Letters

Excerpts from email I have received in connection to this blog; validation has been it’s own comfort, solace and reward.

“Dear Tim,

I recently found your blog when I Googled old acquaintances.  I did not expect to find what I did when I put Edward Shockley into the search bar, but in hindsight I am not at all surprised.

I knew your family when you were young, you attended our church and went to school with my children, Saint Barnabas in Alameda. Your father was often physically aggressive with you and Elizabeth, dragging you by your arms, shoving you or jerking you around.  I recall many times when he or your mother would take one of you outside for a beating during mass.

…in hindsight, we all knew you were mistreated.”

 

Tim,

“…your father never gave us an explanation for why you disappeared, he always told us to “leave it alone.”  Thank you for this blog, and for having the courage to tell the truth about this family.”

 

“Tim (please share this with Elizabeth too)

…there was never a time when we didn’t know your parents were cruel and probably abusive, but no one knew how bad it was.  I saw your dad beat you and I knew that you were very afraid of him.”

 

“Tim,

…I was and still am her (name omitted) friend, she has had problems all her life because of what your father did, but I don’t know how you and Elizabeth survived going to school where everyone knew what your father did to her.”

 

“Tim,

I know your mother, now everything makes sense, her version never rang true.”

 

“Tim,

I worked with your mother, she couldn’t wait until Elizabeth turned eighteen so she could get rid of her legally.  It was clear she hated being a mother.”

 

“Tim,

Ed and Marie are our friends, but we believe every word you have written. As you have so rightfully stated, children do not estrange themselves from their parents without good cause. May God bless you and give you courage as you continue fighting your noble cause.”

 

“Tim,

….You are a courageous man to tell your story, you have survived untold pain and suffering when you deserved loving and caring parents.  There is a special place in Hell reserved for people like Ed and Pat.”

 

“Timothy,

…despite everything, your story is one of hope and proof that the cycle of abuse can be broken.  God bless you and your family this holiday season.”

 

“Tim,

I have never been comfortable around Ed, now I know why.”

 

“Tim,

Please write a book, people need to understand the connection between child abuse and mental illness, and your story is the perfect illustration.”

 

“Tim,

…if more people would call out their abusive parents in a public forum there might be less child abuse.  I hope Ed and Pat read every word.”

 

“Tim,

 

I know your father. He was an arrogant fool not to take the second chance you so graciously offered him, every man dreams of having a son like you.  God bless you and your beautiful family.”

 

“Tim,

I see your father is still a salesman. He’s sold us all a man who in all likelihood does not exist.  Thank God for google and your need to be heard.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lewd and Lascivious

What follows is Ed’s account of the incident and subsequent charges he faced for sexually molesting my sister’s fourteen year old friend.  I have omitted her name for her privacy and protection.

Her account and Ed’s account of this tragedy are similar, but differ in key areas: she was ruthlessly grilled by Ed’s attorney, and his sexual impropriety did not stop with his fondling her breasts and masturbating. Both she and Ed agree the act was non-consensual.

A few more comments follow, The Story

I received the following email from Ed on October 28, 2014

“This is a very static rendition of what happened from my view. Not much emotion, but for me was the easist [sic] way to write it.

E

Lewd and Lascivious- the story

This was another of the things I had to resolve within myself, separate from what I did to you. As a matter of fact this charge was what got me into therapy, for my second time, after being relased [sic] from jail. It was Court Ordered

.

This happened one night when (name omitted for her privacy and protection) and Elizabeth were staying at my apartment, because they were going on a school field trip very early the next morning and I was going as a chaperone. [sic] I had been out all day and when I came home they were both dressed for bed and were going to sleep in my waterbed while I was going to sleep on the couch. I still don’t understand what ever possessed me to move from the couch to the waterbed, but I did and got on top of the covers between the two of them. During the night I fondled (name omitted) breasts and masturbated. I don’t remember if I stayed there the rest of the night or moved back to the couch.

