Cousin to schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder
(BPD) affects about 2% of the population.
Our father ricocheted through childhood as one of 3 siblings dropped at a Sasakatchewan, Canada orphanage in the mid-1920s. As a child,-Edgar went to farm foster homes, was adopted once, and sent back. Their father surfaced briefly, from Michigan, dying of TB –which he gave me - in 1952 or 53 and the siblings estranged each other, totally, by the early 1970s.
Edgar borderlined or schizophreniaed his way through a crude and lewd control freak adulthood --menacing his wife and 3 children - moving us so frequently, well - from age 5-12 I attended 13 schools and moved 18 times. He was a self-made (?) Ameri-Canadian gipsy.
- · Abused by my grade 1 teacher, I lost my age 6 year to amnesia, once she was caught. I woke up, age 7, at a different school, new town. Despite other child and adult traumas, that was my only dis-associative experience. My childhood was normal enough, after that, school-wise, ‘til grade 7.
- · Childhood stopped at age 12. Chased out of home at noon, Dad brutally discarded me to Children’s Services the same afternoon. They moved and got a silent phone number. Four years of messing with my teenage-hood followed as he took me back and made me run away in fear all the time. Bait and switch by Dad and anxiety/depression ruled those years. I never knew where I stood with him.
- · At age 15, 20 days shy of 16, Pierre, 21, Dad forced us into a doomed marriage. By age 20, I was divorced and re-married.
A lot of life happened between ages 20-38. Then, happily married, 22 years ago, I survived a weird sexual assault, in a work colleague, off-duty environment: by a police detective – my temporary boss for a week. Curiously, other police witnessed but did not intervene. His, their, alcohol abuse was involved. It was really stupid. No one is identified, herein, by name - only by rank.
I translate my 16 dream journal and some of their universal symbols and themes. I was Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, et al, studied/influenced and psycho-analyst-assisted.
I have no children and am glad to not pass on damaged chromosomes.
MURTHY’S LAW: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
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PRINCES CHARMING and A GLASS SISTERA Curious Memoir: 61 years of life with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
By Naomi Oona Murthy
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Naomi Oona Murthy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE MURTHY FAMILY
We lived in piteous tenements
On sordid avenues
And dreamed of life's mysteries
Lying hidden from our views
We drank, smoked, chattered
And sometimes worse
Forgetting that we all, someday,
Will travel in a hearse.
I am Naomi, middle child of a self-made Canadian gipsy father, Edgar, and British born mother, Fiona.
It's spooky writing a partial memoir of my life knowing that I really don't want my family to read it. In fact, this isn't a book to be liked but I hope we might be remembered kindly.
The reader will understand, by the end, why I made a deliberate choice to confront and challenge my sister Jill's psyche to get the truth out of her, of how she really views me. I made the choice having the exquisite pain of knowing that she and I would end, with her last words, but unaware of her complete disgust by her memories of me. I've had the strangest feeling, since the 12 years ago passing of our mother, that my sis has something against me; she seemed to be harbouring a grudge. Little did I know it was grudges stretching back over more than 40 years, and she put it in writing, details too gross to repeat, here.
Up front, I will tell the reader that my sister and I were both statutorily raped, me at almost age 16 followed by marriage, she at age 16 resulting in a child.
I don't want any family but my sis to read this book; it is too raw in places; there are a number of children who don't need to know about the real Murthys. Sis has her own history told to her self, children and others. She is cocooned and I wish her to stay there. She has a chance to make a better life for her self, and her last child at home. I look at it as she escaped something when she moved away from Edmonton area family 14 years ago and that is how I plan to think of her now. She moved to an academic community and it looked good on her.
I hope that the casual reader will remember the good Murthys. Our family wasn't likeable, for our father's and grandfather's attitudes and behaviours, but our mother, Fiona, was a fine human being and a loving, if unsophisticated, mother. Mom lacked guile, education, and a loving husband, but we children loved her well and tried to protect her.
