25 January 2010

The funeral I will not attend

My PTSD is due, in part, to things that happened to me when I was a child.

It has taken a long time to realize, to look at, to deal with, and to move on from those things-- but sometimes they just want to come back, like they did today.

A family member (an aunt) passed away this weekend. She lived in the same house as my grandmother's house, which is ground zero for my childhood traumatic experiences, and is in fact a sister of the abuser who carried out the trauma that was the start of my PTSD. There is a funeral service this week for her, and my mother called tonight to let me know, ask if I could make it, and to let me know that there was still a spot open for-- of all things-- a pall bearer.

And that's when I became unhinged, a little.

It bothers me greatly that the same family that allowed me to abused has the nerve to ask me to attend a funeral and be a pall bearer with the same person that abused me-- I'm just supposed to be there, and forget what happened, and all the hours and days and years of therapy and work and healing that have gone into recovering.

I'm not going to the funeral. My family probably thinks I'm cold and heartless.

Maybe it would do some good to be there, to let it all out, to stand in front of the room and scream "When are you people going to stop pretending there isn't abuse going on in this family? When are you going to see what's happening, and do something to stop it? How many of you have been abused? I can't be the only one-- but am I the only one brave enough to face this and deal with it?"

It wouldn't do any good at all. If they are so deaf, dumb, and blind that they cannot see why I'm not attending, there's nothing I can say that will change anything.

I am brave enough to have faced this, and more. Survivors do.


  1. Wow, I read this and got a chill. My husband was a victim of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his parents, the very people that were supposed to be his protectors. After Iraq, I feel he was even more susceptible to combat PTSD due to his already delicate emotional condition. Thank you for your blog, I have added it to my list of Blogs I follow.

  2. I never know what to say in response to "Thank you"; I'll just say You're Welcome.

    The stuff that happens first, affects how you react to things that happen later. I think traumatic events do build on each other, and it takes a lot to peel back the layers. I didn't even know I'd been an abuse victim until I was in my 30's, and after I'd been back from the desert for a few years. (When your family is messed up, it's what you know-- you don't realize it's wrong until you're far enough away.)


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