The truth about the DiCarlo household, is that it was an abusive house of horrors. It baffles me that I took the brunt of it from both Cindy and Greg. I really don’t understand why I was the scapegoat, other than Greg targeted me to get out his anger at my mother. John got the second worst of it from them.
He came flying into my bedroom once in the middle of the night, something that wasn’t too uncommon, but this time he pulled me out bed by my hair to the floor, where he began beating me, bellowing, “You’re a whore like your mother!”
My mother had an affair again with a fiancé from her youth named Jeff, become pregnant with twins, and had an abortion. Greg found out. Somehow, it was my fault. I didn’t find out the truth until years later from my mother.
That’s how their relationship was. My mom had affairs and spent all his money to look good, and Greg sexually abused and assaulted women at work, had his own affairs, giving my mother STDs, and attacked me. I believe that the violence aimed at me on Greg’s part was a sexual fetish for him and something he got off on with his Paraphilia NOS.
I was a sensitive child who wanted to be left alone with dolls, music, art, book and my cats. Greg didn’t care. If anything, it was probably even more enjoyable to see how I suffered. I remember being forced to rollerblade or bike literally 20 mile in a single day or pull weeds and do yard work for 8 hour stretches. I’d be forced to hike up a waterfall in Yosemite until I had cramps that caused me to collapse, crying and throwing up spit and bile. I had asthma and breathing issues at times a baby, something I still struggle with today, and there were times I just could barely breath. However, complaining got me screamed at or hit, so I rarely did.
I was made to participate in an adult Triathlon that started at the Merced Lake and ended at the Merced college pool as a child, which I could not complete. They force me to try and waterski, laughing at me falling over-and-over again, until I began crying and they brought me back on the boat. Then again, this happened rafting rapids when I was only 4 or 5. I was tossed overboard, and the reaction of my mom was to yell at me to swim myself out of it, or I could float the rest of the rapids.
“You have a vest! You’ll be fine! Just swim!” She screamed.
I was 4 or 5 years old.
Nobody helped me. I swam myself back to the boat. Sink of swim. Literally.
My mom and Greg beat and chastised me. Greg screamed at me in the van about how I was 50 pounds overweight, and that’s why I couldn’t ski, when in truth, I wasn’t overweight at all at that age. I was beautiful. I didn’t like skiing beyond going downhill fast to spray people in the lift line on the bunny slope when I was young.
The DiCarlo house was like growing up in abusive hell boot camp military school for kids who must look and act perfect or else.
I remember how my mom and I fought over clothes, hobbies, my interests, my personality, everything I was that she hated because it wasn't what they wanted.
I remember how my mom shook & slapped me in the hall outside class in first grade, yelling that she wished she could trade me in for a different kid.
I remember her telling me she hated me for the first time when I was 5 or 6.
I remember how she made me tell my dad on the phone when I was only 3 or 4 that I didnt want him to be my father anymore, and wanted Greg to adopt me, then gave me a toy afterwards.
I remember how my dad was yelling and crying.
I remember how I became the go-between to arrange visits by age 6.
I remember how she whipped me with objects, and even went way overboard beating me with the buckle end of a belt once.
I remember counting 37 welts, bruises and cuts in the mirror on my back, butt and thighs.
I remember laying under my bedroom window sobbing to Liz, Alison and Whitney outside that I couldn’t come out and play because I was grounded and got a spanking, when in secret, I couldn’t stand because I’d been beaten with a belt and had just been in the bathroom throwing up.
I remember how she threw a glass bowl into the floor at my feet, and little pieces I had to pick out of my lower legs.
I remember how my mom punished me by taking away art or singing lessons, theatre, visits with my dad.
I remember my mom telling me she hoped I was found dead in a gutter.
I remember how my mom said my being bisexual was "just a phase", was upset, disappointed and thought it was “weird”. I remember Jim telling me that getting my full-sleeve on my left arm was "only for lesbians".
I remember how she left me in a friend's guest poolhouse and on couches after we left Greg to take care of myself at age 13.
I remember how hit me so much that I had to put her against a wall and tell her she would never hit me again at age 15 to finally stop the physical abuse.
I remember how my mom wasn't there and wouldn't see me or have anything to do with me when I woke up from my first suicide attempt at age 16.
I remember how she and Jim kicked me out of the house at age 16.
I remember how she would crush up her Xanax to lace my little autistic brother to calm him down, who was only 5 years old.
And worst for me, I remember how when I was 6, a homeless man tried to kidnap me. I fought back and escaped, screaming “You’re not my daddy! I don’t know you!”, fighting for my life. He said wanted to "Make me his wife" before I got away. My mom bought my silence with a trip to FAO Swartz and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. I was told to never tell anyone, that Greg would be angry over the cost of the baby doll, so I didn’t, and neither did she.
I will never know for sure who that man was, or who he probably hurt after me, but a man who will snatch a little girl in daytime in the middle of a store and run with her would likely try again. I have held onto a lot of guilt that wasn't mine to own, knowing another girl probably took my place. That $100 dollar FAO Swartz baby doll bought the silence of a 6 year old, but what other little girls life, or innocence, did it possibly cost?
Sometimes I get these weird urges that I wish I could hug Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard. It’s no wonder the issue around Jim Sweetland having had been Steven Stayner’s Doctor affects me so deeply, beyond just Jim’s abuse.
I remember how my mom would ignore me when I told her that I didn’t want her to touch me, and her hitting me, holding me down, and yelling at me to stop it, so that she could look at my vagina, or put a suppository in my bum when I was sick.
I remember how I was sick a lot and seemed to have an unusual number of yeast infections at times, which my mom always insisted I made her allow me to look at and touch. I started developing early, and was wearing a training bra at age 9, with slight public hairs starting to grow in a year or two later. When I told my mom, she asked to see them. I told her no, and she refused to take no for an answer.
My mom made me sit down on her bed, and she pulled down my underwear to look and touch me. She thought it amazing that I was getting hair so young, and that it was such a pretty color.
There is something deeply sick about my mother, Greg DiCarlo and Jim Sweetland.
I remember catching my mom spying on one of my cousins in the shower, and her remarking to me how she was developing so young, had big, beautiful breasts already, and such a full thick dark bush of public hair. She then closed the bathroom door entirely and told me that my cousin was shy that she had developed so much so young, to leave her alone and not say anything to her, because it would embarrass her, before walking away.
There was a family vacation at Royal Gorge when my mother was caught naked in the shower with the daughter of family friends at night, who was also naked. A confrontation occurred, in which my mom tried to say she was just helping to get her ready for bed.
Even after I gave birth to my daughter Lily, as my mom was checking my c-section incision for me one day, she started remarking how beautiful my pubic hair was, the strawberry red color of it, then touching and petting it.
I remember how my mom told me once that rape, “Was no big deal”.
I remember way too much. I wish I could turn off the stuff I've never spoken about, and that's where a lot of the suicide attempts come from.
“Children should always feel like the adults are living in this world to nurture them, to take care of them, to protect them from any bad thing that might come.” – Chris Cornell
For years, I pulled out all my pubic hair, one hair at a time. This is still something I can struggle with sometimes. I was diagnosed at one point with Dermatillomania, as I have compulsively sat for hours pulling out all my pubic hair until I was completely bald and picked holes in my skin.
I don’t think my mom intentionally molested me because is was orgasmic for her. It was more of a power and control abuse, and very medical and clinical. That was always my mom’s explanation, that it was for medical reasons. I don’t care if you’re an R.N. If it was all innocent, and she was just taking care of me like mothers do, then how come I’ve so fucked up from it? I almost wonder if she doesn’t realize how sick she is, but then I remember her spying on my cousin, and washing that other little girl at Royal Gorge in the shower. I think about how she knew about Greg and tried to talk me into having a baby with Jim, and maybe she’s a lot sicker than I could bear to accept the truth of.
They call my mom, “The Baby Whisperer”. She’s great with babies, she has some weird fetish about them, and you’ll find nobody apparently better to trust the care of your babies with. However, the minute they can speak, crawl, walk or have any kind of personality of their own, she will be done with them, and that includes her own children. Cindy admits this herself or has to me many times over the years.
