Psycho-Babble Social Thread 221860

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 45. This is the beginning of the thread.


And now for something completely different.......

Posted by paxvox on April 23, 2003, at 20:11:32

Well howdy all, seems I'm finished with my two-week block. I think that things will be OK now, thanks to the absence of certain antagonists (no one in particular, so if you think I'm refering to YOU, I'm not). I have an open question to post for feedback: have any of you had experience with having to have someone in your family declared "mentally unfit" to be in the house? I mean, does it take a judge or some social service to make such a determination? How does the process go about? I know (believe me, I KNOW) that this is a difficult subject to respond to, but if anyone has some first-hand experience of this sort of thing, I would appreciate hearing about it.



Re: And now for something completely different....... » paxvox

Posted by fayeroe on April 23, 2003, at 21:24:32

In reply to And now for something completely different......., posted by paxvox on April 23, 2003, at 20:11:32

> Well howdy all, seems I'm finished with my two-week block. I think that things will be OK now, thanks to the absence of certain antagonists (no one in particular, so if you think I'm refering to YOU, I'm not). I have an open question to post for feedback: have any of you had experience with having to have someone in your family declared "mentally unfit" to be in the house? I mean, does it take a judge or some social service to make such a determination? How does the process go about? I know (believe me, I KNOW) that this is a difficult subject to respond to, but if anyone has some first-hand experience of this sort of thing, I would appreciate hearing about it.

in my state you have to have a hearing before a's pretty traumatic. it's all very legal and formal. it was done in my ex's family and i remember it being very sad and complicated.
consult a lawyer and they will tell you exactly what you have to do. or...if you have a mental health council, call them. even a judge's office will tell you.......just be prepared for something that is not comfortable. pat


Re: And now for something completely different.......

Posted by leeran on April 24, 2003, at 2:52:00

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » paxvox, posted by fayeroe on April 23, 2003, at 21:24:32


Welcome back from the land of Block.

My father thought he was going to have to have my mother committed a few different times. It was a strange dance. She would overhear my dad's conversation with the family doctor, or with her mother and the winds of change would shift just enough to make everything okay 'til the next go around.

As an adult, there was one instance when we thought it might be necessary - which put me smack dab in the middle of our weird family triangle. My father called me at work begging me to intercede. I made a few calls and was told it involved a court order. Then my father called back to let me know things had settled down, and that basically it was all my fault because she disapproved of a piece of property I was on the verge of purchasing. So I just said the hell with it and moved and didn't have a forwarding number put on my phone number. One of the most radical, butt-showing things I've done in my life.

I can't imagine that going through this process would ever be anything but uncomfortable (although as I child I sort of wished it would come to pass because I thought someone else might be able to "fix" things).

In my family it was always used as a last resort "threat" but in reality, I think it can turn out to be a very positive action (in some instances). I just always feel my insides twist for everyone involved because it seems like such a difficult task. Best wishes on this, however it turns out. As I recall, I called the courthouse for information because I didn't even know where to start. Perhaps your state has a website that offers guidelines in legal matters.



hidden information

Posted by justyourlaugh on April 24, 2003, at 7:39:42

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different......., posted by leeran on April 24, 2003, at 2:52:00

when i was in the hospital,
i asked for information on the medications i was on,,or a medical texbook..they said they had nothing...
i snooped around and found a cupboard full of information..everything from how long one can be "held against their will"..local lawerys to rights to refuse blood tests...medication charts and information..and others...
i do believe the nurses(the ones i delt with) like to keep patients in the dark..information was seen as dangerous ,one might question what is best for themselves,not just the illness.


Re: hidden information

Posted by paxvox on April 24, 2003, at 20:19:43

In reply to hidden information, posted by justyourlaugh on April 24, 2003, at 7:39:42


Did you self-admit yourself to the hospital, or was it "done" to you? The person I am speaking of already "self-admitted", albeit unsure about it, back in December. OK, it's my wife, most of you who know me probably have seen me post about some of her problems. However, I am more concerned about how my 8 year old daughter is being adversely affected by my wife's verbal abuse and neglect of her. I could take my wife's alienation, if it was just ME. However, I have to consider my daughter's welfare now as much as mine. My wife has gotten SOME help, but she has not progressed, and has refused to let me be involved in ANY aspect of her couseling. I'm a mess, as if my own illness were not enough of a burden, having to try to carry my "family" along as if we are "normal". There is nothing "normal" about our interactions, or lack there of, to be more specific. It has become toxic,and I cannot allow it to become terminal. The cycle HAS to stop here, I donnot want my daughter's life to be intractably scared by this. Maybe taking my wife out of the house will make her realize that she HAS to get whatever help is necessary to return to functionality. For HER sake, for MY sake, but mostly for my daughter's sake. Now that I have put some more "meat on the bone" here, does anyone else want to jump in?

Holding out hope.....and trying to hold on.



Re: hidden information

Posted by susan C on April 24, 2003, at 21:35:45

In reply to Re: hidden information, posted by paxvox on April 24, 2003, at 20:19:43

Hello Dear Pax,
My apologies for not keeping up on my reading here, though it sounds like you have been "around the block" in my absence...

There are a couple of things I want to share here...One, is a long long long time ago, 25 years or more, my parents, first committed my brother against his will. He really needed the help and refused to go. I have never heard the story of how it happened, as I was not at home by then, and now, I think my mom doesnt want to remember the experience. I would guess it is like described above, very painful for all concerned. After that, a time later, I don't know how long, my father finally told my brother never to come home again. He disowned him. He did this because my mother would get so upset everytime he came home. Dad felt it was either his son or his wife, and he chose his wife...not too long ago, my mom said she felt dad hadn't done enough for my brother. That banning him was too harsh. What distance time makes, eh? With in a year or so, my dad died of cancer, suddenly. Two months later, mom invited bro back home for Christmas. The next day, he commited suicide with a gun. He was very sick. Back then there was very little that could have helped him, unlike today.

