A Schizophrenic Mom: Ocean's Story

Hi Dr.Patti;

I am writing to you from Canada and I am 28 now. After reading your book, I just had to write to you. I read your book "Invisible Girls", which was so helpful and I must first thank you so much.

I was abused as a child when i was 4-5 yrs old back home (Sri Lanka) by my neighbour and that was when I lost all my innocence. When it happened with my neighbour on my left–it was a woman not much older than I was at the time, who taught me to insert objects into my privates saying it will make you feel nice.

The other neighbor on the right...abt 6-7 yrs older than I was (male)...basically inserted his genital into my anus. I did not stop either of them cause I did not know this was wrong...all I knew at that age is that I went to my neighbour to play and NEVER did I think this would happen. Luckily it wasn't something I had to endure long term...I moved to Canada with mom...but the effects of it did not really end. I was still wetting my bed until I was 10 yrs old and had to wear diapers till 10 yrs old at night.

At 11 yrs old...I was exposed to a stranger's penis. Mom and I were living in a ground floor apartment. I heard some noise behind the window....when I removed the curtain to see...it was a white male standing with his privates exposed. My heart pounded!!! I just closed the curtains and prayed he went away. I did not open that curtain again to see if he was actually gone. I never told my mom cause since we were living alone I did not want to scare her as well–at this time mom was sick....she has been on and off meds–she has been diagnosed with schizophrenia (dad was back home at that time-he was an alcoholic - but my dad never touched/hurt me).

Since dad was back home, most my childhood (from 6 to 12 yrs old) did not spend much time with dad. After he came to Canada when I was 14, he died of liver cirrhosis. With mom being ill, responsibility was mainly on me. For those few years I did not understand life...mom would come to my school and take me back thinking that someone was going to murder me. She wanted to commit suicide and wanted me to die as well....she wanted to give me in for adoption. She even tried wrapping an iron box wire around my neck to kill me...but could not do it. So much confusion! I know one thing for sure, my mom always loved me, was always there for me and all this was because of her illness. (at that time I did not understand what was happening–had some help from my uncle)

Then at the age of 14, when I was at the temple...a male (40-45 yrs old) performed sexual acts (rubbing behind me). I froze for a minute and i knew what he was doing is wrong...I was able to remove myself and step further away but still I was not able to rely on my mom/aunt.

Then funny thing is that one night, I was probably 19–I just woke up at 4 am and just felt that I have been raped–from that time I did not want to stay home. I wanted to go to my grandpa's house and stayed there for a while. Then went to stay with my uncle. I am just thinking...could that possibly be PTSD?

I did go to the Dr. here at 24 yrs, told that i was abused....she asked me he if he penetrated me. I said: "no" and lied. It was not really taken seriously. I thought maybe it was not that bad, that's why it really wasn't taken seriously by that Dr. then i just left the office. i would have at least prefered her to listen to my story...but wasn't the case. I told my friend I was abused when she revealed that she was assaulted by an uncle but this is the very first time I am giving out the details.

Dr. Patti, you are an angel...to this day I was not able to accept the fact that I was really abused...but thanks to your book...I was able to see that. I knew something wrong happened but couldn't accept it. You don't know how much I cried when reading every story mentioned in your book! It was very painful but at the same time relieving!!! I cried out that 23 years of sorrow kept deep inside me. To all the survivors mentioned in your books, my heart goes out to all of them, for their endurance,courage and simply for being such beautiful women!!!! I can't stress how thankful I am for your book!!!!!!!!

When men look at me, I feel just disgusted...just by their looks I am able to tell if they are up for something bad...sooo creepy even to this day! So many marriage proposals came from relatives (usually we have arranged marriages)...but I can't seem to believe in men to move on. And also to find someone who is willing to accept me with my abuse. To this day, I was never ever able to trust men...I just can't get that trust and obviously have not been in any formal relationship as well. You are more than welcome to use any part of my story but I kindly ask you to change my name. Thank you again for your wonderful book.

...........love, Ocean.

Dr. Patti responds:

Hi Sweety;

         I call you Sweety because I can see how very sweet you are from your email. I can tell that you are gentle and kind. I am so sorry that you have had to take care of your mother. So sad, and so difficult and yes, so confusing to take care of your mother, to know that she loved you and yet had no idea how to take care of you. I am also glad that you are not taking marriage proposals that you don't want, that you are being careful, that you are trusting your instincts. You have had some really serious abuse happen to you from the time you were very little, and clearly you had no-one to tell. You knew you could not tell your mother. You also knew that you needed your mother emotionally, because I can read between the lines that she could be very loving and exciting and magical at times. But she could also be brutal and completely confusing. Clearly you were a terrified little girl who still wet her bed out of fear till you were 10. That is because you did not feel safe and you did not know where to turn. The neighbors that abused you were clearly sick.

         Yes you were definitely sexually abused and, yes, you have suffered post-traumatic stress. You may still be suffering from post-traumatic stress. But, Sweety, look at the wonderful step you have taken today! You wrote all the details and you have sent it to me over cyberspace, and I am writing back! I have absorbed your story. I now know, that by posting here on Girlthrive, others will read your story. They too will understand what has happened to you, and perhaps if they were abused in the same way that you were–with mothers who are schizophrenic–they will feel that you have reached them. The truth is that there are so many girls and young women out there that have yet to tell their special circumstance. So you may have given another girl her courage. You have taken a huge step and now I want you to think about loving yourself, honoring yourself, appreciating yourself. As you feel stronger and clear, you will attract the kind of a person who is worthy of a relationship. You will know you are with the right person when you tell him/her that you have been abused, and that person will understand and support you. I hope this is just the beginning for you to open up to the right people. Please take good care of yourself and give yourself a hug from me!

................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.

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