A million years ago, I signed a paper promising that I would never talk about the details of a situation. These papers were filed in a court of law. Somewhere is the signature of an emotionally exhausted young woman who did not and could not understand the totality of the situation that had happened around her.
I was a 29 year old married mother of one. This situation started for me, 27 years ago.
I signed the papers about 25 years ago. I have probably broken the agreement many times over, but never so blatantly. Never directly aimed at a family member. But, as I told a therapist recently, I can never ‘shut up’. There are still too many people out there willing to defend perpetrators of violence, to protect their living.
In this particular case, I was, in very recent past, reminded that I “broke the trust.”
My mother refuses to talk to me because I “broke the trust.”
Before, I go on, if violence against children bothers you in anyway- then close the page, or click away. This can not be pretty.
I was also reminded recently just how capable I am of “Just walking away..” as if the process is not thought about and that there were no consequences for me at all. I am sad that I have reached 55 years of age, and really been a good and kind person most of my life, and someone could know me so little as to remind me of that — and believe it!
Really? I don’t want to hear about those opinions anymore. Not at all. In fact, the promise is, if this comes up again, it will be me who walks away again. Because I can only feel so much pain before I break emotionally, and it happens all too often.
The person who told me that I “broke the trust.” Reminded me recently, that
I am somehow emotionally able to “walk away” from others and I guess, not feel a thing.
I must at least not look back. Damn the torpedo’s and full speed ahead?
I have NEVER EVER just walked away. Just because I have not shared my pain with you,
does not mean that I have been pain free, there is no such thing for me.
Because I did what I was taught, to keep marching on. That is all I have done.
But let me tell you, there have been many tears. After 27 years I am about cried out.
The one thing I still find after 27 years, is anger. Anger about the betrayal that an older, trusted person did in the face of what was happening to her very own grand daughter.
NO one respond to this essay and tell me that parents make mistakes. I am a parent, my oldest is 34, and do not want to hear about it. I am fully aware of the mistakes parents can make. But, at a certain point, one must come to a conclusion, and the only thing that really decides how that decision comes out, is how emotionally sick you are or are not. How much Denial is in YOUR family, and more importantly in you, yourself. In this case, I slept walked through the first 30 years of my life, that is just how I survived it.
(Dear Mom, have you yet realized, that you are as sick as your secrets?)
In January 1991, my mother threw some hints at me. She informed me that my then seven year old child would not be going on a summer trip with her and her husband. I really had no issue with it. They were married December 31, 1983. My daughter was then 10 days old. My mother let me know there were issues, but I could do nothing more than respect her lack of “detail”. I do not remember now what she said, but rest assured, I still own all the notes that I made when I realized what had hit the fan. The notes are all organized in binders, I can pretty much turn to THE page. Toward the end of the conversation, I turned to my mother, and I said, “You are making me think that Jack (my deceased step father) is molesting ****** ?” My mother had been walking away from me up stairs. She turned around, said nothing, and threw her arms up in the air.
Later in the day, she called me, and she whispered over the phone that I should have my seven year old watch an after school special that was on that very day. I asked her why she was whispering. She gave me an answer. That I do not remember now. But the bottom line, was to have the child watch the show.
The daughter and I picked up her father from work, drove to McDonald’s for our special treat out, went through the drive through, and returned home with dinner. I told my husband about the conversation with my mother. I told him about the request to have my daughter watch this special. We, three, turned on the show, and proceed to watch.
As the show progressed, and as details (such as they were in 1991, it was after all a child’s show) came forward from the television, I watched my seven year old literally try to climb up the wall to get away from the subject raised. After the show, she turned to me and said, “Mommy, I need to tell you something.” She told me (and her father) a very small tip of detail to a mighty HUGE iceberg of information. The bottom line is that my step father had inappropriately touched my daughter not once or twice, but for 3 to 4 years.
I called the police immediately. They took some detail, hung up, and called sometime later. It was a Friday, on a three day, holiday weekend. There would be a detective to come around after the weekend sometime. Could I just hang tight?! I also called CPS, who assured me that I was doing EVERYTHING right, and told me how to help my daughter through the process.
But I had already responded appropriately to her. I had already told her she was a good girl, and that nothing having to do with this was her fault. She did absolutely NOTHING wrong.
Most of the memories are in jumbles now. I really don’t want to retrieve my notes. Sometime, that evening I went to see my mother at her place of her employment. I verified what was basically my mother’s suspicion and asked her to keep quiet about it until the police had time to work through the mess. The first words from my mother’s mouth was, “why call the police?” I did not yet have the language for what was going on, and yet my answer was surely obvious – a person had committed a horrendous crime against my child. Why NOT call the police.
