Childhood memory gaps are common to victims of sexual abuse. Before counseling, it was difficult for me to recall how old I was when things happened. Even with the assistance of old family movies and photos, it's still hard. I remember my life within the context of summer vacations and school years, and primarily according to accomplishments after I stopped teaching. I did have some good times as a kid with my family, but here I'm emphasizing the abuse.
The normal text represents my memories before any counseling. The italicized text represents new information, and the bold text represents the tool that disclosed it.
I was born in 1960 in Southern California. Mom told me that three months after I was born, my father's father died of alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver. Her milk dried up from the grief, and I went without nourishment for a week. I had two older brothers and one younger brother. I will call them Allen, five and one half years older; Edward, four years older; and Adrian, two years younger. We went to a local Protestant church together as a family. (To this day my parents consider themselves to be Christians.) My parents were highly intelligent and industrious, and worked towards a better life for us than they had. Mom and Dad provided a large home with lots of clothing, food and toys. Each of us kids eventually had a room and toy closet to ourselves. We also had a large swimming pool.
Except for one year when Mom stayed home with us, she worked outside the home and we had sitters. My older brothers were especially rebellious to the sitters. Through dreams and prayer: I recalled a sitter putting me in the hall closet as a disciplinary measure.
From my husband's conversation with my Mom (after I sent the letters in July `91 exposing the incest), I received the following information: In `62 Dad got a vasectomy, and in `64 Mom got a hysterectomy and Dad was angry about it (probably not as much sexual satisfaction for him). During `64-'68 she believes Dad was poisoning her, and she has no memory of those years. She says Dad's mother poisoned his father for two years.
From family films I transferred to video tape in June `90: Both brothers lovingly fed me a bottle as a baby. When I was two Edward was constantly kissing me on the mouth. When I was two and three I played with dolls. (My mom often repeated how I hated dolls.) We went to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks when I was four. I appear healthy, happy, and athletic.
I first remember myself at age four. I made myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast, but because I couldn't lift the glass milk bottle, I poured in orange juice instead. Mom and Dad took me to a modeling agency. In the elevator Dad gave me a puff of his cigar, and Mom of her cigarette, in order to dissuade me from smoking later in life. There is a photo of me in a white Easter outfit walking the stage with my gloved hand in the air; it was my only modeling job.
My mom often told me that one night, when I had crawled into my parent's bed, I started swallowing my tongue and gagged on it; and that I was taken to the doctor the next day and told not to eat apples before I went to bed because they caused gas.
Mom told me when I was twenty-two that the reason for the divorce was that dad wanted her to perform oral sex, and she didn't want to. I shrugged it off because I was focused on admitting she was an alcoholic for the first time.
(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing "EMDR" is a procedure wherein a therapist quickly waves her hand up and down and side to side as you follow it with your eyes; thus stimulating your brain into accessing previously blocked memories. You are conscious and in control of what memories you wish to pursue. It is further discussed in the Healing Tools chapter.)
Through EMDR in Spring of `92: I had been having nightmares, so I went to my parent's bed to sleep. I was lying on my parent's bed asleep when my mom held my head facing dad's side of the bed, and I could feel my body recoiling. I felt my face wet with his sperm as he tried to get his penis into my mouth again, and my mother hurting my neck and head to try to keep me from squirming. They told me it was just a bad dream, and to try to forget it cause no one would believe it anyway. I began to gag on Dad's penis. Mom screamed, "Stop it, she can't breathe." Dad carried me back to my bedroom and left. Mom patted my back while I cried, trying to get me to sleep.
Because of my birthdate, public schools would not accept me into kindergarten, so my parents enrolled me in a private Christian school of which I have fond memories. My first memory of Jesus was a slide presentation of Christ's resurrection before Easter vacation, and I felt sad that He returned to heaven and was no longer available. I also remember the humiliation of ripping my dress on the swing, and of naughtily urinating behind the building with an older neighbor boy I'll call Dan. Urinating outside with the boys, usually in tree forts obscured from view, was a common experience until the age of ten.
Allen and Edward tried to get Adrian and me to drink their urine, calling it lemonade. We took a sip and spit it out as they laughed. Edward shot a pressurized spray from a hose up my vagina in the pool, and I cried out in pain. He was reprimanded by Mom. Edward's room adjoined a laundry/dressing room that opened out onto the pool deck. While naked on the potty before putting on my swimsuit, Edward walked in and urinated on me. I often saw my brothers naked, and I also saw some neighbor boys naked as they put on their suits. I viewed my father sunbathing in the nude; and as a family we would all go swimming in the nude at night.
Public school was great. My first grade teacher was wonderful. I made friends with two boys, one of whom lived close to the school. While playing at his house, we walked over to the school and looked for rocks close to a 20 foot deep ravine. Somehow I was knocked over the edge and broke my wrist in the fall.
My father served in the military during the Korean War, and sometimes he had required duty away from home afterward. He also enjoyed taking films of the family. We took a vacation at a military camp in the mountains. There Allen turned the water off while Mom was taking a shower. We kids became lost on horseback and the guide led us down a steep shale hill.
From family films I transferred to video tape in June '90: (Uncle Larry is one of Dad's friends whom I met on this vacation.) I'm lying on "Uncle Larry's" lap as he rubs my belly and underneath my shirt, though not to my breasts. At home, Edward throws me back into his arms and tries to kiss me; I smile and block him with my arm.
After viewing my school photos, my first counselor observed my wide-eyed expression in second grade, possibly indicating fear and the beginning of the abuse.
The school didn't allow girls to wear slacks until three years later, so P.E. was difficult sometimes. When I told my parents I couldn't do my calisthenics in my tight dresses, they thought I was just being rebellious. A boy and girl and I would waddle around like ducks around the teacher. We drew endless pictures of a rabbit, a raccoon, and a dog; and sing a sad song about them. (For years afterward, I would sing this song on Blue Lantern while standing at the wall looking through the trees.)
