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(an e-mail to my sister Jackie)

I work at the discipline of gratitude to keep from falling back into the pit of suicide obsession. Something I can’t afford since God told me that suicide was not an option for me. I had to calm the obsession since being frustrated by not satisfying this obsession made my life utterly, utterly miserable. And, by the way, this discipline was instilled in me by a loving God who didn’t want me to live my life here in misery. So he showed me how to deal with the obsession through gratitude. Not that I still don’t have the obsession though. Deep down it’s just covered over with the discipline.

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(Jackie sees a ‘set jaw’ as defiance)

You don’t know what was going on in mom’s brain that would make her ‘set her jaw’. You only know what it looked like – to you – from the outside. What a set jaw would mean – to you – if you set your jaw. But you have no idea what that meant for her – or me.

I was only a scape-goat because dad couldn’t have me be a sacrificial lamb. My inner experience with him was that I got the distinct impression that he wanted to kill me. I embodied all his demons and if I were killed then all his demons would go away with my death. The only reason he held back was because he knew he’d be caught and sent to jail and narcissists and sociopaths do not – do not – want to go to jail. In my studies on mental illness I found out that being jailed for these people is utterly abhorrent. So he held back just enough to have me stay alive. But that was ‘just enough’. To me it felt like he went right up to the line. I wasn’t a human to him. He pounded on me like one would beat ones’ fists on a pillow to get the rage and frustration out. There were times when I felt like he was going to hurl me through the plate glass windows, but he held himself back just enough to keep from getting into serious trouble. Just the embodiment of his demons. That’s all it seemed to me like he thought of me

You say I was ‘defiant’ (?) But, in light of what I was up against, what was going on between me and dad, your interpretation makes no sense at all.

And, by the way, you think that I’ve made something of my life because I had the gumption? Well you’re DEAD WRONG!!! I sprang forward because I BOTTOMED OUT WITH THE PAIN! On top of the abuse and neglect, I had alcoholism and a mental illness. I had so much pain that Jesus even visited me – to help me out. Do you think I gave up my primary addiction on a lark? Or my secondary addiction as well? No. It was because I’d finally found a family that wanted me. AA. But I had to stay sober to be included – and I so very much wanted to be included – anywhere. I wanted it enough to where I was willing to go through hell just to stay included in a happy group that told me the way out of the black darkness was through sobriety.

And what exactly have I done with my life? I’m 38 years off my primary addiction. I have the Holy Spirit living in me. I live with an abusive man because I’m trapped financially. I’ve never made anything of my life to speak of.

Have you or Chris bottomed out the way I have? Chris isn’t even willing to go to therapy or do anything else for that matter. Does that look like somebody who’s bottomed out? You’ve never had to give up a primary addiction the way I was driven to. And you’ve never really ‘reached out’ to that lunatic Jesus Christ of the Bible the way I did. A Dickson would have had to go pretty low to have been willing to do that.

Now. After I’ve said all this, you’re probably thinking you still know better. Well get off your know-it-all horse! You really, really, really don’t know it all Jackie.

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Dear Pops,                   (Pops is my name for God – Papa)

Terrena just used me to get $300 out of me.

Jackie eschewed my horror show of a child hood.

Lisa beat me up unmercifully on a regular basis

Jerry takes his rages out on me.

AA and Al Anon people shun me

Ola went on a hunger strike because she’s furious at me for skipping a visit with her

I only have you Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus for honoring my request for a friend by sending him to me to be my constant companion. And he has been for 36 years.

Thank you Pops for sending Jesus to me on that fateful night when going back out drinking (and certain untold misery, then death) was only 10 minutes away. You came to my rescue. You put that Bible within my purview.

So, why do you want me here Pops? I don’t think it’s to deal with relationships. So what am I supposed to do here if it isn’t about relating to others? I have no art or talent I’m pursuing. Maybe I should be playing the piano more. I will try to do that. It’s too late to pursue my talent for statistics or systems analysis. The PTSD took that option away from me and now that I’m ready, it’s too late. I’ve done NOTHING with my life!!! Just survival and dealing with the abuse I endured growing up.. You have given me EMDR therapy. I don’t know why but maybe that has something to do with why I’m here (?)  I have nothing to share with other people. I’m a shell of a human being. What can a shell share? I have finally stood up to Jackie’s abuse. Now she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. Nobody really wants to have anything to do with me.  But I really don’t care. I’m not lonely since you gave me the Holy Spirit to be my constant companion. What you’ve taught me – no one wants to know about.  The changes you’ve wrought in me – no one want’s to know about.