The next day on the field trip (name omitted) didn’t talk with me at all. I often wondered if Elizabeth felt lost that I would molest (name omitted) and not her. The following night or the night after I received a call while at a meeting in Sacramento, to come immediately to Pat’s house. When I got there I found Pat, Elizabeth, and my current girlfriend there (I’m not sure if you were there or not) and was told that (name omitted) had told her parents I had raped her. I went over to (name omitted) house with my girlfriend to confront her. I don’t exactly remember how that went, but I’m very sure “not well”.

Shortly thereafter, I received notice I was being charged with rape and being sued. At that time I got a lawyer and met with (name omitted), her mother, and their attorney for a deposition. This was the only time (name omitted) was interviewed or examined. She was never put on a stand in count. The attorneys negotiated the charge from Rape down to Lewd and Lascivious with a fine of originally $100,000 (this was negotiated down to $10,000 which I paid), charged as a misdemeanor and without the need to register as a “sex offender”. The agreement was I would pled [sic] “No Contest” to lewd and lascivious conduct without a court trial on a rape charge and be open to a civil suit for damages (see above).

I was found guilty and sentenced to 1 year in jail, of which I served 9 months with 3 years’ probation and court ordered counseling. Later on these records were expunged and sealed.

This sounds so sterile, but it is the “facts” as I remember them”

 

I have been deeply disturbed by this email since I received it, but this quote:

“I often wondered if Elizabeth felt lost that I would molest (name omitted) and not her.”

There are no words to explain how that makes me feel; what kind of father would wonder that?  What kind of man? … that is incest, actually incestuous rape, he is speaking of.

No sane father’s thoughts would wander … there.

And the father in me feels compelled to point out that if you sexually assaulted my daughter, the last place in the world you’d want to be is at my house.   I’m sure it did go, “not well.”

His thoughts and actions, then and now, are, to my mind, creepy, vile, disordered and disconcerting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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This quote is powerful, and profound.  That ‘placating voice’ Jung spoke of is a hallmark of my father’s style as a Manipulator.

When Rhonda and I were dating, we saw Ed occasionally; these were typically social outings – dinner, a movie, the odd museum or local event kind of thing.

Ed always kissed Rhonda on the mouth at greeting and parting, which made Rhonda uncomfortable is an extreme way.  She let me know she didn’t like it, and I spoke to Ed – asking him to kindly refrain as she found it off-putting and completely inappropriate.

True to himself, Ed did exactly what he wanted to do, which was continue his habit of kissing Rhonda on the mouth.  Rhonda found this distasteful and lacking in respect for her wishes, and me implicitly; he had an obligation to honor my request that this behavior cease and yet it continued.

When I called my father to my apartment to tell him I no longer wanted him in my life, I explained a few things:

  1.  Rhonda’s parents and grandparents didn’t want her anywhere near him; our home town is small and everyone knew he had raped my sister’s friend.
  2. His continued kissing her on the mouth, combined with his sexually-criminal past, was not something she felt any measure of comfort in.
  3. He’d been asked to stop this behavior, and yet it continued; Rhonda was done with Ed.
  4. If Rhonda was done with Ed, so was I.  I will admit now that I should have further explained my position – my need to extricate him from my life wasn’t based solely on Rhonda’s discomfort in his presence, but also, and primarily, on years of his abuse of me.

And that’s when I heard it – that soft, placating voice, trying to convince me that I had misunderstood his intentions – and his disrespectful, shameful behavior …

this had become his tactic, with me, once I was too old to simply beat into submission – but this was probably the first time I recognized it for the disgusting, manipulating thing it was in the moment in which it was occurring …

he then had the audacity to, in that same placating voice, implore me to allow him to speak to Rhonda – he felt certain if she heard his side of the story she’d be comfortable with him and understand.

No, she would not have been comfortable, nor would she have understood; she knew the truth, which was why she felt the way she did …

Next post, Lewd and Lascivious,  told in Ed’s own words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email

 

Very quickly; in the last week or so, I have received a great deal of email regarding this blog …

I have been thanked for sharing my story

Had readers tell me that now their uneasy feelings about my parents make sense

Been told by some they feel validated after reading Silence Shattered

And I’ve been asked if I would share my email correspondence with Ed publicly …

The latter gave me pause, at first.

