Me, the shower and my mother: another revision of a narrative

Last weekend I came back to a memory from my childhood that has been tormenting me regularly for decades, but I will never have an answer to it. In this case it all starts with a memory, but the question I ask myself in relation to this memory has no answer. Once again I have to live with creating a narrative for myself - another narrative that I have now revised, just as I recently revised my narrative on the subject of sexual abuse in my childhood.

The memory, as I described it 5 years ago, is this:

Sometimes when I was showering my mother would come into the bathroom and open the shower curtain. She asked me on those occasions if I cleaned myself well - especially "down there" (the genitals). I don't know if she ever touched me... We are probably also talking about at least 10-12 years old - not when I was little.

When I connect with this memory, I feel the shame of myself as a child, and I feel the pain of that shame.

Perhaps it is better to put this memory in a broader context as well. For as long as I can remember - from about the age of 10 or so - I could never tolerate physical contact from my mother. She would try to caress me, and I would always try to evade her, or even stop her more or less violently. Any physical contact from my mother caused a rejection.

Last Saturday I was with a friend and we talked about what is happening to me - the various issues of my traumas. It was not easy for me - it was painful - and I had to cry several times while we were talking. We also talked about my mother's intrusions into my intimate space, without specifying more, and again I had to cry. But this time at the same time I felt a blockage. I could not cry freely. And I told my friend that something in me was stuck.

We spent a few more hours together, and talked about other things as well. Then, by chance, we met other friends, and we talked with them for a while. We went back to my house to say goodbye, and on the way home I felt that something was disturbing me. It was clear to me that I would have a crash later... and I did.

I started to think about this memory of me in the shower and my mother. But thoughts and images came to me. My mother touching my penis, pushing the foreskin back to check if everything was clean. In some images I had an erection. In some images I was clearly older, more of a teenager. These images I am dismissing as fantasies. In any case, in none of the images was my mother masturbating me - she was simply pushing the foreskin back to check if everything was clean. She had no sexual intentions. But whatever. It caused me a lot of embarrassment and a lot of pain - a very strong pain that I feel now.

I don't know. I am aware that I will never know for sure what happened. I will never know for sure if my mother really took my penis and pushed the foreskin back. But I am now left with this image. I'm not quite clear where the memory ends, and where the fantasy begins, but I now have an image as clear as my memory of me in the shower (aged between 9 and 12) and my mother taking my penis and pushing the foreskin back. I don't know how many times she did it. I don't know until what age. But it's clear to me that I was already at an age at which I felt ashamed when my mother saw me naked (or anyone else, but especially my mother), not to mention touching my penis. Now I can say that I felt violated in a certain sense, I felt a very serious violation of my intimate space, of my body. To say I felt ashamed is an understatement. But then my survival pattern was the same as always: dissociation, not feeling anything, forgetting that I also had the right to boundaries, or to be aware of this violence that was being done to me.

Although I am not certain, I now need to revise my narrative. I can no longer say to myself "I don't know". And, in this case, neither can I say "more likely something has happened". Clearly I have to tell myself "yes".

I haven't cried as much as I did this weekend for weeks. A cry full of pain, but also full of anger. I also felt a lot of hatred towards my mother. I cried on Saturday afternoon and evening, and I also cried a lot on Sunday. On Sunday at noon I wrote in my diary that I would like to kill my mother slowly - so that she suffers. And I am not ashamed to write this. That's how it is. And I have every right to hate her, for all the pain she has caused me in my life.

It wasn't until Sunday night into Monday, when I wrote something similar to this to some friends, that I began to calm down. Today, I have reached this point in the text without crying - but now if I have to cry, the pain of these violations of my intimate space comes to me.

All this connects to another issue: that in my parents' house there was no space where I could feel safe. But I will write about this in another entry in my blog.