I visited my mother recently. I have been so ill the last six years that I havent traveled much. We talked about this and that. She is 85 this year and is busy writing her history. There are several decades she just cannot remember what happened...things were so difficult. She expressed her worry that she hadn't been a good mother, that the illness of the parents caused a problem with me...I said to her, for all the problems at the time, dad's illness and pain, bro's illness, you trying to deal with it all, raising five kids, all during a time when "you just didn't talk about things like this" my memory was and is, that I always felt loved. We always had food, a roof over our heads, clothes, we were warm, I knew you were always there for me, you and dad. I always felt loved.

We cried together. She thanked me.

You are fortunate Pax, we are fortunate to have this forum to talk about these very difficult decisions and situations, to reach out and get support.

Your friend,


Re: hidden pax

Posted by justyourlaugh on April 24, 2003, at 22:19:42

In reply to Re: hidden information, posted by paxvox on April 24, 2003, at 20:19:43

you post truely touched me...
i am "the wife"
first time in november(other than a teen) was self time in december was a 48hour hold on me....
i have 5 kids
4 8 10 11 and 12...
i went the first time to protect them..and left them last week as well...
pax..i am a great mother..i would die before i would hurt them...well i already did,,but not physical or verbally or with intention...
pax..if my husband thought i was abusive or neglectful,,then shame on him for allowing me to live with them..
your duty to keep them "healthy"...but i dont think you can commit her..divorce or seperate..but the laws still allows horrid molesters to have weekend strong pax...protect them


Re: hidden information

Posted by paxvox on April 25, 2003, at 16:02:57

In reply to Re: hidden information, posted by susan C on April 24, 2003, at 21:35:45

Hey Mouse-Woman, glad to see that you are still lurking about. I have missed our regular conversations of a year or so back, but I understand your illness has been determental to you. I still think you need to sell your artwork somehow, it is amazing stuff. Thanks for your reply, you know me enough to know my history, so none of this is really new to you. I don't know what to do.



Re: hidden pax

Posted by paxvox on April 25, 2003, at 16:22:39

In reply to Re: hidden pax, posted by justyourlaugh on April 24, 2003, at 22:19:42


Thanks for the post. I know that must have been difficult for you to write. At least you are responsible enough to REALIZE you need some help. I know my wife would never intend to EVER intentionally hurt my daugter. She has been (more so in the past with our older daughter, now 20) totally self-sacrificial when it comes to doing things for her kids. It's just that over the past year, her ability to "bounce back" to "normality" has been lost. She continues to fall deeper into her own world, and she won't let us (more so me) into it. You didn't mention it, but does your husband or any other family member go to counseling with you? Do you LET them help support you? This is the main issue I have with my wife. I know she cannot totally control her actions or her feelings, but she CAN control letting others help her (or not). Why won't she let me help? I know that I can't "fix" her myself, but I am VERY willing to do my part to help HER fix herself. I have demonstrated extreme tolerance to the point of almost totally giving up anything that would exacerbate her negative moods. I think it is like an alcoholic or a drug addict. She knows she has a problem, but has not come to the point where she realizes she NEEDS someone's help to get out of her hole. Sure, she may WANT to change, but is NOT willing to do what is necessary to affect change. Therein lies my frustration, my angst my deeply-rooted heart-wrenching pain. I don't WANT to kick her out, I don't WANT her to have to be hospitalized, I don't WANT my daughter to be w/o her mother (or me w/o my wife). But in effect, she already HAS removed herself from us by going off into her own little world of reality. Perhaps in a life out of control, this is the ONE thing that she ironically still has control over.



Re: And now for something completely different....... » paxvox

Posted by leeran on April 25, 2003, at 18:24:59

In reply to And now for something completely different......., posted by paxvox on April 23, 2003, at 20:11:32

Paxvox -

I'm relatively new here and responded to your post the other night not knowing your situation. Since I had never read any of your posts I didn't know what family member you were referring to.

My background: I am the adult only child (44, female) of a mother diagnosed with dysthysmic depression and suspected (by her family doctor) BPD. My father is probably depressed but has never been diagnosed.

I wrote most of this last night but I just couldn't post it then. I needed to sleep on it I guess. Because this is about your daughter, a young child, I felt like I should choose my words carefully. However, I've cut through a lot of my own feelings in the last several hours and I think, because of what sounds like a similar situation, I should tell you how it was for me growing up.

Two nights ago I answered the start of your thread with:

"As I child I sort of wished it (my mother being committed) would come to pass because I thought someone else might be able to "fix" things."

Now I'm going to tell you what I REALLY thought as a child, versus the "approved for general audiences" version that I previously wrote . . . (I still protect the family secrets),

I didn't "sort of" wish for anything. I wished with EVERY fiber of my being that someone would take charge because things were so out of control in our household. Toxic? You bet. Scary? Absolutely. As early as first grade I would lay in my bed at night and feel compelled to touch the foot board of my bed, the window sill, and then the foot board again because I thought that weird ritual might make everything okay. And when I laid back down I would feel so anxious that I would sit up and do it all over again, repeatedly, until I was too tired to sit up and do it again, or until I finally felt like I had satisfied (for at least that night) whatever fear was eating away at my insides. As an adult, I now understand that one of my primary fears (to this very day) is "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

These four sentences of yours summed up our own household thirty to forty years ago:

"There is nothing "normal" about our interactions, or lack there of, to be more specific. It has become toxic, and I cannot allow it to become terminal. The cycle HAS to stop here, I do not want my daughter's life to be intractably scarred by this."

