Monthly Archives: April 2015

28. Journey Backwards-Work, school, home.

 

Hi everyone!

My last blog was about my psych diagnosis and then I jumped ahead about 4 years with the birth of my daughter.  I  wanted to add that in that 4 year period, I did have several moments of the fear and sadness episodes.  Of course as I’ve always done in the past, I would try fight the feelings.  I continued to wonder why I was having them.  What caused me…or what had I caused or done to have these moments where I felt like I was in hell?

In that several year interim before my beautiful daughter was born, I had gone from job to job…either by quitting or being fired.  I believe when I count back, I had 12 jobs in that span of time and had quit all of them after being there for a short period of time.  (Less than 1 year).  Three of those past employers had fired me.  At the time, I hadn’t quit those numerous jobs because I had found something else, but had quit because I felt like I didn’t fit it.  When I say “fit in”, I mean that I distinctly felt as if my co-workers didn’t like me.  I could “sense” them whispering behind my back about me (I never actually heard what was said) and I felt inadequate.  Was I just being paranoid?

I would try really hard to learn the in’s and out’s of each job but I would often think that I understood the task at hand but really didn’t and made many mistakes. If I didn’t know something, I would “fill in the blanks” with what seemed to make sense to me.  There were times when I was not clear on instructions but I didn’t want to appear stupid by asking what seemed to be very simple questions…In the past, it seemed whenever I did have any questions and did ask someone, they would tell me,  “you should know this by now”.  This made me feel even more inadequate.  Perhaps I should have known but the not knowing and the not being able to question often lead me to do the wrong thing.

I remember once I was approached by a model scout in a parking lot of a hotel to become a model at her agency.  I was excited and went to be interviewed by her the following day.  (I had always wanted to try modeling and did have an opportunity while I was living in Japan but it was forbidden to me at the time as I was living in Japan with my maternal relatives solely to help them with their family restaurant.)  The owner of this agency signed me on as a model and during the interview, she found out that I could speak Japanese.  She asked me if I would be willing to work in the office as a clerk when she wasn’t using me as a model.  I decided that I might as well as I had recently quit a job.

It was a typical office job with clerical duties and often other models would come through to pick up any future assignments.  I remember seeing all those beautiful girls and thinking to myself that they were so pretty.  Although many of them didn’t wear makeup when they came by the office, they had flawless skin and carried themselves with such confidence.  I thought to myself that I could never be like them.  I didn’t have what they had and I was never going to be beautiful.

One day my task was to contact about 60 of her models and let them know of a “cattle call” for a Japanese vendor who was looking for girls to do a print ad/commercial for Nike. (A cattle call is when a bunch of models show up for an interview at the same time).  I don’t remember the name of this Japanese company but they were a large account for this agency.  The agency’s owner told me the location of the cattle call and in my head, I thought I knew exactly where this was.  I called all 60 girls to let them know the location and gave them instructions on how to dress and what time to meet.  (Early evening sometime).  After making the phone calls, my day was done and I went home. (Living with BK at the time.)  In the back of my head, I started thinking about the location and it suddenly hit me that where I had instructed all her girls to meet was not the actual location.  Oh oh. It was now about the time that the cattle call was taking place.  This was back before the days of cell phones and there was no way to contact all those girls.  I got home and the phone would not stop ringing as my boss had been calling me.  I chose not to answer the phone.  Instead, I let the phone ring until BK finally answered it.  It was my boss who angrily told him to give me a message that I had made a mistake in the location and to call me back as soon as I could.  I didn’t think that anything good would come from me calling my boss back as I was sure that she was going to fire me anyway.  I never returned to that job…not even to pick up my last paycheck.

This is how it went until the birth of my daughter.  I went from job to job…quitting, or getting fired.  I was sure I was a screw up.  I guess my Mom was right about that…I would never be good at anything.

Now we jump to shortly after my daughter K was born and I was a stay at home Mom.  I loved waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of my baby’s cry.  I would pick her up and put her to my breast and just sit there and stare at her.  Stirring within me were such feelings of deep love that I had never felt before.  She was so precious.  Life was good for the moment.

My parents were a part of our lives then because I had already contacted them when I found out I was pregnant.  Mom was never able to have babies of her own so having an infant grand daughter made her happy.  We would often go to my parents house and spend time with them.  My Mom was warm and gentle towards her granddaughter and little K loved her grandma and grandpa.

The first time I felt the fear within me again was when K was about a two or three years of age. It started with that deep sadness followed by the gripping fear.  It would go back and forth between sadness and fear and I would fight the feeling like I always had.  I thought to myself, “why am I having this again?”  I think in the back of my mind, I had assumed that the birth of my daughter and all the hormone changes would caused the “blacks” from ever happening again.  It been been a while since the last bout, and I hadn’t been thinking about the fear.   After being diagnosed as a schizophrenic, the fear was always “just around the corner” even though I wasn’t really feeling it but I always knew it was just around the corner and could come on at any time.  Often times, just the anticipation was enough to bring it on.

At this time, BK and I had been living in our small two bedroom townhouse that we had purchased.  I was still a stay at home Mom but I started thinking that I needed to have a skill of some sort.  I had a “sense” that I needed to go to school.  I didn’t have a clue as to what I could possibly be good at but I had the desire at the time to learn how to be a “beautician”.  (Today, we call them aestheticians)  I looked into the “beauty” classes but was drawn to the nursing curriculum.  So that’s what I pursued instead.

BK wasn’t thrilled about me going to school because it was an extra expense.  I convinced him that in the long run, it would pay off.  He was insistent that even though I was in school, he still expected the house to be spotless, his meals to be ready when he got home and for me to continue with other “wifely duties”.  My Mom told me that all of this was a waste of time…that I would never finish the nursing program so I shouldn’t even bother.  I remember thinking to myself that I HAD to try.  So off to nursing I went…

I really enjoyed all the aspects of the nursing program and did very well in school.  We would form study groups and I found that many of my fellow students looked to me for answers.  I remember when we were studying about diabetes that many of the students were having a difficult time grasping this disease.  I guess I found a way to help them to understand.

Things at home were not good.  My marriage was falling apart.  I did the best I could but our study groups would often run late into the evening and BK was not happy about this at all.  After a while, BK would just stay out at nights.  I guess he figured there was no sense in him being home because I couldn’t totally focus on him.  I loved the nursing program but I was worried about my marriage.  We were about three quarters through the program and I seriously considered quitting.  There was a catholic priest (student) in our class whom I had confided in at the time about my failing marriage.  I shared with him my thoughts about wanting to quit the program and he gave me the best advice ever.  He said that we were almost near the end and to hang on.  Graduate…then deal with the marriage at that point…but to give up after coming this far was a waste and if I quit the program, I would probably not resume and the worst part of all… I’d be in the same situation I had always been in…no skills and no job.  This was actually the first time I had confided in the clergy for advice on anything other than church doctrine.

We had just began our medical/surgical rotation at a hospital in town and we had to be at the clinic by 6:30 am.  Luckily, the day care where I had been dropping little K off could accommodate these early hours.

So it was time for our final exams and I felt that I was ready.  Results came in the next day and this was when we lost about a quarter of our students.  We had already lost about 10 students since the beginning of the course and the finals would determine who would graduate or not.  We lost 10 more.  We started with 60 students and graduated a little less than 40.

