This was first posted on my personal Facebook profile on September 29th, 2018. Of course, there is much more of the story to be revealed. Revealed to illustrate the destructive and malevolent patterns present in the lineage and the narcissistic patriarchal culture. Revealed to show that like so many things, we need change now.
We are not accepting the way things have been any more.
We can do better. And must.
We do not have a lot of time to correct our ways.
It's all connected.
My story begins at the end. Because it has to. I share this for my girls and all descendants who will follow. I am grateful to Dr. Ford for her courage and to the ever growing container of safety for Us to share our stories.
I have been estranged from my family since 2012 because I became too expressive about the sexual abuse, and many other forms of abuse, I suffered from my brother throughout my childhood. Having three girls of my own, I do not feel safe allowing them to be with my family of origin unsupervised. When I expressed this repeatedly in 2012, I was then marginalized and alienated from the family, and most traumatically, from my three girls. My family of origin and ex-husband aligned and painted me to be a deranged and dangerous threat to my children, ex, and his wife. Money=power. I had none of either.
I was extremely ill during this time, but still did not know what was ailing me. I had left Seattle and given the kids to their dad because I was not able to care for them, and barely for myself. When someone cannot tell you what is wrong with you, you may blame yourself and feel that it is all your fault. I was isolated and alone, much like a dying animal, who crawls into a cave to die. When I returned to Seattle, essentially broke and homeless, a restraining order was placed and prevented me from having any contact with my children for an entire year. I chose to surrender. Not to fight. To allow the entire scenario to play itself out. We, my girls and I, are still healing from the damage that was done in 2012 and 2013 by the alliance of my family of origin with my children's father. All to protect the male interests: my brother's, my father's, and my ex-husband's.
The repeated sexual assaults took place when we were so frequently left home alone unsupervised. My brother is five years older than I. I was 9, I believe, he was 14. Pinned down to the ground by him sitting on top of me, carefully aligning his shins to kneel the full length of my arms, gave him full access to penetrate me manually. This was about power and domination. He obviously thought it was a game. Fun. Like all of the emotional and other forms of physical abuse I endured in my parents' home throughout my childhood. Did I ever try to tell? Absolutely. When my mom got home after the first time, and I began to try to tell her what had happened, she interrupted me and said, "Oh, Emily. I'm sure whatever happened, you had just as much to do with it." I shut right up. And believed her.
My parents' M.O.--"kids will be kids", "you all had something to do with whatever took place, figure it out yourselves"--left me alone and abandoned as far back as I can remember. My brother was allowed to pretty much do whatever he wanted to me from the time I was a toddler. The only time I ever remember being rescued was when he had me pinned down with a pillow over my face. I was 3. When my dad pulled him off of me, enraged, telling him he had better not ever do that again, I was confused and incredulous. I couldn't figure out what I had done differently that time to make my dad help me. I found out years later that my dad endured this same type of smothering abuse from his own older brother. While he dissociated most of the time into his own self-absorbed and narcissistic reality, this time the reflection of the same type of abuse he had endured was too much to ignore.
How did I figure out how to get the sexual abuse to stop? When my brother's predictable emotional provocation would begin to get me frustrated and angry, this somehow gave him license to then begin the abuse cycle. I had had enough. When I went after him with a knife, I was able to interrupt the usual pattern that had taken place when his provocation began. I chased him through the house crazed with a knife in my hand. He was able to get away and hide behind a closed door that I could not open because of course he was considerably bigger and stronger than I was. I was 9. A 9 year-old girl, no where near puberty, protecting herself from her older abusive brother with a knife. 9 years old. Sexualized, abused, and never feeling safe in her own home from his wrath.
That was the end of the sexual assaults, but by no means the end of the systemic sexual abuse perpetrated by my family of origin to protect themselves, him, and the reality they find acceptable. Looking good at the country club, their extremely busy social lives, beautiful house, and their golf matches and handicaps were of much greater importance than the safety of their own children under their roof. This truth has been unbearable for them. Attack to protect themselves.
The saddest part of this story, is that I have been asking for them to acknowledge the truth ever since 2012, so that we can all heal. I know that no one in my family is inherently bad. We are all wounded. Wounded from generations and generations of systemic abuse. Masculine abused by masculine, feminine abused by masculine, and feminine abused by feminine in their own insidious ways. Sexual abuse, betrayal, persecution, and the scars left behind on those who allowed the abuse and persecution to take place. Whose silence has been the root cause of generations of narcissism and a game of hot potato to pass who is the bad one. One cannot heal everyone's shadow. We each need to do our own work. To own our own shadows, so that indeed, they may one day heal. A scapegoat cannot heal the system that created it on its own.
I know that what is described in Eric Stien's work below was my brother's reality. I know that he too is wounded, and that his need to dominate me was in reaction to his own wounds. Not only to the wounds created at school, but also to his wounds from the narcissistic and emotionally bullying man, who is our father, who was wounded in his childhood in much the same way. These cycles and patterns proliferate until we can be honest about them. The first step to heal is to expose these shadows. To first be with the Truth. I know, because I too allowed my hurt to hurt others. I am guilty of bullying and being emotionally abusive throughout my own childhood. It is the only way I knew. I have done my best to make amends to those I hurt, and I apologize to those with whom I have not yet had the opportunity.
