2006-05-10 - 10:16 a.m.
I keep thinking of my old roommate who I lost touch with at some point.
He defended his dissertation for his pHd in Psychology a few years ago and I know taught a few classes at a few colleges in Buffalo which STRANGELY were THE SAME COURSE that Westley also taught: my brain now is blank as to that course title. Hmmm.... but when I READ it on line a few years that ODD SIMILARITY STUCK WITH ME.
I keep thinking of those I was close to in my life.
ANd the strange parallels among many of them. IT freaks me a bit to know that my old roommate and Westley in many ways reminded me of each other with one OBVIOUS difference. Westley being heterosexual, and my old roomie being homosexual.
In discussing his homosexuality he wondered if it wasn't a SUBCONSIOUS CHOICE at some level. A means of coping so he would never end up in a relationship and emulate the treatment of WOMEN that he observed.
HIS FATHER WENT TO JAIL FOR A LONG TIME AFTER THE LITERAL MURDER OF HIS MOTHER, WHICH MY FRIEND WITNESSED WHEN HE WAS EIGHT OR NINE YEARS OLD.
THe fact he, like Westley grew up with Domestic Violence is now startling to me.
I am STILL BOTHERED by the question of WHY I WOULD BE DRAWN IN SOME WAY TO PEOPLE WITH THAT AS A PARTICULAR PROBLEM IN THEIR BACKGROUND.
When I look at ALL MY BEST GIRLFRIENDS IN COLLEGE, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, THEY WERE EXPOSED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I THINK THEY ALL HAVE VARYING LEVELS OF AWARENESS OF THIS. MOST ACKNOWLEDGE IT AT SOME LEVEL BUT SOME SEEM TO DENY SOME THINGS (like my friend who really did exhibit at the SYMPTOMS of having HERSELF been sexually abused yet who is convinced that the babysitter who ATTESTED AT THE DIVORCE TRIAL OF HER PARENTS of the sexual abuse MY FRIEND's FATHER WAS ACCUSED OF- JUST MUST BE A LIE)
I HOPE TO GOD IT WAS A LIE, AS AN ANGRY MANIPULATIVE MOTHER TRYING TO LIE TO GAIN CUSTODY IS MUCH EASIER TO ACCEPT THAN YOUR FATHER HAVING SEXUALLY MOLESTED YOUR BABYSITTER... (OR WORSE... MAYBE YOURSELF!) Whatever is the truth, thankfully this WONDERFUL GIRL IS NOW HEALTHY AND HAPPILY MARRIED AND BOTH HER PARENTS ALSO WENT TO REHAB FOR ALCOHOLISM WHICH I AM SURE WAS THE CATALYST FOR THE POOR JUDGEMENT AND THE ABUSE IN THEIR LIVES IN THE FIRST PLACE
AND EVEN IF SHE IS DECEIVING HERSELF, AT THIS POINT I REALLY THINK THAT ISN'T NECESSARILY A HORRIBLE THING AS I THINK AT THIS POINT THEY ARE ALL HEALED AND HEALTHY (I THINK!) and doing well! She indeed has a HEALTHY relationship WITH BOTH HER PARENTS and her husband and her kids!
My former roommate ALSO seems to have done REALLY WELL with his life. What really WORRIES ME THOUGH is the dark secrets of his life that I think few know. I know he had tramatic brain injury. I know he had a tumor removed. I know that his EMPATHY of others was a times not as strong as NORMAL. He and I met and worked together in a job CARING for people. CARING FOR PEOPLE With developmental disabilitys and many with AUTISM that really DID HAVE a problem with empathy. IRONICALLY it was this enabling to NOT BE OVERLY EMPATHETIC and the ability TO ENFORCE BEHAVIORAL PLANS in order to TRAIN some of the people we worked with to learn ACCEPTABLE responses other than violent out of control reactions WHICH MADE MY FRIEND REALLY AWESOME AT HIS JOB! But there was also this strange PLEASURE that I observed that he seemed to LIKE That part of having to DO THE THING WHICH MADE OUR CLIENT FEEL SO PAINED. AND WHILE THE EXPOSURE TO THE THING THAT CAUSED PAIN IN THE CLIENT WORKED AS EVENTUALLY IT DID NOT CAUSE SUCH DISCOMFORT I WAS ALWAYS BOTHERED THAT MY CO-WORKER AT THE TIME HAD THIS SADISTIC LOOK UPON HIM WHEN DOING THIS. THAT WAS THE POINT WHEN I FIRST WORKED WITH HIM THAT I COULDN't STAND HIM.I later became friends with him AFTER the client was doing so well and I think it was easy to FORGET at the time the strangeness I felt before.
Its that CATCH 22. There has to be a RESPONSE THAT WORKS to teach some people who have a lack of EMPATHY to LEARN APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR.