I was graduating with honors in my nursing program and I was excited to tell my parents and my husband!

…continued

 

27. Journey Backwards-Diagnosis

 

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It was the day of my first psychiatric appointment and I was feeling scared and excited all at the same time.  I was scared to “verbalize” to him what I was feeling because I had never really told anyone about what I was really feeling inside in any detail.  I had never explained how I thought it felt like something “outside” was trying to attack me.   The most I would tell my closest friends was that I was anxious and nervous and scared all the time.  I didn’t explain much to my friends because of two reasons: the first reason was because I felt like if I did verbalize what I was really feeling inside, somehow I would bring it to life.  The second reason was because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy.  (I think most of them thought that I was anyway just from the little that I DID tell them).  I decided that if I wanted to get better, I would have to tell my shrink everything and be totally open and honest.

I walked in to his office feeling nervous and began telling him what I was feeling.  I told him about the feeling of oppression and how that oppression “outside of me” was trying to get in…almost like being possessed.  I explained about my traumatic childhood but didn’t really go into great detail about it.  My biggest concern at the time was telling him my scary feelings that I’d been dealing with off and on for years.  As I told him all this, the anxiety didn’t get better or worse.  He sat and listened and asked me questions.  I remember telling him that on a couple of occasions, I thought I had heard a voice “outside my head,” calling my name and that this really scared me.  I also mentioned that I often sensed a presence around me which also scared me.

Dr. S showed me a three sided sculpture that he had in his office.  It must have been a visual tool that he used with his patients.   It was a sculpture of a happy face on one side, a sad face on another and an angry one on the last.  He went on to explain to me that I was like this sculpture with all those faces but unlike a “normal” person, I was not able to integrate or make all those sides work together cohesively.  He also said that the terror I was feeling was only just “the tip of the iceberg” of what was really deep within me.  Also that those feelings would eventually all come out and it was very possible that I could have a psychotic break.  You think I was scared before the appointment?  Now I was terrified.  We talked a bit more but after he told me I’d probably have a breakdown of some sort, I could not hear anything else he was telling me.  My mind could not register what he was saying and the thought of my having a breakdown scared me so much that I felt like I had to fight even harder to not allow any of those feelings to come to the surface.  He handed me a written prescription for two medications that he wanted me to start.  I looked at these rx names and didn’t know what they were (Mellaril and Lithium–used for schizophrenia) but I trusted (at the time) that he was the M.D. and I would do as I was told.  I had heard about schizophrenia and all I knew at the time was that these people were crazy…and now he was telling me that I was one of them.

I went to the nearby drugstore which is located inside a busy shopping mall.  I remember waiting for my rx to be filled and “hanging on by the skin of my teeth” to whatever sanity I had left.  It took forever for my name to be called.  I was anxious to start taking the meds and get cured.  Again I imagined that I would lose all touch with reality.  I imagined that I’d start yelling and screaming and flailing my arms about like a stark raving mad lunatic! Then the 911 guys would have to tie me up in a straight jacket and haul me off to the land of the crazies.  It felt like these scary and crazy thoughts in my head were telling me that this is what was going to happen to me and I believed them.

I started on the medications as I was told and I want to say that I stayed on them for about 10 days.  One evening my boyfriend and I were out at some nightclub with some friends and I didn’t drink at the time so I sat there watching everyone else have a good time.  I was numb.  I felt dead inside and I think I was even drooling.  I wiped the spittle running down the side of my mouth and I’m not sure what I looked like to other people but I felt like I was sitting there drooling with droopy eyes and feeling like a zombie.  I stayed on that medication for awhile but again…something deep within me told me that if I wanted to solve any mental/emotional issues I had, I’d have to be “alert” to do so.  I stopped taking the medications and never went back to see this psychiatrist again.  His diagnosis scared me too much.  I didn’t think or ask myself how I was going to “fix” this problem.  I think a part of me thought to myself that I would continue to “fight it”…whatever that meant.

It was right at this time that I discovered I was pregnant.  I had no contact with my folks, my boyfriend BK wasn’t really understanding what was happening to me and now I was this crazy person, possibly having some sort of psychotic breakdown and I was pregnant.  I really relied on Aunt S and Uncle J at this time in my life.  We would sit up and talk for long periods of time and it was only during these talks with them that I would have any sense of calm or inner peace.  With their coaching, love and understanding, I decided that I could not go on with the pregnancy.  I could barely take care of what was going on in my mind let alone raising another little human being.  Aunt S came with me to the hospital to terminate the pregnancy.  I think I did ok for the next few days after the procedure.  A lot of crying and guilt was coming up to the surface but I told myself that I would deal with the guilt “later.”  I knew at the time that I had made the right decision but it was still difficult for me.

I ended all contact with the Christian church that I was affiliated with at the time because they had already told me that I was a “sinner” who chose to “live in sin”.  I highly doubted that they were going to have any comforting words for me with the latest event.  I didn’t need anymore guilt placed on me.

Life went on.  I had discontinued the medications so I was feeling everything.  There were moments of peace which to me was the light at the end of the tunnel.  I clung to these moments like a drowning person would to a life raft.  Having these glimpses of peace and light convinced me that I would be ok.  Sometimes instead of the intense terror and fear, I would be filled with just an incredible sadness.  It would consume me and although I would never show it to anyone, it was as if black clouds were swirling in and around me.  I would want to cry at these moments but found that I couldn’t cry.  It felt “stuck” inside me…all I could do was wait for these feelings to pass.  Between the extreme sadness and intense terror, I seemed to be able to deal with the sadness better than the fear.

As the years went by, these feelings would come and go and every time it came, I would ask myself “why?”  Why was I battling these demons and what did they want with me?

In the meantime, BK and I were living together but he wasn’t treating me very nice.  He was selfish and mean.  He would tell me that I was an immigrant with an emotional problem.  A well adjusted person would have left someone like that along time ago…but I was far from being well adjusted.  As far as I was concerned, the verbal and emotional abuse I got from him was very much what I was used to from my childhood.  I knew it wasn’t right but hey, I had a boyfriend who loved me right?—and I loved him.

My Uncle J and Aunt S didn’t like BK.  They were gentle in their way of telling me though.  Uncle J told me that I deserved so much better.  What did he mean by that?  The deeper part of my being understood what he meant but how do I go from where I had been emotionally all those years to that place where Uncle J said I was?  I had no self worth.  Often when BK and I would have another argument, I would pack my bags to leave him, only to be begging him to take me back a few days later.  I did this twice and the second time, I guess BK decided that he wasn’t going to make it easy for me.  Each time we broke up, I would move in with the “Spads.”  (They were our neighbors when sis and I were growing up and sis and I stayed with them when our parents went to Europe one summer).

Mr. Spads was an air force colonel and he talked me into looking at joining the air force.  He made it sound like such an adventure.  I took the physical, the written exam and it was determined that I would work towards becoming an airplane mechanic.  A lot of paper work was processed by my recruiter and I had my plane ticket to go off to boot camp in about 3 months.  This whole time however, I was still calling on my boyfriend and trying desperately to have him take me back.  One day BK and I were together and it happened…I got pregnant…again.  I knew what I was doing.  I knew there was a possibility that I would get pregnant.  I was hoping that I would be…because then he’d have to take me back right?  This whole thing about the air force…I’d deal with that later.  A pregnancy test a little while later confirmed that I was indeed pregnant.  I called my recruiter and told him the latest exciting news!  He wasn’t happy for me.  He’d have to undo all the paper work and I’d be out.  I tried to convince him that I could go to boot camp in the early part of my pregnancy and I promised that I wouldn’t tell anyone of my predicament.  I really meant this and I was determined to go to training no matter what.  My planning didn’t go beyond that.  I was “unprocessed” from the military.

