Friday, June 3, 2011

The Pain Of Neglect

I have been in touch with an old church member.  She was telling me how neglected I was as a child.  She said that she and one of the other woman felt as if they were my second mother.  Apparently, my mother was so busy starting her new church that she did not have time for me. 

I have always known that I spent a lot of time alone. I have always known that I had been isolated from everyone.  I knew that before these people came into my mothers and my life that we spent lots of time in places that I sat by myself and waited for her to finish what she was doing.  It was when I was unattended that an awful lot of negative things did happen.  But, its different when an adult tells you now, and you are now an adult listening to them.  I had never put the word neglect on myself before. I always thought of myself as lonely or feeling extremely alone in this world, but neglect or to say severe neglect brings up this pain in me this evening that I can barely take.  It is not like the pain is new, but it has never come like this before.

It is as if I am filled with a liquid poison and it is killing me on my insides.  For some reason tonight I was hit with such loneliness, the pain of which is unspeakable.  My decision not to have my family in my life is not up for question. I believe it to be a solid choice and I am determined to continue to keep them away from me.  I know that being alone is something we are meant to be able to do and something that we should strive for in our lives.  I know that it is a time for reflection, meditation and to become one with ourselves.  The pain of loneliness in me is different.  It is deep and causes such sadness in my soul.  As if I have never been without it and when this person told me the condition that I was in when she met me, it stifled my existence, bringing such sorrow into my heart.  To have what you know already put into such concrete words by an adult at the time that you were three or so, is almost to much to take.  The pain of so many years made so real in just a day seems almost cruel in nature.  I wonder do people think what will happen to you if they tell you the truth that you are already feeling?  I'm afraid there is no cure for this one, it runs in such a way that I feel unsteady and light-headed from it.

I used to walk back and forth in my room and say, "I am alive, I am a life, I'm not an it." I remember pacing, repeating and pacing some more.  I re-live this in flashbacks.  Does the pain of neglect ever end, or does it just always cause you to scream in silence and live in closets?

So, My ...

 My  sister came out to California and we drove an R.V. back across the country to Louisiana, this was five years ago.  It was the strangest trip I have ever had been on. I heard so many times, "I feel so bad you never had a childhood."  I am not quite sure how many times I heard this from her, but enough I began to do a lot of wondering about it.  My sister is seven years older than I am. We had not spent any amount of time together since I was 12 or 13 years old when she had left for New York City to attend Julliard. She never returned from the school, she had a falling out with my mother and I never heard from her until I contacted her when I took off from home.  At 18 I contacted her and spent a couple weeks visiting her in New York.  I had a good time, it was rather intense and not really the person I had remembered.  So, pretty much since then, 1983 would have been the year I visited, I have not spent anytime with her. I was excited when she offered to have me come back and live with her and her family.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to know if the decision I had made when I was young was correct. I did not always see eye to eye with her, she seemed preoccupied as we all did but I disagreed with some of her tactics.

We lasted for two and a half weeks before she left me with her lover in an R.V. Park in Ft. Worth, Texas.  I still don't know why she left me.  I don't even know exactly how she was able to do it.  It seemed one moment was fine and the next she was packing her bag and walking towards the front gate of the R.V. park and hitching a ride back to LA. She took her belongings and some of mine, walked away without a word.  I wondered if it was the guilt of having a lover when she had a husband. I still don't know exactly why, but the guy she left me with was very cool.  I explained I had never driven and R.V. before, that my sister had done all of the driving across the country. She had failed to teach me how to drive this 32 foot monster.  I told him that I would get him back to the Dallas/Ft Worth airport and that other than saying that, I don't know what to say about what just happened with my sister.

He was an unusually calm man. He put his arms around me and gave me a big hug.  He told me it would be O.K. and oddly enough it was.  Together we ended up breaking camp, an adventure when you have never unhooked things by yourself.  We ended up driving to a Motel near the airport. I was to chicken to drive into the airport, as I had only about 45 miles of driving this beast under my belt.  We are still friends on facebook and he along with one other man that I met randomly on a mutual blogging site, have been real supporters of me when I am down.  Thank you for that day, you made a very strange time, a time that I could get through. I was so grateful that I was not alone when she decided to do this to me.

I don't know why I started to think about this today. I guess it's because it is raining and I don't feel well.  I was sitting here wondering what she meant by saying so many times, that she was sorry that I did not have a childhood.  I was thinking back on when she was talking to me as she drove this R.V.  down the highway. She looked sad, upset, guilty, mad, angry and mostly frustrated that somehow I didn't get it.  She would look at me as she was talking and I would say in response, don't worry about it, if you don't know what you are missing, then you really cannot miss it, she got so upset with me. She told me how I didn't understand how much I was missing. I told her, that was the point.  She told me that when Mom was married to Dad, before I was born that they did this and that, I said, "Yea, I know, you have told me several times." She got angry finally and just said that I didn't get it and never would.  It seemed like she was fighting back all these tears and guilt.  The mixed emotional signals were difficult to react to but I didn't know what to say or do.

