For the first time in my life I was getting my way!! I was going to be with my sisters! I was so happy. My current foster family was sad too see me go, but they had no idea what was going on with my foster sister. My sister Tyra had already been in this foster home for a while, so it was not as uncomfortable as going some were new and alone. We only had a foster mother who was probably in her sixties, so I felt hey this wont be so bad… I was wrong, when would I ever learn.
she always gave us cereal for breakfast, but the milk always tasted sour to me!! I would ask my sisters if the milk tasted sour to them? They would say yes, and it just made it worse for me, I couldn’t eat that cereal with sour milk! I would just leave it and tell our foster mother I wasn’t hungry. I would then proceed to eat some of my lunch on the way to school. We laugh about this sour milk now, I have a real phobia about milk, and if it gets to close to the date of expiry I wont drink it, even if it is not bad. I just don’t want to take the chance. This is Pavlov classical conditioning. I mention this as we will be going deeper into our psyche and mental illness, behaviours and more later on. Our mother on the other hand was using operant conditioning.
I was exhibiting behaviors of severe mental illness, but I was so hard to reach, I guess no one took the effort to try and reach me, so my metal illness just ran rampant. It was so bad, I was having nightmares, and would get up and literally walk off the end of my bed, waking my self up and jumping up off the floor, into my bed in a panic. The first time this happened my foster mother came to see what the loud bang was, I told her I fell out of bed, I did not tell her I walked off the end of my bed. Hiding my oddities, was becoming second nature to me, I had to protect what little self I had left. I did not trust Adults, actually the only people I trusted were my siblings.
Our Foster mother had a little adopted daughter about the same age as our littlest sister. Our foster mother loved her little adopted daughter. However, her adopted daughter was so jealous of our little sister. I recall one time our foster mother encouraged her adopted daughter to beat up my little sister. I felt so helpless, and angry! However, I did not want to jeopardize staying with my sisters so I kept my silence and would only intervene if my little sister got really hurt. That was what I believed, thankfully this first little spat did not amount to much. Our foster mother praised her little girl and that was that… We are in a mad house! Shameful just dam shameful to do this to children, especially children who have suffered so much in their short lives!
Some children in foster care are very seriously disturbed and evidence symptoms of psychosis.These children are not just immature. they behave in a way that is different from normal children of any age.”(Vera I.Fahlberg, M.D.)
Signs and symptoms Requiring Full Psychiatric Evaluation in children:
Extreme withdrawal from interaction; behaving as though others are not present. Inappropriate affect ie;laughing, crying, or rage for no apparent reason. Fantasies that are so marked they interfere with day to day functioning. Total lack of interest in interacting with peers; no normal peer interactions. Extreme lack of responsiveness to other people. Lack of appropriate fears/or abnormal fears that interfere with day to day functioning. Auditory or visual Hallucinations. (I have both) Failure to develop speech or disappearance of speech after it has developed.(Tyra had a speech impediment, she stuttered very badly. it was non medical, it was because of the abuse and extreme stress.) Non communicative speech. (My sister Tyra and I had our own language,we understood each other fine. We had no interest In Communicating with any one else except us four} Persistent abnormal rhythm to speech. Sing Song or chanting over and over. Abnormalities in reactions to stimulation; may be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to auditory stimuli, tactile stimuli, and the like. I was Hypersensitive, and Hyper vigilant. Self mutilation: self explanatory. Developmental delays combined with areas of normal or above normal functioning.(Sometimes we were immature in the extreme and in other areas scarily mature). Marked insistence on sameness, such as routines or object placement. Both my sister and I have varying degrees of Obsessive compulsive disorder.any changes in plans or routine is very upsetting for us also, and the emotional response is extreme.
There was on activity that I did with my sisters that I absolutely loved doing. That was dancing, I had a mini pop record that I would play over and over while my sisters and I danced to it. I would swing them around, hoist them up in the air, throw them in the air and catch them. Looking back I must have been unbelievably strong, because they were not all that light, although to me they were light. I know our foster mother’s daughter wanted to play too, and I would oblige, but I had no bond with her what so ever. I didn’t feel one way or the other about her. The only time I felt anything was when I thought about her fighting my youngest sister, and then my anger was directed at our foster mother, I never blamed the child.
This incident happened when our foster mother and a group of her friends male and female, thought it would be funny to see two little girls fight. It was atrocious behaviour for adults to not only instigate a fight, but to cheer it on. It was like a dog fight, except with two little girls, instead of dogs. Our foster mothers little girl was viscous. It wasn’t a play fight at all, it was hair pulling, biting, kicking and punching. I understood on some level that our foster mothers little girl resented my sister. Probably just her being there was enough for resentment. Maybe it was my disinterest in her’ and my affection that I showed my little sister. I really do not know the why, I just know that I felt helpless and a bone crunching shame that I did not have the courage to try and stop it. All the adults were laughing and clapping while I watched my little sister trying to defend herself against a viscous attack. Our mother, had conditioned us so thouraly, that it was Impossible for us to set healthy boundaries and enforce them…
Some might say well they were the same age and size. It wasn’t that bad…please, have you ever seen a dog fight, it is viscous, ugly and brutal. My little sister was conditioned by our mother to be a victim. We all had a victim mentality, we were not like other children, we were emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even due to malnourishment physically crippled. Please tell me this was fair, or right. For us that find any form of abuse intolerable, this event is shocking, horrific and way beyond wrong.
For the most part I was a ghost to my foster mother, I could not meet peoples eyes, there was no sparkle or joy in my eyes. I was afraid to look at people, I was so afraid I would see myself reflected back at me. I didn’t want my ugliness, my brokenness mirrored back at me through other people’s expressions. I was quiet, the only time I really expressed my self was with my siblings. They were my world, my safe world, the only ones that could see, sense, feel my pain, and the joy that they brought to my dark reality. It was easier for people to see through me, than to see me. A broken child that was suffering silently.