Keep in mind that at this time, my mother was working for a school district and was by law a mandatory reporter in the state of California. She was a truant officer in every way, except by title and pay grade. Many of the children she happily ‘harassed’ back into school remember her today. Often with a great amount of fondness.
Though I did not realize it at the time. My mother had already failed her grand daughter.
But at that time, had I been asked, I probably could not have told you that my mother failed at anything, let alone the dirty task of turning her own husband into the law for molesting her own grandchild. But, the conclusion after all these years, is the same as it was some months after it happened — my mother is who tipped me off. She knew what was going on.
After the holiday was over, a set of detectives in unmarked cars finally made it to the house. They interviewed my daughter, and me. They sent us to Kaiser in Fremont. At seven years old, my daughter went through a physical examination for rape. I held her through the process that must have been pure torment for her. She wreathed, she screamed, she begged. There were tears, and fighting. At seven years old she made it
abundantly clear that she had no interest in her body being violated yet again.
One of the detectives waited outside the exam room. He heard it ALL.
The detectives asked that we keep this hushed up while they did their work.
At the time, I was pretty sure that it meant the detectives needed to be left alone so they could successfully detect. We all kept to our places. So far as I know, to this day, I believe my mother kept silence, let the police do their job. She might have hinted at him, but we will never know, there is only circumstantial evidence for that.
That first Wednesday after filing the official report with the police. My step father called me at home and asked for permission to pick my daughter up from school. She attended school around the corner from him. My step father had NEVER made such a request. Not that I thought much about it at the time. At the time, my concern was to let the detectives detect and to keep my daughter safe. I have never been a great liar. But, was able somehow to hold my own, give the man permission to pick up my daughter without ripping him a new one (so to speak). We hung up. I picked up the phone immediately, called the main detective on the case, and let him know what was going on. Let me tell you, I have nothing bad to say about the Newark Police Department in the San Francisco Bay Area. Last I heard that detective was the chief of police. He deserved that and more.
I hung up from that conversation and drove to my childs school, and immediately took her out. We drove straight home, I locked the doors, and I shook. My daughter was no more aware of what was transpiring than any other little school girl might be if their mother had picked them up from school an hour early, with no explanation. She was playing in her room. I waited and I waited.
The detectives drove to the school in their unmarked police car. These men dressed in street clothes met my step father there. In the words of the detective, they played, “good cop, bad cop” with my step father. At the time, really had no idea what that meant. I had absolutely no experience with it. And unlike my mother, I did not watch every cop and robbers show on TV. In fact, I rarely watched TV, and most of my adulthood had not owned a TV.
The detectives let my step father leave the campus unaware of who they were and what they were doing. They followed him 1/2 way across town, before they finally pulled him over. They searched the car and him. They discovered that my step father was all packed up and ready for a trip to somewhere. That evening a search warrant was issued that allowed the officers to search his and my mothers home. They found video that he had taped of my daughters dance recitals. The detective told me that he used those tapes to, “get off.” He was taken to the police station and was interrogated. He admitted what he did, but he blamed my husband and I. Somewhere along the line, we had given permission. I can tell you that I never in my wildest dreams gave any kind of knowledgeable permission. What my husband did, would be between himself and his maker. At this point in life, it would not surprise me in the least had he traded our daughter for anything, including, but not limited to an Epson XT. Our first computer.
There had most definitely been hints. I had missed them all for various reasons. My body matured very young, I thought hers was doing the same. My grandparents spent a LOT of time with us two girls. We spent long summers with them, traveling literally all over the United States. In the world I grew up in, grandparents were an important part of a child’s life, there was nothing wrong with a ‘grandparent’ taking interest in their grandchild.
The point is, there were hints, that very soon came into my conscious. I became FULLY aware of what this or that meant. My daughter had literally screamed in the only way she knew how for us to stop the lunacy, and save her from the monster. Even her health had suffered. She was a seven year old with bad asthma, and terrible ‘migraine’ headaches. It was amazing to watch these maladies fall away and disappear once the stress and pressure were lifted off her tiny shoulders.
The night that Jack was apprehended, I invited my mother to spend the night at our place.
I had a pretty tormented childhood myself, though to this day, I can not tell you what the torment was, other than, probably my father. In my mind, my mother would have been afraid to go home, probably not want to be alone. At the time, I probably could have given you a dozen reasons to not make that woman go back to that house ever again, let alone that night. While he was being transported to the local county jail at Dublin, California.
She and I were having a conversation.
