The Amnesia Memoirs and Diaries
November 1994 - 1/3
Wed. 11.02: I realize my mother has educated me in the most antisocial way: manipulating my emotions, particularly guilt and shame, deliberately creating situations that were emotionally damaging to induce neurosis and delinquency, so that I would always need her and stay in her power so that under pretense of helping me she would harm me further, destroying every project that led to my independance, making of me a social outcast.
My parents saw me as morally defective from the time I went to kindergarten one day without underwear. From this incident my parents concluded that I was a sex pervert and no matter how harshly they treated me from now on, my crime was too great to purge.
But this does not explain why they treated so badly
beforethis incident. I mean in July of 55 when we moved from Paris to Annecy, I was 2 1/2 years old and mother was seven months pregnant with Veronique, and she was doing the moving by herself with the help of the truck driver.
Now my father opened his electric appliances store and my mother helped him in the store, and while my older sisters were in school I was left alone in the apartment, sitting on the floor without a toy to kill time with. The only thing I could do anything with was mom's pair of adult-size scissors, that were very dark with patina and some rust spots. These were her all-purpose scissors. She used them to cut anything around the house including our hair and our fingernails. She had four then five little girls and she never invested in a pair of baby scissors! Instead when she wanted to cut my fingernails and I saw the big black blades snipping my tiny nails and felt the cold metal against my skin, I was deadly still, afraid that if I moved my mother would cut my finger off. She also used these scissors to cut our hair, except Elisabeth's because being blonde, she had a right to wear long hair. But Agnes', Sophie and mine, she cut herself. I remember looking at her while she was cutting my bob. She put her tongue in one cheek and moved it and bit slosly on it. She looked at me just above my eyes and she never looked me in the eyes, except maybe when it was over. Generally she did this haircutting before an identity photograph was taken, or before an important event. That's why on all the photographs, particularly the ID ones, it is very noticable that my bob is grossly irregular.
She never asked my opinion about hair style. If she had, I would have told her that I hated feeling hair on my forehead. The only time when I could keep my hair off my forehead was in the evening, at the time of undressing. Then I would keep the neck of my sweater just where a headband would have been and for a few moments I didn't have the ticklish feeling.
Later mother never taught me about hygiene, even less provided the toiletries and instruments for self-care. I don't even think it is she who taught me to brush my teeth, and this was not before I was about 7 years old. To the contrary she taught me to despise, neglect and disrespect my body, as if the body was the bad part of a person, worthy only of contempt. But she didn't like my mentality either since she punished me, frustrated me and deprived me all the time under pretense of correcting my mind and behavior.
To go back to the scissors, I had watched her use them, and she always left them lying around within easy reach. But they looked very mean and I was afraid to use them when I was alone. I knew I could injure myself and if I did, mother was one flight of stairs down and several doors away. So I didn't touch them.
But when mom was around, I used them to cut houses from cardboard boxes. I cut doors and windows and dreamed of a happy family life inside. She never forbade me to play with her scissors. And I never injured myself.
But it was not enough to be left alone at 2 1/2 day after day, with only a lunch break during which mom was on a rush. When I heard her step approaching in the hallway I vibrated with longing and happiness but I was always disappointed because when she came in she never looked at me first, and I followed her with my eyes, waiting for the blessed moment when she would deign to pay attention to me. But sitting on the floor, I saw her feet much more than her face. This might be the origin of my passion for shoes. The shoe is a mother symbol, and the sensual pleasure experienced with a good shoe compensates for the sensual deprivation when instead of being in my mother's arms, I was alone sitting on the floor.
Plus there was the fear of gas. I had heard my mother talk to my sisters about how one could get asphyxiated if the pilot light in the water heater was blown off. The gas filled the room and you could die. So when I was alone I was afraid that the pilot light would stop burning and I would die and I climbed on a stool to check the light several times. The little blue flame looked very menacing to me. It told me "I could disappear any time and kill you". I solved the problem by going out on the balcony that looked on the courtyard. From there I could see the back door of my father's store and I spent hours staring at it in the hope that my mother would appear. This rarely happened.
