Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flying Airplanes, Epilogue

My therapist said something during our last session that got my attention. She said that I must have really struggled in my day-to-day life as a nine-year-old kid after they started molesting me. She gave examples like what I might have thought to myself about carrying a big secret around. She depicts me thinking to myself something like, "What would my friends think if I told them that I'd had sex with my mother?" That seems really strange to me: I don't recall ever thinking about it when it wasn't actually happening. I don't think that I ever sat and rehearsed any of these things to myself until years later, when I mysteriously began to get an inkling that something had gone badly in my childhood. I don't think that it would have ever occurred to me to wonder what my friends would think.

I'm not even certain how I got to a place where I realized that it was wrong. To tell the truth, until just recently, I didn't really have a good handle on why it's best for young teenagers to wait until they're older to have sex. I had asked two therapists years earlier why it's wrong for adults to have sex with their children, and got really murky, unsatisfactory answers about cultural norms and kids being exposed to physical danger.

Now I'm really wondering how I ever discovered that it's wrong to have sex with one's children. I remember at about age 20 making an angry remark to Lori, sarcastically saying that I was going to have sex with her young daughter Tanja. I knew then that I had no such intention and was just making the remark to goad her. But now that I think more about it, maybe it was dawning on me that although I knew that it would be wrong for me to do it, it somehow wasn't wrong when Edd and my mother did it to me. Maybe that angry-young-man phase that I went through was fueled by this realization that I am somehow compelled to follow the rules, but no one else is. "No one else is" is of course my childish interpretation of seeing Edd and my mother break all the rules without ever getting into any kind of trouble.

I definitely have had a huge button all my life about people not seeming to follow the same rules that I do, as though one set of rules is imposed on me, but a much more lenient set of rules (or maybe an empty set) applies to everyone else, especially concerning how everyone else is supposed to treat me in particular. Maybe I've never realized that it's wrong to molest children. Maybe all I've ever realized is that it's inconsistent for my parents to do it while they held me to some moral standard. Not necessarily a standard concerning sexual behavior, but I sure got beaten for various infractions. Maybe at some very deep, childish level I'm just angry that I got all those beatings while Edd and my mother behave in a most depraved fashion and never even got their wrists slapped.

Why don't I remember what I thought during my day-to-day life relative to these sex sessions? Did I carry it around? Block it out? Act strangely? I do recall being called into the school library by the guidance counselor, it must have been third grade or so. But nothing ever came of that; somehow I must have convinced him that I had a normal life. There have been times in my life when I felt that I might burst with a secret, but I don't remember ever feeling like I had some secret to tell anyone or to hide from anyone. Once when I was maybe 13, my friends and I were sitting around talking about sex the way young boys will, and someone wondered aloud what it's like to have sex, or something like that. I mentioned that I had had sex before, and everyone wanted to know with whom. I didn't want to say, "My mother." I wanted to say, "A girl named Donna." My best interpretation, 30 years later, is that I knew then that it would be weird to tell them that I'd had sex with my sister, or with my mother. I must have sensed already that it wasn't cool, even if I didn't sense that there was a moral dimension to the lack of coolness about it.

It has occurred to me at times to think that perhaps I don't know anything about right and wrong. Perhaps all I know is whether something bad will happen when I do this or that. I would not be surprised if this is how my mind works. In fact, I think that I have scolded myself and loathed myself at times for being this way, for being so shallow that I don't really care about what's right, but instead care only about what will get me into trouble or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment