Pat, (My Apologies In Advance, Dear Readers, For This Rant, I Mean Letter)

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Although this letter is for you, you are not the only one who needs to read it – so it is here, in a public venue.

You can continue to deny, I suppose at this juncture you haven’t any choice – you’ve come this far and to turn back now would be to reveal yourself a manipulative fraud.  Self implication has never been your style, and God knows you will never take responsibility for anything you’ve done, so carry on, but do so knowing that we are all now cognizant of the truth.

Before Facebook and the internet were things that exist, you had an excellent chance of never being found out.  There was a time when I didn’t care, all I wanted was to be away from you.  I’m sorry for that now – I lost Elizabeth, Bev, Heather, Ryan, and Lois by allowing you to lie.  Because of YOU and ONLY YOU, cousins don’t know each other well, I missed seeing my niece grow up, and I missed sharing my adult life with Bev and Lois, two people I thought the world of by the way.

You made sure when I left your house I wouldn’t contact Bev – you did this by telling me Bev had told you to kick me out if I didn’t like your being with Harlan – Bev NEVER said that.  You told Bev I offered you an ultimatum;  Harlan or me … I did no such thing, not ever.  The truth is, was and always will be … you gave me the ultimatum; Rhonda or you.  I made the right choice.  

What is interesting in all of this is … no one’s story corroborates your story, they all corroborate mine.

You deny that Ed beat me, newsflash – not only did Ed beat me, you knew he beat me.  You let him beat me.  You encouraged him to beat me.  And you told him how badly he beat me after the fact!

I recently found out that YOU were the one who told Ed he had beaten me so badly I lost control of my bowels: “I didn’t realize I had done that to you until Pat told me later.” –Ed

Not only did you know, you let it happen.  You were in the kitchen doing dishes not thirty feet from where your husband was violently beating your child!  Did my screaming not clue you in to what was happening?  Dumb question – it happened all the time, you were merely used to it.  Hell, you encouraged it!

You told me, always — “Every month or so your father has to beat the hell out of you to make you behave, then you’re good for a while, but you always need it again”

And it wasn’t like you didn’t beat the hell out of me yourself.

So what is it exactly you don’t remember?

Throwing water in my face

Slapping me in the face

Pinching me

The pants down spankings you gave me – often more than once a day, with a wooden spoon

Abandoning me in a grocery store parking lot for a considerable period of time when I was about six years old

Sending me to my room and then leaving the house, telling me I better hope you got back before Ed got off work and found you gone and I had to tell him it was all my fault … oh, the beating you told me I would get if that ever happened.

You had three children, Pat, and you turned your back on us all.  What did we do to you, any way?  All I can come up with is that we were born, and you hated us for that.  Did you have dreams for your life that went unfulfilled?  Do you blame us for that?  All I know for sure is that you never loved us …

so when you say things like, “I’ve been in therapy for my alcoholic daughter, I have no interest in going to therapy for my son, so I’ll bow out now,”  I have to laugh … as a mother, you were never in.  Do you  not see exactly how that sentence defines you?  Elizabeth’s problems stem from you and Ed, and I NEVER asked you to go to therapy with me or for me – I would rather die than ask you for anything – you taught me well as a child that I couldn’t depend on you for anything but pain.

And it shouldn’t surprise me that you try to hide behind my having Bipolar Disorder, but that is low even for you.  I have Bipolar Disorder, yes – again, it all goes back to you and Ed.  You can’t beat children and abandon them and neglect them without consequences.

you don’t know the first thing about the Bipolar Disorder, so let me reassure you – my memories are just fine, but then you know that, right? – you’re my mother … most of the memories are of you.

And that brings me back to Ed.  Of all the people you have hurt and victimized, perhaps he has suffered most.  So intense was your hatred for him, you stopped at nothing in your quest to make Elizabeth and I share your loathing.  In a divorce, you are supposed to love your children more than you dislike or hate your ex – this so you do not destroy your children in the process of uncoupling.  I suppose you might have accomplished this if you had loved your children, and hadn’t already destroyed them – we will never know now, will we?

You made me fear my father to a degree there are no words to describe – yes, he beat me, but you used that fact to instill terror in my heart.  I was afraid of him every minute of every day.  Do you care, or ever know, what fear like that does to a child … ?

It causes mental illness … and things like alcoholism.

But your mind games, manipulations, lies, drama, neglect and abandonment did the most profound damage of all.

Beatings were terrible to endure, but I’d take ten beatings from Ed over even one incident of you leaving me …

Grown men do not turn their back on their mother without damn good cause.  The world you’ve created isn’t real, Pat – I’m gone because you abused me – it is that simple.  There was never anything between us of substance or value – if there had been, we’d have gotten past what was, in actuality, a very minor rift.   I didn’t come back because there was never anything, or anyone, to come back to.

