I received a question in the comments of my last entry, and am addressing it here. Thank you, gubblin, for your question, and for asking it in a non-confrontational spirit.
Hi there Kellymac. I found your blog randomly, and I'm really confused. On one of your blogs, you seem very angry and upset with feminists and feminism. But this blog is about recovered memories. Do you realize that feminists are the ones who brought the recovered/repressed memory issue into the light? Do you know that most anti-feminists, MRA's (or whatever you want to call them) do NOT believe in recovered memories? They blame feminism for creating a culture of hysteria around child sexual abuse.
I'm not trolling here, I really am curious. I am a radical feminist, and I'm not here to talk about feminism or argue with anyone. I really just don't understand how you can have these two, completely opposite blogs.
I also have recovered memories of past abuse, and have struggled a LOT with it. Not knowing what is real, what is just my crazy head. People who tell me I'm crazy and a a liar have made my recovery incredibly difficult. All of these people are against feminism. I'm wondering how you reconcile your clear hatred for feminism with your own personal issues of child sexual abuse?
Thanks. Again, not trolling, not looking for a fight, I just really want to know.
First of all, you have my sympathies for what you've gone through - I've had some of the same experiences, and I know how lonely it can be.
Yes, I do know that many MRA's think recovered memories are bs. I wasn't really aware that it was feminists who brought it into the light; I thought it was kind of a new wave in psychotherapy (although I do know about Freud, and the idea itself isn't new).
The only thing I can say is that the whole concept has been abused by the unscrupulous. There are so many documented cases of memories being "suggested" to people in therapy - people who, if they are going to heal, must give their trust to the therapist. It is not all that difficult to manipulate a person into believing almost anything; how much more so to a person who is struggling with their own mental state? I haven't reviewed all the cases, but I think it's safe to say that the results of this manipulation are devastating to almost everyone involved - except the therapist. I really can't blame anyone for not buying repressed memories.
However, I also know that when we are in a situation that might threaten our mental well-being or our sanity, we have to find a way to cope, and very often we try to forget it ever happened. Depending on the circumstances, this is sometimes more effective than other times.
In my own case, I have remembered at least the vast majority of it, and I had no choice but to pretend it never happened. I really don't want to go into the details of it here, but I was brutally beaten and hated by my mother, and given to at least one of her "male friends" for "use" many many times. This happened while my father was away working. I don't know where my sister was; this started before she was born (I am the oldest and there are 2 1/2 years between us).
The person I was completely dependent upon was the person who was hurting me. I realized a long time ago that she always resented my being there. I can only guess that she didn't want to be married to my father, as I was born 8 months after they were married. She also had another child before she met my father, and that child was raised by my grandparents. I was told she was my aunt until I was 13. So maybe my mother fucked up her life and I was representative of it. I don't know, and it really doesn't matter.
The point is, I was raised to never show emotion (because she LOVES to make fun of people), never express an opinion or preference different from hers, and to be terrified of any human with a penis. It was easier not to show emotions if I didn't feel them, so eventually I became emotionally numb. I got so good at it that I actually became physically numb. That's difficult for even me to believe, but it's true.
Of course I knew something was wrong, and I've been to many therapists over the last 20 or so years. I made small progress here and there; it was enough to keep my marriage going, but not enough to function as a healthy, sexual, adult human being.
In this last bit of therapy, as I said I have recovered at least the vast majority of my memories. I know that what I remember is true. I have some "memories" that really aren't memories so much as they are representative of certain issues. For instance, I have an image of myself sitting in a corner, under a corner-fitting sewing table, in a dark room, being as silent as I possibly can, and being absolutely terrified. I know that isn't a literal memory, not least because I know my mom didn't have that table until I was older. Also, it has a "dreamy" quality to it. But it was representative of a childhood spent trying desperately to be invisible.
I also have memories that I absolutely know are true, such as the one I described in the post before this one. The quality is different - it's not "dreamy", it's real.
I wondered for a while if any of it was true, just because it was so horrific; I just couldn't believe it could happen to me. But these things do happen - just read the newspaper for proof of that. I wrestled with it for a while, and I finally came to the conclusion that it didn't matter if it really happened or not. I'm not trying to send anyone to jail. I don't intend to press charges on my mother, and I honestly cannot identify the other(s). Karma is a bitch, and she's made her own, trust me. What matters is, these memories were essential to my healing. And I have healed.
I'm 42 years old. And I'm finally at peace with myself. I've learned to feel it when my husband and I make love, I'm able to stay present almost all the way through, and I finally experienced intimacy in the context of sex. I'm not so old that I have nothing left of life to enjoy! Even besides the sex :D
I have to say that the beginning part of this "final leg" of my healing journey started when I joined a men's rights board. I didn't know what it was about when I joined; I had followed my curiosity there and had to join to read what was posted there. What safer place to discover what men are about than an online community of men who are completely unafraid to say exactly what's on their minds? No matter what happened or how it turned out, none of them had physical access to me. For someone who was literally afraid that if she met the eyes of any man, it was the same as inviting him to rape her, it was a godsend.
Maybe because of the extreme powers of observation I was forced to develop (I felt nothing, remember. The only way I knew how to react to life was what I observed others doing. There was some natural reaction, of course, thus the war zone of my marriage), I was able to listen to them and imagine what it was like to be them.
I'm not talking about the "why do women treat me badly" stuff; I had no way of relating to that. Anything that had to do with male/female relationships was really lost on me. But the rest of it wasn't lost on me. The way we as a society ridicule and demonize men, THAT I could see. Men are either buffoons or victimizers in commercials, tv and movies. We automatically assume that domestic violence is always from the male to the female. We automatically assume that women are always nurturing and NEVER hurt their children. We cheer the Lorena Bobbitts of the world. We think that women get the short end of the stick in healthcare, employment, divorce, the list goes on and on.
But that's not the reality. And I wasn't told, "we're telling you it's so, so believe it". (Which is what I'd always been told by society). I was told, "Don't believe us; research it yourself." And I did. I love the internet! And I discovered that what I had been told growing up about men and women (by society now, not by the egg donor), wasn't exactly a lie; but it wasn't exactly the truth, either. It was at best half the truth. Once I realized that, I was so angry! I had been taught to be a fool! I can't tell you how worked up I got. I started seeing examples of misandry everywhere.
I always thought there was something wrong with being feminine. Yes, a big part of that was from my early experiences, but it was solidly reinforced by the feminist ideas of our society. I had always thought that if you needed a head start to win the race, you were cheating (i.e. lower physical standards for females in the military, lower physical standards for female firefighters, etc.), but that's about the most independent I got in my thoughts.
Women CAN'T be equal to men. No more than apples can be equal to oranges. It can most clearly be seen in physical strength. If a woman can meet the same physical requirements as a man, then more power to her. And the men will respect her for it. But it doesn't mean there is something wrong if she can't. Not all men can either, and they're not gonna get those jobs. Why should anyone who can't physically do it? That holds true for anything. There have always been women who have succeeded, and even excelled, in a "man's world". They did it on their own merits, and I respect that. I don't respect women who say, "It's not because I couldn't do it; it's because you're discriminating against me." That's just whining, and I have no use for it.
So that's it. I have what I perceive as Truth, based on my own experiences and observations. I think you have to question authority, and most especially you have to question the status quo. Just because "we've always done it this way" is not a good enough reason to go on doing it, no matter what "it" is.