While playing "crack the whip" as we rode on bikes down hill, Edward threw me from my bike. I hit the pavement and badly scraped my hands and knees. After cleaning the gravel out of my palms in the sink. Mom seated me on the washer while she bandaged me. She said, "The hymen can break from a fall on a bike or any bad fall."
After being in counseling for four months, I awoke from a recurring nightmare of being chased by an axe-man dressed in black, and I went out to the living room. I agonized in prayer, asking God to show me what really happened, and He quickly brought to mind two traumatic episodes. The first one was further enhanced by later drawing the scene. One Sunday afternoon when I was about 7, I did something that warranted a "paddling" from Dad. I had never been paddled before, or afterwards, and I was afraid. He took me up to my room. I was still in my Sunday dress, and he told me to take down my panties. On television I had seen children being paddled on their parent's lap, so I thought it strange when he told me to lie face down on my bed.
He then undid his pants and put his left knee on the bed with his right foot on the floor straddling me. He then anally penetrated me while hitting the bed with the paddle at the same time, almost like a cowboy riding his horse and hitting it to go faster. The paddling sounds justified my screaming and crying. He said something like, "This is what you get for ________; lie there and think about what you've done."
(It was further enhanced during a flashback of it in the counselor's presence, and by later drawing the scene.)
Allen was going to be working a summer job at a winery so he showed his paper route to Edward and me, so that we could take over for him. I was seven and had just completed second grade. Although I was only supposed to deliver papers to the lower half of the route, I continued riding with them all the way to the top street. It was a brisk day with clouds in the sky. After coming back down the first hill, I told them I had to go to the bathroom. Although Allen knew many people along the street to which he delivered papers, he didn't ask one of them if I could use their bathroom. Instead, he said he knew a secret place where no one could see me. The name of the street is Blue Lantern. There was a stone wall on the cliff side. We parked our bikes on the sidewalk and hopped over the wall to a staircase obscured from view of the street. It was mossy and a bit slick with wet leaves from the many eucalyptus trees on the triangular plot of land that adjoined an ugly green two-story house.
The boys went towards the house to relieve themselves, and I went the opposite direction. Facing away from them, I took my pants down to around my ankles, squatted and began urinating. Allen came around in front of me wagging his penis, teasing, "You're going to drink my pee; I saved some just for you." He knocked me over and was wagging his penis in my face when Edward came over still zipping himself up, and then he unzipped his pants again to join in Allen's actions. Allen moved around behind me to give Edward some room. Allen then teased Edward to "Lick her cunt," which he did while Allen held my wrists to the ground by my head with my arms bent. Edward easily pinned my legs by keeping a foot on my pants that were around my ankles. I tried in vain to get Edward off and to release my arms from Allen's grasp. Edward started poking his fingers and/or a stick into my vagina. I passed out.
Next, I recall Allen at the top of the stairs saying in disgust, "I can't believe you fucked your sister, only a geek would do that." Somehow I got dressed and back up the stairs and on my bike. We had just come down the second hill when Edward reached over to hold my hand to further the lie that we were acting like a normal brother and sister. I retracted my hand from him, but he grabbed my arm, throwing me from my bike. I hit the pavement and badly scraped my hands and knees. I cleaned the gravel out of my palms in the sink in the laundry room.
(We revisited the cliff scene twice. The first time was after I had just begun counseling in July `90, and Peter and I were with my Mom, Allen and Adrian. The wall was still there, and I became very quiet as we passed it and went up the hill. My younger brother made comments about the "big butt bush" at the top of the hill. The second time was with my husband and son in January `94 during our move. The wall had been recently torn down and a fence replaces it. The staircase was removed to build a restaurant there.)
The school friend whose house was close to the school, and his brother and sister, and my younger brother and I, were caught playing hide and seek in the nude in my bedroom. Our families never had contact again to my knowledge. While I spent the night with a girlfriend, her dog approached my crotch as I was dressing, and I allowed her dog to lick my vagina.
At school we changed rooms for different subjects. I would massage the female teachers' necks at school and sit in the corner of the playground alone during recess. The teachers read us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I read James and the Giant Peach, also by Roald Dahl, about a boy who is raised by his abusive aunts. James eliminates his aunts and escapes their prison through a magical encounter with the peach. (I counted it as my favorite book until I tried reading it to my son and discovered it was full of abuse.)
I immersed myself in fantasy books. I read a book from the school library about a young girl who was a witch; it contained potions and incantations. The movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" and the TV show "Bewitched" were popular. Witchcraft was portrayed as good and safe and able to solve problems. My favorite movie was "The 5000 fingers of Dr. T.," that had a lot of similarities to my family and my feelings.
Mom was into New Age when it was still called "spiritism". She would occasionally hold seances in the living room, sometimes with Christian ministers. She would recite the Lord's Prayer and then call on the souls of the dead, or have the table rise and tap out an answer. We checked, and there were no strings or tape recorders; it was real.
My third grade report card shows my grades dropping from A's to C's with my dad's signed comment that he is pleased with my progress. On film Edward picks me up to show my buttocks to the camera, and I'm laughing.
My brothers were rough in playing with me, and I would play connect the dots with my bruises while bathing alone. They would also call me names and make sarcastic comments about my appearance and actions. I was bathing with my brother Edward, who was four years older, until this year; I still bathed with my younger brother. We had a great vacation to Washington D.C. and New York.
I had a double bed, and my brothers slept in twin beds in separate rooms. Sometimes if we had a male guest, one brother would give up his bed and sleep with me.
After viewing the family film in 1994, I recalled Edward sleeping with me one night and digitally stimulating me with a circular motion, which was very pleasurable.
