Father’s Day 2018

In years past, I celebrated this day with you. I chose to remember only the good I thought I knew about you.

This year it feels as if it is just another day. Another holiday that I don’t recognize.

If I let myself, I could get angry and hurt thinking about your role as my father.

As much good as you did for me, you failed me in so many more significant ways.

Your inability to love me, or choice to not love me, was the cruelest thing you could have done to me. What kind of father refuses to tell his daughter he loves her? As a parent myself, I can’t even begin to understand your actions and lack of love for me. No child deserves a parent who chooses not to love her.

Your decision to not protect me from all forms of child abuse cannot be understood or forgiven. No decent human being stands by an ignores his daughter’s pleas for help. I know you knew all about what was going on, and it hurts me so badly that you chose Mom and her sickness over me.

I deserved to have a father who loved me, protected me, and saw my self worth. You were not him, so this year I will not pretend to honor you on Father’s Day.

I pray that God has made you answer for the sins you perpetrated against me.

I deserved better. I know this, and you can’t take it from me.

Missing memories

I am missing the memories of most of my childhood before age 12. What I can remember is about 90% traumatic memories. I know I probably had more than 10% of my childhood being good memories, but I don’t have them.

When I think back on everything I can remember from my childhood, I was always feeling fearful, even in moments where it doesn’t seem like there should be fear for any reason.

I can remember 3 memories when I was in kindergarten.

The first is remembering that the best thing about kindergarten was that on “your day,” you got to go out in the hall and finger-paint. I know it was a highlight for me, but at the same time I feel intense fear thinking about the memory, and the scariness of the hall I was in.

The second memory was when one of my best friends came to school without underwear on while she was wearing a dress. I remember how mortified I was for her, and I was fearful because I knew it had something to do with the community we lived in together.

The third thing I can remember was being in the kindergarten teacher’s office area with her and another teacher doing a lice check on me. I gathered from their conversation it was not the first time they had me back there for a lice check. I remember them being sure I had lice and stumped when they couldn’t find any. I imagine the lice check was because I was dirty and unkempt. It was a very shaming experience, and again I felt fearful.

For the next 5 years at school, I can only remember 3 or 4 memories, and all of those are very scary and traumatic.

When I turned 12, my parents had quit drinking and moved our family away from the community we grew up in, and we literally became new people who had pretend normal backgrounds. There was never any mention or recognition of the past.

For whatever reason, I didn’t think anything of it at the time. In fact, I didn’t think anything of it until a therapist of mine some 38 years later pointed out how odd it was that my family had done that. I just shrugged it off because I never had the expectation that my childhood and family should make sense.

As a very grown adult, it is super frustrating to not have memories of my childhood and a lot of my adult life. Even though my adult life has not been terribly traumatic by my childhood standards, I still can’t remember things all the time.

The answer to this problem as I have come to believe is that because parts of me did not developmentally integrate when I was in childhood, I need to integrate us into one as an adult. Or, at the very least get parts of me who are stuck living in past trauma into the present.

To accomplish integration or removing active trauma from our head, we have to remember and process some of the memories. This is a difficult task for someone who can’t remember as much as I do.

I have been pushing my system for memories for a while now. I gamed my system and forced the process. As a result, I recently had some new memories come in rapid fire succession.

The memories I had before these new memories were horrific, so I wasn’t particularly worried as I honestly felt like things couldn’t be much worse. I was wrong.

There was a reason those memories were being kept from me. It has been almost a month since they first came up, and they have ruined me. I can’t seem to pull out of this constant suicidal crisis for longer than 10 minutes.

The new memories have shook me to the core. It has made it so I am not who I thought I was. A parent who I thought loved me and cared for me was not that at all.

It leaves me feeling like I was truly nothing to no one growing up. No one.

It is a hard pill to swallow.

I got what I wanted. I forced memories to come that probably should have never come.

I honestly don’t know if I will survive this suicidal crisis I am in. Everyday I just barely scrape by.

I am not sure I want to exist with this new sense of my identity. I wish I could just shake it off and go on with my ok adult life. But, I can’t let go of my past, and don’t know if I ever will. And if I never let go, living this haunted life until the end is an awful existence.

I don’t know if anyone understands what it feels like to have this haunting day-in-and-out.

