Friday, May 18, 2007

Not A Pretty Picture

The sessions with TGD for the next several weeks were an attempt to delve into my childhood with more and more specifics. Progress was being made. At one point TGD happened to notice my new shoes. WTF?? Was TGD reading my mind? Geez, I'd better watch what I was thinking. I even started to notice a few other things in the office besides her shoes. Her coat, for example. It was a beautiful leather half jacket that hung on a pink satin pillowy hanger on the back of her door. No doubt- she was pretty cool. And I finally figured out how she knew our time "was up."
I turned around at one point while she was writing something down and saw this digital clock with huge red numbers blaring back. Okay, some of my mysteries were being solved.

Too bad I didn't seem to catch on to the mystery of my life as quickly. As I sat there droning on about my life, I was still mystified by so many things that I thought I had figured out or at least didn't question anymore. Not so.

For some reason, talking about this shit, with this woman was different than any other therapy I had before. I had the sense that we were actually going to try and fix my issues once and for all.

"Suzy, can you describe for me please, if there was any change or difference at all when your step father came to live with you. We've talked about how angry and removed your mother was. Were things any better when Big Frank came to live with you?"

"Not too much different," I replied. "I think in retrospect that Big Frank may have provided a buffer between my mother and me, but she treated him as a servant. She always said she married him for convenience, and that they never had sex."

"Do you think that they never had sex,?" TGD asked "I'm pretty sure they didn't. They never slept together," I replied.
"Why do you know that?" she asked. "Because when we lived on Henry Street, she always made me sleep with Big Frank in the big bed, and she would sleep in my lower bunk bed. She said Big Frank moved around too much."
"How old were you when this happened," TGD inquired.
"Probably about 5 or 6." "And when did it end?" she asked. "I think when I was 12 or so," I replied. After a pause TGD dropped another bomb. "Did Big Frank ever molest you"? WTF??? Was she crazy? Why would Big Frank ever molest me? He was the only one in that house that was ever kind to me. I liked sleeping with him. I felt safe, and he never ever touched me. He was the kind of guy who was afraid to be demonstrative, but I always knew he cared. He would stick up for me and not my brother, but to no avail. My mother wore the pants in the family and controlled everything. Sometimes I even had the sense that he got punished or yelled at for taking my side.

Trying not to show my anger at this question I just responded with a simple "no."

"You mentioned that you told your mother once about your brother and the dentist who had also sexually abused you. Why do you think your mother would put you in another situation that could possibly be harmful"?

"But it wasn't harmful. Big Frank was really good to me."

Fuck. Never put these two things together, nor did I want to. In fact, I was tired of digging up my mother and still yakking about her. Why were we doing this over and over I asked TGD? I was becoming one of those classic whiners that blamed the mother for everything.

"Suzy, it is very important for you to understand that your mother put you in constant danger, even when you weren't exposed to it. No girl child or any child for that matter should be sleeping with their father. You were extremely fortunate Big Frank was the kind of man he was. Mothers are supposed to be role models for their children and also protect them. You had no protection and had to learn everything on your own and it's time you realized that you survived on your own and be proud."

Maybe I should have been proud of surviving, but the sadness, loss and loneliness of doing it all on my own as a child was coming into view. This picture was getting clearer and clearer.

And it wasn't such a pretty picture. It was a pathetic picture.


Blogger kario said...

I love the way you started to come out of your tunnel in this story - you noticed other things and saw her noticing your shoes. It speaks volumes about the lengths you've traveled down this road with her.

She's right, you know. You did do it all yourself and should be proud - but that doesn't negate the pain and sadness you feel at having to do it that way. As always, your courage astounds me!


8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suzy, There is no way you can't grieve the feelings of sadness, loss and loneliness for having to do it on your own as a child. It really is a griving process for a mother, that never really existed. Grief taked a lot of time, but the wounds do heal. And you are not alone now, and will NEVER be again. What is pathetic is how your mother could not appreciate what a wonderful child and gift she had in you. You did survive, despite the hurt along the way, and that little girl who is still inside of you would be very proud and happy right now. Amazing writing and amazing theraputic work!!!XOXO

9:13 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I can't imagine your childhood ...

