Category Archives: Reflections

Gordian Knots: My Parents, My Abusers

My parents. My abusers. They both formed me into who and what I am. To heal, I need to understand them. This is how I feel I need to proceed; your path to healing may or may not be similar to mine.


My mother is a complex and very broken person. She was probably raised with being sexually and physically abused, then married my father. While I felt that I loved her, both parents abused me physically and sexually; he mostly hurt me and she rarely hurt me, but sexual abuse damages with or without physical harm. She worshipped him, so leaving to save us both was never considered. My father rented me out to pedophiles for money and my mother would say, “He hit you because you didn’t obey him. Please don’t make him angry.” She would cry and beg me to be “good” to avoid being beaten by my father, and sometimes he would beat her to punish me, too; yet she never could make a leap to the idea that she should get us both away from him.

I am making progress in therapy to see the monster that my father was instead of blaming myself for how I am now. However, it has been far more difficult to see the wrong she did. I often cling to the few good memories as a defense to protect her from my own sense of anger that she also abused me. Therapy and all the research I do is beginning to help me in seeing that maybe I don’t need to feel guilt about laying the blame for her crimes at her feet instead of my father’s, or my own.

Still, the impulse to protect her is strong. We “trench-bonded” in the Hell that was my childhood. She was the only person who said they loved me and I could feel it was true. Tainting that, though, was how she let my need for love and affection twist into incest, to try to fill her own unmet needs.

I know that I need to strip off the blinders with her as I have slowly been able to do with my father. Yet it still feels like a betrayal to call her an abuser, because she was so often my only solace and protection, even if both were minimal and largely ineffective.

This is just one of the fallout damage problems of incest and child sexual abuse. We are hardwired to love our parents and to want and seek (and try to earn) their love. They take that and use it against us.

I am getting better at seeing the monster within my father. I am more able to say, “How could you do those things to me?” Even though he is long dead now, and I can never have the answers I need, at least now I am more able to ask those questions.

My mother lives across the country and she is not allowed any contact with my children, and only minimal contact (phone, email) with me. She has to remain in therapy, or all contact with me will stop. She is not allowed to be inappropriate to me. I maintain contact out of a need for answers, but if I try to seek answers from her, she just cries and breaks down. I know she is so damaged, as I am. Yet the urge to protect and shield her, even from my own horror and anger, persists.

Sometimes the conflict between all of these feelings ties me into a terrible Gordian Knot of guilt, shame, anger, fear, and self-hate. Yet the sword therapy taught me to wield that has helped me to cut down the Father Knot seems useless on Mother.

If I am brave enough to be honest with myself though, I know that what I must do is try to untangle them; even the severed halves I was abruptly so desperate to cut down.

What holds me back is fear: the dread of what horrors and memories may be released as the crusted-over strands are finally loosened.

I see myself in a stone hallway with these tangled masses between me and the healing I work toward. I have to go through them and past them, but the understanding I want probably lies in the untangling, not in merely cutting them into pieces I can move beyond.

As I hesitate, sometimes I’m afraid the strands deep within may only wind tighter; yet the courage to kneel, set down the sword, and get to work, seems to be paralyzed in my chest.

In these moments, it is all I can do to breathe. Still, as I breathe, I feel the fear calming, the courage rising, a little more.

Breathe… just breathe. Someday, when we are ready, we will know it is time to begin.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 4/2/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

Canticle I

If so few truly know
and understand me
even those I’ve shared
so much with for so long
then surely
the fault is mine
Yet it is in my nature
forged by those
who first worked this clay
to conceal, hide, protect
Yet true wisdom tells me
as the forge fires cool
that those who drew the map
in my flesh
are only partly to blame
for my unknown core
For it is I and I alone
who mars the map
in such a way
that no other might ever
hope to follow its paths
to pale soul
bled heart
and damaged mind


© W.R.R. 7/2/2011
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.


Struggles slow
as the lure of the silence grows
echoes in tired veins
grows louder than
all other rhythmic beats
I know this pain
this whisper of an end to pain
for it thrums in me as in you
Yet I want to align
the unsteady beats
of two poet hearts
until they drown the silence
of the creeping dark
Your ghost words
sent into the ethers
caught in the clinging web
have brought me back
from the shadow’s edge
so I send my words
ghostly, timid
to give them again to you
We have a purpose
songs to sing
words to form
out of the depths
and when our voices and words are lifted
there is nothing
no silence, no shadow
we cannot push back

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 2/1/2012
For CaterinaSky, a poet of beautiful words. Thank you for being here.

As Ashes Scatter

Pure embrace
of marrow dust
as time toils on
into the dark
and yet some shape
still remains
as longer shadows gather
they wait
lost in groaning dusk
until a wind defines again
this long love
as ashes scatter

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 5/13/2011

Beauty Reminds

Curling deep inside
the slick, sour feeling
the fear that eyes may meet
and turn away
Beauty reminds
haunts, mocks
without a word, a thought
or wincing glance
It is a mirror
that rejects all
unworthy reflections

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 11/16/2011

To Be A Better Man

I know I’m not going to meet Adam Lambert. Between being bipolar and agoraphobic, plus suffering from PTSD and panic attacks, the deck is stacked against me; I simply can’t tolerate being in a crowd, either for a concert or standing in a clutch of people at a barricade. The amount of well-meaning folks who like to cajole me with “oh, someday, maybe” just don’t understand the debilitating nature of these maladies. The thing is, it’s ok; I don’t have to meet or touch him to have him touch me. It’s the nature of his charisma, his aura, essence, whatever you want to call it, that allows his voice and compassion, his passion for life, to touch and change mine.

I do love hearing about others meeting him, though. It’s a vicarious joy, and the excitement of another person can and does transfer some of that Adam mystique to me, every time.

Fact is, this amazing man, my stepping stone to a healthier stretch of the path before me, doesn’t need to ever touch my hand… because his voice and shining example touch my heart.

When I’m in depression, I have a playlist of Adam’s interviews that I listen to on repeat as I sleep. His voice, as mesmerizing in speech as in song, gives me something positive to focus on, and holds the nightmares at bay. This is a gift I intend to repay by striving to get better, to do better, to become the sort of person who is capable of helping others. With a gift like that, it just doesn’t matter that I can’t meet him in person. In my heart, I already have.


© W.R.R. 9/20/2011

For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.