Voices of COHP
I hesitate to tell this story for fear of traumatizing others and condemning them to the disemboweling flashbacks and nightmares this memory sometimes causes me.
Consider this a trigger warning.
Sometimes, I think I would rather be flayed alive. It’s not difficult to understand why some kids develop a habit of cutting. Or why I’ve spent so much of my life numb.
This was just one day like many in hoarderland, but for whatever reason, this one tortures me more frequently than most.
She branded me with her sickness. The images seared in my brain always looking for a way out of the box I try to keep them locked inside. Possessed by demons trying to tear their way out like a million Tasmanian devils. Clawing me to shreds.
How many times have I just wanted a lobotomy. Or a drug addiction. Who wants a drug addiction? Thanks, Ma.
It doesn’t happen much anymore, but sometimes when I am rundown, sick, or overtired, the flashbacks hijack my brain and make me want to jump off a roof or just put a bullet between my eyes. Frantic, anything to make it stop.
To make her stop.
The nightmares come whenever they please, I am at their mercy. But my days are mostly my own. It took a little work to learn to manage the flashbacks but the nightmares are relentless.
My mother sat on the closed toilet lid, a kitty in her lap. Her breathing was very labored. She was clearly dying in tremendous pain. She had suffered an unmistakable uterine or rectal prolapse. I can’t remember if it was clear then which internal organs were protruding.
I begged and begged my mother to take her to the vet but she just made excuses. She was always full of excuses and rationalizations for everything.
My tears and begging were poo pooed away while that helpless little kitty died in agony in my mother’s lap.
That was my mother’s lap.
If only it could have been me instead.
What wouldn't I have done to spare that helpless creature that death. But I did nothing.
And then I had to swallow it.
The horror of watching my poor poor mother torture a defenseless kitty to death.
The defeat and helplessness.
The rage I still don’t know how to feel.
And go on like it never happened and didn’t change anything.
Because it didn’t change anything.
I had to go on trying to love and trust this mother.
No matter how far far away I could get, always condemned to keep loving her.
I had to ignore all the pain she caused herself, and everyone else who got close enough, or could not escape her clutches.
They wonder why we are so angry, want to force clean outs, make them get help, force them to be safe.
Did it even occur to me to call the police, to call the humane society, to call child protective services?
But why would I? It was just another day in hoarderland.
Why did I protect her for so long?
How did I pretend not to know what I knew?
Why did my mother’s suffering trump everything else?
Why were her feelings the only feelings that ever mattered?
And these people run around demanding compassion for hoarders like they are helpless, innocent children who just need more support and understanding from their mean, angry families.
Do they have any clue what they are asking?
My mother has an illness. She is not a sadist, but she might as well be. She cried for that kitty and did nothing to ease her suffering. There is too much blood on her hands.
I would do anything I could to excise the empathy, compassion, pity, love she makes me feel.
I would amputate an arm to get rid of all the horrifying compassion I feel for her.
I wish I could hate her. Yes, I do. I want to hate my own mother. Hate would be such a relief.
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