She doesn’t like kids, but she does like younger girls as they are starting to develop, and attractive, slim teenagers and young woman. She always had a weird fascination with my breast, breast development, size, whether or not I had stretch marks, my vagina and public hair. We had graphic sex books for kids in the house at a young age. She would get naked in public, and not just private friend setting to tan, I mean public, non-nude beaches with families around. When I was about 5 or 6, after I got back from a sleepover at a friend’s house, my mom got a call from her mother, extremely upset. Evidently, her daughter had told me babies were made by hugging and I responded by giving her a graphically detailed explanation of sexual intercourse, including details that were not in that educational book. She made out with her boyfriends and flashed them her boobs in front of me. She used to make fun of me, and get angry at me over my reaction, calling me a prude about things she did.
It’s taken me 36 years to begin to understand what happened to me, and to begin to learn how narcissists and abusers like Greg, Cindy and Jim operate. What my mother did to me was sexually assaultive, traumatizing and violating of all my personal and physical boundaries.
The first thing my mom said when my daughter was born was, “She has red hair!”, which means my daughter will have red pubic hair, and that is something that seems to be a sick fetish or fascination for my mother in developing girls.
I don’t want my mother having anything to do with my child ever again.
It's 2:38AM and this is some of the shit that haunts me. I don't know how to let it go, and there's just never any peace from it all.
Merced, California makes me want to break out singing Beauty and The Beast’s “Little Town”.
“Little town, it’s a busybody village…every day, like the one before….little town, full of small-minded people, waking up to saayyyyy….I’ll judge you, judge you….and hate you and you and you!”
Truly, growing up, Merced never lived up to its name; holding mercy in nothing but the fine edge that everyone sharpened the razor teeth within their maws on the latest blood from your wounds. You were left often hoping they’d just deal you the kill blow already when they tore you apart with their gossip.
Growing up in Merced for me, I felt like Willow growing up in the Hellmouth that was Sunnydale. I didn’t fit in at all and was a complete rebel in so many ways. I was basically the exact opposite of everything I was expected and commanded to be.
The thing about the girls in the inner upper circle of wealth, at least our circle, were expected to look perfect, get perfect grades, excel in sports, be a triple threat dancer at Ms. Denise’s, attend either Our Lady of Mercy or be in the Gifted and Talented Education Program in public school, be Catholic, Mormon or Presbyterian, get a University of California, Private Christian, Mormon or Ivy League college education, find a husband and then have babies, with perfect pregnancies and careers forever. God help you if you ever got fat, or even gained too much weight during your pregnancy. We weren’t equals; we were objects for the boys.
At a young age, my step-brother used to tackle me, hold me down, and hump me, grab me and touch me. Part of why I started putting on weight was so that I could be bigger than him, and the sexual abuse stopped when I was able to tackle him, beat him up, and then drag him outside and throw him in our pool in the middle of winter once. He and another childhood friend used to masturbate in front of us and rub their penises on windows when we ran away. My stepbrothers once stood outside my bedroom window after I came out of the bathroom shower, laughing at me crouched underneath naked, crying at them to go away because I didn’t want them to see me.
I’m not the only child who was abused in our circle, and in others that overlapped with ours. However, only one other child has ever tried to speak out, and after the way she was treated, she never tried to again.
I don’t blame her. One look at me, what I’ve been through, how I’ve been ostracized and torn apart, cast out, and disowned, and I get it. It’s incredibly difficult to live the life I have lived and continue to live every day.
Not ONE person in the town of Merced ever saw me, listened to me, or intervened to keep me safe; beyond small minimal acts of kindness, which I remember and hold onto even today. The life of a very different child had no value or meaning in comparison the status and wealth of Dr. Greg DiCarlo, and his little circle of WASP cronies, who thought jokes like,
"What do you call a broom with teeth? An Ethiopian!" were funny. I remember that moment at the Col’s cabin, when Caren told that joke. That was when I lost my respect for her. Later, my mom told me how she took one look a perfectly beautiful newborn baby girl available for adoption, and walked away because she wasn’t white, after years of trying to have another child. Caren didn't adopt until they got the blonde haired, blue eyed child she wanted instead. Caren also called my claims of abuse by Greg “garbage”.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Caren has been one of Greg’s best friends for decades. Shame on those of you in that town who support that bullshit. Shame on you.
This is where the evil of apathy comes into play.
When a child bangs on your door at night in her nightgown in the pouring rain, barefoot, and hysterically crying for help that she and her mom and being beaten, you don’t choose to do or say nothing, and simply return her home.
When a child leaves a letter in your mailbox telling you she’s being abused, and begging for help, you don’t ignore it, or return the letter to her mother, who then beats her further for sending the letter.
When a child is being abused in their yard in view of you, dragged across the entire lawn by her hair, being yelled at and hit, you don’t ignore it and do or say nothing.
When someone calls the police because a man is beating a child with closed fist and screaming in the middle of the Merced Mall Parking Lot, you, as that Police Officer who shows up at their door, don’t walk away and do nothing, and never follow up on that report after speaking to only 3 young children who answer the door.
When a child is stabbing and cutting words and designs into their skin, and people can see them at school, you don’t ignore it and do nothing.
When you know a child is being abused, and that there is violence and possible sexual crimes happening in a home, I do not care who the abuser is, how powerful, connected or wealthy, you do not ignore child abuse and do nothing. Anyone who does is severely lacking having a very soul. Take that on your conscious and try to go call yourself a Christian at church this Sunday.
Indeed, the apathetic epitaph that “boys will be boys” has bred generations of victims of sexual abuse and assault.
We may not individually be able to save the entire world and everyone in it, but we can all do something about what we are aware of.
“We must fear evil men and deal with them accordingly, but what we must truly guard against, what we must fear most, is the indifference of good men.” – Boondock Saints
We always have a choice. Even if it’s not a pretty choice, we do have a choice. Apathy towards child abuse, pedophilia and sexual assault, whether it’s for the evil of money, or in the name of God and prayer, is still a choice to contribute to the problem.
Our choices, when we are left holding the remnants of tragedy, lay the brickwork for our future. Making good decisions, becoming aware, awake and taking action are how we can stop these cycles of violence. Remembering and learning from history are how we can change the now and future. We always have a choice.
In the midst of all this abuse, I became that girl. I was that girl who rescued animals. Who hid rescued kittens in my PE clothes through all my classes, giving them lunchmeat and milk to keep quiet, then smuggling home on the bus home inside my shirt.
I was that girl who babysat in the church nursery instead being a part of the services or youth group downstairs. I was that girl who sold homemade brownies at school, and my music tapes in the neighborhood, to try and raise money for the Nobbe family when their mom was dying of cancer, and the Duncan family when their father was dying of cancer.
I was that girl who helped Amy, the little girl with cerebral palsy, swim at the Merced Racquet Club until the day my mom had to tell me she had stopped breathing in her sleep. I was that girl who believed shooting stars were my Grandma Ryna’s spirit saying hi to me. I was that girl who could talk to animals from the age of 5, something I told one of my best friends, Judy, at the time, and still say is a gift I possess.
I was that girl who taught myself Braille to tutor a blind kid named Kai in our class in 4th grade. Because he was alone, disabled and Hmong, so hardly anyone cared. I was that girl who sat next to the boy with muscular dystrophy at Golden Valley and helped tutor him before he passed away the next year. I was that girl who ate her lunch in the classroom with the teachers, or in the library. I was that girl who defiantly wrote in “666” when cataloging books in the Teneya Middle School library, because they always skipped that number and I found it ridiculous, not to mention it wasn’t in order. You just can’t go from 665.9 to 667. It drove me insane.
