Tues. 3.01.94: Receive 1st issue of NY Law Journal. Bonarti receives copy of harassment complaint and says he'll deny everything. Thurs. 3.03: Call Aide Judiciaire. Mr. Meykuchel says I'm not eligible because I'm too rich. Refers twice to art. 6 of AJ regulations. Says that AJ is for poor people, raped women... Refers to my phone bill and lingers on the phone. Fri. 3.04: Jose (super) plasters holes in bathroom that he had dug before last Xmas to look for a leak. Terrible stink was coming out of these holes. He replaces shower curtains with clear ones which show all the plaster work. Wed. 3.09: Receive letter from AJ. Registered with return receipt. Law Journal not received. Thurs. 3.10: Receive copy of letter from AJ. Both letters dated Feb. 21, and both mailed March 3. Meet painter Robleto outside building. He has moved here. Play new song on the guitar: Wrap your troubles in dreams. Practice besame mucho. Fri. 3.11: Law Journal not received. Play the guitar. I must concentrate on making a demo tape no matter what happens. Voice and guitar finally are (almost) seamlessly knit together. Better pronunciation of end consonants, better sense of breathing. Sat. 3.19: Today's the day my siblings and mother get together in Emalleville. I already told my mother I wouldn't go. Now I'm perfectly conscious that the thought of being with my family instantly provokes a physical reaction: I can feel it in the solar plexus then diffusing outwards. I can feel my upper chest collapse so the lower part of my lungs is cut-off from the exchange of air and I can feel my lawer jaw pull back and my throat lock shut. Very bad for singing. As I became fully aware of my physical reaction to the thought of being with my family, my emotional development and acquired strength allowed me to fully aknowledge the intensity of my fear of them and it is by analyzing my fear that one by one the instances of physical, mental and emotional abuse returned to my memory and that I was able only then to understand their full meaning, their devastating impact on me. At the same time this process was taking place in me, external events taking place in the present confirmed my conclusions. They hadn't changed. They were still harassing and abusing me, only now they were doing it in a way that fit the present circumstances. Now the distribution of my father's estate provided the ideal theatre for new refinements of cruelty. They had tried to manipulate me - and had succeeded to a certain extent. When I realized that my mother was engaging in extorsion with me I put my foot down. I had finally found the name of what she was doing to me. First I had identified fear for my physical safety, and now I was dealing with the specifics of extorsion. For three years I couldn't put a name on this particular kind of pain that one feels when subjected to extorsion. It's a wringing pain that one feels very deep inside. What is being wrung I believe is the core of one's being, this structure upon which our whole life is built, made of our basic assumptions. We assumed that our parents would give us what we needed. It seemed only fair, after all they had brought us there and they had all the power. We assumed that they would be just and wouldn't abuse their power and the opposite happened. When one realized that our basic assumptions are given the lie, then we think: "So I was wrong! I assumed this and something else happens that is the opposite of what I expected. I assumed that my mother would not resort to extorsion and I was wrong. Therefore there's something wrong with me." Of course before I determined that what she was doing was wrong, I assumed that I was the one who was mistaken. And it made me feel ashamed because my assumption was that I had a certain value and by their actions and behavior, my parents made me feel that I had overvalued myself, and being aware of the sin of vanity, I was ashamed to be exposed as thinking too much of myself. Shame was followed by submission. This wound is so deep that it gives you a view of how deep the human psyche is, and it gives you vertigo and you're scrambling on the crumbling edge not to fall into the abyss. And all this happens inside of you, when you look at the outside world nothing has changed. People go about their business as if nothing happened and it makes you feel very lonely. You'd never thought any exchange of words in writing or by telephone, something that nobody can see, could result in any pain like that. There is no blood-dripping blade yet there is a carnage in your psyche. You look around and everything looks normal. The room is in its usual state. No upturned furniture, nothing broken yet somewhere in you there is this feeling of ransack and devastation and you think you're about to go nuts because it's all in your head. Extorsion by someone unrelated is bad enough, but when it's your mother doing it to you, it's two kinds of torture at once. When you know that she's enjoying every minute of it, it's agony.I swore to myself I woul never again speak to her unless I taped it. Fortunately I had distanced myself emotionally but still, I had some threads of hope left that she would show some decency. But when I realized that she was using all her power to destroy me, I was forced to conclude that she is morally totally depraved. When the graphologist had said that she would stop at nothing it was to be taken literally. In fact she had been trying to make me commit suicide for over twenty years as far as I can remember, by having my first live-in boyfriend play Mahler's Kindertotenlieder. All the assaults, rapes and other physical an emotional violence that she had committed against me aimed at driving me to suppress myself. So I knew that she wanted me dead. Several