I seriously dislike the family that I married into. They weren't like this when I initially met them some twenty two years ago, back in 1990 at the Cancer Treatment Center of Chicago. They were happy, normal people. I'm not sure what happened to them between then and now, other that random, casual sex with any willing partner they could find, extreme alcoholism, and enormous drug overdoses, addictions, self harm, heart break and failure.
We all experience one or more of those in our life. We don't all go off the deep end and start to set up the ones we love.
At least I never did.
If I had a problem with one of my family members, I sat down and talked with them. Saw their point, told them my complaint, and we worked together to compromise. But I am a sane and rational person. Over the past ten years as I tried to sit down and talk to Billy or anyone in the family keeping the fighting going, they would flip out. Name call, lie, claim exaggerated versons of my life and problems. I noticed this happened around February or April of 2002, and it's drove me insane ever since. I feel as though I am constantly walking on eggshells, that any little thing, such as the wrong juice poured at breakfast, would set off a psychotic episode.
We were all heavily medicated. Thorazine. Risperdal. Prozac. Cymbalta. Zoloft. Abilify.
We had all seriously attempted suicide, going so far as fighting others to let the sick person blow their brains out, overdosing on pills that only accomplished liver damage, or getting caught stealing barbiturates from hospitals or clinics.
We spent hour after hour in family therapy, telling a stranger why we no longer functioned as a family or even as people who could stand to live knowing the other was alive somewhere in this world.
We were suspicious of each other.
We lied to one another. Billy claimed "demon possession" when he physically beat me so bad I had a concussion, and brain damage so bad my "blue eyes turned black" or the retina was so huge because of the brain damage. Dennis claimed to have "multiple personalities" or "disassociation identity disorder," self-diagnosed, of course, and "Trevor," the oldest person in his community was the one who was the alcoholic, the drug addict, and the one who hated me and repeatedly smacked me when I "got out of order."
I stayed with this family because it was better than going back to my parents. Especially my mother. I knew if I lived there, I would relive several days of my teen years, and I never want to relive them. They are what caused the psychosis in my initially. Situations where I had to stay home from school with chicken pox for two weeks and the third week was spring break, so I got nearly a month home from school, and I was punished for it, by my mother sending my female cat to the animal shelter and made me watch euthanasia videos the entire time I was home from school. If I wanted to watch TV, I could only watch a euthanasia recording.
When I tripped, slipped on the ice, and fell into my drunken failure of an uncle, and he thought I 'pushed' him, my mother punished me for that by breaking the neck of my tom cat, the brother of the female cat who had died a year earlier. She came into my room with the cat still alive, and made me watch her break his neck. I screamed and cried in horror, but it did no good. She threw the cat, his nose gushing blood, onto me in my bed in the middle of the night, shut and locked my bedroom door from the outside.
The last episode that I remember was when I was 16 and my dogs had gotten pregnant and given birth to a total of twenty puppies. It happened while I was in college that day and she was mad that I was "wasting money" by furthering my education. I came home one day and she told me to "go clean up the mess in the back yard" I thought I would be scooping dog shit. What else could be out there that needed cleaning so badly? I got outside in the middle of December, to find both adult dogs and nineteen of the twenty puppies murdered. Slaughtered. Blood staining the dead brown grass. Pieces of meat and fur were all over the yard, as if the dogs had been run over with a lawn mower. I remember I went numb, didn't talk for months after, and that I methodically cleaned up the mess. I buried the dogs deep in the wooded area behind our house so that no one could find the evidence. I remember sitting on the swing that night, sobbing, when a lone little female puppy, the runt of the litters, came out from where ever she had been hiding, and nuzzled against me. I picked her up, stroked her, and called Billy. I told him what had happened and begged him to come get that puppy. He agreed.
My mother enjoyed abusing those puppies that I spent days after school playing with, teasing, and playfully tossing them in a pile of leaves I had raked up. I would come in from the back yard after hours of playing with the babies, covered with muddy puppy tracks on my white shirts and jeans. Leaves clung in my hair, pebbles and pieces of sandstone stuck to the sides of my sneakers. I was a mess, but I was happy and I felt alive for the first time in my life.
