Playing Chicken

by War
(British Columbia, Canada)

I started crying shortly after entering this site. Something that is quite unusual for me. I read, reread, and then re-reread before deciding to post my story. I'm not quite sure at this moment but I feel compelled to share.

My family dynamic is a bit unique. I have two older sibling brothers, one 15 years older and one 7.5 years older. My oldest brother grew up in an affluent household in the early 50's to early 60's. My middle brother grew up in a semi-affluent household in middle 50's to middle 60's. I grew up in a poor household in the late 50's thru the 60's and early 70's. I bring this issue up because basically I grew up as an only child with little to no support from my siblings, my brothers, who could not understand the help I was asking for.

I had kidney failure at the age of 6. My father's businesses were already having difficulty and an extended stay in hospital for me with no insurance forced bankruptcy. My father received a 25-year garnishment decree from the courts of the day which basically resulted in him not working legally from that point forward. My mother was forced to work and support a family of 4 at home and a 5th in university.

So this is where my real troubles started. My illness caused the failure of the family! It was never said in so many words but it was surely felt. My father became an alcoholic and I would arrive home from school to find him passed out on the floor after a gallon jug of red wine, a 12-pack of beer, and the better part of bottle of vodka. When he awoke, the battle was on. I would jump in between him and my mother to save her and take the physical and verbal attack. Heck, a 9-year-old should not be placed in this situation.

My father was suicidal and tried to include me in his attempts. We would be driving on a local highway and he would play chicken with on-coming cars laughing hysterically until I screamed hysterically for him to shift over. My mother did nothing after telling her about these events and begging her to move out. On one occasion I knew something was up. I jumped out of the car at a stop sign and ran for my life. My father drove into the on-coming traffic with my mother's father in the car shortly afterwards. Mom still refused to do anything to protect me. My father ultimately committed suicide when I was a young adult by stabbing himself with a 12 inch knife in his torso several times.

My abuse started much earlier than described above. I was sent home from school in grade one because no one had bothered to teach me the alphabet or basic reading skills before entering school. This is just one example of hundreds.

It was made quite clear to me that nothing that occurred in the house was to be told outside. As such, I attempted suicide twice, once at the age of 12 and once at the age of 15. Someone was looking over me on the second attempt as I swallowed 50 sleeping pills and awoke with my suicide letter pinned to my pillow beside my head.

I could go on for several hundred more paragraphs but just getting this off my chest in print has helped immeasurably.


Regards, War

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Comments for Playing Chicken

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Apr 22, 2015
To "War":
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I completely understand what it's like to walk away with a message of blame and rejection, even when it isn't spoken. What's important is that you not take that message as truth for yourself, which is so easy to do.

Oftentimes, when we think we aren't taking on what we've been told--either directly or indirectly--as children, the message was so strong that we actually DO embrace it. Sometimes, without even realizing it. That's why it's paramount to your healing to change your perspective. Not that your family didn't send these terrible messages. Rather, that you yourself don't continue to believe it yourself, on an emotional level. You may already understand that on a logical level, but likely not so much deep down inside.

Your parents were ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of what went down in their lives at that time. And the system hurt them on a profound basis. Which in turn left you as the one to be "blamed", as it were.

But that doesn't make you responsible. That makes you victimized, as a person with illness, from the system and from misguided and human-but-highly-flawed parents.

What you tell yourself now will be the difference between either or not you find healing in your life.

You were not to blame. And neither was your illness. What you do NOW with all that you endured can not only bring healing to your life, but it can also bring healing to others who are enduring or have endured something similar.

You have an awareness that others who haven't gone through what you went through will not understand. Use that awareness in a positive way. In a way that can help others heal, which in turn can also help you to heal. Doing so would bring great purpose to what you lived through. Not in war, but in understanding, love and compassion. I for one am delighted that your attempts to end it all failed. It is in that failing that you can bring hope and healing to so many.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me. I send you love, light and healing energy.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

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