Monday, February 13, 2012
The Essence of Evil
This will probably be one of the more difficult blogs for me to write. Having been raised by a Witch Borderline mother and suffering the unpredictability of her emotional outbursts, speaking of my childhood, is simply the same as reliving it.
Most of my childhood has been lost in the blackness of my subconscious. I do, however, have enough vivid memories to question if anyone around was paying any attention at all. Was I living in an alternate universe or a horrible nightmare? How was this monster allowed to abuse and torture two children without being questioned? Was there no one out there that cared? What she left behind were wounds that could never heal.
I compare my childhood to a POW camp since torture techniques were one of the used techniques to break you spiritually and emotionally.
My mother happened to be the master of fear tactics. She seemed to feed off of these horrific scenes. Like warm water to a hurricane, it gave her strength. One of her greatest joys was to send me into the “dungeon” (basement) which was dark, dank and cluttered. Then she kindly reminded me that the boogieman was down there waiting for me... waiting to take me away with the rest of the children.
I could only hope her love of the fear tactic was limited to the boogieman. Instead, she reveled in her use of love as bait. One moment she appeared like every other mother I knew, telling me she loved me, and the next taking it away for any trivial reason. All the while, she basked in my pleads for her to love me. She enjoyed even more the torment of rejecting my desperate pleas.
How many times in life had I wondered why God would bring such an innocent little child into this world only to have it suffer at the hands of the person you should be able to trust the most. If only the story ended there I would say that would be a happy ending.
God was another tool used by the twisted and warped mind of this evil vicious woman. I was raised to believe that God was vindictively jealous. If anyone loved a person beyond words, God would take that person away forever. Therefore, when my father passed away, I suffered tremendous guilt. For it was my fault. I had loved him more than God allowed and I was punished for that love.
I never understood why so many people were against abortion when I had so many times hoped that my mom had opted for one. Instead she brought me into this world only to inflict continuos pain. I was truly unaware that my feelings of emptiness and self loathing were abnormal. Christine Ann Lawson (Understanding The Borderline Mother) described living with a Borderline as Borderland.
“Borderland is an emotional world where loving mothers resemble storybook characters: helpless waifs, frightened hermits, bossy queens, or vindictive witches. This whimsically dangerous world is filled with contradiction and fraught with emotional storms that defy prediction.”
In my world, I was taught that everything was dangerous. I’m not referring to skydiving or shark hunting. Danger to my mom was playing softball, karate, or gymnastics. Oh how I dreamed to be an American Gymnast. Therefore I was banned from these activities. She even threatened to disown me if I joined the military or became a police officer, which were my careers of choice. With so little choice in my life, it is no wonder I had issues with anorexia. Food was the one area that she couldn’t tell me what to do or not to do.
There was a much bigger picture though. That picture was of a child that did not look like me. That child was a ballerina, a Girl Scout, a girlie girl. You know the ones that liked to play dress up. I never fit that mold, however, I was a tomboy. Following my dad around with my tools and sticking my head under the roof of the Ford Torino parked outside. This would be my demise. Her mind just didn’t work like others and since I wanted to be a tomboy, then by golly, she was going to make sure I looked like one. To make it worse, I was a daddy’s girl... that was the ultimate betrayal. My mom forbid me to wear makeup as a teen when other girls were primping for dances and proms. What was even worse was she forbid me from having long hair. She literally forced me to have my hair short. Not a cute MaryLou Retton short, but Opie Taylor kind of short. I was humiliated at school. I was humiliated with my friends. I was just humiliated. My humiliation was compounded when a lady attempted to kick me out of the girls bathroom as she informed me “the little boys room is across the hall”. I could only be lucky if it stopped with my hair. She bought me boys clothes to wear as well. Now, I was a tomboy, but the least she could do was buy me clothes that gave me access to the girls room. I couldn’t wait to get a job and turn eighteen. I would buy my own clothes and I would never cut my hair again!
My mom was also the psycho that threw all of our dirty clothes out of the window of our house for not taking them to the laundry room at the precise moment she said so. What the neighbors must have thought! Wait... what must they have thought? Didn’t they think the two children being raised by this psycho deserved better? Didn’t they think we were deserving of love?
At fifteen, she discovered that I was now a danger to her. As she chased me around the house with a cast iron skillet, I drew the line. Five steps up the stairway I stopped and with pure anger in my eyes, I advised her that if she hit me, it would be the last thing she ever hit. I was finally free from the physical abuse. I was liberated!
My sister left at twenty-three to escape the prison she had been born in to. She and I had been living on a fault line that shook us at every moment of calm. Now, I was alone to survive the nature of my mother.
With my sister gone and me having claimed my freedom of physical abuse, this would be a journey into the unknown. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me that she would just up the ante on her psychological abuse. At nineteen, I had come to the end of my rope. There seemed to be no escape and my anger towards her was heading in a direction that seemed dangerous to either her or I. My decision was made, but I thought it was only fair to give her one last chance to right our very wrong relationship. Telling her best friend of my plan, I begged her to tell my mom. Certainly she loved me enough to not let me hurt myself. After four days, I called her friend again. Didn’t you Tell her? Isn’t there anyone out there that cares? But she had told her and my mom opted to roll the dice.
On a Friday afternoon, I made one last phone call to a dear friend and took what I thought would be a lethal dose of medicine. Apparently, God had other plans for me. More than twenty-four hours later I awoke to her telling me to go fold some clothes.
Fold clothes! Wait... how am I even still here? My eyes were slits and my face was swollen. I slept for twenty-four hours and she is asking me to fold clothes. She looked me right in the face and said “What, have you been crying or something”? I knew she knew...
What I never gave thought to was that a child that had committed suicide would be a win win for her. If I lived, she could continue to belittle and control me. The psychological warfare that took place within those four walls would continue. If I died, imagine the people that would have rallied around her with pity. That poor, poor lady had such an unstable child.
Shorty after that I moved out of her home and began a life of my own. Now, twenty-five years later, and a decade of therapy later, I realized that I never would have been good enough. She would never love me and would only continue to make me think I was crazy. I realized she never did love me because she was incapable of loving anyone.
Through my decade of therapy, I have learned that my life was filled with adjectives that turn my stomach. I had lived through chaos, fear, ridicule, confusion, distrust, anger, loneliness and despair. I had learned to be afraid of abandonment, have no self worth, to be defensive and self critical. I have spent my whole life keeping the world at my fingertips where it was safe. I am hyper vigilant.
And today... I have taught my own children unconditional love. I have encouraged their dreams and reassured them when they felt fear of potential failure. I have hugged them and reminded them that I would always be there to give them the nudge they need to be the best they can be. I have removed only the real dangers in their lives and allowed them to incur the bumps and bruises that go along with real living.
Today... I still attempt to tear down the wall that was so precisely built to protect me. I still see therapists as the best thing God ever invented.
Today... I advocate for victims and vow to make a real difference in the world we live.