It is like living in sheer terror everyday. Who the hell wants that?

The unloved child

Lately, I have been discussing in therapy the fact that I grew up in a loveless home.

My therapist wants me to grieve that my parents didn’t love me.

I haven’t been able to do it as my immediate response is that I feel nothing toward them.

I do not feel love to, or from them, or even want to be loved by them. I feel nothing.

Empty. That’s what I feel the most when I think of them.

My mother was drunk as an alcoholic all through her pregnancy with me. My dad on more than one occasion laughed saying “I don’t know why you don’t have fetal alcohol syndrome given as much as your mother drank.” He always followed it with, of course, they didn’t know about fetal alcohol syndrome back then to make an excuse for her.

When I was born, my mother didn’t let up on her drinking. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and living in a middle class fantasy world. It seems almost every adult that came to our house was an alcoholic, which was weird statistically.

Our minister wasn’t an alcoholic, but I can remember him at the house sometimes to clean up some type of domestic mess.

Like the Catholic Church, our minister served to keep this chaos, violence, and abuse hidden behind closed doors.

Neither of my parents were affectionate with me in a way to communicate they loved or even cared for me.

In fact, it took my mom 50 years to utter the words she loved me. By then, it fell on deaf ears.

My father, who was nicer to me than my mom, never told me he loved me his entire life. I wanted to believe he loved me because he was kinder to me once he stopped drinking. But, as I sat with him for months on his deathbed, I heard him tell others he loved them, but never me, the only one who was loyal enough to see him through his death.

Growing up without love is a hard thing to work with as an adult. The only loving behavior I received was when I was being sexually abused. Otherwise, I was invisible in my world.

I once had an African-American maid who worked for my family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her name was Annie, and she had a son who went to school with me named Tommy (he ways my friend until he was taken away from me). Annie tried to look out for me and my brothers. She would try to make sure we had food and other things that children should have. Though she was strict, she was kind to me, and gave me a few moments of stability.

As embarrassed as I am that we had a maid, I am grateful God put her in my life for a brief reprieve of some of the horror that was happening to me. I was so sad when she was gone.

It turns out you can grow up without love, and not always turn into something horrible. But the price of that admission is to walk around feeling empty, not getting too close to people, and not needing anyone outside of myself.

Interestingly, the main place I feel strong love is with my children. I love them with every ounce of my being, and I know they love me. I don’t know how I learned how to love them like this since I never saw this in person. I am grateful that somehow I have this inside of me when it comes to them.

I don’t feel lonely, which is strange for someone who doesn’t get too close to people. I think I am so used to living on my own, and in my head that it is comfortable this way. When I am alone, I don’t have to worry about someone hurting me.

I don’t know how to get close to the grief my therapist thinks I need to experience to heal. I suppose my intuition believes my world will come to an end if I touch on this type of grief. Maybe I am better off staying numb to it.

Sad hope of the 4 year old girl

A 4 year old little girl. She leaves her room at night, crawling on all four to get to her parents’ room. She chooses to escape the brutal sexual abuse of her brothers and their friends if she stays in her room.

She hopes this time when she goes to her parents’ room they will respond with love and kindness. Each night she has renewed hope that it will happen.

The mom and dad are alcoholics, always on the verge of passing out from the alcohol at this time of night. If the dad hears her, he yells at her to go back to her bedroom, which she does with tears in her eyes, and her heart broken.

If the Mom discovers her on the ground of their room, she sometimes shows her compassion. She quietly pulls her up into the bed with her, and scratches her back before she quietly sexually abuses her with her big, drunk, disgusting body.

The four year old keeps hoping one day it will be different. It never was…

And this is her foundation for life.

When your friend commits suicide

As someone who has suffered from suicidal thoughts most of my adult life, I have found myself completely unprepared to deal with one of my best friend’s successful suicide this past week.

My friend caught me completely off-guard with her suicide. I thought she was one of my friends in the “worried well” category, not someone who would actually commit suicide.

I don’t think I have ever had so many emotions boomeranging around in my brain since I found out. To say it has “triggered” me is an understatement.

I went to college with this friend, and it is so significant because both of us really helped each other figure out who we were going to be in life. We debated and explored different ideas about our future identities on a regular basis.

We were so excited about our futures. Anything seemed possible.

