On this page, I’d like to write a few paragraphs from my book’s chapter on childhood memories. One of the things that we as adults have to do (some never do) is learn from the teaching of our parents. I was determined that if I ever had children, I would never raise them in the manner that my parents did. After I was in the institution for a few years, my one-on-one psychologist asked me to write something that had happened in my childhood that was “bad,” but then to lay it aside a day or two, pick it up, then try to find a positive element that I learned from having had that experience.
Schizo, the word itself means “split” and when I became psychotic, my world was definitely split into two distinct categories: either it was from God and “good” or it was from the Devil and “evil”…there was no gray in-between areas. I had to consciously retrain my brain into seeing the “cloud’s silver lining.” Yet, I ramble; so without further ado, let me paste a tad bit from my childhood experiences:
A primary example of injustice often came from my Dad’s obsession with cleanliness. Whenever we were expecting company over, the “white glove test” was dispatched; hide the stains and dispel the dust. Every spring, cleaning was a momentous challenge, as the mattresses got flipped; the beds were dusted; the windows were cleaned – and even the curtains were washed, along with the rods. Picture frames, the piano, and wall all received a rough scrubbing. Antiques were given special treatment as they were all dusted and the silver silverware suffered not: each piece was delicately polished by Dad’s hands. As young children, we were often yelled at to get out of the way, or we were put to work.
I believe this obsession was fostered from an even deeper conviction that contrasted sharply with their religious ideals: this being the high placement of value on materialistic things. The act of giving held lesser value than the gift itself. This created a myriad of mixed feelings which I think can be best concluded with the feeling that things were more important than us children. To illustrate, I’d like to share some specific events during my early childhood that reflect this issue.
The memory that stands out the most is what I refer to as the “Barbie-doll incident”. I was about five or six. My sister and I were playing in our room with our toys. I can remember with clarity that our door was shut and as I went from one end of the room to another, I was carrying my Barbie-doll by the hair. With my back to the door, I didn’t see my mom burst into the room; however, she immediately flew into a rage at my “disrespect” towards my Barbie-doll.
Next thing I knew, she was saying how would you feel if I carried you by the hair – then, before I could run, she grabbed me by my hair and literally picked me up off the ground. I can remember my little feet dangling in the air – my sister and I both started to cry. My Dad then came in the room to see what the problem was. She set me down and I ran into the arms of my sister, crying with sheer terror. I saw Dad place his hands on Mom’s shoulder and escort her out of the room.
No one ever bothered to come back and apologize to us. I realize now that my parents had most likely been fighting and that was the reason the door was shut. I also realize that Mom was angry with Dad and instead of channeling that anger in an appropriate way, she took her frustrations out on me. My Mother did this a lot as the reality of her unhappy relationship took its toil.
[After writing a few more examples, I discuss the “good” that came out of this type experience.]
Another trait that I consider to be “positive” came about through all the high importance placed on material things. I’m proud to say I consider myself to be a very humble person who can be content with or without a car, just as long as I have “three hots and a cot”. I’m also not the type to watch television in an attempt to see what is fashionable to wear or what the latest catch phrase is. If I watch it at all, it is generally some movie that has captured my interest. I also don’t care to watch them on television because I prefer videos or DVD’s. This way, I don’t have to worry about a bunch of subliminal messages coming out through the various advertisements.
Well, I don’t want my blogs to be too lengthy, so I’ll end with this: Once you’ve analyzed your past, be prepared to forgive and let go; otherwise, you may grow into a bitter old person that is grateful for nothing and blames his or her problems on anything and everything other than their own internal stubbornness to forgive…