BK didn’t want me to have the baby and I told him that I could not go through with another termination.  I knew I couldn’t.  I would keep the baby and told him that I would do this with or without him.  Secretly though, I was hoping that he would want to stay with me…maybe even marry me!

So now I’m about 4 months along and I decided to call my parents to tell them.  They weren’t happy for me but I started going around their house again.  Dad convinced BK that he should marry me so that baby would have a name.  Yeah Dad!  You tell him!  I wanted a church wedding and a nice reception and a happy ending to this story!  I would finally be settled down with the man that I loved who treated me so badly and I’d have a baby of my own.

I had quit my job at the hotel by now and BK and I got married during my 5th month.  It was a civil wedding with only a small get together afterwards with Mom, Dad and sis.  Going up to the escalator at the courthouse, I caught BK gawking at one of the pretty girls working downstairs and she was gawking back.  I felt a pang in my stomach.  There were about 20 other couples waiting in line to get hitched.  We waited until our number was called and stood in front of the judge to say a few “I do’s”.  It was quick and now I was married!  I thought I was so happy.  Our family went out afterwards and had a nice steak dinner.  Through dinner however, my stomach was doing some serious twists and turns.  I couldn’t finish my meal and kept running to the bathroom.  After dinner we all went back to our rundown apartment for coffee.  I was feeling miserable by now.  My Mom came in the bedroom and told me to stop ruining the evening.  “What’s long wit you! You ruin eburyting!”   Sheesh, it wasn’t as if I was trying to…

BK’s parents moved to the Islands from Japan to be closer to their soon to be grand child.  My Mother in law wasn’t totally convinced that her son was the Father of my child…a question she posed to him many times.  He never doubted that he was the Father probably because he understood how much I loved him and that I had no desire to be with anyone else.  He was right about that.

So little “K” was born.  She was perfect in every way.  My life began to change.  I didn’t work for the next 4 years.  BK and I had purchased a very small town house and I played good housewife and Mother.  BK continued to work at his hotel job as a bellman which is where he had been working for the past 10 years.  I loved my little girl with all my heart and I was happy for the time being…

I didn’t have any scary episodes for awhile now until…

…continued

26. Journey Backwards-On the brink of breaking

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I’m now about 19 years old and had been living on my own since returning from my stay in Japan for a year and a half.  I have my own run down apartment, full time job at the Japanese tour company and I have a boyfriend that I met through work.  (BK).  I didn’t like staying at my apartment by myself so I’d either spend the night at my boyfriend’s place or he would stay with me.  I had very little in my apartment my Mom allowed me to take their old black and white T.V. and an old and very heavy fan.  

At this time, my parents had sort of disowned me.  They didn’t like the idea that I had a boyfriend and maybe they felt like they were losing control even though to me, it felt like they still had their “hooks” in me.  

I had bought my first brand new car; a baby blue dodge colt hatchback.  It only had A.M. radio and no a.c.  I loved my first car.  I had used my little savings to purchase this car and reluctantly, my parents had co-signed the auto loan.  One of the ways that they tried to continue to control me was to have access to my bank account.  They were unhappy with me spending my time with BK and threatened to take my car away.  One day when I was at BK’s house, they drove down and took my car.  My Dad had an extra key.  For awhile after that crazy incident, BK would drive me to and from work but this got to be sort of a hassle as I had very long hours.  I decided that I had to call my folks and get my car back.  I called them and they said I could come over and we would have a “talk”.  The title of the car was in my name so technically they should not have been able to take the car but I had little understanding of this at the time.  My parents instructed me to give them back the t.v. and fan.  BK drove me to my parents house to return those items and I did not want to stay and have that talk with my folks.  As I was turning to leave the house,  my Dad snatched my purse off my shoulder and threw it in the house.  There was a little bit of a scuffle between him and I.  BK had stayed in the car this whole time but now came out as he witnessed this.  He approached my Dad to try and help me and angry words were exchanged.  This was the first time they had met.  My Dad asked BK, “who the hell are you?!”  Dad basically told BK that this was none of his business and to stay out of it.  I sat in the car shaking, wondering what I should do.  At the advise of BK, I called the police to report this as a robbery.  I couldn’t understand why my Dad took my purse.  It was all so crazy.  The police arrived and I explained to them the scuffle with the purse and they rang the doorbell to talk to my Dad.  I heard my Dad being extremely polite to the police and kept referring him to “sir”.  I’m sure cops hate getting involved in domestic squabbles because it’s always “he said, she said”.  The police officer handed me my purse and left.  My Dad was still standing there and came outside to yell at me telling me that obviously I was not the one who decided to call the police because I didn’t really have any brains to come up with that idea myself.  He called me stupid and dumb and worthless.  Up until that moment, I had never heard those words coming out of his mouth.  Mom stayed in the house the whole time.  

All those years of being called horrible things by Mom was one thing but hearing it come from Dad really stung.  This was the ugliest side of him that I had ever witnessed.  Was he upset because I had a boyfriend? Did he feel like he was losing me?  I couldn’t understand his thinking and now as far as I could tell, they both hated me.

During this period of being disowned, I was going through some sort of mental and emotional stress.  The job at the tour company was adding to my stress because at such a young age, I was responsible for entire tour groups that I would take around the island on their different tour package and  I would often go with them to the outer islands as well.  I realized that I hated this job but I felt obligated to continue to work there because my Mom knew my boss very well.

The fear in me began to grow.  I would be briefing my group and feel such an intense presence about me.  I felt nervous and scared and felt as if I would lose control of myself.  One evening after taking my group to a dinner show, I was done for the day and time to go home.  As I was crossing the street to go to my car, I could not move.  The fear had gripped me in my tracks.  I called the office and asked to speak to Jake who was the only person there that I felt like I could talk to about this.  He immediately came and got me and took me to the office.  He and the president of this small company both sat with me and we talked about religion.  I had such a strong sense that this was a spiritual attack of some sort because of the fear.  I remember having to use the bathroom so bad that I thought my bladder would explode but I just could not get myself to go until it became too unbearable to hold.  Of course nothing happened.

This is when I began to reach out to my Uncle J and Aunt S.  They were good friends of my parents and growing up, our families would often get together.  One evening, I went over to their house to explain to them what had happened between my parents and me.  They were my lifesavers at the time.  I spent many a nights with them and they always made me feel loved.  One evening Uncle J answered his phone and it was my Dad.  I think my Dad had gotten wind of my spending a lot of time at their house through my boss who happened to be friends with Uncle and Aunt as well.  Uncle and Aunty’s son S also worked at the same tour company as I did.  This phone call was ugly.  I couldn’t hear exactly what my Dad was yelling on the other end of the phone to my  Uncle and Uncle J stayed calm and told my Dad that I was welcome at their house anytime and that I was precious in their eyes.  Apparently my Dad had told Uncle J to tell me something because Uncle J told my Dad that he (Uncle) would never repeat those words to another soul…that he would not even repeat it to a dog.  This was the last time that my parents and Uncle J and Aunt S would speak.  Their friendship ended after almost 30 years.  Of course my parents blamed me for this falling out between the two families.  (It is traditional in the islands to call other adults Uncle and Aunty if the families had a long friendship between them.  We had no blood relation).