Dad, Edgar, was a real piece of work. I seek not to trash him but to try and find something to respect about him. All I can say is that he did try to support his Canadian wife and 3 children, financially, and he was tender sometimes, when he wasn't feeling sorry for himself. No bashing, just keep reading. Oh wait, here's something positive – he did teach me a lot about old cars and I still enjoy car meets and museums.
There are several likeable parts of the book even if the weird and abusive recollected experiences can't be liked or understood. All of my life I have tried for win-win in all relationships and that spirit kept me alive and moving forward positively.
Some parts of my remembrances caused me to write quite rawly, below, but they were emotional times.
* * *
My brother Eli, was eldest by 17 months but mildly handicapped from birth, and environmentally damaged, as were my 4 years younger sister Jill, and me. Eli and I were born in Vancouver, moved across the prairies to Toronto and back, settling briefly in Winnipeg and finally in Regina where sis was born in '56.
Jill was 2 when Eli and I started grade one in Indian Head Saskatchewan, where my childhood memories started being remembered. I remember bits of things from before age 5, so I know that sis has no memory of where we lived before her own age 5; we had lived in 4 different houses in 1- 2 years Wetaskewin, 2 farms and a small town, all in Alberta.
When sis started school, we lived in 3 places in the small town of Calmar but at least Eli and I spent a complete year in grade 4 and started grade 5. We had 2 Christmases in the same town – a phenomenal accomplishment.
* * *
Our father and 2 older sisters were abandoned at a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan orphanage in the mid-1920s. Dad was about 5 or 7; he never saw a birth certificate. The children weren't sure of their surname; our grandparents simply dropped them there, said they'd be back, and disappeared.
The children tried to stay in contact. Each of them was fostered, our dad told us he was adopted once but it didn't work out so he was sent back into foster care. He told us many stories of hard work on farms in the Dirty 30s.
Eventually the children all re-met in Vancouver, just after WW II. Dad was married in England but his wife decided to not emigrate to Canada. Dad met Mom and they married on the same day that his divorce became final (a bit strange, I thought, when I came across the divorce papers when I was about 16).
We learned of this marriage and the existence of two older ½ brothers and one ½ sister when we were teenagers – boy was that strange!
A lot of things were explained by our parents. They told us details which we did not need or care to hear.
Our parents had a bad habit of involving little children's eyes and ears in things that shouldn't have been lived, experienced or spoken about.
To be kind to our parents, I've known, since forever, that they did not get the best of life delivered to them in many healthy doses. Their own adulthoods started around the time of Word War 2. They didn't meet until 1948, married in '49 and Eli was born 14 months later. Then Mom had her appendix removed and was pregnant with me 5 months later. Eli and I were both born C-Sectioned, 17 months apart.
About 1953, our Vancouver aunt sent Dad a newspaper notice from a Vancouver paper, requesting information about 3 children matching our Dad and Aunts descriptions, by a lawyer from Toronto.
Dad wrote him and learned that their father was looking for them; their mother had died; there were 5 younger siblings; and – he was dying of tuberculosis.
Dad took Mom, my brother Eli, age 2 ½, and me, 18ish months, to Toronto and all we children remember of that visit is zero, we had to rely on what he told us as we grew up. I do know that I got TB from my grandfather, although mine was not treated with medication, so no one can say he never gave his Canadian family anything!
Oh yes, the other family – all American. The only thing I remember hearing about our Grandmother is that she was either of Jewish or Native American ancestry. Grandfather was supposedly a get-away driver for some bank robbery (U.S.) – and that's all I remember hearing about them.
Several aunts and uncles lived in Michigan and one in Oklahoma. We Canadian family only met Donald and wife, from Michigan, in 1963: I opened the front door to a knock and there stood a copy of our father, 10 years younger – that was an unforgettable moment for me. We children were only 14, 12 and 8 so our memories aren't good, but they seemed like nice people - eight children! - who I never met. I was gone from our nuclear family from age 12, so maybe other American family was met, I was never advised.
