Monday, December 6, 2010

Intake History

I have a friend who tells everyone about his problems. All our acquaintances know about his latest bruise or bump, relationship drama, and family issues. Admittedly, he's gone through some pretty fucked up nonsense and doesn't always live a charmed life.

I have to retreat to the bowels of the internet and create a fake persona to share the things that are troubling me. In fact, I don't know that any one person (other than perhaps TR but probably not even him) knows the true extent of the ridiculous things I've gone through.

I have reasonable evidence to support this. By this count, I've seen... 8 therapists. Those of you who have been to the shrink know the drill. First session: History. Every single therapist I've seen has given me that look of "Oh yeah you definitely need therapy" or "Why are you so functional?" or "JESUS".

I have known for a long time that everyone suffers in life through one form or another. When I was younger, I used to look to the sky and ask why I had been forced to live such a life when others were so fortunate? But now I know better. It isn't what's happened to you but how you deal with it.


Sometimes I just want to be that person who can't deal with it so everyone else has to deal with it too. Distribute the burden so it hurts a little less. Sit and listen to people tell me how they feel bad for me and tell me exactly what I should do. Hold my hand.

I'll never be that person.

But I want to get it all off my chest. I have to tell someone about the baggage I carry. Someone who isn't paid to care about me.

So here it is.


I have to start the story of my life before it begins. I have to tell you the story of my mother. It needs to be done this way because my mother lives through stories. Something reminds her of some other thing. She needs to relay her motivations by explaining what event caused her to feel that way. And sometimes, she just talks. And talks.

My grandmother is and was a wicked woman. She married a soldier going into WWII fully expecting he would die in the war and she'd be given a widow's pension, set for life. Unfortunately for her, he lived. And through that union, my mother was born. It was made very clear to her that my grandmother did not want her. When my mother was 3 years old, my grandmother (let's call her Petunia) took her door to door asking the neighbors if they'd like to adopt her. When this strategy didn't work, she told my mother (let's call her Rose) that she'd tried to have an abortion to prevent this entirely.

Several important events happened to Rose during these formative years. Most significantly, she almost died at age five.

Rose followed a trail of candy that the local newspaper boy, of perhaps fifteen or sixteen, was leaving behind along his way. The trail led into a barn. She was brutally raped and beaten. Her teeth were kicked out, her nasal cavity collapsed, and bones broken. The attacker buried her in a shallow grave and left her for dead. Rose softly cried out and was eventually found by a neighbor. She spent months in the hospital.

My mother had two younger siblings. Petunia's displeasure at having given birth to Rose never relented. Rose endured punishments like having her head shaved for wearing make up. Being a religious nut, Petunia told Rose that fiction books like Lassie were from the devil. More things than not were sins. Rose could quote scripture and play the organ in church, but she could barely read or write. She did poorly in school and other children teased her.

When she was 13, Rose became ill with the German measles because of which she contracted viral arthritis. She was hospitalized for almost a year, wheelchair bound. At one point, doctors told her she would never walk again. That night she attempted suicide. Her father wouldn't allow her to use the wheelchair in the house and made her crawl if necessary. Rose attributes his brand of tough love as the reason she was able to walk again.

Rose married at 16 and was pregnant at 17. Her husband was abusive (himself having been physically and sexually abused by his mother) but she gave the marriage 5 years, not wanting to return home to her former life. Her life was incredibly sheltered and her husband allowed her to have no friends. She couldn't drive a car and she hadn't finished high school, neither of which he allowed. He had a PhD. They divorced and she quickly remarried for financial security and to avoid Petunia. The only person she knew was her ex-husband's brother. So they married.

Husband #2 turned out to be even worse, but she would not know this immediately. She would have another child, a second daughter, by this man. Rose discovered later that Husband2 was sexually and physically abusing her children. He beat Rose and mentally tortured her. It was during this time she weighed 80 pounds at 5'3". Still, he called her fat and ugly. This husband was the principle of a private school. He was later accused to be sexually molesting children, but being a church run establishment, was relocated to a different area (after they divorced). My mother met another man, slowly but eventually, divorced husband number 2 and married husband number 3.