At school I enjoyed choir and learning to play the violin. I began writing poems with little tunes. I also liked being a soldier in the class play. The class took a trip to Disneyland, but I chose not to go, and spent the day at school.
In August we traveled to Hawaii and Japan en route to South Korea because Dad got a civil engineering job there. We lived on a missionary compound in a huge house. It was odd having servants, because I did most of the house cleaning at our home in California. It was fun and a little frightening to be in a foreign country. My brothers and I were given a free lesson in tae-kwon-do. Allen spent weeks trying to break his knuckles on a block of wood in order to get good at it.
We took an hour long bus ride to attend school on the military base. There was no choir, and I hated being in the class play as Miles Standish. I had a crush on a boy named Arthur. Dad took Adrian and me to a movie on base called "Three in the Attic" that was about three women who kept a male sex slave chained in the attic. I asked my mom about sex and menstruation, and she drew something on a napkin that I didn't understand.
I remember my Mom was a great hostess. Our birthday parties were full of fun and good food. My wonderful godmother came out to spend Christmas with us as she always did.
One January day I was sitting on top of my bed with one parent standing on either side yelling at each other. My Dad then took Allen into the closest and beat him, and left with our return tickets home. We followed him to the airport by taxi. Adrian ran up to Dad and threw his arms around him, but Dad peeled his arms off and set him down. Dad left us stranded in a foreign country, but Mom recovered our return tickets, and we soon returned home.
Remembered with the help of dreams and EMDR in `92: In South Korea Allen forces me to the floor beside the Christmas tree. He hits me with a block of wood (the one he was using to break his knuckles on for tae-kwon-do) to try to keep from squirming as he molests me. Now it makes sense that Dad beat up Allen after the verbal argument with Mom in my bedroom.
After returning to California, I would often sleep with my mother in her bed and we would sometimes cuddle back to front. I had bought a polished wood carving of a Korean man, the head of which I would stick into my vagina occasionally. I would also stand naked in front of the window hoping someone would desire me.
In May I fell forty feet from a tree, which I'd climbed for years, and was hospitalized for three days. My left heel was fractured, part of the coccyx splintered, a lumbar vertebra was cracked, and my spine and hips were torqued. My mom's mother took care of me for three months while I was bed-ridden, allowing the bone fragments to pass safely out of my body. She brought with her a "cat of nine tails" (a rod with nine thin pieces of leather with knotted ends) that was prominently displayed in the kitchen, and which was used to beat Allen.
I was on crutches during the summer, and not allowed to run the first three months of school. My spine healed crookedly, causing continual muscle strain in my right lower back, but it didn't keep me from enjoying sports. At school I was hated for being smart, but tolerated for being good at softball. Two boys were taunting me. After I knocked the wind out of one of them they left me alone. Two girls threw rocks at me and one rock hit me in the back of the head.
I was tested to see if I could skip a grade, but I remained where I was. I helped write and direct a school play that was full of slapstick comedy. I began to write a lot of poetry, and my English teacher accused me of plagiarizing a poem. I privately put a curse on her that her wig would fall off, and it did slip during that week; and I was terrified of that type of power.
At night I would think really hard about the person and circumstances I wanted to dream about, because I was plagued by repetitive dreams of monsters chasing me through the neighborhood and of my dad taking his scalp off to reveal green goo.
Allen told Adrian and me of one of his sexual escapades with a girl on her period who wouldn't let him pet her. Then he began attending a church, and became a Christian. He began to be nice to Adrian and me, and took us to church with him. Edward also had a Christian experience and began associating with a different group of friends, but he eventually rejected Christianity.
We hadn't heard from Dad since he left us in South Korea. Allen had been driving dad's car, but one day in June he couldn't find it in the school parking lot. Dad had come back and taken it. Mom let Dad sleep outside on the patio furniture for a few weeks. He transplanted old bushes, and cut off a major limb of an old tree that was interfering with phone wires; they all died and had to be removed. Dad came into the house one morning while I was still asleep on Mom's bed. I awakened and lay still and watched him as he took money and jewelry from the dresser. Later we discovered he had removed all the pictures of himself.
About a month later Dad drove up while I was throwing a softball against the wall. He handed me a brown bag of corn with a "let's still be friends" message written on it, and asked me to give it to my mother, and he drove away. During divorce court proceedings, Dad accused me of stealing Mom's engagement ring, which he had recently taken from her jewelry drawer. He said he had twisted a corner of the bag of corn and had placed the ring on it, and that I must have taken it. In court I testified that we still had the bag, and there was no twisted corner; and that the ring was promised to me by Mom when I got older anyway. Afterward, Dad told me to my face that he didn't want the responsibility of us kids, which was manifested when he didn't pay child support.
At school my wit was making me popular and I had a lot of friends in choir, but I didn't feel accepted until I was introduced to the living Lord Jesus in February. A youth pastor gave a sermon on John 21, and I accepted Jesus' death for my pardon and His resurrection for my eternal life with Him. My English teacher encouraged me in writing poetry, and I got one published. My choir teacher was so impressed with the songs I was composing that he let me complete a song he had begun.
I felt unworthy of friendships with kids from normal two-parent families, but awkwardly tried to obtain them anyway. It was much easier to develop friendships with kids from broken families. A commonly asked question on campus was "Which parent do you live with?" My best friend was a girl who was being beaten by her step-father. It never occurred to me to ask an adult for help with anything besides schoolwork.
I was baptized in water in August before my two oldest brothers left for college. I took private voice lessons with the choir teacher during the summer, and I wrote a musical about two Christian girlfriends, myself and a girl I'll call Brenda. I spent the night at her house and lay awake all night wanting to put my arm around her. By morning I finally did just as her mother opened the door to wake us; I felt caught in a horrible act. I tried to find Christian girlfriends who would "mother" me, but there were no takers.
