Many readers have asked me to tell more about who I am. My blogs relate a lot about how I work through things, but I guess they don’t reveal much about who I am, depending on how you define that. Who I am today is not who I was before I recovered from the effects of abuse. So maybe I’ll start by talking about who I was that led me to who I am. 😊
I will not give away many details in the book but will just briefly tell what was going on that was visible to the outside world and then tell you what was going on inside.
As many of you know, I was abused as a child by my father. We moved ten times before I graduated from High school while my father moved his way up the ladder. He was well educated, had a PhD, and was referred to as Dr. Humbert. He was the superintendent of the public schools and was well know and liked in the community. He was careful not to leave marks that could be seen or break bones. His physical and verbal abuse was terrible. It was not until I was in high school that he lost control when battering me with a board and left many visible marks. The school principal questioned me about what happened, and I told the truth about what went on behind closed doors. He was shocked; my father was his friend.
Not long after that, my father was the superintendent in a different school system. A while later, he ran off with his secretary, and my parents got divorced. At Last! A little late for me; I was 17 and ready to break out anyway.
As a child, the only place of peace I could find was on the floor of my closet. When I was disturbed, I would sit on the floor and hug my knees close until I felt at peace and could control myself.
I just barely graduated high school. I was so traumatized most of the time that I could not focus on schoolwork. I tried to go to college but was not mentally ready for that and ended up trying to end my life. Of course, I failed. 😊
I managed to get some low-paying jobs. I was a carhop for a while and eventually worked my way into some better positions. I shared an apartment with a girlfriend. That is what happened right after my short stay in college.
With all my fears of men, I did meet a man I trusted. He lied to me, used me, and when he was done, he stranded me in another state far from my home. My mom sent me money and rescued me.
Then I met and married another man. He was an alcoholic. After almost ten years and a couple of traumatic incidents and leaving him seven times, I divorced him.
Then I married again, and this time I really thought I was in love. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic, paranoid, with an eccentric personality. I sure know how to pick them. ☹ I was in my thirties and was told I had about a one percent chance of conceiving a child, and after three years of marriage, we had a daughter. We should have named her one percent, but we called her Darchele. 😊 Half of Darrow and half of Michele. When she was almost four, I divorced Darrow. I no longer felt Darchele, and I was safe.
I never married again as I felt I had poor judgment when it came to love and married for the wrong reasons but continued to make bad choices.
Like many of you, I was multi-faceted, like three people in one. On the outside during the day, I worked. I even worked myself into some surprisingly good jobs. I spent seventeen years in banking. I started as a teller and worked my way to assistant manager, then into internal auditing, and was an operations officer. Then I spent forty-one years in Purchasing and inventory control. I also created Crystal Reports and audited the computer system for four companies owned by the same man.
While at work, I appeared to be competent, well-adjusted, and happy. So, it seemed, but under it all, I was full of fear. I feared anyone in a position of authority. I was terrified of making mistakes and what the penalty would be. Living with constant anxiety is very stressful, but I had to put up a good front. I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on with me.
Outside of work, I was a different person; I was a mess. I was not a big drinker at that time, but I hung out in bars looking for love. What a laugh. With all my fears of men, I still wanted one. I wanted to feel loved, but I was not finding it sitting in a bar. Of course, there was a lot of sex, but no love.
I had this constant battle going on in my head. The good me and the bad me then came the mentally disturbed me. I hated myself; I was ugly, worthless, no good; who would want to love me. But I kept trying. I was always afraid that those I worked with would see through my cover to who I really was. This fear caused me to move and change jobs frequently. I had moved in my adult life twenty-eight times by the time I divorced my second husband. And seven more times from 1978 to 1985. That was when my life started to change. I moved three more times. Five years in the next place, fifteen years in the following location, and finally, sixteen years where I live now. That is forty-eight moves in my lifetime. BUT I found that you cannot run away from who you think you are.
In 1975 when Darchele was born, I knew I had to do something. I wanted her to have the life I never had, a good one. I was afraid I would be like my father, but I was not. I wanted to protect her. But how was I going to do that with all this craziness going on in my head? I started in therapy when she was about four. By the time she was seven, I had started drinking. At first, I went out with friends, then my sitters, mother, and stepfather moved to another state. Then we lived alone, and I could not afford a sitter, so I would drink alone at home. I started after work every day, and ate, and slept little. The therapy was not helping that much as I could not tell the therapist what was going on. I was even hiding from whom I was seeking help. Keeping everything bottled up inside, I felt like I was going to explode.
That was the worst time in my life. The confusion and the self-hatred were tearing me apart. It seemed like every attempt I made to make life better failed. I would sit alone at night drinking and writing letters to my therapist, telling him my deepest darkest thoughts. Of course, I never mailed them but kept them, and most of them are in my book. For those of you new to my blogs, my book is not yet published. Soon, I hope.
While this was going on, during the day, I worked, as usual, strong, efficient Michele, but I was starting to fail. My boss began to notice that I was losing weight and did not seem to be taking care of myself as usual. It felt like everyone was looking at me and could see that awful person I was. I wanted to hide. My boss, with whom I had developed a friendly relationship at work, suggested I go home and call my therapist, which I did. The therapist suggested I find someone to watch Darchele while I got myself together. The only person available was my stepbrother, and he said he and his wife would only take her for a day.
My stepbrother gave me some money and told me to go out and get a decent meal. I did and went to the spa with my neighbor, and while sitting in the steam room, something happened to me. I felt like I was being cradled in some warm, loving arms and was suspended someplace not on this earth, and that everything was going to be okay. Looking back, I believe that I had somehow connected with God. After my appointment with the therapist the next day, where I finally shared some important things with him, my life started to very slowly turn around. It did pick up speed a couple of years later.
I do not know how I made it through all those years. There were many times that I wanted to end it all, but after Darchele came along, I could not do that to her. She saved my life. She made me want to be a better person. There were times when I felt I did not do right by her, but she said she had a good life. I hope so.
After seven years with the therapist, I gave him up when I started to attend church. I have to say that the seven years in therapy kept my head above water, but it was my newfound understanding of God and my relationship with Him that lifted me right out of the water and changed my life.
In the years that followed, after discovering God and applying all the techniques I talk about in my blogs, the good me, the bad me, and the disturbed me merged into one well-adjusted, happy person. My fears have all fallen away. I have no more crazy, confused thoughts; I am the same at work and after work. I have finally accepted that I am God’s child. That poor abused child does not exist anymore. The spiritual child, my essence, has always been safe in God’s care, waiting for me to come home.
I felt like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable. At his lowest point, he found his way back to the father and was forgiven all his sins.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. …And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. …For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:16, 20, 21, 24)
I pray that any of you who are still struggling will find your way home. God is guiding you on your journey, listen for His voice; he is waiting with open arms.
“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Ps 19:11
Much love, Michele