Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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What's behind the door


My memory of elder youth to young adult in England were of strike: PanAm, Continental, Laker, garbage collectors to bus drivers, miners. And cold, drab, scabs, rolling blackouts & candles of the early to mid '70s.  Dowdy politicians in need of seriously skilled dentistry and some sunlight, undesirable unkempt thugs and a population in the grip of hopeless fear and anger. Sounds familiar, no? The industrial unrest, economic meltdown and international terrorism did little to enthrall a closeted but otherwise healthy young teen. For me and most of my siblings, things would get worse in the next decade. Us 'first-four' of the seven surviving sibs struggled, in the main. Only one, the eldest, seem to thrive. She ended up being the first female money-broker working in the twin towers, NY. She was the most beautiful of battle-axes. Like our dad, she ruled her roost with tyranny and cunning. She was his golden child; he'd built the pedestal from which he sought to manoeuvre her. Roll on 10 years:

I remember her arriving....finally. Late, as usual!  Ceremonial, as always. By this time I was heavily pregnant with our second child; one year between both our sons.

The two sisters arrived together, the last of the family to amass at the house to welcome our eldest home. Ha! The rest of us siblings sat around silently cautious of the proximity to he who sired us. It had already been a long day and we'd been down this road before; it would not get better. Several literal doorways has to be crossed before entering the room, so most of us stood up to greet them. And in they came, my BFF sister carrying our eldest, in an urn that looked rather like an garish gold-colored ice bucket. The Godmother to our first-born and my eldest sister's remains were placed from and center on the coffee table. Dad's brooding was palpable. He was both affronted and mad as all hell that one got 'away' from him...albeit into death. It worked though! 'Good on you, girl' I thought.

We sat around carefully in the family home - their mansion, if you like...never belonged to us; none of us would want it anyway. It was cursed, by history.

As our day rolled into evening, the die had been cast; here was another child he could exploit to air his grievance, his bitter disappointment, his...bait to be cast. We knew it was coming but this habitual witness left us no space to alter a life-long habit of silence. Like kids, we had grown to keep separate from each other, lest we grass some other kid out - deservedly or not: Fear is a powerful driver when you're dealing with a master manipulator who knew the foibles of his every move and struck far too young for us to gain understanding to. We'd been primed from before we could speak for these marathon torture sessions. He was a psychopath of enormous intellect. She killed herself. Well done for leaving when you did.

What's behind the doorSo much for favor. He took great pleasure in his children.


We lost many childhood friends between us (it would turn out), as they didn't believe us. So adept was he at switching skins in the space of a door opening or closing. It wasn't until a couple of months before his death; I was being interviewed by a Psychiatrist privately about my father's 'condition'. Turned out he then had vascular dementia, but nobody recognised it in the preceding couple of years - he'd always been highly eccentric. What was our 'norm' was finally understood by an outsider with just these few words; 'he was one thing on this side of the door, and another on the other side'. She asked if he'd ever been psychologically evaluated. I answered, '...you're kidding. Have you met him?' Only then - 50 years later - it was finally recognised. So many dead or near-dead lives, so much destruction. I leave the rest to your imagination.

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Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #31

#36
Late again! My apologiese Cyndi wilkins!! #36 It took me probably 30 years to see that this was not 'normal'. 40 years to really understand my 'release' and understand that my love was unhealthy; a destructive force. 50 years to see that love is a CHOICE, unconditional. But I am mere mortal... thanks my I-wish-I-were!

Cyndi wilkins

Cyndi wilkins

3 years ago #30

#34
I think for most of these folk, it is a matter of power and control Lisa Vanderburg...and if you do not conform to their manipulations you have a bulls eye on your back...so you spend your life watching you back when having to deal with them...Jesus, your whole young life must have been walking on egg shells...but you are the strong one...he killed his favorite little sheep and you escaped the jaws of the wolf by being the 'bad ass' that you are! Fist bump;-)

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #29

Thanks so much for the share, Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee et al!

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #28

#33
I'm eternally grateful to hear of your father through your eyes, lovely Cyndi wilkins - delightfully refreshing! You're right, it's fascinating to think the higher the intellect, the greater the exploration; is it 'unchecked' as in unaccounted for or is it more Machiavellian; just seeing how far they can go? Most curious...... and thanks, my friend! Life: a funny business altogether :)

Cyndi wilkins

Cyndi wilkins

3 years ago #27

It is incredibly interesting to me how prevalent this type of manipulative behavior is in the those with extraordinary intellect...It is as if the brain is out of balance...too much of this, not enough of that...like a recipe missing some very key ingredients...My dad developed vascular dementia as well...which just exacerbates the underlying personality...Fortunately for me, and all those who cared for him, he was the salt of the Earth. We were lucky...

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #26

#31
If it has pleased or moved you dear Debasish Majumder; it is humbling for me!

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #25

Great share Lisa Vanderburg! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the share.

