Today, September 28, 2009 I feel I am finally ready to begin to face down my own feelings about my father. I want to do this because I have NEVER made any progress toward finding my own truth about who and how my father was in my life — either when I was a child or when I was an adult — by continuing to ‘try’ to be angry with him.
My truth today is that there’s a mystery here. I don’t KNOW my father. He is talked about in my mother’s letters. I even have access to letters that he wrote himself. I have a right to explore and examine my father — as much a right as I have to do this in regard to my mother.
These pages will reflect my efforts to find my father. I have nobody to answer to about him but myself. I am granting myself permission to do my own explorations, find my own ‘evidence’, search for my own understandings, come to my own conclusions — about my father. Nobody stops me but myself.
Homesteading: That’s me with the white round thing, Cindy, then Sharon to my right, John to my left, photo somewhat fire damaged, hence the reddish tinge.
12 thoughts on “WHERE WAS MY FATHER?”
I have some questions for you Linda…Was there any splitting between your dad and you ? Did your mom ever manipulate your father into thinking you were evil ? I know she doesn’t think highly of you in her letters.Did she manipulate your siblings into thinking that your were horrible and not worthy of playing or even associating with? I was pondering your existence as a child…it must have been hell.
I’ve been known to do this.Not with my children, mainly with my hubby and stepson.I feel threatened by my stepson’s hostility and my husband is already disappointed and disenchanted with me…I don’t need them plotting against me..lol ( smacks head)
Hi Helen – Mother absolutely divided and conquered my father. I see there’s a piece in the 2010 edition of “Stop Walking on Eggshells” – I noticed the other day where authors talk about these fathers losing touch with their own reality in the face of a BPD mother – and how essential it is that these fathers get their own reality version back again (most simply put)
Mildred could not have been more of an expert at what she did (or rather her BPD psychosis did this) – she began to work to turn my father, I have no doubt, from the moment I was born – she made him entirely VISIBLE in her upper split mind world — at the same time she made him completely INVISIBLE in the lower half of her split world of hell that I lived in.
I have clear memories of Mildred telling me and my siblings that I could ‘take them to the devil’ – this was a part of the extreme solitary confinement and isolation she created for me.
by the way, Helen – You might understand this more than anyone else ever can — I have realized today that it will be necessary for me to publish two entirely separate series regarding the story as Mildred both VISIBLY told it, which is her version of reality from her ‘upper’ mind half
and again in another entire version of “The Demise of Mildred” series in which I add my commentary about the invisible half of mother’s mind.
She had two distinctly divided minds — through her psychotic break.
I will always wonder what ‘symptoms’ Mildred displayed that could be said to be common to non-psychotic BPD people
Because she DID have her psychotic break she had a completely split-in-half mind
At this point in my forensic work — I would say I do not believe that these two minds communicated with one another, so profound and permanent was her psychotic split
This would mean that everything she knew and thought, believed and did to me was by definition INVISIBLE to her upper mind half (her all good mind)
Yet Mildred had to do everything in her power ALL OF THE TIME to keep me in her hell. Without me being there her ‘upper’ all good mind could not function
I have also very much clarified for myself the difference between Mildred’s early experiences of abuse and mine. Because Mildred was told that ‘sometimes she was all-good’ and therefore ‘lovable’ and visible —- while at other times she was all-bad and therefore unlovable and made to be invisible — that this is the fundamental lie, the unsolvable paradox that she DID all in her child power to solve/resolve.
She was lied to that it was ALL her fault and ALL in her power to change as a child. This ended up breaking her mind in two – beginning to show as she wrote in her childhood stories
I was NEVER told this lie! I was told from the moment I was born that I was the devil’s child and therefore beyond possibility of redemption. I was doomed before or at my first breath.
Because of the profound split-mind psychotic break Mildred had as she birthed me — I never falsely believed I was ever loved. I knew I was hated.
So I never ever believed there was anything I could do to change my ‘hope less’ condition. Mine was the opposite of Mildred’s child reality. Hers broke her. The nature of my permanent place in hell saved my mind.
