I received an astonishingly honest, insightful and kind response. No, he certainly didnt say my father was not capable of this. In fact, it would hit me that no one I spoke with had that response. It was the water cooler effect everyone who knew him had an inkling that he was not as he presented himself in public.
After sitting with another colleague for more than three hours, I said of his Civil Liberties work, "Hes a phony. Hes a fake. That is not who he really is or how he leads his life."
The colleague just smiled at me. He had figured that out a long time ago.
No wonder my parents were so obsessed with secrecy. Growing up, we were told over and over to keep things a secret. They worried constantly what the neighbors and others would think. They would tell us over and over again not to embarrass them. All of their children agree on this.
Finally, I understood why. They were leading double lives. They had so, so many secrets to hide. It was only two weeks ago that I made the beginnings of a list:
- My father is an alcoholic.
- My father is both physically and verbally abusive to my mother and has been for 57 years.
- My parents have a loveless marriage
- My father is not brilliant. He is not a great scholar or intellect.
- My father never got his Ph.D. because his dissertation was so stunningly bad and lacking in humanity, that the noted scholar in the field responded with an article listing steps to be followed to prevent such a travesty from ever being written again.
- My father has a violent temper.
- My father is an arrogant and insecure man who is desperately in need of being in CONTROL at all times.
- My father is a cruel man.
Of course, they had the monster of all secrets to hide incest.
Many people have told me that my parents are old. They are in their twilight years. What is the point of dredging all this up? Why go public with it and hurt them?
Because the long term effects of sexual violations on boys and girls are incomprehensible. Incest is awful. It destroys individuals and families and it goes on to countless generations. It happens in the "best" of families. It must be stopped. The only way to stop it is to make it public.
I knew there was no happy ending to this story from day one. I have that phrase written everywhere in my notes. Thats part of the reason I resisted my memories for over a year. There will never be a happy reunion with my parents. There may never be a happy reunion with any of my siblings.
But, now, I am hopeful. Maybe there will be a happy ending.
Martha always reminds me that the ultimate goal of my therapy is to become a happy and contented person, at peace with myself and comfortable with who I am..
My name is Becky Holzinger. I hope to survive incest.
(Please see "TWO EMAILS" tab for the two e-mails mentioned in this story, "An Open Letter to Tom Holzinger" and "Brotherly Love." Please be aware that
some of this material is slightly sensative.)