There must be some kind of rhythm for writing this kind of book. I will feel more relaxed when I find mine. I fear I will loose my momentum and wander away from my task. It is a hard one for me. If I wander away from it I am not at all sure that I would ever come back. Everything I am writing will need to be worked through again, and then edited. But I cannot stop for that now. Here I will share chapter 7 as I wrote it today about being raised by my very sick psychotic extremely abuse Borderline Personality Disorder mother.
Angel chapter 7
VII. Being the child of a broken-in-half mind
If I could walk back over the course of my entire childhood from birth along a straightened road where I could clearly see signposts that marked damage done to me in my development by the madness of my mother it would be so much easier for me to understand how I moved through my childhood past those markers in spite of this damage. I would want the markers to be color coded so I could look for patterns in all the separate areas that were involved. How close together would these markers be to one another? Would there be any open spaces between them where I could have been spared cumulative damage in each area marked as “gone wrong?”
A whole line of these markers traveling at least from birth into my middle teen years would tell me that mother kept an unnatural controlling hate-filled eye on where my body was at any given point in time and space. Her verbal abuse litany, tied as it was as I describe it in Story Without Words, was the from the energy that sustained the matrix of her broken mind took when it came to me. There were litany segments of words tied to every signpost marker I would find along the road of my childhood. No part of who I was in the world was left out of her verbal abuse litany.
The comprehensiveness of her psychotic observations of me operated to keep me confined in her hell. Her madness could not afford to let me out, to let me escape. The oppressiveness of her psychotic mental arrangement (derangement) was so consistently bizarre that looking back on it now leaves me nearly without any powers to comprehend or understand it. So I take this one step at a time.
One segment of her litany existed in words such as this: “I can never let you out of my sight. You cause trouble wherever you go.” The contradictory arm of this pattern existed in words she used to isolate and confine me so often during my childhood in bed or in corners. This segment sounded like this: “I can’t stand the sight of you. You make me sick to my stomach. Get out of my sight.” These statements usually ended with something like, “Go to bed without your supper.”
In between these two abusive litany segments, as they manifested Mother’s psychotic thoughts, I rarely had room to even move. The road of my childhood would be cluttered with markers signifying when, how, where, why I simply disappeared from visibility in my family.
I have no doubt that these patterns were not in play in some way from the time I was bor. Readers of Story Without Words know how I describe this happening on the day of my infant 6-week checkup. In the words Mildred wrote about having to take her invisible daughter out into the visible world that day, she not only chose to actually write about her dearly loved son Johnny as she made him visible in that piece, but she also described how at the end of that mission newly born me was deposited into invisibility alone on a bed in my grandmother’s bedroom – where my little brother Johnny immediately ran to find me.
While a deeper exploration of how Mildred could vanish baby me from contact with my father and grandmother during my earliest months and years of life belongs in another book not yet written, I mention these patterns here as they would be represented on thousands of markers down the road of my childhood because these isolation events had become so common in Mildred’s treatment of me by my age of nearly 6 when these 1957 letters were written that they formed the nearly unbreachable fence that prevented me from even being a child.
I was the child who wasn’t. I frequently found my invisible self even within the family’s photographic history. As an example, Mildred marked the absence of me at play in the wading pool. Where was I? Imprisoned in hell.
A very long string of color coded markers from birth would read “No play for Linda.” I struggle to find my own reality in my childhood because the power of Mildred’s broken mind when it came to my existence spun her reality around me so tightly then that I cannot easily find myself back there now. Where was I supposed to exist between both not being out of her sight and not being in her sight? Where was there any space left for me to exist, let alone BE a child – let alone PLAY?
All through my childhood, as my siblings so clearly remember, I was not allowed outside to play with them. I will have more to say about this fact as I trace myself all the way through Mildred’s letters. But a big part of the abuse litany segments I heard all the way through the years I lived as the prisoner captive of her psychotic hell originated long before the move to Alaska ever happened.
Supposedly at some point that must have been even before I turned six years old Mildred said she let me out to play “with other children in the neighborhood” only to find that I “caused so much trouble and commotion” that she could never let me out to play again, never let me out of her sight. Was I running? Chasing? Yelling? Laughing? Cops and robbers?