A DIFFERENT FRIEND who now HERSELF has an autistic son, searched all over for a preschool she choose for her son. Another one of our friends shared with me that she was disappointed she didn't enroll him in a DIFFERENT ONE which she said HAS THE BEST SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SKILLS AND EVEN MAINSTREAMING THOSE KIDS WITH GREATER FREQUENCY.
However my mom friend said THEY WERE JUST SO CLINICAL AND REALLY UNCARING IN TEACHING SKILLS SO ROTELY that she just COULDN't put HER SON their-- DESPITE ALL HER BACKGROUND IN WORKING IN THIS FIELD HERSELF AND KNOWING THAT THE MEASURABLE OUTCOMES ARE BETTER.
I really recall that in response to stimuli that was painful to some of our clients (like even certain sounds which were SO OVERSTIMULATING AND PAINFUL or certain words like "NO" that would make some FREAK OUT) that my old roommate was the one WHO INSISTED WE HAVE TO EXPOSE AND DE-SENSITIZE the clients to the particular stressors AS THAT WAS THE ONLY WAS THEY COULD REALLY LEARN TO DEAL. HE WAS RIGHT. BUT NO ONE ELSE WAS ABLE TO TURN OFF THEIR EMOTION TO DO IT!
HE WAS INCREDIBLE at doing what at first SEEMED MEAN. HE could go up to the guy who would FREAK OUT at the word "NO" and then manage the behavior of the guy going ballistic and CALMLY SET THE EXPECTATION THAT IT WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO HIT PEOPLE WHEN THEY SAY NO while placing the guy in a hold with THREE OTHER STAFF. AND AFTER A FEW MORE TIMES, and then OTHER STAFF saying "NO" , and within only a few months FREDDIE (Who I will call him!) literally COULD HANDLE hearing that!
Its interesting to me as my youngest NOW FREAKS OUT WHEN SHE HEARS "NO" Its as if Freddie was developmentally STUCK in that stage of development FOR YEARS and his toddler mind tantrumed in the body of a man.
Until my roommate worked with him, he had not overcome that HUGE CHALLENGE.
I ALSO WAS ABLE TO CUT OF THE EMPATHY AT FIRST WHEN I WORKED WITH A BOY WHO BIT HIS OWN HAND TO HORRIBLE CALLOUSES, and WOULD BITE OTHERS when he didn't want to do something. I was able to GET HIM TO STOP BITING AT ALL and his hands HEALED and new skin grew FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS as I literally USED PLANNED IGNORING OF THAT BEHAVIOR. Something no one else had ever tried, or COULD EVER TRY.
There is an ability to KNOW THAT WOULD WORK AND TO KNOW THAT THE SHORT TERM PAIN WILL ALLEVIATE A MUCH GREATER LONG TERM SUFFERING that both my roommate and I had. He and I BOTH respected each others work. Ironically he and I didn't EVEN LIKE EACH OTHER AT FIRST! I found him OBNOXIOUS and until one day when I really told him off for it he hadn't liked me! The day I told him off he FINALLY started being NICE to some of our co-workers he had been MEAN TO. I had told him off for EVALUATING AND JUDGING PEOPLE SOLEY ON HOW WELL THEY DID THEIR JOBS AND I TOLD HIM HE WAS SELF CENTERED AND NARCISSIC AND HAD A HECK OF ALOT MORE EXPERIENCE AND BACKROUND IN THIS FIELD SO RATHER THAN BE MEAN TO THOSE WHO WERE NEW TO IT AND NOT AS GOOD HE COULD INSTEAD HELP US OUT! (I was brand new to that work at the time-- as were a few others and we DID have alot to learn!)
But I realize that not only that assertiveness made him respect me (he told me this later that until then he hadn't liked me but that was the point at which he did and we then became friends!) BUT I realize that HE ALSO noticed I WAS GOOD AT MY JOB. *though not in the obvious ways as I was late often, and never organized with my paperwork- and all those limitations of what I now recognize as ADHD which just DROVE HIM NUTS AS HE WAS SO OCD it was RIDICULOUS
*other secret I KNOW ! We had a CLIENT with OCD who had a medication change and WE WERE SUPPOSSED TO FLUSH THE OLD MED. My roomie DOCUMENTED SUCH but he really TRIED IT AND IT HELPED HIM TREMENDOUSLY!!! He basically then CONFIRMED his own OCD suspicion! He thankfully waited to tell me that LONG AFTER WE WERE WORKING THERE SO I HAD NO CLUE AT THE TIME AND BY THEN WE WERE BOTH MANAGING HOMES ELSEWHERE!
What is of concern to me is the parallels between having been a child who grew up with an abusive parent and then having some of these ISSUES (whether a diagnosable illness or not.)
