Monday, August 15, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 52: Telling someone in the psych ward I had been molested by Bill

During the ten days that I continued to spend in the psych ward, I told Dr. Davis about being molested by Bill at five years old and not being able to tell anyone.  I told him that I feared that murder would result, that I was sure my dad would not wait for law enforcement to act.  He would take the law into his own hands and try to kill Bill if he could.  I debated about telling Dr. Davis about the affair I thought was going on between Bill and my dad and that part of Bill's motivation for targeting me was because he was very angry at my dad for leaving him home on the weekends while he went to party with other guys.  I decided against it, because Dr. Davis appeared to be as straight as he could possibly be.  I thought he would have a bad reaction to hearing that I was the daughter of such a man and what is more had suspected this connection between the two men at the time, which caused me to be all the more certain that my dad would try to kill Bill because he was so nervy it would be hard to tell what he might tell law enforcement.
Dr. Davis was from California.  I did not know if he would understand that my dad was the son of one of the many old time cowboys who rode the western trails in those days.  Grandpa King had helped drive a herd of horses to Chicago twice.  Most of these men had very little opportunity to connect up with women.  Some of them were bound to turn to other males for sexual gratification.  This might seem totally unacceptable to Dr. Davis while it seemed merely human to me and to be expected under certain circumstances.
Plus Utah had once been the home of a great many Mormon polygamists.  When a married man lusted after another woman he took her as another wife.  My grandparents on my mother's side were descended from Mormon polygamists, but instead of being able to take more wives my Grandfather Wilson was forced to sneak around and lie about any connection he made to another woman, just as I suspected my Grandfather King of sneaking around and lying about any connection he made to another male after he was married.
Both had developed the most fearful defenses in order not to be confronted or accused.  Now my parents were doing the same thing.   
Dr. Davis was probably experiencing one of his first strong attractions to another woman while married.  If he was dedicated to being honest, he would not act on these feelings, for me or for any other woman with an affair.  While I had committed myself to never acting like my mother and dad.  I was determined to change the pattern.
I could acknowledge this attraction between us, but I could be very cautious about getting alone with him.

I would be put to the test in a little over a month after I left the hospital, when Dr. Davis wanted to see me in Salt Lake he said to see how I was recovering. He would be on another rotation by then, but he made an appointment for me to see him at the County Hospital.  I was going to keep that appointment because of all he had done for me, even though he had warned me that he had feelings for me.  But I thought he was just as determined as I was not do something he would regret. Well, we would see.  

Dean, my Escalante boyfriend, managing to come by a number, called me in the psych ward and reminded me that he was still in the running for my attention.  He actually sounded angry because I had not written and told him what was going on.  I said that I would write to him as soon as I got home and try to explain.
I also told Dr. Davis about Dean's telephone call.  But I brushed over the fact that Dean was an alcoholic which meant to me that he was another outlaw just as my dad had always been. If I married him, I would be marrying a younger version of my dad,  hot tempered enough to bully a woman who displeased him, especially when he was under the influence.  I had seen my dad take a butcher knife to my mother's throat when he was drunk. I had already encountered the devil in Dean's eyes several times when he was drinking.
I thought outlawry came easier to Utah men because of the religion, widely considered to be a cult.  Polygamy violated the rules of good conduct in almost anybody's book except obviously those who had allowed themselves to be converted to it. Dean was actually descended from a brother to the Prophet Joseph Smith who had introduced the controversial  revelation from God that plural marriage was required for Mormon men to be able to enter the highest degree of heaven. 
Soon other Mormon men besides the Prophet Joseph Smith were able to persuade susceptible women to be plural wives.
After polygamy was abandoned by main stream Mormons, Utah still probably tolerated a good many more polygamists than most states.  The FLDS branch of the church which had refused to give it up had a large presence in southern Utah.  I saw polygamists all the time there, and there were sects in the cities as well.  Nobody was really counting.  Mormons had suffered greatly from criticism of polygamy from practically the whole world, so  they talked as little as possible to outsiders about these communities in their midst still practicing polygamy.    
I found myself avoiding the subject with Dr. Davis, trying to appear as normal as possible, so that the last days that I would probably ever see and talk to him would not be marred by revelations about my background he might not be able to handle.
I would probably marry Dean if he was still willing after I had been committed to a psych ward.  He was the only one of my boyfriends that had sustained an interest in me that I thought could handle my history because his was very similar.  Only now I wasn't afraid to die, so I would be opposing whatever he said or did to me I thought was wrong, no matter what he did to me.  He did not know what he was in for if he ever had enough nerve to marry the likes of me.
Even my dad knew I had changed.  The minute I turned my face to the wall and refused to talk to him, he knew he could not bully me as he had been doing. The days of telling me what professions I was limited to if he was going to send me to school were over. As far as I was concerned I had earned my college education working for him and always trying to save his damned life. The psychiatrists had gone on to try to break me and had not succeeded.  I showed them I was not afraid to die if I had to to stop them from giving me electric shock against my will.
So Dr. Branch ended up not daring to give it to me.  He was afraid I really would die on him.  This was about the only reason he would ever have let go of me and allowed me to go home.  Otherwise he would have surely reasoned that a few shock treatments would not hurt me. After a few of those I was bound to be more tractable.

