"So, mom, remember when dad took me to that 5-day daycare in Tula?"
"Tula? Are you out of your mind? It was much closer."
"He didn't take you to no Tula, he took you to that daycare from his work, APN [Agentstvo Pechati Novosti, aka Novosti Press Agency]. Look it up. Look up their daycares. And why are you asking me?"
"Oh, I was just—"
"I told you not to ask me. I told you that everything that traumatized me in the past I have erased from my memory. ERASED. I don't want to hear about it, I don't want to know about it. Do you hear me?"
"Yes, mom, but—"
"I'm done with this. Done! Why do you keep digging? You just can't leave it alone, can you? You already asked me and I already told you. Well, don't you remember? Didn't you write it down? I don't want you to ask again. I have found some peace at last, I'm going to church, and you're laughing at me, at my faith."
"I never said I'm laughing, mom. I'm not laughing at your belief. I despise religion, yes, but I never criticize people who believe in God. If that is what works for them, if that is what makes them happy, great! It's their choice. I respect that."
"Well, you said, you will never believe in God! You said—"
At this point I realize that I have gone a bit over my usual self-permitted restraint in trying to glimpse the episodes of my abuse from my mother so I could remember the details. I have to be very careful when I ask her or she gets very angry. There is a lot of pain she stores, and I don't know if in her lifetime she'll be able to see my pain behind hers. I think probably not. In any case, inadvertently she told me what to look for. We talked for one hour, I listened to her but after this bit of conversation my mind was gone. As soon as we hung up I went to Google to try to find the address for that daycare. APN, the news agency where my father worked as a journalist, is long gone, but the actual daycare is still there.
I HAVE FOUND IT.
I sat in front of my screen, numb, putting the little yellow figure on the map and walking through the streets and THERE WERE WOODS. WOODS WHERE DAD HURT ME. And then I did the driving directions from the Moscow apartment where I used to live to that daycare, and sure enough the quickest way to get there is to take an interurban train, an elektrichka, and the station where you need to get off (the daycare is a 10-minute walk away) is next to A STRETCH OF WOODS AND THEY ARE BIRCHES. I was shocked when I first saw them. I have no recollection of them, but in TUBE I have written it all out correctly. The birch copse is where Olesya's father molests her little sister Tanechka, where she runs away from him and gets hit by the train, LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME IN MY MIND.
If you're not an abuse (especially sexual abuse) survivor, perhaps you will miss the significance of this. I have virtually no memories of what happened to me, only vague blurry images and fears connected to places, like trains, woods, buildings, rooms. I also have few unreliable facts that my family members told me over the years (that could be exaggerated to teach me some morals or skewed by their own warped memories), like the fact that when I returned from the first week in that daycare (I was 5) I started wetting the bed and stopped talking and was dancing around myself like I was crazy (that is described in Rosehead). So what happened? I don't know. I might never know. But I'm slowly chipping away and getting closer to each episode. Closer. Closer. Through writing books, and through this constant investigation I'm doing, as though I have amnesia and am piecing together my past from scraps.
I have recently read a book about sex-related homicide and death investigation as part of research for Janna, and came across this chilling bit that explains what always puzzled me and what angered my family, or, I should say, angers them any time I bring it up. Their argument to me about how come I didn't remember shit and never told anything to anyone and then suddenly in my 30s remembered how my father, a normal guy with no sexual deviations, did this awful stuff to me? "You're wrong!" they tell me. "HE COULDN'T POSSIBLY DO ANYTHING HORRENDOUS LIKE THAT." Only he could. I have now this little bit of information to back it up.
"Under certain conditions, an otherwise normal individual may act out his most bizarre and primal fantasies on a victim."
There it is. An otherwise normal individual. This blasted me like a nuclear bomb.
Sexual fantasies imprint in us around the age 5-8, after which most of them are set for life. SET FOR LIFE. Meaning, if in that time you were abused, you will most likely develop some weird kinky routines that will make you aroused. If you do, you will pursue them as an adult. My father was raised by an oppressive domineering mother during the war, when there was no food and she had to chew carrots and wrap them in a cloth and stick it in his mouth for him to suckle on. He lived with her (she cooked for him and mended his socks and yelled at him and controlled him) until her death. He was well over 60 when he was finally free of her. I can only imagine what imprinted on him. Certainly, disdain and hate for women and an insuperable desire to control them, which is consistent with a closet-psychopath profile, the one who is normal but under certain conditions may act out his perversion. Meaning, he is not a psychopath but he exhibits psychopathic tendencies WHEN CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE. Usually he will feel remorse and guilt after the episode, which true psychopaths never feel. Why will he feel that? Because he is normal. Most of the time.
This is a chilling theory.
I have dug up a fact that is consistent with this theory. He hurt me when I was 5. But what was the trigger? The catalyst? What happened? Why? Something must have pushed him. Then my mom told me that some time after they divorced (I was 4) they got together again (I was 5) and she got pregnant. And he wanted to be with her again (this is typical of a man who is dependent on a woman to provide for him, he "owns" her and is fixated on her). She told him no. She's had enough of him demanding sex from her 3 times a day and more. She was sick of him. And so to spite him she did an abortion. Guess what he did. They didn't live together anymore, so he couldn't hurt her. He did the next best thing. He took out his aggression on me.
What better way to hurt the mother? Hurt the child. He always told me how I remind him of her (I look like her) and how he hates it. He must have realized what he did to me after he did it to me, after his rage blackout was over. But his type is also the type that doesn't have much remorse when it comes to discipline. He viewed it as disciplining me.
And another important thing.
In the abuse episode itself the perpetrator experiences a "temporary break from reality." He acts out his fantasy (like revenge on his domineering mother), only he doesn't know it, he thinks it's a fantasy. That is how it's possible for family members to hurt each other. In that moment the victim is not the victim, it's someone else, someone whom the perpetrator wanted to hurt since he was a child (or she, though sexual abuse by women is not as common as abuse by men). Once the episode is over, regret and guilt and shame take hold of the assailant. That is why you hear about murderers taking their life after they have killed their family members. They can't stand the reality. Those are not psychopaths. Thank God.
You see how fun this is? This is what I do behind the scenes when writing my books.
Everything fits. I was always wondering why my father took me into his new family when I was 11. He had a new wife and a new daughter. Why take some weird tacit anti-social preteen from a hateful ex-wife? Guilt? The wish to do right by me? I can only assume. But I remember him telling me that he wanted to raise me like a normal human being and not like my "prostitute mother." He wanted to excoriate her genes from me. Get me ready for life.
It's ironic how for as long as I can remember, growing up, I was told that I was a psycho, psihushka and nenormalnaya, and that my mother was crazy, when all along it was my father who was the psycho and the pervert, only no one would want to admit to it. Once again, this is consistent with the latest research on sexual abuse, the belittling of the offender's role and involvement, the attempts "to minimize his responsibility by blaming the victim," statements like, "It was nothing, just normal display of affection" and "She asked me for it, she deserved punishment" and the like. It makes me sick to the stomach, and all of it will make it into my books. Some already did. Some more will be in TUBE. But it will be in Janna where I'll focus on this, making Janna a cunning killer of rapists. Can't wait to start on it. Can't wait.