Unthinkable. Literally.

November 18, 2009

I woke up this morning thinking about the power of the mind. How I got there is a bit circuitous. But here’s the story.

Years ago I was close with people who were like family to me. I spent quite a bit of time with them and their children.

After many years of a close friendship, the woman froze me out.

She was my best friend. It was inexplicable.

All she would say is “It’s not you.”

Nothing more.

Eventually, I moved. (So what else is new. I am ALWAYS moving.)

A few years later, I sat having a beer with the husband on one of my visits.

“I’m in therapy,” he told me.

“Really?” I asked. “For what?”

“For inappropriate behavior toward X.”

X is his oldest daughter.

How would you react if this had happened to you?

Here’s what I did.


My mind wouldn’t process it. It couldn’t. It was too horrifying.

So I blocked it completely out. I pushed it to some dark recess where I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

And I did it unconsciously.

I didn’t remember it for years.

When I did, the mechanism of my mind blocking out this disgusting information was almost as staggering to consider as remembering what he’d told me.

I now understand the meaning of the word unthinkable.

I also now understand why she froze me out. I was one of her closest friends. The person who spent the most time with the family. She didn’t want me to find out.

He’s slime. For sure.

But his wife stayed with him.

He is handsome. A professional man. They were childhood sweethearts.

She had a lot going for her, but was insecure. Felt she wasn’t attractive to men. He was it, for her.

So she stayed.

She chose him over supporting her daughter.

It’s a horrible story.

The girl? A beautiful girl who was forced to harden her heart. Who grew up too fast. Who never really had her childhood.

And one day, a few years later, miserable, she confided in me. I’ll leave that private.

There’s a lot to this story.

We think of child molesters as crazy old men. But they can be well-dressed professionals. Fun guys. Handsome.

We believe mothers would do anything to protect their children. We don’t think that they could be so damaged that they can’t look past themselves.

We never really get how powerfully the brain protects the heart when faced with horrifying information.

There’s a lot here.

I wish I could have been a better friend.

I’m not sure what that would’ve looked like.

But shoving the information back into the dark, no matter that it wasn’t conscious, is something I’m not proud of.

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