of my relatives -- a pillar of his church -- molested me back when I was in high school. It still gives him perverse pleasure to have gotten away with it. The last time he and I were together (at my mother's 60th birthday party) he kept standing too close to me, moving up behind me and leaning into me, whispering in my ear. He tried to talk to me about masturbation and whether or not I was willing to do what it takes to get a baby. Yes, the pig actually said those things me at a family gathering. He was almost daring me to make a scene in front of everyone.

Naturally he is invited to my aunt's wake and funeral. Naturally, pillar of the church and all, he will be treated with the utmost respect. Naturally he will say something inappropriate to me under the worst possible circumstances and completely enjoy himself.

Many members of my family know what he did to me. It isn't so much that they doubt my word, they just wish I would forget about it. I wish I could forget about it, too. Rage and revulsion can be mighty unpleasant emotions. But I can't forget it if he keeps bringing it up. And whenever I'm in a room with him, he tries to do just that.

HE is the one at fault, not me. But I am the inconvenient one.

Last summer I thought I got through to my mother about how I felt. I am not asking my family to shun him (though, frankly, that would be nice). I am just asking them to consider me when putting together family gatherings. Don't put me in a position where I'm completely vulnerable and unable to stand up for myself (if I make a scene I'll just ruin everyone else's afternoon of denial). She said she finally understood. All these decades later, she finally understood. It was such a joyous relief!

But then, over the holidays, I noticed a framed photo of the old bastard (a portrait taken by his church, naturally) in her dining room. And I found out yesterday he will be attending the wake and funeral. My mom was dismissive about it. She wants me there to support her and comfort my uncle. I'm tough. What's a few hours with him, really, anyway?

Just like taking a little paper punch to my soul. That's all.

My mother is so upset by the recent death in the family that her needs superceed mine. And I know she's doing the best she can.

But that doesn't make it any more comfortable to have a little hole punched in my soul.

1 comment:

  1. You are not an inconvenience.
    You are not that tough either (an unrealistic expectation of yourself said Mimi Freud) - nor should you have to pretend to be - in this situation.
    You are not the one at fault, nor should you be expected to humor his sick sadistic personality.
    Is confronting him privately out of the question for you?

    What a horrible position for you to be in.
    It angers me. I can't imagine how you must feel.
    Or, maybe I can.