Note to readers: Book is in final edit stage with the publisher, and hope to have more news soon :)….
Despite the fact that at this point Trudy’s life was distilled down to being, for the most part, a solitary, eighty-one year old, one hundred and fifteen pound, chain-smoking, finger-pricking, ball of self-inflicted misery, she clung with delusional determination to the notion that somehow she could, she would, reclaim her former and rightful role as the planet around which all of her children used to orbit, just like they did way back when she could pull them with ease, in as close as hostages, to her crazy and needy world through her powerful gravity of guilt, fear and threats of abandonment.
Looking at her irrational beliefs and behavior now after all these years so far removed from those long-lost but not forgotten days when we were all in her and Georgie’s clutches amid the spam, the cockroaches, the beatings, and the head-spinning number of places we’d lived, was it even possible for her to be as oblivious as she seemed to be now about the psychological carnage she and Georgie had committed and for her to not understand that the power of her spells had long been broken?
There may be residual damage, but no one was coming back, at least not in the way she wanted. What the hell was in that woman’s head? Although her psychiatrist explained that her behavior was a classic hallmark of borderline personality disorder, by now her official diagnosis, there had to be some sort of awareness on her part—but there seemed to be none. I suppose there couldn’t be any because her disorder also relied on the ability to induce that sense of fear, obligation, and guilt only in others, all the things that she needed to feel but could never conjure for herself.
Assuming that God had widened the gate to heaven, He is the only one who knows now what had gone on in my father’s head. But together through it all, it was as if the two of them had pecked at our psyches, day after day, like the eagle that ravaged Prometheus’ liver. They couldn’t see nor did they care, that although we were surviving each day, the ever-mounting but suppressed and hidden bitterness and resentment was building over the years, and that their children were navigating through life, essentially blind in a boat with no compass, some having already fallen overboard and flailing their arms for shore, while the rest headed straight for the rocks clinging together in a badly leaking boat.
If asked to try to explain how there can be any level of hatred and resentment directed at one’s own parents, I’d say that for my father it was rooted mostly in the application of his unpredictable and impressive array, and creative use, of physical and psychological abuses he heaped on all of us. As for Ma, it was aimed towards her because of her profound emotional weakness and calculated thievery of so much innocence and her grievous violation of the most sacred of trusts—the kind that should exist between a mother and child and that says ‘I will always protect you.’ The kind of trust that says don’t worry when you fear the dark, mommy’s here and will never leave you and will keep you safe at all costs rather than instead showing the boogey man where you were hiding under the bed.
Maybe it was because she had repressed so much truth about herself, however she perceived it, for such a long time that somewhere along the way she galvanized in her mind that it was she who was the greatest of not only Georgie’s but of life’s “victims,” and always had been, and being such, she couldn’t believe she’d been anything but the best mother she could be under those abusive circumstances and that her narcissistic needs trumped all others’.
Maybe she had to use that classic psychoanalytical defense mechanism of repression to protect herself from something unthinkable, but that unconscious tactic had now morphed into a deeper, crazy way of thinking that allowed her to accommodate the idea that even the emotional blackmail of her own children was more than justified to satisfy her own psychological and emotional needs.
What trauma must she have experienced that shaped her personality and turned her into what she’d eventually become in her old age? It had to be something dark and painful—it usually was. Something had to be buried back there in her past. She was always vague when talking about her growing up years, and my aunts and uncles weren’t much help other than to just shake their heads and say she’d always been the needy and neurotic one.
Personality theorists say that people develop and ‘become” through the forces of both nature and nurture. Nature meaning what is inherited biologically and nurture made up of all and with whom we each come in contact within our environment; parents, peers, teachers and television to name a few. Each of us products of both our own unique DNA and personal experiences, all triggered into motion and solidified by something as simple as a chemical imbalance or a chance meeting.
Maybe that helps explain why in a family like mine, personal outcomes can range in such wide fashion among a brood of eight children. People often asked ‘where’d you come from’ after they’d get to know more about my family, particularly my parents. I used to think of myself as a kindred spirit with the character Marilyn on the old sixties television show, the Munsters. In that household the monsters were the “normal” ones and she felt herself to be the odd one out, a feeling I understood.
To be continued…