So today I understand that I have to publish two entirely separate versions of “The Demise of Mildred” series so that one will be her own words – her upper world half of her mind describing ONLY that world
I will not put my commentary in that series.
I will do so in a separate series that will put the two halves of her mind together as I see what is both visible and INVISIBLE in her account of those years.
Father absolutely believed his wife. I know that by my age 22 1/2 months the break between my father and I was complete as he watched her severely beat me for a psychotically perceived ‘wrong’ I had done.
I also know that by the time my older siblings were 16, 13, and 11 — while I was 15 — one of them told a clear lie about something I had not done — and I was as a result locked in a shed during the day (so father would not know – he was at work) — for 4 days. Not one of the other siblings, or even the one that told the lie — did anything on my behalf to stop this.
That is REALLY scary!!!!!
It was very visible in your mother’s written work as a child that she spent a lot of time splitting.I think as an adult she spent most of her time in that lower half you call, “hell”…I call it “shameful, angry little girl mode”.When the lower half takes over the shame and rage is so overwhelming. But honestly, your mom had to split.Splitting is adaptation or a survival strategy.Part of you stays and faces the reality…part of it leaves your body.AND IN EXTREME STRESS OR TRAUMA….the ego totally drifts off and you lose yourself completely to that “shameful, little girl mode”.During your birth your mom left COMPLETELY! Oh boy, when she brought you home and made her “reality” your hell… I’m surprised she didn’t change you completely.I’m not drifting to that “little girl hell mode” as much as I used to…staying with my body, staying keeping my ego intact
Oh, I actually have pictures of my stepson as a toddler splitting…it’s a scary visual, especially witnessing it happen to a toddler
The “visual” I’m referring to is that cortisol stare…”Thousand yard stare”
I know what you are describing — wow — and so tragic!!! You are making such progress – have they begun the scans for the research yet – and who is doing the research? Wondering if I can track it somehow, or at least find out where it originates?? 🙂
Thank you! I am going to be reaching the true Cinderella stage of my childhood soon in my book writing – so won’t second guess what I will find there! It was absolutely THERE — but because Mother was a severe Borderline (and I am guessing your wasn’t?) the ‘reasons’ behind all that she did were, well, without ‘reason’ in any ordinary sense of the word.
I am not sure I will ever — quite frankly — waste my time any more than I have already done “trying to figure out my father.” I don’t think I, honestly, GIVE A CRAP! He did what he did and that included — well – he was Mother’s co-criminal in my book.
Some of us end up with a WHOLE CHUNK of too much to deal with — coming on down the generations! I had a marriage to someone I would call ‘passive-aggressive’ (P.A.) – a doormat with hidden agendas. I divorced him and really have never looked pack. I find P.A. stupid and nauseating in my adult life, no time for it whatsoever.
They do, obviously, get a huge payoff but it’s no more than a form of twisted masturbation in my book. Pardon me, but why mince words?
I am relationship free for the most part. I am in love with a man who I will never live with — and it’s taken me over 11 pain-filled years to learn the wisdom in this situation. But it is there!
I am very grateful this blog has offered insights that are useful to you! A rough rough road we walk in so many ways. Peace, true peace be to US!!
My husband’s a Passive Aggressive.He drags his heels, sulks, makes snide comments, has that phony smile that I hate so much, it is nauseating.He’s a little boy in a 45 year man’s body…lol I hate PAs, you can’t communicate to them, they’re emotionally cold and nothing ever gets accomplished.
It could well be that my father fit this PA description in regard to his wife. That was so not my concern as I endured in hell — though my siblings would have been privy to more of those patterns.
I wonder if having these 2 people in your life as your describe them is anyone’s best interest…..
