Monday, January 21, 2013

Commiserating the CRAZY

Thank goodness for my friends, who are my family of choice, and my COH friends.  With my COH friends I have support from folks that have been there, have experienced much of the same of what I have experienced.  

We can talk in details, in levels, that we would not with others.  During those talks, we find commonalities that we thought were unique to our specific brand of childhood hell in the hoard.  We find that many hoarding parents also share these traits.  Just recently, I was part of, or witnessed, discussions of the following commonalities and significant invalidation by our hoarding parents:
Oh- and if you are a bit squeamish, especially about things that happen specifically to females, you might want to skip this one.  You have been warned:-)

  • Bra brainlessness- It seems that many of our hoarding mothers wanted us to remain pre-pubescent children forever.  The fact that we were beginning to burgeon?  Ignored flatly, or made abnormal- a form of Munchhausen by Proxy anyone?  Anyone?  (My mother dragged me from doctor to doctor when I began to develop at 8-9 years old.  I. Wanted. To. Throw. Up. And. Die...)  Most of us did not get a bra in a time frame what was helpful... some COHs had their gym teachers intervene, their grandmothers, their aunts, and finally, a bra would be purchased.  BUT... [queue the dramatic music!!!] it could not be a bra of the COH's choosing.  Oh NO!  So that leads us to our next point...
  • Underwear unconformity- (Yes unconformity is a word.  Look it up if you doubt me!) Any underwear purchased had to be of a certain type, material, make, and sometimes... from a special store.  Bras could not be cute, could not have under-wires  could not resemble anything other than a 70-year old nun in a convent would wear if she needed a training bra.  Bras were shameful.  Bras were a thing of derision and public ridicule.  And panties... no cute cotton or nylon bikinis for you, COH daughter!   They must be white.  They must be grannie-panties.  My underwear had to come from JCPenney's, and it was a yearly thing. Each year on or about my birthday, I got bras and panties.  One, maybe two apiece.  I was expected to care for my bras the way that my mother did... wearing them a week or two without laundering them.  BLECH!  Thank goodness for my grandmother, who taught me about fit.  Who taught me about under-wires and if the bra fits, they are comfortable.  Who taught me about what underwear to wear under what materials.  (Mom always asserted that they 'poked' and blamed them for her breast tumors- to this day she still wears the Cross-Your-Heart nasty white bras in the boxes).  Back to all undies- They must be too large- to grow into.  No fun teen underwear with little hearts, Garfields, etc.  Especially no black underwear.  Why... even owning black underwear could cause a dreaded YEAST infection.  (Insert looonnnngggg story of her getting a yeast infection in 1955 from black panties).  Never-mind they have cotton crotches now... And white is so forgiving of that time of the month... See the next point...
  • Menstruation mendacity- What a frigging nightmare for us.  Many of our hoarding mothers had so many screwed up beliefs around 'that time of the month'.  My first time was the day I turned 10 years old.  I tried to hide it, but my Girl Scout Leader told my mother.  Who promptly blew up on me.  She dragged me home, and gave me a Kotex belt with the huge maternity type pads... and this was 1979.  It was like wearing a diaper.  I am convinced that she scared my period, and that is why it disappeared for 2 years... (Not really, but ...)  There was no privacy.  There were blow ups and shaming about 'spills' on the sheets, on the white grannie-panties, on clothing.  Many of our COH's, my mother included, notified the school and demanded that we be excused from gym class.  They made sure the whole world knew.  No Tampax for us.  No mini-pads... and with that appetizing teaser, we find ourselves at....
  • Tampon terror- Tampons were EVIL!  They took your virginity!  They could get lost in your unnamed orifice.  They have gotten STUCK and had to be surgically removed!  (NO self respecting hoarding mother would talk to you about your anatomy so you knew you had a vulva/vagina that was separate from your pee hole... NO!)  Most of us figured out tampons from friends, experimentation, etc.  And we would sneak the tampons.  And we were ALWAYS discovered.  That started my teenage years being slut shamed by mother.
  • Sexuality shame- There was something inherently bad about being a female.  No naming/discussion of female organs, bodily processes are 'dirty', and sex is something you put up with as a wife.  No encouragement to explore your own body in your private moments... Really, none of us had that.  I guarantee if I could visit home, and was using the bathroom, showering, doing something intimate/private/personal hygiene related my mother would find a reason to barge in and criticize.  Many COH girls got this crap from their mother.  Invalidating.  Power-stealing.  And untrue.  Many of us were trained to be out of touch with our bodies, our sexuality, ourselves.  Our hoarding parents refuse to see us as separate people, so breaking from their crazy and incorrect assumptions was an act of betrayal and of rebellion.  
  • The first gynecological exam... I will spare you these details, but suffice it to say it was cruelly handled by our hoarding mothers, who I think intentionally sought out the coldest, misogynist asshole doctors they could find.  Birth control pills recommended for 'Aunt Flo' issues?  OH NO!  NEVER!  There were a few that had physical issues that could have been easily corrected that were not.  Those issues prevented healthy sexual expression until they were repaired.  And the mothers knew.  One said, "Oh... I had that, they said you had that when you were 12..." The woman was 37 before it was found and repaired. She repeatedly had sought help for painful exams and painful intercourse, and was sent to a psychiatrist on more than one occasion before the PHYSICAL cause was found and repaired.  That is beyond crazy and narcissistic.  That is just... plain... EVIL.  

Our healing continues.  So does our growth.  And as part of that growth, we know that we are not responsible for our parents' illness and their refusal to seek help.  We also will not stay silent.

And just in case you were... oh never mind.  Here is the link...  

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