An example of the pervasively subtle psychosis my mother had about me — along with my comments. My grandmother was soon to come for her first visit since we had left Los Angeles and moved to Alaska in August of 1957 a month before my sixth birthday:
June 4, 1958
Imagine – 10 more days and you’ll be here!! Does it seem possible? Yesterday morning I looked at the calendar and was amazed to see that the happy day falls one week from this Saturday. But then I became concerned. It’s the best day for you to come but also the day I planned John’s party for the boys.
This is going to be a business letter as I’ll see you to chat in no time at all now. I do feel he needs a party. I wrote you about his shyness and Jo Anne’s remarks etc. and I’ve had quite a time overcoming this.
Then this summer I knew he had to have boys to play with and yet he didn’t want to go to Vanovers. They’re big boys for their age, bossy and dominating – like her and he’s too young to understand their talk and sarcasm – and far too sweet and sensitive. I knew he needed self-confidence this summer.
Well, I encouraged him to go to Headlows who I found out that they have 3 girls and one boy – perfect match? He’s a darling boy6 and John and he hit it off from the first.
Then another boy Johnny Johnson moved to the hill. His Mom owns the Department store at the shopping center. She’s nice and so is he – I like the Headlow boy better but they’re both nice.
Now yesterday Gerry Vanover came over but he’s loud, bossy etc. but I was nice and John was happy but still prefers others.
Now his party will be perfect. He needs it and I’ve promised. I want it late afternoon and a BBQ – hot dogs and rolls so it won’t interfere with your arriving except this: it will be an all boy party out doors and I don’t want the girls here. [She drew a little sketch for invitations that ‘John can draw’ showing person at BBQ.]
So last nite Bill and I talked it over and arrived at the conclusion if it suits you. At first I was afraid it would be too much for you to arrive midst a child’s party but you could rest indoors. Your plane is due to arrive around noon – give or take one hour! We’ll take girls over to Le Verne’s house. Her mom takes care of children anyway and I adore Le Verne. I’ll talk it up to girls – give them new color books and some ‘party food’. They’ve never been to her house and they’ll enjoy it.
I’d rather we all met you but plane could be one hour late or early so this way Bill and John will meet you – OK? And I’ll wait home. We’ll take you sight seeing Sunday and have family party Sunday too.
You’ll be here for that and meet boys too! Then after party we’ll all go get girls!!
Oh Mom, I get so excited! I’ve missed you so! Won’t it be wonderful? I’m working like mad to get house all clean, waxed and fixed so we won’t have a thing to do.
Bible School starts 9th through 20th and 3 older ones will go so you can rest and we’ll visit first week – only Sharon will be home. Even she knows you’re coming and talks about it constantly.
Now does this plan meet with your approval. I could go too if I was sure plane wouldn’t be late – we’ll see. I’ll have his party at 3:00 – 7:00 or could be 4:00 – 7:00. I’ll have house clean and food ready, potato salad, cake, etc. He’ll be in 7th heaven and deserves it. Will give him our gifts on Sunday.
Now I haven’t asked Le Verne yet. Let me know your reaction right away!!
We’re planning lots of things to do on week-ends and Bill is going to buy a jeep truck today – good buy, only $600 and he needs it to get back to homestead – then I’ll have the car!!
First week relax. 2nd week-end trip to Girdwood Road and Portage Glacier and visit gold mines and pan for gold!!! This is road will connect with our Eagle River Road when put through. [Linda note: 2010, the road was never ‘put through’.] We’ve never been to these places but have saved them for when you get here!!
Next week = you and I and children to Palmer and Valley. Nice ride, paved road and we’ll take picnic and visit Rusty Dow – a character and painter. I want to get some for art shop. Fun? Bill’s been to Palmer so we’ll go during week.
Week-end trip and stay over night – to Homer, Alaska. Colorful, interesting beautiful scenery but rough, dirt road and long trip but FUN. Another week-end to Seward. A long day trip and picnic!!
Evening – Fire Lake Lodge and Spring Creek Lodge for dinner at nearby places. Chart Room in town at Hotel. Music Festival in Anchorage. We’re going first Monday to visit gift shops with Alaska Woodcrafts – Mr. Bockstahler’s new wife – you’ll like her. We want ideas and you’ll enjoy it.
So much to do and see. Weather is coolish in 60s and 70s – I think you’ll need sweaters and blouses with sleeves. Nights are light and cool!
