I have finally unraveled my deep, dark secret. It is much worse, much sadder than being 'abused' in the usual sense, because it took my trust and my belief that I could be safe and smacked it down over and over and over again. Now that I know, now that I have let myself remember, I have to keep repeating to myself that 'you were just a little girl, it wasn't your fault' and to a large extent, 'it wasn't his fault, either, he was just a little boy'.
I don't know at what age this all started but probably around the time I was 7 or so. My male cousin, also an only child, was two years my senior. I looked up to him like a big brother. Even when he got me in trouble, or trashed one of my toys, I still loved him. And the adults around would usually just let it go, because they felt sorry for him, with his alcoholic mother and perverted, abusive father. He was rarely punished, and usually when he was he retaliated in some way. I was punished on a routine basis, for things wasn't even in the room to do. I was as innocent and gullible as they come. I always looked for the good....I realize that now, even though I wouldn't have been old enough to recognize it then.
Anyway, my cousin began touching me, asking me to touch him. I didn't know any better at the time, and as I said, I looked up to him. This was an ongoing theme throughout my childhood and teenage years as well. The worst part of it all was what it did to my view of myself, and consequently, how others responded to me. Self-worth, trust, self-esteem, right, wrong, all of it....very much a mess. I touched other children....sometimes they touched me back, sometimes they told their parents, sometimes both. I was rewarded and punished for my behavior, and never once did I admit where I got such ideas. I'm not sure anyone ever asked. I don't think they wanted to know. I see now that I was never able to have a normal relationship....I was so confused about love and trust and sex. I spent most of my youth 'belonging' to my cousin. Because at some point, I quit looking for the adult to come and save me....I realized it was never going to happen, and this was just the way it was going to be until I was old enough and strong enough to change it....about the time I was 17....so for 10 years this was going on, and nobody said a fucking thing. In fact, there were many times that we were just thrown together, to sleep together, to live alone together, etc. At one point we talked about getting married or pretending to be, since we didn't think anyone would want us...we realized that we were too messed up to have normal, loving relationships.
I can't begin to tell you how far down I had stuffed this. When I was touched inappropriately by my father and then by my step-father (I was 18 by then), I absolutely did not allow anything to happen. Yet I would use these two instances as reason for my subsequent self-abuse. I didn't consider what happened between my cousin and I as wrong or a reason for me to be screwed up, in comparison to what I now consider 'the dads' disgusting behavior. I think the reality is that 'the dads' supplied the last two nails in my coffin....leaving me standing there with nothing to do but try and fuck over every man I could.
But enough for today...Seeing this written in words is very validating for me. I was just a little girl, and I swear, I can't tell you where the grown-ups were or what they were doing that allowed such a thing to start and continue for a decade. Kind of amazing, wouldn't you say?