Work became unbearable.  I was constantly nervous and always seemed to be fighting the fear that I would eventually lose control.  I couldn’t eat and lost 15 pounds.  I was already on the thin side so the weight loss was significant for me.  Much like all the ugliness of the events growing up, I had become an expert at hiding what was really going on both inside and outside of myself.  No one could ever tell that there was such turmoil within me just by looking at me.

I knew that the stresses of the job was adding to my already stressful emotional situation.  I had been cut off by my parents, believed everything they said about me all those years and  I felt so cut off and abandoned.

I answered an add in the newspaper for a position in one of the hotels.  It was a big hotel which brought in many tourists and with my Japanese speaking ability, I was hired and gave my 2 week notice to the tour company.  I was so relieved to not be working there any longer and thought that once I left that job, the emotional stress would disappear…it didn’t.  I would have periods of sheer acute panic and continued to fight these feelings.  The acute phase would only last a short while followed by fear that it would come on again.  I then began to contemplate suicide but somehow there was a deep “knowing” within me that told me that committing suicide was not the answer.  I had the distinct feeling that I had to continue to go through this.  There were periods of panic, or fear, or sadness where I would get a “glimpse” of peace.  I held on to that peace.  This helped me so much.  Having those small periods of peace made me believe that my life was not going to be all about the darkness within me all the time.

So now I’m working at this new job and although the job itself was less stressful, my emotional state had not gotten much better.  For a long time I could not go into any fitting rooms in the clothing stores because I always imagined that I would come out naked, yelling and ranting and raving like a lunatic.  In the car, it took all my concentration to not lose control at the stop lights. I would tell myself that if I could just make it through this stop light to the next, I would be ok.

BK didn’t help much.  I tried to tell him of my feelings and I’m sure he just could not relate.  He said he thought I was crazy.  Ok really…I certainly felt as if I was crazy but I needed to hear from someone that I wasn’t.  I shared these feeling with my Uncle one night and he listened intently and seemed to understand that these feelings were a result of everything I had gone through in the past and especially most recently with being cut off from my parents in such a hurtful way.  Uncle J was so patient with me and he made me feel normal even though on my insides, I was in turmoil.  He would often remind me that everyone has their issues and we are ALL crazy…in one way or another.  When he put it to me that way, I didn’t seem to be that bad.

At this point, about a year and a half has gone by and I am still fighting on the inside.  I’m still nervous, panicky and I’m certain that I’m crazy and that one day very soon, I would lose total control by some outside and unseen force.  It was as if the years of the oppression during my upbringing was turning into a huge monster that was trying to take control.  I didn’t know if I needed a priest or a psychiatrist.  I had been going to a traditional Christian church and to tell you the truth, the guilt that many of the churches put on me about being born a sinner actually made me feel worse…not to mention I was “living in sin” by shacking up with my boyfriend…but I kept going thinking that Jesus would save me from my fear.  Soon however, it was time to seek counseling from a therapist.  I found a psychiatrist and made my first appointment for the following week.  I was excited and scared at the same time because now an “expert” would tell me what was wrong with me and I would get to feeling better…or so I thought…

…continued

25. Journey Backwards-Strange entities

 

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So much of my childhood was filled with fear.  It crept into my adult life but as I grow spiritually, I am beginning to recognize it for what it really is…fear of fear.  

Growing up in a household that was anything but nurturing, my imaginings and perceptions around me were quite skewed.  Besides the night mares and feelings of oppression around me, I began to think that there was something wrong with me on a deeper level…as if I was “tainted” somehow.  When I say a deeper level, I guess I mean my soul/spirit.  I came to believe this about myself because I just didn’t feel right.  It felt as if there was hell all around me.  I understand now of course that my whole upbringing was hellish.  The environment was hell and as far as I could understand back then, my Mom was from hell.

In a nurturing household, a parents will gently help to make the child realize that everything is ok and that there are no boogeymen in the closet or monsters under the bed.  The child is allowed to voice their fears and the parents offer a safety net of love and security.  Of course some children have “active imaginations” and this should be nurtured as well.  My house was anything but safe.  

I would often “sense” things.  I would sense presences all around me and I perceived them as “bad”.  I’ve had the ability to “sense things” all my life but growing up, I didn’t understand it…and because of all the terrible incidences, my “imagination or perception” at the time was that a big bad boogey man was after me.  Sometimes my imagination would get so bad that I had to have my little sis come to the bathroom with me.   I was afraid to be in a room by myself and having sis there with me made me feel a little better.  Maybe a part of me felt that if sis present with me, nothing bad would happen.

Many unexplainable things would happen like the time I was in the bathroom filling up the sink with water and all of a sudden, the stopper in the sink would drop and the water would start to drain.  I would feel something “brush” along side my body and I would freak out.  I’d rush out of the bathroom and walk outside not mentioning this to anyone.  Somehow, being outside felt safer than being in that house.  Often, the dishes in the china cabinet would rattle and instead of giving myself a rational explanation like maybe a big truck drove by causing the dishes to move around a bit, or that the wind somehow only affected the dishes in the china cabinet but nothing else.   So I would automatically assume that “that monster” was after me again and he was letting me know that he was close.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and just lie there in terror…in the dark, with everything so quite all around me.  There went my imagination again…conjuring up the scariest of stories in my head.  I would imagine that I would “see” a dark presence in the corner of my room…so I wouldn’t dare look in that direction.  I wouldn’t look but I knew it was there…I could sense it.  I made sure that I was under the covers and my feet weren’t hanging off the bed because then I might be grabbed.  The strange thing is that I liked to watched scary movies and this didn’t help me any!  But the weird thing is, my sister would sometimes have shared experiences with me.  Sometimes we would both wake up at the same time in the middle of the night…or maybe we were woken up by some unseen presence? Who knows? Then we would hear our names being called from outside our bedroom window.  Not in a scary way but just as if a friend was outside calling us to come out and play.  Of course this would be in the wee hours of the morning around 2:00 or 3:00 am.  We’d just lie there looking at each other with our covers up to our eyes.    

Sis and I celebrated Halloween like all the other kids in the neighborhood and after collecting our candy treats, we would separate the candy.  I like to put all my chocolate candies in one bag and all my lollypops in another and so forth.  We used saved clear produce bags that Mom would get from the grocery store and because of the occasional ant problems we’d have in the house, we had to make sure that all the candy was tightly tied off in these bags.  Many times in the middle of the night, sis and I would wake up and hear rustling.  We never talked to each other during any of these “night incidents” because I think we were too afraid to speak but we knew that it was the candy bags being rustled about.  The whole house was dark and we knew Mom was already asleep.  

