ONE OF THE GENEROUSLY COMPLIMENTARY readers of my memoir REACHING recently emailed me follow-up questions. It's always a good omen when people care enough about one's work that they're willing to facilitate a deeper conversation.
Carol asked about my husband, Steve. Having noticed that I didn't put a lot of emphasis on him in my book, she wondered what his actions and reactions were to the decisions I made with Brock and his methods.
I purposely didn't discuss Steve in detail because I felt that his feelings and motivations during that time in our lives were and are his story, not mine. But Carol's questions are legitimate.
Did he consider having you committed or did he not see what was going on?
By law, after a suicide attempt, hospitalization is mandatory. However, because of my strong attachment to Brock, after my brief hospitalization, I went back to him. This was my only hospital stay and it was a waste of money. Many times, Steve urged me to look for legitimate counseling but he was also somewhat under Brock's influence and really wanted to experience this supposed miracle that Brock promised. Brock was a very, very confident man with a lot of charisma and a strong personality. He played a fatherly role with Steve which I believe was genuine but also damaging. Steve's personality type is one of avoiding conflict and confrontation and because I was very volatile, he put a distance between us to keep me from going ballistic. It was a very complicated time for him.
How are your children doing, having gone through all of this?
They have scars. My oldest (out of 4 kids) is also my only son. He suffered the most because he saw so much of what was going on. And my husband admits to leaning heavily on him for babysitting and emotional support. He regrets not being able to meet our son's needs. I think the biggest thing my kids struggled with is the lack of social interaction that occurred when I isolated myself. As adults, they still have issues about feeling accepted and a part of a group. And this is one of my biggest regrets. We were all robbed.
Steve and I have always been open with our kids about how things went down and how we hurt them by our decisions. We both agree that part of being good parents is to offer a sincere apology for how we've screwed up and earnestly endeavoring to right the wrongs. Thankfully we have very forgiving kids.
Carol brings up one more issue that I'll address next time.
Thank you, Carol for your observations and questions.