Monday, December 14, 2009

Hemlock Martini, Up

I've learned in my short career as a bartender that I'm really good at making martinis, although I admit to never having tasted one myself. Up. Dirty. Extra dirty. I can do those things. Well. Even my ice chips are chipper. It's a tiny skill of which I'm proud.

* * * * *

This morning I was telling Scrams of my most recent visit with the man who holds my parental fate in his hands: the custody evaluator. I was forced to face The Manny's false and predictable accusations about my alleged unfitness for motherdom late last week. A couple weeks back when the evaluator informed me that I would have an opportunity to respond to these accusations of an ad man, a strategist no less, I explained that I was looking forward to perhaps finally finding the answers to some of my own questions among his. With eyebrows raised, the kindly family psychologist told me that was an interesting way of looking at my impending inquisition.

This morning I hunkered down on Scrams' ugly couch, rattled off the topics about which I was questioned, verbatim'd my answers, often to look up and find my esteemed psychiatrist's eyes slammed shut with his nose acting as a cork to hold back the disapproval; all as if to prepare for impending doom.

He took a deep breath and told me my biggest problem is telling too much of the truth. Which is what he also told me when he said that my writing style reminds him of Henry Miller. Which is why almost everything that I have written since Katie Bar'd the Door has gone unpublished on the interwebs. It's my truth, lots of it almost nobody knows, but also the truths of all the lives that have touched mine and vice(squad) versa.

"You remind me of Socrates," he said today once he managed to unlock his crumpled face. I looked at him as if I didn't know of this So-Crates (hey bill + ted!). "Socrates was sentenced to death for speaking the truth in the public marketplace. They made him drink hemlock." Death by hemlock sounds like it pretty much sucks. First your legs go numb and then it's full body paralysis until your heart stops. Kinda smacks of the trajectory of this ultrastupid divorce.

"Then please diagnose me with something juicy, pour me some hemlock, and end the suspense."

Combustion of the brainhole is the only most recent best psychiatric diagnosis that could be made of me at present. All demispheres of my psyche are colliding after the revelation of a confirmation of an earlier suspectation I had about the deflation of my matrimonialization.

I guess the only other fear I have besides success is learning that I am often right when I suspect a truth to exist that has not yet publicized itself. And, sadly there among all of the custody evaluator's questions, I learned that I already knew the truth.

Several months ago, back when I was still angry Katie, The Manny's mother had moved into my home and changed the locks, and he began seeing a male therapist who I have to yet to be able to locate via Google or any other reliable research tool. A few weeks into his therapy with this, ahem, psychiatric health care professional, The Manny informed me that I had particular personal problems that smacked more of a diagnostic symptom inventory than a genuine attack on my specific issues within the context that they live. He also, after having no psychiatric training or treatment in his life before this time, suggested that I look into a particular kind of psychiatric treatment called dialectical behavior therapy. I googled this thing and learned that

Dialectical behavior therapy
(DBT) is a therapeutic methodology developed by Marsha M. Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, to treat persons with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
What the WHAT?

So I then set about researching borderline personality disorder. And really? I knew that I was fucked. My suspicion was that The Manny told his foggy version of my truth to his therapist who diagnosed me as suffering from borderline personality disorder. Unfortunately, one of the most unethical things a therapist can do is diagnose a person whom they've never met or treated.

Normally I don't go all achilles over a little name-calling. In fact, I can verbally ginsu a person's self-esteem into lovely bits of contaminated sashimi on demand, but as I've mentioned to the interworld before, lobbing psychiatric diagnoses around is a dangerous game. Especially in this case. My theory at that time is that once The Manny's new therapist diagnosed me and suggested a pretty extreme treatment likely to yield little result, he also explained a very important thing about those unfortunately afflicted with borderline and those entangled in their webs. Borderline personality disorder has a poor outlook because sufferers often do not comply with treatment because they are in denial of their symptoms. The best thing to do if you're involved with a borderline person is run like hell.

And run he did.

Flash forward six months to me sitting on the custody evaluator's ugly couch last week. "[The Manny] says that you suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder and/or Bi-Polar disorder. How do you respond to these allegations?"

Someone with borderline personality disorder would not have been able to suppress the anger of realizing she was so fucking dead-on right about her former paramour's complete and entire lack of understanding of her and as such would also not be able express the heartache of realizing that not only was that union doomed in any case, but the memories are predicated on lies.

"Aha. Well, your question is the answer to mine. And last time I checked [The Manny] is entirely untrained in psychiatry. So if he's making diagnoses, that's a bit presumptuous. If he's taking diagnoses of me from mental health care professionals who have never treated me, then that's unethical."

I recounted this exchange to Scrams and he listened intently with a smooth face. Before he had a chance to say anything at all, my voice stopped him mid-breath.

"Scrams, do I have borderline personality disorder?"


"Are you sure? How do you know?"