My mother's entire family hated me before they ever physically met me. They called me filthy names before I had ever set foot in their homes or general presence. All lies my mother told them from the day she was given me back from the loving foster man, a transexual, who was treating me good and loved me dearly. My mother hoarded dogs for years. Little dogs. Poodles and chihuahuas. She had over a hundred of them. They were not allowed out of the house. My brothers and I were not allowed to clean up their shit from the carpets, or the hardwood floors. If they shit on our beds, and that was a common occurrence there, we couldn't clean the shit off. If they shit on the table, same rule. She would clean it, when she got time. But she was usually passed out on illegally acquired tranquilisers and to this day, there is still dog shit from those dogs ground into her living room carpet. Cockroaches were so thick in there, if you left the light off to walk to the bathroom, you would step on them and leave a trail of footprints of dead cockroaches to and from where you had gone in the night.
The house had a strong ammonia smell all the way through it, and still does to this day. In 2016 the dogs and their waste will have been there thirty years. The smell would burn my throat and my eyes were constantly watering. My mother chain smoked and talked on the phone by the hour. If I dared open a window, she would nail it shut. If I tried to go outside, she would claim that "child services" would see me out there and take me away and put me in a place where I would be raped, maimed and killed the first day. She moved in a "male friend" who molested me more than once while she was on the phone. If I interrupted her on the phone, she would throw coffee mugs at me, or punch me in the head, showing off for her drunken friends who happened to camp out in our kitchen every day. When I told her what had happened, she called me a whore and a liar. To this day, she defends the assholes, even though one confessed that he did do it.
My mother would get drunk with my uncle as soon as my dad would leave for work. She would get my uncle and his girlfriend fighting by saying that she was screwing my uncle (she was; I caught them many times in the act), and they'd leave fighting. Fifteen minutes later, while I would be doing my homework, she would come in and make me go to their house with her. She could easily drive across town to their house to get in the middle of their drunken fights, but she couldn't drive me three blocks away to the school so I could participate in sports or extra curricular activities.
I learned to entertain myself, locked in that bedroom, with nothing but my note books, secret photos of my friends from school, and my collection of rainbow inks pens. In 1991, at the age of 10 years old, two months before my 11th birthday, I started my first journal. Writing kept me from going insane. I wrote down what happened at home. I wrote my fantasies, I wrote poems, I wrote plays, I started taking the journals to school and write there. I would write how the kids would make fun of me because I constantly smelled like cigarette smoke and dog piss. Sometimes the first ten or so exhales I would do in the clean school air, was pure second hand smoke that I had inhaled the seventeen hours I had been away from the school. By the time I was fifteen, I had been prescribed all the breathing pills, inhalers and even oxygen known to medical science. In 2003, when I went to the doctor I now go to, he asked me if I had worked in a coal mine all my short life.
My father, who worked from 3pm until midnight every night, seven days a week, never witnessed what had gone on there. When I tried to tell him, on the rare occasion that he would ask me where the bruises or cuts came from, I would tell him. But he never believed me. I told teachers, they laughed it off. I told my family doctor, he did not believe me, either. I told every adult I came across when I was away from my parents, and they failed me. I was never removed from that environment. Living there was worse than when Dennis' family was feuding, as my mother was not afraid to hit me repeatedly. I remember times when her drunken friends had to pull her off of me because they were afraid she was going to kill me. I used to go to school in the mornings after, with vision that was still blurry from the blows to my head, a broken wrist, or the swollen face that was painful to move.
I cried for help so many times during those days, and no body came.
I don't know if it was because they enjoyed me being abused or didn't believe I was, that I was just bruising myself, from age six until fifteen, to lie and get my parents in trouble, but there was never an investigation. There was never even a phone call. It was just me against the biggest bully in the world, and there were many times that I didn't think I was going to survive.
I always turned to Dennis' family to get away from my own. It was better than what I had, even though Dennis has his own horror stories to tell. I always dreamed of running away from my home and going to live with them. The past five years, I longed to get away from them. It's a vicious cycle that one can never fully recover from. When I tried to run away, my friends would tell my mother. There was hell to pay when I got home.
Dennis never told. We used to hang out in the crawl space above my mother's house while she was drinking, doing tranquilisers and screwing my uncle, and entertain ourselves. Sometimes that involved lighting the antiqued glowing candles and pretend to be doing seances, or we'd light them for the warmth. The crawl space was freezing in the winter and late fall months. We would talk or read, or I would write in my journals while Dennis would rummage through old books and magazines.
All in all, it was abnormal. The story of my life.