When my dad and mother came to get me, Dr, Davis, the Intern, was instructed to do the talking to them.  I don't know what he said to them, but he did tell them I had been molested by Bill which Mother told me later. So now they knew that.  I don't know if he told them about what Dr. Branch was calling a catatonic seizure.  If he did, they never mentioned it.
But it was obvious that I was a good deal more fragile than I had been when they last saw me.  In fact, the night we got home, I prayed all night without stopping just to keep my mind from flying apart on me.  I felt if it split apart as it was threatening to do, I would never be normal again.  I experienced that night what it might be to lose your mind.
But I gradually started feeling better.  Naturally if anyone taxed my strength at all, I was forced to go silent in order not to get too exhausted with very bad results.  If I got overly strained, one of the most frightening symptoms I experienced was going numb in my sleep.  A voice would wake me by shouting in my inner ear, "Wake up, you are dying!" I would have to think frantically about what could have strained me to that point, so that I could work through whatever it was, relaxing my nervous system enough to restore feeling to my body.  I learned to get very calm before I allowed myself to drop off to sleep.
My going silent spooked people the most.  But there was really no other way I could protect myself from people's unrealistic expectations.  I was not the same.  I had been through a terrible ordeal.  So people had to learn to respect that. 
Most who kept on wanting to talk to me learned not to push me. Although I remember going to some young woman's house who said something to me I could not handle.  I fell silent, so she defiantly went silent, too.  We sat for around twenty minutes in complete silence and then I got up and left.
I don't know what she told people, maybe that she taught me a lesson for inflicting my spooky silence on her.  She just went silent, too, but she never wanted to interact with me again.  Others were more considerate.  They did not not hold my silence against me.  Instead they seem to respect it was for a good reason.
My dad saw to it that nobody tried to bully me when he was around.  Once in a while my mother would lose her temper and say something wildly inappropriate like one day when she and I and my dad were arguing, she told me that she and Daddy would just have to lock me in my room if I continued to act as I was doing, I assumed chain me to the bed.  My dad acted thoroughly disgusted with her.
Otherwise she even went around and asked some younger women to please try to talk to me as I had quit talking entirely.  She said I would not talk to her, but maybe I would to them if they persisted.  Years later she would tell people that I refused to talk to my little boy and she had to teach him to talk because he was growing up without knowing how.  He was imitating me and refusing to talk.  Maybe he did imitate me, I am not sure, because he became a boy of extremely few words. She probably did try to get him to talk. But I certainly had not fallen completely silent.  I had always been a talker and I still was, but I just made sure that what I said counted more.
I felt that for years the wheel of my being had been slowly forced off its axis and was spinning uselessly in space.  I had forced the wheel back into place and now everything I said and did was effective again, while before I had started talking way too much to the people I did not fear, and I had not resisted enough the people who bullied me.  

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