My mom bounced into my room in the nude one Saturday and asked me to go streaking around the block with her. I told her no and went back to sleep. I think Mom and I were both losing touch with reality. I became very depressed. I had trouble distinguishing between dreams and reality. I had one dream where I had thrown desks around a classroom, and I timidly walked in the next day because I didn't know if I had done it or not.
The school had two sessions and was open from 7:00 till 5:00, and I would be there all day when I could get a ride. My former English teacher persuaded me to become class historian. I obtained a pass to go anywhere, anytime, on or off campus. I got rides from my Christian friends at school to go to a nearby Baptist church, and I joined the youth choir -- what a blast!
I thought we were going to move during the summer, but the house didn't sell. My Mom sent Adrian and me off on separate YMCA trips so that she could go on a trip with her boyfriend. During my trip through Canada, I asked a boy to sleep in my tent with me (maybe I missed male closeness), but he declined.
I went on my first double date to Disneyland; we made a quartet and would sing while waiting in line. When the four of us were at my house one day, the other two pinned my arms and legs down so he could kiss me. I fought, but my fantasy of a romantic first kiss was ruined; and I went on as if nothing had happened. Later the girl asked me to give her a massage and to do her chest. Although I avoided her breasts, it still felt wrong.
At school I was nicknamed "the counselor." A note on a bathroom wall called me a homosexual. I gathered it was a jealous accusation from someone who coveted the many friendships I had. I had a boyfriend I'll call Rusty who was 4 years older than I. I let him touch my breasts before I let him kiss me. I developed trouble breathing, most likely from my mom's secondhand smoke, but I still enjoyed choir, softball and volleyball.
We moved to Illinois where my mom had relatives. It seemed like a glorious new start. There was a golf course across the street from us. Mom bought golf lessons for Adrian and me, and we liked the game.
I carried my Bible to school as I'd done in California, but these "Bible belt" kids formed "hate groups" against me. Some schoolboys shouted from a car that to fuck me was only worth a quarter. Despite my worsening asthma, I made all-state choir and the softball team. Allen visited during Christmas and bought me a study Bible. I began studying at least a chapter a day beginning at Genesis, and I finished Revelation two and a half years later. When Allen and I visited a church, they directed us to the young married's class.
The doctors suggested I move back to the Southwest, so Mom moved near some old friends of hers in Arizona. We painted and landscaped the house in the summer heat. I began four years of allergy desensitization shots. Mom's boyfriend of two years was planning to marry her after one more motorcycle vacation with his friends, but he died tragically in the desert.
I tried out for and made the volleyball team and the choir. As an initiate into the choir I was kidnapped from home one night and taken to a party. I realized it was all in fun, but it was still unsettling. I made all-state choir again.
I took Adrian to church with me and he became a Christian.
I took the bus to visit friends in southern California. One took me to a church where I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Because of my Baptist training, I was reluctant to speak in tongues. I silently asked God to let me cry as a sign, because I hadn't cried since a P.E. teacher died in 8th grade. I also asked for more love and sensitivity. The pastors did not know me, but the one who laid hands on me said he'd never felt such love and sensitivity, and tears streamed down my face. I came home with Allen and his bride to be. I later attended a Bible camp.
I was part of the "I found It" campaign, and wore the button to school. Girls from the volleyball team toilet papered my house and left a banner saying, "She's found it and can keep it." I was cut from the team. (I later found out from a girl who had become a Christian after years of having homosexual relations with the coach, that I was cut because I was a Christian.)
I started dating a "Christian" boy who, after a few dates, wanted sex, so I told him good-bye. The youth pastor asked if I was involved in homosexuality based upon my short hair, my low voice, and my hugging mostly girls. I told him "No," and he asked me to stop hugging people, to which I complied. (Years later I found out parents had complained to him about the "excessive" amount of hugging within the youth group, and that he had asked many to stop.)
I began taking piano lessons and voice lessons, and I took an arranging course from the band teacher; I was also involved in six choirs. After participating in all-state choir, I became very sick with bronchitis once again. I was trying to determine which college major to pursue. I argued with God against music because my health made my voice so unpredictable, and I felt He replied, "Precisely, you'll have to depend upon Me."
I was a counselor at a Bible camp during a few weeks of the summer.
I lived at home and attended ASU pursuing a music therapy major. The head teacher became ill and the major was canceled, so I switched to music education.
During the Christmas break of my freshman year at ASU, I attended a Christian conference in Urbana, IL. There I felt strongly that I should pursue reaching one of the most difficult groups -- the Muslims of North Africa. I felt in order to "honor my parents" I needed their permission to pursue this. I wrote my dad for permission to become a missionary to North Africa. He responded negatively, but did not forbid me to go, and he sent over one thousand dollars for my dowry (which I later asked to use to take the trip to Europe).
My voice teacher rightly determined that anyone who could vocalize to 'G' above high 'C' was a soprano. She sent me to a speech therapist to help me raise my speaking voice, which I was unable to do. She also asked me to sing soprano in choir for a semester, which I found extremely difficult and dissatisfying. But it was to my advantage as the choir that was traveling to the USSR and Poland that summer already had enough altos, so I sang soprano. (I have observed several female incest survivors speaking below their natural pitch. Natural pitch can be discovered when responding "uh-huh" while speaking.)
The choir tour to the USSR and Poland was amazing. I was able to tell a Polish man, through an interpreter, that my father's family came from Poland, and that I thought Polish people were beautiful and strong, and should not be the source of cruel jokes. Tears streamed down the man's face.
I worked at a Christian camp the rest of that summer. I was living with eight other girls in a cabin who weren't quite as modest as I, and it was bothering me to view their nakedness. I confided in a pastor I knew and respected that I had a fear of homosexuality. He avoided the whole issue and told me that since I wasn't very pretty, only a small margin of men would be interested in me, and to hope for the best.