I know I had no toys because I was always looking desperately for something to play with. There were little brushes to clean the electric razors, and tiny flashlights but no batteries to make it work. In the back of the store there was a small room in constant chaos, and in the back of that room there was a tiny loft that could be reached with small wooden steps. The size of the place was good for me but it was filled with preprinted forms, with carbon and copes and it was not something I could play with. So even in the store, although I was with my parents, I was bored out of my mind.
My sisters who were going to school got a lot more attention than I did. I looked forward to going to school just so my mother would find me worthy of her interest.
But when the day arrived I was not prepared to deal with other children my age. Four years make a big difference at that age, but I don't remember any allowance was made for me and I was expected to follow orders as competently and as fast as my oldest sister. And since I was neither as fast nor as competent, I was made to feel ashamed and inadequate. In kindergarten I think I was fearful and withdrawn because I was unaccustomed to people not playing power plays with me. The lack of aggression threw me off. I was already accustomed to be the underdog, and without at least one top dog I didn't know how to relate with children my age. In the absence of a hierarch, I was lost. Even the teacher seemed very strange to me. What? A soft voice? And she gave us fun things to do? What kind of a place was that?
I expected that my going to school would make me more interesting to my mother, but instead of getting more of her attention I got even less: now I had to dress by myself in the morning, and fast. Overnight I passed from being left alone for days on end to a regimented schedule. After doing nothing for months, every minute was filled with things to do, and at home things had to be done fast, and there was no way to alter the program. You had to pay attention to the orders and execute them immediately. There was not much time to play at home, and even then, games were organized and you had to follow rules, there was an authority in everything. From my entrance in kindergarten, I was expected to be autonomous, I was expected not to need my mother. The worst part was that I had to dress by myself. This made me feel very lonely. She could have taught me to dress myself before school began, but no, everything new came at once. I knew my mother was exasperated to have to tie my shoelaces every day.
Before entering kindergarten I was toilet trained and this was accomplished by inspiring in me a burning sense of shame about my caca and about this region of the body concerned with elimination.
So when I became unable to take the tension and the loneliness of my new kindergarten life, I wanted to send a message to my mother that she should pay more attention to me. But I couldn't just speak to her since she was not paying attention. And when she was silent and not occupied, which was rare, what with the new baby, there were often these two vertical furrows above her nose that made it clear it was the wrong time to ask anything.
It had to be an adult who would tell her to pay more attention to me, I concluded. And the adult who could do it was the sister at school, but how would I convince the sister to tell my mother? That was the question, and the answer came: if the sister found out that I wasn't wearing any underwear, she would certainly draw my mother's attention to it and my mother would pay more attention to me. Since the body parts covered by panties are so shameful, my bare buttocks would make a scandal. So one morning I didn't put my panties on and went to kindergarten. I had not planned how the sister would find out that I wasn't wearing any panties. I just hoped that she would find out accidentally in the course of the day. But I had not anticipated how uncomfortable it was to sit on a wooden chair on my bare butt. Plus I was cold and I knew I wouldn't be able to tolerate the cold and discomfort as long as it would take for the sister to realize. So at the first morning recess, in order to put an end to my misery, I went next to the bathroom door, stood against the wall and lifted my skirt to show that I wasn't wearing any panties. Some children saw me, and other children, wondering what the other ones were looking at, came to see too. When the sister arrived the whole class was looking at me with my skirt lifted, and I felt the excruciating pain of having to expose myself in such a shameful state just so that my mother would pay attention to me. But I knew deep inside that the shame was more my mother's than mine, because she would be ashamed when the sister would tell her I went to school without wearing any panties. If I could go out without panties on, it was the proof that my mother didn't pay enough attention to me.
But all I gained for my trouble was that before we would go out in the morning, my mother would check if I was wearing underwear with that disapproving frown on her face. She never told me anything about the incident, but I felt that she was seething. From then on I was branded as morally defective, and it gave an excuse to my sisters from tormenting me even more. Maybe this was the incident that gave my mother the excuse to have the dentist drill my teeth.
It is by default that my mother encouraged my sisters to torment me. It's because when I complained to Mom, she didn't comfort me, restore justice, take my side, admonish or punish my tormentor. All she did was tell the culprit "T'es rosse!" (which is slang for nasty) in a tone slightly amused, and definitely not disapproving. Which encouraged my sisters to torment me more.
