A friend request was waiting for me as I logged onto Facebook last night. Right away I clicked the "do not know this requestor, block future requests" button, as I didn't think I knew the person. After about a minute though, it donned on me... It was my adopted father's step brother. In my family we've never specified "adopted", "step" or "half" - we were all just FAMILY. Here I only do it so that readers can have a better chance at following my family tree with branches going in all directions.
My dad was my abuser, and this uncle is his brother. My dad is a master manipulator and liar to the Nth degree. I don't know what he told his family - if anything - about his broken relationship with me. But my policy has always been to never put others in the middle. Never throw all of the dirty laundry on the family dinner table for everyone else's consumption, judgment, and involvement.
Instead, I've just gone away quietly. So quietly, and so far away, that I did not even recognize my uncle's name when I read it. I haven't heard from him in well over 20 years.
As I looked at his friends list, I saw faces and names I hadn't thought about since I was a kid. My father has four brothers and two sisters. I had four uncles and two aunts, cousins too, and grandparents... I loved them. They seemed to love me. They never laid a hand on me or said an unkind word in my presence. They were not your leave-it-to-beaver types - lots of dysfunction for sure, but they never touched me the way my dad did.
I don't have them in my life anymore, and I suspect that I never can again given what my father did. Their brother. Their son. In all likelihood, given the emotional condition of my family, I am guessing they would choose his side. Perhaps these thoughts only come from my woundedness, the feelings and very low expectations of a little girl whose abuse carried on for years despite the family members who did know and did nothing... Perhaps they would respond with loving kindness and righteous anger.
My uncle had to search for me on Facebook by name. I was on his mind. Did he look for me on his own, or did my father put him up to it? Having been sexually abused by my father makes me almost paranoid - second guessing the intentions of my uncle. His brother. I think I sort of lump all of them together.
As I thought about the extended family that so abruptly fell out of my life all those years ago, I laid on my bed and wept over the loss. So much loss.