I was that girl who hid her books behind the textbooks in class to read what I wanted, and then would be caught, asked a question about the lesson being given, and could still respond with a perfect answer despite having been sitting there reading my own book secretly. I was that girl who had to haul a backpack full of confiscated books that I did get caught with home at the end of every semester. I was that girl who rolled out of bed 15 minutes before school, threw my hair in a messy bun, and wore a baggy t-shirt over my flannel pajama pants. I was that girl who couldn’t listen Soundgarden, or Nirvana, or anyone, unless I hid under my covers in bed with the radio and my furniture against the wall at night. Owning a CD would have gotten me beaten, so for years I was only familiar with the big radio hits.
I was that girl who flipped off the Catholic Teacher at Our Lady of Mercy (OLM) when I was 9 years old and called her a “Bitch” to get myself expelled because I didn’t want to attend that school. I was that girl who asked out the Bible Teacher’s son for Winter Formal at Merced Christian Baptist School during my brief few months as a Junior in High School, just to be defiant. And we did go together. I was that girl who wore skirts that were too short to that Baptist school and Xena: Warrior Princess screamed and kicked down the hallway, before being suspended for saying “No way, shut up!” to a friend.
I was that girl who got sent to the principal’s office over and over because I had hysterical outbursts of laughter in class, and didn’t know why, nor could I stop. I was that girl who cut myself with razor blades and box cutters for every pound I weighed in punishment, and painted portraits from my own blood. I was that girl who killed herself through her dolls, then buried them in a cemetery in little homemade coffins under my bedroom window. I was that girl who people thought was dishonest or shifty and would yell at me “LOOK ME IN THE EYE!”; when in reality, that’s just extremely difficult and upsetting for me, and so I trained myself to do that during conversations because it’s what society expects. I see people’s souls when I look in their eyes, and I feel vulnerable in return, so it’s unsettling.
I was that girl who called myself “The Demon” and tried to explain to my mom that my outbursts weren’t my fault; that I was inside my own brain looking out through the tunnels of my own eyes and it was The Demon who was screaming and screaming in those tantrums, not me.
I was that girl who carried around dark novels of tragedy and horror; who highlighted and memorized my favorite passages of Shakespeare and was obsessed with Greek Mythology. I was that girl who taught myself Hebrew and Hieroglyphics; who was fascinated by Egyptians and Native Americans. I was that girl who got the shit beat of me by my mother for being kicked out a Baptist Summer Camp when I started drawing runes in charcoal on the rocks around the campfire and played with another little boy; something that was strictly not allowed.
I was that girl whose 7th grade science experiment was to use water as a conductor to try and shock mealworms back to life like Frankenstein. I was that girl whose prized possessions were sentimental items from my dead grandmother, and things like my weird collections, my signed first edition of Clive Barker’s “Galilee”, the little boy doll missing a leg in a handmade blue and white outfit that had belonged to a child that escaped the Titanic. I was that girl who talked two friends into biking over 25 miles in the heat of summer to rescue 3 kittens that my other friend’s father was going to drown.
I was that girl, who couldn’t give a real smile in her school photos, and nobody ever saw me. I was that girl who went with the church youth group to build houses for the homeless in El Florido, Mexico. I was that girl who was almost always alone on the class trip to Washington DC/NY, and who took countless pictures. I was that girl who ended up not going on the class trip to Europe in High School, because the bullying and apathy of the teachers was so severe that it was too unsafe and terrifying for me to attend, and I ended up leaving Golden Valley and graduating early entirely.
And I’m still that girl. I’m still that girl who has charged into a gang of men surrounding a woman in the parking lot of my apartment complex at night, barefoot in the snow, with a lamp I pulled out of my wall when I saw what was happening through the window to protect her and make them scatter.
I was that girl; and almost everyone hated me and hurt me. Therefore, I began hurting myself too from a very young age, and I still fight every day not to.
At the end of April 2018, I came across 24 pages of court records online, and on the Bad Doctor Database, documenting proof about Greg DiCarlo that solidified what I was torn apart over for speaking out about nearly a decade previously. Something inside me snapped from the pressure of the memories, and I went into a massive nervous breakdown. I opened an entire public page to write a post about Greg DiCarlo, attached the links to the court records and online article, and paid to boost the post intentionally to Merced, California on Facebook, hoping it would reach Greg’s eyes personally, followed by an attempted suicide with a dulled knife that wouldn’t cut deep a few days later, a hospitalization in the State Psychiatric Hospital, and a 2 month leave of absence from school. The following is the boosted post, with some more information edited in:
Hello Merced, California Let's talk about Dr. Gregory Paul DiCarlo.
People in Merced can say or think whatever they want. Call this my catharsis; to blog it out openly so I can finally try to leave it behind me, after holding it in a bottle my entire life.
My first memory of Greg DiCarlo is of him beating me. I must have been about 3; we lived at the green house then. I remember him slapping me and pulling me by the hair across the living room and throwing me into the corner. Dr. DiCarlo is one of the most respected, well-renouned Surgeons in the upper crust and inner circle of snobbish wealth and status in Merced.
He is also a sadistic, narcissistic predator and abuser who used his money to hide multiple offenses over the years from within our family home to the Nurses and other employees he sexually harassed and assaulted. My mom used to write the settlement amount on the calendar, star and circle it to make sure the payout check was mailed out in time. *$30,000*
Greg tormented us; but I was his biggest target. My mom often went off with girlfriends on spa and travel days to shop and get her hair down in the wealthier towns by the coast. Greg punched me, kicked me and pulled me around the house by my hair.
I tried to run away from home for the first time at about age 4; following my older step-brother down and around on the street to the bus. I remember running away to get away at only 3 or 4 years old, and at an age that young, the only plausible solution was to follow my older brother and take the magic bus to the safe place where the older kids seemed to get to go be happy.
It escalated, and over the years there was incident after incident, and my every waking moment in that home on Forist Lane was a horror story of secrets and suffering for me.
To the outside world, we were this rich family with everything we could ask for. Behind closed doors, I was being destroyed on every level. Greg was so untouchable due to his wealth and status in that community, that he began to abuse us openly in publicly.
Only one time, when threw my little step-brother into the backseat of the car and began to punch and beat him viciously in the middle of the day at the Merced Mall parking lot, did someone intervene. That man grabbed Greg from behind and beat the holy fuck out of him. The police came to our door to investigate and dropped the entire investigation when they met us 3 terrified kids at the door, who were shaking and trying to act like nothing was wrong.
They never even bothered to question an adult. They left and that was the last of it. Whoever that man was at the mall that day, if you ever see this post, thank you for being the only person in my entire childhood to ever stand up to and try to protect us from Greg DiCarlo. You’re the REAL MVP!
Greg was a man who beat me so hard that I at times couldn’t stand, see straight and would lay by my toilet in the bathroom throwing up. This is a man who pulled me out of bed in the middle of the night in my sleep by my hair to the floor, drop-kicking and punching me while screaming, “You’re a whore like your mother!”.
This is a man who thought grabbing my little step-sister’s butt and calling her Mrs. Buns was funny and appropriate. This is a man who would punish me by locking me out of the house and forcing me to pull weeds for 8 hours, or bike 20 miles to lose weight, or rollerblade the dog around the bikepath and neighborhood 20 times, or whatever, because I was “too fat”.
This is a man who believed psychiatric care was bullshit and who believed getting a Master’s Degree to become a teacher was below him, a waste of an education and money, and not a real career. Greg DiCarlo believes that our teachers are lesser, weaker individuals than himself who threw away their opportunity in life to be someone important.
Greg DiCarlo is a man who made comments about his patients at home around the dinner table like "Thank God she finally died; I couldn't wait for her to die" about an elderly lady, and not in a compassionate way, of "I'm so glad she's at peace"....no, this was all hate, disgust and scorn; relief that he didn't have to put up with her anymore.
Greg is a surgeon because he has a God complex and gets off on the sadism of being paid to cut human bodies apart, but then must repair them, which inherently leaves him being praised as a healer and incredible medical professional in the process; further boosting his ego and status. He's not a Surgeon because he cares about people.
