Taking the step of apologizing for some of my old behavior has had a positive, mixed with troubling, result. I definitely feel as though I'm less atached to that whole experience, but I am finding myself in a very confusing place, one which I've been in before.
I've long regarded the worst period of my life to be the four years that my Father was living in Kansas. There was a lot of insanity around my family long before this period, but so much of it has its roots before I was old enough to know what was happening that it never has had the conscious feeling of pain that I experienced during this period.
Somehow I managed to skirt around this period during my work with my first therapist back in Colorado. Yes we talked about the idea that it was a hellish time, but I made certain we avoided going into any details. I first really became of how difficult this period was when I decided to enter into a process with my Dad in which we both were writing about our childhood. I was able to write about some pretty painful things during the very early years that didn't seem to have a major impact on me. Maybe because in a lot of ways it felt as though I was writing a story that happened to someone else instead of me. This is the period where a lot of my pain comes from, but it still feels as though it belongs to someone other than me.
Meanwhile, the four years of hell surrounding the divorce and his time in Kansas has been something that is like hitting a wall. Writing about this period sent me into my first ever conscious awareness of depression. For several weeks while trying to write about this period I found myself almost unable to function. It was as though I was relieving a hell that while it happened years ago still felt as though it was happening today. Ever since letting go of my old acting out behaviors I find myself write back in this same fog where I am not sleeping very well, I prefer not to eat unless forced, and I have been somewhat distance from my work and personal relationship. The pain is there and it feels real, but I cannot entirely understand why it feels so bad, and what exactly I need to do to heal it so I can move forward in my life.
Since coming to Washington I have spent some time talking with my oldest sister about some of this and she has been stunned. She had already moved out of the house and was married when this period was just getting started, and she says she has no awareness of exactly what was happening. Its kind of the story of our family. We all have a lot of pain, but it seems we grew up in such totally different worlds that we are stunned to hear what was happening elsewhere. Once again it appears to be a classic case of our pain being such a tight fit that it shrinks around us and defines our world.
I know the first time I recall being really scared in my life was the day my Father held himself up in our bathroom with a gun while briefing threatening to committ suicide. I thought this whole incident was pretty public knowledge but my oldes sister says my telling her about it was the first she'd ever heard of the incident. I'll never forget my Mother making the phone call to the police to have my Father removed from the house. The divorce was final and he was under a court order to be gone, and was refusing to obey this order because he didn't think the courts had the right to grant a divorce.
The next thing I remember is a police car pulling up in front of our house. One of my other sister's says she remembers our Father loading the gun as the cop approached the house and she wasn't sure who he was intending to shoot. I don't remember that, only the fact that somehow I knew he had a gun. My Mother greeted the cop and told him what was happening. The cop immediately ordered us all out of the house. At the time there were four kids living at home: two sisters, one brother and myself. I recall the cop talking into his radio and saying they had a man with a gun at our address. Part of me thought it was kind of cool, just like Adam-12 happening right in our living room.
My brother took our dog out for a walk to prepare the house for whatever came next. My mother, two sisters and I watched parked on the curb in our driveway. Within a few seconds we started hearing sirens and I remember one sitster jokingly comment that, "I wonder where they're going?" Soon our street was filled with cop cars with flashing lights. I remember seeing a couple of cops going running right past us as they were pulling their guns out of their holsters.
My Dad gave up almost immediately and was lead out of the house and handcuffed in front of us. As the cop car he was riding in pulled away he said with a strange smile on his face that he would be back. One of the cops talked to my mom for a few minutes, and than they all left. My sister and I decided it was best to get out of the house and we spent the afternoon at the school playground pretending as though nothing had just happened. When we came home nothing was said and the matter wouldn't be discussed in any detail for years. I knew that my dad was released from jail later that afternoon, but learned only a couple of years ago that he returned to our house later that night. My Mother said she woke up and found him asleep in their bed. He immediately left when she threatened to call the cops again.
This was just the start of the craziness of this period. About two weeks later my Dad got a job (for the first time in a couple of years) at a newspaper in Kansas. My sister and I wanted so bad to come live with him because we both felt that he was the only one who loved us and would protect us from the insanity of the family. He refused to allow it saying that he wanted the family to one day be reunited instead of further separated.
Although the job in Kansas was about 350 miles from where we lived in Kansas he made the drive over to see his beloved family every Saturday afteroon for a period of almost four years. I used to look forward to coming downstairs Sunday morning and seeing him sleeping on the coutch. It was a sign that everything was all right in the world. It tore me to shreds to see him leave again Sunday afternoon because it meant another week of hell living with my Mother and siblings. Today I understand that he was doing this for his own needs and not because he had my best interests at heart. I suppose in some ways that just makes the pain that much harder to face.
My sister and I took advantage of every opportunity we could to go visit him: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and during the summer for a week or two. In the beginning it was really fun to visit him over there because there were some really cool people that we both liked to spend time with. Even so I remember the very strange feeling of hating to be separated from my Mother and crying in the bathroom the first night after I got there. I don't really understand why but I was terrified I would never see her again.
As time wore on I became less and less excited about the trips to Kansas or even about spending time with my Dad in general. It was the summer of the third year that my sister had gone over there a week ahead of me and was waiting for me to come over that all hell broke lose. I told my Mother the afternoon that I was supposed to leave that I didn't want to go. She supported me on this for a while and we argued with my Dad that I didn't want to go. For a while he agreed although he was furious. He stormed out of the house and evidently drove around the block and pulled into the driveway. My Mom was on the phone when he came in and he just glared at me until she hung up. He was as mad as I've ever seen him when he told me that I was going whether I wanted to or not and to get upstairs and get packed. I ran upstairs in tears and packed with the help of my Mom. The week was tolerable, in that I have no awful memories of anything going wrong, but it was definitely a major turning point of our relationship.
During this time my Dad and I were doing things together such as going to Colorado State football and basketball games. In the beginning it seemed he ususally made it on time for these games. As time slowly marched long he started missing more and more games and not bothering to call and say he wasn't coming until either after the game had started or sometimes until after it was over. God that hurt because I loved going to those games so much and I thought it was my escape from the insantiy of the world. The really disturbing part is that as our relationship changed I was less and less comfortable going to these games with him. I started bringing friends and we would spend a good part of the game wondering the stadium, watching the game from a whole different section. I remember several times looking across the stadium and seeing him sitting there by himself. Even from that distance there was something that was very wrong. He seemed so lost, so by himself in this world. It didn't help matters any that he started drinking a lot at these games and I was embarrassed to have my friends around him.
I always said I understood when he called to say he would not be coming for one reason or another. I never showed any anger despite the fact that I was hurting at such a deep level as this happened more and more often. It was during this phone calls with my dad that my BPD sister told her therapist that she was concerned that her little brother was one day going to explode because when I get angry I clinch my fists really tight, pace a couple of times, and then walk away as though nothing was wrong. Lets just say its safe to say that I exploded, more than once, but in ways that did nothing to help me allieviate my pain.
In writing this I still feel as though I'm not getting at whatever it is that is causing me such pain in this period. I really don't know why this was such a painful period compared to the other insane moments in my childhood. I guess this is just another case where there is a teacher in all of these lessons that I need to open myself to in order to heal.