I rarely watch the "morning show(s)" on ABC, NBC or CBS--but today, I somehow got caught up in NBC's Saturday Morning Show. Lester Holt, who has never really impressed me, continued in that vein when he interviewed Mackenzie Phillips. Now, perhaps he was doing and asking what so many would ask, if they had not understood, or experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse and/or emotional abuse at the hands of a family member or a stranger.
We all know Mackenzie Phillips as the drug addict, and actor. In fact, she will always be labelled "addict" be it, recovering or otherwise. However, her addiction does not negate her experience as an incest survivor.
Holt asked her whether the drugs clouded her mind; and, further, whether this "cloud" some how brought about the fiction of the "memory" of sexual abuse done to her by her father. WOW, Lester--bring it down a notch. And, for anyone else who does not want to believe her, or her experience--please take note. This is "hers" and "her" experience, alone. Respect the pain a person has from their perspective. She was already "victimized;" and, now, the judgment of her "coming out" causes society to place her in the position of being a "victim" again?
Now someone may say this next statement is a "stretch," but, well, then, let me flex.
This summer, and now fall of 2009, has introduced us as humans to quite an exhaustive wave of emotion, as we, "the public," have endured several celebrity deaths which have resulted in our having to take a look at their lives and the labels we gave then while living--as either being the "victim "or "perpetrator" or both....
Let's examine this statement by looking at Michael Jackson.
Society labeled him a predator, pervert, pedophile, and, well just weird--and when he died--no was killed--excuse me, we were all given a lens as we looked back onto, and into his life. And, just like Jesus--we "wept." Our collective tears realized this "weird guy" label had perverted the collective, us, making "us" the predators and pedophiles because our very myopic lens which defined "worthiness" twisted our judgmental of him and who he was--ourselves.
He wasn't a pedophile. He wasn't a pervert. He was the biological father of his children. He wasn't irresponsible. He was human. And, a man who suffered as a child at the hands of a parent/abuser who physically taught him how to hate himself so very much that he changed his appearance as a result. And when he died, not only did we not know him--but we knew him not--even unto his utter appearance. Our lens needed "clearing." The tears of his daughter, Paris, provided the psychological cleaning fluid for our myopic selves allowing us to, see our own rejection within the vision of this, our, Man in The Mirror.
Sexual abuse at the hands of family is devastating. I give Mackenzie Phillips and those in her family who have supported her in this nightmare, applause.
My research has shown that women who suffer sexual abuse usually come to an understanding of it somewhere in their 30s or 40s accepting its reality and dealing with its devastation. Often the very memory of "it" is something they have repressed. Usually their family is very happy with them as long as this memory remains just that..somewhere in the recesses of their mind--almost as though the very thought of it cannot be real--so the apology for its inference calls for repentance.
The repression of such memories often is costly for the victim. Usually it causes one relationship after the next to fail because the pain of the sexual abuse is something the victim is taught she somehow caused. Moreover, she is taught not to trust in anyone or anything that is real because the reality of the abuse is something she has been taught to ignore, or poo poo as not "real." Therefore, she is taught how to survive as a being who is not "worthy." In fact, one such victim I encountered told me her parent would refer to her as, "worthless." The parent would tell her she, "made [him] sick;" and, "[he] could not stand her." Even, well after this victim had become a lawyer and judge, the parent would lament in this way causing this victim to act out on herself , seeking some way to fail in order to prove her parent right and receive love and acceptance by her family. That particular victim was sexually abused by a family friend from the age of 0 to 4. In fact her mother taught the victim to refer to the family friend as her, "boyfriend;" and the mother would say to this particular victim that she and the predator would, "marry" when the victim grew older. The perpetrator was 18 years older than the victim. The father of this same victim during those same years would take the victim with him when he cheated on her mother as he went to visit his "women." As a child this, victim, now lawyer/judge, would observe her father having "sex" with women other than her mother. When this particular victim woke up in her 40s and confronted both the perpetrator and the parents, everyone stopped speaking to the victim. I told her, she was no longer the victim, but the Victor because the mere act of being able to confront her abusers made them flee.
Often, women who have suffered in this way emerge on the "other" side once they have learned to let go of the shame associated with the past they inherited; which is often very different from the future that they learn to build. This emancipation, however, or "letting go" is often seen as a threat to the functioning of the "family." It is as though the victim is told to somehow keep the family feeling autonomous at the expense of the victim who somehow pays for her abuse through ridicule, abandonment and hate. In fact in many instances the "family" chooses to ignore the reality of the victim's pain choosing instead the unconditional pleasure of using the power of the ignoring of the victim's pain in hopes of the continuation of the victim's demise. And, if the victim is not careful and doesn't know how to transition, she will suffer failure and prove the "family" somehow right. After all, she is--worthless.
Another "victim," who later became a Victor, told me of her mother making her "clean her brother's ass," at dinner when he, up until he was 9 years old, would leave the dinner table to bowel. Upon the completion of his "business," he would scream, "I'm finished." The mother would make the daughter, who was the sexually abused for years leave the dinner table to "clean the ass of her brother." This same mother would refuse to buy this victim underwear and she would give her the underwear she, the mother, discarded instead of buying the daughter her own underwear. The daughter/sexually abused child./victim, was never taught to think anything was wrong with any of these actions, conditions or family "rules." In fact, they would laugh as though it was, "normal." However one day she woke up and transformed from victim to Victor. Her family does not speak to her either--including her brother.
Thus, we see the glass is shattered when the victim breaks the silence in the house causing the perpetrators reality to shatter as she shows him his "Man in The Mirror." Mackenzie Phillips did this. Maybe Lester Holt was uncomfortable because it was too real. In fact, the realness of her story has allowed others to also be transformed, to speak up, to leave victim and become Victor after all, so many of these victims are fueled by the fear of abandonment; however, as the victims fear of reality is transformed into the love of self permitting the lens of truth to let the light in through the cracked reality of dysfunction--they are set free.
Mazel to the McKenzie's of this world who bravely stand up to speak truth.......