Last night, when I read your post, I felt like "the daughter" all over again, and oh how I wish my father could have had the same strength you've shown in your posts! I have so much admiration for you because of this.

My dad and I were afraid of the repercussions of my mother's endless anger (or her cold silences, that would sometimes last for a week or longer). She would go downstairs to the dark basement and she wouldn't come up, sometimes for as long as a week. I guess my father couldn't handle the stress because he would come home from work, eat something, then go to the racetrack until about 1:00 in the morning. As an adult, I write this thinking "why did he do this?" and I honestly don't know if it was the stress or selfishness, or a combination of both.

After he would leave I would sit on the sofa as straight as a board watching TV with the volume turned down, praying she wouldn't come upstairs while he was gone. When my bedtime came I would turn off the TV and go to bed as if everything was normal. Or as normal as it could be when you haven’t seen your mother for almost a week because she’s in the basement and won’t come out.

My mother hated my father and tolerated me. If she sensed any solidarity between my father and myself she would shift shapes (in the figurative sense) to confuse things even further. She was the maestro and we danced to her pain. She’s kept us guessing for forty years.

I took my husband to work today and I railed against my parents for most of the drive. Typically, I keep all this carefully concealed inside. But Pax, your post helped me realize that I AM ANGRY and it's leftover anger that doesn't taste good.

I'm on my third marriage and I live my life never quite sure who the heck I am. I used to be driven to perfection and because my mother equated power with money, I worked even harder to become successful in my career. It felt good along the way*, but because her mantra had been:

"Get a college education and make a lot of money so you won't have to put up with some S.O.B. the rest of your life"

I was never sure if I was doing it for me - or for her.

For seventeen years I became my work because that’s what I do, I go as fast as I can until I hit the wall. My husband says I don’t know how to use the brake

Even as an adult, our weird triangle endured. They moved closer to where I lived because my father would plaintively say "She (me) is all we've got" when in fact, my mother has always been "better" around me, so that makes his life easier. Better??? Yes, better because I was her little manchurian candidate who learned to read her every cue for dissatisfaction - and tried to satisfy that dissatisfaction any way that I could.

Whenever I made any decision that was in violation of her skewed belief system she would give me the silent treatment. For days, weeks, months - whatever it took until I would break my resolve. When, after SEVEN years of marriage, I found out I was pregnant (by surprise, with an IUD in place) she stopped speaking to me for two months, but not until she spat out the words "you know, there is the option of abortion." You see, a child would take time away from her – and because she was never happy with my father – I was the “next best thing.” My mother has always said she loves dogs because they don’t talk back. Of course, she forgets that I only talked back twice in my entire childhood.

I don't paint a pretty picture. I realize that. I've never written this down before and I don't know if I'll have the courage to post it once I finish.

So, how does it turn out? I don't know.

Luckily, I am married to a wonderful person who is far more evolved than I'll ever hope to be - and who, for the first time in my life, loves me unconditionally. Something I didn't know until I was 39 years old. What does he get out of it? In my opinion, not much - but you see, that's because my opinion of myself is sh*t. When I left my job of seventeen years and no longer made "the big bucks" I felt like a complete and utter failure because that's what my prescription for happiness was supposed to be: "Make a lot of money so you don't have to put up with some S.O.B."

It finally hit me, after two failed marriages, that I didn't even know how to "behave" in a marriage. There hadn't been any positive examples.

Do I blame my parents? The child in me does. I know I sound bitter and mad at the world and the scariest part is that even though I have everything in the world to be happy for, I never seem to be able to pull it off. Scratch that. The scariest part may be that I'm afraid I'll become her, or worse yet, that I’ve already become her.

The adult in me knows full well that mental illness was to "blame," yet my childhood created so many situations wherein I had to be the adult that I now feel tired of keeping up the front. I'm tired of protecting, and I'm tired of the anger I feel about protecting, and I'm tired about the guilt and shame I feel when I realize that everything I wrote here would kill them. But even now, all these years later, what I really feel like is a failure because I could never fix "it" (whatever “it” was).

I see you, Pax, as the white light for your daughter. Your wife may not be able to let you in to help, and that isn't her fault. And it isn't your fault, either. But most of all, it isn't your daughter's fault, and she may grow up feeling somehow that it is. I know I did.

I am praying for you and your family, Pax. My post is just one of many and I can only relay how it was for me. You have some tough decisions ahead but your words show a lot of resolve. And love.

Wishing you strength,


*material things are nice, but they don't fill the hole.


Re: And now for something completely different....... » leeran

Posted by Dinah on April 25, 2003, at 19:42:08

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » paxvox, posted by leeran on April 25, 2003, at 18:24:59


Sometimes I feel really guilty for complaining about my family. That must have been a nightmare for little you. A lot of it resonated but at a much lower decibel level.

I imagine your father must have felt a lot of frustration, but it's hard to understand how he let a little girl stay alone with what he couldn't handle himself. I don't know about now, but it would have probably been pretty difficult then to have her committed or to force any help on her. I remember with my aunt, it was difficult to get her committed unless she was flagrantly psychotic. Of course, it turns out that her husband was the one who should have been committed (jailed actually) and the kids were probably better off with her in the house. But I do remember there was a general reluctance to interfere in people's households back then. It may be different now.

I think it's terrific that you have been able to grow into the warm person that is evident in your posts. Do I remember you saying that you were considering therapy? It might be useful to deal with a lot of the feelings that you rightfully have. Secrets are meant to be exposed.


Thank you Dinah » Dinah

Posted by leeran on April 25, 2003, at 21:06:10

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » leeran, posted by Dinah on April 25, 2003, at 19:42:08

Thank you so much, Dinah, for "validating" me. I've been parked here for the last month trying to figure out exactly what's eating me.