I must have been about 14 years old and by this time, I had developed quite a vivid imagination.  Too many things had happened around the house that was so frightening to me.  Was it all in my head?  Was I really witnessing something paranormal?  Was it evil?  Was it after me?  Although sis witnessed some of these things, I “sensed” them very often.  I went to my Dad and told him that I thought there was a ghost in the house.  He looked at me and told me that I better not talk like that because I’d be locked up in the crazy hospital.  So that was that.  I never mentioned it ever again and I desperately tried to shut down whatever it was that was happening to me.  I told myself that nothing was actually happening.  My parents certainly weren’t witnessing any of it so it was all in my head.  I was crazy…

The scariest incident of all was one night when I woke up in the middle of the night again and l looked to my left where my parent’s bedroom was located…because we never slept with our bedroom doors closed, I could see the foot of my parents bed and the both of them lying there…but who was that standing in front of the dresser?  I looked again not understanding what I was seeing.  It was a dark figure that was shaped like my Mom…just a dark shadow of a figure without any distinguishable features.  What was it doing?  My mind told me to look away because I sensed that IT sensed I had been looking at it and I feared that it would look at me.  I closed my eyes and lied there on my back.  Oh my gosh! What in the world was it? I sensed that it was hovering over me now…waiting for me to open my eyes to see it looking down on me…staring with it’s deep red eyes.  I didn’t dare open my eyes…who knows what would happen if I did?  As I lie there feeling terrified, my eyelids trembled and I thought to myself, “it sees my eyelids trembling with fear, it knows I’m just pretending! Keep your eyes shut and stop your trembling eyelids!”  It felt like several hours that I lie there on my back.  I so desperately wanted to turn and change positions but I mustn’t move!  I could feel the blood pooling in the areas of my body that compressed on the bed but I stayed in that position until I saw the first hint of sunlight outside.  It was only then that I felt safe enough to move.  I turned to change positions and immediately fell asleep.  So all the scary stuff that I had experienced up until then was not as scary as this…but I would tell no one about it for years.

So I carried this fear of the unknown with me for a long time.  I thought for sure that there was definitely something after me…and it was after me because my soul was “tainted”.  I was bad…so very bad.

By this time, I was out on my own.  Mom had returned back from Japan and of course there was no mention of the “offness” of Dad’s behavior while Mom was away.  (Journey Backwards-17-Strange Looks).  I was working long hours at the Japanese tour company and was pretty much financially taking care of myself.  Sometimes I would work 16 hour days and go back to my apartment and crash.  My apartment was creepy.  It was someones garage made into a one bedroom apartment.  It was located close to my work so that was one good thing.  I didn’t like being in that apartment by myself…in fact, I didn’t like being by myself…

…continued

 

24. Journey Backwards-Strange Looks

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At bedtime, Dad would always kiss sis, Mom and I with pursed lips before he went to bed.  I remember that it began to feel funny at around age 11 or 12.  It was as if something inside me was changing and I didn’t want to be kissing my Dad on the lips anymore.  It didn’t feel right.  I don’t know if Dad felt the same way, or there was a discussion about this between my parents, or it just naturally stopped as sis and I got older.  Soon it was just Dad saying “good night” to everyone as he walked to the bedroom.

I over heard an argument that Mom and Dad were having again behind closed doors.  I couldn’t hear all that was being said and it’s not as if sis and I would press our ears up against the door to try and listen, but we heard Mom telling Dad that she sees the way he looks at me.  I think when I heard her say this, something inside me felt weird because I sensed it too.  Dad’s response was that he thought Mom was being ridiculous.  There were times where I would catch Dad looking at me but it was such a strange look that it made me turn away when I caught him.  It didn’t feel like a look that a loving Dad gave to his little girl…it was different and  I couldn’t quite understand what I was sensing, or feeling…only that it didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

One late night, Mom was off doing something in the kitchen and Dad was in the living room watching T.V., I walked into the living room to say good night to Dad and he looked up at me in my baby doll pajamas which I had been wearing for 2 years.  On this night, he looked up at me and had that strange look in his eyes again and made the comment that my legs were getting really long and that I was really growing up.  For someone to just say those words seem innocent enough but there was that “not right” feeling to those words when he said it.  I turned around to walk out of the room and I could still feel his eyes on me.  I was in a hurry to get out of there.  From that moment on, I never wore those pajamas again and I always tried to cover up.

We all slept with our bedroom doors open at night and the only time my parents ever had their door closed was when they were having some sort of talk or argument about us girls.  I’m sure the closing of the door was my Dad’s doing because Mom certainly didn’t care whether or not sis and I heard her because she was often yelling behind those closed doors anyway.  

Dad, sis and I would have our regular bed times and Mom would often stay up watching T.V. till 1:00 or 2:00am.  I guess this was her time.  I would smell her cooking some shu mai (chinese dim sum) or gyoza (japanese potstickers). 

I can’t tell you when Dad’s behavior escalated…those memories are still kind of hazy to me.  I want to say I was about 12 or 13 because it started happening shortly after my first menses.  (At age 13).  

Sis and I shared a bedroom in our 4 bedroom house and our room was the farthest room down the hall right across my parents room.  One night, I was woken up by a movement on my bed and I opened my eyes to find Dad…sitting on by bedside.  I looked up at him in a daze and he was giving me that funny look again.  He was stroking my hair…and for a long time, that’s all he ever did. (As far as I can remember in my conscious mind).  I tried to tell myself that he was there just to comfort me because he knew all the pain I was in from the abuse I was getting from Mom…but no; his being there was not comforting…at all.  The look in his eyes weren’t right for comfort.  The way his hand went through my hair wasn’t right…but this was not my main concern during those nightly visits  My main concern was that Mom would walk down the hall and discover Dad sitting on my bed and it would be MY fault.  That somehow I had caused him to behave this way.  Oh how I wished Dad would just go away!  I would just lie there and not say anything.  I didn’t know what to say.  This happened off and on for many nights.  At some point, it had escalated slightly to him kissing me…and not the pursed lip kiss.  This was wrong!…so wrong!  Yuck! What was happening and why was he doing this?  I didn’t feel like I could tell him to stop.  Why not?  Why couldn’t I tell him to stop coming into my room?  Didn’t he know that Mom would hate me even more if she discovered this?

At this point in my dialogue here, I have to mention that I have very fuzzy memories of these episodes going any further than just sitting on the side of my bed.  I’m not sure if what I sometimes seem to see flashes of in my mind are from actual events or just my dreams…it’s hard to tell, so I will only write about the events that I know for certain had taken place.

In my recall of these “funny night visits”, I seem to jump to when I am 18 years old.  Mom had taken sis to Japan during the summer.  (I had already returned from Japan after living there with my relatives for a year).  I had found a job working at a Japanese tour company and had my own  one bedroom apartment in town but while Mom was away, Dad and I would get together often after I finished work to have dinner.  We would watch T.V. and I would go back to my apartment.   On one occasion, I don’t know how I ended up sitting on Dad’s lap but there I was…sitting on his lap as he was holding and talking to me.  I was still in my work uniform.  He was telling me a story about the time when he was in high school and there was a female classmate that was flirting with him.  He said she told him that he could touch her breast.  As he was telling me this, he placed his hand on my breast.  There seemed to be some kind of scuffle and the next thing I remember is that Dad was on top of me…on the family room floor.  He was straddling me and I was trying to wrestle him off.  I don’t know how I got away, but all of a sudden, I was darting out the door and driving down the street.  Dad had chased after me hollering my name even as I drove away.  I was shaking and crying as I drove off.  I called my boyfriend at the time (whom I eventually married) and told him what had happened.  The only response I got out of my boyfriend (whom I’ll call “BK”…) was, “sometimes these things happen”.

