I spent over 10 hours this weekend running this manuscript through as fine an edit as I can tolerate doing:
The final edit awaits my professional-editing daughter. I remain frustrated at not having the technical capacity to repair and resize the photographs that need to be included in this book so that it could be DONE with ASAP – meaning formatted and uploaded for Amazon.com Kindle publication – NOW! My son in Seattle plans to assist with artwork in between his classes and homework before his U quarter is over – so I will find patience – and move on in the work I CAN do on other manuscripts.
In important ways I have spent my entire adult lifetime running from ‘this story’. I tell myself, “Nobody in their right mind would try to do what you are doing.” What is it I think I can gain, or can contribute to, the study of child abuse and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) by examining the case study my abusive mother left in her half a million or more words that came to me when she died? It troubles me that I don’t know the answer to my questions.
I have apples in my kitchen. It is a rare cool damp overcast day here in the high Arizona desert. I am thinking of baking myself an apple pie. The only way I will know what such a pie tastes like is to go through the process of baking it. Perhaps this writing work I am doing is just that simple. Making and eating a pie. Writing and reading a book.
Withholding my commentary of Mildred as I completed this manuscript has left me feeling robbed. I chose to leave out my own truth out of this book about what it was like for me being this woman’s daughter. How many Mildreds were there? Who was this woman who so blithely rattled on and on to her mother and to herself in her journals about the months of her life this book covers?
All of my childhood I was told in every way possible that ‘nice Mother’ could not be MY mother because I was such a horrible child. If I had not been such a horrible child I could have had the ‘nice Mother’ my siblings had. What is this struggle I am putting myself through to give VOICE to what lay buried and hidden in a silence deeper than any Alaskan mountain wilderness can ever hold?
Two words: ‘apex’ and ‘nadir’
These two words. They are ‘all’ Mildred’s ‘visible’ Alaskan homesteading story was about and her ‘invisible’ story of abuse of me.
In Mildred’s BPD mental split good-bad world her ‘apex’ was at the top of a REAL Alaskan mountain – the highest point in her BPD-matrix mind. Her ‘nadir’ was hell – INSIDE of me – the lowest point in her BPD-matrix mind.
She writes about her high point. She DOES NOT write about her low point.
Her entire BPD-matrix mind worked to make VISIBLE what was her HIGH
as it vanquished into INVISIBILITY what (who) was her LOW.
SILENCE. The invisibility of SOUND.
The invisibility of WORDS to tell my own story – to make visible my story, my story of being buried and hidden and held captive in obscurity, in invisibility – right in the middle of Mildred’s VISIBLE words of her own writings – that is my struggle.
(Along with the struggle of simply being able to show readers Mildred’s mental illness in her writings – period. Mildred was entirely mentally ill. There was no part of her – and therefore no part of her life – that was not under the influence of BPD.)
It was the PSYCHOSIS of Mildred’s mental illness that allowed her to completely separate her ‘upper’ visible all-good world from her ‘lower’ invisible all-bad world.
I cannot comprehend a person being able to so absolutely divide and keep divided these two extremes the way Mildred did.
When I consider her Alaskan homesteading obsession – as I see how she literalized this obsession with her mountain spot being HEAVEN on earth –
I also know that her other obsession that forced her to believe I was an incarnation of the devil’s child on earth was equally literalized in her every thought, feeling, action and inaction toward me.
As much as Mildred loved her homestead mountain — was as much as she hated and despised me.
MOUNTAIN HOMESTEAD = UP = HEAVEN
CHILD LINDA = DOWN = HELL
The nearly overwhelming awe of the WHOLE story about Mildred
is that she exerted a GREATER effort to keep me in hell
than she did trying to OWN her Alaskan mountain homestead paradise
In order for Mildred so survive – from the instant she suffered her psychotic break birthing me – she HAD to have me kept in hell as her replacement for herself
Obtaining her homestead – as described in the volume to be published whose rough draft lies at the end of the link at the beginning of this post – was her highest aspiration — but her survival DID NOT depend upon her ‘being up there’.
From the time I was born and for the following 18 years of my childhood her survival DID DEPEND on her keeping me exactly where she needed me to be –
in her hell instead of herself. Because she had me trapped by abuse as her proxy self in hell, she could be free to live her ‘upper’ BPD world – which included hope – even hope for finding her heaven-paradise-Shangri la on earth = HOME.
A mountain has no vested concern in being someone’s heaven.
Tough competition between virgin Alaskan mountain wilderness (UP-heaven) and me as a child (DOWN-hell). I as a young dependent child was forced to be vested with Mildred’s hell. It took her nearly constant (invisible and behind-the-scenes) abuse of me to keep me ‘where I belonged’.
While her obsession to ‘belong’ on her mountain took just about the effort she describes in her Alaskan homesteading record.
Note: During the period of time this book (above link) describes Mildred found a way to actually live at the place that was her ‘heaven on earth’. I understand that although she could never ‘love’ me as she did her ‘upper’ BPD children, at least while she was ‘up there in heaven’ the worst of the pressures that her mental illness created within her were lessened. This meant that the pressure, so to speak, could then be lifted off of me.
(The majority of Mildred’s BPD-matrix mind was occupied elsewhere during this time – and it was as happy as Mildred could be.)
This meant that during this time I, as her chosen for abuse in hell child was ALSO given a reprieve. The weeks Mildred taught her children over that 1959 holiday period were the only ‘decent’ days of my childhood. Except for her blaming me for the coffee taste of the frosting on her Christmas cookies – because supposedly I had not washed the Tupperware container out adequately before she put the confectioner’s sugar in there – I remember no other of her rages at me during this time.
This most importantly meant for me that during this time I ‘got to be’ ONE of the Lloyd children. I was let out of hell! I was allowed to be ‘a part of the family’ during this time – this ‘fantastic’, fantasy-driven time in which Mildred lived above the clouds in her magic kingdom – just for a little while.
However, I can see my traumatized state clearly in one photograph taken of me that winter. I can also see (as a professionally trained art therapist) the very troubled girl I was at 8 years old as I made my Christmas card for Mother.
Never again after the time Mildred describes in her writings within this book did she ever approach her ‘state of perfect grace’ – her temporary reprieve from the worst of her illness – again in relationship to her ‘dream home’. The patterns, by the way, of her deepest searching for ‘heaven’, for ‘home’, can be seen even in her childhood stories. In her writings leading up to this reprieve, and in her writings after this time, her illness is evident – at least to me – as I will highlight in the volumes of “The Demise of Mildred.”
Interestingly, “The Up Down Mountain Waltz” letters and journal writings fall within volume 4 of the “Demise of Mildred” series in what appears to be the middle of this series. I have yet to complete all the volumes for “Demise” – but this is my guess.
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