This is a man who had me living in such a state of terror that I would keep my furniture pushed against my bedroom door, with my window screen ajar and a backpack with music, books, snacks and my stuffed kitty ready to go if I needed to jump out and run to my secret tree fort; a tree down the street and around the corner with low branches, that when you army crawled your way in, opened up in a hidden space to hide, like a little cave.
By the age of 7, I was writing about suicide, and the desire to kill myself, in my pink Hello Kitty journal. By age 9, I had begun eating and purging (bulimia), and by age 10 I was self-harming with needles and safety pins, stabbing and piercing myself.
This is a man who threw my mom into our refrigerator so hard it left a dent; which had me running down the neighborhood in my nightgown, barefoot in the pouring rain, pounding on the doors, appealing to deaf, apathetic ears for help. Of course, I was merely returned home and further punished.
When I was 13, Greg broke into my bathroom to attack me while I was naked in the shower. My mom got in the middle, and that was the day we finally left.
Greg would find us. He’d show up and pound on our door, threatening us. He followed us, or my mom. He attacked her in public in a sandwich shop; I remember her coming home with her hair all wet and curly because at the end of that attack, he dumped his entire soda on her head.
Nobody ever did anything because he was
“DR. GREG DICARLO, THE RICH AND IVY LEAGUE EDUCATED SURGEON FROM CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN MERCED”.
My mom’s lawyer told her to take whatever settlement was on the table during the divorce and walk away, or Greg would kill us. The message was clear: take what he was willing to give, walk away and keep quiet, or die.
And nobody cared but me. Greg DiCarlo was almost a John Hogan, and nobody would listen to me.
I’m going to say that one more time. Nobody cared but me. Greg DiCarlo was almost a John Hogan, and nobody would listen to me.
That is what I mean by "apathy kills". The apathy of those in the circle of friends, at school who were aware something was very wrong and those in the church did just as much damage as Greg. If one person had truly stepped up and intervened, my life would have gone in a completely different direction.
Even today, that town sees him as some kind of Hero, an upstanding member of the Community, when in reality, by the age of 14, I had developed such a severe form of fibromyalgia due to the damage of his abuse, that the Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me for 4 years, believing it was merely teenage angst.
I have permanent whiplash equivalent to the force of being in a 100 MPH car accident, and I’ve never been in a car accident. By age 22, I was diagnoses with arthritis. My fingers are twisted at different angles, there is a twist to my wrist that never healed properly, though that could be muscular. I’m not sure why it’s like that, but it’s painful and continues to deteriorate. This is part of why I could never play guitar. I’ve been told one of my legs is about ¼-1/2 inch shorter that the other due to my hips being out of line from back damage. I’ve been told I have pinched discs, nerves, sciatica, TMJ/lockjaw/whiplash, subluxation of the spine and degenerative disk disease.
This is a man who is supposed to be a healer carrying the hypocratic oath which begins "First do no harm". What kind of 6'0", 220-pound lowlife beats a child like that? He was never held accountable for any of it, and continues to live in ridiculous wealth and praise, walking freely among a blind, apathetic community who only seems to care about money, status and appearances. He’s been in trouble countless times with numerous women who have spoken up to file reports of sexual assault or harassment, his license has been suspended multiple times and he’s been through 3 different psychiatric reviews, which diagnosed him with a sick sexual fetish disorder, Paraphilia, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, among other issues.
We live in a world where a Predator with money can do literally whatever he wants to whomever he wants and not only never face any real consequences but can be loved for it.
On the other hand, the little girl who got the worst of it, grows up fighting against such severe issues that even she grows into a disabled single mom who loses custody of her child over issues that were never her fault.
Greg DiCarlo is partially responsible for costing me custody of Lily and should have to provide a settlement for her future, especially the abuse he exposed her to the morning he barged in screaming at us.
Lily never would have had a sick, disabled mom if it weren’t for Greg DiCarlo, Cindy Meuser and Jim Sweetland.
What if I don’t make it to her 18th birthday, when she’s old enough to have a close relationship with me again after being adopted at age 7?
Greg should be held accountable for his part in my medical and psychiatric bills.
My second stepfather was Dr. James Sweetland, who also became severely abusive
I'm now so disabled from all the traumatic events of my life, that I spend almost all my time bedridden, have seizures, some heart issues, and started needing Personal Care Assistance at age 33.
Part of why I’m going to write openly about Merced, it’s not just processing my trauma, it’s about putting out a message to that town; a message that all the apathetic, gossiping, hate-mongering, bigoted and prejudice ears in that community need to hear.
I graduated high school after completing 2 years of high school at Golden Valley. We moved away, and I promised myself I would never live in that town ever again. Other than a few brief visits to Merced, I have kept my word.
Most people who knew me in Merced hate me, and it's ironic, because nobody in that town ever knew me, except the first boy I fell in love with in high school, and my best girlfriend from high school.
The last time I saw Greg was 8 years ago. My husband at the time, my daughter and I came to stay for a few days to visit family, so they could meet them. It was a terrible mistake on my part, and I should have known better.
I was in my own abusive situation with my husband. While my daughter and I slept that night, my ex-husband made himself at home in the living room, raided the fridge and turned up the heat on the thermostat before coming back to bed.
At about 5:30AM, the bedroom door flew open and Greg was screaming at the top of his lungs, cursing us out, scaring the life out of my poor baby girl, and telling us to get out because his chocolate was gone and my ex had turned up the heat in the middle of the night.
I took a photo album of childhood pictures, the rest of the chocolate we could find, on purpose, wrote "FUCK YOU" on the dry erase board in the kitchen, and we left.
FUCK YOU, GREG DICARLO! You're a piece of shit, and its high time someone called you out.
By the way, Greg, remember that time your house got toilet papered and egged to high holy hell, the trash cans tossed, and all your cars got keyed? That was me and a few teenage friends from the Baptist School.
On May 1, 2018, I did another post, this time aimed at my second stepfather, Dr. James Earl Sweetland:
This is for my second stepfather, Dr. James Earl Sweetland.
This is a man who thinks it’s okay to beat his physically disabled children. This is a man who knew that I was severely abused, who pretended to be a good guy, a caring man who posed as a father figure and then turned. This is a man who threw me on my already damaged back into a hardwood floor at age 16 so hard that the floor broke, and a plank of the wood flew across the entire kitchen and living room. That is an incredible amount of force.
This is a man who threw me into furniture, knocking my autistic baby brother around and nearly out of my mother’s arms. This is a man who beat his deaf son from his first marriage around the ears; especially when that boy took out his hearing aids so he wouldn’t have to hear the fighting between his parents. This is a man who thinks it’s okay to approach me at 18 years old and offer to “donate sperm” to me so I can pregnant, while he was still married to my mother, who was in the room encouraging the idea. This is a man who broke confidentiality and told me about the last night and moments of Steven Stayner’s death.
This is exactly why California needs to do more about these Predators continuing to work in the medical field. You put the care of Steven Stayner in the hands of this man; a boy who was severely traumatized and under the glare of the worldwide media after his escape. You put that little boy in Jim’s care through the night that he died, and Jim went home and abused his own children and stepdaughter, 4 of us whom are disabled or different, behind closed doors.
Confidentiality laws exist for a reason, and had I been one of the gossipmongers of Merced, I could have talked about the last night of Steven’s life, and how do you think that getting back to Steven’s widow, children and surviving friends and family would have felt for them, after everything else they’ve already been through? How do you think it feels for them to know that Steven was in the care of someone like Jim still being allowed to practice medicine, after everything Steven went through?
This is a man who almost choked my little baby half-brother to death, and my mom had to literally beat him over the head with a curtain rod, then lock herself in the bedroom and call me, hysterical, to tell me what was happening. My baby girl was with her at the house that day and was exposed to that event.
This is a man who thought it was okay to squeeze my knee in the car once, rubbing it and telling me what I beautiful woman I was like my mother, and that bigger women with curves were sexy.
This is a man who I thought was going to be a positive role model and father figure in my life; but who in actuality was just another creep and abuser.
I am so sorry, Steven. I'm sorry for what happened to you. I'm sorry for what you had to go through as a victim, a survivor, a Hero and in the press, in Merced, and I'm sorry that your life, recovery, health and healing were in the hands of someone like Dr. Sweetland, especially the night you passed away.
