The Silence is Deafening

Clare Hreschak’s (my mother) mugshot for her Domestic Battery Arrest in 2000. She slammed her husband’s arm repeatedly in a door.

 

It’s been almost one year since I publicly outed my childhood abuser. Her name is Clare Hreshcak and she is my mother.

There are no preparation guides to outing one’s abuser and little knowledge as to what a victim of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse should expect as a response to such a striking declaration. To make my own situation more complicated, my abuser happens to be a woman and society just can’t handle this type of retardation of nature. (Or is that nurture?)  In the animal kingdom, certain animals are sometimes known to kill and eat their own offspring but this process is justified as a means to an end- survival of the species.

Maybe my mother is simply a tool in a world sowing an evil agenda where pedophiles and abusers rule by fear and civil injustice in order to fortify their perverted desires and often times, in this mad process, create more of their own kind. Or maybe she’s exactly what she is and nothing more: a sociopath.

 

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes!

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes!

 

When I decided to no longer stay silent, all I knew at the time was that years of psychotropic medications and several stints to the 7th floor psych ward only made me feel worse; a pentagonal lollygag of sorts. World renowned psychiatrists didn’t know how to manage me except to offer “mindfulness” and a daily dose of Seroquel. I call it the ultimate mind-fuck.

You suffer chronic depression.
You have Panic Disorder.
You have PTSD.
You have Bipolar Disorder.
You’re Borderline Personality.

I am none of these things. I’m a victim. I survived. I’m complex.

Dr. Judith Herman, a personal hero of mine, got it right. I have what many victims of prolonged abuse live with: complex post traumatic stress disorder. And with each new revision to the DSM (in which they do not add “complex” to the PTSD spectrum) and every wrong diagnosis, I am re-victimized, minimized, and misunderstood. More aptly, I am not heard. I am not validated. I am no one. The newest and most fashionable diagnostic label for those of us who suffer Complex PTSD is Borderline Personality Disorder. Except there is one glaring misstep with this diagnosis: it is not contingent upon a trauma. If that’s not one more backhand across the mouth or another black eye, I don’t know what is.

Take these pills and be quiet.

You can talk about “it” in therapy.

My personal favorite: Forgiveness.  Shut your fucking mouth already, you’re the one who is making it worse for yourself, just move on and forgive.

Let’s get one thing straight as a Lanister’s arrow: No one asked for my forgiveness.

It’s been almost one year since I outed my abuser and I’m still brimming with a rage that could light a fire on the coldest of nights.

I’m realizing, like most journeys to wellness, there are steps to be taken. Except in this case, there are no handbooks – or at least any I’m willing to accept as a genuine path to healing because few speak to validation and all of them ignore what I feel is the most damaging hit of all: the void of penalty to our abusers. Those who love to wag their finger and victim-shame call it “revenge”.  It’s softer on the conscience to blame me than speak the unspeakable.  While my mother may suffer embarrassment due to my bold outing gone viral, she still kept her job as a school teacher. She still lives in an upper-middle class neighborhood and spins around town in her pearl colored BMW.

She should be wearing an orange jumpsuit and working in a prison kitchen serving up sloppy mashed potatoes. Why is my case any different than someone who is a child killer? My mother extinguished the child within. She did it slowly. Daily. Minute by every sluggish minute for fifteen years. I used to dream of smothering her with a pillow when I was 11. By 15, I wished someone would suffocate me to death instead.

It’s been almost one year since I publicly outed my abuser. The law states that I waited too long. I was afraid for too long. She got off scott-free.

She gets off.

While I’m still obviously lost and angry, I know this: outing my abuser publicly was the right thing to do- for me. It was Step One in my process to healing. I admitted what happened to me. I needed to admit it to the world in order to make it feel honest, just like any addict does because silence becomes an addiction; it’s a way of life. Outing my mother was the first step in acknowledging who I really am and why. While I am not *just* a victim of childhood sexual and physical abuse, that abuse occurred during my formative years and it would be a lie to not acknowledge those experiences which shaped who I am today- the good and the bad. I struggle with calling myself a victim because other people dislike that word. It lacks inspiration. It smells like defeat. Unfortunately, I still reek.

