It is a long and difficult road, especially as emotional abuse, what I call "the invisible wound" is something that leaves us scarred for life in a manner that nobody can *see* nor understand unless they too, have suffered similar circumstances.
One of the things I have been grieving in all this, is the fact that now I realize how much my mother actively manipulated my relationship with my father (they divorced when I was 5 years old).
She hated the fact that I had his photo in my studio, and one in our home. I was told to not let anyone know I had *another dad* and ever since I was a little girl, I was forced to call my step-father "dad" and was forbidden to let my step-siblings know that I had a different father.
Of course, she told me it was "not to confuse them"... but when he died when I was 17 years old... and my siblings found out- she found a new reason for me to keep my papa a secret: she did not want anyone to know she had been married before.
This has continued, only two years ago she announced she would not come back in my studio or my home if I had his photo there. Mi papa.
I made excuses for her- I tried to understand: "she is hurt because he left her" I told myself; still.... he is my daddy. He is ever present in my life and my love for him will never wane.
In February, as I gradually *finally* began to understand the abuse, I suffered panic attacks, heart palpitations (bad enough that they landed me in the ER with doctors thinking I was having a heart attack), and finally a deep depression that lasted about three months.
During the darkest times, when I would sit on the floor for hours weeping and rocking back and forth... I pleaded with God/All that IS, my grandmother and my Papa to send me a sign that they are with me.
I needed comfort so very badly....
But none came.
I needed a BIG sign from the Universe....
I got laid off.
And I chose to not worry about it;
I decided to gift myself time to paint and heal.
I began by re-painting some pieces I was unhappy with... and I began with this one, my Butterfly Angel. It is a piece I made inspired by Gabriel Garica Marquez's famous novel:
"One Hundred Years of Solitude."
(I have worked with this same image before, but this is one happened to be finished on the same day that the wonderful author passed away (!)
A few days later, I was invited to exhibit it in a local art show where the piece sold during the opening.
I was told it was purchased by a gifted sculptor and days later, we were introduced via email.
His name is Sy Gresser and indeed he is not only an absolute wonderful sculptor and poet, he is an absolute wonderful human being! We began communicating via email almost daily... it was balm to my soul during those months where I did not leave home and studio steeped in sadness and grief.
We made plans to meet in person, but the depression prevented me from doing anything social for several months. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, Sergio and I traveled to visit Sy.
He lives only 30 minutes away... I was nervous. Sy and I have shared intimate things about our lives for the past three months and I was hoping we could share the same richness in person and I would not be a disappointment to him
~"this is all your low self esteem via all the negative stuff you were told about yourself all your life" said Sergio
I said, "but I can't help it"
C'est moi: *an Eeyore who wants to reclaim her inner Tigger*
We arrived in a section of Maryland that is largely Mexican immigrants.
Driving up to Sy's house, we could see stone sculptures in front of his duplex and dishes with cat food and water laid out for visitors.
Sy opened the door and welcomed us in to the home he shares with his Chinese wife and son and began to prepare traditional Chinese tea for me.
As he came out of the kitchen he asked:
"is Olivos your last name or i it Sergio's?"
"mine" I said, "Sergio took it as his artistic name" I added
Sy looked at me and asked:
"did you know a Luis?
"A Luis Olivos?"
My eyes opened wide and I blurted out anxiously "yes, yes...whyyyy?" I stammered....
he looked at me and he hardly got the words out
"was he your father?"
.... I was on him... indeed, like a Tigger.... pounced into his arms, hanging from his neck- sobbing
my body shaking and trembling and long heaving, weeping sobs ...
I held on to this man whom I had never met before... my head nuzzled against his neck... sobbing.
I left two long dark stains of mascara on his shoulder
In time, he gently pushed me away and shared with me.
Thing is, in all our back and forth emails he has shared about how Mexico has been his biggest influence on his art... the place, the poetry. He has written to me about my art and that of Sergio's poetically, appreciating the characteristics that undoubtedly permeate our art-Latino influences, Mexican influences.....
He had told me about the year long residency he had done there, in Oaxaca.
I knew how much Mexico and the residency there had meant to him.... so you can imagine my surprise when, as I wiped my tears --
he looked at me and said:
"Luis was my friend. It was he that got me the residency in Mexico. He was the one who helped me write the proposal and when I came back, he helped me write the report."
omgoodness... more weeping.
My daddy, mi papi, mi papa....
More tears. A bit of tea held with shaky hands; and I asked him to share more.... after all, I have been *starving* to meet someone who can tell me more about my father, who he was as a human being.
A man. An artist and a friend.
|Luis & Claudia Olivos|
My Papa had gone to Europe to study art after studying law and sociology in Chile, and at some point he moved to the USA and began working at the OAS. The residency that Sy procured with the help of my Papa was through a program in the OAS.
When I was holding unto Sy for dear life... I felt as though I was reaching through an invisible veil and holding my Papa.
It was amazing.
Sy shared more about my papa... he knew him before I was born, and lost touch with him after he returned from Mexico which would be about the time he married my mother.
I tried to focus on Sy's art and life... to hide the tears that kept escaping from my eyes.
After three hours there, it was time for us to leave as Sy was obviously worn out from the emotional visit. I made this little video before we left....
As we slowly drove home... both Sergio and I marveled at the events of the day.
We both talked non stop about how absolutely amazing the whole thing is ...
beginning with the fact that I felt a very deep connection with Sy when corresponding with him.. .this deep connection that I felt that can not really be explained...until now!
It really is amazing.
Every week that passed where we did not drive up to meet him made me sad.
Sergio joked once: "should I be jealous? ...."
Such was my desire to meet Sy in person....
Who would have known it was my Papa pushing, pushing me.... giving me his sign .... to go and meet him through his friend, fellow artist and poet. wow.
Through all this heartache... this lonely feeling and utter sadness, this loss....
I had begged my Papa to show me a sign.... and WOW he gifted me himself as *real* as he could... flesh and bones for me to embrace and to embrace me.
Gracias Papa. Te amo.
|Luis Olivos Ruiz de Gamboa. Mi papa.|
There are many books, videos and websites that you can peruse for understanding, if you too have suffered emotional abuse via an NPD parent, I would recommend that you read my blogpost here where I explain my own experience and this site too where you can read more about it (I especially appreciated the section entitled: What NPD Parents Are Really Like, as I could relate it to my own experience with the abuse I have endured via my mother and step-father).