And as for the domestic violence link to ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY, it is really IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT MANY OF THESE THINGS IN FACT MAY BE AVOIDABLE.
I TELL WESTLEY THIS ALL THE TIME AND THANKFULLY DESPITE THE FACT OF THE COMMERCIAL FOR PIZZA SHOWING THE OLD ITALIAN LADY POPPING THE GUY IN THE HEAD FOR CONVEYING THE SECRET FAMILY SAUCE RECIPE THAT EVEN IF CULTURALLY ACCEPTABLE- NO ONE SHOULD EVER EVER EVER BE HIT IN THE HEAD!!
THANK GOD HE AGREES!! HE ALSO HAD POINTED OUT THAT NO CHILD SHOULD HAVE THEIR HEAD BONKED AGAINST A DOOR FRAME BECAUSE THEIR MOTHER HASN'T GOOD SPATIAL AWARENESS AND CARRIES THEM ON HER HIP!! WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT HE POINTED OUT THE HARM CAN BE AS GREAT! I AGREED AS WELL (And thankfully no one has hit the door frame in a long time although I sadly have bonked a few of my children's heads over the years in that manner! BUT WHEN HE POINTED IT OUT I MADE A POINT OF DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THAT! Medication HELPS ME BE A BETTER PARENT! That and not carrying kids through thresholds on my hip- but merely shifting to IN FRONT of my body WAS A SMART CHANGE!)
What made me think of all this is ALSO that I DO WONDER if there is some CAUSALITY between Katie's birth and the fact she likely WAS a bit oxygen deprived at birth! HER APGAR SCORES WERE LOW AND SHE WAS A BIT PURPLE!
This site was of interest as it indicated that NOT ALL BRAIN INJURY IS EVEN DETECTED WHEN TESTED FOR!
I honestly think about this as my roomate had the experience of HIS TENANT turning up MURDERED on his doorstep some years back. I AM REALLY BOTHERED BY THIS, as AS MUCH AS I CARED FOR HIM I WORRY ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT HIS LACK OF EMPATHY THAT MADE HIM SO GOOD IN HIS JOB COULD HAVE EXTENDED SO FAR THAT HE COULD HAVE ACTUALLY EMULATED THE VIOLENCE HE SAW AS A CHILD
ANd I just had a more horrible thought. ANOTHER friend who was ALSO very close to him is the one who told me "I WANT TO BE CLAIRE DAINES" and has been going through the process to get into the FBI, and succeeding thus far. I have this horrible feeling that I UNDERSTAND HER MOTIVATION for wishing to do so. I have this horrible feeling that SHE TOO has been bothered by the scary thought that it almost beyond mathematical probability that one could experience MURDER so close to you TWICE IN YOUR LIFE just RANDOMLY.
I feel like there is more to that story. My friend was indeed a suspect and investigated and let go. I recall though that his father turned up OUT OF JAIL and he was a bit freaked out one day when he returned from the bank after having made a deposit using his licence for ID HE HAD TO HAVE THE TELLER LOOK UP THE ACCOUNT #,
HE was freaked that his DAD was even out. While he was in JAIL I don't believe it was actually a MURDER CONVICTION as I don't think he would be out, but more likely some LESSER charge as their was not sufficient evidence presented.
I worry one of two things could be the case. One being that the lack of empathy I observed is REALLY of a psycopath nature, of one who was SO MALIGNED after nine years of being taught violence. The other worry is that the intended of the murder wasn't in fact the TENANT on that occassion, but perhaps the only ACTUAL WITNESS to the crime of years ago.
EITHER Is HORRIBLE,and I have a strong feeling that this also explains our other good friend's interest in a career change and as she said to me "I want to be Claire Daines" I had never seen the movie Silence of the Lambs, but when I watched it I couldn't see HOW ANYONE WOULD WANT TO BE CLAIRE DAINES after seeing it! IT would be a scary thing to be in HER position! (But she wants HER JOB!)
I actually TOLD my friend that I worry about the first possibility and she told me that she thought of that as well. IT didn't really occur to me until todat that could be motivating her choice of career. And if it is it makes me all the more worried as it might mean that both she and I have had a STONG INSTINCT about this. It might mean she is seeking a way to EITHER SUBSTANTIATE IT OR NOT as she doesn't want to seem just CRAZY but that her feeling is too strong to just ignore!
I long ago lost touch with my old roommate. When going to Buffalo I left a note around three years ago now but it had turned out he sold the house he had rennovated. I really do hope he indeed is doing well and that our FEARS are literally only that.
But nonethless I think it IS WORTH thinking about the EFFECTS that we all can HAVE on people BY VIOLENCE BEING ACCEPTED AND NOT STOPPED IN RELATIONSHIPS.