But in the upcoming days, I will begin to go through almost ten months of email and pull out relevant passages to share here.

It is important for survivors to know they are not alone.

It is important to understand I will not cloak Ed’s sins; I am tired of being complicit in his deceptions, and my silence makes me complicit.

And …

it is important that the worst of Ed be explained in his own words.

 

 

 

 

The Key

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If he had assumed responsibility for everything he’s done, the ending may have been different – I may have been able to accept his apology.

I tried, but apology devoid of willingness and ability to hold himself accountable for what he did to me was empty and meaningless.  “I’m sorry,” turned out to be only words.

He has himself to blame, for everything.

I’ve done some soul-searching, and I know I gave him an honest chance; somehow, I was able to do that.  I sincerely wanted the ending to be different.

But it isn’t enough to apologize, you must – absolutely must, endeavor to make it right if you want your apology to feel sincere and heartfelt.  He would not do this …

“I’m sorry,” was all he had.

All he was willing to give.

And after everything he did, a willingness and desire to make it right was imperative, crucial, and necessary.

He’s plays the victim, or worse, a martyr …

His thinking is self-aggrandizing and somewhat disordered – definitely out of touch with the concept of taking any real responsibility for anything he has ever done.  I am basing this conclusion on several months of email correspondence with him; notes that left me stunned, shocked, speechless and in utter disbelief.

I kept every email he sent – allowed a few trusted friends and family – also my therapist – to read them, just to see what they thought about Ed; the consensus was unanimous and supports my beliefs; he was a cruel, abusive father who failed to meet even a single obligation inherent to the role of father, who now sees himself as someone good, someone other than who he really is – and worst of all,  he is incapable of taking responsibility for what he did to his children.

For my readers struggling with this issue in their own lives:  the surreal and disconnected attempt by an abusive parent to reach out to you years later, to apologize without taking any responsibility for what he or she has done, who offers no real attempt at making amends …

You are not alone; sadly, this is not an uncommon circumstance for survivors of child abuse to find themselves in.  As grounded as I was, as resolute as I had become: no contact with my parents again, ever, I gave him a chance … and I was moved by his apology devoid of denial – I tried to believe that was enough.  My attempt to forgive is well chronicled on the pages of this blog; I wanted what he was willing to give to be enough …

But it isn’t enough, it can’t be enough.

If someone can admit they beat their child – viciously, cruelly, and in ways they found sexually gratifying – time and time and time again …

If they can admit they were never there for their child; provided no emotional or financial support, little to no nurturing or affection …

and yet they do not feel compelled to make amends – to at least try to make up for all they have done, and what it has caused …

who can assume no responsibility beyond saying, “I’m sorry” …

I must conclude this is not a stable, emotionally mature man – and I do not want him in my life.

Foolish End

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How does a kid – even one who is 53 years old, reconcile the fact that his father is abhorrent?

It’s one of those things where you see the writing on the wall, and review what you have always known to be true, and yet you still do not want to believe …

I try to tell myself that Perhaps, taken out of context, his individual crimes don’t add up to the monster I know him to be …

If he had just beaten me

Or,

If he had just raped my sister’s friend

Or,

If he had only been sincere in his attempt to reconcile:

He was given a chance he did not deserve, and he blew it all to hell; and he did this easily because it – I, meant nothing to him.

He reached out to me ONLY to calm the storm this blog created in his life; he quite literally had NO alternative.

You can’t view a person on what ifs …

You have to view them by the totality of their actions;

He beat his children

He raped a young girl

What he has done – what he is capable of doing, is unthinkable – yet it is true, it is all true.

And it paints a picture of a man who is the antithesis of goodness and benevolence.

He assumes no responsibility and hides behind a facade that is easily shattered …

He isn’t good because he devoted himself to Janet; he used her to make other people believe he was good.  Maybe this is what I find to be the most repellent thing about him.