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #24

#28
Thanks Jim Cody \ud83d\udc1d Brand Ambassador. You're right Jo - I guess after that not much scared me; makes me a worthy protector for Pete! :)

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #23

#26
; I am deeply touched. I've never really gone into this aspect because I could never find the...words. How do you describe things that were age-inappropriately taught? I've barely touched the surface, but you (and everyone else) give me courage to maybe one day, validate my BFF sister's life. She had it worse....not as strong as I. Thank you, lovely lady!

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

3 years ago #22

Lisa Vanderburg You are strong women Lisa.I knew it from our first few exchange of comments but this buzz just reaffirms everything. As Geoff said, "We need to share the love with darkness as well as celebrate light in life, we all have a purpose to fulfill and sometimes that means caring for destructive individuals.”

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #21

#24
Thanks so much Kevin Baker...I'm trying real hard to alliterate all you wrote. Need another P... Thanks for the shares everyone - most appreciated!

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #20

#22
haha.....you are such an encourager Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee; I am so grateful to call you friend!

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#21
I hope you would do. I can send you a bag of pebbles.

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #18

#20
haha....I hate it when I make typos and I'm on a laptop - no excuse, like you on a iphone or whatever! #19 I don't know if I have the stones to take it further, my friend. #18 Both, Louise Smith!

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#17
I meant seed in my previous comment

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#17
This is wonderful Lisa Vanderburg "It is amazing what we can survive and there's always worse sadly.....". This is a sed for a great buzz by you soon, hopefully.

Louise Smith

Louise Smith

3 years ago #15

#12
Lisa Vanderburg Is that acceptance or resignation? My cousins came to terms with it over time & with understanding as adults about schizophrenia, info which wasn't there at the time. Thanks.

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #14

#14
Thanks Geoff Hudson-Searle! You know, I read your excellent book 'Freedom After the Sharks' and your story ain't too pretty either :) It is amazing what we can survive and there's always worse sadly.....

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #13

#13
You have the gentlest of hearts, dear Tausif Mundrawala; you make life worth living!

Geoff Hudson-Searle

Geoff Hudson-Searle

3 years ago #12

Lisa Vanderburg thank you for sharing this life experience, it brought back for me the fact that we all have a history, tribulations, sadness and joy and light in our lives, its how we deal with these circumstances with ourselves and others that matters. We need to share love with darkness as well as celebrate light in life, we all have a purpose to fulfil and sometimes that means caring for destructive individuals. Maxine Hong Kingston once said “In a time of destruction, create something.”

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #11

#11
So sorry to hear of your cousins' plight, lovely Louise Smith. I don't think recovery is possible or even necessary; it's a matter of living with what's left like everyone else, I guess. I used to feel a fierce sense of loss at what I could have been/ done - what was taken was potential and it can't be returned. I know I am wired differently as a result and like all gimps, ya learn to live with it. Hope your cousins have!

Louise Smith

Louise Smith

3 years ago #10

Lisa Vanderburg This was very hard to read for me. My Uncle was an undiagnosed schizophrenic who tried to kill my cousin. Unsuccessfully thankfully but it was a frightening childhood. Until eventually my Auntie divorced him for the sake of my cousins. This was very hard for her as it wasn't done in those days and she was a very religious person. I'd like to think that diagnosis is more common now but it's hard to really be sure. I am sure you have a lot of strength & tenacity learnt from that time & hope you have left the pain behind.

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #9

#9
Thank you so much my friend!

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

"Fear is a powerful driver when you're dealing with a master manipulator who knew the foibles of his every move and struck far too young for us to gain understanding to". You have your own writing power Lisa Vanderburg- to turn personal issues in to global ones by framing your story.

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #7

#1
Sorry Nicole Chardenet - had to remove my answer as I'm pants at dates :) He died at age 82 & one-twelve years, at home, tended to by his wife and myself. It was 'my' night and his last words were 'oh...SHUT UP, woman!' :) But to answer your question; I guess he was always a sociopath or psychopath. But he was such a masterful king of his domain - fawned over when he held court with his sycophants (mainly doctors, like him), no one questioned his eccentric and volatile ways, sadly. #7 Thank you Proma \ud83d\udc1d Nautiyal. Please continue to recover!!

Proma 🐝 Nautiyal

Proma 🐝 Nautiyal

3 years ago #6

Transfixed, Lisa Vanderburg. An extremely powerful piece.

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #5

#5
I'm humbled and most appreciative Pascal Derrien!

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #4

Raw, harrowing with a finesse in the style making it so powerful the discreet narrative does not need to be demonstrative or overly emotive......a masterpiece Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #3

#2
Thanks Ken Boddie - I suspect you're right!

Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #2

#1
I guess he always had it Nicole Chardenet and as adults we individually suspected, but he was Pol Pot and we were his obedient citizens from toddlers. It was only nearing his death 50-odd years later that someone 'professional' could recognise what he was, and that was with prompting. As I say, he was a very intelligent and respectable man - King of his own domain!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

3 years ago #1

Apt pic, Lisa, for a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I suspect this problem is more common than we would wish to believe.

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