(Know what you mean; my psychiatrist has a clock he can see on the coffee table in front of the couch but I can't see ... oh, and wait until you start wondering if you are helping to pay for the new shoes and coat ... even if you love your therapist ...)

You deserve to grieve for the childhood that you didn't have, and for the mother you should have had but didn't, even if you love her. No one should have to grow up so soon.


5:03 AM  
Blogger Shari said...

I can't imagine a child living the way you did.

Therapy and journaling (is that a word?) is a great step.

Your mother had a problem. It was not you. She was probably so unhappy that she inflicted it upon you.

No parent should favor one child more than the other.

I am so sorry you had to live through that ordeal. But look at what you've become!! Look how far you've gone!!


8:56 AM  
Blogger Terry Whitaker said...

Kario's right. I love how you begin to "look up" in this part of the story. Even though you got yanked back into sadness. I can't get enough of the story.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I celebrate the brave girl who could accept Frank's love, the powerful woman willing to heal, and your new shoes. To know a mother who is actively placing her child in danger - it's beyond pathetic - there may not be a word. The word for you, dear Suzy, is LOVE.
Thank you so much for sharing - it's made my day finding more of your story here.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Wow Suzy! Survive and disguise! Knowing you when I was a kid, one would never know sadness was underneath. When I read this and imagine my own little girl being treated this way, it makes me so sick. You are amazingly strong!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Jerri said...

Being strong enough to survive on your own is not the same thing as wanting to survive on your own. Your child self deserved and needed love and protection. Coming to recognize that void had to be Tough with a capital T.

I'm sorry for how strong you've had to be, Suzy, but grateful for the strength that allowed you to grow into the woman you are today.

We are all better people for knowing you, better people for reading your stories.

Thank you.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Joy is on the other side of this suffering Suzy.

Lots of joy.

Glad you are making it through.


6:32 PM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

Somewhere there was a deep little seed that knew you were good, and worth more. Let's let that seed continue to be watered, FLOODED, as that little girl now grows into the tremendous woman she was born to be!

10:37 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Like others have said, I love the way you begin to blossom a bit in TGD's office, to open your eyes to more of what's around you, even though there is much more sadness to work through.

Thank god Big Frank was as sweet as he was. Your miserable mother is the only part of this picture that is pathetic, Suzy. Even if you don't always feel that way, you are an incredible, brave, loving, and beautiful woman. This dark and painful soil has grown a strong and gorgeous sunflower--you--who will fill the world with all the love and kindness your mother was so incapable of feeling. We are so lucky to have you.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Ziji Wangmo said...

I can't believe it! You should be so proud and honored to be you - you are so brave and courageous!
Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us.

Suzy, you are such an inspiration.

11:03 PM  
Blogger grammer said...

It's so hard work, looking back and trying to make sense of a hard life.

It's sad work, looking back and realizing that it wasn't what it seemed, or that it was even worse than what it felt like at the time. That Mary failed. I'd imagine it's hard to get your head around just how strong you had to be as a child, because you probably didn't feel particularly strong as it was happening. Probably just thought you were doing what needed doing, and staying out of the way.

I'm still thinking about that pivotal post where TGD said you were motherless, and you disagreed at first. I have a sense of how that conflict feels inside...

I hope TGD will point out just how brilliant and resourceful you had to be to get through your childhood. I hope you'll grieve deeply and fully for the difficult years gone by, but also learn to celebrate your strength and the woman you have become, standing here among us, telling your incredible story.

xo t

9:18 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

you know she's right, right?

9:39 PM  
Blogger holly said...

Amazing work, Suzy, amazing writing.

Like some of the others have said, I love the way you begin look up in this piece and notice more of tgd's office. Really shows the start of a shift.

9:13 PM  
Blogger riversgrace said...

The indomitable spirit, this is what I see. The one in you who has been awake through the entire journey - she's been there all along, and now (in this piece) we see her coming into herself, integrating, arriving. Coming home.

Blessings, Suzy, for all that the creative process of healing and writing requires. The opening is a beautiful thing.

1:40 AM  
Blogger dgibbs said...

I have a very familiar snape shot of my own childhood. I am not quite as brave to put it out there for all to read. I love reading your post. I felt I was in the room with you.

9:55 PM  

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