When I received the call from my dad last month to let me know that my mom has entered hospice care, I did not know if I would be included to be with her and the entire family for her last requested family get-together. My sister contacted my ex to make arrangements for my girls to go. (Yes, even my sister, who endured similar abuse from my brother, has been part of the cover-up and alliance with my ex.) While my dad defensively said, "Well, of course, you're invited," toward my initial inquiry if I was invited to say good-bye to my mom too, he later called to let me know that I was not invited to be there when everyone else would be there. If I wanted to come, I could come after all 9 grandchildren (including my own 3 daughters), my brother, his ex-wife, and my sister had gone home. I explained that I had already purchased my plane ticket, and that I was already committed elsewhere during the time that was supposedly an acceptable window for them. The projections and accusations that were hurled at me in that phone conversation demonstrated once again the power of fear and generational trauma patterns that have a life of their own.
I went anyway. Everyone was able to be very present for my mom. It was incredibly sweet, and I am so grateful I was able to say good-bye. There was no extracurricular drama. It was the first time the entire family has been together in 15 years. It was the first time I have had contact with my brother in 14 years, my sister in 12 years, and 7 years since I have seen my parents.
My dad's delusions to protect himself and what his consciousness can handle were abundantly clear that weekend. He kept showering praise on me that his prayers had been answered. Essentially, his reality was that somehow I fixed myself from the evil deranged woman I had become. I was so pleasant now, so cute, beautiful even, and no longer that anxious, edgy female I used to be. No where could he make a connection to the abuse I endured and how that manifested in my life. That by being away from all of them and the systemic abuse, I have been finally able to heal myself and my PTSD.
I allowed him to have his story that weekend. I did not disagree that his prayers and wishes had finally come true. I allowed him to believe that his family was back together again.
Until I returned home.
When his unrealistic and glowing remarks continued after I returned home, I finally said to him, "Listen, Dad. I hear you that you want this family to heal. If that is true, then we all need to look at what has taken place these past 10 years and be honest about it. That is how we heal. Because I'll be honest, right now I do not trust you one bit. If healing is going to take place for this family, amends need to be made."
The patriarchy is still incapable of tolerating that truth. He is incapable of acknowledging his responsibility in the lies that were perpetrated and documented in 2012. He is incapable of making amends to his daughter for the responsibility he has in her abuse, both in childhood and adulthood. I am once again demonized and ostracized, and have received no communication or answers to my texts about how my mom is now doing. I wonder if they will let me know when she actually transitions.
It is not lost on me that all of this is taking place at this time on this planet. It is also not lost on me that my health is now the best it has been in the last 10 years. It is also not lost on me that my oldest, Hazel, is going in for "the mother of all surgeries" Monday morning to remove pre-cancerous cysts from her pancreas. We are healing in our own ways.
This past week on the Aries Full Moon, the time to go a step further in the healing I apparently came here to do was clear. The illness with which I have been dealing for the last 10 years is directly related to this shadow the feminine in my lineage has endured. My maternal grandmother committed suicide, when I was 8. My paternal grandmother was murdered when I was 2. Both women were abandoned by their offspring, my mother and father. I witnessed this before both of their deaths. My father had his mother, my paternal grandmother, carried away from our house in a straight jacket by the police. I remember this.
The legality is yet to come, but here on FB, I have added my maternal grandmother's maiden name to my last name, so that I am now Emily Lauderback Stewart. The alchemy that has taken place physically in my body in the last 10 years is undeniable. Alchemy to heal the feminine in both my paternal and maternal lines. It is true that I shall continue this alchemy through living my life carrying both the names of my paternal and maternal lines. And so it is. Thank you... <3! *****Please read Eric Stien's 20 thoughts on being a man during these dark times: Memories. Unbidden.*****
Ana-Suromai is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘to lift the skirt’.
‘ANA-SUROMAI’ egg tempera, casein & oil on linen – 53.5 x 79″ 2005-2011
Also known as Anasyrma or plural: Anasyrmata; women have been lifting their skirts for centuries to ward off evil & enhance fertility. This symbolic act is also found in mythologies of various cultures all over the world, & specifically in those of ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, Ireland, Africa, Indonesia & Japan.
It is said that the evil-averting gesture of women individually or collectively exposing their genitalia have the power to shame & defeat an advancing army. The act of revealing publicly the hidden core of womanhood initiates a process of change that operates on a world scale, as well as on an individual level.
“At some point in human history, female genitalia were considered potent enough to be used as the catalyst for bringing the earth and all life back from the brink of destruction”.
It is said that when Persephone was kidnapped into the underworld by Hades, her mother Demetra went into such mourning that life on earth began to wilt & die. It wasn’t until Baubo lifted her skirt & shocked her into laughter that vitality & fertility on earth was restored…Laughter being a key element in healing & resurrecting life.
-Excerpts from & inspired by Catherine Blackledge’s book ‘The Story of V’.
As a Global Culture we are currently going through a Rites of Passage. Confronted with the results of industrialization, corporate power & the intoxicating lie that we are separate beings living on a systemized treadmill without the ability to change the course.
It is time to wake up as a collective species & recognize our common strengths. To support each other as empathetic beings longing for similiar things. To treat each other, the resources, the animals & earth with respect & gratitude..
The revolution is within….