THRILL AND DRILL
At around age two or three, around 1956, when we were living rue Carnot in Annecy, with my sister Veronique newly born, I had already rebelled against my mother’s authoritarian, military regime. I guess she understood that I had an innate sense of freedom and self respect that made me reluctant or rebellious and she didn't like it. I remember how obedient my sisters were. I had the perception that they had already been made compliant, that an essential part of their being had been cut off. There was something terrifying about their docility. I wanted to urge them to revolt, but I felt powerless.
Still I manifested my free spirit in a way that everybody remembers: it was around Christmas time and there was the ritual of kneeling every evening in front of the creche to pray to “le Petit Jesus”. But I didn’t want to do it, I considered it an infringement on my freedom, besides I didn’t see why this baby was so important that we had to kneel for twenty minutes in front of his grimy plaster representation and parrot imposed words. What about us? Weren’t we almost babies? We were very young! We were alive, no like him! We were her own children! Why weren’t we more important to my mother than him? Why did we have to suffer on our knees for him? I felt degraded and instead of submitting and kneeling next to my three sisters, I focused my attention at the other end of the scene, which was three pairs of pink, irresistible bare little feet, sole up, and I tickled them to show my disapproval, hoping that this act of dissent would be forgiven on account of my young age. So my sisters were forced to jump and giggle. Sacrilege!
It was during this two or three year period that we lived there, that my mother took me to Dr. Capron to have my back teeth drilled. Maybe he had worked for the Gestapo under the Occupation of France by the Nazis so it was all in a day’s work for him to torture a two year old girl.
Contrary to what my mother said when I questioned her about it in my 40's, it did not happen several years later when I had my adult teeth and we were living in the country side 3 kilometers from Annecy. How do I know? Because we walked to the dentist. How do I know that we walked? Because it was the only time we walked hand in hand and I loved that, it was a thrill. Because it was the only time we were alone together. So I remember the episode, er, episodes as an exception because of that.
So we walked, in silence I remember, ten to fifteen minutes to the Rue Royale, and an overpowering smell of clove greeted us in the waiting room. We waited then were called to the torture chamber. I climbed on the huge reclining chair, was ordered to open my mouth, wide. Dr Capron reached one of the two drills. There was the slow one, that had an articulated arm with a belt that I could see moving along the apparatus when the dentist pushed on the pedal with his foot, and there was the fast one with a flexible. The fast one was a breeze, I could hardly feel it, but the slow one, that was the real meanie: as soon as the drill touched one of my teeth, I felt like a train was passing through my head because the vibrations of the drill made my entire skull vibrate through bone conduction.
Raped, overwhelmed, terrified, I arched my body so that only my feet and the back of my head touched the chair AND I held my hand out to mom for her to hold. Then we walked back to the apartment hand in hand in silence. I thought it was over for good, a one-time thing, but I was wrong. Neither the dentist nor my mother ever told me anything regarding my teeth, what was wrong with them, if I had to go back, if so how many times. What I think now, in August 2003, is that they didn’t know either. It all depended on whether I had learned my lesson. My mother expected me to make a connection between my “bad” behavior and the torture, and since there were in all four or five torture sessions, I surmise that I didn’t make the connection. The NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT didn’t take, the BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION THROUGH TRAUMA-BASED MIND CONTROL didn’t produce the expected results.
To begin with, I didn’t do anything that I felt was “bad”, like the things my sisters did to me. I never sought revenge, never retaliated, never schemed. I was just trying to live my life, discover the world, learn, experiment, play. My sense of freedom was innate and I didn’t perceive myself yet as fundamentally defective, therefore it was impossible for me to make the connection between my behavior and the torture. Even though there were clashes between me and my parents about my behavior, I considered my behavior good and my parents good. To make the connection between my behavior and the torture I would have had to know:
1) that the torture was ordered by my mother,
2) and that she wanted me to alter my behavior from good to bad, which was inconceivable since in my view she was good. Moreover, since she was torturing me under the cloak of legitimate dental treatment it was impossible for me to link these two things. And if I had actually made the connection, then I would have lost my reason to protect myself from this knowledge of her horrendous betrayal. But maybe, MAYBE, at a very deep level in my subconscious I did make the connection. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE. Beautiful, adored mother/evil, sadistic child-torturing witch. The seeds of very serious mental disease were sown. Schizophrenia? DID? Maybe she wanted me to have a dissociative disorder if she was really into mind control. I have read that this mental condition is a prerequisite to make a good mind control victim that can be used in all kinds of criminal activities (assassin, drug courier, prostitute to the heads of states, spy...) And that mind-control experiments have been made by the states since the 40's.
