Saturday, August 8, 2015
Lessons, from KIDNAPPED TWICE
THINKING BACK ON MY CHILDHOOD
I really cannot explain all the effects of my childhood on my life, other than that I always felt, knew, something was missing. I was always looking for something in my life, but never knowing what.
Now I know: I was missing my father’s love and my mother’s.
My sister asked me recently if I thought that I was “OK.” I thought about my answer for a few minutes, until I just said, “No.”
She said to me that she wasn’t OK either. Both of us had thought we had managed to get through life satisfactorily, but both of us know we actually did not. She is a psychologist; even though both of us tried to deal with our pasts during our lives, we now realize that neither of us came out wholly intact.
My sister remembers things that she then reminds me about. She just told me that there were three bedrooms in our house: one very small bedroom off the kitchen with a small bed, and two larger bedrooms, one with twin beds, and the other being the master bedroom. She and I had wondered why we had to sleep together in the small bedroom while Ann’s son from her first marriage had the larger room with the twin beds.
My sister told me just this week that I would hum songs and rock her to sleep every night. That was what my grandmother would do with me, but I do not remember doing that for my sister. She also tells me that I would bring home stray animals but was never allowed to keep them. Maybe that is why I now try to save animals.
AM I HAPPY YET?
As I have been writing this, I have asked myself if I have been happy.
I know that I was happy during my early years, when I was with my paternal grandparents. I’m sure I have had some other happiness in my life, but I don’t remember those times. They must have been fleeting.
The Lord gave me many gifts, which I did not recognize. Some people said I was beautiful. I never felt or thought that. I know I had a fine singing voice, but I did not have the courage to use it. People would comment favorably on my eyes and my legs, and when I was alone I would look at myself in the mirror, trying to see what they were talking about. I never saw what they saw. Perhaps the constant criticism at home blinded me.
Now that I’m in the last chapter of my life, I would love to say I’m happy, but I am not.
What I once thought was the reason that the Lord brought me here has turned out to be the biggest betrayal of my life. I put my heart and soul into saving this girl, my step-daughter, and giving her a good life. I was told by many of the consultants that she needed a new foundation built and that it would be a challenge. That was an understatement. Every moment of every day was a challenge. It really did not matter what I was trying to do for her, including teaching her that she should be responsible for her life. It was always a nightmare.
Even her own personal cleanliness produced daily arguments.
As years went by, I knew she needed more mental health help. She was, and still is, very good at fooling people into thinking she is a sweet person. The church we were attending at the time got involved. The pastor felt she needed Christian counseling, which she received for quite a while.
During this time, I started seeing my own psychiatrist.
At one point Alan’s daughter told the teacher at school that the demons were talking to her. The teacher took her to the pastor, who talked with her for hours. This was not known to her father nor to myself until I saw the pastor and her in a car in our driveway. She was supposed to be on the school bus.
At some point during this, the pastor came to our house and again stated his opinion that she was doing well with the Christian counseling. I asked him: if he were wrong, would being wrong affect his life? I told him it was going to affect the daughter’s life, her father’s life, and mine, and would affect anyone else involved in her life. And it has.
When her father and I took her to my psychiatrist, she just sat there and said she was a manic-depressive and then refused to say anything else. All this time, her father could not, would not stand up to her. His thought was that she would magically get better tomorrow. I started retreating to my room and closing the door. Her father was not strong enough to deal with her, and I went into survival mode. I still am.
She’s been married and divorced. She has had many relationships, all ending with her same story of the reasons for the breakup. Then came the day she was taken by ambulance from where she worked to a mental ward, and there she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
She was finally released, assigned a psychiatrist, and prescribed medications. It didn’t take long before she created the story that her doctor said she did not have to “own” the diagnosis and did not have to take the meds., This is not true, but if she says it, then in her mind it is true. Now she is in another romantic relationship with a decent man who loves her, but he knows there is something really wrong with her. He reminds me very much of her father, who was not strong enough to deal with her then or now.
My belief is that she could have a decent life if she went regularly to a psychiatrist and was put on medications that were monitored. That’s not going to happen. She is also her mother’s daughter!
During these years, her father and I have been working hard to try to keep the farm going, something very hard to do, as one part of the family sued the farm into involuntary bankruptcy.
We are serializing here her memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and myself,
published in paperback and ebook formats by Outskirts Press and available from O.P. and online booksellers like amazon.com and bn.com.
My writing-coaching-editing site is http://writeyourbookwithme.com.