After arriving back at my apartment, the phone rang and it was Dad.  He told me that he didn’t mean to scare me off.  I remember telling him that a daughter was not supposed to be touched that way by her Dad.  There was no apology…

Another incident that I remember clearly…I was at one of my visits with Dad after work while Mom was still in Japan.  I don’t recall the events that led up to me lying in bed next to Dad in my pajamas.  Was I spending the night?  Why was I in my pajamas and not back at my apartment?  I don’t know.  I don’t know why I was lying next to him.  “Oh please stop! Please just go to sleep!”  I recall him telling me that it was a rare thing for him to be lying next to such a beautiful woman.  I know I was a woman but coming from him in THAT context was twisted.  This was so wrong, so very wrong.  How do I make it stop?  I don’t remember beyond my Dad telling me that I was a beautiful woman…

For the rest of my adult life after all those bizarre incidents, it was never discussed or brought up again.  My Dad passed away almost 2 years ago without a word or any discussions of these incidents.  I am sure that like all the other bad things that happened to me at the hands of my parents, there are some suppressed memories.  I have worked through much of it and have even forgiven.  I have a deeper understanding now and I hold no animosity.  Of course this did not come easy for me.  There was a lot of inner work that I had to do to heal myself…which I believe I have done, and continue to do.

There are so many women (and men) out there who suffer as I have…at the hands of their parents or other family members.  I wish I could reach them all and let them know that it is NOT their fault…that there is a way to understand and forgive and heal…but it is a process.  There is so much to “let go of”…  I often think about the past, but not to conjure up bad memories or feelings.  I reflect on the past hurts to try to understand what kind of pain my parents were holding on to that caused them to behave in the way that they did.   This is what my relationship with my parents has taught me to do…to look at ALL things at a deeper level.

I will continue to blog about the ugly events of my yesteryears.  There is still so much more to write about and I am not the only one…there are so many of you who have gone through the same thing…some even worse.  There is hope…and joy, waiting just for YOU.

Thank You to all of you who read my posts.

…continued

23. Journey Backwards-Mirrors

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There are many ways a parent can make their child feel ugly.  One way is to just tell them right out verbally that they are unattractive.  My Mother didn’t actually tell me that I was ugly but she had another way of delivering me the message.

We weren’t allowed to wear any makeup all through high school and  even painting our nails with any other color than clear was against her rules and when I was a senior in high school, Mom decided to take on a part time job by selling Kanebo cosmetics,   It is a line of Japanese cosmetics and much like Avon, you sell it door to door.  Since she didn’t go door to door, she just sold some products to her one friend and mostly enjoyed buying this line for herself at a discounted price.  She was allowed to bring many of the products home to test on herself.  She brought home a whole bag of nail polishes one weekend and told sis and I that we could each pick a color and do our nails.  I was excited.  I picked a deep burgundy color that also had a hint of red in it.  I thought it was a beautiful rich color.  Sis picked a light transparent pink.  When I picked this color of course Mom said that it was natural that I liked this dark color because it proved that I was cheap.  She said that the Korean in me was why I chose such a color that would cheapen me even more than I was…like my birth Mother.  (According to my Mom, my birth Mother was the epitome of “cheap” because she must have been a whore)    She added that I was a “typical Korean” who bared no class what so ever.   After painting my nails, I didn’t care what she said because I thought it was so pretty.  Being that I had never worn colored nail polish, this was huge to me!  We were made to take off our nail polish before school started the following week.

We were on our way to visit my Mom’s friend and I took out a mirror to apply some clear lip gloss.  As I was applying it, my Mom looked over at me and said, “what! you think you’re pretty!?”  I don’t know why at the time, but just the way that she said it made me feel ashamed that I had been looking at my reflection in the mirror.  It wasn’t as if I was gazing at my own reflection with conceit or admiration.  It was more that I was making sure that I applied the gloss within my lip lines.  

For years, I carried this feeling of unattractiveness.  In high school I always felt that I was the ugly duckling and that all the other girls had it together.  They had such nice, healthy and long hair with all their makeup in the right places.  Many of them had very nice outfits that went along with the trend at the time.  Sis and I were made to wear our hair short in a pixie style because Mom could not stand finding our hairs on the bathroom counter tops or anywhere in the house.  Only on one occasion through our childhood did we buy brand new clothes.  The rest of our clothes were ‘hand me downs” from our neighbor “G” and our cousin “K” from Minnesota that would be shipped to us.  I guess I was grateful for this at least because then what would we have worn I wonder?

The comments that my Mom would make about my appearance affected me well into my 30’s.  My friends would tell me that I was pretty but I never believed them.  I thought they were saying it just to be nice.  In my early adult life when I would go out on the town with my girlfriends, I was never the girl in the bathroom that would stand there and look at herself in the mirror to fix her hair or her makeup.  I didn’t want the other girls/women to think to themselves that I was wasting my time even trying to “freshen up”…so I didn’t look at myself in the mirror when I went out at all…

Years later, I realized however that my Mom said all those things because of her jealousy.  At the time however, there were a couple of my girlfriends who had made the comment that my Mom was jealous of me.  I could not comprehend this.  Why would any Mom be jealous of their daughter?  As I changed into becoming a woman in my late teens, I guess it wasn’t just my Mom who noticed…there was soon to be another kind of hell…

…continued

22. Journey Backwards-Just Another Day

 

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At around this time, our family had moved from our house to another house about 8 miles away.  I remember being so very embarrassed because we did not hire movers like normal people.  We used a horse’s trailer.  We packed as much of the furniture we could on the back of this thing and sis and I would have to ride in the back to hold stuff down.  Dad made sure that it was all tied down tight but we had to make sure that some items didn’t shift.  Being a teenager at the time, I would cringe at the thought of any of my junior high school friends seeing me on the back of a horse trailer.

Day to day life was hard enough as it was with Mom being OCD so moving boxes and putting the boxes in the right place, not breaking, scratching or bending anything only added more stress to sis and my life.  It didn’t take us more than three days to get settled down.  There was no way that Mom was going to let any unpacked boxes sit anywhere in the house.  Everything had to be put away in its proper place.  During the days of packing and unpacking, sis and I were still expected to do our chores in the house.  Wiping the floors down on our hands and knees, dusting and vacuuming.  The chore that I most disliked was polishing the brass tables.  It would take forever and a lot of rubbing and “elbow grease”, as my Dad would say, to finally get the brass shiny.  Of course if it wasn’t to Mom’s liking, I would have to do it all over again.  I do have to add one positive aspect of this though, and that is that because Mom was an OCD, the one thing that sis and I learned was; we might as well do it right the first time because it took twice as long if it had to be redone. 

