Thursday, August 16, 2007

Made the call...

I did it. I talked with my brother, Johnny. I called not long after Todd (my husband) left for an appointment. He would have stayed, but I needed to do this alone. I don't know why - I guess I just felt better not having someone listening in.

I left messages for johnny at his home/office and on his cell. He called me right back. I feel like I bumbled through (so many things I would have said differently, more composedly, but maybe it was better this way.) I started by saying that he knew I had an eating disorder and was seeing a therapist. Well, I remembered some things from our childhood and Tom confirmed them.

"what things?"

"Tom molested me."



And then in typical Johnny fashion, "I didn't do anything, did I?"*

I reassured him that he didn't.

"Well, I didn't know anything about it."

Yeah, I know. Tom and I were alone when it happened.

So then I told him that I feel like I'm living a lie and I'm sick of it. And then I asked him about how I should tell mom and dad.

I could see him rear up from 400 miles away. "Why do you have to tell them? You should talk to a counselor, I'm not a counselor. What did your counselor tell you to do? You're just going to stir things up. But if you need it to be stirred up, ..."

I said that I am talking to a therapist and that he won't tell me what to do - he just helps me figure out what I'm feeling and why. I said that it hurts every time that mom and dad talk about Tom. Understandably.

"Well, they probably talk about the girls more." "It happened years ago; it's between you and Tom. They don't need to know."

True, but they bring up Tom.

"Well, then tell mom and dad not to talk about Tom. Or whatever you want them to do. But don't get into the details."

Then I asked, "But what if they ask why?"

"Tell them you don't want to talk about it."

I told him that he wasn't telling me anything that I didn't already think about.

He said he'd call me back later when we could talk some more (it sounded like someone was coming or one of his dogs needed attention or something...)

And then, right when we were about to hang up, he said, "Take care of yourself."

I replied, "You, too." And I really meant it.

And then I started crying. Sobbing. I walked into my room and laid on my bed and hugged my pillow and cried. And for once, I didn't try to figure out why. I started to, but then stopped myself. I just let the tears come. Let the sobs rack my body.

Then I got up after a few minutes, grabbed a few tissues and then asked Dusty (my furry canine son) if I could hold him. He's a Lhasa Apso - almost 10 years old and rather crotchedy most of the time. He imprinted on Todd, not me; he doesn't often cuddle with me. But with some token protest growls, he snuggled with me on the couch. I pet him while I let more tears come. More sobs out.

And after a few minutes of that, I took a few deep breaths and started to write this post. I needed to get it all down while it was fresh in my mind, you know?

I was right - Johnny is a great guage for how my parents would react.

He took it better than I thought he would - he didn't tell me that I was nuts or anything. He took what I said seriously.
And he didn't tell me anything that I hadn't already thought about - what good would telling mom and dad do? etc.

But I feel better having told Johnny. Someone else in my family knows besides Tom and me.

I feel a little lighter - like a tiny bit of this burden has been lifted.

And I have to say that I'm proud of myself for letting myself cry - and especially for not trying to figure out why. I just felt the wave of emotions and rode the tears that came with it. [That was something else that John mentioned last night that would be good for me to do more often. (Although he specifically said that I shouldn't bottle up my emotions in front of others, particularly Todd. He said it would be healthy for me to feel my emotions fully in front of him.)]

Anyway, "the first transport is away.**" I took another step.

And I think I'll wait to talk to John again (in two weeks) before taking any more major ones.

I didn't send the email to Tom yet. Not sure I'm going to, at least not until I figure out what (if anything) I'm going to do about my parents. Johnny won't say a word to anyone, I know that - he doesn't tell anyone anything ever (more or less.)

* I'm paraphrasing for most of johnny's quotes - I remember some things exactly, but most I remember the jist of what was said...

** Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back reference.


Faith said...

You are so brave. You are such an amazingly strong woman. You were violated and you told. And then you told again. And you confronted your abuser and you told your brother.

cry. Scream. Do what you feel. You DESERVE it. You deserve to have self-care. Not just now but always - but especially now.

I'm listening Jeanne!

Jeanne said...

Thank you SO much, faith!!!

I just got off the phone with my husband - he is super proud of me too.