Until the statute of limitations change I’m still a victim, whether society chooses to concede this or not. I will continue to be a healing vigilante. I will break the rules and advocate that silence is the true killer as opposed to a convenient diagnosis where one suffers sometimes-symptoms because it is silence that drives people to hang themselves by the ceiling fan in their bedroom for their spouse or children to find them. Silence is what society craves to feed their comfort level, but I’m no longer serving that dish. I will not Seroquel-trot my way to silence or suicide.

I will not accept a diagnosis simply because the psychiatric community is afraid of the outcome once the real diagnosis is finally acknowledged. I will not advocate for forgiveness in place of justice.  I am slowly learning to love myself, something my mother is sure to loathe. And by loving myself, that means I believe I am just as worthy of what others deserve. I’m beginning with Justice.

If an unforgiving sociopath murdered your eight year old daughter, you’d hunt the sadist down and insist upon the harshest punishment available within the scope of the law. Some may even choose to take matters into their own hands. I am Clare Hreschak’s Daughter.

No.

I am your daughter.

 

 

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    You’re a victim, who by standing up and shouting, redefines the word.
    Don’t stay silent, and corral all the voices to yell with you.

    Hell, if it makes them that uncomfortable, they can change the statute of limitations.

    • 2

      says

      I’m so glad to see you over here Guapo! I like to think I’m redefining the word, as well. I came across this heart wrenching and bittersweet video the other day. This woman received validation in that her abuser openly admitted what she’d done. But the statute of limitations prevents any real justice. This is a serious issue for many people and I don’t think we should stop talking about it. I think we need to start screaming about it.

  2. 4

    says

    I admire the hell out of you. You are right, we continue to suffer and they continue to walk around with an attitude of: What? I didn’t do anything! SHE’S the one with the mental problems.

    *sigh*

  3. 11

    says

    Statute of limitations is a fucking bitch for those of us who survived abuse in childhood and were not protected at the time.

    Having a thing and being a thing are different. Proud doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about your refusal to let your diagnoses affect you. Because for anybody else who’s listening, let’s get something straight here: abused children do not sign up for this shit, it is foisted on us to deal for the rest of our lives. It never fucking ends, but the sociopaths who do it walk away unscathed. It’s brutally unjust.

    As always, you have my strong, strong support, Calamity Rae!! xo

    • 12

      says

      <3 you, Edee. Tell me you saw that woman who got her Abuser to admit what she did over the phone, on youtube. I feel both sad and happy for her. Her abuser actually admitted to the crimes, WHEN does that ever occur?? At the same time, SOL laws, despite this woman actually admitting what she'd done, leaves this woman on the streets. She should be prison. I also can't help but feel a twinge of jealousy, it makes me want to call up my mother's ex-boyfriend who got all those hotel rooms to see if he'll admit to anything and video tape it. *sigh*

  4. 13

    says

    Great post. I have to say, you are one of the few people who puts her convictions to the test. People protect predators all the time, everywhere, because he or she has a good “image”. Well, of course, they are master con-artists. Yet so many are duped, still believing no matter what the victims say. And so many are afraid. But a chorus of voices can’t be denied so easily.

    I can see how speaking up can give you validation. May more victims speak up. Silence is a predator’s best weapon.

    • 14

      says

      Thanks, Alice. It wasn’t always like this. There were a lot of steps taken before I actually did this. I was so frustrated because no one was ever addressing the real issue, more importantly *I* was never addressing the real issue, I was only dealing with “symptoms”. My symptoms stem from severe abuse, by a woman who is still walking around. She did something illegal and it’s time the courts recognize that victims of childhood abuse (sexual or physical) are *groomed in silence to remain silent*. They have to start taking this into consideration.

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