She’d had her shower. She was dressed in her night clothes. Her long blue velveteen robe zippered up completely, which was normal. She sat on our couch as she put her hair up the customary way. She slept in ‘pin curls’ many nights of the week. She twisted small clumps of hair around her finger, laid them flat, and used bobby pins to secure them in place. It is a technique that I never mastered. It is a technique I really never had the patience to master.
We had a whole conversation. Through the conversation, I watched out our front window.
The January day, quickly turned into a January night. The good news is, that in the San Francisco Bay Area, January was often as warm as a night in mid-June. It was a gorgeous evening. The very last thing my mother said, before I had to step out the front door to catch my breath was a statement that I will never forget for the rest of my life. My guess is that if I do have early onset dementia, I’ll be able to quote you the line until my dying day.
My mother told me, with no apparent feeling one way or the other, that she had to protect herself from that seven year old girl. That she was afraid that my step father would divorce her and marry my seven year old baby. What I can’t believe now, is that in her tormented mind she actually thought I’d let it happen!! Now, the reader might understand why I needed to catch my breath. This is where denial becomes a person’s best friend.
My husband stepped outside on the front porch with me. I asked him if he heard what I did. He affirmed it, and repeated what he heard. Denial, a strong and suffocating protector, is what allowed me to trudge on through the process of what became a huge mess, a broken family, a child who was never the same again, a young mother often aghast at the signs she missed, and tormented by her perceived failures. It was a LONG, LONG time before I realized that I was not the betrayer. I was one of the betrayed.
I had to survive these truths. I had a daughter to protect. Denial set in, and I stayed, at least for a while, pointedly aimed at my stepfather, because he was going to pay for what he did.
As time went on, my daughter disclosed more. What I stressed to my child was to tell the truth, and no matter what it wasn’t her fault. It took time, but she was pretty forthcoming considering her age. Soon, I learned that there was a vibrator used on my child. I went to my mother the next day and asked for the vibrator. My mother’s first words were, “how did you find out about it?” I was 29 years old and on my first detective case. She was around 55 years old. What would a question like that from her mouth, tell you??
I took the vibrator to the detective who told me that I’d make a great detective. He humored me with a stuffed bunny. I named the bunny Bartholomew, and I have him to this day.
On into the future, I learned of incidences that happened in public: at the beach, at the carnival and on rides, at the circus, in fast food joints. Along with these molests came threats. I’ll kill your mom and dad. If I pull the hair on my arms, your mom and dad will die, watch me. Can you imagine being a little girl watching to see if your “grandpa” was going to pull the arm on his hair because I refused to comply with his “request”. Grandpa will use his gun on your parents.
I went to my mother and said nothing more than, “Mom, where is the gun. I want the gun.” “What are you going to do with the gun,” she asks. I answer that I’m going to take it to the police. Her next question was, “How did you find out about the gun?” Even today, I can feel the HUGE, “DUH, MOM” rise out of my gut. I never spoke to my mother like that. I answered that I found out from my daughter.
Over time, my mother made it known that she was angry. That she felt her husband had purposely parked at a part of the beach where she could not tag along. She was/is physically disabled from horrible automobile accident. Obviously, she was angry because she was left out. But, she never said it was because she wanted to protect her grand daughter. After every conversation, there was left a bad taste in my system, my mother was making it pretty clear that she was jealous and my child was the “other woman.”
I wish I were making this up. I wish I had never seen or heard any of this. More than anything else, I wish I had known how dysfunctional my family truly was. I’d never took my child into that home. I would have never left my child in their care. It was a sick and depraved situation when any child is considered the competition that is coming between a married man and woman.
Over time, my mother told me how, before Jack was arrested that she and he would fight over my daughters framed school picture. He would sit and stare at it while he ate his breakfast in the morning. She would get angry or hurt enough to hide the picture. In her mind, she said she was basically, trying to change the subject. Direct his attentions other ways. He supposedly found the photo more than once or twice. He took it from its hiding place, and placed it back at the dinner table and proceeded to use it to his satisfaction (whatever that was). My mother told me that this went on for WEEKS and months before he was arrested. What is it that she did not know?
The three had gone to the renaissance fair near Vallejo, California. The seating for one little show there was made of bales of hay. My mother was angry that she was forced to sit two rows behind my step father and my daughter. This was the summer or two before my daughter ‘told’.
My mother tipped me off.
How is it that she can claim she really did not know? Denial became her best friend, and it was to the detriment of her relationships with herself, her mother, her daughter, and three of her four grandchildren. My children have never spent any time with their grandmother after May of 1991 (or so).