I cried when I pushed the "confirm post" button. I felt like a seven years old calling 911 - but you're right, "911" didn't exist back then. And in my mother's defense (a position I've played well) there was absolutely never any physical abuse from her or from my father. It was just a pervasive chill that never really went away.

I felt the need to share all that with Paxvox, not to spook him, not at all! But I just always wished someone would straighten it all out so we could be "normal." Obviously impossible work without professional help.

I never anticipated spilling all that, but I suppose I started to feel safe here and I realized that maybe people wouldn't think less of me because of all this.

This thought hit me today -

Why is it I can feel such incredible empathy for the people on this board, or in life, or wherever - but I can't feel one ounce toward myself?

I feel the need to say to everyone - "will you always keep this (post) between us" but that's just part of my horrible fear, and ultimately part of my illness.

Do we have to hit rock bottom before we can bounce back up? Such an old cliché. I talk in clichés because it's easier than talking in truths.

Is it luck or fate that I found a message board where I would finally feel like I have "come home." Where every other post I read gives me affirmation that I am not so alone after all?

It happened by doing a simple search for a medication on a day when I had gone off of another medication.

I feel like I've spent the last month in my own little sunshine filled, palm tree lined hell -where the only sound I've heard is static. But then, there were the posts on this board and they came through somehow. Maybe because I could read at my own pace and didn't have to try to listen.

Two weeks ago I emailed Trouble and thanked her for something I had read in the archives that day. It relates back to the subject of my post. It seems like this month has been measured in Fridays. The first Friday I went to Las Vegas for a trade show and said "Hail Marys" the entire way there and back. The next Friday I read almost every one of Sar's posts - and that was when Trouble's post sparked a realization that I wasn't alone on that ancient "family bus." I even queried in my email to her - "if your paragraph made me feel like this, I wonder where I will be next Friday - or the Friday after."

I don't even remember last Friday. Oh yeah, it was Good Friday and I didn't even want to go out in public because my face was so broken out. My son was gone for Spring Break and when he's not here everything seems out of kilter. I guess people with A.D.D. need a schedule (something I've never been good at).

I don't know if this is all part of me getting better, or part of me getting worse, but I've felt so much better since Monday. Maybe it took robbing my system of one of the chemicals it apparently needs for a full month to realize just how bad (mentally) I can feel.

Maybe I needed to see how rotten I could feel before I could start to feel better again. I don't honestly know and I have no idea where it's all headed.

I keep thinking of that movie "Awakenings," where the patients have a brief period of life before they fade back into their illness.

So many questions this week. But amazingly, so many answers. And answers that seem to make sense. My husband thinks I need the meds so I can clear my brain enough to deal. I guess he's right. Wellbutrin is the Hoover for my nerve endings.

BUT, what is very clear is that I could never have told what has always felt like my dirty little secret if I hadn't watched so closely what goes on here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone. I don't feel so much like an only child anymore.

P.S. You're right, Dinah, I have never gone full throttle with therapy. I asked my psychiatrist about it Monday. He doesn't know any of this (my "life"). He says we should get the medications tweaked then see what's what. Of course, he sees the smiling, effervescent "Lee" who treats every situation like one big public relations campaign in an effort to try to get through it without freaking out or melting like the Wicked Witch of whatever direction it was. In any case, I think I have the start of my dossier to deliver to a potential therapist.


Re: And now for something completely different....... » leeran

Posted by paxvox on April 25, 2003, at 21:25:42

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » paxvox, posted by leeran on April 25, 2003, at 18:24:59

Oh, my, that sounds like my life in rewind, or you must see my life as some sort of flashback. Oh God help us both. I printed out what you wrote. It emotes such deep-set feelings that it brought me to tears. I may well decide to let my wife see it "by accident" though I'm not sure what effect that would have (If I DID do that, I would, of course, santitize it from any personal connection to you). It took a lot of strength and fortitude for you to make that post. The sad truth is that we ALL have one like that inside us. We are, alas, afraid to let others see it because it makes them think (in our eyes only perhaps) that we are "really messed up". In reality, it IS reality for too many of us. That is what this board COULD be, and for ephemeral periods actually is. I'm sorry for your suffering that I know you still carry. Perhaps you can use this experience as a catharsis to finally remove the demons of your past. I can clearly use it too see that I am not alone, I have commrads. We all walk around in shadows with smiley faces plastered on for the world to see. We only show ourselves when there is no fear of rejection (rare). As we pass each other in the halls at work, in the fellowship hall at church, as stangers on the street we nod and smile that plastic smile. All is well, all is well.....when we really are feeling all is hell.With whom can we share our inner-most fears, our hopes our dreams? I ask you how you are, and you say "I'm fine".Do I really WANT to know how you are? Do you really WANT to tell me? Oh, the pain, the suffering the wasted hated days that spawn weeks of years. Where does it end? Why didn't we stop it? Could we? Thank you, Lee for opening yourself up to me. I'm sorry for the refreshed wounds, but again I hope this may be a way for YOU to at least find closure, and for me, perhaps, to find courage.

Be well.



Re: And now for something completely different....... » leeran

Posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 22:22:06

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » paxvox, posted by leeran on April 25, 2003, at 18:24:59

not a chance you are "her"
mental illnes is "out of the closet"-in a much bigger circle anyway...
you are educated...and that is (was going to say half)the battle..
take pride lee,,,you are "you" ..
i remember i was upset about being an"off the wall" parent..and was told and understood..i am everything to them right now...they are happy..
and i will kill myself trying to keep it that way..
lee..i am measured by how well the kids behave..:(
but i stopped putting the blame on others-parents, society,family,,
i feel thisway because of "me"


jyl...please don't.