What I want to ask the State Board of California American Medical Association and the Psychiatrist who “treated” Greg is how could you not only dismiss the idea of pursuing legal charges, but how could any of you in any way think that he is mentally stable to be a surgeon? Why does he still have his license? Why did nobody ever think to check on the homelife, and the 5 children he had? Did he pay some of you off? If so, was the price worth your soul?
All of you in Merced who did nothing who did know: was the cost of a child’s health, sanity, safety, future and very life worth your soul? Those of you in the family and inner circle who refused to speak out or take action out of fear of personal repercussions, did you sleep well at night in your beds of silent apathy, tucked in with the blood of an innocent child pushed from your mind?
Self-preservation breeds secrets that carry a ripple effect silently outwards, killing like a poison for generations.
I count 13 women who filed reports, restraining orders or lawsuits against Greg DiCarlo who did step forward in those court records between 1993 and 2013. Taken from court records:
by a surgical technician. The surgical technician alleged that respondent engaged in
unwelcome sexual harassment which included, but was not limited to, pinching her,
making comments of a sexual nature and attempting to lie on top of her while she was
resting in a lounge area.
In my personal opinion, this is one of the most astonishingly neglectful and shameful examples of complete and total apathetic negligence on the part of the Board of California that I’ve ever heard of. Gregory DiCarlo should have lost his license and his freedom 3 decades ago.
I strongly feel that anyone who commits a sexual or violent offense should never be allowed to hold a medical license of any kind. The law says I can’t even own a gun to protect myself due to my mental health issues, so why in the world is it legal to entrust people’s lives in the hands of someone like Dr. Gregory Paul DiCarlo? Why in the world is it legal to entrust the lives of preemies and NICU babies into the care of people like my mother? Why are men like Dr. James Paul Sweetland allowed to operate as a family physician caring for your children, when behind closed doors they try to murder their own disabled one? There are decades of court records, police reports and more on these three adults in California. There’s even more abuse on record regarding my mom and Jim in Pennsylvania.
I would like an explanation, please, and justice, if possible.
People need to understand that abuse happens everywhere. Abuse isn’t just happening in some poor trailer park, or in rough neighborhoods. Some of the worst, most depraved abuse can and does happen behind the doors of the rich. What is more terrifying about those who are extremely wealthy, educated, connected and within high status in their communities, is that they can get away with a lot more.
These people may appear charming, intelligent and engaging individuals in your daily lives. You can even know them for years, be close friends with them, work with them, or be related to them, and not know their sick secrets. They may be very high standing members in your community, who are associated with the best of the best. Anytime you attend the crème-de-le-crème of any event, charity or benefit, you can bet there are at least a few seriously evil individuals in the crowd. However, narcissistic abusers of all kinds are found everywhere.
Narcissist abusers of this kind are meticulous in how they go about manipulating everyone. It is a constant game that they play, keeping the chess pieces working around them. They are often many moves ahead of you and have entire control of the chest board. You are their pawn. They can make you feel special, and seem so wonderful themselves, perhaps to the point of coming across as even Angelic, Divine or Heroic, that you couldn’t imagine they are capable of certain crimes they might be accused of. This is part of how they operate. When a victim steps forward, they are debunked as lying, or mentally ill, which is only used against the victim to further tear her down.
In the end, the abuser looks even better, and in fact, has won the sympathy of those around him who can’t believe he was accused of such a horrific crime. This is when you become the abuser’s “flying monkey”, attacking and tearing apart the victim. The abuser is now using you to further abuse and terrorize his victim as a punishment for her speaking out. The flying monkeys attack the victim, gossip about her and turn their backs on her.
Under the stress of the events, and the treatment of the entire group, the already fragile and traumatized victim may have emotional outbursts or extreme mental instability due to the abuse, which is only used against her. The abuser may even try to use the mental health issues of the victim against her to make her look to be abusive, further solidifying the allegiance of the flying monkeys, destroying her reputation, alienating her and permanently damaging her mental and emotional health.
The abuser, on the other end, may be very calm, collected, and rationally logical when discussing the victim’s accusations against him. The flying monkeys will be caught even more deeply into his web of lies and continue to admonish the victim. This is a gaslighting process I, and a growing number of others, refer to as “Soul Murder”.
The abuser appears to be the believable one. The victim, now even more broken, isolated and traumatized, is left too terrified and damaged to speak out again and may even recant. At this point, if the victim is still living with the abuser, the various types of abuse (mental, physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, financial, psychological) will step up in punishment. The abuser also tends to be even more careful at this point in how he goes about his abuse.
If not still with the abuser, the victim is left in complete isolation, usually believed to be a liar, or severely mentally ill and abusive, while her abuser is given sympathy, protection and further adoration, friendship and love. The victim will have even worse mental, emotional and (depending on the abuse), physical health issues, and may attempt or die of suicide.
It’s been 7 ½ years since Eric and I separated for the last time. We’ve have no contact, other than me calling his parents house after I first kicked him out 3 times to ask him to please stay in contact with Lily, and to stay in her life. After which, he took a restraining order out against me. This is another gaslighting technique narcissists use. I did nothing other than make 3 phone calls out of concern for our child from where he lived away from us 3 states away, and he took out a restraining order to make me look bad on paper. After it expired, I reached out to ask for a divorce about once a year, and other than that, we’ve had no contact since I kicked him out. He has been living with and engaged to his fiancé this entire time, who seemed to have no problem being engaged forever to a man who is still married, though I have repeatedly said that I want nothing other than for the marriage to be over. If that was my fiancé, it was drive me insane. The situation is completely bizarre and made no sense to me for years until I realized they were probably waiting for me to finally die.
Eric, his fiancé and Eric’s parents know how painful it is for me to still be legally married to him after all these years. The last heartfelt letter I sent was sincere, but it also gave them all the ammunition they needed against me. They know what has happened to me, they know that I’m ill, alone, and severely traumatized. They know that it is agonizingly painful to not be given a divorce, compounding my issues. They are going to do exactly what narcissists do and treat me like I don’t exist. There is nothing else they need to do to me; they accomplished their goals of making sure Lily was adopted years ago. They don’t care about the damage it did to either of us, and they have engaged in this process of soul murder against me for over 13 years. Now, all they have left to do, is wait for me to die from my health issues, or by suicide. I now understand what they put me through and won’t have any contact with them again, not even to ask for a divorce.
Let them win, let them count their money and say whatever they want about me to whomever they want. Let the world treat me like I’m an invisible nobody, because I’m writing this book for my child, and then she will not only have her answers, but understand how to protect herself from those kinds of abusers in her own relationships. This book could help her, and so many others, break cycles of falling into abuse, and how to recognize and handle narcissists and narcissistic abuse.
In May 2018, I provoked my mother by talking about the abuse and questioning her. I tried to reach out to some other people from Merced about the abuse in my past, and immediately got either completely cut off and ignored by everyone, other than Caren Col, who simply said, “Don’t send me this garbage” and “Your mother says you are mentally ill”.
A narcissistic abuser often uses mental health against the victim. If the victim already has previous mental health conditions, this provides a convenient and believable excuse for the abuser. The abuser will claim the victim is mentally ill, when the mental health exacerbations are a symptom of the abuse and not of the unlaying mental health disorder. When coping with narcissistic abuse, the damage done to a victim who already struggles with mental health disorders or emotional health disorders like severe PTSD is compounded by the new and continuing abuse.
I have never had an outburst or acted in any way out of control when I was not in an unsafe situation, or situation where I was living with abuse and extreme stress. With the right support system, medications, medical, psychiatric and therapeutic treatment, being in college full-time, volunteering online and trying to build a career, and love from the people in my inner circle who support me, I have begun to completely flourish.
Every day is a struggle, but that is due to living with the repercussions of a life of extreme abuse and trauma. I have a mental health disorder too, a severe one. However, the symptoms associated with that disorder are not the same as the severe PTSD symptoms I’ve exhibited that have been used against me as a, for lack of better term, “Trump” card to make me out to be merely mentally ill by my abusers to hide their abuse.
