Face to face with a nightmare.

Do you ever wake up with your day planned and then bang, the wheels come off and you find yourself in a different place altogether? As a mother of young children this is probably not an uncommon event, however I have become accustomed to planning my day, and for the most part it working out.

Today, was not to be such a day. This morning I was in great form, life was good and I’d a lovely afternoon planned. Five minutes left before leaving, I boiled the kettle (again) and began to read the Sunday papers. There is something relaxing and holiday like, about reading them, different to any other days papers. I scanned the first page, enjoying a piece of cake while reading other peoples lives.  Then turning the page I saw him, staring back at me, (they always use the same photo, taken over twenty years ago), the way he was back then, when he stole my childhood and many others.

Feelings of  surprise, shock, revulsion, panic, fear, anger, horror and dread, simultaneously swept like a tsunami over me. In an instant I was completely overwhelmed. Struggling to believe it was him I looked at the photo once more, before quickly covering it with my tea cup. “Fu*k off you Bastard”, I heard myself shout. Desperate to ignore the article but compelled to read it I looked at the headline “Alleged abuser Gibney, green card queried”, and I felt part of my wall crumble.

No. No. No. Please do not send him back, my thoughts went off on a tangent. Twenty years ago he had fled Ireland for America. For twenty years I’d been free.

What if they take away his green card? What if he comes back here? What if I meet him one day? What if he comes looking for me? What if he finds me? What if they prosecute him? What about all the publicity? What if I kill him?

Fu*k, F*ck F*ck. I hid in the bathroom and looked in the mirror; the state of me! With a few deep breaths and a splash of cold water I began to recover. By the time I made it back to the kitchen there was a hole in the newspaper where once he stared out at me. I smiled at my husband and daughter, and they grinned conspiratorially back at me. No words needed to let me know they were in my corner.

So now it is hours later and my blood pressure has returned to normal, I can look at the article and consider it better. I understand why they are pursuing him, and I know they are right. Here in Ireland there are fresh allegations against him, maybe those victims would like their day in court? I never got mine, and it was a blow at the time, but he left the country, which was a very good result… for me. It has allowed me blossom, free in the knowledge I would never bump into him, ever.

As I contemplate the possible future scenarios I wonder which will come true. Will he get to stay in the US? Will he be deported? Will he come to Ireland? Will he face prosecution? However it is the question I do not ask that is the most relevant. Can I cope?

I suppose in all honesty I do not know. I have done so well for so many years but I have often wondered would the bubble burst? Would a day come when I realised I was not as over it all as I looked or thought I was.  I know others who were abused by him who are very unwell. He has left a legacy of destruction behind him. There have been suicides, eating disorders and mental health issues. He has a lot to answer for, but do I want him to? Can I face the opening of a barely healed wound?

I have no idea why this particular article has hit me so hard, when in fact at least once a year his case is highlighted for one reason or another. I think perhaps it’s the first time I really imagined him having to leave America. Also, having read this latest campaign updates, I can see it is being driven by a very competent American journalist who doesn’t take no for an answer.

It’s out of my hands for now. Maybe, as on many other occasions it will just go away again, or maybe I will be reading updates through closed fingers in the weeks and months to come. Who knows what the future holds, but I suppose one thing is clear…my life is never boring!

photo credit: Inner Demon via photopin (license)

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42 thoughts on “Face to face with a nightmare.

  1. My rapist died a few months ago; I learned about it on Facebook when I ‘visited’ my old church. The announcement was like a slap in the face; how could so evil a man be recognized among Christians?! I never stopped coming to grips with what he did to me. I like so many more face the carnage that is left of our lives.

    1. I know what you mean, and 99% of the time I am great, but sometimes… like today!
      I often wondered would his death make a difference, but I’m not sure it would. It must have been some shock for you when you heard.
      Tomorrow will be a better day!

      1. My old church is in another state but I keep up with things and people. He has only been there a few times but a lot of people knew him… he was my father’s drinking buddy. I almost threw up. To see the obituary and that he was a long-time member of another church and was praised for his contributions enraged me. Yeah, my first child was his contribution to the world. His poor wife was so heartbroken that she had a heart attack at the age of 42 and died. His family was destroyed and my life was forever altered but yeah…. he was a “faithful church goer.” Even now I want to throw up.

        I’m with you 100%.

        1. What a difficult life you have triumphed over Jackie. The one thing I did pick out of your comment was when you said.”and my life was forever altered”. Altered, not destroyed. No wonder we follow each other here.

  2. Tric – I have know such knowledge of what it would be like for you – so at the risk of sounding silly – you have more strength than you know – I believe you have more strength than your abuser – he is just a cowardly bastard! Go deep inside Tric and you will find the strength you need…

    1. Thank you, that’s a lovely thing for you to say. I think come tomorrow I’ll be back to normal and well on top of it all. We all have little ups and downs but things usually work out.
      On the plus side I was very spoiled here today!