My mind cringes if I try to extricate myself even in thought from Mildred’s reality when it comes to trying to imagine – and here it is – what I could have done as a little girl that so created trouble in the neighborhood that day to deserve (“earn”) the permanent disability to play with other children, even with my own siblings?
Whatever happened (or did not really happen) that day, I was catapulted into a suffocating isolation that lasted throughout the rest of my childhood. This forced separation from opportunity to play removed from me the greatest social developmental gifts of childhood. Not only had I been robbed of the chance to learn about being a social creature called human because I was barred from positive adult contact and interactions, I was further prevented from being able to negotiate being human with my peers.
I have thought my way through the profound role play has even from the start of human life. In a healthy, normal mother-infant safe and secure attachment relationship how vital body-brain building interactions are meant to take place is exactly through play. I have thought about the fact that when any environment contains severe deprivation and a complete lack of safety and security, when continued existence is massively endangered, there will be no play.
My mother internally lived in that kind of hostile, malevolent world. This fact created her mental illness and her psychosis regarding me. There was, therefore, fundamentally no possible way for play to exist either between Mother and me or even anywhere in my own life. Many of the clear memories I have retained of abuse in my childhood – interestingly – are about how my play was suddenly interrupted by severe abuse.
I remain trapped in her mind within my own mind. I have no form of reference regarding my inalienable right to be a child. Even as I write these words I cannot escape the fact that my mind immediately attaches the word “imperfect” to the word “child” every time I try to set myself free. In fact, it may well be that it is exactly within the space between those two words in combination, “imperfect child,” that the splitting of this atom needs to take place.
I came into this world being the dark half of Mildred. There was no division, no separation, no split in the atom between her reality and mine. This was a terrifying fact for me that I had no power to name or to comprehend. I was stuck there in terror all of the time.
As I wrote in Story Without Words, it may be the complete lack of safety Mildred lived with through the play-years of her own childhood that built this complete lack of safety-to-play into my childhood through her. In any hostile environment no play will take place until threat-to-life has diminished enough that a renewed sense (fact) of safety returns.
On an intellectual level I marvel at how intricately effective Mildred’s madness was. As long as she could keep me her captive proxy-bad-self in hell she was safe. And because she was safe, she shared that arena of safety with all of her other children who then were safe enough to play.
Looking at this entire picture now I see that Mildred’s abuse of me was exactly designed to obliterate me. I can never describe the blatant horror such a comprehensive brutal madness creates within a little child. I was powerless to change, or even to recognize these patterns as they were perpetually enforced by Mildred. If one has never known light does darkness even exist?
Yet being a child saved me. I had no possible way to know how trapped I was. Not trapped periodically, or once in a while. I was born trapped inside the hell of this woman’s mad mind. I think ahead into this book and see some of my child artwork I will present later. I DID know in my essence that I was trapped. In some great chasm of awareness I could not reach I knew what no human being should ever know. I knew how to exist even though I was not allowed my existence. (And remember, this began when I was born. I was not taken as a POW some later time in my adulthood.)
I knew how to live a living death as the unborn born.
As I share with you this writing I am taking you along with me to find truths about my life I have never found before. I see at this moment how the broken spit-in-half mind of my mother was able to so perfectly combine aspects together into a “one solid thing” related to being human that are meant to exist with a continuum between them. (A classic Borderline Personality Disorder symptom taken in Mother’s case to its furthest extremes.)
Mildred’s split mind allowed all perfection to be hers in her upper “all-good” universe her mind allowed her to exist within. All imperfection belonged in hell, hence in me. My difficulty in splitting apart the atom that is in its essence the “imperfect child” – designated from my birth as being me – may well be the essence of my struggle to free my mind (as Mildred made it) from her mind.
Mildred’s was as perfect of a madness, I most strongly suspect, as could be found in the mind of any human being. If I can disengage the essence of this perfect madness – of her perfect psychosis – from myself I find that the “perfect-imperfect” split defined nothing to do with me either as a child or as a human being.
