Sunday, July 12, 2009

Watching video causes flashback to painful past in Boulder

It always seemed to me that there was a kind of mafia of western outlaws in Boulder, and they could hurt you. Unfortunately I would have to number my dad as one of them. He was a great cowboy, but he was involved in too many violent criminal acts for me to think he was anything but an outlaw. I had never experienced anything like this flashback, but it was triggered by watching a very disturbing video on Inside Edition. It was of the boy's testimony about Michael Jackson that was played in court for the jurors during his trial for child molesting. Regardless of whether the charge was true or not, there was enough authenticity in it to trigger this flashback to my painful hours of trying to figure out how to stop my molester. I just could not break up this grip the past suddenly had on my mind. I tried to think of people I could call who could help me, since at the time it happened Doc would have been at his drunkest and no good in the evening. I figured my sister Ann could help but I could not get a hold of her. She had apparently gone somewhere. After about an hour and I still could not shake it, I finally went down and knocked on the man's door who had so recently traumatized us all with his meltdown in a binge of suicidal drinking. I knew he was intelligent enough to handle this persistent painful flashback and I was right. He listened to me and eventually after about a half an hour of talking to him I would say I was able to come out of it.
But it was just like it happened yesterday. Instead of 65 years ago. The perpetrator was another outlaw hired man with a terrible hatred for my dad. It was like he was toying with the idea of how much harm to do me to try to quell his resentment. Again I felt I had to handle the problem of ongoing hits on me while doing the least harm I could to my family. By the time he had stalked me every year for three years, I became determined this crime would not escalate into a blood feud that would end up in somebody's death, which I thought it very well might if I told anybody. This time I thought it was most likely my dad who would get killed. I would not have been surprised if my perpetrator had not fantasized killing him a number of times. I felt it was up to me to see that the violence went no further so what I finally came up with was a plan to deny him opportunity. Which finally worked and stopped the abuse.
But at what cost, hours and hours of miserable thinking and going over and over all possibilities. First I would consider just disappearing, then I would think that was a stupid plan, because I would surely not be better off being only 13. Running away did not seem to be a good option. But if it had seemed like the only option, I have no doubt I might have tried to put this plan into action, as many times as I considered it as a way out.
I did eventually run away from Boulder and have hardly ever returned except for a very few days at a time. My niece had asked me to come up there for a writer's workshop in October but after this flashback I called and told her I could not come this year. I had to plan way ahead of time. Getting older and with a little less strength.
The last time I went up there some bad things happened associated with the past and the outlaws. This is what I had to try to prevent by having something so big and positive happening that it could counter anything negative. I felt this would be a play, and my niece agreed. I felt my son and she both needed to study me and the past through doing this play, Happy Hello, Sad Goodbye, which I wrote more than 50 years ago. It is flavored with all I had experienced up there good and bad. The threatening stranger comes and the young girls must keep something bad from happening with him. The spirits are on guard, trying to help protect the girls. The mountain is haunted.
I went down and told Doc about it the next day and told him I had not been able to turn to him because he was too drunk. At first he was sneery about me going to the other man's door and knocking and asking for help, and said he was now my boyfriend. I said no, he isn't. That is not the right response from you. It is your fault I cannot talk to you in the afternoon. He kept calling me all day to see if I was all right, because he knows enough about my past to take serious some kind of flashback.
My niece who majored in psychology and was a counselor in high school suggested I should try to find more sources of help, but I told her at this level of medicare there are no good talk therapists. There is only drug therapy. I have tried to get those therapists before from time to time. Talk therapy is very expensive and a basic lower level plan is not going to pay for it. There just isn't enough money, so I have always had to find talented people who could handle complex problems. Doc has been one, but limited by his own addiction. This was one reason I was so upset at the other man's suicidal plunge off a cliff so to speak into his brand of alcoholism, far more lethal faster than Doc's brand.
So it will take me a few more days to get back to normal. In the meantime I am going to let other younger stronger people analyze Michael Jackson's life. This is something I don't need to do. I think we all had a reaction to his relatively sudden death too young. And as there was with Elvis and others, there will be books written about him for some years to come, people who knew him who want to add more to the information already known. And in time we will get a more complete picture. I read where his father is suspicious that he met with foul play. So there needs to be these studies of what really happened to satisfy all those who have questions about different aspects of his life.

2 comments: said...

The play, The Prince of Saturn, and the story of Michael Jackson's bizarre behavior with children certainly could have triggered a flashback of your own. That's heavy stuff..both of them. My advice is to let the subject go until you can gain objectively once more. You probably could have handled the one without all the hype of the other. Step back!
Let it go. Return another day when you feel strong.

Connie said...

Oh Gerry-I know somewhat of what you are going through..the dark memories are supressed-the best they can be..then all of a sudden out they pop and it's hard to shove them back in....back where they can be ignored..if only thoughts could be turned off and feelings set wonder you hesitate about the family prayers take another direction...


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