Where were all the adults?

February 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

The first therapist I ever talked to about the abuse/incest said “My God! Where were all the adults in your life?”

Good question.

Aunt Liz lived across the street from us when mom married Max and the abuse began. Max once told her he “didn’t see anything wrong with family members ‘making love’.” When I was in my late teens, she brought it up and asked if he had molested me. When I said yes, she said “I thought so.”  So….why didn’t you do anything about it? Her reply? She was afraid my mom’s mental illness would come to light and I’d be taken away. Frankly, I think the “mental illness coming to light” was the big concern. You have to remember this was a family that worked hard to hide her odd behavior and appear “normal” at all costs.

Mrs. First-Grade-Teacher. I cried every day of first grade. I was timid in the extreme, I flinched if an adult made a sudden move. Rather than wondering WHY I was like that…she simply despised me. To compound the matter, Max was…drumroll please…a school bus driver who drove for my elementary school. When she brought up my crying, he told her my mother wasn’t “quite right” and that I probably wasn’t either. In front of me….he said this right in front of me!

The most significant, and I now realize outrageous, lack of adult intervention lays with Max’s cousin, we’ll call him Larry. Larry was pretty high up in the ranks of the State of Oregon employees. He’d been some kind of a counselor for many years for them and at that time headed the department or something similar. 

One day we were at Larry’s house for Sunday dinner. Larry was an amatuer photographer and had his own darkroom in the basement. Max trotted me downstairs to show Larry some of the “portraits” he’d taken of me. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear the pictures were nudes. Larry looked at them with a shocked look on his face and said “Max! Never ever show these pictures to anyone! You could get in a lot of trouble!”.

Not one word about “Max, you shouldn’t be taking this pictures of Lisa!” Just, don’t get in trouble.

This is where I got the title for this blog. What about Lisa? The adults in my life ignored what was going on, protected themselves, protected my mother, protected their cousin….What about Lisa?

Next:  The Shining Stars in the Darkness

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