At one time we thought she was going to marry a man who would be a stay-at-home dad because she was so career driven in college. That didn’t end up being true at all.

We both came from dysfunctional homes and had the burdens and wounds that come with that to wrestle into our adult identities.

My best friend ended up working full time in a successful career and raising four kids on her own. She loved her kids more than anything, but something went wrong.

She hasn’t been living in the same town as me for a while, so I hadn’t been keeping in good touch with her. Mostly seeing random Facebook posts that made me think her life was okay despite the pressure and depression I am sure she felt ongoing after her marriage failed.

I am so angry at myself for not keeping in better touch with her. Like maybe somehow I could have saved her from whatever demon was eating at her soul.

I am so angry at her for doing this to her kids, though I am scared to know the reason she did this. I am terrified there might be more to her story than I want to know that made her commit suicide.

I can’t wrap my brain around this. I am “the weak one” with mental health problems. Suicide is my thing, not hers.

I have never felt so desperate to bargain with God to turn the clock back so I could have the chance to help her. I just want the chance, but I know it is too late, so I sit in shock and confusion some more.

Why couldn’t she reach out to me. I am right here, and would have been there for her in a second. I am angry at God for not giving me that chance, and I am sad that my friend didn’t reach out to me.

I know suicide intimately. I would like to think I have learned to tame it over the years, and could have led her out of that darkness.

My friend’s suicide has certainly helped me take it off the table for myself as a real option. I am mad that she had to commit suicide in order for me to learn how it feels to the rest of the world when someone does this.

As a mother myself, I can’t even fathom what this has done to her children. My chest hurts thinking about how she could do this to them, especially knowing how much they meant to her. They were supposed to be the kids for her that “broke the cycle” of family dysfunction and abuse, and yet my friend didn’t accomplish that after all.

I would be lying if I didn’t say this terrifies me for myself and my children.

My brain hurts trying to process this and go on with everyday life. I want to take a pill or drink some alcohol to numb myself, but I know that won’t really help. But sitting with these God-awful conflicting, mixed up feelings is like a form of torture.

I am sorry if I can’t think of something clever to say. My brain is barely alive, and my heart is broken. And my friend is dead, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Like my therapist always says, suicide is such a permanent decision. I wonder if my friend really meant it to be so permanent, or if she was just in so much pain she acted out in a fit of overwhelming emotion.

I will never know, and it so hard to sit with the permanency of that knowledge.

I feel so empty, hurt, sad, and angry. I pray to God her children will somehow have

decent lives and not let this ruin them.

Sadly, I know I can’t control this. And the permanency of her death is so final, which both infuriates me and paralyzes me.

Why was I born?

I never mattered. My family ensured I understand this. I figured this out early. My brain became dizzy and lost and alone. Early on I didn’t know suicide was an option. I thought I had to stay on this very horrific planet where life didn’t make any sense to me.

I was the 3rd child in my family, the first two being older brothers. My parents tell the story that they wanted a girl, which is why they had a 3rd child, and I naively thought for years they wanted a girl for the “normal” reasons families typically want a certain gender. I was wrong.

What I could never understand is why if my mom wanted a girl, then why did she hate me so much? And why did everyone in my life treat me so poorly, and it seemed to be ok, and my role in the family.

From as far back as I can remember, my mom was always upset with who I was and how I looked. She would yell at me in her bathroom making me look in the mirror and tell me all the things wrong with me. One thing that especially infuriated her was that I didn’t hold in my stomach all the time like a proper young lady. Otherwise, I was showing the world I was fat. The fact that I was malnourished and skin and bones didn’t enter into this repeated criticism.

I was born into this family, never to understand it. I never understood why my older brothers who were constantly in trouble were treated special and as if they were loved, but I hardly existed as a wanted child in my family. Well, at least not the right kind of wants.

I don’t ever remember being loved or cared for by this family as a child. No one cared where I was, what was happening to me, or whether I had appropriate food or medical care. I was always more of a burden expected to keep my mouth shut under every circumstance. No one wanted to hear or cared what I had to say.

Love in any kind of normal way did not exist for me. As close as I have to love in some kind of caring way was once in a while my middle brother would pull off my older brother for things he was doing to me.