This split between perfect mother and imperfect daughter turned my imperfection into perfection itself. While it defies an ordinary mind’s ability to conceive of the essential, pervasive horror of my 18 year existence, the truth was (and is) that Mildred’s perfect madness made me into a perfectly imperfect being – which is in itself a perfect form of perfection. Her psychosis created a vacuum with me living my childhood inside of it that had all goodness sucked out of it.
It is, therefore, simply the truth of existence, and therefore of reality as we live it in a physical world of duality as spiritual beings, that I was able to survive Mother. Her madness kept her alive by creating a perfect universe for herself that contained perfect hope (again as described in Story Without Words). This break had happened inside of her by the time she reached age eleven (before puberty).
All the parts and pieces of her perfect madness fell into place and clicked together during her delivery of me. From that time forward her madness made her perfectly safe in a perfectly safe all good world that was overflowing with hope. She could live there because she then had me as her proxy trapped in her hell that held not only all imperfection, but at the same time held the anti-thesis of hope which IS perfect hopelessness.
Zero hope. That was the world she created and sustained for me. Or did she?
In line with my road marker theme here it then becomes a moot point that I was allowed no safety and hence no play. Hopeless children do not play. That’s a rule of this kind of broken madness.
So – there I was. In hell. Alone. Trapped. Suffering perpetually as I was supposed to be doing. EXCEPT – I DID EXIST (obviously or I would have been dead – that would not have worked in Mildred’s madness). The madness required that I both exist and not exist at the same time which, miraculously for me, meant that I got to remain alive by default!
It probably does take a special kind of extraordinary thinking to make such an impeccably perfect madness comprehensive to ordinary minds. One of my essential arrows in the quiver I was born with that allowed me to endure and survive was my inner determination and resolve to do so. Because Mother’s madness required that I remain alive, this arrow was allowed to fly, and it flew straight and far. She would have had to kill me to stop my arrow from arching its way forward down the road of my childhood from the moment of my birth until I was allowed, finally, to escape her. It is that same arrow of determination and resolve that leads my pen forward word by word through the writing of my story.
Inside of me, separated as I mentioned from my mother by the sacred membrane we are all born with, I did what I was supposed to do. I lived. Although everything viewed about me from the outside as I was defined by Mildred’s psychosis as being perfect imperfect determined my essential hopelessness to change the course of my life, that reality could not cross my sacred membrane to contaminate or toxify me on the inside of who I was/am in any way. Just as the fetus is protected from certain pathogens because they cannot cross the placental barrier, so too I was protected by this sacred barrier from being essentially harmed by Mildred.
The circumstances of my life, of my existence were – to put it most mildly – nearly as hopeless as they were designed by Mildred’s madness to be. But because hope exists as an inherent characteristic of the soul, my hope – as unnamed as it was until now – never failed me.
I have moved forward through this writing past any need to concern myself with the splitting oof “imperfect” from myself as a child. The split between Mildred’s own mind’s conception of the lost relationship connections between “perfect and imperfect” created that whole damn mess in the first place. That mess was never mine. It hurt me as I lived through it, but it never had a single solitary thing to do with me.
Such a burden as my childhood was possibly had only one purpose. If there is some reason why it is necessary and therefore important to understand the depths of breakage possible within the mind of an infant-child who survived what they could not endure, this story describes such a madness. Nothing about the patterns of my childhood ever allowed me to ask any question about what was happening to me or why. I was thus spared any effort to answer a question for which I could have found no answer.
I am not sure there even is a split between the impossible question and its impossible answer. Perhaps they are a “one thing” together that cannot be broken apart. If some unfortunate child should split apart such a question/answer they are running the risk of “going mad” just as my child mother did. I know from Mildred’s childhood stories (in Story Without Words) that she did ask questions. She did search for answers.
The inconsistencies in Mildred’s life created opportunity for questions to appear in her mind that she instinctively and bravely wrestled with for answers that did not exist. My childhood was consistently horrible. Nothing was inconsistent, thus sparing me the risk of ending up with a broken mind.
Had the madness that hurt my child mother been as perfect as the madness that hurt me, I would not be writing this story now. I am tackling the unwinding of my experience at age 62. Mildred began trying to unravel her misery while she was yet still a young child. Really. What chance did she have to come out of her childhood whole? None. Obviously.
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