Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A different story

Here's today: it's too warm on the fire escape, then I come inside already drained; oh, no -- my hair appointment is canceled! It's like all my energy is suddenly gone, no hope for today until wait my mother and father’s former couples therapist calls. I talked to her once, years ago, before my father started dying or before anyone knew he was dying and we talked about my parents’ relationship until she started trying to get me to meet with my father -- oh, no, that agenda -- it was time for me to go.

After my father died, my mother said maybe I could talk to Amy, that’s the name of the therapist, and I didn't think that much about it because my mother is always trying to get me to talk to some therapist, usually for the wrong reasons. Starting with when I was 12 and I decided I didn't respect my parents on any level so they sent me to a therapist to find out what was going on. I never told him what was going on. When I came out to my parents, they wanted me to see Charles Soccarides, the famous conversion therapist -- what a great idea! After that it was Harold Isay, someone who was actually gay and I went in the room and he started yelling at me when I said I was sexually abused: how do you know? Um, actually I'm here to deal with the fact that I was sexually abused, not figure out whether it happened. Of course he knew my father, or knew of him, so he wanted me to prove it. I knew I needed to leave that office right then, and I did.

The next one was a false memory syndrome specialist, my mother wanted me to fly to Baltimore to see him -- of course she neglected to mention his area of expertise, just that he was so so understanding I would really like him he was so understanding. Luckily I avoided that one -- my sister eventually told me how he yelled at her when she didn't immediately say that I was crazy for thinking my father would ever do such a thing, my father! But I actually like Amy -- sure, there are some tones to her voice that remind me of my mother, not sure if it's something geographic or if it's just the therapist’s tone, I know that tone. But I like the fact that she's someone that knows my mother and I can talk to her about my mother, first I'm talking about visiting my father before he died and it's harder than I thought I mean I get emotional right away, tears at the edges of my eyes I keep thinking why am I holding it in but I keep holding.

There are places where Amy kind of gasps or no it's not a gasp it’s a moan no what do you call an immediate gesture of empathy kind of like a groan but sympathetic? When I tell her about saying: even though you've hurt me more than anyone else, I still don't want you to die, and I wish he could have relationship. And: there was a tear rolling down his cheek and I wanted to touch it, I knew maybe that wasn't what I should do but I wanted to do everything that I was feeling in that moment and so I did, I reached over and touched his tear. And: I told him I love you, and he couldn't even say that. Amy asks: he couldn't, or he wouldn't?

He wouldn't. And then I'm talking about telling my father it's really hard for me to function on a day-to-day level, hard because I took all of your abuse and held it in my body and now it's stuck. And I asked him to create an account to pay my basic expenses. And that's when I start sobbing, really sobbing and it feels like I'm finally present in the room. And I talk about everything that's going on with my mother, this endless struggle to get her to do what she's agreed to, and Amy says that when my mother and father went to see her, every time my mother brought up how she wanted to give me money, to help me to feel supported, she even used the word safe; she would bring it up every time.

And now that she actually has the power to do it, it's a different story.


keidy said...

I never know what to say after reading about your mother. It reminds me of the letter you wrote your dad about the abuse. Reading that letter was one of the worst things that has ever happen to me. All of your family stuff is so depressing. So sorry you have to deal with the aftermath of the abuse on a day to day basis. I wish I could do something to help.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

It's true -- "the aftermath of the abuse on a day to day basis" -- talking about it helps me, at least then it doesn't stay inside as much...

Love --