Part 3. Running Into Darkness
We have now exposed and examined the situations that caused the early trauma trifecta. The inability for the child to have an effective baseline of safety and boundaries, the lack of a safe space, either real or perceived, and the radically unstable maternal figure, our mom. Our only solution, to the fractured and scars system, was to run. Running for our system took on many forms. We had been running as long as we could remember, in one form or another. Running from everything we knew, always running into the unknown. For us, the unknown was safer than staying familiar.
Dad, had always told us that we moved for his work. We were always told, moving was a good thing. We moved usually with short or no notice. Many times the moving trucks working late into the night. Many times, the packing boxes from the last two moves, still packed taped and labeled. We found ourselves, especially after our move in n the fourth grade, numb to the experience. We went through the motions, trying to find the only positive we could, a new peer group maybe that would not hate us.
We have learned over the years, the pattern of moving was not at all normal, by any means. The Gypsy like way we lived and moved, was having a profound effect on the entire family. However, our father, a man afflicted with hate and cruelty, and a raging personality disorder, had to continually move. He made more enemies than friends in the business world. The fact was, he had to move to stay employed. He too, was constantly changing his peer group to hide his damage. He KNEW he was corrupted at the existential level. Rather than face the truth of himself, and change the pattern, he embraced the dark side of himself, and his father. He became evil incarnate.
The progression of our lives, is almost a complete blur, between grade three and beyond. We constantly spent our time, trying to escape. In truth, hatred for our life consumed us. We had to be the worst kid ever, our parents wouldn’t lie. Thoughts of terrible things would fill my mind, without invitation. We could never not reach within to find comfort and solace. Deep within, to a place where we had been hurt so badly, by the one we loved the most. A fracture in our existence, is hat occurred so long ago, but allowing us the access to reach inside, and form part of ourselves, into what we perceived, we needed to become. This is the real feeling for us, of further fragmentation. This is the experience of building walls, compartmentalizing our trauma. Once any child, we are no exception, learns how to cope through this process, there is no turning back. What begins as a normal dissociative event, will convert into real time coping skills.
During our freshman year experience, we went from class President, early that year, to special education and juvenile delinquent in just a few short months. This, was our pattern. During this same period, we had run away several times, and been n contact with the Erie County sheriff, and subsequently the juvenile court system. This experience, although for a brief moment we felt offered some hope, in conclusion became one of the most terrifying and informative experiences for us.
It was a very cold, and snowy night in Western New York, and he sun was beginning to set and dad was going to be home for dinner soon. 1815, was dinner time in our house. Even if dad was to be late, dinner was to be on the table all the same. This for us was our deadline time. We knew, dad was coming home, and we knew the results would be painful. We had been caught taking money from moms purse, and the results were going to be bad.
We had been given a motorcycle, by our now dead abuser, and we snuck outside in the garage and took off with it. In true testament to our fear, we were barefooted, in a T-shirt and warmups. All we could do is focus on getting away. We could not bear another beating. We set off into the snow, having no idea where we were going. Being thirteen was tough in our house. We travelled into the bike trails, and down the county road.
We traveled what seems to be an eternity, the daylight almost gone, till we saw a barn in the distance. YES!! We had found a place to hide for the night. We would sort out the rest tomorrow. As we got settled in and laid down, we were almost asleep. Huddled in a pile of straw, we found an old tarp to cover with. We felt so good, cold but safe.
Soon we heard noises and lights came up to the barn. We could hear the sound of cars outside and the chatter of radios. Oh no! The police had found us. Most kids, would fear the police and getting in trouble. For us, the fear was going home. we would rather stay in a cold barn, than confront the beast we had already run away from. We were experienced run aways, our first attempt was at five years old, and many subsequent. We knew the risks. We were taken into custody at his time, we were taken to the police station and interviewed.
Being asked questions was hard for us, if we told the truth, the chances of backlash were great. Ok f we lied and said all was ok at home, we would surely be sent home. We had nowhere to turn. We assert d our misgivings to the officers. At this point they had reached out to a lady officer in plain clothes to speak to us, sensing our trepidation around men. She assured us we would be safe, they would not send us to a situation where we could be hurt. If we just told them the truth, they would keep us safe. We his was just another in the long line of lies told to us by people meant to save us.
After our forthcoming interview, we were taken to a holding cell. We felt good, safe and warm. We laid down to sleep. Safe sleep. Why seemed like an eternity passed, until we were awakened by the purposefully loud lock on the door. The officer was standing over us. The tissue had turned in our slumber. The warm fuzzy feeling we had been sold by the lady, now disappeared for the all too familiar fear. You see, even before they spoke to us, we could read in them the truth, something we had seen so many times. Like an oncologist looking at a cancer scan, you just know. Our father was here, and he was a hero.
The script was open and they were reading from it. Our father, the malignant narcissist that he was, had them convinced, we were the issue. We were the cause of all his problems. His ungrateful, problematic son, was at it again and he was very sorry to have been a problem to them. What could we do? We begged them to keep us in jail, being a kid how could we know? Our current surroundings were definitely better than home! We fell down, sobbing. Dad, entered the frame, and sweetly told me to coke home, that everything was ok and he wasn’t mad at me. He was just glad I was ok. As we proceeded out, he did not even bring us a jacket or shoes. However as we walked out in the snow and got in the van, before my passenger door was even closed, he was able to grab us by the hair, and begin our punishment. In the parking lot of the cop shop, he was starting his routine. The entire time we drive home, the verbal abuse, accented by the occasional slap and head smash, continued. We grew in fear, believing we were going to die that night. We just knew it.
The incident with law enforcement put us in the system, causing us to see a court ordered shrink. We wouldn’t know for some time about the results of this. We do not ever remember going to see the doctor, we just know that we attended several times. Actually, they made us all go, mom and dad too, after seeing us one time. The court seemed especially unhappy with our father, appointing us a guardian and a lawyer independent from our dad. We had no clue what was happening to us. We felt like a pinball being bounced around with no apparent agenda, other than amusement.
Upon completion of all of the evaluations, our mom finally told us the decision of the doctors and court. In her words “ They told us we need to lock our bedroom doors at night! You are going to kill us all in our sleep. You are insane and need to be institutionalized! You are a disgrace to this family! We love you, and wish you had never been born! The court had identified us, as multiple. We were on a plane to Scotland, three months later. Mom and dad never wanted the court, or anyone for that matter, to dig too deep. If the narrative pointed to culpability on their part, they would send us somewhere else. This happened repeatedly, even to the point dad storming out screaming at the doctors when they told him something he not want to hear. Why would they expect anything different?
We have an alter, who is based in this time period, a sacred boy of fourteen, trying to hide from everything. Brian, is perhaps the alter with which I, have the most in common. His true feelings are closer to mine than the others. His sensitivity to emotional pain and fears, mimic our own. Most profoundly, his distrust in everyone, we can feel constantly. We fight his fears of people, and even try to reason with his cynicism, however we never discount his assessments of situations. He is the one willing to throw himself under the bus, as it were for us to survive. However for different reasons.
Having an alter that does not fear death, is not uncommon. Brian can subject the body to almost any situation or action required by the rest of the system. This is not as it seems, an act of heroism or altruism, but rather the welcoming of death by any means. Brian, given the permission, will be happy to terminate the body. However, in lieu of having the purity permission of the system to do so, he can accommodate actions we must take to survive, without any recourse. He can be emotionally numb, at least externally. Internally is something else altogether.
The ability we have today, to acknowledge and validate not only Brian, but the entire system, is what had given us the ability to grow and mature.