So the first “treatment” didn’t take and one day, out of the blue, she told me that I had to go to the dentist again. There was the thrill of walking hand in hand with her, mingled with the terror of the drill, the horrible smell, the anguish while watching which drill Dr Capron was going to use, the infernal roar and vibration in my head, the futile attempt to escape by arching my body, and then the meager consolation of holding my mother’s hand on the way back.
After the second time I lived in dread of the next time. Would there be a next time? If so when? Mom didn’t say and I daren’t ask.
* * *
I wrote earlier that “I had the perception that they had already been made compliant, that an essential part of their being had been cut off. There was something terrifying about their docility.” This proves that they were already little zombies, they were already mind controlled. I also wrote that my mother used them as weapons against me. So they tormented me BECAUSE they were mind-controlled. And I wonder whether my mother didn’t tell them the truth about what was going on at the dentist’s, and then they saw how traumatized I was when I came back and the following days, and they knew it was true, so that they were TERRORIZED INTO COMPLIANCE: they knew that if they didn’t carry out mom’s orders a similar fate would await them. They knew that the only way for them to avoid that fate was to harm me. They saw how it made mommy happy when they tormented their little sister. They wanted mommy’s love and approval, not the torture. So they surrendered their free will, their conscience, a part of their mind so that they wouldn’t be nagged by this question: “How come I have to torment my little sister to be loved by my mother?” The answer to which they couldn’t face. They were so afraid that all it took for them to obey was, who knows, a frown maybe, this fear-inducing vertical corrugation between mom’s penciled eyebrows when she was displeased... I remember how I constantly scrutinized her facial expressions to know whether I could relax or should tense up so my sisters must have done the same.
If this hypothesis is correct then I was used as an example, a convincing proof that mommy DID torture bad, wilful little girls. But if you obeyed without asking questions, then you were safe. In that case, my sisters had been traumatized I don’t know how, when I was a baby or before I was born, and traumatized again by witnessing the effects that the torture had on me. For it is well known that witnessing torture (or its effects) is a traumatic experience.
* * *
Yes, there were four or five torture sessions with Dr. Capron. But wait! You don’t think this is all my mother asked him to do, do you? How naive can you be? No! There were two more things.
The second thing was the MOCKERY: because I arched my body on the chair while he raped my mouth and tortured me, Dr Capron derided me by calling me “la pile electrique”, the electric battery. Why did he call me that? Because I knew what it was. My father sold them in his appliance store. I knew you needed one of those for the pocket lamps to work, because I had a small lamp but I never had a battery. How did Dr. Capron know that I knew what a battery was? Because my mother told him of course! It was she who told him to mock me, so I would be ashamed and would not dare to complain. Shaming me to silence me, that’s one of her favorite cover-up methods. She did it again not long ago in July 2003 when I spent a few days at her house. She wanted me to take down my website and I fought back, so she said, her voice dripping with contempt “Oh! Look at you, poor little victim! You’re all wrapped up in this culture of victimization my poor girl. It’s very trendy, I know.” And I had no rejoinder.
The third thing Dr. Gestapo did to me was I think the most evil of all three. When my adult molars grew out I saw tiny black holes, like pinpricks, on the sides of my molars. At close inspection they were not just on the surface but went inside the tooth. These teeth with the pinpricks, the molars, suddenly broke apart in large chunks and I saw that the inside of these teeth was all rotten, all black. When I opened my mouth there was a lot black and it was disheartening. I was the only one of my parents’ children or at school with dental problems. All my schoolmates had perfect, healthy teeth. Every year we had a medical check-up at school and I dreaded the moment when the nurse would ask me to open my mouth. Surely, she would order dental treatment, which I abhorred. But no! Year after year she would say “Dents soignées”, which means “Teeth treated” as if there was nothing to worry about. I was relieved that she didn’t order me to go to the dentist but at the same time I knew that the problem was getting worse and that when came the day of reckoning there would be hell to pay. My mother had made it clear that she didn’t want to hear about it. She didn’t say so explicitly of course, she only had to abstain from replying, affect this closed, stern expression and rigid body posture and I got the message. I didn’t dare to complain even when I had terrible toothaches.
