Attention: Cathy Has Left the Basement and Is Never Going Back

Warning:  I’m ticked.

There came a time when I finally began to set boundaries on abusive behavior.

However, my abusers are not known for going off quietly into the night.

Suddenly having me grow a back-bone to challenge them,

or even to walk away from them, was an affront my abusers simply refused to accept.

I may be have decided by placing boundaries I would no longer accept their abuse.

Depending on the situation, I either chose I am going to speak up for

myself and others, or chose to walk away.

Although in my mind  the gig was up,

but it’s never over for them.  They always have one more thing to say.

For too many years, I was the little girl in the basement.

First on the farm, and then the girl with her bed in the corner of the basement in

my foster/adoptive parents home.  I was made to be the brunt of jokes

about my intellect (or lack of),  my looks;

my physical scars from the burns; the fact I wasn’t “blood”;

…. the list is seemingly endless.

To survive, I even laughed along but was inwardly crying.

But the biggest thing, other than overt abuse,  I was  invisible.

To this day, my adoptive family members attempt to talk about me in the third

person in my presence.  (I say attempt because they don’t get away with that

one any-longer.)

One of my abusers appears to feel deprived of the opportunity to vent;

to unburden himself all over me. To tell me a thing or two.

But, not to worry.  As the old saying goes necessity is the mother of invention.

The fact that I may no longer in contact with them,

rest assured that my abusers will still find a way to harass by proxy.

He is simply been “forced” to become creative in order to get

their message through to me.

Many abusers either can’t handle a direct confrontation.  They may realize that I may possibly

refuse to speak to them if they contact me directly.

So they will enlist someone else to do their dirty work for them. – a “Devil’s Advocate” since,

despite any claims of neutrality, what he/she is truly doing

Child abuse is a shadowis advocating for an abuser.

One of my abusers has point-blank asked members of his church,  fellow pastors,

another relative, or even attempted to manipulate my best friend to speak with me on his behalf.

Depending on who he is speaking to about me, he might go on and on,

crying a river to anyone who will listen,

pretending that he loves and misses me so much and has no idea why I am acting this way

– in general acting as pathetic as possible.

He saves this performance for church members, fellow pastors;

even one licensed Christian therapist from his flock whom I have never once seen

to “diagnose” me;  select members of his family;

until some meddling busybody takes pity on him and decides to “intervene” (translate:  butt-in)

by volunteering to “help” him patch things up, or criticizing me for hurting my abuser.

When this happens, sometimes the Buttinski may pretend

that she or he just can’t stand to see the two of us are “having problems.”

This Buttinski chooses to take it upon himself to contact me, of course claiming

to be doing so without  my abuser’s knowledge.

This is a lie I’m long-ago been onto. The lie I’m told to make me think the

“well intentioned” Buttinski really is  neutral

and is not taking sides.  That the Buttinski  can trusted not to

repeat whatever I might say.

I can be sure Buttinski will report every detail back to my abuser,

who knows perfectly well that Buttinski is contacting me  because he either

put Buttinksi up to it, or he has otherwise manipulated said Buttinski.

 

Early on, I believed most of the pastors who made phony,  half-hearted attempts

to get my ‘side of the story.’

I was hurting and wanted so desperately to believe the clergy- member-meddlers

really truly wanted to hear what I had to say.

I was hemorrhaging years of emotional pain from years of abuse.

At that time, I wanted badly to believe these people were indeed

interested in helping me. I probably unloaded 20 years on them.

Because I truly did believe them.

I’m by no means the only one to fall for this tactic.  In fact, I know of several victims,

or should I say “escapees”, who did indeed start unloading  on their clergy Buttinskis.

Who told the ugly truth concerning years of abuse, only to have the

clergy-Buttinski  begin giving advice.

Advice such as about how it’s time for the victim to give over to God, not talk about it anymore lest it

damage the cause of Christ and roots of bitterness spring up in the victim and those who the victim told.

Or clergy-Buttinksi start squirming uncomfortably and mumble something about how

it’s really none of his business anyway…

He really doesn’t want to get involved, and maybe throw in,  “Oh, look at the time,

I’m running late- Gotta’ go!”

As soon as they hear what was really going on all those years,

many of suddenly get a bad case of Stay Out Of It.

 

One of my abusers has at least one (most likely more than one)

attention-grabbing narcissist who has been more

than happy to attempt to exploit my heartache, suffering, and distress so that he can

take the credit for trying to “make peace” between me and my abuser.

He bathes in the praise he receives for having the courage

to get involved – trying to “help.”

It makes him feel important to have everyone know about the noble and selfless thing he’s doing.

At the beginning he attempted to pry, asking all kinds of nosy questions

that are none of his business in a sham attempt at “finding a compromise”.