So, you cling to your loyal christian friends, but please do wonder what they’d think if they really knew you.  The God you pray to now, is he the same God you denied and ridiculed for years following the divorce?  Christians, according to you, were “Thumpers.”  Oh, the old days!

Good for you, embrace growth and personal change … but you do understand, don’t you, that Christian mothers do not turn their back on their children, especially when their children are sick.  Janet, Elizabeth and I have all been sick — where were your Christian values then?  Or is it now?  You seem to believe I am sick … where is my good Christian mother?

The first thing you said to Bev, when she told you we were in contact, was, “Oh, so I guess we’re done.” Do you  not understand she thought she was giving you good news? She thought you’d be happy that I had spoken to her, and maybe through having a relationship with her I’d finally speak to you again, too? You were supposed to happy – Bev didn’t know your pathetic truth then, she didn’t know what you were or what you had done  … but you were so afraid of her learning the truth, you cut her out of your life.  On top of everything else, you are a coward.  First you blamed her for your decision to kick me out of your house, then you disowned her because you couldn’t carry on a relationship with her knowing she knew the truth about you.  Sadly for you …

I’d told her surprisingly little, directly.  Out of my respect for her, and her respect for you, we didn’t discuss you.  She did not read my blog for several weeks following our initial contact … and I would never have put her in the position you did, as far as I was concerned we were both in her life, good!  And so what!

Bev was shocked when you did what you did, cutting her out of your life, but I wasn’t … I actually made sure she knew before I accepted her invitation to coffee what you would do if you found out she had seen me.  She couldn’t believe the worst of you, Pat – she would not believe, despite solid evidence to the contrary – that being your ability to throw all three of your children away – that you would throw her away too.

I know you well, I always have.

And Ed doesn’t deny, not a blessed thing.  Not. A. Single. Blessed. Thing.

You are the only one whose memory is in question.

Tim

Abandonment

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My father did not know that my mother punished her children by abandoning us – sending us to our room and then leaving the house when we’d done something she did not approve of.  This happened while he was at work …

So, when the decision was made to put my oldest sister, Janet, in an institution, and my father thought my youngest sister, Elizabeth, and I should accompany them on the day she was left there, he had no way of knowing that decision would be the worst of his life – that he was, in fact, causing his children irreparable harm and scarring them for life.

So intense was my fear of abandonment by that point – and I could not have been more than five years old, all I could think of was that whatever Janet had done, Ed should just beat her so we could take her back home with us.  I will never, ever forget that day …

My mother used a fear of abandonment, a fear she created and cultivated, to control her children – and by the day we left Janet, Elizabeth and I were already deeply damaged and scarred …

Yes, even without knowing what my mother had done to us, Ed should have known better than to take his young children to a place where he was going to leave their sister for good and all.  It was an ill-considered, stupid decision with dire consequences, but he did not intend to hurt us – I know that now, still … noting has ever scared me more in my life.

Many years later, when I left Pat’s house forever, Elizabeth was in Europe studying – a year abroad.  She came home to a very different home and family than the one she had left.  It would be twenty-seven years until she saw me again – other than a couple of very brief encounters.

At the time I left Pat’s house, I was too busy with my new life to consider what my departure from my sister’s may have caused; her abandonment issues could not have been any less profound than mine were, in fact I think they were far worse.  I know now she was devastated.

She’d lost most of her family by that point – whatever had happened between she and Ed had occurred years earlier, and now I was gone.  I didn’t understand it while we were growing up, but I know now she’d always looked to me for comfort and protection … in a sense, I abandoned her too.

Elizabeth was left with Pat.  God alone knows what lies Pat told her to explain my absence.

I never understood why Elizabeth chose to keep our mother in her life; their relationship has been strained at best, and estranged during the worst times, all of Elizabeth’s life …

I think it goes back to her fear of being abandoned, and a self-destructive need to cling the tightest to the person who loves her least and hurts her most.  And Stockholm Syndrome is very typical of survivors of profound child abuse, as my sister is.

Elizabeth, who’d lost everyone else, and couldn’t fathom life on her own, had no choice, conscious or otherwise, but to keep Pat.

It’s all so sad.

When I had a conversation with my Aunt Bev about Pat’s reprehensible behavior and all it has caused this past weekend, I asked her, “How does Pat sleep at night?”

Her witty reply, “Don’t know.  Not my circus, not my monkey,” made me laugh out loud.

And sometimes, laughter is not only the best medicine …

it’s all you can do..