  3. Sending hugs, thoughts and prayers your way! I hope you feel better tomorrow as I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through!

  4. Sending you hugs Tric. It is a horrible thing indeed to live with, and the memories will come unbidden, but what a shock to open the paper and see him. Hoping your tomorrows will be better.

    1. Thank you. It is the unbidden memories that are indeed very difficult, as well as the photos and discussions of him and ‘his victims’ in the paper.
      Looking forward to picking up the pieces tomorrow.

  5. He didn’t win. You’ve gone ahead to bring love and laughter and beauty into so many lives. I have no idea how you’ve grown so strong, but I do admire you so much.

    1. Thank you so much. It’s been a difficult day, and your comment is greatly appreciated. I’ve huge support and have been really spoiled all day, that makes all the difference. I know, despite everything, I’m really lucky.

  6. I’m truly sorry that this monster keeps resurfacing after all the pain he has put you and others through! I cannot imagine the trauma and pain you go through. Feckin’ bastard!! You have risen so far above that pain and I’m sure you will continue to be strong! Hugs!!

    1. Thanks Deb and your ‘feckin bastard’ comment, spoken like a true Irishwoman made me smile, you’re really getting the lingo now.
      I’m good today and slept like a log, so onwards and upwards now.

  7. that must be horribly upsetting, to say the least! know that he needs to be made to pay for what he’s done and perhaps they need to make a change in order for this to happen. i’m sorry this happened, tric, on every level, and feel good that he can’t hurt you or any other person again. you are way more human than he ever was or will be.

    1. Thank you Beth. It was a hard day but today is much better and the sun is blazing over here, (a sign?).
      As for not hurting anyone, I do worry in case he has hurt someone, as the word is that he did link himself with some charities over in the US, but nothing sinister seems to have happened as far as I can find out.
      What will be will be I suppose and there’s no point in fighting it. I’ve a great life here and I know how lucky I am.
      Thanks again online buddy!

  8. I so appreciate the comments you are getting here Tric. I love the comment that said you have more strength than your abuser. You do. You do. You do. That doesn’t mean you don’t have some pretty horrible feeling moments. But, you are not the horrible person he is. And like we’ve talked before, you are not what he did. HE will never be more than what he did. He is ONLY what he did. What he did is filth and contemptuous.

    You are everything that you have done. Everything that you do. Everything you do is strong and beautiful and lovely and about growth.

    1. Aww thank you. What a lovely comment. I’ll come back and read it a few times for inspiration.
      I’m so much better today, and ready to move on to whatever life throws my way.
      Thanks again Colleen.

  9. Reading this I get a horrific sense of all the power he took from you and so many others. Stand tall as a wonderful loving human being. Know his judgement day is coming. Powerful post to share and I am sure you are not alone in these fears. Use the written word to heal and help others. Kath

    1. Thank you. The sun is shining today and I’m feeling so much better. I think when these moments happen it’s okay to take a day out to deal with them, but today it is time to move on once more, and I can do that.

    1. Thank you Naomi. Today is a whole new day, and I’m feeling much better. Just back from a long walk with my friend and we have the world put to rights and Gibney sorted!

    1. Thank you Duncan. That is a wonderful project. If I’m very honest I can talk about what happened quite dispassionately but looking at those letters I don’t think I could write one, not yet anyway, but maybe some day. I think the difficulty would be writing as if I were still that child, that would hurt a lot. Thank you Duncan, it was good to read them.

  10. So sorry that you still have to go through this, and all he has to concern him is a bloody green card.
    I hope you’re feeling the love and that it makes you even stronger than you already are xx

    1. Thank you, I feel a lot stronger once more. We all have wobbles in life I suppose, but the support of others makes a big difference. It is that which pulls me through time and time again.

  11. I can’t imagine what it must be like to come face to face (even in print) with someone who had such a powerfully negative impact on you. I’m so sorry this happened, and I know you are incredibly strong and already recovered from this shock, but I appreciate you sharing your vulnerability. It helps others know that this happens, and how to move through with grace, as you do…

    I went online and read about him, and am saddened that he was allowed to live in communities in the US and even coach still. I hope he gets locked up sooner than later!
    Sending you love.

    1. Thanks Lucia. Writing about it last Sunday really helped and I’m back to normal since although it’s beginning to be reported on again here and there was even a TV programme featured it for an hour last night.
      I’m resigned to it now, what will be will be I’ll just have to look after myself. The support here has been amazing. Thanks again.

  12. Amazed and in Awe, I don’t know how I would feel if I saw an article about my abuser. I kept my phone number unlisted for many years until I found out he had died. But even now, I am very picky and choosy about who I give my number too. Part of that self protection stuff. You are an unbelievably strong lady, I am glad that your family has your back too. May peace once again fill your heart and quietness enter your mind.

    1. It’s the little things we never forget isn’t it, like your reluctance to share your phone number, for me it’s slow cars behind me or goatie beards.
      It looks like it’s going to become a news story again over here, but I’m okay with that now.

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