Posted by lostsailor on April 25, 2003, at 22:35:02

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » leeran, posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 22:22:06

>>i will kill myself trying to keep it that way..<<

please dont,
suicide is so unsafe.

Really, though, I have this funny feeling you are a GREAT mom--take that from one who knows. Luckily, and I never really realized it until recently, I have one of the best mom's in the whole wide world

love ya mom!!!

~tony and Aurora


not my right... » lostsailor

Posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 22:44:19

In reply to jyl...please don't., posted by lostsailor on April 25, 2003, at 22:35:02

tony(aurora)...are you more than one?
i ment i was the mamma ..and protective of her brood..and will die trying to keep them most animals..
when i point



Posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 23:07:14

In reply to Re: And now for something completely different....... » leeran, posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 22:22:06

no pax.
i wont let husband see the pdoc with me...
i dont want him to know i dont talk...terrified to sit in that judgemental chair,,
im only sick as they think i am...
can you relate..mabe she doesnt know she is all that ill..doesnt understand there can be content,
or atleast lack of confusion


Re: pax........ » justyourlaugh

Posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 1:23:35

In reply to pax........, posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 23:07:14

JYL - you said "can you relate..mabe she doesnt know she is all that ill.."

JYL, PAX, DINAH et. al,

JYL, you're right, my mother didn't know she was that ill and I'm willing to bet the barn that Pax's wife doesn't know either. I never know with myself until I get to a point where I can look back and say, "Wow, I was in a pretty bleak place." Usually, it happens when my son goes back to see his father. I can kind of carefully let myself fall apart.

Years ago, when I was away at college my mother called with the news that she was in early menopause (another family heirloom) and that her gynecologist had diagnosed her with depression. Quite frankly, I don't even think I knew what depression was until that night. It was the late seventies and I was pretty naive. After so many long years someone had finally put a diagnosed her agony and she was so relieved. She went on one of the tricyclic anti-depressants that were available back then and she improved vastly (note, there were still "episodes" but as I recall, it was when she would take herself off her medication or when something was completely out of her control, which would trigger her need to control).

I told my husband tonight (this has been the week of "revelations" at our house) that I felt terrible for revealing that part of my childhood so graphically this afternoon. But, not revealing it has had some long-term toxic effects and sublimating it all has taken its toll. I don't know why it all seems so shameful, maybe because back then mental illness was only found under rugs where it was so carefully swept from view.

From all appearances I have had a relatively successful life. My parents scrimped and saved to send me to college and they did the best that they possibly could. Both of them have issues that go back to childhood and I'm sure that they feel they did a better job of raising me than their parents did with them. That's not a snide remark. I think it's all any of us can do.

One night my son made a remark about something I had said that wasn't very nice about a slow waiter. Of course, just like my mother - I took offense.

My husband told him to take note of the things he sees that he doesn't like (and likes) in the adults he knows, including myself - himself, and his father, stepmother, teachers, etc. and incorporate those likes/dislikes into his own belief system (he worded it far better than I just did, but that was the gist of it).

Point is, we just struggle along like they did trying to do the best with what we know.

My inner-child wrote the post to Pax because I was thrown back to my eight year old self when I read his post. Apparently, I'm at a place in my life that I feel safe experiencing that again and dealing with what's leftover.

I know for an absolute fact that my mother does not want to be the way that she is when she spirals downward, or when she's not on medication.

As an adult, everything seems so understandable because:

a) Along with my son, they are the only family I have (meaning, no siblings and I'm not that close with extended family, nor are they).

b) I live/suffer with depression as well and it's opened my eyes to their pain.

c) Growing up in that household forced me to understand a lot of nuances of human behavior that I might have missed otherwise. I'm observant to the point of annoyance, but I think I can also empathize because that child in me who used to sit and listen to her pain still exists.

I'm a firm believer (I'm sure I've said it here in the last month) that there "are no accidents." (I'm borrowing from a book by the same name (" There Are No Accidents: Synchroncity and the Stories of Our Lives").

Every little thing that happens in my life has always seemed to come along right when I've needed it. No sooner, no later.

So much of my anger toward my mother has washed away over the years since I've had my son. Initially, she resented the thought of his exisence in our lives because it would change things for her. Because I was unhappily married and she was unhappily married we finally had something in common - and we spent a lot of time together running off my nervous energy. She instinctively knew I wouldn't have as much time to try to keep "us" occupied. BUT, and this is a very big but, I know that she loves him probably more than anyone else in this world. And that allows me to forgive her - and love her.

I know she loves me as well, in her own way. She was twenty two when she had me - still so young and from what my grandmother and father have told me, unhappy and aloof before I was even born.

She is able to love my son in a way that she might not have been able to love me because she is on anti-depressants and he isn't her full responsibility. In other words, she can enjoy him.

Anti-depressants changed her life. I'm not sure she's on the right one, or the right combination - but I thank God for the improvement it has made in her, simply because I have seen moments when she has been truly happy in the last ten to fifteen years. And that's really all I wanted when I was little.

So, in many ways, my wishes have come true. We (human beings) don't have happy moments 100% of the time. Lord knows I don't and it's unfair of me to expect that from her (and I don't think I do anymore). As for myself, I would just like to stop thinking that something bad's going to happen for a period of about a year or so (or longer) so I could get myself organized again.

Getting rid of all this agita (any Italians out there will know what I mean, it's a word I picked up from my husband) must be part of the process.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. My mother apologized to me seven or eight years ago and said she wonders what my life would have been like had there been Paxil back then. It was a weird relief to hear her apologize after all those years but by then it didn't matter. I don't mean that the way it reads. It mattered - but somehow my son had already erased a lot of pain between us, so it wasn't some big cinematic moment.