times in the recent past I had found myself in situations so desperate that suicide looked like the only relief. But until december of 93, I was not ready to put all the elements together. Besides I was missing the centerpiece of the puzzle: the memory that my accident had been an attempted murder. When my mother attempted one more time to extort my signature, causing me this excrutiating psychic wound, it's the degree of evil that was the common thread between her present behavior and the attempted murder. If she was capable of torturing me on the phone, it must be her who engineered my "accident". Besides the motive stared me down, so huge I had never seen it all this time. Greed. But greed was not the only motive. My mother knew that I was no longer blindly in quest of her approval like I had been during my first thirty years. She knew that I no longer regarded her as a role model and that I questioned her past acts. Because she had infiltrated all my contacts, including the psycho-therapist I had seen for two months, she knew that I was aware of some of the damage she had done me. So another motive to suppress me is that I am a witness. If my siblings are deluded and believe that co- operating with her for my destruction is the right thing to do, I am personally not convinced that it would be the right thing for me to commit suicide, but I know that my demise would infinitely relieve them all. I prefer the misery they inflict upon me as long as my mental, psychological and ethical integrity is not compromised. I believe that my siblings made a fool's choice. What belongs to them by law, they have to conspire, to steal to lie and to kill to get it. Sometimes I wonder how it's going for them. How the politics and the power-mongering that rule the relationships in my family influence their happiness. They may have the trimmings of happiness, cars, homes, comfort, they may have the reassuring rituals of family gatherings, even if these turn into meetings in the crime-family vein. They may have money to indulge their passions, but I wouldn't trade any of that against my condition if the price is such a loss of integrity. Try as they certainly do to rationalize not only that murdering their sister is the right thing to do, but also that joining forces my mother and the six of them (not counting the people outside the family whom she bribes) against a defenseless woman is defensible. What do they tell themselves about me to feel the hatred necessary to perform their evil acts? What horrible lies about me did my mother make them believe? Can they really believe these lies, or do they know deep inside that, having not heard my side of the story and in the absence of evidence, they cannot take as fact what my mother tells them about me. It is an important aspect of my mother's violence, that she forces her children to delude themselves, because they cannot face the alternative. After you've deluded yourself, you're not the same even if it doesn't show on your face. I believe that like me, they are reluctant to consider the alternative: that my mother is a liar, a complete fake, and that behind the good intentions which she swears motivate her, she is a very evil woman. If their delusion about our mother reveals itself for what it is, then the whole edifice of their life collapses from the foundation. The problem is that when you realize that the edifice has a structural flaw, you are naturally disinclined to accept the fact that all you've put into it was for nothing. You want to make it work and delude yourself into thinking that you can fix the flaw somehow because you want to keep what you've built so far. When I realized this structural flaw myself, it was the year before I left France. I realized that my assumptions were wrong, I looked at people around me who were not burdened like I was by the guilty knowledge of being a fake. I knew that if I continued adding stones to my building which I knew was flawed at the base, it would turn out bad somewhere along the line, and probably worse than it was now, and I would have spent all thes additional years and there would be less time to fix the problem. Even before a big problem would happen, I would know it would happen. Maybe I would find some succes and I would think I had beaten fate, but fate would take revenge of my hubris and strike me at the time I least expected it, and this time I would lose control of everything. My very life would be in the hands of someone who would ultimately betray me and precipitate me into the abyss. But what I wanted was on the contrary to gain control of myself. Only this could make me feel self-confident. My life was totally out of my control and if I wanted to live I had to become my own boss. When instead of self-control you opt for being controlling, your feeling of dependency on people is reinforced by the addiction to the potent chemicals released in your bloodstream by this emotion. Going one step further, one could say that one's behavior is triggered by a craving for the special high that one gets from an emotion. In light of this, I could say that being a junkie for an emotional-chemical high could drive some people into behaviors likely to bring about a situation where this high will be felt. Maybe my mother, by trying to destroy me, is attempting to deny her own feelings of helplessness. I was reflecting while walking on Broadway that people's destiny was to slay their assigned dragon, no way around it. If you bribed your dragon instead of slaying him, he would be quiet for a while and just when you reached the finish line, he would snatch you up and swallow you. And the situation you had tried to avoid all your life was the very result of your misguided actions. My mother who