(This post comes from a reader named Roger.)
I have shared with only two people that I did go back—long after I no longer needed to, and long after he was probably through with me. After the divorce from my first wife, I spent a holiday weekend with my parents. That first evening, dad told me I could have his bedroom and he would sleep in their camper/trailer.
Later, I turned out the light to go to sleep. Tired as I was, I found myself alert and lying once again in the dark, a 10-year-old kid in a 33-year-old body. Sometime after midnight, I heard familiar sounds outside my door. Without thinking, I pulled back the covers so he could see me.
Why would I do that? At that point in my life, I was well aware of what we were doing and how wrong it was. What did I want/need from him? It was just as unsatisfying as it was 23 years earlier, but now it was embarrassing, humiliating, and I ended up feeling like crap. Why did I feel the need to surrender access to me? Was it familiarity, guilt, a chance to rewrite history? Or maybe I thought it was a chance to talk about what we were doing.
Of course, the next day it was as if nothing had happened. He was my father and the pastor of my church all my life.
How long would this go on?
Dad took that terrible dilemma out of my hands with his suicide years afterward. But I'm still left with the question of why I went back, and whether I would have continued.
Not many of us incest survivors have to face those questions and doubts, but I understand the terrible pull to accept that phone call, answer that text, or open the door to someone whom I know is going to hurt me.