In fact I am sure that they perceived my mother's silent approval in her very lack of indignation, and since every child was starved for love and approval, they understood that tormenting me would gain my mother's approval and that's why they haven't stopped doing so to this day. The means have changed with age. But subconsciously, they know that tormenting me will get them mom's approval and that's what they're after. The viciousness of their attacks is an indication of their desperation. Alas, poor kids, what they haven't understood is that there's no love to be had from my mother, and no matter how hard they try, they will never receive from mom that sense of validation that gives the soul peace and comfort. They will keep trying as long as they don't realize that love at such price is not worth pursuing. They can't face the reality that mom is a monster.
Because the rivalry about looks and talents alone doesn't explain the incredible deviousness and the malice that enter into their schemes.
It's only today that I realize that the woman with the Nile green sweater at Henri Bendel's a month ago was dressed with the same clothing I owned in my days of nothing-to-wear. I owned a nile green sweater, and when I was a bicyle messenger I wore the same navy sweat pants and I wore sneakers. So now that I could afford to buy decent clothes, just minutes after I had invested in a gabardine trench-coat by Aquascutum, this woman was here to remind me, in the luxury of Henri Bendel, how I was dressed when I was starving on my bike. And this Nile-green sweater, the only time I wore it as a top was when I had dinner with SB for the second time in the spring of 91. Coincidence? I'm still wearing it, but as under or night wear. It's a thin rayon knit, not a wool sweater like the woman at HB. So either she knows that I wore it when I had dinner with SB, or she knows the color of my underwear.
Thur. 11.03: I have become aware of a few more schemes because I have obtained the key to the scheme of all schemes. Once I have understood that, all the mysteries and trauma of my life unravel, and the thread everytime leads to my mother. She is the only one who knows me intimately enough to trap me not only through my human foibles, but also through the part of me that is noblest: my generosity, my compassion, my love of children and animals, my love of beauty in all its forms, my artistic gifts and interests, my wide-angle curiosity and urge to communicate to people the riches I feel inside me, and my hunger to absorb the potential riches of life, and my willingness, and at times reckless readiness to experience strange things, to achieve my assigned purpose as a human being which is to integrate into society as a productive, positive element, whatever the occupation, and by so doing promote the survival of the species. my very ideals were exploited to motivate me to do things that were detrimental to me, by leading me astray and setting me up under pretense of love.
It's like she wanted me to believe that it was only my body that she didn't like, but she didn't give me a chance with the rest either.
To love and to work. Freud or Adler? But there is more. It's not just any kind of love and any kind of work. Both have to be something that is specific and adequate and fulfilling for all concerned, as opposed to antisocial. It's not because you have a job and are married and a parent that you satisfy the dual requirement. And if you want to offer to the world only the appearance of achievement in those domains, if all it takes to make you feel that you belong is to say that you're an employee and a parent with all the papers to prove it, you're out.
Because if the display lies about what's in store, the need to lie builds up, and where does it build up? It builds up in the soft areas, and the soft areas in love are the family life, and in the work area they are in the cash flow.
Depending on the amount of deception the person requires to make believe that the display represents the goods in store, so will be the amount of build up in the soft spots. The spectrum of behavior in this frame of mind lies between the guy who just wants to keep up with the Jones to the guy who is in "deep-cover" and displays evidence of social integration the better to cover-up their antisocial goals. That's mom.
All those incidents that were so traumatic, one way or another, now I understand why they occurred. It was not because I inspired hostility and abuse, it was because my mother paid the people secretly to undermine me. Her process is comparable to that of Sol Wachtler: she acts from the wings to make me fail so that I'll need her to rescue me. And then I'm at her mercy. Ot she can reject me. She's a tough spider. I'm a scorpio and she's a spider. Yes, she's a spider. The key to the success of the spider is to weave a web that's invisible, and that's what my mom did. And every time I stumbled into her far-stretched web, she was hiding in a dark corner, undetectable, motionless and attentive to the vibrations she perceived from one of her eight legs, (the other legs being for my siblings) and ready to move for the kill close enough so many times, but always missing her prey at the last second. That's the definition of our relationship.
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