part twenty-six: addendum

You know how sometimes when you start talking, you’ll remember something else you wanted to say and by saying it, you remember yet another thing you want to add? Yeah, this is one of those times.

Since posting part twenty-six two days ago, thoughts and pictures and stuff have been flashing through my mind. I’ve had two separate memories of chatting with my dad about my life before him. I’ve discovered those two memories actually go together. How weird. I was sure I must be mistaken however after piecing it all together and comparing the pictures in my mind, they really do go together and, well, completely piss me off.

My dad was not a tactful man. He was also not very helpful. The older he got, the nastier and more bigoted he became. By the time of his death on April 14, 2005, I was done. Done with his meanness, done with his violence, done with his abuse. By the time he died, I’d already given him the benefit of the doubt for the last time and made my stand with him. We never spoke of it again but he knew. And. He. Remembered. I know he remembered because he never acted that way in front of me or mine again.

That is really neither here nor there to what I have to add to part twenty-six except it is a bit of history (so to speak) for what comes now.

When I left the story last, I was sitting at the breakfast table listening to my dad ask me if I knew about the guy who locked me in the closet. Of course, I had no idea. I don’t remember feeling anything about what he told me that morning except I, this body of mine, must have felt something because I never had the dream again…until many, many years later. What I left out of that memory was what my dad told me next.

He said “When your mom and I got together, you were difficult. We had some problems with you and I tried everything to get you under control and finally went to see a psychiatrist about you. The psychiatrist told me it was too late to fix you. He said if I’d gotten you earlier, I could have made some headway but since you hadn’t come to live with me until you were 5 and a half, there was nothing to be done.”


5 responses to this post.

  1. Oh, lawdy, give me strength. I’m going to assume that is something he made up, because if a psychiatrist said that, he should be hung by his thumbs. I’m embarrassed to be associated with that field. Good grief.

    I know you know it is ridiculous bunk, but I’m thinking of the damage that probably did to you. And I feel like I can’t breathe right now. His ignorance and meanness takes my breath away!

    I’m forever amazed at how people push blame onto others, and every time, I’m just so saddened. And I’m glad I’m not actively practicing now.

    I hope you find peace with all this, dear Traci.


  2. You weren’t the one it was too late to fix.


  3. ‘Fix” you? How sad and mean. Children don’t need to be fixed. They need to be loved and listened to. I second what Susie said.


  4. Gee, lemme think… at age 5, you were being placed in a parent-child relationship with someone not your parent, in order to stay in the care of someone who WAS your parent, whose life was already quite awash in inconsistency… and you were “difficult”?? Wow. THAT’s a mystery, eh? Because y’know… 5 year olds are so easy anyway. *sheesh*

    Fixed. Like a leaky faucet? Or perhaps a stray dog? Certainly not a child.

    Susie’s quite right. (I’ve been all over the internet saying that today… .) YOU were NOT the one for whom it was too late.


  5. I flat out don’t believe that any psychiatrist would have said this. I also don’t believe that they consulted a psychiatrist at all. That would have been expensive.

    The most benevolent reading I can give this is that maybe they had an informal discussion with someone who had heard something to this effect. There are some older theories that would say that a child’s basic personality is set by the time they are five, but nothing at all that says that addressing “difficult” behaviors can’t be accomplished then – or at any age. Why would people even be in therapy otherwise?

    My most cynical reading, on the other hand, would be that he was projecting blame about some kind of inner guilt he had onto you.

    Perhaps it was a combination of the above, in which a casual misunderstanding was called into service to rationalize something else.

    In any case, “difficult” is a very subjective idea…. It seems to me that many, if not all, of the people around you were “difficult.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: