I love my dad and I know he loved me. In those moments when I question that, I remember, when cancer had eaten away the parts of his brain that allowed him to talk, the expression that lit up his face on seeing me. So I know, I know he loved me, I just know how little that actually means at times.
His love for his wife was stronger than his love for me. And that I get, and actually have no problem with. Keeping her happy was more important than keeping me safe. And this is where things start to fall apart for me. My Dad loved me but he turned a blind eye, he sacrificed my body, my sanity, my life in many ways, just to keep everything happy, to keep her happy and his life stable. I wasnâ€™t enough for him to act, his love of me wasnâ€™t enough for him to say no, to try to protect me. And there were times when he said â€˜go see your Mumâ€™ knowing it would mean calm and normalcy would return to the household, but also knowing a horror would await me. So yeah, knowing he loved me, sometimes thatâ€™s just not enough.
When I first started disclosing the abuse, someone, if memory serves a trained professional someone, once asked, well you had female cousins, why werenâ€™t they abused? Putting aside all those issues of not being believed and supported. The answer I always came up with was my cousin was blind and spent her school terms away, and my youngest cousin, by the time she was old enough my grandfather already has cancer and was dying. But now with more awareness and understanding I donâ€™t think that was the main reason. Yes I think those things contributed to their safety, but the main factor was their mum.
My Aunt was a strong woman. I was always a little bit scared of her growing up. Not in the way I was scared of my mother or grandmother, but in that adults are scary if you misbehave kind of way. And I know, that she would never have let anyone hurt her kids, she would never have pretended not to see it, and just accepted it. She would have called the police in in a heartbeat and rained merry hell on the family. She fought to mainstream her kid 30 years ago when that sort of thing was new and resisted. She would fight for her kids, she did fight for her kids. Not the perfect mother, Iâ€™m sure, because no one is. But not someone who would allow their kids to be abused and damaged.
Growing up I knew no one liked my aunt. My mother and grandparents were not fond of her. My mother never has a nice thing to say about her, and I think that is more than my motherâ€™s normal BPD reaction where she rips apart everyoneâ€™s failings. I think they knew how dangerous she was, I think they knew she had to power to destroy them, and feared and hated her because of that. My father was a sheep, overpowered by his love for his wife, that when his daughter cried from the vaginal suppository meant to treat yet another STD preferred to wander down in his garden than hold her hand. Heâ€™d never ask the questions, heâ€™d never protect or comfort her. The first time my cousin got thrush with no apparent cause my Aunt would have been demanding answers from the doctor so it wouldnâ€™t happen again, the next time it came back again without reason she would have gone into battle. Thatâ€™s the difference.