The Rebel and His Mother

Stay on the Sidewalk

The Rebel

When my son was a preschooler in daycare
His class had a field trip to the local In ‘N Out
As we walked back to the daycare center
My son held my hand
We walked in pairs down the sidewalk
His daycare teacher said
Everyone stay on sidewalk
Do not step into the driveway or the road
My three-year old son touched his foot in the gutter
Just his tippy toe
His teacher swiftly grabbed him from my hands
Took him with her to the front of the line
She gave me another child to walk
A more compliant, less rebellious child
My son, he was rewarded
He got to walk at the front of the line
Beside his favorite teacher
I was punished
Humiliated actually
Bad mother
Cannot control her child
Later that day when I returned to work
I told this story
One of my bosses smiled
Kitt, you love that in your boy
That your boy rebels against the rules
Just like the Berkeley rabble-rouser you once were
Pushing the limits
Yes, it still brings a smile to my face
That I have a son who dared touch his toe to the gutter
He understood the importance of staying with the group
He understood the spirit of the law
He did not run out into the road
Yet he questioned, dared to test, the letter of the law
What happens, he wondered, if I break this rule just a little bit
The memory also hurts
How dare that teacher rip my son from my hand
How dare she judge me and my child
Deem me unfit to walk my son back to daycare
Before I had to return to work
Return to work judged an ineffective mother
Return to work rather than stay with my son
Now that I think about it
He punished me
How dare I go back to work
How dare I not stay home with him

 

Fingers Moving, Fingers Typing

image

Fingers need to move
nervous energy
prompts them to keep busy

Just as my thoughts
my mind
will not be silent

My fingers will not be still
so I play Solitaire
or now type

I imagine myself crocheting
as I did long ago
as a young girl

Used to crochet
needlepoint
embroider
and sew

Used to paint, too
Who knows
Maybe I will do so again

Do any or all of the above
Then again
Maybe not

I don’t put too much stock
in what I do
or don’t do

Ambivalent about goals
No longer as goal oriented
as I was long ago

Well, I do have some goals
I suppose
but they are flexible

Hot Flashes

image

Hot flashes

Warm flashes

Tears held inside

Emotions fragile

Menopause is a bitch

But this bitch can handle it

Folie à Deux

I Am My Mother

Mom and Dad 60s Hazel Filter 672 x 672

Caveat: Please understand that delusional thought processes are SYMPTOMS of mental illness. I feel compassion, even as I feel pain and anger as someone negatively affected by parental delusional thoughts. I, too, have experienced delusional thoughts and bizarre impulses. I’m heir to familial mental illness. I get it.

With great trepidation I wrote the original version of this piece for publication with the Feminine Collective. Will I hurt those I love? Probably. Is it worth it to tell the truth, to let people know what it is like to live under the shadow of unacknowledged, untreated mental illness? I pray that the good outweighs the pain. I pray for understanding and compassion.

Mental illness when untreated and unacknowledged can cause great pain to extended family members. Out of respect for my relatives, this version has been changed. The actual content of my mother’s bizarre delusions is masked, remains a secret here, on my site at least, to protect those she attacked.


This is my story, my perspective, my understanding.

Folie à Deux

Taboo content
Folly of two
Folly, delusion, shared by my parents
I’ve protected them
Partly out of respect
Partly out of fear of the repercussions
Partly, for my sister who is protective of their privacy
We grew up under the shadow of a bizarre distorted thought process
Symptomatic of mental illness
Originated by our mother
Backed up by our father
In front of us, since we were young, our mother would attack our father
Making bizarre disgusting sexual claims with no basis in reality
My sister and I would look across the table
For our reality check
No. Where did she get these bizarre ideas?
There was no evidence for them
They made absolutely no sense
Our mother was crazy
Yes, I am heir to her illness
Anyway, after our mother would verbally abuse our father
In front of us, her daughters
With unfounded claims of disgusting, bizarre and unfounded sexual content
Content from her mind, her thought process, with no basis in fact
She would storm off to her bedroom
Leaving our father with us
Then he, our father, made us apologize to our mother
We would ask why we hadn’t done anything
Mom had been abusive to HIM
(Only later, through therapy, did I realize that it was also abusive to US, for we, as children and later as teens should never have been privy to such bizarre sexual delusions)
We just witnessed our mother’s attack
We did nothing wrong
He would respond that
She just didn’t feel appreciated
She needed our attention
He would throw us under the bus
Use us as his buffer
Not only NOT protect us, but use us
My father would join my mother in her belief system
That thought process, that dynamic
Put a wedge between the outside world and us
Between our extended family and us
My sister and I didn’t even go to our paternal grandparents’ funerals
For fear of how our mother would react
She would have considered it a betrayal
I’ve had to tread carefully over the years
As I’ve befriended my paternal extended family over Facebook
My aunt, my godmother, my namesake
She and I have spoken a few times over the years about this dynamic
I reassured her that neither my sister nor I believed any of it
We knew it was sick
I know my mother is sick and my father has joined her
I once saw a home-movie of my mother
She danced in circles around the rest of her family
I saw myself in her
Twirling rapidly around others as they simply stood still
Shit, I thought. I am my mother.
But with one major difference
I got help

Edited 8/11/16. Original version published at: http://femininecollective.com/folie-a-deux/