So life continues in this new house which Mom decided she hated.  It was a two story house and she complained about the stairs.  She really didn’t like hauling groceries up to the kitchen level.  Mom hating the house began to wear on her…and us.  She became worse…if that’s possible.  The incessant nagging about how she hated the stairs, the house, the kitchen.  For sis and I, being in this new house with an unfinished yard meant more bricks to haul, more cement to mix, more shrubs to plant and water…

So Mom was in a bad mood again, (when was she NOT in a bad mood?) and I had taken a shower and while coming out of the shower, my knee knocked the shower door off it’s track.  Thank God she didn’t hear the noise it made so I tried to push the door back on track but it wouldn’t budge.  I decided to not say anything and closed the door the best I could.  I wasn’t thinking that I would try and fix it later, or ask my Dad to take a look at it…I was just thinking that maybe she didn’t notice and wouldn’t notice…ha!  She did.  She seemed to have second sight when it came to discovering what I had done.  She came into the bathroom shortly after I showered and discovered that the door was off track.  “Who buroke (broke) da shawa doa?!!”   “My leg accidentally hit it”, I said.  She yanked on my ear really hard, called me stupid and told me to get out.  “I don’t need you!  You think I need you for anything! You think I love you!  I haaaate you!  Get out of my house!”  The look in her eyes were a familiar one to me.  I had seen it many times.  It seemed that the whites of her eyes would disappear and there was just blackness.  I could “feel” the hatred within her.  It consumed her and I imagined that her soul was black as well.  The way she glared at me while she told me she hated me was actually scarier than those words.  I thought to myself, where was I going to go?  I went into my bedroom and gathered some blouses and underwear and such and wrapped it in a big scarf and headed down the street.  Sis was with me because when Mom yelled to get out, she wasn’t sure if it meant her as well so we walked down the street together.  Eventually our Dad drove up the street on the way home from work.  He picked us up and I told him what happened.  He didn’t say anything.  So we were back in the house sitting in the small room outside of the master bedroom where Dad was trying to talk to Mom.  He was in there for quite awhile behind the closed door and finally came out.  He looked worn out and tired.  He turned to me and said, “You better beg your Mother and ask her if you can stay”.  I went into her bedroom and softly touched her forehead and said; “I’m sorry Mommy, that I broke the shower door.  I’m sorry to make you mad.  Is it ok if I stay?”  Without opening her eyes, “I don’t care what you do…I don’t care if you live or die…I don’t like you”.  Well, I guess that meant I could stay.

It was soon coming up on Mother’s Day and sis, Dad and I went to the mall to find a Mother’s Day gift for the occasion.  We found a jewelry store that had “Mother’s rings” on special.  These were rings that had the birthstone of all the children on it.  We decided on this nice ring and even added my Dad’s birthstone as well.  I remember thinking that it was a cute ring with peridot, opal and tanzanite sitting on a gold setting.  They wrapped it in a little box with a cute ribbon.  I was so excited to see Mom’s face when the time came.  

So Mother’s Day finally arrived and we were all sitting around the dining table.  Mom was not in a good mood.  She had been in a foul mood all day but hadn’t really lashed out to anyone…yet.  I could feel the tension in the room but I don’t know what it was.  Dad said something to Mom about Mother’s Day and he presented the little gift to Mom and said that it was from all of us.  She looked at the box and said, “what’s dis?!”  Oh, oh…Somehow I knew something was not right.  The mood was not right.  She wasn’t going to be happy…She opened up the box and looked at the ring and said that she didn’t need it.  “I don’t want this stupid ring! It rooks cheap!” She threw it across the room real hard and it ricochet off the opposite wall.  I remember being angry.  I was sooo angry!  I hated her for it.  How could she do this?  We had put a lot into looking for a gift and the three of us had put our heads together and planned it out.  We planned on where to place each of the stones in it’s perfect place to enhance the entire jewel.  The opal was in the middle with the peridot and tanzanite on either side.  It was so pretty.  I sat there saying nothing.  No one said a thing.  I hated her so much.  I wanted to scream at her and reach across the table and gouge her eyes out.  Did she not have an ounce of decency within her?  It wasn’t about the ring.  It was about her trashing and cheapening any effort that we had put into this gift from our hearts.  We just continued to eat quietly.  I don’t remember who retrieved the ring but we ended up returning it.  So much for Mother’s Day.

It was just another day…

…continued

21. Journey Backwards-Bat out of hell

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had all been working outside on this Sunday and Mom was in the house packaging some snacks for the next door neighbors.  She was returning a container that had been filled with some goodies that Mrs. S. next door had made for us.  My Mom instructed me to take this container to the neighbors and return it, which I did.  When I got back home, I was in the laundry room taking off my dirty “outside” clothes and now Mom was outside nearby watering the grass.  She asked me if I remembered to say “Thank You” to Mrs. S when I returned the container…I said, “oh no”.   What happened next happened so fast!   All of a sudden, from where my Mom was watering the grass, she was all of a sudden standing right in front of me and she grabbed the neck of my tee shirt and ripped it off of me.  As she ripped it off, a fingernail or something scratched my neck all the way down to my abdomen.  I stood there stunned, half naked as she went back to watering the grass.  She didn’t say anything so I went into the house and showered.  As I recall this incident now, it feels to me like she had wanted to do that regardless of what I had done.  It’s almost as if she had planned on slapping, whacking, kicking, scratching or ripping my shirt off whether I deserved it or not.

Things were getting worse at home now and I was a nervous wreck all the time.  I was never at peace, always walking around on pins and needles.  I could do no right in my Mother’s eyes and I was not getting any help or protection from my Dad.  He would keep his mouth shut and I stopped wondering when and if my Dad was ever going to come to my aid.  My Mom was continuing to call me names, slap me, leave me outside during dinner and none of this seemed to affect my Dad.  He would just sit there and say nothing.  I remember looking at him sometimes and he would just have a blank look on his face…no expression.

One evening we were all sitting around the kitchen counter having dinner and my sis was playing some sort of game with my Mom.  Mom had said how much she loved Gyoza. (Japanese potstickers).  My sister then proceeding to point at different items around the kitchen and ask; “do you love rice?, do you love miso soup?”  All of which my Mom answered yes.  Then sis pointed to my Dad and asked; “do you love Daddy?”—“yes”, replied my Mom.  “Do you love me?”—“yes”…”Do you love Sissy?” (me)…”no”, replied my Mom.  It was as if someone punched me really hard in my gut.  I was fighting back the tears while chewing my food.  The lump in my throat had grown so large that it had become hard to swallow my food.  Nothing more was said and Dad just sat there again not saying anything.  I know sis didn’t ask this question expecting Mom to say that she didn’t love me.  I think it surprised her as much as it hurt me.  So this was one more thing in my childhood that I had to swallow…the fact that my Mom actually admitted to not loving me.  You know the feeling where sometimes something bad will happen in your life and all you want to do is disappear?  I just wanted to cease to exist.  It hurt too much to be there.

Maybe there were times when Dad would try to talk to Mom.  If there was, sis and I never witnessed it.  Maybe things were said behind closed doors.  I only think this because there were so many times that Mom would be in bed all day.  She wouldn’t come out to eat, come out to cook or even come out to berate me in any way.  Sis and I would witness Dad going into the bedroom and plead with my Mom to come out and eat something.  As sis and I peered into their bedroom, Dad would be kneeling beside Mom’s side of the bed asking her to come and eat.  Mom wouldn’t say anything or move or acknowledge his presence.  Dad would give off a big sigh of frustration and come out of the bedroom.  These incidents happened often.  Sis and I never knew exactly what it was about but we can only guess that maybe these were the times that Dad maybe disagreed with Mom and let her know it, followed by some sort of “strike out” from my Mom.  Years of this manipulation of my Dad probably lead to him just shutting up about the whole business of child rearing.