Dad paid exactly one visit to Oklahoma and his sister, there, refused to communicate with him thereafter, and his other siblings exhibited underwhelming enthusiasm in letters. It didn't take any of them long to figure him out. Not one of any of our Vancouver families stayed in touch with us either, after the 1970s.
Our maternal side was totally the opposite – thank goodness!
Mom's family, the Birds, was rife with about a dozen uncles and aunts, Canadian and several grown, married, children still in England, and cousins galore. Several, Catholic, members had 8 offspring. Family reunions usually promised 2 softball teams and lots of barbeque; English relatives were never present at any I attended as child or adult.
Mom, age 5, was on ship with 8 siblings, emigrating from Birmingham England, at about the same time that Dad and his sisters were dropped at that orphanage in Saskatoon.
While Dad was being kicked about, Mom's family settled on a farm near Vermilion, Alberta. All children danced and sang. The grandparents moved to Edmonton in the late 1930s and when war broke out in 1939, 6 brothers and their friends joined the army. All but Mom's fiancé came home.
The brothers opened a bakery in Wetaskewin, Alberta, postWWII, married and started families. Brothers sold their bakery and several settled in Edmonton and Vancouver.
The families were just sooooo different. Dad was some sort of a gipsy, we all felt that. We children clung to our stable aunts, uncles and cousins as long as was possible. We moved soooo much. We cousins all grew up and added 1st cousins, once removed, but I was unable to stay connected with any of the first cousins.
Chapter TwoBORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDERED AND DISORIENTED PARENTS
Our Murthy side ruled our childhood, largely and exclusively. Mom tried to keep us connected with her family but it was clear that Dad was a problem to all. Only rarely did anyone visit our home, we always went there. We were always late, too. By age 10, I was totally aware that he tried to get life revolving around him. Aunts told us wrong dinner times, so that when we arrived an hour late we were right on time. That didn't always work. I remember being on the way to some family gathering and Dad getting mad at something and turned the car around and drove us home.
Our parents moved us so often it was hard to stay in touch with aunts and uncles. Dad's Canadian sisters were estranged from each other and him; one sister was childless, the other had 3 or 4 children in Vancouver, whom we barely knew. We 3 Murthy kids were on our own with 2 borderline personality disordered parents.
Our Dad had spent about 10 years in orphanages and foster homes so when trouble brewed as I entered my teen years, I, too, went to foster and group- homes, plus several juvenile detentions, and Eli lived in an institution for several teenage years. Our younger sister, Jill, lived in a large group home in another city and one foster home in Edmonton, then she lived at home through high school. We didn't see each other much.
I tried rationalizing with Dad that he should want better for his own children, that I would do everything in my power to be different – if I was the parent. It was confrontational, I know that now, but by expressing it I was able to keep things in some sort of perspective.
Before all of the teenage angst we so lived as gipsy's do – moving frequently, from houses to apartments, farms to cities and towns, we traveled and Dad tried to support us. In my mind's eye, I draw lines connecting the dots to the places we resided and it looks like a horrible mess, only I choose to look back differently.
There are rutted dirt roads crisscrossing over my paved highway. I used to have to drive with one wheel or more, in someone else's ruts, but I don't drive on those roads anymore. I stick to the pavement.
My sis and I recall seeing a photo of our grandfather with a very gipsy-like horse-drawn long ago caravan. Dad died in '93, 8 years later Mom went but we never found that picture or any memorabilia of the American family. We aren't even sure of their surnames, only that theirs is McMurthy, and no addresses or letters exist.
* * *
My previous work history sounds rather boring but - it feels like I practiced my previous occupation so long ago - here I am, writing again, but not on anyone else's work site. For almost 4 decades, I worked at large industrial, business and government settings taking minutes of meetings, producing technical reports, and procedures manuals.