Number 3 was my father. By this time, my sisters were 13 and 17. I was born shortly after they married and a younger sister was born 2 years later.

Four years after they married, my father was killed in a plane crash.


I think this is a good place to rest our eyes and continue another day.


Francine said...

Oh my God. I hate to give you this omg shit, but these Are the only words that came to my mind. It took incredible courage to share this, to see it in writing, to just see it there. Reading things like these always leaves me speechless. And I'm speechless realizing what you're trying to move past and away from. You're incredibly strong, probably more than you give you credit for.
I wish you and your family all the best, seriously from the deepest bottom of my heart.

Astrid said...

It's amazing the things that the human spirit is forced to endure... I hope your mother and your sisters are okay after all that. And thank you for helping us to step back and remember that there are many people way worse off (I feel like that guy you mentioned in the beginning could use a little reminder, although I'm sure his life is tough too..) and thank you for letting us help you with your burden. Sometimes friends, even ones you've never met, are better than any therapist.

With all my love, Astrid

*Broken* said...

It took a lot of streth from you to share this. This are the times that the human race disappoints me. I´m really sorry for what your grandmother, mother and you went trough.
I wish I had words to confort you, but I don´t.
Sharing with strangers is sometimes better than with people we know, at least for me.

Anise said...

oh PD! i am intensely impressed and amazed. do you feel like because she's had such a serious life history that you have to bear all your problems in silence? is that why you are, against all odds, mostly functional? i'm curious because i do the same thing too, refuse to let others bear my burdens, and i'm trying to figure out why.

also. name a saturday or sunday and i'll come visit you, all right? i miss you!

xx x

Piglet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ana said...

Your mother must be very proud of how brilliant you are. Maybe you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders because of this heavy history... You're a strong person and you have a unique past - you're going to be okay.

struggle2bethin said...

All I can say is your mom is so strong. She is how all other women should be and she should be highly respected for that. I hope your life is not too bad. I understand the dad dying thing, we share that. And to me, it sucks.

Once again, I'm sorry.

Peridot (G+P) said...

Holy crap.

I want to give your Mum and your older siblings hugs and kick the shit outta a whole bunch of people, starting with your nana.


Lost In Space said...

You are so brave. I truly admire the courage it must have taken (anon or not) to tell someone all of this. And to write it...I can't imagine. It's different when everything is up in your head for you alone. Your mother's story is remarkable, and I truly admire her courage, as well. To have gone through all of that your entire life and still be able to pull through is amazing. Thank you for sharing that. It really puts things into perspective. On a side note: You are a really great writer.

Stay strong, my love <3

Honor Regzig said...

Your poor, dear, long-suffering mother :(
I think mee and Peri need to combine our respective posses for the giving of many hugs. .... and then the kicking of many asses.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Char Vicki said...

Wow you are strong. I feel grateful to be able to read your story.


Cally C. said...

Getting your feelings out is all that matters, whether it be to a stranger or every person you know.

I'm proud that you share at all.

Moonlight Mistress (formerly Piglet) said...

Sadly, things like this happen to several people all over the world.....several people my family (me included) and my husband family have simular stories.

I feel for you mother...and you. Dear God, how I feel for you both.

AS said...

You are amazing for having the bravery to share this. I'm like you...I shut my mouth all day and listen to other people's problems. But my problems, my life experiences, are so terrible and abnormal that most people wouldn't even be able to handle it if I told them. I turn to writing as a release. I really commend and admire you for having the courage to share part of your story with us.

As for your experiences with therapists...I almost laughed out loud out...only because I TOTALLY understand. I've been there time after time after time after time. "'First session: History. Every single therapist I've seen has given me that look of "Oh yeah you definitely need therapy" or "Why are you so functional?" or "JESUS".'" I've gotten ALL of those. I've even had counselors start crying during the "history" part. I hate going to therapists. I've only had one truly positive experience with one, and then she had a job offer that took her all across the country and I haven't seen her since.

design by