2. Psycho Mom
It started before I was born.
My older sisters claim the mother was crazy all along. From as early as when they were little kids, the mother won't speak to the family for an entire week — punishment for what? No one could it figure what triggered her silent rage.
But we all dreaded birthdays and holidays because on these occasions mother was certain to act-out.
I'm not certain when I first realized there was something askew about mother's psychology, her behavior and her view of reality. It probably had something to do with my older sisters' frequent disputes with mother and their comments about her. When I met my friends' mothers, I was often surprised by how calm and easy going they were. My mom would act sticky sweet, like the perfect mom, when others were around, but there was always something disingenuous about her pretensions . . . pretensions coupled with an offensively strong sense of moral and intellectual superiority and self-righteousness. Traits powerfully tied to the fact that mother had no friends, no one was good enough for her.
The longer mom, my sisters and I lived, the clearer it became that her "nice side" was just an act, a performance, and that she could turn and switch roles instantly, unexpectedly and unexplainably. It was only as very mature adults that my younger sister and I were to understand something of the depth and magnitude of what was going down when we were kids. As children we dreaded mother's cold touch and icy stare. We sensed her hugs and kisses were false, that there was something unsafe, predatory about her. Information that a child's mind and emotions can't adequately process. But her anger always seemed real, often terrifyingly real. How does a child process angry words like, "I curse the day you were born" coming from his mother?
It would take decades before my younger sister and I fully realized that mother saw the two of us as her "bad seed," that we were somehow her "flowers in the attic." She possessed medical knowledge and created the impression we would surely die young of some dreaded disease . . . or be crippled for life. My younger sister has huge gaps in her education because mother kept her out of school for long periods due to mysterious ailments the family physician was unable to corroborate. In later life, M. confided that she believed mother wanted the death of a child, that she wanted to experience that pain and to draw attention to herself as the mother of a child that died.
We always felt uncomfortable going on outings with mother because we never felt certain we would return home. Once, when I was about age eight and M., my younger sister about age three, mother became very upset with us for some unknown reason. I talked back and she lashed out, "How would you like it if I abandon you and your little sister in the forest like Hansel and Gretel?" By that time I had developed a very protective attitude toward my little sister.
My sisters and I were raised in such a manner that we were very na´ve, even misinformed about sex. It was only when we were in our twenties and thirties that, during a rare reunion, it was revealed that the sisters were all somehow indoctrinated to believe that the anal cavity was the "birth canal" . . and they didn't learn the truth until their late-teens.
M. was always very beautiful and mother made her into a doll, a showpiece — a device to draw praise and attention to herself. She frequently expressed her fear that "something" would happen to my little sister, that M. may be snatched and "found dead in a ditch." Yet mother frequently placed M. and I in harms way.
Read Chapter Three:
Living in a Distorted Reality
The Three Faces of Eve • Date with a Pedophile
The Birth of Rock • The Beat Generation • Rock and Roll Girls
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