I lived in a dorm on campus and worked as a math tutor at below minimum wage. I received a lot of encouragement from tutors and professors to be a math teacher, and eventually changed my major to elementary education with specializations in math and music. It was my last year in ASU's excellent choir, but I was beginning to burn out singing classical music. After withdrawing from a guitar class, I taught myself how to play folk guitar, and sang and played in a talent show. I began learning the contemporary Christian worship songs, and led an elementary choir at church. I spent Christmas vacation at home, and while sick with bronchitis, I scored a choral version of Nehemiah.
I was discipling a girl I'll call Ann, who was one year younger than I. I invited her to spend the night with me at the dorm because my roommate was out of town over a holiday. After we prayed, said good night, and climbed into our own cots, Ann pulled off my sheets, laid on top of me, put her arms around me and kissed me about the face for a few minutes. I was frozen with fear, and neither moved nor spoke. Though I later talked with her several more times, I never mentioned the incident.
I worked at the Christian camp again during the summer, and on the way home was rear-ended by a drunk driver, but there was no severe damage.
I was fully into an educational program that placed me in elementary schools in the morning, and in college classes in the afternoon. I was also part of a math research project to determine the types of tutoring found to be most successful in helping students with specific problems. I began helping with high school students at a church in Mesa.
With the accompanist from my sophomore year, I gave a concert of my own compositions at a Christian eatery. Though I was well received and asked to return, I didn't find it as satisfying as I thought it would be. When I presented a tape of the concert to the music minister at church for his opinion, his only comment was that I had an intonation problem.
Adrian left for college, and Mom sold the house and moved to Colorado. I lived with an older woman I'll call Jan during the summer and continued to tutor math. I took courses to enable me to graduate early.
During my senior semester I fulfilled my student teaching requirements while living in a house off campus with three other ASU women. Mom flew out for my birthday. I received a B.A. in Elementary Education with minors in Math and Music from ASU in December, and immediately left for two weeks of missionary adjudication. I registered 100% dominant and hostile on a personality test, and was told to return to my church for counseling (advice I did not follow).
By January I was living with a family in Scottsdale and substitute teaching. I finished the last three months teaching junior high math in a situation that three other teachers gave up on.
That summer I volunteered at Food For The Hungry in Scottsdale, AZ to see if their emergency shelters were livable at desert temperatures. We carried our own water to our make-shift showers, caught and ate rattlesnake, had evaporative cooling systems for refrigeration, dug ditches, made clay ovens, and had a great experience.
After my church in Arizona told me they had no intention of sending me as a missionary, I visited my brother Allen in California, and ended up staying. It was a community house in which other single men and women lived. Allen was an elder in an independent church which the household members attended. The church would worship and do street witnessing in Santa Cruz on the mall that was destroyed (I think with God's full intent) in the `89 earthquake. Santa Cruz, "Holy Cross" in Spanish, is known for its witchcraft and rebellion; there is a First Church of Satan there. Though many of the homeless wanderers were alcoholics and addicts and ex-mental patients in need of their medicine, I also encountered real demoniacs and learned how to deal with them according to the Bible.
Dad and his wife came for a brief visit. Allen and his wife went out with them to a restaurant and returned saying, "Dad had his head in his pants all night talking about sex."
I became a pre-school teacher at an Assembly of God church. My hands started going numb, probably due to all the bending, and I sought chiropractic care (which neither the chiropractor nor I believe in anymore). I began wearing a 5 mm heal lift in my left shoe, which has helped me immensely. I began attending the church where I worked, and I knew I would have to decide between this church and my brother's church. I met a tomboy named Ti there and befriended her.
At Christmas I went to Mom's house in Colorado with a parent and her son from the pre-school. The boy was demon-possessed. At school he choked teachers, told them he was going to kill them, and said that he hated Jesus. We would pray in the Spirit to keep him under control, and I thought I could handle the trip. I didn't consider the mother might also be possessed until she told me of the time in Brazil as a teenager when she let a demon into her life. We were almost killed a couple of times. (Not a situation I would willingly place myself in again.) A year later the boy burned down his home. I saw his mom after that and she returned my Christian tapes that I had left in her car.
One afternoon when I took a nap I felt a "dark demon" on top of me, immobilizing me. It's what some would call an incubus, a sexual demon that is on top, but I now know it was a flashback.
One evening the house members had been praying I would stay at the little church, and I chose to do so. I told Ti and she left, only to return later saying her roommate had locked her out. I told her I had nothing to offer her. I was emotionally depleted and there wasn't a vacant room in the house. Allen let her stay. The next day her heart problem started acting up, and I suddenly found myself responsible for an adult woman my own age. I wanted her out of my life, and suggested she go back to her family in Oregon. But after a month of holding her and praying for her, I ended up returning with her to Oregon for a visit.
Instead of allowing me to use her sister's vacant room, Ti and I slept together on a sofa bed in the living room. We lay there while her parents watched an X-rated movie late one night. We slept together naked one night and I let her suck at my breast and we kissed. In the morning I called the only Christian friend she had introduced me to up there and told her what happened, but I didn't know she was also involved in homosexuality. Ti had spent the money we needed for gas to get home, and we continued to be physical until we got home two weeks later.
It took me a couple of weeks to tell my brother. Within that time Ti and I had gotten to the point where she stuck her finger up into my vagina and I thanked her for "being obedient" (I still don't know where that come from.). He and the church were forgiving, but we received no counseling, and remained in the same house and same church together. I was hoping Allen would force Ti to leave, but he didn't based upon the fact that she made less money than I did and would have a more difficult time finding lodging.
During this same time, I was dating a divorced man who asked me to marry him; I declined. One day when I asked to speak privately to Allen about the relationship, he replied, "Why, are you pregnant?" I was incensed that he would think so low of me, but I didn't overtly react to his accusation. I was also counseling a transvestite who finally chose to live as a man again. What a whirlwind (Hosea 8:7)!