Still, I went to the dentist a few times, but never enough to stop the progress of the decay on all the affected teeth. A dentist I saw in my early teens, Dr. Gavet, said that I already needed crowns on some molars because of severe decay but my father didn’t want to pay for them. That was the time when my mother introduced a nut and raisin mixture in the family called “mendiants”, urging us to eat freely of them because they were a healthy snack. My molars were so bad that I couldn’t chew the nuts.
At age 18 when I left my parents’ home the situation had worsened of course and just before my health coverage under my parents ran out I went to a woman dentist, Dr. Ratier, recommended by my godmother Alice Perret. The only thing she did was to plant her instrument into a live nerve. I howled in pain and didn’t do anything about my teeth for quite a while after that.
In my early twenties when I lived on my own, huge parts of my molars kept breaking apart out of the blue, so that only ½ to 1/3 of my tooth remained showing that my teeth were rotten to the core. Once it happened while I was eating a pastry, and suddenly there was this hard thing on my tongue. It took it out and sure enough, it was a chunk of tooth, white on the outside, black on the inside. I felt my teeth with my tongue and found where the chunk came from. A vast empty space was there now. A dentist told me that he had never seen anything like this, that he was baffled because my teeth seemed to rot FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
I was ravaged by toothaches, then had many root canal surgeries and extractions. I could never afford to take care of all the problems at the same time and be done with it. Any money I could save went to dental care. After my mother’s parents died she gave me enough from her inheritance to pay for a bridge but she begged me not to tell my siblings, meaning I was the only one to whom she gave money and it wasn’t fair, she was breaking the rules to help me, so I felt GUILTY about having a bridge made for me.
FIRST ASSAULT ON MY SMILE
The upper left bridge Dr Cazenave made in 1975 was ugly: only the outer surface of the teeth was white. Everything else was white metal and the junction between the white part and the metal occurred on the outer part. He never told me what he was going to do. I had asked for white material instead of metal, he had said that some metal was necessary but I never imagined that only the outer surface would be white. Besides, supposedly to make the bridge stronger, he used not one but two of my pre-molars to anchor the forward part, which required three root-canal surgeries for that bridge instead of two, and the destruction of two nice teeth that were very visible when I smiled. Moreover the artificial teeth were so different to my natural teeth by their color and by their shape that they proclaimed their falseness, which of course was the result opposite to the one I sought. This bridge destroyed my smile at 60%. Imagine the social handicap it caused me as a 23 year old single woman who wanted a career in the performing arts.
SECOND ASSAULT ON MY SMILE
In the summer of 1976 we had to move out of the squat where I had been living with Agnès and her two children, plus about five adults and a few children. Agnès wanted to celebrate the end of the squat with a big event or rather, several small events that would take place in different parts of Paris, all illegal. There was something to do in a cemetery, navigating down the Seine river on a raft at night, frolicking naked in the fountain at the Trocadero and a few other ideas I forgot. I wasn’t very tempted by any of them but I felt I had to do at least one thing to show “esprit-de-corps” so I chose the frolicking. There was a severe drought that summer, the temperatures were exceptional. A lot of people came out at night seeking fresh air and the Trocadero garden was crowded around 10PM when we arrived, Agnès, her new fiancé Michel Girot, a.k.a. “Valentin” or “Val”, a single mother and me.
I was surprised when I and the woman started to take off our clothes to learn that Agnès and Val would not participate. So me and the woman elbowed our way to the fountain stark naked, entered it and started splashing around and remained there for a few minutes. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be after all. I had expected more people would participate.
When we wanted to get out a dense crowd had gathered at the spot we had come from. Naked and dripping we had to make our way through all these men who ogled us. They were not the hippies, the young, the pot-smoking bohemians I had expected but another kind of men altogether. I don’t remember any one of them touching me but it was really fearsome to be naked in this dense crowd.