She hugged me for the first time four years ago when I moved 2000 miles away. Another big milestone. And she hugs me when she sees me and when I leave.

She is not a bad person, nor is my father. I guess I'm not either. I just need to learn that it is okay to feel angry about some of it without feeling like I will "get in trouble" for having those feelings, or that something bad will happen to me or someone I love because I've relaxed for a minute. Intellectually, I accepted it many years ago. Emotional acceptance is next.

Gosh, I'm so sorry this is so long.

I guess my inner-child posted this afternoon, but my 44 year old self needed to put the other perspective on it.

Pax, you are right, it was one of the most cathartic actions I may have ever done. It was certainly one of the most public displays of inner anger that I've ever shown. And yes, I think there is a therapist's sofa somewhere in my not so distant future.

Paxvox, the voice of peace. May this peace come to your life (and your wife and daughters lives) soon.

What came through in my post was my extreme anger - but what didn't come through as well is how much I love her. Of course, that is why I'm so conflicted. Mental illness runs in our family. Her grandfather hanged himself in the barn. I think with each generation it's been diluted somewhat, but I want to stress


Re: pax........jyl » leeran

Posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 9:04:21

In reply to Re: pax........ » justyourlaugh, posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 1:23:35

i've wondered for years what my parents would have been like if they had had anti-depressants. especially my mother. she filled my life with toxic feelings til i left home at 16. i even skipped a grade in school so that i could leave! how dumb was it to be a freshman in college at age 16 in the 60s? but i was out of that house and that madness and the fights and "i'd divorce you if it wasn't for Pat".........i know that i still carry guilt from that. and at age 40, i remembered being incested and that no one stood up for me.......from age 6 to 9. our history shapes us.....and all of my sisters are in denial about what went on in our household. so, i have no one to talk to about sort out the feelings and the happenings. i've been to therapy for it and handled it that way. but i want that family thing. damnit! frequently, i post about something serious and i don't get a response. i hope that someone will respond to this because i haven't told this before and i need some help today. pat


THings that come out » fayeroe

Posted by susan C on April 26, 2003, at 11:04:14

In reply to Re: pax........jyl » leeran, posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 9:04:21

Hello everybody,
I have known Pax for some time now, which is why I first responded to this thread...Little did I know, after I wrote my little contribution, things would come out...the contrast between how I "remember" things and the feelingss and memories revealed from the posts fayeroe and leeran have me stop and take stock. How articulate and revealing you have been. How much we share in common, there are some differences...but what a mix of family genetics, situational sad sad childhood, personal illness and observation of loved one illness..and so, we "sensitives" go through life. I am rambling, my face is still wet with tears. My eyes hurt.

Pax you said, "I dont know what to do"...Is there any way to have some kind of "intervention"? Minister, doctor, friend? Otherwise, it may be the terrible decision I know you have not wanted to make, which is to leave, to divorce.

a mouse sighing.


Re: pax........jyl » fayeroe

Posted by Dinah on April 26, 2003, at 11:25:03

In reply to Re: pax........jyl » leeran, posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 9:04:21

Hi Pat,

I think I've finally gotten over the guilt of being the reason my parents didn't divorce. And my involvement was direct. I begged Daddy not to leave. I think my therapist has finally convinced me that I didn't really have the power my parents let me think I did. Somehow it fitted into their own games to let me think that. I hope you manage to shed any guilt you have about what part they gave you in their dramas and whatever you did to escape from them.

I've never experienced incest, thank god, but I do know the anger that comes from not being protected. It's hard to imagine that our adults don't do everything that they can to protect us. Even animals know to do that. How can they, like Lee's dad and to a lesser extent like my dad (and at different times my Mom) leave us to handle things on our own at a time we just weren't equipped to do it. Sometimes it leaves me with the feeling that I wasn't worth protecting, other times with the awareness that they were weak. But darn it! Weakness still means that something was more important to them than we were!

I have my family now, and that's the one that really matters to me. I'm determined not to repeat the same mistakes. I'll make a new set. But I will always, always put my son's welfare first. Of course, I know my Mom had that vow too.


Re: pax........jyl » fayeroe

Posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 12:42:03

In reply to Re: pax........jyl » leeran, posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 9:04:21


I want to answer more a little later. I have to run to McDonald's to pick up a nutritious fast-food non-home made breakfast for N. (son) - but before I go, I want to say that I hope writing what you did this morning ends up being as cathartic for you as what writing what I did yesterday has been for me.

I still feel shaky this morning - but somehow, keeping it all a "secret" (because mom and dad never want to talk about what really happens, unless it's to me, on the side, about each other - which always makes me feel worse) makes it seem shameful and unreal.

But it WAS real. Good, bad, whatever - it was real and it's part of what shaped me - and what happened to you shaped you, and everyone else on this board (and beyond) has been shaped by what has happened along their journey.

I don't know what would be worse . . . to be alone trying to sort out the memories as an only child or to try to sort them out with siblings who are in denial. I'm going to think it's the latter, because it has the potential to leave you the "odd man out" and their denial probably makes you feel like your reality is being invalidated.

You have been so open with me here on the board, with the aging discussion and your views on handling it, with the background on your divorce, etc. (not to mention the apple-sour creme pies!) that I truly feel like you are an "online" sister.

I see the truth in your words and it makes me feel close to you, even though we just met and we're probably miles apart and will never meet in person.

Sometimes I think that those of us who might have some war wounds from childhood need to find our "family" all around us. Reading those Brian Weiss books helped me see that as a possibility.