That same summer a group of us (including Ti and the divorced man) went to San Francisco for a week to worship and witness on the tough streets there, like Haight-Ashbury and the Tenderloin. I was in sin, yet preaching the good news of God's forgiveness. It's amazing how a messenger of the gospel can be engaged in sin, yet God still honors His message unto the salvation of others.
I remember a young Satanist who tried to disrupt the worship, but later he gave his life to Jesus. The change in his face was remarkable. If I hadn't seen him before and after conversion, I wouldn't have recognized him as the same young man.
I was hired by a Christian school at another Assembly of God church to teach sixth grade. I was driving an unsightly wreck. I needed Allen to co-sign with me to get a new car. We glanced at a stick-shift sportscar in the lobby. Allen commented, "That's for people with a phallic obsession."
I spent long hours at school that first year, and had a very difficult class to control. I had a Mormon and a Buddhist in my class whom both accepted Jesus by the end of the year. I started playing racquetball at the club across from the school; it afforded me a much needed release. I taught the kids Jewish folk dances, but was told to stop because dancing wasn't allowed.
I began to lead worship for a couple who were holding meetings at a Santa Cruz park near the Boardwalk. The couple had been previously kicked out of the church for their "doctrine of demons", but I needed to get away from Ti. One Sunday the wife asked me to give motherly comfort to a woman a little older than I. I didn't feel led to do so, but, after her prodding, I gave in. Afterward I talked to this lady I'll call Cindy about her strained relationship with her mother. The outdoor meetings ended with the rain.
I began attending a Baptist church and hit it off with the single's worship leader whom I'll call Pam. I saved up enough money to move in with her and another girl. Ti showed up at the church and started using Pam as a go between. Pam's pastor called me in because he didn't want his worship leader involved in such a mess; he did not offer any help for Ti or me.
The `84 Olympics in L.A. were inundated by hundreds of street ministers. The police reports during that month show drastic declines in violence and crime even though they had expected increases. I was leading worship for a team of 30 on Venice Beach, another magnet for demoniacs, and we saw 70 people commit their lives to Jesus amidst healings, words of knowledge, and other miracles. Ti followed me there, but she didn't follow me when I began attending a Foursquare church.
My next class of sixth graders was a real joy. They loved drama. They performed many skits and plays, and even did junior versions of Shakespeare.
Pam and I traveled across country during the summer. We camped at breath-taking Zion National Park in Utah before a visit to Scottsdale. Then we camped and visited state capitol buildings until we reached Washington D.C., where we celebrated the Fourth of July with my dad and his wife on the steps of the nation's capitol. We left them in Atlantic City, and continued to Michigan. We stayed there for a month planning Pam's upcoming wedding. I learned to water-ski. We were together the whole summer. At her parents' house we slept in her double bed together, often cuddling back to front. I was too emotionally involved with Pam. When we returned I moved in with a woman I'll call Mara.
Cindy showed up at the Church on the Coast and we began a friendship. I told her what physical rules I had imposed on myself in my relationships with women, but over the months each was violated. We were kissing for about a month, and she asked me to lay naked with her once (which I did hesitantly). Then I called off the relationship, but it was another month before she stopped calling me.
My last sixth grade class had several very sweet and sensitive children in it. While previewing a teacher's edition science book, I read women could masturbate and bring themselves to orgasm. I praised God that I didn't discover this until after the homosexual relationship was terminated. By December I was telling people I was going to be married soon, because God would meet my (sexual) needs. I met Peter the day the space shuttle, "Challenger" crashed in January. Our first date was arranged by friends, and I told him up front of my recent homosexual sins (of which he had already been informed). We later had some counseling sessions with a couple I had confided in earlier. The husband was preparing for his state exams for his marriage and family counseling license.
Peter was and is a wonderful gentleman. He decided to be my friend, and continued to date others, but found I was the best match for him. We were engaged by May. Our courtship was very romantic: long walks on the beach, flying kites while picnicking, long drives along the coast, and violins at fancy restaurants. He wrote a proposal song and sang it to me at the San Jose Center for the Arts fountain before we saw a ballet. He also later designed our wedding rings in wax and had them made. He even came to my class and demonstrated several computer programs for the students.
Peter and I were married in August. The day we returned from our honeymoon, Mara called upset that I was leading worship for the women's meeting so soon after committing homosexual sin. Peter and I told her I had repented and been cleansed eight months earlier. We told her it was in the past and we didn't want to discuss it. The women's meeting leaders were aware of my past and still asked me to serve. Mara went to the pastor who only knew of the incident with Ti when I was 22. He disregarded my repentance and told us we were not to be in any ministry and that I could not lead worship. He did not offer any counseling or hope of restoration. Guilt and fear of homosexuality inundated me again.
We spent Thanksgiving at Allen's house. He made unwelcome sexual comments to his wife like, "Maybe it's time to get the whip and chains out. Who's turn is it to be tied up?" She saw our discomfort and told him to stop it.
In 1987 we helped start an offshoot of the Church on the Coast in Cupertino. Within a year Peter and I both felt God saying we should leave the church, but we chose not to believe we were hearing God's voice.
I taught P.E. and math at a public junior high. I was shocked at the behavior which the parents and the principal allowed there. The students were often screaming about their rights. Thanks to the Rutherford Institute and The Freedom of Religious Expression in Public Universities and High Schools by John Whitehead, I knew my rights as a Christian teaching in the public school system. Some kids said I had no right to have my Bible on my desk, but the tracks I left on my desk slowly disappeared anyway. It was my last year of teaching in the classroom, and I began tutoring at a private school. I had been suffering from appendicitis for months, and in the summer an operation revealed it had ruptured, and that it was a miracle I was alive. As I recuperated, I scored the accompaniment to my previous vocal score of Nehemiah and produced a tape.
