Today my abuser became a father, and I became an aunt to a nephew I will probably never meet. I know my family are all celebrating without me right now. They’ll be sharing in a warm, joyous feeling that I can’t have any part of.
My mum decided the best way to fill me in on this difficult news was to send a text message that consisted of two short sentences. Of course, it wasn’t an unexpected event. I knew the baby was due. And I knew it would be hard for me to hear that he’d arrived.
I got the message as I left my therapy session with J today. A session in which I had sat, stuck in my shame and my feelings of failure. All I could talk about was how ‘not good enough’ I am. I could only fixate on what I’m not and my sense of myself as embodying that failure. It was a tough session and my emotions felt raw as I walked away.
Then I checked my phone and read the message. For some reason, it still shocked me. I know the phrase is overused, but it was a blow. A huge blow. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. Or I’d fallen really hard and had the air knocked out of my lungs. My legs wouldn’t hold me. I managed to stagger to a wall and sit for a while. I was a few hundred yards from J’s and it was horrible being so close by, feeling like I needed someone to rescue me, but knowing my session was over and I couldn’t go back. My instinct was to curl up in a ball, so it took real determination to get myself home. I had to stop for some groceries on my way and I ended up crying in the supermarket.
I don’t know how to process this information. I don’t know what to say about it and my feelings about this child and his situation are complex and confused. I am so massively angry with my brother and his wife for choosing to bring this baby into the world at this moment. And I’m angry that they have been allowed this incredible gift. The injustice of it feels like a real twist of the knife.
About a year ago, my sister in law found out that my brother is a paedophile. She chose to stay with him, and start a family with him, despite knowing the awful harm he has done to me. I hate that. I hate her for not hating him. I hate my whole family for not hating him. I honestly can’t understand how they can still love him and still want him in their lives.
Now that my nephew is here, I can’t see any of that changing. I have to somehow make peace with the fact that the people I love the most reject my truth. I have to be OK sat here, isolated from them all and their joy and love for this new member of the family. It is so painful to know that.
And so I am fighting myself again. Fighting the dark voice that says I should harm myself. Battling the urge to start drinking. Bargaining with myself in an effort not unleash the self-destruction that feels like such a release. Holding on to the hurt and the rage and knowing it won’t just leave me. Feeling the fear, the dread, and the sheer hopelessness of knowing that there is no release.