We had traveled for quite some time. It takes a while to drive half way across the country.  The subject of my childhood had not come up in conversation for at least 300 miles.  But, then once again the subject was at hand.  I finally stopped her and said, "My childhood was had by me. It may not have been like yours or like anyone else's, but it was mine and I did have one." I thought for sure that this would work to stop her on this relentless battle over my lack of having any childhood at all.  It did not end there, it kept going, almost right up to the time she left me in that R.V. Park.  I wonder if guilt played a part in her leaving me. Almost since I did not chastise her for having a lover and a husband, somehow I was flawed and did not know the simple rules of life.  I wonder why she was so heated over my lack of childhood. Then I wondered why at no other time in my life, when money for her was available to do kind things for me, that she never did anything at all.  In fact, the only reason we were on this trip was that I had contacted her six previous to this lovely disaster in my life that I was currently going through. I was grateful for her offer to live with her. Of course, I had paid for her ticket to California and I was paying for everything up to the time that she left.  It was odd that she did not help me at all, I found it very expensive and had I known I would not have gone, it was far more than I had to spend.  She scolded me at the Grand Canyon because I said lets not by beverages here, they are really expensive. We can purchase them at the next town, it would better on my pocket book.  She was inflamed to say the least, she told me how if I did not spend money like I had money, then I would never get money.  I didn't really know what to say to her, so I bought her what she wanted to shut her up.

I am babbling a bit, but it causes me concern in my life, when I know that my life causes people to be uncomfortable with themselves.  I mean I did not ask for the life that I received.  It is as if my siblings look at me and my very existence causes them to be angry.  My younger sister told me that I should take a gun and blow my head off, that it would be the best thing for the family.  I wonder what it is that I am missing.  Seems ignorant I guess, but I believe I have been missing it my entire life.  Maybe that is what she was driving at when she said that I never had a childhood and was so bothered by this fact. It makes me sad to cause people to be so angry at me and I don't even know why.  

The Soul Shatterer Continued

As I continue this walk called life, I am reminded of old friends.  I have had a difficult time in the past five years and have lost all of my friends that I had ever known.  At the same time I became willingly estranged from my mother and step-father.  My mother moved in on my family and with my second ex-husband sued me for custody of my two youngest children.  They wanted to go live with their father and so it was not worth the fight in court.  Plus, it would have been the fifth time I had been to court to fight for custody of them.  I was tired, recovering from back surgery for the second time and they wanted to go.  They were 10 and 12 at the time.  I did not realize that my mother had been involved.  Apparently my ex-husband had taken my children to my mothers house in San Francisco and she promised them the moon if they went to go live at their Dad's house.  I found this out after the fact.  It was already to late to do anything and my heart was truly broken after finding this out. 

A few months had passed after they left my house and I could not take the pain, nor the lies from my family anymore.  I packed up my house and my older sister flew out from Louisiana.  The plan was to drive the R.V. back to Louisiana and be with my sister until I felt better emotionally.  I was very excited and since I am not a believer in children going from home to home every weekend it worked out well in my mind.  I was judged heavily by some for not staying but when you consider that I had lost my home because I was paying $1400.00 a month in child support and could no longer afford much of anything, there were not a lot of places or options for me at the time. So, living with family seemed like an opportunity to heal the past and begin a new future. I decided that a new locale far away from my mother and step-father might just be the answer to my life-long pain.  I had it all dreamed up in my head and new that with a little time this would be the place where eventually my children could visit during summer vacations.  I was also healing from a severe back surgery, so my prospects for work had changed.  I needed to re-think what I was going to do with my life.  Little did I know that I had become part of what seemed like a bidding war.

My ex-husband would call me on the phone and scream, "where is my fucking money."  My mother was calling and leaving messages that I just could not understand, nor decipher at the time.  The only person in support of me leaving seemed to be my older sister.  The man that had taken up residence in my home said that I could not leave. He went to tell me that the house was now his and I was subject to what he wanted to do.  I just could hardly move because I missed my kids so much.  I have four children all together.  The oldest graduated was going to University at Berkeley.  I was not invited to her graduation some two years after this was happening.  She has not contacted or spoken to much since this time I am speaking of.  The second oldest moved to San Francisco at this time to attend SF City College.  So this time in my life I was really excited about finally being alone with the younger two and having some very special times. So the depression that hit me was hard and to this day I am still fighting this pain and sadness of loosing so much, so fast. 