I don't have "a lot" of friends. I have a few very good friends that kind of know the sketchy version of my background and I know theirs and we accept each other based on that (and more). Those people, along with my parents, who have so many issues - but still manage to really care despite it all, and most importantly, my husband and son, are my family.

People along the way who I've recognized as toxic for my mental health have had to go along the wayside. I realize I'm just too fragile for some people. There have been a few whose agenda was feeling better at the expense of everyone else, undoubtedly due to their own pain, but my foundation isn't strong enough to support the needs of others who might undermine my sense of well-being. Learning that has, I suppose, been part of setting boundaries after all these years.

After my first husband was unfaithful to me I had lunch with a "friend" who was always trying to pry information from me, how much money I made, what my marriage was like, and so forth. Finally, I admitted that my husband had recently come clean with the admission of a one night stand while away on a business trip. My friend's mouth dropped open as she put down her fork and napkin, and then she laughed. Right in my face. And she said "I can't wait to get home and tell ____ (her husband)." I had lost weight from the stress, and on the way out to the car she slowed down to walk a bit behind me and said "Oh no, your butt looks like it's getting smaller than mine, I better start working out harder."

I never accepted any future calls from her and never saw her again. Her husband, who is one of the nicest guys I've ever met, is still the administrator of one of my insurance policies.

We have to protect ourselves. Not to the point of paranoia - but to the point of self-preservation.

My heart is sad for you this morning, Pat, imagining what it must have been like for you back then, an innocent thrown into situations that were not of your making. That, coupled with the family angst with your sisters just doesn't seem fair. Not in the least.

But from where I sit, Pat, I see you as very evolved and undoubtedly, a lot of that strength has come from what you've been through.

Take care of yourself today, and always.


p.s. I always think I can write a "short one" and finish it later, but I can't. I just have this immediate need to react/say something - and then when I get started, I can't stop! Off to the golden arches. Cross-country hugs!


Re: ... and another story (long) » leeran

Posted by wendy b. on April 26, 2003, at 13:42:32

In reply to Re: pax........ » justyourlaugh, posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 1:23:35

> What came through in my post was my extreme anger - but what didn't come through as well is how much I love her. Of course, that is why I'm so conflicted. Mental illness runs in our family. Her grandfather hanged himself in the barn. I think with each generation it's been diluted somewhat, but I want to stress...

{Warning - to those who might have a trigger effect over abuse issues - you might not want to read this.}


You have been very brave, here. This thread has been incredibly moving to me. Most people will never have a moment of truth like that, where it becomes crystal clear enough to write about what you have. I think writing is incredibly cathartic, and that this forum is great that way - I find "chats" more difficult, and don't participate in them, because what you are doing (what I often do), is write something and save it in another program (I have a whole MSWord file of un-sent babble posts, or early thoughts on posts I have sent). And then you think about it some more, edit it, and then you post. But I save my "working it out" stuff anyway, because, well... I save a lot of s___, heh, heh. Also posts by others that have meant a lot to me are in there too, as many of them in this thread will be saved. So writing, hanging on to it, and then modifying it, and then posting is a great method of "figuring things out," because you then get TIME to think, but then also the generosity of other people's words of empathy and wisdom, like the "sensitives," the people who have posted here (not the least, Pax, who is the kindest guy in the world, that's why he's waited this long to broach this issue of his wife - he cries at your inner-child post, Lee, because he has his daughter in mind before anything else- I love him for that).

But Lee, your post gets me, because not only is it useful to Pax, helps him clarify his thinking, it is also so revealing of the child's vulnerability to the adults in her life. Like you kept waiting for the adults to start acting like adults: take care of this for me, so I don't have to live in terror all the time. And the results when that doesn't happen are so sad, and so clear. You really painted a haunting self-portrait of what that was like for a child, thank you.

Now for the heavy part (I've been in therapy a long time, so have worked on it...)
I was very badly neglected both emotionally and physically... I always have to issue a caveat at this point in the story (why? cuz I'm a guilty woman): that other people have had it MUCH MUCH worse than I ever had. So I'm not psychotic. My mother never went into the basement for a week, but your post says to me: she might as well have, because when I think back over my childhood, there are times when I *feel as though* I didn't see her or feel her presence at all. And she had her reasons (they all have their reasons) - an emotionally neglectful mother the biggest one. But as a young woman, she also had no husband and no father for her four children. This coincided with the first five years of my life; my father was a drunk who would come around, get my mother pregnant, and then disappear again, and she always took him back, or at least - *I* was the product of the last time she took him back, and after that, no more. [Now how's that for a self-esteem issue? thinking you're the product of what was essentially a rape?] And my parents were the children of solid middle-class, working people, Catholics all (hence the incapacity/inability to think about birth-control). But they weren't uninformed or uneducated people...

So she had to work outside the home in a time where this just "wasn't done," and her guilt was enormous (this is the definition of love to me, as a child: you are loved when someone feels guilty over you... how messed up is that?) And there was a long stream of housekeeper-child minders, these black ladies were cheap enough in those days that my mother could afford them, even at her salary and the cost of raising four kids. How she did this, I will never know (I am a single parent, but only have one!). But these ladies, god bless them, truly - were not really looking after me, they were washing and ironing the clothes, they were cooking a meal, they were washing the floor. My siblings were older than I was, and were in school during the day, so I was alone a lot. I was 3 or 4. Fairly often, I would go take myself on walks, and "get lost," i.e. - walk away from the apartment complex and find myself in neighborhoods I didn't know, go up to the door of a house that I thought looked "nice" (in other words, one nicer than mine with a mommy and a daddy and 2 kids and a dog?), ring the doorbell, the police would be called, and they'd put me in the back of their cruiser, give me candy, and take me back home. Of course I could recite my address perfectly, as I was schooled to do. I would get back home, courtesy of the nice policemen, there would be much rejoicing and celebrating, and at least I had got a response... right?

