Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who Will Save Me?

photo from

When I was talking about R. with my therapist the other day she brought up something interesting – that R. had said she saved me just like my mother did. That hadn’t occurred to me before. In fact, I forgot the story of the times my mother claimed she saved me the minute I told them to her. But when she mentioned it they came back.

I don’t know how much I mentioned about my father, or how much I really remember. A lot of my memories are tainted by my mother’s ‘retelling’ of events where things changed each time until she became the hero of every situation. There are some things I have a vague recollection of, some I know for sure, and some that I only remember her telling me, not what really happened.

There is a scar under my bottom lip. Just a thin white line that used to bother me more than it does now. It’s not like anyone sees it but me when I stand, biting my lower lip, and examine it in the mirror tracing its ethereal translucence. Do I remember how I got it? Not really. I only remember the story my mother told of how my brother and I went into my parent’s room when they were sleeping. “He didn’t mean to hit you honey, he meant to hit your brother.” Was one way that she told the story. Another is that my parents were having sex when my brother pushed me in the room. Either way the story ends with me getting hit in the face and my tooth growing through my lip. Considering snippets of my father’s temper that has stayed with me, it seems plausible. It also seems plausible that my brother would push me in front to deflect the blow.

What I remember most about my father is lying down on his thick fuzzy arm to watch television. Nothing was as soft as his arm. I remember he loved science fiction and M*A*S*H and he taught me to love Star Trek. He read to my brother and I. I used to love this picture of baby me slumped in his lap as he reads some thick sci-fi book, presumably out-loud. However, I also remember him swinging shoes at me as he kicked us kids out of his apartment when we were there for visitation, before it became supervised visitation only. I remember him admonishing us when we didn’t thank him for his generous Christmas gift after the divorce – two dollars and shoelaces. I also remember what he took from my brother, an innocence he can never return, and I can’t forgive him for that.

In terms of saving – my mother was the martyr who sacrificed her life to save her children (her words.) She gave up sex and a husband. But there is one more specific to the task at hand – which is me figuring everything out. She often used my father as a threat, that she would send me to him to get raped if I misbehaved. And in the same breathe as the threat would tell me how she saved my when I was five years old.

“You were coloring in your room,” she’ll begin as her eyes fade out and move to the past, “and your father walked in naked. You were just sitting there staring up at him so shocked and scared. But luckily I found him in there and got him out. I saved you. Who knows what would have happened?”

Who does know? And who knows if that did really even happen? Much of what my mother said has been, we’ll put it nicely, ‘her reality’ and doesn’t exactly mesh up with others. Was my brother just convenient because my mother ‘guarded my chastity’ when I was a child? Was she my savior because she held ice to my chin to stop the bleeding after he hit me the year before? Plus, if that happened when I was five, they didn’t divorce until a couple years later, so that’s a bunch of questions. Not to mention the fact it’s in the same sentence as her wanting to send me off to get raped.

So R. said she saved me by allowing me a place away from my mother (who she later threatened to send me back to).
My mother said she saved me by taking me away from my father (who she later threatened to send me back to).

Luckily it’s only those two I can think of now, though I’m sure my brother claimed to be my savior on more than one occasion. This makes me wonder if saving me was addictive at that point in time. But as I mentioned before, I hate that idea. You can only save yourself, to claim it over another just seems like a power ploy. And really, I think that’s all these people were doing – trying to lay claim to me in ways they could rationalize.


Amel's Realm said...

I agree completely with your conclusion. I'm SO SO glad you're now living in a better condition even though you still have to face your beasts, Vic.

I can't believe a mother would say such things to her own daughter!!! *speechless*

Victorya said...

Well, she was mother only in the sense that she gave birth to me, no other way I'm sure.

Amel's Realm said...

Yeah, I suppose so...ummmhhhh...

Looking forward to more posts of yours. :-)))

Keep the sunshine inside you!!!

heavenabove said...

I agree with you also. It seems a common theme in life for people to want to "own" others by trying to place guilt or shame on them or by making them never forget all the favors and help they have given out. Funny that some of us end up unintentionally seeking out people that treat us in the same mannner that we have struggled so hard to get away from. It's great that you see this pattern now.

PG said...

I never quite know what to say after your posts, anything would seem inadequate - I have never been so moved by any blog as what I read here. Stay strong - you have saved yourself.