If she hadn’t been sick, he’d have treated her exactly the way he treated Elizabeth and I, and she’d have told him to go to Hell just as we did.

I tried to find in him some sort of saving grace, some sign of change or redemption …

but all I found was an old man terrified of having to face himself and unable to accept responsibility for all the evil and depraved things he has done …

a man who doesn’t want the people in his life now to know he is a lie;

the man they think they know doesn’t exist …

and he never did.

The man depicted on the pages of this blog, however, is very, very real.

I was a fool to ever have believed, even minutely …

 

 

 

In His Own Words

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How in the world could anyone … anyone, write that to their child?

Ed, sometime after he divorced my mother, wrote prose of a sort for Elizabeth and I; he had a piece which began with the words, “Now that you are no longer little kids, but people” affixed to a wooden plaque, which he gave to each of us as a gift.

I made me physically ill to read – it characterized in one sentence how he felt; children are not of value, they’re not even people.

It doesn’t matter that I destroyed the plaque, smashed it beyond recognition and no longer recall exactly the sentences that followed; there is not context in which “Now that you are no longer little kids, but people,” is OK.

I’ve pondered this bit of prose occasionally throughout the years, and I’ve always come back to a single conclusion:

Not seeing us as people is what allowed him to do all the terrible things he did.

Down the Rabbit Hole: A Candid View on What it Means to be Estranged From Your Child

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A few days ago, Rhonda and I were discussing why a woman would marry a man – any may, who had spent time in jail for acts of sexual depravity against a young girl.

The woman who married my father had a child of her own; he was eight or nine when I met him, and not much older when his mother married my father.

I have no idea when or how Ed shared with Marie, his wife, that he had raped his daughter’s friend, but it puzzles me how this was not a relationship breaker.  As a woman, and a mother, the fact that she put herself, and most especially her child, at risk in this way horrifies Rhonda.

Of course this particular act, as terrible as it was, is only one of Ed’s atrocities.

Ed knew the reason I turned my back on him – although he has lied and claimed for decades he didn’t know. I told him outright – I was angry at the time, and I probably swore at him, but I told him.  This was in 1993. And never forget that he has always known what he did to me, and my sisters, when we were children.

He has hidden and deceived and lied and pretended for a very long time, and he is so good at it he now believes his own lies.

I was doing some research on estranged parents/children recently and found this site: Down the Rabbit Hole:

http://www.issendai.com/psychology/estrangement/why-estranged-parents-forums.html

Great information, solidly researched by the site’s owner/author – I had no idea how typical my situation is within the world of estranged parents and children.

Points To Consider:

  1.  Adult children DO NOT estrange themselves from their parents when their relationship is what it should always have been.  This just isn’t the way the world works.
  2. Minor problems do not, and cannot, account for decades long estrangements.
  3. A girlfriend, fiance, wife, boyfriend, husband or any other Significant Other cannot come between a parent and child if the relationship between the parent and child is loving, supportive, valued and viable. Be very wary of any parent who tries to explain estrangement from his/her child by blaming someone else’s influence on their child.
  4. If a parent who is estranged from his/her child tells you they have no idea why their child turned his/her back on them, that should be a HUGE red flag.
  5. If a parent feels betrayed by family members who have a relationship with their estranged child, or demands that friends and family members choose sides, or seems upset in any way when their estranged child has a relationship with extended family, it is because the parent lives in fear of family and friends learning the truth.

Again, I am not qualified to diagnose Ed or Pat, or anyone for that matter, but analysis of parents who are estranged from their children is eye-opening: parents estranged from their children tend to be classic enablers and/or abusers …

and they are very good at finding people who will cloak their sins.

They are master manipulators …

So that might answer the question of why Marie married Ed:

It is entirely likely she believed whatever story he told.

 

 

 

My Concerns

One of the things I am constantly concerned with, in the case of my father, is this:  have I made the right people aware of his depravity?