I didn’t have any caring neighbors, relatives, people at school, or anywhere else. It was as if I was a ghost, and didn’t matter to anyone.

No matter how many times my therapist explains it to me, I can’t seem to comprehend that my parents would intentionally have a baby to harm it for their sick, personal gain. I know we all see stories of this kind of stuff on the news from time-to-time, but this can’t be my story, despite all the evidence that says it is.

I guess it seems incomprehensible to me partially because I am a mother of two, and I just can’t imagine harming them in any way. I would step in front of a train for either of my children, whereas my family of origin was the train coming right for me all the time.

I suppose I have to explain I was born to two active alcoholic parents , and my two brothers became alcoholics/drug addicts at a rather early age, and later drug dealers. This alone brought in lots of violence to our home, but it also brought in lots of other strange and sick people, amongst other things.

When I tell people this story, which I actually never do outside my therapist’s office, people assume I grew up in poverty. I guess to be correct, my family lived in an upper middle class neighborhood, but I did live in poverty in my own little world.

My mom was President of the Junior Women’s Club and pack leader for my brothers’ Cub Scout pack. She entertained lots of hot shot business men at fancy parties and over cocktails at our house. From time-to-time, she would be in the newspaper for her fancy parties and philanthropy work.

My brothers were in the newspaper twice as children, once for taking an overdose of my aunt’s “diet pills,” and the second time because they intentionally lit our house on fire in the middle of the night. The fire story leaves out that they left the family for dead, and many fire fighters endangered their lives looking for them in the fire. The story also leaves out that my drunk, passed-out parents were more annoyed with me than anything for waking them to tell them the house was on fire.

My father was missing a lot from the house. He just wasn’t there. I believe this was part of the dark life he was living. When he was home, he was drunk and my parents fought a lot after their drinking buddies left.

My mom grew up during the depression, and has several siblings who I would describe as all mentally unstable in a religious kind of way (like psychotic). All of my cousins on my mom’s side were drug addicts and some were mentally ill in scary ways, all except two, and those two cousins were adopted, but still describe their childhood as something they had to escape from.

My mom was by far a very attractive woman, and she used this to her advantage her entire life, and wasn’t afraid to tell you so. To this day she looks about 20 years younger than she is. She also says she was sexually abused as a child.

She is a classic narcissist. Everything is about her. No matter what is happening, she manages to turn the story back around to her. She requires constant attention, and has no respect for anyone’s wishes but her own. Just tonight my mom called and I told her I had neck surgery this week, and there were some complications with the anesthesia. Without a beat, her reply was to tell me she has red dots on her leg and wants me to come up with some type of solution for her problem, and my issues never exist unless she is blaming me for a problem.

But here’s the key, to everyone on the outside we were this upstanding family mostly respected in the community. No one would ever guess what went on behind closed doors unless they were participating in it.

My mom has been called a sadist, too. I grew up in a fairly large beach town, so there were always a lot of transient or seedy people around. I wandered among them and received my share of abuse from them. But my mom liked to do a special thing to me. When I was about 5-6 years old, she would drive me about 5-10 miles from my home and leave me there. At that age, I didn’t have the wherewithal to know what to do, so I would just sit and wait for many, many hours. Usually by nightfall my father would find me and bring me home. We never spoke of this, but I was always terrified to be left somewhere. My sick mother thought this little joke was funny. I don’t know what my father thought, but I know at the end of the day he always picked her over me.

My life growing up from a very young age was nonstop physically, sexually, and religiously abusive, neglectful, and psychologically torturing. As a result, my mind decided to survive by creating Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which was formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder. I developed “parts” or other inside people to break up my life and handle things I couldn’t. I didn’t do this consciously, it just happened. It is what allowed me to survive.

As an adult now, my mind is filled with “parts” or other people. Some have more expansive identities than others. Though it helped me survive my childhood, it is by no means an easy life, and many days I have thoughts of suicide. My memory is severely impaired due to the DID. It is something I try to hide everyday. I have to negotiate between the parts of me who will be “out” on any given day or moment. As a result, this body has no clear sense of who it is. Not having a cohesive sense of yourself is a depressing predicament to be in for your entire life.

Loneliness is the prevailing feeling when things are good. Because if you don’t have this disorder, it is not something the rest of the minions on this planet understand, or even believe in.