There's been a question rolling around my head for the last couple of weeks. Once my mother realized that her husband was sexually abusing both of her daughters, at what point did she decide to double down in his defense? When did she decide that it wasn't his fault and, thusly, she needed to find ways to blame us for the abuse?
Was it a conscience decision? Was it some kind of base, animal instinct?
On my 24th birthday, she told me - word for word - that she knew that if she'd gone to the court-ordered therapy, complied with the social workers, that she'd get her children back.
And she also told me, on my 24th birthday, that she knew that would lead her to lose her husband. She outright stated that she knew she had to make a choice. That choice, as history shows, was to pick her husband over her children. She admitted as much, in direct words.
But this was years after the fact. I now wonder about the mental gymnastics she was performing at the time. Was there ever any fight in her about who to choose? Did she feel, in any way, that she SHOULD have chosen us, and had to work to abandon that idea?
Or was it a snap reaction, an immediate fury directed at her daughters? Did she genuinely feel that we were to blame, right off the bat? Was there ever any doubt in her about who the villain was? Did she struggle, or was the fault so embedded in her children that she didn't even think to question her own motives, let alone those of her husband's?
What was the thought process? How did she get from "my husband is making sex toys out my children" to ""and I have to find a way to pin it on my children"? What sorts of things did she have to tell herself in order to BELIEVE that her husband wasn't at fault for his actions? What was the belief structure that made her so certain that her husband was the victim and WE, as children, were the villains?
These are questions that will never be answered, not to satisfaction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of abuse is that the questions will forever linger. They haunt the far-reaching corners of the mind like a ghost in a long ago forgotten attic. We can eventually stop searching for the answers, but the questions will always remains.
In her mind, who was truly the villain?