The thing about surviving narcissistic abuse and soul murder gaslighting attacks, is that once you realize it truly does not matter what anyone thinks, says or does, because you know you are telling the truth, you find your power and your courage. That is when you can begin to turn the tide and win over the damage that narcissistic abusers due to your mind, heart, soul and overall sanity.
After Greg attacked me naked in the bathroom that day and we left, my mom moved us into a pool-house in a wealthy friend’s backyard. She then left me to run around with the man she’d been having an affair with, an old fiancé from her youth named Jeff. Jeff was a weather-worn, leather, jeans and motorcycle type dude with brown hair and a mustache who loved to kick back in our armchair, and sported ballcaps.
He actually seemed like a nice guy except when he called my sister a liar and I got upset and started defending her. After he pulled the car over while he and mom were driving me to Calvin Crest Summer camp and got in my face in the backseat screaming that I was a little fucking bitch, I was done. We had fun camping and fishing several times though. I know teenagers suck, but you just don’t need to treat an already traumatized 14-year-old that way.
I remember that time as me mostly being alone. I had my cat with me, we brought him to the Culberson’s poolhouse, but my mom was rarely around. I ended up sleeping on the pull-out couch at the Col’s a lot while babysitting and bouncing around while my mom partied with Jeff on houseboats and such until she finally bought us a condo. We lived there for a while and then she bought a home; part of the divorce settlement I was told, and a new SUV.
My mom picked out new everything; breaking away from her old colors and décor back on Forist Lane. Jeff had a huge influence, as hunting themes, browns and greens, and couches patterned with ducks appeared in our new living room. I talked my mom into singing together on the answering machine, so that Better Midler’s “You Don’t Own Me” was what Greg heard every time he called, continually stalking us. We had good times. There were a few moments where my mom seemed so fun and free, that we got along. She let me decorate my new room with the ivy and pink flowers I wanted. She was easier about the clothes and music I chose, and she even allowed me to get a waterbed I fell in love with at a garage sale.
I too, broke away from Forist Lane. I separated entirely from the way I had dressed, the music I listened to, playing with my dolls, and my normal hobbies. I still poured through books, but they changed, and I became obsessed with Shakespeare and non-fiction stories of surviving trauma and overcoming all odds. I loved the heroic and the tragic. I highlighted Emily Dickinson and aside from a few albums, like Counting Crows, the grunge, alternative and rock I had hid under my covers, with furniture pushed against my door to listen to became replaced by pop, movie and musical theatre soundtracks. I wouldn’t find my way through the correlation of pain due to the abuse I went through to the music and work my way through it back until 2017, a few months before the world-shattering death of Chris Cornell.
My mom came to me for advice, for major life decisions. I was the one who chose Jim over Jeff when she couldn’t decide which one she wanted to be with. I remember watching her sitting on the curb of the street outside our house, talking. I think that may have been the break-up talk, but why outside in front of the house like that in the open, I don’t really understand. After she chose Jim, I never heard or saw from Jeff again.
I painted my brother Brett’s nursery when my mom was pregnant. I was so excited to have a little brother, and I helped name him. I was there when he, and Kyle, were born. I was the first person after the Doctor to hold Brett. He handed him to me outside the delivery room where I stood as my mom had her c-section. Having a stepfather as a Family Physician, and my mom being an R.N., with us knowing her Doctor for 3 decades, I was allowed the privilege of being there. I even helped my mom settle on her wedding song to Jim. I wanted so badly to be close to my mom, and she was treating me like her best friend at times.
I now look back, and see the fighting and continued abuse from her, realizing it was just part of the cycle. One day she I thought she adored me, the next she was saying vicious things and slapping me across the face in the car. However, I do think she made an effort. She let me take my friend to Jim’s cabin, and even drink margaritas. When you’re 15, doing homework with your cat and a frozen margarita, watching the forest in the backyard, with the mountains dawning in the distance, and your mom slow dancing and making out to the father you always wanted in front of you, life seems very cool.
Jim sent me flowers over my first broken heart due to a boy in Theatre at school. He took me to the movies, concerts, hiking and swimming with my mom. Jim bought me books and music. He spoiled me rotten, was compassionate, loving, kind and at one point even seriously spoke about adopting me as his daughter, something I was open to by choice this time, not because I was a 4-year-old being forced to say I wanted to be adopted. Jim Sweetland was the coolest male figure I’d ever had in my life. He even taught me how to make crepe’s, and the sauce that goes with it. We used to hang out and have all kinds of conversations on various topics. Then it just switched, and Jim began to flip in his treatment towards me, especially as he and my mom began to have issues.
I had started high school in 1996, at Golden Valley, or “Death Valley” as us kids would call it. This was because every year we seemed to lose kids, and there were freak accidents or deaths. It’s like the school itself was cursed, or maybe it just felt that way.
I attended art class first period, and this was when the second psychic or paranormal event of my life occurred. For a watercolor portrait assignment, I found a picture of myself as a baby, changed the hair color, making it bright red, nose and lips, and told everyone that the baby girl I’d have some day. I was 14 years old.
8 years later, I would become pregnant, and run around the neighborhood telling everyone I was going to have a red haired, blue eyed baby girl. Lily has red hair and blue eyes.
High School were defining years of bullying, heartbreak, awkwardness and misery. I hated high school. Well, doesn’t pretty much everyone? I spent my Freshman year as President of a Christian Club named Son-Seekers, where I hid once a week during lunchtime for meetings. I was demoted from club President the second semester. I didn’t really mind. I spent the other 4 days of the week hiding in teacher’s rooms for lunch or the library. I loved theatre and had a huge crush on a boy named Bryant Mills my freshman year. He was a Senior, tall, black gorgeous and it was his voice as he sang in “The Secret Garden” that caught my attention.
My sophomore year, I met my best friend, Nicci, who still blows up my phone near daily. I love her to pieces, she’s my soul sister and the only person I have ever gotten a matching tattoo with: two butterflies on our opposite ankles that can kiss each other.
One day in theatre, as we stood in circle at the beginning of the school year, a student came in late. He walked on stage, approaching directly across from where I stood in the circle, and the entire world froze. You know how they say how time stands still? That has happened for me twice in my life, and this was the first. Tall, lean, in all black, with long dark hair and dark eyes, I was struck as if by lighting. That was the first time I fell in love. His name was Justin, and he ended up being one of the best friends I ever had. We even went to Monterey and Maui together, but our friendship ended on a sour note.
There was bullying so severe that I left Golden Valley. In my last yearbook, someone wrote,
“Bree, A.K.A. Someone Special, It has been another year of pure fantasy. You are my one and only fat hog in the sky. I love when those short short w/those little green shirts. The way you walk make me hungary. Someday I hope to impress you w/ my flobee (adj. casual, smooth) ways. I am enchanted by your every word. I enjoyed everyday that I spent w/ you in fourth period. I love you, from, ?”.
I’m 36 years old, and that still hurts. I was supposed to go travel Europe at the end of my Sophomore year. I was so excited to see the art museums, photograph the Eiffel Tower, and dine through Amsterdam. I backed out because of the bullying.
Later that summer, I spread a rumor about Justin that someone else told me about him. It was mean and stupid, and though I apologized in later years, I will probably forever feel guilty for it. I started receiving calls and messages on AOL instant messenger calling me names and threatening me. I never went back to Golden Valley and enrolled at Merced Christian Baptist School for my Junior year instead. I attended only briefly, just long enough to create a ruckus and antagonize the uber-religious who ran it with my rebellious antics. I left for good at Christmas vacation, taking the proficiency exam in January 1999. I tested so high, that the Administrators who test the exams and issue the High School diploma thought I cheated and came to my house to interview me before allowing me to graduate. There was no cap and gown. I quietly received my high diploma in the mail.