The funny thing is, when Dad, sis and I finally went to bed at night, that’s when Mom would emerge from her strike out position to feed herself and watch her favorite programs on T.V.  The following day, the whole bizarreness would start up again.  Sometimes this behavior would continue for 3-4 days.  Dad would be so upset.

One day they had been arguing for some time and sis and I could hear Mom hollering from the bedroom.  Although we don’t remember the specifics of the argument, we’re sure it was about us.  She came dashing out of the bedroom trying to get to the car and drive off somewhere.  Dad would be begging her not to drive when she is that upset.  I remember thinking to myself that he should just let her leave.  Besides, I think she was just trying to get a reaction out of him.  Trying to see if he would actually try and stop her.  She didn’t leave…damn!  But that was often still not enough for Mom.  Soon came the throwing of whatever she could find in her midst…dirty ashtray, dishes, cups, shoes…Sis and I would always have to clean it up.  After some time of darting back and forth trying to miss being hit by flying objects, Mom would finally settle down.

As awful as this was to witness, I was just glad that for once, I was not the target of her anger.  I would feel sorry for my Dad during her temper tantrums but at least I wasn’t being hit.  Sometimes though, I wouldn’t even be near Mom, or even interacting with her and she would come out of no where like a bat out of hell and be screaming, or slapping me…and she would be yelling at me about how much I had ruined her life.  One night as I lay in my bed, I heard some kind of commotion down the hall and all of a sudden, Mom appeared in the bedroom with a kitchen knife, snarling something at me with a wicked look on her face.  Dad would be right behind her trying to wrestle the knife out of her hand.  He’d wrestle her out of the bedroom and close the door behind him so sis and I wouldn’t witness whatever else was happening.  It was moments like this where I never felt safe.  It wasn’t as if I had been actually up and doing something to make her angry.  Sis and I had been asleep for awhile when this happened.  I just never knew what was going to happen next…even when I was sleeping.

In my later years, I was diagnosed with PTSD.  I had thought that PTSD was only for the soldiers in post combat but I realized that in my youth, I was constantly in a state of flight or fight and the anxiety was peaking even higher from day to day.

…continued

 

 

20. Insight

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So for the past several blogs, I have been sharing with you all some of the painful experiences of my past.  There is still a lot of stuff to share but I thought it might be a good idea to occasionally interject my current insights and what I have LEARNED from my past…otherwise, it just becomes my autobiography.  

Many people say that the past is the past and there is no reason to look at it.  To some degree, I agree.  If one looks to the past merely to remember the injustices without understanding or growing from the experience, it is the same as just feeling the pain all over again.  I did this for years by the way…Now I can look deeply into my past and begin to see the larger picture.

One of the main things I have learned is to see any perpetrators as their own victims and because of THEIR fears,  they will project this fear onto others.  This was step one.  Forgiveness came later but understanding had to come first.

We all know of people in our lives that harbor such deep resentment(s) towards others and we see that the only person that this resentment is hurting is the person carrying it.  There is a saying that says: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.  This is so true.

So on my next blog, I will continue to express my past experiences and how it has affected me so very deeply in a negative way, but also, share how it has helped me to grow as a compassionate person as well.

Have a wonderful day everyone and remember, we are all Spiritual beings having very human experiences and sometimes those experiences can be painful.  With a deeper understanding however, there is growth, love and understanding.

…continued.

 

19. Journey Backwards-Outside

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Growing up, sis and I spent a lot of time outside.  We were of the era before computers and video games so all the kids played outside and used our imaginations!  It was rare that on a weekend, we weren’t helping Dad with yard work of some kind and there always seemed like there was so much to do.  All the walls and trees and brick work around the house was layed by Dad and us girls.  When we weren’t building something around the house,  then every we helped Dad with trimming all the Mock orange hedges.  These hedges wrapped all the way around our entire house.  It was our job to rake all the leaves together and throw them in the trash bin.  With sis and I both working together, the job didn’t take too long. 

After picking up all the leaves, we would help Dad wash and wax the 2 cars.  Dad would wash and apply the wax to the cars then sis and I would wipe the wax off.  I didn’t lie wiping off the wax because many times, it wouldn’t come off easily.  I remember Dad would come over to inspect our work and find spots where the wax hadn’t been wiped off well and tell me to use “elbow grease”.  I didn’t know what elbow grease was.  I thought it was some product that you used to help the wax come off easier.  Little did I know that it meant to press hard and put some strength into it but after a full day of yard work, I didn’t always have the strength.  

I don’t remember exactly when Dad started shifting to the mean side.  He was never as mean as Mom was but he would say sarcastic things like, “If you actually HAD a brain, you’d be dangerous”.  To this day, I can’t stand sarcasm.  My impression is that if a person is being sarcastic, it’s another form of mean and why does an individual have to be mean instead of just stating what is on their mind? 

I don’t remember Dad saying anything to Mom if he heard her calling sis or I “stupid.  Perhaps when sis and I were at a younger age, he may have, but I’m sure he was immediately shut down by Mom so over the years, I think he just gave up and didn’t say anything…after all, he had to live with the consequences.

There were so many occasions where sis and I were made to stay outside in the cold after a hard days work outside. It was always at the end of the day when we had finished working in the yard and if it was still light out, we would be told to pull the weeds on the side of the house, or water the plants, or sweep the garage… One day after helping Dad all day, I was told to pull the weeds on the side of the house.  I was tired and didn’t want to work anymore so I squatted down as if to pull weeds when my Mom came around the corner and saw me playing with some small rocks.  Well! That was it!  I was not being useful and I was not doing what I was told to do. I was made to sit on the porch and “think about” my lack of responsibility.  Meanwhile, as it got darker, the rest of the family were in the house eating dinner.  The point was made clear to me that again, I had been “bad”.  Not only was I sitting outside in the cold, (by now the sun had gone down) they had also closed the patio sliding glass doors.  I would just sit there…not really thinking of anything…I think I was off somewhere in my imagination.  

When the folks thought maybe I had learned my lesson, I was allowed to go inside the house, shower and have dinner.  Usually by this time, I was no longer hungry and just wanted to go to bed.  

There was never any discussion about why I was left outside…so I just figured that I was a bad person getting what I deserved.  This punishment never fit the so called “crime” but sis and I were made to do this quite often.

One day it was just the Mom, sis and myself at home and we were planning on going shopping. I was asked to go water a plant on the side of the house and when I finished, I figured Mom and sis would be getting into the car and we would all leave.  I went into the garage and found that all the windows and doors of the house had been closed and locked and everyone’s shoes were gone.  The car was still there but I couldn’t figure out where Mom and sis had gone.  I was about 8 at the time.  I started banging on the door somehow knowing that they were inside but couldn’t get the feeling out of my head that they had gone and  I had been abandoned.  I banged on that door for quite awhile and Mom eventually opened it and was laughing.  Years later, sis and I talked about this incident and sis said that Mom had brought in all the shoes and locked all the windows and doors and told sis to hide.  Sis said she watched Mom as she shut and locked all the doors and windows and even as a young child, (we were a year apart in age) she knew that this behavior was wrong.

Why would a parent pretend to abandon a child?  I’m sure with sis and myself having been adopted, there were already some “abandonment” issue that we had deep inside us so this incident that Mom pulled didn’t help any.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we never knew what to expect from Mom…what cruelty would be inflicted upon us from day to day.  

My fear was growing bigger by the day…

…continued