My step father was woefully undercharged. This was pointed out by the judge on the case. He made a plea bargin. He was found guilty of three mistameaners. He was given one year in county jail, given one day off for emergencies so that the judge could keep control of the situation. The judge listened to me carefully while I read a 10 page statement. My step father was literally tearing my family apart without even being present anymore. My mother sat quietly in the court room. AT this time, I still had not realized how badly she had betrayed her own grand daughter. At this time, I can only pretend she was there to support her daughter, the truth is, she was just watching it all play out and taking care of her own problems.
It was around this time that I learned that my mother knew that she was the man’s fourth wife, and that she had almost filed for an annulment. She decided not to. I do not know her reasoning, although, I believe I know her well enough to give a theory. I won’t do it here or now.
It was around this time, that my mother verbalized the fact that she considered herself THE victim of the case. Her grand daughter was not entitled to the claim. She was the one who was hurt the most by the whole situation. In a note she later wrote to me, she stated that her grand daughter would, “get over it, just like I did.” One really, really obvious clue today is that my mother was hurt in the same way by someone in her childhood, or perhaps after she was grown – but either way this has been a cycle probably for generations!
I also found out that the man who claimed to be a volunteer on the Alameda Sherrif’s department was a 100% fraud. He faked it all down to the fake uniform. The top sheriff in Alameda County had returned my correspondence and let me know that they had absolutely NO interaction with the man as it pertained to his ‘voluntary service.’ From my point of view, his whole life was a sham.
As I learned more, I decided to write the mother of his two children, and question her about any history that might apply and help us through the court cases. This mother had no idea that Mr. Jack Allen Doyal was capable of hurting anyone let alone her own children. After reading my letter, she approached her girls and was told that he had indeed harmed them. That they had, a few years before, approached the Dublin police about it, and were pretty much walked to the door. The mother was devastated if I read her tone of voice correctly. She told her daughters were both willing to go to court in my daughters defense, and tell what happened to them. That was a bright spot for me personally, for I felt vindicated. That particular phone call was made from my mother’s home office. She was a party to the conversation. She knew what was said. She was fully aware of the ugliness that had and would round the bend.
My step father had found a few ways, that was not obvious to anyone but me, to let me know that I was the crazy one. It was I who had the problem. He had not done a damn thing wrong. Yet if you can imagine the things that a grown man can do to a seven year old, he was probably guilty of nearly every thought you can imagine.
I found an attorney. His name will come to me eventually. His office was on Paseo Padre in Fremont, California. We filed a civil case. My daughter won a judgement of something close to 1.2 million dollars. This judgement was by virtue of the fact that my step father did not answer the complaint. He was served in jail, and said he had no glasses in which to read the paperwork with. Supposedly, he was in complete ignorance. The civil complaint basically said what he did, what he was found guilty off, and asked that the judge and/or jury find favor in requiring him to pay for damages done. Once that step was done, then came the right to try and collect from the homeowners insurance.
This is where my mother finally drew her line in the sand. My attorney had explained to me that my mother had to be included in the complaint because she was one of the homeowners. Some of it would read very poorly in her favor. But, non of it was personal and she would not have to leave her home.
My husband (at that time): had a very good fantasy life. In his mind, we would take ownership of her home. We’d gift her a bedroom and bathroom rights, etc. I was so smart about it all at the time, that I actually told my mother about his “dream.” Now, if I were willing to back him up in that little fantasy do you honestly believe I would have told her? Either way, suddenly, I had betrayed her and she acted like her back was against the wall.
To prove my solidarity, I wrote a letter to my attorney (my husband’s name was NO where on any of the paper work, save the police report), her attorney, with a copy going to her. I asked my attorney to file it with all the rest of the paperwork. I was in NO way interested in taking her home. My goal was to seek damages from the homeowners insurance only. I was in no way shape or form going after my mother for anything.
My mother’s answer to this whole mess, was to hire a specialty attorney. (Probably because she knew what was coming down the pike) She filed for a restraining order against me using lies about how I supposedly abused my then infant son. The paper works specifically said I was a bad mother to my daughter, but not to my son, and that I was putting ideas in my child’s mind, she prayed for 100% custody of my daughter, and ONLY my daughter.
At the same time, she filed with my step father a piece of legal paper asking that the judgement be thrown out on a technicality- he couldn’t see the paper work. A judge complied and tossed the judgement.
During this time, the cloud of denial lifted somewhat, and through my hurt I began to see really what my mother had been implying the whole time. My seven year old as the other woman, the jealousy, the anger – toward the wrong person. Yes, she filed for divorce. But, I can tell you that I know her well enough that the reason she filed was because of what it all looked like. Her social propriety was severely shaken. In her mind, she did no wrong.