By this time, I had started switching into black clothes. I had had repeated nightmares for months. I would wake up screaming and hollering from my bedroom. I was severely bulimic. I kept journals, weighing and measuring myself with tape daily. I wrote down the fat, calories and carbs along with everything I ate, and how often I threw up. I gave myself a starred rating for how successfully bulimic I was each day. One night, after a particularly bad nightmare, I thought I saw a demon with red eyes standing by the foot of my bed when I woke up. My mom put me in a psychiatric hospital. I don’t remember much, other than drawing fairies and being made to sing when I went to the bathroom to make sure I wasn’t making myself throw up.
When I was released, I had my first suicide attempt. While I was unconscious, I saw a white light, and my Grandma Ryna appeared. She put her hand up and out, in a stop, and simply said, “It’s not your time yet.” I woke up, and my Grandma LaNell was sitting by me. My mother refused to see or talk to me.
We soon moved from Merced to Hollister, California. There weren’t many goodbyes. I was out of school, graduated, deeply disturbed and nobody really saw or heard from me. Nobody knew what happened to me, or where I disappeared to either. I was invisible. I didn’t exist, and I wanted it that way. I had put on a ton of weight, overeating in my bulimia recovery, new psychiatric medications and swinging back into binge eating. I cut all my hair off and dyed it midnight blue. I wore only black, or black shirts with hippie skirts. My mom rocked back and forth when she saw my hair, saying repeatedly, “It’s only hair, it’s only hair”. She did the same thing over my full sleeve, saying when she first saw the tattoo, “It’s only skin, it’s only skin”.
I continued to have severe issues, and the fighting and abuse in the house in Hollister with my mom and Jim escalated, despite their moments of bliss. My mom didn’t want to get married, but they did anyway. They were also expecting my second brother, Kyle, who my mom admitted she really didn’t want, and wished she could have aborted. Jim wanted marriage and another baby. To this day, Kyle does not live with my mom, nor does she have any more contact with him.
I was an unwanted problem. I became a hindrance who snuck my street kid friends into my room through the back patio, brought a kitten, snake and bearded dragon home, and grew marijuana in my room under a secret compartment. I was severely depressed, I still self-harmed and had extreme eating disorders. Jim and my mom were abusive, which escalated my issues, and fueled my teenage outbursts. I ended up kicked out of the house by my mom and Jim, and so I begin to hang out with the street kids.
I travelled all over the place. I’ve been around the United States a few times on my own, or with Lily when I was a single mom. I got in my car and went. Because I had graduated high school earlier that year, I was technically capable of claiming emancipation, especially since I also worked various jobs.
Narcissistic abusers discard the target of their abuse when they are no longer needed and become more of a burden. At this point, I was just a teenage drain, and a source of incessant fighting and stress. I had severe mental health issues and was continuing to be abused. Jim beat me across the entire home so severely one day that it permanently injured my back. They had another baby on the way, and my baby brother, Brett, the boy my mother always dreamed of. They didn’t need me, and I didn’t in any way feed them. I was out.
My mom used part trust fund that was supposed to go towards my college education, the $50,000 settlement I got from the divorce, to pay for a studio in Monterey. She paid expenses for me for years out of that trust fund until it was gone, including my psychiatric expenses, instead of paying for them herself. She received at least $5,000 a month in alimony, a new house and SUV, but mismanaged my trust fund to run me dry and avoid paying for anything she wants to.
My mom was a lavish spender of money. She would spoil me rotten at time, and I never lacked for things like clothes. However, it had to be what my mother wanted. I could never truly be myself. Who I wanted to be, and what I enjoyed what never okay. My mom controlled everything until we left Greg, and then she only fought with me over my dress and appearance. Once she had the chance to start her new dream family, and a way to edge me out, she used the money to do so.
I found a home of sorts among the street kids and we used to hang out at the diners all night long, or drive out to Santa Cruz, and walk to Boardwalk before finding an isolated beach a drive down to do a bonfire all night. We drummed, played guitar, and sometimes even attended all night AA/NA bonfires. I never got wasted, I wasn’t that kind of teenager, though sometimes I gave rides home to others who did when we went to parties.
One night we drove out to San Fransisco, and my car, who I affectionately called “The Mermaid” due to her color, kept stalling on the hill. The Mermaid was a tiny 2 door stickshift and we were 4 teenagers on one of its steepest inclines. Shit.
Suddenly we heard someone calling out behind us,
“What’s the problem, honey?”
I turned and saw one of the tallest, most beautiful drag queens on earth. If my memory is still serving me properly, she was black, with booming hair and pink everything sparkling.
“The car keeps stalling on the hill. It’s too steep and we’re stuck!” I yelled back out the window. I had my feet on the clutch and break, trying to keep us from rolling backwards.
“We got this, honey!” And she put up her arm, snapped her fingers and the group of her friends who’d been watching, all big, tall glorious drag queens themselves, got behind my car and pushed it up over the steep part of the incline until I could drive on a side-street to get back down the hill properly. I am forever thankful to you, Ladies!
When I wasn’t with the street kids, I lived briefly in a motel, in a tent with a boyfriend for a while, and finally started renting my own rooms. At one point, my mom helped me get into a studio in Monterey, which I loved. I worked at Denny’s and an antique shop, making sandwiches and milkshakes in the back deli. I spent my free time trolling books stores, antique shops and second-hand stores.
I picked up two hitchhikers with a kitten on a leash by the side of the road one day named Luke and Erin. They stayed at my house for about a week, and she found out she was pregnant. I came up with the name they ended up giving their son, Oshin Skye. We then drove, with all my way-too-many cats at the time, down the coast, where I let them off to part ways in Los Angeles, before visiting my grandfather. That was the visit when I took pictures of my Grandma Ryna.
Eventually I ended up renting a studio in Salinas, California. That was the second time I lived with a ghost. The first time had been the bedroom in my mom and Jim’s Jamestown house where I stayed while pregnant. A man who passed away of AIDS in my room used to set off the alarm, flip the lights on and off, and open and close the door. He wasn’t in any way malevolent, and I think he had an affinity for my daughter, for her never did anything when she was napping or sleeping in that room after she was born. This was before I knew how to do anything to help spirits move on.
The studio in Salinas had been a firehouse once, and I was told my studio on the 3rd floor had been where some of the beds where. I was told the ghost in my apartment was the spirit of a firefighter who died in a fire haunted my studio. My fiancé at the time was terrified. He says it was the eyes in the corner at night that scared him, I wasn’t afraid at all. One day, after I got out of the shower, I heard him say my name. The cabins and fridge door opened, my lamp would flicker, fall over, and the clock alarm go off in the middle of the night. Objects would fall over and move on their own. It was quite an experience, but he was almost a jokester of a spirit, and I had no fear of him.
Eventually, I found out my fiancé was cheating on me, so I packed him belonging, took the key off his ring, and left everything outside in the hallway for him. Of the next couple months, I got used to living alone and single again, working a new job as a preschool teacher out in Monterey. Eventually, my health issues cost me my job, and I was let go. I always worked different jobs when I was able to, but it was immensely difficult for me, even at age 18 to hold down a full-time job due to my physical health at the time.
I usually worked different child care positions. I always loved children and wanted to have a huge family of my own someday. I had such a passion for kids and loved taking care of them. It didn’t really feel like a job to me, but simply fun to interact and play with them. Kids are magic go me, and I stayed in the field of child care for as long as my health would allow me too.
I worked at a home day care run by an overstressed woman who took on too much without the resources. She left me alone with 8 children to run errands for a couple hours here and there, something that was not legal to do by the California adult to child ratio. It was overwhelming and concerning to me, but I also desperately needed the job. I used to put on cartoons, set out art supplies and distribute snacks when she did this to keep everyone as calm, occupied and in my sights as possible until my boss got back for outdoor playtime.
One day, one of the baby boys began to choke in the kitchen. I ran over to him and picked him up, checking him. I could tell something was caught in his throat, so I swung him upside down, and tried pounding on his back, (a move known as the baby or infant Heimlich back in those days). It didn’t work, so keeping him upside down angled towards the floor for gravity, I began to swoop his throat with a hook finger. Luckily, it worked, and the piece of paper he’d swallowed while coloring came flying out.