I began singing with the worship team, and the pastor who was leading it openly admitted he wanted to "squash" me musically but didn't know why.
A single woman lived with us, whom I'll call Denise. In October Peter and I went on a 3 day cruise to Mexico from L.A., (I can hardly wait to go on another one). No time pressures or money worries, just pleasant company and as much fun and relaxation you want.
When a different associate pastor took over the worship team, I thought it would be great, but we continually had squabbles over musicalities and legalities. The senior pastor, Brett, openly admitted he didn't like my voice or the way I played any instruments or the songs I wrote.
I became pregnant in August, but lost the baby in October after I quit volunteering my time doing secretarial work for the church.
I began trying to get my songs published, but to no avail.
Denise and another woman lived with us for half the year.
In February we became pregnant again, and I started thinking about how to raise our new child, and how I was raised. I didn't like thinking about my parents.
At a women's retreat in March I obediently cut off my relationship with Pam (with whom I'd been corresponding) and God set me free again from the fear of homosexuality. He also showed me I could take down my perfectionist's wall of false strength and stability. As it came down over the months, I was delightfully surprised to see I really was a godly woman after all.
Allen decided to have a family reunion of sorts at his home. He had previously given me the old family films, so I had them transferred to video and made copies for everyone. As I viewed the tape I became frightened and nauseous; it was disturbing to watch.
I gave Peter a video camera for his birthday, and he taped the family reunion in June, 1990. (My counselor in `93 said that tape probably had enough evidence to cause a judge to suspect my oldest brother of sexual abuse. Several times he told neices and nephews, "You have buggars in your nose and wax in your ear," fixating on orafices. He often grabbed the children. He lifted one nephew up, pulled up the boy's shirt, and then rubbed the boy's belly with his day old beard.)
Though I hadn't watched afternoon talk shows which were buzzing with charges of sexual abuse, I began to wonder if there had been incest in my family. Peter and I were leaders in the church, and had counseled many people, but now I was seeking help. In our dysfunctional church there was an unwritten rule that you shouldn't seek counseling outside the church, so I went to see pastor Brett.
As we talked I felt like he was finally relieved to have some information he could use against me. I cried in his presence for the first time. Brett must have thought my tears meant I had finally submitted to him, and he said, "You know, I'm going to go home and listen to your tapes. I bet I'll like them now." In the church office he just hated it when I would be right or come up with a better idea. I started adding up all the negative occurrences with the pastor that we were just glossing over with "he's young and inexperienced." Five strong Christian couples had left the church because of difficulties with him over the previous three years, and we were next.
After the first couple of months in counseling, I remembered Brett would look at my bosom when I was secretary at the church office, and how I stopped wearing certain tops to somehow discourage him. I also remember Brett swatted my behind walking by me at church after I had confided some of my weaknesses to him.
Another couple from the Council had also confronted Brett about his heavy-handed rule, so we approached him together, and he easily turned the other couple back to his side (the husband was a young convert). Then we asked for an emergency meeting to discuss things. It was nasty. The associate pastor, whom I witnessed to years earlier when he was a hippie, said to my gentle husband, "What you're saying is of the devil!" And Brett accused me of being demon-possessed with the spirit of Jezebel (this is a common saying in most cults). Though I laughed at the time, I spent the summer researching what the Bible had to say about demon-possession. We left the church that night. Denise couldn't decide if I was demon-possessed or not, so we asked her to leave.
Brett phoned Peter at work for days to try to convince him he was being misguided by his wife's demon. We talked with another couple who was leaving, and then received a blackmail letter from Brett that he would ruin our reputation if we didn't stop talking to people. We considered taking him to court, but decided to just notify the denomination's district supervisor, who did nothing.
We also sent a letter detailing the spiritual abuse to pastor Boone, the head of the Church on the Coast. He replied that we were being "insubordinate". (The FBI has been aware of its activities since 1990. The new denominational district supervisor began looking into the case in 1995.)
We immediately began attending a large Assembly of God church, and we also began counseling with a state trained and licensed group that had offices at the church. I didn't want to be prayed for or have scripture read to me. I was very angry at God and confused about the promises in His Word. I was distraught and depressed, but tenaciously held on to my faith. In a few months I offered to lead songs during adult Sunday school. We later confronted the teacher for teaching "once saved, always saved" doctrine in a church that does not subscribe to it.
I finished a classical song for my third music tape in September. Two weeks later I got my first memories of incest. The next Sunday when I got up to sing, I couldn't; it was as if I were being choked. I really don't know which was worse for me, the memories or losing my singing voice. At least the memories would help me begin to heal.
Andrew was born November 7th. Peter notified family members; there was no way I could have talked to them. Peter stayed home with me for a whole week while I adjusted to our wonderful baby, and I was back to pre-baby weight.
My counselor suggested Peter and I refrain from sex for a few months to make things easier on me, and then to gradually become physically intimate again. Though it might have been reasonable according to 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, we didn't feel comfortable with it. It felt as if she was trying to get us to react according to the book.
Because Peter looked at my past as "our problem," we worked through the sexual flashbacks together, and he helped me to stay focused on the present. I'm very thankful for my godly husband. The book When Victims Marry, by Jan Frank was very helpful during this process.
My counselor kept pushing me to have a meeting with my oldest brother as the means to divulge the family secrets and gain a response. But my body was becoming almost paralyzed. No position was comfortable, and walking was difficult. By May I could hardly lift my arm to brush my teeth. I decided to write a letter to my whole family simultaneously, describing the first two memories of incest I recalled. In it I included my forgiveness, but I stipulated restoration of a relationship with me could only be possible if they repented, and I was only willing to correspond with them unto that end. I sent the letters by certified mail, and I could barely make my arm move to write the addresses on the labels. That night at a camp out, my arm was in so much pain that I asked to go home.