Psychoanalysis and My Connection to Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

When I was inpatient, I underwent psychoanalysis; so great and desperate was my need to know and understand what was happening to me, that this became necessary for successful treatment.  Whereas I didn’t have repressed memories of my childhood, I had become adept at avoiding painful memories and all emotion associated with them – to understand and successfully treat my illnesses, I had to allow myself to remember and feel.  I had to talk about Ed and Pat and everything they had done – and all I had felt while they were doing it. 

In addition to learning a lot about me, I learned a lot about Ed and Pat through this process – at least in indirect psychological profile; although there is no specific profile of an abuser, these two disorders may explain my abusers:

Borderline Personality Disorder – mother

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – father

My illnesses are consistent with someone raised by a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, and a father with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

During the height of my illness, when I was under a great deal of stress, and my abandonment issues had been triggered by my oldest child leaving home for college, my own behavior was consistent with that of this definition of Borderline Personality Disorder:

“A pattern of intensely hyper-emotional responses, especially to situations that trigger abandonment fears.  It’s a pattern of demanding, critical and chaotic relationships instead of cooperative communicating.  It’s a pattern also of misinterpreting situations as hurtful that are in fact benign, with the misinterpretations occurring either while the situation is happening, or in retelling the events later.  It also may be a pattern of attractive and highly competent-appearing social functioning at times alternating with periods of intense and inappropriate angernarcissism, and explicitly hurtful behavior (to themselves or to others).”

In my case, these responses were learned through years of witnessing my mother’s behavior: I don’t have Borderline Personality Disorder, but I was taught to behave, cope (or not cope as the case may be) and react by a mother who probably does have the disorder. 

As for traits related to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I had only one: I was charming and manipulative with my first psychiatrist – I made her believe the meds were working, and that I had good symptom control so she would stop suggesting inpatient evaluation and treatment. (something I feared to such a degree there are no words to describe) I was so good at this deception I made her believe that my wife, who went with me to every appointment, was actually the one with the problem; she was overreacting to my behavior.  In the psychiatrist’s office I was cool and calm, the picture of mental health – and I lied, told her I felt great – told her Rhonda was exaggerating my ‘episodes.’ Told her that Rhonda had deep-seated issues with even minor displays of anger.  

As with Borderline Personality Disorder, I do not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder – I just learned to behave as though I do when I’m under stress, or feeling triggered by something, through years of watching Ed. 

At forty six years old – emotionally drained and exhausted from years spent dealing with Depression, Dysthymia, Bipolar Disorder and PTSD – all largely untreated at that point – I hadn’t the strength to act on my own feelings anymore. My natural responses had become foreign to me, and I began behaving as my parents had always behaved, the way they taught me to behave; I did this without thought, it just happened.  It was horrifying, but rage and anger and manipulation and fear and lying to avoid consequences was all my subconscious knew …

Continued here

Of Janet

There was a time when Ed, periodically, would attempt contact with me, but this all stopped very abruptly when I threatened to print flyers, detailing his criminal past, and distribute them around his neighborhood.  I know, not cool, but enough was enough already – I had asked repeatedly to be left alone, and every time he tried to communicate with me I felt physically ill and became moody, irritable and depressed; I needed peace, and that meant no reminders of him.

It had been a few years since I’d last last heard from him, when out of the clear blue sky one Saturday afternoon the mailman delivered an envelope requiring my signature; the return address was that of a local law firm.

Ed had hired an attorney in the matter of custody/guardianship of my oldest sister.  To that point, he and Pat shared guardianship of my institutionalized sister, Janet, making joint decisions on her behalf – now he wanted his new wife to share in that guardianship as well … and, in the event of his death, share guardianship with Pat.

I read the petition in disbelief – I hadn’t had any sort of relationship with any of these people for at least 20 years, why in the world was I being asked to appear in court and give my opinion on the matter?  As long as Janet was well cared for and comfortable, did I even have an opinion?

And then I started thinking about what Janet might want – beyond just comfort and compassionate care, what would she want if she were able to speak for herself?

In all fairness, the last I was directly involved with any of them, Ed was far more concerned with my sister’s well-being and day-to-day happiness than was Pat, and  Ed’s new wife was kind and giving, and she would visit my sister along with Ed not infrequently.  I remembered being told that Janet was always excited to see her, and seemed to love her.  And …  if Ed has any redemptive qualities at all, they would lie in his devotion to Janet.

Pat didn’t visit my sister, to my knowledge she hadn’t done so in many years … always said she couldn’t bear it emotionally.  Although I tried to understand this position, I never did; it felt weak to me, and self-serving.  Janet was, despite her disabilities, Pat’s child for God’s sake!

Although I didn’t go to court, I did write a letter confirming what little I knew, how I felt,  and what I believed might make Janet happy.

To this day I don’t know how this all turned out legally.

When Janet died in 2007, I was notified by a priest sometime after the event; I was profoundly sad.

Janet never had much of a chance in this life.