We have beds all planned. Children go to bed as usual and when we all turn in – we transfer Cindy to cot in John’s and Linda’s room and you sleep in Sharon’s room on folding bed. It’s full size and comfortable – roll-a-way OK? There that’s settled!
I’m not planning on having neighbors over – you and I will visit them! I want to enjoy your visit and not plan parties OK?
One Saturday or Sunday we’ll drive in to see country back in but no need to hike
Remember, I wrote you I was to be Brownie Leader’s Assistant – sounds funny. I hate not to keep my promises (like a Good Brownie) and had hoped to do it with Linda but I got so worried. Kathy P. was to watch children. She’s nice but just turned 14 and a flitter budget. I got worried and this morning wrote a note saying I couldn’t help. I feel terrible but better!! Creek has risen so it’s not recognizable as same gentle stream. It’s overflowed and is fast, dangerous and deep. They never go there without us but might. At night you can hear water rushing even in house. The rapids and current is so strong – a child could never stand up and would be washed to river immediately. Makes me shudder!! I couldn’t leave Cindy and Sharon with her. I told her I could help after 14th. She’s expecting and wanted me to take troop while she had baby in July. Also I’d be gone 4 hours and that adds up in baby sitting $ and I don’t trust neighbors. What a worrier I am!!
[Linda note 2010: Doesn’t surprise me she would find major reasons not to do something with me – and not to admit that she hated doing anything with me. I am really surprised she let me go – but having there would NOT have been good for me at all, either, of course. Her tone here is completely different than when she just wrote about doing a birthday party for John, even though at least here she is not ‘slamming’ me directly (at least).
My mother very rarely writes such a single long paragraph, either – confirming my suspicion that her unconscious would in no way allow her to participate as a loving mother in anything that had to do with me. Very cunning, sounds so legitimate.
Another side to this is that no doubt it SEEMED like something a GOOD mother would do, help with a Brownie troop. I putting together her Borderline public façade, her public persona, being seen as THIS KIND of mother would have been a good thing – like a prop in her pretend mother play.
Yet at the same time my mother lacked the capacity to ever concern herself, truly, with someone else’s needs. It became apparent to my mother that this would not have been a pretend activity. She would REALLY have had to take over this troop, REALLY and actually HELP, do something real outside of her own kingdom, her own range of control and influence. She knew she would not have been allowed to be her own true controlling self in this outside environment. The light of day would have shown up both her true intentions (that she did not see or comprehend) and her actions.
In addition, she certainly would not have been allowed to act toward me as she always did. She would not have been able to control and overrun me in the public setting of a Brownie troop group. At the same time, if she were away from her home, she could not have controlled what happened there, either. That faintly, perhaps, her precious doll-baby-children MIGHT have gone too near the creek and MIGHT have been endangered was NOT a concern for her children’s safety. It was a concern based on her obsession that her children were not only her possessions; they were extended parts of her self – her mind, her psyche and her sickness.
It is never the sign of a healthy, normal safe and secure parent-child attachment when the truth that lies within the attachment is that the parent’s deep psychological needs are involved in ‘getting met’ in the relationship. When this happens it is an activated parental insecure attachment disorder that is operating. When this happens, true caregiving for others is not possible. My mother was, as my sister recently noted, her children’s and her husband’s ‘puppet master’. She could not be in true relationship with anyone, not even with her own self.
These altered patterns of relationship are so subtle, at least within a very disturbed Borderline, that they are nearly impossible to detect unless the observer KNOWS what they are looking at. Because I have spent the past six years carefully observing my mother’s thinking and behavior as it appeared in her letters, all constructed with few exceptions for an outside ‘public’ audience that I can begin to notice where the deceptions in her thinking appear.
Even though my mother was purportedly writing to her mother privately, these letters, preserved as they have been for over 50 years, were written by my mother with the intention that someday they would be used to write ‘an Alaskan book’. On those very few occasions where I can see, touch, taste, smell my mother’s distorted thinking within these letters, I cannot ignore what I know. This small description of why my mother suddenly could concoct a completely believable (to her or to anyone else) reason why she could not assist as a Brownie scout leader in a troop with her daughter in it is one of those times I can see how pervasive her psychosis truly was.