When I informed Ed’s step-son, Jeffrey, and his wife, Sally Anne – who are the parents of two young children, who Ed truly is, they were understandably taken aback – upset, angry and confused.  In the end, they informed Ed, according to his note to me, “they still love me.”

It isn’t a lot different from a situation I was in once upon a time – I learned that my childhood best friend had been arrested for sexually molesting young boys; I had two young boys of my own at the time, and my children adored him.  I did not condone what this man had done, but he was my friend, and he was suicidal at the time.  I did not shut him out of my life, but I did protect my children from him – I didn’t, not for a single second, close my eyes to what he had done, or what it meant.  He, very tragically, went on to commit suicide several years later, unable to cope the burden of being who he was.

Our sexual appetites do not change, they are what they are.  Men do not molest and rape an innocent young girl and then go on to lead healthy sexual lives.  They do not take sexual gratification from beating their children and then find satisfaction within the mainstream of accepted sexual norms. They do not leer at their young sisters-in-law in the bathtub and later drop all affinity for this deranged behavior.

In the case of my friend, his mother told him he had to tell me what he had done, or she would – this to protect my children.  I felt deeply for her and could not imagine how difficult it had to have been to accept what her son had done –  I am so thankful she took it upon herself to make sure I was informed.

I understand this issue from all sides, and children MUST be protected; people DO NOT change – especially their sexuality.

If Ed had done the things he has done today, he would be in prison and he would have to register as a sex offender.  That is fact, unalterable fact.

Sexual urges- what drives us sexually – cannot be mitigated,  cannot be explained away and cannot be changed.  We, of course, have control over where our sexuality leads in a moral and ethical sense toward others, but attraction is what it is …

and people who don’t assume that control leave victims in their wake.

Why in the world would anyone take that risk with their child?

Perspective

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It took a long time for me to understand my life – to develop my own philosophical point-of-view.  My early influences were not conducive to learning to think for myself.  When I look back on the boy I was in my late teens and early twenties, I no longer recognize him.

I was cynical, sarcastic and completely shut down emotionally.  I was all the things my childhood had groomed me to be.  If I had any sort of philosophy at all, not that I defined it then, it was ‘put one foot in front of the other and do the best you can until you die.’ Life was a struggle, and that was all it was.

I cannot recall my mother ever being happy.  She hated her job and her employer – whatever and whoever it was at the time.  She came home from work at night and drank, a lot.  She was very good at letting everyone around her know just how unhappy she was.

My father was always an odd duck.  I was, for whatever reason, acutely aware of this.  He  made me nervous and uncomfortable even when he wasn’t raging, which wasn’t often.  He was always mad.  Always. Yes, I was hyper-aware of my father’s moods, but perhaps I was even more cognizant of the fact that he was just so strange.

I didn’t really develop a perspective on any of this until I was an adult and able to see for myself the way other people lived, engaged and interacted with each other; comparisons to my own family were inevitable, and eye-opening.

Behavior that was normal in my house – raging father, caustic mother who tried to make everyone else as miserable as she was – wasn’t even tolerated in most others.  There were standards for respect and emotional support in families I didn’t know anything about – these standards certainly didn’t exist in my family.

It was a whole new world, and I felt like a complete outsider.  One of the first arguments I had with Rhonda ended with her telling me that if I wanted to keep her in my life I couldn’t continue to behave like an asshole when I was mad, frustrated or upset …

but I didn’t really know anything else.  That was about the time I confided in her – gave her an outline of what Pat and Ed had done to me – told her a little bit about ‘normal and accepted behavior’ in the Shockley house.

I wanted a different life; hell, I wanted A Life, period, and I knew enough by that point to know if I didn’t develop a new and emotionally healthy perspective, I’d never have a life worth living.

You don’t escape an abusive home and toxic family just by growing up and moving out, it isn’t that simple.  Years of fear, pain, pernicious influence and shutting out the world emotionally take a toll – they alter who you are fundamentally; survival is all you know, and that is largely instinctive …

to escape forever, you have to learn to live.