An Epic Memoir Writing Day: Finding My Father #3

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Yesterday, October 10, would have been my father’s 85th birthday. He died more than 30 years ago. I had not seen or spoken with my father for over eight years, prior to his death of a heart attack at the age of 53.

Last night, I finally found the courage to open the box that my dad’s half sister sent to me last December. The box my aunt sent is full of keepsakes she had cleared out of my paternal grandmother’s home when my grandmother died almost 20 years ago. The box held report cards from when my dad was in elementary school, childish artwork he made for his mom, greeting cards he sent to his mother, most of which were homemade, dozens of photographs, and my dad’s yellowed, 85-year-old birth announcement that was published in the newspaper in 1934.

There are many more miscellaneous items that I am still working my way through. A stack of electric bills from the 1930s is included in the box — their typical month’s bill was just over $1. My paternal grandparents’ marriage license is there, and a newspaper clipping about my grandfather suffering a “serious head injury” on his job in an oil field. I was never told anything about my alcoholic, violent, witchcraft practicing paternal grandfather having a head injury, let alone an injury so bad, it was written up in the local paper. But I’m thinking it could explain a lot.

Most of the items in this treasure box were my dad’s. It is surreal. Childish drawings and report cards and pictures of a tiny boy who grew up to be my father. Very, very surreal.

My father, a church pastor, was hospitalized after his arrest for almost murdering my mother when I was 12 years old. Eventually he was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and he definitely was more than one person. There was a good, loving, honorable, and righteous ‘daddy’ personality. But sadly, this personality vanished forever when I was 12.

My dad’s worst personality was abusive in every sense of the word. He was a very sick man, that’s for sure. Was he so sick that he could not help himself? Only God knows.

But 85 years ago he was a brand new, innocent baby. And then a sweet-faced little boy. Then a grim-faced teenager. Then a handsome young man. Then a husband, father, and a hellfire and brimstone fundamentalist minister. And then… he was a stranger.

For most of my life, I believed that my dad wasn’t my actual biological father. There were many reasons why I believed this, beginning with my mom taking me to meet her old boyfriend when I was five years old and telling him, in so many words, right in front of me, that I was his child. And, with all the insanity, trauma, and abuse in my childhood home, I honestly did not feel like I belonged in that family, after I reached a certain age.

But his half sister is my closest DNA relative listed on 23andMe. This discovery happened last December when she had her DNA tested, and then she reached out to me when she recognized my name as her closest match. So yes, my dad really was my father.

As I look through his childhood things, I am seeing a different side of the man who caused so much division that, at his funeral, my maternal grandmother showed up and loudly announced that my father had “ruined all our lives.”

The truth is, in my crazy, dysfunctional, narcissistic family, no single individual “ruined all our lives.” The whole truth, as usual, is far more complex than this.

Today marks the 400th day in a row of me writing in my memoir, without missing a single day. After more than four decades of trying, and failing, to write this crazy story, I started all over again at the beginning on September 7, 2018. By setting a “mini habit goal” of writing a minimum of 25 words in my memoir every day, I now have enough words to fill at least three books. And I am only up to age 13! After I finish this very lengthy rough draft of Growing Up CrAzY, I am either going to have to cut a lot of things out, or else I will publish my memoir as a mini series.

Yes, my childhood really was that crazy. I honestly don’t know how I survived it. But writing my story every single day, beginning with my first memory — a 6.6 earthquake — has been both very hard, and also incredibly enlightening. I am seeing my life, myself, and my family, in a whole new way. And now this box of keepsakes from my dad’s childhood is giving me an even deeper understanding of his side of the family.

What I am learning is not to be afraid of the truth, because truth, seen through the lens of God’s mercy, grace, and love, brings enlightenment and, ultimately, it brings healing. I am also learning that it’s true what they say: broken people do broken things. And in this fallen world, we are all at least a little bit broken.

Thank you for stopping by. Please accept my apologies for leaving everybody hanging about my recent hospital tests. Almost all of the tests came back within normal parameters. Apparently, most of my worrisome symptoms were caused by allergies, and the antihistamine my doctor recommended is helping a lot.

Kind comments are very welcome. If I don’t approve your comment right away, please understand that I am probably writing — or tearing up the miles on my exercise bike for stress relief. 😁

With Hugs and Love,
Linda Lee @LadyQuixote

In case you missed it, here are the links to my previous posts on this topic, Finding My Father, Part 1, and Finding My Father, Part 2:
https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/finding-my-father-part-1/

https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/finding-my-father-part-2/

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I highly recommend this book for changing your life and getting things done: Mini Habits by Stephen Guise.

Selfishness

This “Narcissistic Friday” post by Pastor Dave Orrison is a timely post for me! Four days ago I had surgery to remove and biopsy a cyst. Before, during, and after the procedure, I was the center of attention of about a half dozen people. Probably because I had stopped breathing during a prior surgical procedure less than two months ago, everyone seemed ultra focused on taking the best possible care of me.

I actually felt guilty for being the focus of so many people for such a long time! I really did! Even though I am a former nurse myself, so I fully understood that it was their job to take care of me, I felt like I was doing something wrong. Despite all my healing from narcissistic abuse, that’s how pervasive the brainwashing of a malignant personality can be. Having surgery, and feeling guilty for taking up everyone’s time!

Comments are closed here, please visit the original blog. Thank you for stopping by and God bless! 🙂

Grace for my Heart

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

When did it become wrong for us to consider our own needs? If you ask some people, taking care of ourselves is simple selfishness. We should focus on taking care of others, they say. Don’t worry about yourself, they say. God will take care of you. You just take care of others.

But if I can trust God to take care of me, can’t I trust God to take care of others? Why does God need me to take care of others if He is great enough to take care of me?

Yes, I believe God takes care of me. I also believe He takes care of others… and doesn’t need me to do it. Instead, He blesses me when He uses me to bless others. He allows me to participate in His work. There is joy and blessing in that kind of service, when…

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