He wants to be the big-shot with the insider information that the abuser

wants to hear. The very first time I discovered he had announced

a very small thing

(unbeknownst to him, I was  testing him)

that I’d confided in him at family gathering,

discussing our conversation, in appropriately

hushed tones and with his a phony look of somber concern,

I never divulged another thing.

The attention-grabbing narcissist thought nothing of breaking my confidence.

And how they love to cluck their tongues at my “trust issues.”

He has use my pain to get attention.   All the while telling himself and anyone else

he is the “peace-maker”in this situation.

Of course he has to broadcast his “selfless acts.”

After all, what good are “selfless acts” if no one knows of them?

This particular Buttinski’s chooses moments with the most embarrassment impact.

Nothing plays into an attention-grabbing narcissists

hands better than having an audience when he chooses to face me.

The audience could be other relatives or perfect strangers in a restaurant.

It doesn’t matter much if I’m present or not.  His best audience of all are friends or acquaintances of

mine who don’t know him because then,

in his eyes at least, he can make me look bad to people who know me.

He has the added plus of telling people he will never see again.

This attention-grabbing Buttinski has even gone on the internet and set up many sites.

Easter weekend he found days-old comments I had authored on a facebook page

of an organization advocating for the sexually abused just

to take a pathetic opportunity to slam me.

When he was banned from slimming his caustic remarks

on that page – he was the victim.

And the fact he was banned was my fault.

His actions had nothing to do his have been banned.  Nope.

In his zeal to put me on the spot, this self-righteous

Buttinski is either completely oblivious,

or he revels in the to the pain he has caused those

unfortunate innocent bystanders on that page.

Narcissistic attention-grabbing Buttinskis aren’t exactly known for their

charm and good manners.

He didn’t spend a lot of time reading etiquette books.

He makes a habit of bulldozing through other

people’s pain appearing to be oblivious to the vulgarity

of causing a scene in public website where many

sexual abuse victims find comfort and encouragement.

 

I’ve learned over time, whatever method a Buttinski may use, Buttinksi’s

are not the least bit interested in the truth.

They just pretend that they are, long enough to get around to whatever points

they want to make. And Lord knows after they’ve been enlightened.

They’re sure not going to be courageous enough to go

back to the abuser nor defend me.

They’re certainly not going to be man or woman enough

to apologize for any pain the Buttinski has caused myself or those around me.

You see, although they pretend to be, they don’t really want to help.

They don’t really want to “do the right thing”.  That is simply not how they work.

If the definition of “peacemaking” is “establishing a state of harmony between people”,

then the place to start is with the one who causes all the disharmony.

If the “peacemaker” were to face the abuser  about his behavior.

Get the abuser to agree to admit to what the abuser has done.

Then the Buttinski can approach as me victim and soothe my anxieties

by being willing to jump through whatever hoops needed to gain my trust.

 

 

My Buttinksis won’t do this because:

***They may too intimidated by the abuser to face him, but have no problem

confronting me as the victim, whom is perceived as the “weaker” or at least too “irrational”

to be deserving of any courtesy.  

I’m but an object. Not a flesh and blood human being with feelings.

***Despite the claim of wanting harmony, what they really want is the status quo.

Some thrive on a constant state of crisis and chaos,

and torturous gatherings suit them just fine.  Perhaps they liked seeing me as a victim stuck

 in a hopeless situation, because they were just a little sadistic and cruel, too?

Or maybe more than a little bit.

Others feel better about themselves if they can view me as still a victim

who is helpless.  And because misery loves company;

feel better about their own miserable  lives if I am as miserable as they are.

***Some Buttinskis may have had issues with me all along

just because jealousy and resentment – I took “their place” in the family.

Or it may be something of just the way God made me. They

like to tell me how “different” I am from the rest.

They do not really have my best interests at heart but often pressured  me accept my

“place” which was remaining willing to keep accepting the abuse.

 They are being holier-than-thou Buttinski.

These Buttinskis attempt to make themselves look good at my expense.

They are trying to prove to myself and to everyone else, that they are a better person than I am.

If they were me they would have long-ago just “gotten’ over it.”

***Some are looking for attention for themselves and gratitude for their efforts.

If they can succeed in smoothing things over or getting information out of me,

then the abuser will be beholden to them. There’s nothing like having

the abuser owe you one.  They like having “inside information”.

They love knowing that their approval or disapproval meant

so much to me as the victim that I was willing

to once again allow myself to be abused rather than lose their love.

If they can convince me as a victim to once again knuckle under then

they get to look like the hero in their mind.

To this Buttinksi, “peace” just means everything

going back to “normal”.  Just like it always was, with the abuser’s behavior

just as bad as ever, everyone else overlooking it and pretending it’s not

really a problem.