"See all those books behind you? I wrote them. All those books are basically about how you absolutely do not have borderline personality disorder. I studied borderline personalities extensively when I ran The Menninger Clinic. "

"So, what? You're saying you're an expert on borderline? A fucking authority?"

"I promise. Your biggest problem is that you're thirsty for hemlock."

Ironically, So-crates and I think similarly on questioning that which we think we know. According to an online source
Socrates and Plato refer to this method of questioning as elenchus, which means something like "cross-examination" The Socratic elenchus eventually gave rise to dialectic, the idea that truth needs to be pursued by modifying one's position through questioning and conflict with opposing ideas. It is this idea of the truth being pursued, rather than discovered, that characterizes Socratic thought and much of our world view today. The Western notion of dialectic is somewhat Socratic in nature in that it is conceived of as an ongoing process.
It kind of strikes me as tragically ironic that I remind the man who knows me the most honestly and spends the most time with me of Socrates, and yet the man who loves me not and lies to me long time wants to use a modern day psychiatric practice that was born of the thinking of Socrates to prove that I don't think right.

And so, a hemlock martini up and dirty it is.
Ice chips courtesy of my heart.

To misquote someone who pushed me over the borderline, sometimes I hate it when I tell the story til it comes true.


t said...

Man, that was a lot of big words together in a row. I'm going to have to read that again.

When does custody evaluator eventually make up his mind?

Molly said...

DUUUUDE. I have been following you since your first blog about the cookies and then to the katie one, and now here.. At first, frankly, I DID think you were BPD, but all my fave people are. Till they decide they hate me. But I am ROOTING for you, RE: the kids. And FUCK the boyf. He never deserved you anyway. Craigslist Casual Encounters is for sad and scabby sadsacks.

Patricia in TO said...

I hope Scrams is going to talk to the evaluator as well! He sounds kickass awesome!

My diagnosis is that you are brilliant and brilliant people are the ones that change the world view!

(And way way too brilliant for Manny to possibly understand!)


Anonymous said...

I see that you've quoted, or misquoted as you say, Rebecca, can you puuuuleeeeeeeeeezzz give us an update on that relationship or lack thereof? Your friendship with her was a big part of what some of us enjoyed following on your and her blogs. Would just like an update :-). Thanks and Love.

J at said...

Seems like having the expert in the field on your side in this matter is a VERY good thing, so save the hemlock for someone who needs it. ;)

And happy belated to Bub. He's awesome, just like his big sis.

Anonymous said...

You are right on about the absurdity of a psychologist, whom you've never met, making a diagnosis about you. That's nuts!! It sounds like your ex maybe too concerned about finding you at fault and not looking at, and accepting his part in the situation. I can't imagine a psychologist doing that. You are doing an amazing job with a very challenging situation!! Keep loving yourself and your kids!!


hi, hi, hi.

t-we're looking at mid-spring before a diagnosis of the situation is finalized and our case finally makes it to court. the judge has the final say, but the evaluator usually has incredible sway.

molly-i know my personality borderlines borderline, but i lack many of the more significant criteria for being classified under this unfortunate diagnosis. i had my fears, too. but apparently having those fears in the first place kinda puts me out of the running for the BPD lottery. and for the record, i don't have any stance on craigslist casual enounters one way or the other. my issue is that the manny attempted to meet one of those strangers at the home i still own and where my children were fast asleep. dangerous behavior in that regard. no stranger should know where my children live. especially not a craigslist casual encounter utility fuck.

patricia: i insisted that the evaluator contact scrams, although they know one another well from the divorce community. as far as the rest of it goes, air kisses.

anony 1: you mentioned the named the name that shall never be named. but i'm saving a bit of hemlock for her. it's complicated and confusing but she had equal influence over the manny as his mother, his lawyer, and his therapist. he's very accommodating of suggestions where he doesn't have to do any of the actual thinking himself.

jelly: yes, scrams and i are psychiatrist/patient soulmates (not in an inappropriate way)

anony: i want to be clear. i do not blame the manny and his team of retarded wizards for the mess they made. none of them know me and they shored him up for a battle against some kind of monster. i know i am not that person, as do my children, as does scrams, as will the custody evaluator. i do not deny any culpability in the demise of this nuptial nightmare. it takes two to build a team and likewise dismantle an empire of love. what a waste. i loved hard, genuinely, made compromises, set and attempted to reach goals of my own while supporting my mate's, was faithful in mind and body (until he fancied being a bi-curious cuckhold -- imagine that blog entry), and planned to spend the rest of my life with him even after i walked out our door. unconditional love is a complicated and deeply personal thing. and i held it for him. sadly, i still do. because you can't fault the weak and/or the mentally ill for their faults. he doesn't realize there is more to this story besides how he loves what i hate.

thanks for your continued input and support. as you may have guessed by now, one of my books-in-progress is on surviving an ultrastupid divorce with your funny in tact. that'll help some selves.


korin said...

This is a beautiful yet sad piece of writing.
miss you love.
xo xo