When we reached the spot where our clothes were I learned there had been an altercation between Val who wanted to protect us and another man. One of Val’s front teeth was chipped in the fight. He showed me. Indeed, from a few paces it looked chipped.
After that I was alone and joined a few people I knew rue des Canettes. The only bar was packed so we drank in the narrow street, made noise, the people who were trying to sleep threw water-filled plastic bags into the street and this went on for a time.
I was standing against a wall, sipping from a bottle, when a man came to stand very close to me at the edge of the narrow sidewalk, facing the street. In front of him across the street a man was making discreet hand signals and while I was drinking from the bottle the first man backed up, his head hit the bottle and the bottle chipped my two front teeth.
With my tongue I felt the sharp edges of the broken teeth. It seemed like the two inside corners had been taken out. Fortunately I knew how to drink from a bottle and only the edges of my incisors had been in contact with the bottle neck. If I hadn’t known, then it was good bye to my front teeth.
The two men disappeared then the police picked up a few of us for “tapage nocturne” (night disturbance) and we spent some time in the precinct (but nothing came of it), where I broke down and cried, nervously exhausted by the traumatic events of the night: the fear at the fountain, the anguish at my front teeth being broken, and now I was being treated like I was the one breaking the law.
I went to the dentist the next day and he used a white cement to reconstruct the corners of my two front teeth but they didn’t look the same after that. The corners were too square where they had been rounded before. The horizontal lines were too straight. Teeth are unique to an individual and even the most skilled dentist can only approximate nature. The enamel on the whole length of the right tooth had a vertical hairline break.
I tried several times to speak about this misadventure to Agnès, and every time she instantly silenced me by changing the subject to Val’s chipped tooth. Even when I wasn’t saying anything, I heard about Val’s tooth over and over and over.
She also said that the men at the Trocadero fountain who blocked our exit from the fountain were Arab construction workers, and the reason why they were not ordinary citizens was because there was a construction site not far away.
Twenty years and many crimes later, after I realized the involvement of my family to the staged “traffic accident” where I was almost killed, I understood the connection between the man who was making the hand signals across the street and the man hitting the bottle I was drinking from with the back of his head. So it had been an assault, not an accident.
* * *
In the 80's when I was in New York, when my father gave us money for Christmas, while my siblings could spend it on furniture, travel, a car, clothes or save it for a down payment on real estate, I spent the money to buy myself a bridge for my teeth, or a couple of nice root-canals.
Even after all my damaged teeth had been treated with root-canal, I continued, even in 1995, suffering horrendous pain due to UNEXPLAINED gum inflammations.
The memory of my early childhood experience at the dentist never left me. Like a few other traumatic events of my life (the gang rape in 72, the injury I caused someone in 76, the purse snatching in 86) and a few others, it was in a special file in my head called UNEXPLAINED. I knew my mind was working to make sense of these events even without conscious effort on my part. Still it didn’t hurt to ask a few questions.
Once in 1994 I asked a dentist if he saw a lot of two year olds. He said he saw a few, that sweet drinks drunk from a baby bottle or a sippy cup caused decay of the front teeth. That didn’t match my case at all and I kept wondering why my mother had taken me to the dentist when I was two or three.
Could there be a connection between these early sessions and my lifelong dental problems? Supposing there was a good reason to treat my baby teeth, how come my parents had denied me dental care in my teens when I needed it so badly?
At yet another dentist’s office (Dr Meena Shah, at 94th street on Columbus Avenue, NYC 10025)I saw a large color drawing of a child’s head in profile showing the baby teeth without roots and the germs of the adult teeth just underneath, growing and pushing their way up.
Why were the pinpricks on my molars ALREADY THERE when the teeth came out? Why did the outwardly healthy teeth with the pinpricks
break apart in huge chunks to reveal that the inside was completely rotten? Why did the dentist say that my teeth rotted FROM THE INSIDE OUT and that he had NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE? Was there a connection between these unusual events and my unusual early treatments at Dr. Gestapo?
I’m going to paraphrase Arthur Conan Doyle speaking through Sherlock Holmes. He says that when all the hypotheses but one have been eliminated, the one that remains, even though it appears farfetched and hard to believe, is the correct interpretation, the truth of the issue.