Myself and any of his other victims suffering in silence and not rocking the boat.

In this situation it could be said that everyone will have peace except the victims.

Victims peace do not count.

Victims need to be kept in line.

 If only I would just suck it up, stop complaining, plaster a smile on my face.

Shut up about being abused then everything could all get back to normal.

But. I’m not that little girl in the basement anymore.

The solution to achieving peace lies not in convincing

me to accept abuse.

I’m not as I once was – cowed into silence.

A true peacemaker would be willing to defend and protect the innocent;

to have the courage to take a stand up against evil;

to change things for the better.  Then, and only then, will any meddler

deserve to take any credit whatsoever for bringing for any semblance of peace.

 

Psalm 56-8

“It’s All Her Fault!”

It wasn’t too long after I was discharged from the hospital that Lou was accused of molesting another little girl.  It was a daughter of someone who used to help out on the farm.

Lou was out on bail.

Lou had also been diagnosed with a lung cancer.  Lou smoked both cigarettes and cigars.  When he wasn’t smoking Lou was chewing tobacco.  Lou had a definite addiction to nicotine.

I remember Lou had to wear Oxygen.

Cleo had little time.  Cleo screeched about how much of a burden Lou was and how he was now worthless.  According to Cleo, Lou was unable to “earn his keep.”

I tried to care for Lou as best a sixth-grade little girl could.  In addition to my other “responsibilities” Cleo also expected me to keep up Lou’s chores around the farm.  Milking and feeding the cows.  Feeding the horses.  Feeding the other animals.  Mucking the stalls.

Cleo savagely beat and punished me for my inability to keep up with the responsibilities of running a working farm and caring for a near-invalid.

I had missed most of the latter winter and all the spring quarter of school in fifth grade because of being burned.   Somehow I was promoted to grade 6 without knowing what a fraction was….

As the beginning of my 6th grade year rolled around, Cleo made it clear I was to finish all of my farm chores before school and begin the afternoon/evening chores at once upon my returning from school.

Cleo was back and forth as she was running her real estate office in Philadelphia.  At least that was her story.  In reality she was running a prostitution business.  Cleo was arrested by Philly PD more than once for promoting prostitution out of a home she owned in Philadelphia.   Cleo’s second hand man for her business in Philadelphia was a young thug named Felix.

I was attending the same Christian school of which I had been long enrolled. I missed more days of school than I attended that, but no one appeared to care.

At one point, Cleo brought Felix out to the farm to ‘help’.  I used to call him, “Felix the Cat” because he possessed the talent of sneaking up, and pouncing seemingly out of nowhere.

Felix assaulted me at his pleasure.

It was a cold bright sunny day in February and I had attended school on that day.  I returned home from school.  Cleo and Felix weren’t at the farm.

I walked in the front door of the farmhouse.  Lou was quiet and still. Something was wrong.  Why was wrong with his head?

I tried to call for help but couldn’t tell the operator where the farm was located.  This was before 9-11 was implemented in the rural area where the farm was located.

I was hysterical.

I don’t know how long it was before I remembered the nurse who had helped me when I was burned.  She used to buy hay from Cleo.  When the nurse found out I was back in Cleo’s care, the nurse had given me her phone number instructed me to call her if I ever needed help.

I had written the nurses number on the tag inside my little red boots.  I wore my red boots almost constantly.  I tore off my boot and dialed her number.

I don’t remember what I said.  Within minutes the police arrived, followed by the nurse a few minutes later.

I was on the porch, pacing back and forth.  A Pennsylvania state trooper was doing his best attempting to comfort a sobbing, terrified, hysterical child, but I wouldn’t allow him near me.

The nurse sat down on the front porch steps and held me as I sobbed.  She sat there rocking and attempting to comfort me as police cleared the scene and the coroners office crew removed Lou’s body.  I remember the nurse telling the crew removing Lou’s remains that they needed to take Lou’s body out of the back door instead of past me.

The crew removing Lou’s body obediently did as instructed.

At some point Cleo drove up.  I don’t remember if someone had called Cleo.  However the State Trooper who had attempted to calm me met Cleo as she was getting out of her car.

He gave Cleo the news.  Lou was dead.

Cleo pointed at me and screamed, “She killed him! She was supposed to take care of him! It’s all her fault!”

Both the state trooper and the nurse were shocked at Cleo’s outburst and said I was in no way responsible for Lou’s death.

Lou’s death was ruled a suicide.

For many years–even well into adulthood, deep down inside I believed I was somehow responsible for Lou’s death.

The scene I came home to that cold, sunny afternoon haunts me until this day.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)

Psalm 56-8