It's funny when you look back on something and think about how it all played out.  You would be tempted to wonder, "Well, if I had done this, or, if I had done that."  In my case, I don't ever think that way.  I knew that leaving the Sacramento area was the best thing emotionally for me.  I knew how many secrets were bottled up inside of me.  I knew that my children had no idea about any truth in my life.  I knew that they were only aware of the few things that I had ever told them about my growing up in San Francisco.  My oldest daughter had the most information, in fact, after I had requested of her not to go and live with my mother, step-father, half-sister and half-brother for the summer, she did it anyway.  After many run-ins at the house she finally called me one day and said, "they don't have anything on you Mom."  I told her, "No, but I have plenty on them."  Before my oldest child decided not to speak to me at all anymore, she did come and visit me before I left for LA to ask questions.  I did answer most of the ones I was comfortable answering, but I realized how much I had never told my children.  It became a rather strange day for me, I just had not realized how many secrets that I kept to myself.

Turned out that she had been partying with my younger brother and sister ( I'll refer to them that way, as oppose to the half-brother and half-sister, I find it offensive to myself) going to bars and drinking had spurred her decision to live with my mother that summer. She was only 19 at the time.  Needless to say I was not pleased to find out that my brother and sister who are much closer to my age, were now partying with my daughter.  I confronted my mother on this fact and she told me that they (my brother and sister) were weak minded and that my daughter had coerced them into taking her out every night to drink.  I guess you now know why we parted company or better said became estranged from one another.  I wrote down accounts as they happened in a journal I had started five years ago. I began it at the same time my youngest two children went to go and live with their father.  I started this journal in hopes to not have my life spin out of control, but to stop it before it happened.  I also found a really cool psychologist to have counseling through this very traumatic time.

I was with my counselor for six months prior to my move to Louisiana.  This would have been the first time that I really began to explore the idea of speaking out on my past.  I have always been very nervous about sharing anything of any consequence.  My so called friends, if you were ever to speak to them, would tell you, "Oh yea, we know everything about her life."  In reality, they know nothing about my life.  Although we spoke of my mother often, she was such a hot topic, we never spoke of the real abuse, or the fact that I had been taken to see a psychiatrist at the age three. I never shared that with anyone until recently.  Oddly, I have waited until I have what is in my mind, supported by people who were actually in my life as a child and saw what I had endured. So, all these so called friends that seem to know all there is about me, don't even know what they are talking about in regards to what they believe that I have been through.  The most support, encouragement and forward thinking, has come from the people that have read my blog.

As I read the other blogs, I find myself encouraged today.  Maybe it is terrible to find hope in the pain of the writings of other people, but it helps me know that I am not as alone in this dilemma.  I know that I have a lot to say sometimes.  I know that for years I have gone out of my way not to engage my mind on these affairs.  I know that I had made a decision long ago to just let it all go.  I know that when I was young, I just wanted to be able to grow-up just enough to tell my story and then I changed my mind, as I found out how difficult it is to come to terms with the reality of what has actually happened to you.  I know that I have not kept my promise to myself yet, but I also know that even on a path of destruction you can find healing each day from understanding that what has happened so long ago was not your fault.  I know that if I could tell my story, even if I just write it out to or for myself and I feel this would bring some healing to me.  I know that I watched my mother brain-wash people.  I know that I can write or speak in such a way to explain how you don't need to be re-programmed after being with a cult leader, you need the support to know that what was real, really did happen.  You need to know that these type of people, narcissists or better known to the medical field sociopaths or a malignant narcissist, whatever we collectively would like to refer to this type of personality is very dangerous.  They do speak in a very specific manner which is difficult for the layman to interpret easily.  Truthfully what matters is understanding that with the gift of verse alone, these type of people shatter your soul, destroy your dreams, take from you your individuality and walk away guilt free every time. Most importantly, you must remember that they are repeat performers in our lives.  The benefit we have in all of this madness for ourselves is the hope that eventually, through what seems like great difficulties we can figure this out.  That is truly a blessing in disguise.  Who I feel for with great empathy, in between my own fits of pity for myself personally, is the layman, the next innocent victim, the next member of the church, the person that came from a cult and doesn't know how to heal from what happened. I feel greatly responsible personally for these people.  I am not sure why I carry such a heavy burden.  I sometimes feel disappointed in myself for not acting earlier on behalf of the people that seem to fall victim to this insanity. Maybe its just me, maybe its just I saw to much abuse as a child, maybe its just stupid to carry such a burden for people I don't even know.  But, somehow I feel strongly that my life is my gift, a blessing in disguise, not a curse or something to get over, just something to understand and move on with what I am able to do with such a life filled with trouble. I feel that my service to humanity is helping to undo what I saw done to so many in my life.  I don't know if I would ever be successful at such a task, I just feel compelled to try to help put back into the Universe what I personally saw taken out.