I feel so much better.

So much so, that after I finish my snack, I'm going to put my swim suit on and go to the pool for a little while before picking up my son from camp. You're right - I do deserve to take care of myself and especially the little jeanne inside (ugh, I can just hear all the bad puns that that comment will hatch... lol)

I'm so glad that I have you, here with me.

lots of love,

æ said...

yes, little jeanne and grown jeanne both deserve lots of consideration and care right now.

here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to go back in time and I'm going to whisper in johnny's ear exactly what he should have said to you, because you deserve a loving response:

"jeanne, oh my god. let me sit down. it's just that...I'm so upset for you."

"How are you doing?"

"Are you okay? Are you safe? This must be really, really hard."

"Is there anything I can do right now to help?"

"What would it feel good to hear? I want to be there for you."

"Jeanne, I'm not sure what mom and dad will say or do, but if you decide you want to tell them, you can count on me to support you however you need. Please let me know what would feel right to you in terms of support and I will be there."

"I'm so touched that you shared this with me. That was very courageous of you. I can't imagine living through that, then living with Tom all those years, and then keeping this a secret for so long. I am terribly, terribly sorry this happened to you. I love you."

me too (love you, that is). good work today jeanne,


Jeanne said...

Wow, ae. If my brother had said all that, I think my heart would have stopped. And then, when it kicked back into action, I would have asked, "Who are you and where is the pod from whence you came?" [chuckle turns into frown]

Sad, isn't it? That I have such low expectations from the people I have called family my whole life.

Of course, towards the end of our conversation, johnny asked again, "I didn't do anything to you, did I?"

I responded, "No. You were an asshole, but hey, that's who you are."

Johnny agreed, "That's right. It's who I am."

We both half-chuckled.

Sad, though, isn't it... [sigh] such is my family.

All things considered, my brother's response was good (by my family's standards, anyway.) I'm amazed at how much lighter (a bit of this burden has been lifted) I feel, happier. My sense of humor is back. "Hello, sweet irony, delightful wit, marvelous sarcasm. How I missed you all." 8-)

Thank you, ae. I love you too and am so glad you are here for me!

æ said...

such is my family too.

I wish we both had it different, and I really do wish those words could've come from him--they were the response you deserved to hear.

take care today, and this weekend, promise??


roark said...


so brave, so strong. this is a wonderful step.

i am so happy for you, for summoning the courage and doing this, for taking the time afterwards to feel it to sit and feel it and process it.

you are courageous.

i'm so glad you feel lighter. you earned that, jeanne. good work.


Sarah said...

Oh Jeanne! I'm in tears, too. I am so AWED by what you did today. I'm so proud of you. You're a brave, strong woman.

And I'm glad the day is almost over.

I hope you sleep well tonight.


Charlynn said...

I'm so proud of you for taking that brave first step. The hardest part is over!

Faith said...

Hey sister. I hope you're asleep while I'm writing this but in case you're not, I'm awake. It's 245 pacific time and I thought I'd check in and see how you're doing this morning.

feel free to email me if you want. soqueer at gmail dot com.

xo you brave-tastic woman you.


em said...

wow - you blow me away... if I had an ounce of your courage.... i honestly have tears in my eyes right now... ((hugs))

disordered girl said...

I can only imagine how hard that must have been and no wonder you were racked with sobs afterwards. That was an amazing step to take and so brave!

æ said...

thinking of you today.


CookieGirl said...

wow, jeanne. I'm just getting caught up with your journey, and I have such respect and admiration for the honesty, intuition and hard work you are putting into getting through this. tons of hugs and support for you!!!

Jeanne said...

ae, roark, sarah, charlynn, faith, em, dg, cookiegirl,

Thank you all so much!!! Your support and encouragement brings warmth to my heart and a smile to my face. What would I do without you all?

I’m sorry I didn’t respond yesterday – I was on the road to my in-laws (about a 6 hour drive north.) Then between visits, my haircut, dinner, I was exhausted. I slept all night long – and I woke up feeling rested, for the first time in weeks! 8-)

I’m thinking of all of you and will catch up with you all on Monday (when I don’t have to share a computer. ;-)

I love you all, so much!