The truth of the issue is that, when I was two or three years old in 1955 or thereabout, Dr. Gestapo, ok, Dr. Andre Capron, a dentist in Annecy, Haute Savoie, upon request and payment by Claire de Nève Picart my mother, drilled into the germs of my adult molars and deposited a decay-producing agent therein.
So that was the third thing they, mom and the dentist, did to me. Now let’s look at the consequences of the destruction of my teeth:
- disincentive to smile, embarrassment, social handicap;
- the annihilation of good marriage prospects;
- promotion of antisocial behavior through the incentive to associate with other people with bad teeth, i.e. uneducated, low class, violent, drug addicts, criminal types, to satisfy the need for socializing;
- promotion of antisocial behavior through the denial of chewing as a harmless outlet for aggression;
- an incentive to have “liquid lunches” when chewing is impossible: promotion of alcoholism and drug taking and socializing with addicts;
- the annihilation of career prospects;
- activities in the public eye denied;
- barred from the performing arts (acting, music, singing);
- a vicious circle of poverty: low paying jobs-expensive treatments;
- inability to obtain loans;
- huge dental bills and estimates;
- money spent on tobacco, alcohol and drugs to compensate for psychological misery;
- spotty work history, erratic resume, poor job prospect, low paying jobs;
- a lifetime of difficulty eating;
- a lifetime of dental treatment, pain, financial hardship and worry;
- forty years of toothache (1955 to 1995);
- promotion of depression, withdrawal, loneliness;
- promotion of alcoholism, smoking and drug taking as substitutes for food, to satisfy oral cravings;
- promotion of self-aggression through the denial of chewing as a release for nervous tension;
- an easy prey to victimization through:
*flashing of perfect teeth;
*offerings of nuts;
*detailed accounts of dental treatment;
*criticism of teeth;
* being choosy about whitening toothpaste;
* dishonest dentists
. Making ugly bridges
. Making false diagnoses (gum disease, infected roots) and recommending unnecessary heavy treatments (gum surgery, extractions of bridge-bearing teeth)
. Deprecating previous dentist’s work
. Deliberately touching nerve
. Deliberately creating infection and gumboil and prescribing inefficient painkiller
. Speaking of sexual experiences
. Overcharging and extorting money, verifying that every $100 bill is not counterfeit
. Refusing to provide written estimate
* dishonest dental assistants
. Always asking “What’s your insurance?”
. Speaking patronizingly
. Speaking through mask
. Hurting mouth with saliva pump
- poor nutrition through inability to chew; impossibility to eat healthy foods that require vigorous chewing such as nuts and raw foods;
- promotion of gastro-intestinal and skin problems through poor chewing and absorption;
- risks associated with tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Cocaine overdose in 1988.
- incentive to abuse painkillers, opiates.
These are some of the consequences of my mother’s hatred for me.
There is circumstantial evidence that some dentists acted improperly at her instigation, i.e. the section above on dishonest dentists.
These dentists violated their Hippocratic oath to “First do no harm” and not content to torture me remotely my entire life through my dental problems, my mother made a catastrophic situation even worse by having the healers themselves increase my physical and emotional pain. Just like she used my sisters as weapons, she also used the dentists.
Why did my mother lie about my sister Elisabeth and my brother François having terrible dental problems? Why did my sister Veronique say that she had gum disease (pyorrhea)? Why did my sister Sophie and my sister-in-law Diane make such a theatrical fuss about their dental problems?
Who wants to hear the minutiae of dental surgery? With all my experience in the dentist’s chair, I never once thought it decent to talk about it, so why the dental logorrhea in the family, just for me? The better to cover-up my dear! My family knew that I had found out the solution of the mystery, either through Dr. Herbin who was the only person I talked to about it, or through eavesdropping on my computer in NYC (I already knew someone was doing it) when I wrote about my discovery and my <A HREF=”199606-teeth2.html”>interview with Dr. Herbin</A> in July 1994. So they embarked on a disinfo campaign when I returned to Paris in May 2002, to convince me that my interpretation of the facts was erroneous, hence all the dental tales of woe: If I thought I was the only one with the problem I would have grounds to stick to my guns, but if I believed that several in the family had terrible dental problems too, then I would quiet down, change my mind, thinking “Well, I’m not the only one so it must be normal.” Ha!