is controlling to the point of having me under constant surveillance and denying me any privacy might end her days herself under stricter surveillance herself. Would I testify against her and send her to jail? Actually my gut feeling is yes. My gut feeling tells me that she is dangerous to my life and limbs and as long as nobody controls her she'll keep at my destruction and put into it all her resources in money and people, and that means a lot of both. But that's only one half of the equation. The other half is that while she avails herself of money and people, she deprives me of them. She puts me in a state of powerlessness which is not only painful on the material side, but is also a profound humiliation, as I am being prevented from being self-sufficient. By infiltrating my work and sabotaging it, she violates my basic human right and deprives me of dignity. One of the reasons she does this is not only to maintain a situation where I have to beg from her, it is also to lead me to believe that nobody likes me because I'm not likable and that only she, because she is my mother and it's her duty to do so, is able to love me. She feels threatened by me for just being. I am everything she isn't. I identified with her only positive side, music. Unlike her I hadn't married and given up a career and she feels insulted that I didn't take the same path she did. But my mother was not the only woman I admired. There had been scientists like Marie Curie, novelists, painters and other great women who were part of our French culture, and if these women were accepted and admired by our culture, why should I be denied the chance to at least attempt to be great. And I couldn't keep living with that knowledge and not acting on it. I tried to figure out what would happen if I kept going. I couldn't fathom what the actual consequences would be down the line, when I became an older woman, but I knew that nothing good could come of my life if I did not undo the crooked construction stone by stone and start all over again. So I know what it must feel like for my siblings to keep going even though they know that the premises or their logic are wrong. Because there is a part of them that they cannot deceive, they must be constantly at work subconsciously to smother their knowledge of wrongdoing with new rationalizations but the constant effort must be draining them. I had been shocked by Franois assertion that you could do anything you wanted if you did not get caught. How can an intelligent human being abandon his fate to such a big if? After all things happened that one couldn't control or plan. Acting according to this philosophy seems so unwise, when self-reliance, the only alternative, leaves much less to fate. In order to become self-reliant one needs first to realize that it doesn't take more work than manipulating people to reach the same ends. And like in the chinese wisdom about teaching a hungry man how to fish, once you knew how to do it you could do it over and over again, when manipulating people was never guaranteed to work a hundred percent, you had to sell the idea each time, there was always the imponderable human factor that was weighing heavily in the balance. On the other hand, one great achievement of self-reliance for which I pat myself on the back is my ability to play the guitar to accompany my singing. If I hadn't learned, I would be at the mercy of an accompanist, with whom I would need to make appointments, whom I would pay, to whom I would explain my vision of things, wonder if he were friend or foe all the time. There would be the sexual thing. Was he single or married? If married, wasn't his wife going to resent and suspect me? I could better employ my financial and time ressources in learning how to play the guitar for myself. Then all the time and money saved in meeting in rehearsal space, round trips in the subway etc. I could spend it playing the guitar, doing myself what my musical sense dictated without having to put anything into words for someone else to understand, creating a resource that built on itself instead of sinking my money into an accompanist whose loyalty and commitment I could not afford to buy. But one thing that the graphologist said gave me hope. He had said that she would stop at nothing if she thought that nobody would find out. I had said "Of course, it goes without saying." He had replied "No there are some people who don't care if it is known that they did something, but your mother does it only if she's certain that nobody will find out." If my mother knew that I knew that she was behind my misfortunes, she couldn't keep on. Now they know that I have understood that THEY put a contract on me. Now I know too much. What are they going to do. Are they going to try again to ice me? When I realized that all the lawyers I had taken had been bribed by my mother to turn against me, I understood that she could buy impunity and would spare me no misery. I understood also that she was not only motivated by her hatred for me, but also by the need to cover-up her crime. The two motives feed each other like a snake biting its own tail: she has to commit more and more crimes to cover-up the previous ones. I could die or disappear and hardly anyone would notice. I would sink like a pebble in a pond, with hardly a ripple. If I didn't fight back. In the depth of my helplessness, I wondered sometimes if it hadn't been premature for me to title a chapter I wrote last summer THE TURN AROUND. In fact the situation only seemed to have deteriorated. But then I realized that it had been wise of me to file a lawsuit against the locksmith in Small Claims Court and a complaint against my landlord at the Human Rights Commission, because in case I died in