Both my oldest brother and my mom disregarded my request for letters (establishment of a personal boundary), and Peter took their calls. Allen confessed to Peter about parts of the molestation I described, which included both him and my brother Edward. Edward could not recall it, though he tried. Everyone responded with denial of incest, and with doubts and accusations of me. I received the most gracious letter from my non-Christian brother, Edward, who was even willing to start a new relationship with me. With gratitude I declined, because I didn't want to just use him as a source of information about the past and I didn't have the strength to deal with his anti-Christian views. I wisely let my husband read the letter from my dad. He then let my counselor read it; she said it made her cry and she agreed with my husband that I needn't read it at that time.
After I sent the letter I began having difficulty swallowing. In August a piece of raw carrot lodged in my throat and I had esophageal cramping the rest of the day when I ate. Upper GI's revealed nothing. [After recalling the memory of oral sex, I understood the shape of a raw, whole carrot reminded me of my Dad's penis being forced into my mouth.]
By August of 1991 I had regained thirty pounds while nursing. I asked for a thyroid panel, and was immediately put on thyroid pills, but I still haven't lost that weight. Low thyroid can cause weight gain and depression. Andrew was thriving; I stopped nursing on his first birthday. I saw ear, nose, throat doctors who could see nothing wrong with my vocal cords.
Peter went to a secular seminar for spouses of incest victims, and came home very appreciative of my strength.
In Spring of `92 Peter and I joined a counseling group for the sexually abused which met for twelve weeks. There were two other couples and four single women, all of whom were Christians. Besides meeting as a group, we had individual counseling as well. My individual sessions consisted of using EMDR for memory recall. It was an especially helpful time. I felt strong enough to read my dad's letter. It was craftily cruel and demeaning and threatening. In my nightmares he was the axe-man, often dressed in black; now that personality was written out by his own hand.
In June we moved closer to Peter's work in Redwood City. Peter had been commuting for 5 years, and we'd finally had enough. Now he could walk to work once again. We worked on Bible Builder, an IBM computer game, together; it was a lot of fun. In the Fall I began college courses to keep my AZ teaching credential current. I took a computer programming course, a nutrition course, and a voice class.
The voice teacher was wonderful. Peter gave me a gift of private voice lessons with her for several months. She helped restore my confidence and hope of clearing the breaks from my low and mid range. I actually performed a song without breaking, leading me to think maybe it is mostly emotional, and maybe further counseling would help.
In January of 1993 I joined another counseling group for sexually abused women. The counselor was very complimentary to me, and encouraged me in writing this book. I counseled with her privately for a few months. I was concerned for my niece and nephew born to Allen, and the fact that he taught at a Christian school. I decided to obey the new CA law and report him. My counselor assured me that since it was an adolescent molestation charge of so many years ago, that the social services would not act upon it unless other more current reports had been filed. Allen called in hysterics two days after the report was filed. Peter took the call and tried to calm him down because Allen felt the social service people were needlessly traumatizing his children with their questions. Adrian later told me Allen was cleared.
In July we made a temporary move en route to southern CA, and lived among boxes. Andrew enjoyed making new friends and going to the park. I enjoyed doing Bible research for Captain Bible, another computer game, as well as the music.
Before we moved to southern California, I sent letters to my two Christian brothers, Allen and Adrian, to say I wanted to make a clean break. I told them they wouldn't be hearing from me again, and that I entrusted them and their families to God's care. Adrian called before we left. We discussed the episode where Allen (then age 13) admitted to wagging his penis in my face and threatening to make me drink his "pee" when he was thirteen, and Edward (age twelve) prodded and explored my (age eight) vagina. Adrian tried to minimize it in hopes I would drop the whole matter and be reconciled to my family without their need to repent.
Adrian refused to acknowledge the molestation and incest. I told him I have no fellowship with those who consider me to be a liar or crazy. (Jesus was accused of both by religious people of His faith with whom He chose to have no fellowship.)
Months later, one of Adrian's Christian friends wrote me to say how cruel it was of me to divorce my family. I wrote a letter expressing my outrage, but decided not to send it. I've found that once a person has chosen sides, there's nothing you can say or do to move them; so it's best to let them go. But in a way, I did need to have a legal written notice of separation (divorce) from the "illegal marriages" (incest) in my family.
Our location by the ocean has been a writer's paradise. The apartment manager's wife just happened to be a Christian editor who has given me much encouragement and direction. I thank God for the year there.
By God's grace we have moved into our first home. I have taken the time to focus on my past and reclaim my true self. I was greatly encouraged when I rediscovered friends in the area from high school days. I am helping my husband as he and his team develop a Christian multi-media curriculum. Dissatisfied with current phonics programs, I was inspired to create my own. Writing children's poetry was a joyous change from my book. Homeschooling our son was a delightful challenge.
My husband and I became more and more dissatisified with traditional church. I could no longer sit through a lecture, nor could I teach the lifeless curriculum, or get excited about another program. We wanted real relationships with God and other believers. We were tired of "going" to church, and "having" church. After much study and prayer we decided to "be" church (two or more believers gathered in Christ's Name and His authority alone). Peter started a Home Church Page on the Internet, and our lives have been enriched by brethren we have never met in person.
I actually have whole days of happiness without regret or guilt. My present is full of joy and peace, and I look forward to exploring every new day with Jesus.
I enjoyed working on Color Phonics being yoked together with Jesus. His burden is truly easy and light. Many have already been helped by the product, and it's gospel stories are reaching places I could never go. Praise God for His marvelous works.
Over the years of writing this book, I have shared portions with friends and strangers who have been blessed. I hope you are blessed as well.
© 1997 L. Eve Engelbrite