The First Night

Posted: February 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

As evening approached of my first day in the Wisconsin Prison system (see Part I, Part II, Unit 19), I knew this wasn’t going to get any easier for me anytime soon.  At the end of the blog entry Unit 19 I made a reference to the overwhelming anxiety that would take over, leave and return.  This type of reaction isn’t what a normal person under stress would have.  I fear change, instability and uncertainty.  The few relationships with people that I had are held onto, like a drowning man to a life preserver, always in fear of abandonment.  Yet I test those people with the things that I do, and when they’ve had enough and leave, I consider my self-fulfilling prophecy to have been correct all along.  I have difficulty in groups of people, having a need to escape to a place inside myself, away from them that is usually safe but that can be dangerous, if I’ve not been or done what inside me says I should. 

No one becomes like this on accident and its causes, self-inflicted and otherwise, is predictable despite my efforts at denial.  My biological father was a mentally disturbed, heroin addicted Vietnam veteran who on a regular basis savagely beat and sexually assaulted my addict biological mother as well as myself, culminating with him breaking my arm and in response, being shot by my mother.  Afterwards, supporting her addiction often was her priority, and as a result would often leave me with others who would hurt me.  I created a place inside myself I would go where those with me there were allies and fellow participants in my fantasies of being loved or vicious retaliation simultaneously against them.  As the years went by, I became hard, unaffected by physical discipline and rebellious.  In my late twenties, things changed drastically.  I now experienced nightmares and flashbacks of previous encounters, along with seemingly irrational fears of groups of people, different environments, but worst of al, that refuge inside myself I would turn to had begun to turn against me.  I used alcohol in increasing amounts to control my mind with varying degrees of success.  Every once in awhile, I would go to pieces when I couldn’t hold it together, and instead of choosing to reach out and get help, I made people promise not to tell anyone.  I thought I’d lose everything if they did.  Despite my background, I had willed myself to become a .NET Framework Software Architect at a Fortune 500 company and an experienced manager of Information Systems, had a family, home, cars, money and respect from my peers.  Ironically, my failure to seek help and be honest ended up costing me everything and ultimately landed me here in prison.

This briefly summarizes how the issues I described at the beginning come about and why I knew my first night in the Wisconsin Prison system would be difficult.  At one point, I begged God to save me by reaching down and personally removing me from this cell and free me from my demons.  Of course, that didn’t happen.  But, I’ve got to have faith, have hope and believe that God can save me in many different ways and this experience is part of the process that he has chosen to bring me to that point.  I must try to keep this in mind even when I feel I can’t take it anymore.

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