The worst thing about the neglect was that others noticed that I was often not being watched, and one person in particular - the teenage babysitter's older sister - took advantage in a very nasty way. She would take me to their house, to her room, put me in her closet (!), and make me come out in "unusual" costumes, and then have me perform oral sex on her. Yes, indeed. At the tender age of 3 or 4, I found out there was evil in the world. And I couldn't figure out why she was making me do this, what the hell did I know about oral sex? I was a baby. But I still remember the taste of urine in my mouth... I felt afraid enough to just do what she asked me to do, and hope to get out of there as fast as I could. And this didn't happen just once or twice, it was ongoing for a while, at least until I figured out I shouldn't hang around on the sidewalk for too long, it was safer inside? Something like that... And of course, I never told my mother, because... why? I must have somehow blamed myself, or I was threatened, but I don't remember my thought process... I just didn't tell. Which, as we know now, is typical enough of children who've been abused.

But, Lee, as you say: every generation of paents does try to do better, and I think they do. I made a lot of promises to myself about childrearing. "When I have kids, I will never ______ ," you know - whatever - fill in the blank with a hundred things. As a mother myself, I think about the precautions we take now with our kids. When my daughter was an infant and a toddler, I NEVER let her out of my sight, and even though I had to work when she was little, I always made sure it was at a daycare where I KNEW she would never be out of anyone's sight. I could walk into this Montessori daycare place at ANY time of the day, and verify that (which I did, of course: "Oh, I just came over to have lunch" with my little girl, or arrive early, or just observe as all the parents were invited to do). And I think now: how the HELL was I allowed to be alone for so much of the time? What was my mother thinking? I know times were different 40 years ago, nobody talked about things like child abuse or child kidnapping, or murder... But, jesus, when I think about what COULD have happened to me, it's scary. And so I have watched my daughter like a mother lion, I was not going to be the same as my mother on that point. And my daughter has grown into a beautiful, confident, loving person who is a joy to be around. At 11, it's not over yet by a long shot, and the teen years (god help me!) are just around the bend, but, she has had a good start, and I think she has a good head on her shoulders for the inevitable "sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll" issues that will come up.

Like you, I love my mother too, don't get me wrong. She has always been a generous, loving person. I always felt loved. And she is smart and funny and beautiful. She has faced a lot of her demons, including her own deprssion (she's been on Celexa for a while), and she is doing much much better. Our relationship has changed A LOT, and for the better, but it's been a long process. She knows about my bipolar, and my meds, and she tries to even read up on it and she's sympathetic. As I am to her. It's been a long road, and I have never told her about the teenager who abused me (what purpose would that serve, except to make her feel horrible?), but we are in a much better place.

Lee, I don't know how you can say your post is full of anger...? "What came through in my post was my extreme anger - " Like me, you're essentially narrating the facts, horrible as they are, and narrating them honestly, without amplifying them or being cruel. The thing that always gets me in the narratives of child abuse, is how much we're still trying to protect them. My narrative included, with its caveats. But the tendency is to think "I'm bad for saying Mommy and Daddy were mean," when it's in fact they who were bad, not us. So I think protecting them is normal, but revealing yourself to others - but more importantly, to yourself - is such progress! Because this is the process: naming your experience for what it is, calling things by their real names, so that the healing can begin. You were not and ARE not a bad girl for saying that you were abused and neglected. You were HURT by your parents, the people who were supposed to love and care for you, and you still hurt over that. And now you see you can't hold onto it any longer. THAT is a wonderful thing. And YOU made it happen, made the leap into another stage of your life, I know it. And your posts are something to print out and take to a therapist, yes, as a way to start a conversation about how it all began. Your narrative is important, has meaning. By sharing it, you have helped yourself and others - a gift you have shown us many times since you started writing here. I look forward to more.

Thanks for listening, too,


ps: Your husband is right about the meds, you take them so your brain stops functioning the same way it always did toward outside stressors, and then you can be ready for talk-therapy, because the meds are essentially making you more open to other ways of coping (I'm phrasing this badly) - your man sounds like a wonderful person, and I'm so glad you have him and his unconditional love.


Re: pax........jyl » leeran

Posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 14:03:18

In reply to Re: pax........jyl » fayeroe, posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 12:42:03

thank you all so much. i didn't read lee's post yesterday or today so didn't know what thread i was really getting totally into. thank god, i did it! my youngest daughter's ex boyfriend is here and we are setting up my yardsale for tomorrow. i'll write more later. thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


follow up

Posted by paxvox on April 26, 2003, at 15:29:47

In reply to Re: pax........jyl » leeran, posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 14:03:18

OK, Dr. Bob. You have earned your money's worth over the past 30 hours. Oh dear precious people....There is hope for the human race yet.
Like the ancient adage: a heavy burden carried by more than one becomes less of a burden, and a great joy shared with one's friends becomes unbriddled excitement. We have seen just now how tender the heart can be. How matter-of-factly we can discuss forces that are (or have already) ripping our hearts out. We talk of shame, speak of fear, whisper haunting memories yet dream for hope. When all else fails in this fallen world, when the pain seems too terrible to bear any longer, when we are ready in a desperate moment to cast our lives away, there remains hope. Thank you friends, because only one who loves others would share such things, for caring and sharing. Maybe, just may be we can all take pause and consider that we are not alone or unique, and therfore in a band of "brotherhood/sisterhood" hold out to catch each other when we see them fall. Offer words of wisdom or solice, thoughts of actions, suggestions for change. We can stand together, and hope for a tomorrow that is better than today.

With fondness,


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