I calmed him down, soothing him, then bribing his giggles with tickles and snacks secured him into a highchair to eat, and began to pick up some of the art supplies. I realized all the kids were quiet and happy, so I began to draw. I had wanted another tattoo for a long time but wanted to create my own design. I began to draw different stars with a heart, attempting to combine them. At one point, the Heartagram sat on one of those pages. This was years before I ever heard of HIM, Ville Valo of the Heartagram. I in no way was copying anything I saw anywhere. This was my own idea at the time.
I decided to go with a 6-point star to represent the Jewish half of myself, for the Star of David, and the 4 alchemic elements: air, earth, fire, water. It is also the symbol for the heart chakra. I then combined the heart into it and added a color and a cross into mine. I got the tattoo a week later, and it is remarkably similar to the Heartagram, though mine has no name. To this day, I’m convinced that designing and getting my tattoo was a map of my soul group of sorts, or some kind of divine blessing of friendship to come. Perhaps it was a gift from the Angels for saving that baby’s life, but 16 years later another Angel in the earthly form of a rock star would walk into my world and save my life.
Then came the morning when the future of our country and world changed forever. I was asleep, and the phone woke me up. My mom was on the line.
“Turn on the news.” She said.
I switched on my TV to see one of the twin towers burning. Shocked, I sat up in bed.
From the side of the screen, another plane came into view, striking the second tower.
I opened my mouth and the words came pouring out.
“We were just attacked by terrorists. Everything just changed. We’re going to go to war, and there will be a housing crisis. Eventually the country will go downhill. People will band together to survive, and some fish out of rivers. Things are going to get worse before they get better.” I said.
“No, Brianne, it’s some kind of accident…” My mom trailed off.
I was right about everything, and years later, I was living with friends to survive at one point, fishing out of the rivers. Now we have the Trump administration wrecking evil chaos galore.
I sat there watching the news, and I swear the ghost of that firefighter sat there watching with me, and I could feel how sad his spirit was. We were each other’s comfort, and I could almost feel his arms around me.
My Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type causes me to have delusions, but I also have true psychic and paranormal encounters. Sometimes I get confused about what is and isn’t real, but this ghost was one of my real spirit friends, and we mourned together that day.
Not too long after 9/11, we ended up moving north, and uphill into the mountains of Tuolumne County, above Merced and Mariposa County in California. Jim and my mom moved to Twain Harte, and I lived with them briefly until I found an apartment below in Sonora.
The house in Twain Harte was my favorite. It was nestled in the forest of the mountains up high above Sonora and Jamestown. The tiny town had a market of friendly people in a small shopping center, and a delicious restaurant. I used to sit in the parking lot as my mom went grocery shopping listening to Melissa Etheridge and rocking out in the front seat on my air guitar.
“But I’m the only one who’d walk across a fire for you,
And I’m the only one who’d drown in my desire for you!
It’s only fear that makes you run,
The demons that you’re hiding from,
I’m the only one!”
Then, of course, I sat there heartbroken over nobody in particular; singing along at Christmastime to Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne” as the snow fell around in me in the parking lot. There was a small record and music store in that shopping lot that I’d wander around in. It was a great place, with walls lined in albums and posters going back to the 50s.
I lived with my mom and Jim for about a month, and I loved curling up in my bed downstairs with my books and music, watching the trees outside.
This house would remain a stable place where my mom and Jim lived for a few years, into the time when I moved from Sonora to Missoula. Then again, they moved, selling and buying a home, 6 times during their marriage.
This was the house where my mom and Jim approached me in the living room, asking if I would let Jim get me pregnant; quite possibly one of the creepiest conversations of my entire life.
My mom and I didn’t get along well, for obvious reasons that she never takes responsibility for and somehow always manages to find a way to bounce back onto me, as if I abused and daily psychology mind, heart and soul-raped and murdered myself. The tie to my mom and Jim was my brothers more than anything. My mom needed a lot of help for years due her addiction and false-diagnosis, with resulting treatments that left her ill in bed, unable to care for my little brothers. She always had HAB workers, babysitters, a maid and myself (when I lived close) who would come and take care of Brett and Kyle, and her. Despite my own issues, I would commute from other towns where I lived close just to help her or stay for the weekend to take care of the boys. I’d take my cat and travel over to help. It was just the way it had to be.
Those were my brothers, and that was my mom. My mom had a way of manipulating so that you had to listen, or deal with her ugly side. Nobody wanted to put up with my mother when she didn’t get what she wanted, and at that time in her life, she wanted to lay in bed injecting and swallowing oxycodone and other medications all day and night. It was a very bizarre situation. I felt so sorry for her all the time, that she was so incredibly ill; far worse than I, and with two special needs toddlers at her age.
I did what I could to help, even going with her to chemo sessions, entertaining her with magazines and jokes; helping to care for her after. Everything revolved around her and her health issues for years. The entire world was “How is Cindy today?”, and something about the fact that it was never truly real makes it all the more exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, my mom really was sick, but it was treatments, medications and more that she never needed making her so.
She knew it, years later she got sober, went back to work as an R.N. and hasn’t returned to drug use since. She has no health issues whatsoever anymore. I call that a miraculous recovery for someone who near-death, I was led to believed, so often over the years.
Even when I was first raped in Missoula and came back to California to stay with her and Jim for a few weeks, the entire visit revolved around her health issues as she laid in bed. I was there because I needed to get out of Missoula and get some help during the rape investigation, and instead, I was babysitting my brothers, taking care of my mom, cooking and cleaning and helping to find some kind of spa resort where my mom could go to get well. At that point in life, if anyone needed a few weeks at a spa resort, it was me. That was the visit when my mom told me, while discussing my rape, that “Rape wasn’t a big deal.”
Eventually I broke down, crying in the corner of the bathroom floor in the middle of the night. Jim got angry and started yelling at me, and they both kicked me out, sending me flying home to Missoula, to go through the judicial process to put my rapist away alone. My mom never did go to the spa, and she was recovering from yet another breast augmentation (this time to have some implants removed) anyway.
Years later, she found out she “was never sick” and was misdiagnosed. However, she never sued any of the multiple doctors she went to. To this day, I’m suspicious that she made the entire thing up for years, and then blamed the Doctors when she finally got sober, as a way to deflect any personal responsibility. She’s an R.N. who people would go to for her apparent “magical” ability to help diagnosis and point others in the right direction for the medical care, or specialist and testing they might need, who was married to two doctors and ran around in a circle of doctors. The Rheumatoid Arthritis story was, to me, just another convenient excuse for my mother to hide years of addiction. My mom isn’t stupid enough not to know, and with her experience and knowledge, what Rheumatoid Arthritis is. Narcissists are like walking magazine ads: a lie.
One year after living in Missoula for some time, I flew in to visit. They had found me a new used car through a friend that had rarely been driven to replace The Mermaid. I was sad, but also immensely grateful, as I needed a slightly better, four-door car. My mom and I had yet another argument, so I was asked to leave early. On the day I had to leave, I began my way down the road, heading back in my new car to drive to Montana, when I began to shake. I was down the end of the neighborhood, near the stop sign at the end, and I just couldn’t go any further. I pulled over, now crying, barely able to breath, with this heavy feeling in my chest, a panicked terror that something was wrong, and I couldn’t drive today. I turned around and headed back to the house. Walking inside, my mom was shocked to see me.
“What are you doing?” She asked.
Crying hysterically, I said, “I can’t drive today. Something is wrong. It’s not safe to drive today. I’m sorry, I can’t go today!”
My mom, thinking I was having a panic attack, irritably responded, “Okay, you can stay one more night, but then you have to leave because we don’t get along.”
About an hour later, we got a heartbreaking call. Around the same time, I’d been driving, apparently panicked and returned the house, my cousin, Steve, had been driving his jeep to get bagels with his wife in Florida when they had a freak accident, and Steve was decapitated, dying instantly. His poor, beautiful wife survived.