suspicious circumstances, there would be a paper trail. There already was the estate paper trail, then there was the personal injury paper trail, and if anything happened to me my complaint of harassment and trespassing against my landlord would make him a suspect. Self-reliance and creating an abundant paper trail were and still are the only means of fighting back at my disposal. The more public I make the issue, the harder it will be for my enemies to harm me. As long as I suffered in silence they could act in total impunity but if I start making a ruckus, they'll be overcome by shame and will have to stop, if the bogeyman doesn't take them away first. Fri. 3.25: I finally found why my computer was turning off. It was the cable connection behind the CPU that had gone loose. The cat did it. She's been spending time in the window and to get there she has to pass behind the apparatus and must have squeezed against it a number of times. So there is no foul play there at least. So I'm staying home most of the time but I look at the many bright sides. First there is the beautiful sunlight that illuminates the place when the sun reflects in the windows across the street around 8:30am, then around 3:30pm there is another reflection on other windows and around 5 the sun is in direct view. Even if the place is ugly the light is beautiful. Then I think about people who have a job but who have no guarantee to keep it. They hate the office but if they're laid off it's even worse. I'm glad I'm not one of them. I'm glad I'm not a single mother although I love children. I always knew that bringing more children into this family was a bad idea. I'm glad I don't have to take the subway every day and I'm glad I don't have a man. I don't think any man could possibly fathom the suffering I have gone through and still endure. I don't think any man could understand and make me feel understood. He could only be a remote planet, and I would attempt to join him, adapt to him to gain his love, compromise my fierce and lonely peace. When I received the money I decided that instead of spending it in the attempt to get help from lawyers, Private investigators etc. -and then it would have disappeared real fast- I would spend it on living expenses only and use all the time I had on my hands to write and play music, and live as cheaply as possible by cooking my own meals. I've reached a point where I am almost totally at peace with myself and if I died now at least I would have accomplished this. I still have self-attacking compulsions but thanks to my insights, I have a better control on them. I think about how my mother taught me to treat my body, that is with hostility and contempt, and since my face is the most exposed to my attack, this is where among other places I have spent the anger and aggression that had no other outlets. Since all the healthy outlets of aggression are condemned by my family, all I have left is my body. I behave towards my body the way my mother behaves towards me. But as I realize that my body is innocent, I see less and less rationale to torture it the way I used to. Thurs. 03.24 Mail letter to Meykuchel of Aide Judiciaire in Evreux, registered with return receipt. Receive letter from my brother-in-law Theo, on the stationary of the "Institut fr Theoretische Physik der Universitat" in Frankfurt. "Dear Brigitte: I'm preparing a trip to the US in late August and I'm ready to come to New York to see you if you'd like. I'm more convinced than ever that you need help. There are precedents in my family, an aunt who lived in the US. ... If you prefer you can answer at my official address above. You can also leave a message on my answering machine at the university." I just feel it's inappropriate for my brother-in-law to contact me behind the back of my sister, asking me to write him at his job and saying he would make a special stop in New York to see me. He has the nerve to say that I need help, implying that it is psychological help, when his wife my sister and all the rest of the family are deliberately keeping me in these miserable conditions. Fri. 03.25 No Law Journal again. This is the third time since the beginning of my subscription on March first. I have talked about the problem with Bonarti since the first missing. Right away I suspected that he didn't like the fact that I subscribed to this journal. Since all my lawyers have been corrupted, it's really a waste of time, energy and money for me to look for a new attorney. So in order to obtain legal information without the risk of the human factor, I subscribed to this journal and I have been receiving at home precious legal information. It's understandable that my landlord wouldn't like me to know my rights. The first time I talked to him about not receiving my issue, he looked searchingly in the distance as if he were trying to figure out what it looked like and I described it to him half knowing that he was just pretending, caught in his pretense of having never heard about or seen the New York Law Journal. He said he believed he had seen it in the office, which raised my hope, but then he said he wasn't sure whether it was today's or a previous one, which crushed my hope. Then he said that it happened to him too, not to receive all the issues of the magazines he subscribed to, and that he had cancelled his subscriptions. I said I couldn't do that since the Law Journal is sold only by subscription. When I talked about my missing journal for the second time, he said again that he had cancelled his own subscriptions. So that's what he wants me to do. Cancel my subscription. He thinks that just because he does something I'm going to want to do the same.
MARCH 1994 - 1/2
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