My mother mentioned the creek to her mother in a letter written the day before this letter was, and she mentions nothing risky or sinister about it: “The creek is full and deep now as glacier and snow melts.” But the presence of too much water in the creek gave her the perfect alibi when she needed it. I don’t for one instant believe any of her children, especially Cindy who was extremely responsible as she approached 5 years of age, especially with John in the house when my mother was gone as he approached 9 years of age, would ever have gone near this creek alone – nor let sister Sharon approaching age 3. That my mother is saying she could not trust a 14-year-old sitter to watch her children safely is hog wash. Just plain Borderline-psychosis-constructed nonsense.
A Borderline does not have the capacity to conceive either of self or of others in a normal way. Everyone outside of my mother was an extension of herself, a living prop in her drama-play at life. That she – and everyone else – did not see or know what was going on in our home, in her life, or in her psyche did not take away from the fact that her psychosis touched and influenced everything she ever did.
My mother evidently somehow decided for this one year of my young life that it served her purposes to let me participate in Brownies. I have no reason to believe that this one experience would have been her single exception to her rule of making Linda’s life perpetually miserable. Somehow my being a Brownie made my mother look good in the public eye. This was my only childhood experience that let me get away from her influence and be around something meaningful and positive, and to interact as a child (age 6 here) with adults who treated me as the child I was.
For anyone reading these words who doubts the accuracy of what I am describing here in regard to my mother’s sickness, let me mention that one of the hallmarks of the Borderline mother is that NOBODY is supposed to ever detect the presence of the abuse these mothers so expertly enact upon a child. A Borderline like my mother was is an absolute professional at deception.
Part of the reason why deception like is being presented her in my mother’s account is so effective is that it comes from a completely constructed invisible, unconscious reality that exists BECAUSE the ‘owner’s’ psyche is completely contaminated by their disease. This pervasive contamination is like a highly effective contagion. It contaminates the growing mind’s of such a parent’s children, and it contaminates the psyche (unconsciously) of everyone who comes in contact with a professional-psychotic Borderline.
I encourage any reader who disagrees with my hard-earned ability to decipher my mother’s mental mess to take a look at how this kind of deception, so carefully constructed that it legitimizes whatever the Borderline mother turns her thinking toward no matter how insane, how out-of-touch with actual reality it might be. If you doubt me here, you believe my mother’s version of reality.
It is for the same reason you might doubt me (and my reality) while believing my mother’s lies that nobody ever detected the 18 years of severe abuse my mother perpetrated against me. My mother was very, very, very good at what she did – creating an alternate reality based upon her distorted brain’s operation that seemed to make sense to everyone, her own self included.
I am the only one alive who knows the truth about how this Linda-being-a-Brownie scout chapter of this story progressed, and more importantly, how it ended. Our family moved out of the Log House by the end of the summer of 1958, eventually into an apartment in Anchorage for the winter, and back to the Log House in 1959 by which time the homesteading saga consumed our lives in earnest. By fall 1959 I was back in Brownies, and had sold the essential Brownie Scout Cookies.
The afternoon I collected the money for the cookie sales, put it into a Milk Dud box, and then had it all fall out through the faulty bottom of the box without my noticing this was happening, before I returned home, marked the ending of this story with unspeakable, and unbelievable distortion and violence. My mother accused me of stealing the money, and because after hours in the evening twilight of retracing my every step through the neighborhood of Eagle River searching for the fallen coins I could not find them, I was accused of being a thief and a liar and was beaten afterwards severely – not once, but every time my mother brought up my ‘crime’ until I left home at 18. ]
Now John for first time is old enough to come and go and is so good about coming back in one hour – etc.
Children need me at home and I can spread myself too thin.
I trust you and Bill in day time and Le Verne at night and 3rd choice days.
Golly so much to write. I only earned 1.75 imagine – Sunday! People looked but didn’t buy. Tell you more later!!
Children still asleep. I’ve been writing this in bed. Got Bill’s breakfast and got back in. They sleep late mornings til 9:00 or 10:00! So you’ll rest too – of course Bible School starts at 9:30 so will have to get them up early.
Guess what? Methodist bought Briggs new 30,000 house for the new parson for the new full time Methodist Chugiak Minister. Now what do you think of that and new church to be built!!
Mrs. Pottle wants me to help with tea for him Sunday? Probably will take children here if improves as never get to [words washed out here] visit both while you’re here. Must close! Love, Mildred. PS. Can hardly wait – you know me.