Yes, my husband is with me because there are certain traits in him that could have been useful to me.He describes himself as a very quiet, complacent, little boy….he mother described him as explosive,trouble making and stubborn.He had to be on medication by the age of 6 because he was throwing violent tantrums in school…perhaps he has RAD?All of his serious relationships ended in restraining orders, custody battles, DNA tests and bankruptcy. NO, he’s no longer healthy for me and I’ve noticed as my treatments progress that he’s a major nuisance to me.I now sleep, eat, shower away from him…he’s actually very hard to communicate with….HE’S ALWAYS READY TO THWART ANY PROGRESS.His whole family is toxic as well as mine…I’m ready to jump the fence with my two kids.Will it be easy?No, because when my husband feels threatened he either throws himself on the floor and acts submissive like a dog or he files for custody and throws an knife in your back.Right now, the rings are off , we’re sleeping apart and I’m making plans…….
I want to write to you to say how much your blog has opened new doors for me. I found you through your work on vagus nerve connection to trauma. Thank you for all you’ve done. I’ve read most of your site, and your other two but must admit I have not read every single post and link. I am fascinated by how much back story you have on your mother, father and grandmothers……what a gift. After reading about the account of your father blowing up after you left and choking your mother I began to think about those relationships (wondering how much of it impacts the children) and it has led me down an interesting path.
You title this section “Where was my father?” and I think that is a very valid title, and a question that was never really answered. The accounts I have read lead me to believe that your mother was in over her head (I know I would have been!) caring for several children and moving over and over, seemingly by herself to a homestead in Alaska. Your father always seemed to be elsewhere……..much like my own father. I was the last child in my family, 6 years younger than my next oldest half-brother. I was the only child of the marriage of my mother and father but like Cinderella was forced to cook and clean for the rest of the family while the others did as they pleased. My mother seemed also to be in over her head but used me as the great equalizer. I know she was abused as a child as well as my father and that made them the people they were. I didn’t understand it then, but now know that my parents had a classic passive aggressive husband/martyr wife dynamic going on.
I understand it now because I have installed myself in a very similar dynamic. My intense research into this over the last two days has produced this: The martyr wife was a victim at some point in her life which affected her self esteem. She attempts to control situations because of the anxiety it produces.
This type of woman is drawn to the passive aggressive man because they are so passive in the beginning…….classic nice guy – he seems very safe. Only problem is the nice guy is only really nice on the surface. He is a simmering volcano underneath but frightened to let it out due to his contentious relationship with his parents. So the pleaser outter persona “appears” to go along with whatever the wife wants but chafes underneath at being “made to do something” he didn’t want to do but can’t stand up and say so (replaying childhood dynamic). So he goes about undermining his wife at every turn in very surreptitious, passive aggressive ways because as a child he was not allowed to express anger or learn how to deal with it properly.
The wife is already on edge from her background and as a martyr takes on far more than she should and now the husband is pushing buttons left and right, only no one else can really see what is going on, least of all the children. Seemingly the major issue is the male is super dependent upon the female but resents it to the nth degree and punishes her for her attempts to control his out of control adolescent behavior.
It appears on the exterior that Daddy = good cop/ Mommy = bad cop and that probably is true because Daddy is forcing her to express the anger he cannot and then feels righteous when he can push her into blowing up. These types are drawn together like moths to flame………I’m sure the dynamic can go the other way, but P.A. husband/Martyr wife seems to be the most common configuration.
In your case, you were the first born daughter and I would expect that your mother expected you to be the little helpmeet that she wanted and needed. I don’t know how you fulfilled that role, but clearly it wasn’t to her liking. I was the accidental last, very much unwanted, child who had the very bad luck to be an almost carbon copy of my mother and she projected all her fears and failing on to me and since she was abused as a child well…….”bad things happen to everybody, forget about it”.
This most surely led me to two failed marriages and now a third with another passive aggressive. I always suspected this, but couldn’t really put my finger upon it. Your blog was the ignition point. I don’t know that my interpretation of my situation has any relevance to yours, but I wanted to tell you anyway. Perhaps your father really was a saint and your mother a demon, but my journey in life tells me that the truth is rarely so simple or cut and dried.
Thank you for all the work you have done here. You may use this on your blog if you like, only I would rather you didn’t use my name…..call me Cinderella if you wish 🙂