In my mind, I most certainly failed to protect my daughter, and yet, as soon as I became conscious of what was going on, there was no hesitation on my part to go above and beyond what was expected to protect and nurture my precious little girl. And I can tell you with all my heart, I did not want to see my mother as a criminal co-dependent enabler that she was. But, my frame of mind did eventually come to settle in that place. She’d totally missed the boat as a mandatory reporter. She had no business working with kids that by law she was required to protect. There was no way in hell she was the main victim in this big theater promotion. I did go to her employer and told them what she had done, and I did seek for her to be fired. The superintend at the time told me when an arrest was made then she’d be terminated. I did go to the detective, who in turn did go to the D.A. seeking charges. The D.A.’s answer was simple and to the point: He was not paid tax payer money to loose. He said my mother would hire a top attorney, portray herself as a helpless little old lady and fight, and would cry herself free from any jury. She had a chance to hire the best “molester protector” in the San Francisco Bay Area, and probably in Northern California at least. I’ve always found it curious that she hired that sort of attorney, that is one that fought for molesters, rapists, perpetrators. It was he who filed paper work, after paper work for her. She did portray herself as the victim and as fairly helpless to everyone around her. She was helplessly ignorant — that is the best way to surmise the defense. And she absolutely went on attack when she said I was an abusive mother, and tried to get custody of only one of my children. When she lied about what I did to “hurt” my son. When she accused me of putting ideas in my daughters head, and tried very hard to turn family against me. Which of course, she had warned me, or threatened me with ahead of time. She wrote me a letter that let me know that if I continued on the present course, that I’d loose all family support.
Upon reading that letter, I assumed that I had lost all family support, and I quit talking to EVERYONE in my family. My entire being was devoted to that little girl who actually lived through the nightmare, not to the woman who viewed her as ‘the other woman.”
So, as I said earlier, after all these years a family member has let me know it was ME who broke the trust, and it was ME who caused my mother not to speak to me. I’ll say the same thing now, as I said then. My job, my allegiance, my love, my protection, my world revolved around that little girl. I gave her my everything, and I will NEVER be sorry for doing what I thought best for her and her future. And NOW, I will add, that I could have never have broken the trust. The trust the moment my mother started to view my daughter as “the other woman.”. My daughter was betrayed the moment, my mother turned her head and looked the other way, which my daughter later told me she saw. And no, the truth was bad enough, I could not have made any of this up if I tried. My mind simply does not work that way. I betrayed no one. I broke NO ones trust. In fact, I did EVERYTHING RIGHT. I stood by the only person who could matter to me.
It was hard. It was painful. There have been many tears. When the subject comes up, I simply tell the person on the other side, that mom does not talk to me, “because she knows, that I know.” It really is that simple.
I know. I knew. I’ll never forget. As long as I am living, I’ll be reminder of where and how she failed. Her denial will never change any of this. And in the long run, it was not myself who lost the family support. It was she who lost the love of a daughter, and three grandchildren. I won’t be there for her in the long run. Why would I? I won’t attend a funeral. I won’t visit a grave. In fact, I’d probably be pretty interested in desecrating it for I still have plenty of rage left over, not only for what she failed to do as a grandmother, but for what she failed to do as a mother.
Because once upon a time, there was a little girl, who had something terrible done to her by her father, and the only person that little girl could depend on in the whole world, was a mother who saw herself as wholly perfect and invincible, who in fact, was helpless and useless in the job of protecting her own. She tried then to convince her children of what a perfect and righteous person she was. She failed, and continues to fail, in every day, that she fails to see and speak the truth about what happened, and about her perverted views. She has sought no treatment. She sees nothing wrong.
She needs to look in the mirror, and hold herself into account, the same way, she held her daughter in judgement. She needs to look at the ruthless mind games she was willing to play in order to protect her fantasies. If she used the very same standards on herself, she’d find herself a petty little woman, who utterly failed as a mother and grandmother. A person who tore at the very fabric of her own blood. Her grand daughter was blood money, so she could have a home to call her own…
And that… is a whole other story. Sort of.
P.S. My mother never lost the house. He was stupid enough to let her handle money. He wrote checks for the mortgage. Apparently to her. She wrote a check to the bank. In theory it looked like she paid for it all. Therefore she got the whole thing.
So, the truth is, that she is willing to lie to get what she wants if the stakes are high enough.
Apparently they were, for the house was her great fight. Over time I came to the conclusion that my daughter was blood money traded for the house payment. It was a very poor decision considering what was lost in terms of family ties, and the help she might have received later in life from a rejected daughter.