My business world was technical - full of engineers, accountants, systems people, union/management negotiators, and graphic artists. It was all terribly interesting am glad for the experience but I don't miss driving in industrial/refinery settings or wearing hot and heavy safety gear, or climbing ladders to the tops of fractionating towers, depentanizers, or storage vessels, etc.
I've been semi-retired – waaaaay too early - for 5 years – and am only 60 now. When my (now) 16 year companion and I moved to this retirement community, 5 years ago, all I wanted was quiet so I could sleep.
In June, Hector bought a 30 year old house in need of renovation. We started on the exterior: added a 6' fence, new entranceways and deck, painted and sided the exterior, then moved indoors for the winter. I broke my arm in February and was unable to help with much beyond measuring and holding, but I tried to make up for it by memorizing rooms the tools were in, and I am a great cook.
So much of our belongings are still in unpacked, stored boxes, and we never set up the teak china and bookcase units. We got used to using whatever I unpacked. Only infrequently I have had to dig in badly labeled storage. For 5 years ... well, our indoors looks unfinished, but we will move from here as soon as our bathrooms are completed, likely in the spring.
We know we are finished with renovating houses. I re-broke my right arm and wasn't able to return to a job I was in, 1 ½ years ago, and my arm and hand don't hold paint brushes or tools but I cook. That's my asset, I am a great cook.
I still type and have a new laptop with a voice recognition app to do a tutorial with, which will help future writing. There aren't any jobs I could get involved with in this small community and I'm allergic to heavy traffic and hot uniforms, so I'm creating my own job. I wrote technically, so why not?
* * *
My brother died suddenly last year and the experience of finding out how his body was lost in the morgue for 11 days before his family was told he was dead is worth writing about.
In the 16 months since, my only sibling and several extended family members re- and dis- connected for the 3rd time in 14 years. We grew apart and in different directions. Perhaps I am just set in my 60 year old ways. It's sad and regrettable, but I needled my sister to finally vent her real feelings about me – something was under the surface with her – and I got blamed for everything wrong in her whole life. It's all in her own writing, a last hateful e-mail tried to bully me into not writing this memoir.
I am fortunate to not have children. Being an aunt at my current age seems impossible. Things are very different from my own experience with my mother's 2 wonderful sisters Oona and Jennah; we had I'm OK, You're OK relationships, and I can't seem to give my nieces and nephews what they seem to think they need from me.
Sometimes family members just outgrow each other. There is much that I could say but ... there are children.
My adult family doesn't know, in total, about me from 1980. Our mother died in 2000 and no family lives who know my whole life history.
Our whole upbringing was so weird. More on that later.
First, the front page, lower third:
A man died, and for 11 days his family wasn't notified.
Chapter ThreeTHE LOST BODY: FINDING DIGNITY
My brother died last year and his body lay forgotten in a hospital morgue for 11 days. I got the phone call telling me to go and identify him. He had been in the Intensive Care Unit overnight on a Friday and died Saturday morning. Several hospital staff shifts happened and his chart got separated from his body.
Forgiveness was on my mind, seemingly transferred from his lingering spirit.
It was convoluted and confusing and took more than a month to sort the whys and wherefores of how his body was lost and found. Six agencies: two hospitals – Catholic and Protestant, 1 Guardian, 1 Trustee, 1 nursing home, and me, were involved. I count myself an agent since I bear guilt at not having updated Eli's primary care people after moving to this small town, 45 minutes from Edmonton.
Eli had lived in a nursing home for the last 6 of his almost 61 years. His bad heart had landed him in a wheelchair and it took several people to transfer him from chair to bed to shower. He had cerebral palsy from birth, a closed head injury, age 12, stunted his brain development. Diabetes and glaucoma eventually afflicted him in his early 40s.
A week or so after he went to live there, a family medical conference was scheduled. As I was living in the same city and our sister was in another city, I was the only one who could attend. Eli wasn't present, for some reason. The physician read off the list of his medications and one name caught my attention so I asked about schizophrenia medication and how it applied to him. I was shocked to hear that Eli had been diagnosed schizophrenic in his early 40s and – as far as I knew our late mother didn't know or reveal it to other family or me – I asked lots of questions but all his chart said was that he had been diagnosed 15 years ago.
Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder are closely linked. I was diagnosed BPD when I was 15ish and at 60, and after lots of life and witness to many bizarre family and other experiences, am still disordered. Given our family gipsy-like upbringing, my own diagnosis, and the 14 year estrangement of our younger sister, I have pondered much in the last 16 months.
When I started writing this memoir, 10 months ago, I wasn't planning on reviewing too much of my own life, mostly wanting to record what happened to Eli and why, for our family posterity.
Excerpted from PRINCES CHARMING and A GLASS SISTER by Naomi Oona Murthy Copyright © 2012 by Naomi Oona Murthy. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. The Murthy Family....................1
2. Borderline Personality Disordered and Disoriented Parents....................7
3. The Lost Body: Finding Dignity....................11
4. The Canadian Gipsy'S Children....................18
5. Girl-Child Warrior....................26
6. Princes Charming....................38
7. The Next 30 Years....................53
9. Jungian Dream Imagery and Symbols....................68
10. Dreams and Self Analyses....................80
11. The Happiest Nose in the World....................127
12. A Glass Sister....................129
13. Perspectives and Renewal....................138
14. My Brother's Ashes....................145
15. Fiona's Favourite Things....................151
16. Curiosity Landed on Mars....................167
17. But I'm from Venus Unmasking My Mask Collection....................180
18. Living with Borderline Personality Disorder....................190
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I didnt stop riding untill i reached Jennifers shack. I got off my horse and ran to the front door. I knocked. And Jennifer answered. I went right in for the hug. "I cant get you off my mind my thief." I said tears forming in my eyes. "I couldnt get you off my mind eather, my Charming Prince." Are lips touched and we didnt pull away for a long time. "We can be together forever. I've met a ton of girls, but none are like you." "What are you trying to say Charming?" "I'm trying to say that i love you. I want to be with you forever and eternity. You can come to my castle, you can meet my parents. Dont worry they'll love you." I said to the worried look on her face. "But what about my parents? When a Prince gets merried everyone finds out, my parents wont like it." I could feel her getting sad. "Who cares about them? If they cant see how perfect we are together, then they need to get glasses cause then they cant see anything else." We hugged. She pulled away. "Ok I'll come meet your parents." "Oh and I've got a 24 year old nephew and a 40 year old sister. And my nephew is going to get merried soon." I helped her onto my horse and we road off together, her arms around my waist. "I'm not so sure about this." She said as we neared the door. "Its ok. If anyone understands true love its my parents." I pushed open the doors and my parents came running at me. "We thought you ran away?" "No of course not. I brought someone. Mom dad this is Jennifer. Jennifer these are my parents." They all bowed. "Nice to meet you Jennifer." My dad and Jennifer shook hands. "So Jennifer, whats your ful name?" My mom asked. "Jennifer Annabeth Carter." "Wait, your Cinderellas girl?" My mom smiled. "Yeah. Yeah i am." "Well we'll leave you two love birds alone." My dad smiled and patted me on the back. And they both left. "So can i ask you a question?" I was ribbing my head. What i always do when i get nervice. "You just did." She laughed. "Well would you like to be my date to Henrys wedding?" She smiled and hugged me. "What do you think my Charming Prince?" And we kissed. She waved and walked out the door. When the door closed i sighed and leaned against the door. "Shes cute." My mom said. "Yeah. I'm thinking about proposing at Henrys wedding." She laughed and clapped her hands like a little girl. She is around 40 but she dosent look any different from when she was 28. "Oh James. I'm so happy for you." I hugged her and i whent upstairs to my room. "So how did it go?" Emma asked. "Wonderful." I sighed out. "I'm going to propose to her at Henrys wedding." She squeeled and clapped her hands. "James. I think you have finaly grown up." She touched my cheek and left my room. Next part at next result.