Monday, September 21, 2009

Yo, Joey P.

I logged onto Joe Pantoliano’s website tonight called “No Kidding, Me Too!” I really liked what I saw especially their slogan “Stomp Out the Stigma.” I perused the site, found lots of cool things, and read their mission statement. It reads in part:
“No Kidding, Me Too! is an organization whose purpose is to remove the stigma attached to brain dis-ease through education and the breaking down of societal barriers. Our goal is to empower those with brain dis-ease to admit their illness, seek treatment, and become even greater members of society.”
Could it be? Have I lived to finally see people with some clout taking up the banner of mental illness awareness? I especially like the line “…to admit their illness (italics added by me)” To admit their illness…wow. That’s powerful for unchosens like me. It’s all I ever wanted from and for my mom; to admit she had a problem. To then finish whatever treatment her psych wanted her to do…to not doctor shop…to learn that she is a human being of unlimited potential.
I am all for organizations stomping out stigma. But, and this is me so there is always a but, it needs to be a family issue, not an individual issue. There needs to be open and honest dialogue about what it’s like to have a mentally ill parent. Unchosens need to be given the chance to tell others what we live with; the fear that at any moment our parent will snap and be taken away to the psych ward…the parental roles we assume for our ill parent…the double lives we lead, putting on a show for the outside world because to tell anyone that we are abused or neglected means WE get lectured. We get lectured that we have to understand our parent is ill (yeah that’s not a tough thing to understand when your mom freaks out over vacuum lines in the carpet), that they can’t help it when they hit/punch/spit on us/or call us names.
My mom may not, in fact, be able to control what she does. I believe that, that there are times she can’t control herself. But when all you tell a child is that we shouldn’t take it personally, that our parent can’t help it, and you offer us no solace or hugs, no words telling us “your mom is ill. It isn’t right what she did” you are showing us that we deserve this abuse. And that’s what it is, mental illness or not-abuse.
No one wants to talk about the fact that some mentally ill parents are abusive yet everyone wants to get rid of the stigma. The only way the stigma can be erased is to have an open dialogue about all facets of mental illness. No more sanitization or minimizing about the impact a parent’s mental illness has on a child. This means no looking away from an unchosen when we speak, no taking the mic from us at support group meetings when we say we are so tired, and just want a break or that we no longer want our parent in our lives. Yes, this has happened to me. I was told to come back when I could be more compassionate towards my mom.
Funny how I lived with a woman who showed me no compassion…saw family therapists who had no compassion for myself or my short I was never shown what compassion was but if I wanted “support” I damn well better learn what it was or else. Sometimes I wonder if these support groups have a secret store or something, they are always telling you to get something-compassion, awareness, patience, like we can just go out and find it at K Mart.
“Blue light special in aisle 5….compassion for your mentally ill, abusive parent. Industrial size, buy one get one half off”

Only when people such as myself or my siblings can openly and honestly talk about the fear and anger we grew up with and not get shut down or silenced will the stigma of mental illness be gone. The stigma will not end without unchosen participation. To think it can is an illusion.
I applaud what Mr. Pantoliano is doing. It gives me hope. The organization he started is well on it’s way to stomping out stigma. Let’s hope in the future he and others can stomp out the stigma that children of the mentally ill don’t matter

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nifty Little Article Says It All

I saw this article today and I have to say, the author really captured what it is like to live with a parent that is narcissistic/borderline. Take a look, it's some good (but hard) reading about what unchosen go thru. A big thanks to the author, Chris, for putting it all into words so succintly.

Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers

Friday, September 18, 2009

Even Pedophiles Have a Facebook Page

FB is dangerous for people like me. I grew up surrounded by secrets and omissions, so as an adult I have a dogged determination to know things. Most things I want to know are things people don’t want to talk about, such as why my dad married my mom, just how in the hell does my mother afford her swanky new pad and brand new car on her supposed “paltry” income of bogus SSI and undeserved alimony, and what kind of life does the pedophile who abused me lead? For the latter, I guess I don’t have a really good explanation. Who wants to know this stuff? I do. And I guess the reason is, is that Creature (as I call him) devastated my world and set in motion over 20 years of my parents being in denial and backstabbing their daughter. I needed to see what I could of the type of person he is how.
Is he still the same effeminate mama’s boy that we all know should have been a girl? Can he still spin his BS in a masterful tapestry that one only learns at the knee of a narcissistic mother as he had? Does he still refuse to take any responsibility for any of his actions, instead preferring to blame and wax rhapsodic about pop psychology all in an effort to get you to forget the real topic of the convo? I needed to know this, so I looked him up on FB.
And there he was, in all his fat faced, washed out nelly glory. As soon as his face popped up I felt my eyes glaze over a bit. I had to breathe thru my mouth so the tears stayed behind my eyes. I wanted to see this pathetic excuse for a human being. I didn’t want any tears blinding me; I’ve shed enough of those. I don’t have time for them anymore. They get me nowhere and keep me trapped in a survivor’s limbo I want no part of. Well…I tell myself I want no part of it. The truth is, I was forced to suck it up and deal for so long that at least in this part of my life, I can’t cry. I'm just done with the tears. Sometimes I think that means something is wrong with me. I wonder if I have a dead zone inside of myself, a robot or something. Because when I see his face, after the initial shock, all I could think was “someday, asshole, you will get yours. And I *will* be there to watch you cry in all your pathetic loserness, wailing when you realizing that mommy and daddy can’t get you out of this.” I felt an anger so cold it burned, and a determined patience unlike anything I have ever felt. I felt like an assassin, just waiting for the right time to go in for the kill. And NO, I do not mean that literally, so don’t freak out and report me for saying I wanted to physically harm the freak. I believe in the justice system and the universal laws of nature, i.e. what you do comes back to you magnified.
I do dream about seeing his face when he realizes how many people know what he is and what he’s done. My mom and her sister, Creature’s mother, have told people for many years that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. That all that happened was 2 kids playing doctor. Nice try but no. 13 years old do not play doctor with 4 year olds and if they do, it's called ABUSE. My dad played along. Not maliciously, I don’t think. He just didn’t know what to do and hated confrontation anyway, so what the hell…there’s no harm in selling your kid down the river, is there?
So I’m reading his page, ‘cuz the moron (or maybe narcissist?) has it open for the entire world to see. I see him mention a family reunion, and that’s the kick in the gut. When all the shit came down about NC, when I found out the reason mom shut me up for years was because she had already spun the abuse story to her advantage, when all that happened, that side of the family chose a pedophile over his victim. That’s just asinine. I wish I had stronger words but it is what it is. They are so afraid of image, of rocking the boat, that they would rather believe the lies of a mentally ill woman and a pedophile than the truth from the persons (my bro, sis, and I-we all survived it. I may have been the one physically/sexually abused but the abuse affected all three of us) who lived it.
It’s been made clear to me many times that I will be welcomed back into the fold if I only repent and “forgive” these people. I can’t do that. I won’t do that. And yet…they are still my family and I had some good times with them. To see this freak being able to participate in their lives while I am shut out is the cruelest twist of fate. The truth should matter, dammit. But it doesn’t. People believe what they want and create their perceptions accordingly.
I don’t what this whole experience of looking Creature up means. Does it mean I am stronger? Or that I am still a stupid little girl, looking for someone to give a shit? I don’t know. But I do know that someday, somehow, that report I made to the police will be connected with another police report and another. The dominoes will fall into place and I can look into the eyes of this twisted freak and say “When I was 18 I told you that I’d make you pay. It took me a while, but don’t worry; the party is just getting started.”