Thursday, January 7, 2016

What to do About Inappropriate Man #1

Inappropriate Man #1 was, as recounted in the previous post, was a horror on Tuesday night. How to move forward is a conundrum.

As friends know, my father was a bully. He directed his frustrations at his sister, growing up, and at me later in his life. Worse: My mother instigated some of his attacks.

I hated Dad but didn’t know what to feel about Mother. She had Dad beat me but she was the one who wanted me and chose me from the Catholic orphanage. Besides, I wanted a loving mother and she was nice when things weren’t bad.

In 1974/74, the Symbionese Liberation Army abducted the American heiress, Patty Hearst. And in Norrmalmstorg (Stockholm), the Kreditbanken (a bank) was robbed and hostages were taken. In both cases, the captors shocked the world by joining their captors and adopting their values. Psychologists termed said the captors had suffered from “capture-bonding.”

Capture bonding, I felt, explained my situation with my parents. So, at age 25 I went to see my mother’s doctor to try to understand \ what happened to her. I clearly remember the day.

Her doctor welcomed me warmly. He knew why I was there; I had explained my purpose to his secretary and he had my mother’s files at the ready. I didn’t tell him any of our family history; I just said I wanted to know “what happened to her.” I explained that my father had told me nothing of her medical history. 

His response was to ask this question: “Do you want to know about her corporeal illness or her mental illness?” That’s how I found out Mother had been mentally ill.

As it sunk in, I had to reassess my understanding of our history. I felt I had to excuse her behavior with my new understanding. She’d been sick. But I still have the emotional scars of our past.

This history affects me every day.

Inappropriate Man #1 stopped taking his medications for his mental illness last September—four months ago. My walk yesterday had an agenda. I had questions to consider: Is it right and fair to allow last Tuesday night’s horror to withdraw from him? Or should I be sympathetic and allow our “friendship” to continue?

I reached a decision. I am withdrawing from him but not because of his behavior or because of his illness, but because he stopped taking his medications. That seems fair.

No comments: