I happen to have a very dysfunctional family. Undoubtedly when my kids grow up they will say the same thing, it’s just the way things are I guess. But the following post may blow your mind and give you a view into a world about which you may have said to yourself previously, “Who would do something like that?” My family, that’s who.
When I was little, not really sure what age, 4 or 5 I’m guessing, I was at my grandparents house. Don’t remember why, probably a holiday of some sort, but I was there alone with my uncle, who is ten years older than me. My grandparents had a split level home in Stone Mountain, GA and on the main level was the kitchen, dining room and living room. The lower level held a bedroom, bathroom and their family room, and the upper level held three bedrooms and a bathroom. My uncle was lying on the floor in between the living and dining rooms which was a wide open space. He was wearing jeans and he told me he had a secret to tell me. He had eleven fingers, did I know that? I shook my head no and began looking at his hands. “Not there,” he said, “Here.” And he proceeded to unbutton his pants. As young as I was I had no idea where this was leading. I don’t remember much more than he put his hand on mine and made me put it down his pants and forced me to touch him, but really that’s enough for me. It only happened once that I recall and I forgot it for a very long time, until I was a teenager, in fact. Dating is what brought the memory to the fore. The fumblings and machinations of clumsy teenage boys brought the memory to my mind as clearly as though it had happened only the day before. I did not want to touch boys “there”, which earned me the nickname “prick tease”. I would freeze in horror the minute one of them would try to move my hand to the outside of their jeans, because of that moment, that memory. I was 15 or 16 at that time and I’m pretty sure I said something to my mother about it but I don’t know if she was drunk and didn’t remember me saying anything or if she just ignored it because it was too ugly for her to think about. But at that time, nothing was done about it.
My uncle went on from the age of 15 to live a wasted existence. He floundered around, got into drugs, never really having a serious relationship. My father hired him to work for him, gave him a lucrative account and my uncle wasted the opportunity, had drug dealers coming into the office, slept with clients, bribed clients, and when my father fired him, he destroyed a bunch of company property. He’s a real scumbag, let me tell you.
The topic came up again in 1992. I remember this because the Rodney King trial had just happened a month prior and my parents were having a Memorial Day BBQ with my grandparents, me, and a couple with who my parents have been friends since I was tiny, I call them Mr. Guy and Miss Barbara. Mr Guy, my grandfather and I were having a conversation, a debate about the treatment of black people and it was getting heated. They were ganging up on me because I was sympathetic to black people, and my father, who was standing at the grill got angrier than I have ever seen him in my life. He whipped around, holding a bbq tool and pointed it at them while he said, “I’ve raised my daughters to think for themselves. If you don’t like it then you can get the hell out!” I was stunned, they were stunned and my grandfather hopped up in a threatening manner and stepped towards my father with his fists clenched and my dad said, “You gonna hit me dad? Go ahead. It won’t be the first time.” Again, stunned faces all around. Mt grandfather stalked off the patio and called for my grandmother to follow him. My father’s dear friend, Mr Guy, attempted to talk to him but my dad was so pissed that he told him to get the “f” away from him. Needless to say the picnic did not go on as planned.
The next day I had to return some things of my grandparents to them, some dishes they had brought over for the BBQ, and while I was there, they began peppering me with questions about why daddy had reacted that way. It opened up a HUGE conversation about our family, during which time I told them about how my uncle had touched me and how it had affected me and do you know what their response was???? They said, and this is an exact quote, “OH, thank god. We thought he was gay.” People, I cannot tell you how this made me feel. I was flabbergasted, disgusted. My grandmother went on to say, “Oh everyone has someone in their family who has had something like that happen. You just get over it and move on.” Screw you lady. I left and went home and told my parents about it and let the words fester in my soul for two more years. In 1994 I was done. I told my parents I was no longer sharing a holiday with my child molesting uncle, and they could count on me not being present at Thanksgiving this year as long as he was there. Well that began years of strife for me, my friends. My father defended me, and became my hero in a moment when I needed him the most. For all the things he’s done that hurt me, when I’m attacked he is my fiercest defender. My uncle’s then-boss called my dad because she and my uncle were friends and HE WATCHED HER CHILDREN. She couldn’t believe what I had said was true. My dad told her she was a fool and she’d better keep an eye on her kids.
Anyway, the drama continues every year, at every family function that he decides he wants to attend. After Sean and I were married we had moved and had refused to give my grandparents my number or my address and then I relented out of sympathy for their age and their declaration that they wanted a relationship. Within two months my uncle called me, having gotten my number from my grandmother, threatening to sue me. It was horrible! I called my father crying and told him what happened and he called his mother, again, giving her absolute hell about it. For some reason, my grandparents have it in their mind that I’m lying or that I went under hypnosis and recovered this memory, which is not the case. Never in my life have I undergone hypnosis. They cannot accept that he’s a shit bag. It’s been rough. My grandparents are old, in their 80’s and I try to forgive them for the things they’ve said and have tried to let my children know their great-grandparents. Which brings me to this year. We’ve gone a couple without the drama because he hasn’t made the trip up here for the holidays. But this year, I put my mom on notice. If he plans to come, have Grammy call me and I will tell her that he’s not welcome at my house. My mom hates being in the middle. Well, my mom told my grandmother herself anyway and it started all the same stuff up again. How could I only remember it later? Why didn’t I say anything when it happened? As a result my grandparents are having Christmas dinner with him, because apparently a 46 year old man can’t stay home by himself for a couple of hours while my grandparents come spend time with the people they turn to when they are in need. The people who actually come to the hospital when they’re sick or having surgery. He is the one who they support and, I’m done. Done, done, done – stick a fork in me, I’m DONE. This has been going on for years and frankly, I’m afraid at this point that he’s going to do something crazy, like try to kill us. He feels like he’s the one who has been wronged and he feels like the victim. I don’t hate him, surprisingly. I just don’t want a relationship with him and I don’t want him in my home, around my children, around my niece. I don’t understand why my grandparents can’t get that.
It’s sad but my mother was relieved that I might be having a hysterectomy, all because of the stress of this shit with my uncle and grandparents. Of course, I’m not supposed to know about the most recent incident. She made my sister swear not to tell me but my sister told me anyway. LOL
I feel like cutting myself off from my grandparents. Would that be wrong? Are they so old now that I should just turn the other cheek? Friends, after reading this post, what do you think? What would you do?