Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Darkness

Okay, so.  This is a story I thought would be a MUCH longer time coming. As in maybe NEVER.  Recent events, however, have prompted me to write this and I don't know that I'm really ready.  I may never be ready. My stomach is in knots and I think I'm gonna cry. Here goes nothin'.

A maniac walked into a movie theater & shot 47 people. Twelve of whom died.
This has sparked quite a lot of commentary in the social media.  The Twitterverse, Facebook, and Blog-world have been abuzz with shock, condolences, theories & opinions.
This is in response to one of the Blogs I saw in my FB news feed  last night. I can't find the damned thing today & I'm sick of looking so please don't ask me who.
 This particular Blogger blamed the parents of the Aurora, CO shooter for his murderous rampage.

I disagree with this on SO many levels and for SO many reasons.

I have a 19 year old daughter. Her name is Chelsea. This is the first and ONLY time you will ever hear about her. EVER.  I won't be answering any questions. I won't reply to comments. this is hard enough with out having to re-hash the gory details multiple times. Quite frankly, it hurts too damned much.

Chelsea is a diagnosed Sociopath.  Ted Bundy (the serial killer) was a Sociopath.
Chelsea is also a drug addict & a runaway.
Chelsea is my Darkness.

There were signs that something was "Off".  So many, many signs.
She was manipulative.
She was abusive.
She was unusually moody.

When she was a toddler, I rationalized these things away.
"Oh. She's just jealous of her baby sister."
"Oh. She's just playing sides to get her way."
and the Perennial Favorite of Parents Everywhere
"Oh. It's just a phase."
Never underestimate a parents power for denial and rationalization. It's powerful Ju-Ju people.

We took her to her first therapist when she was 4.  She saw 4 subsequent therapists.
None of them had any answers. Except the last one. He diagnosed her with "Borderline Personality Disorder" and told us that when she was re-evaluated at 18 he'd diagnose her as a Sociopath.
That was the scariest thing I'd ever heard.

Here's an overview of Sosiopathic behavior. I can put tic marks next to just about everything on the list. She was a habitual runaway. She hurt herself & others. She never felt remorse. She was sexually promiscuous & exhibited criminal behavior. By the time everything was said & done, she had a file that had nearly 30 pages of runaway & criminal charges.  Our house was a psychological battlefield and her Dad & I were losing.  We were terrified.

This is what I brought into the world. The pain of that haunts me every day. I DO NOT talk about it.

For someone to say they blame the parents of the CO shooter hurts and enrages me to no end. We did  everything, EVERYTHING to try and help our daughter.The child lost to the Dark. The child who embraced the Dark so fully. Who seemed to revel in it. That it was terrifying to behold.
We tried medication. Stays in THREE different mental health facilities. Group homes. Rehab. She was kicked out of them all..We exhausted every avenue open to us as well as ourselves and our financial resources. We snooped, pried, questioned, double checked, gave space, took away everything, gave everything. Anything we could think of to try and make this child happy and whole again. All to no avail. Her Darkness had consumed her. Swallowed her up whole. There was absolutely no room for us, our worries, our attempts to help. There was only the next thrill. The next high. The next person to screw. The next...whatever.  We'd lost. We didn't give up, but we'd lost all the same.

One weekend, I faced the Darkness alone.  TWH & TB were away for the weekend at a Scout Camp-out. I'd gone and collected Chelsea that Thursday morning from the Sheriff's Department after she'd been picked up after her latest disappearing act.  She'd been back home for a little over 24 hours.  I was in the kitchen when she came out of her room and asked to go to a friends house for the evening. like it was the most natural thing in the world. When I told her "No" she flew into a rage the likes of which we'd never seen.  She attacked me.  She flew at me screaming like a banshee and began punching me anywhere she could land a blow.  I tried to hold her off. I would not defend myself. I would not strike this child because I was afraid. I was afraid all the anger & frustration I'd felt at her behavior would coma out and I'd HURT her. I held her at arms length as best I could until she bit me. She bit me the way a caged animal bites. She bit me with all the hatred she could muster. She bit until she drew blood. I let go.  I let go & she ran off into the rainy March night.

She was gone for five days. We knew she'd been found when we got a call from Child Services telling us they were filing charges against us for abuse because Chelsea had shown up in their offices with two black eyes. She said I did it.  She'd finally come up with a way to get out of our house and punish us for our "Transgressions" against her.  Abuse charges.

What followed were months of  "Supervised" visits with her & her "Foster" mother, interrogations by detectives, & endless court dates. She managed to keep herself in check for roughly a month before her pattern resumed with her "new" family.  She ran away after she attacked her foster "sister".  She was found and placed in a group home. (Her second at this point).  She attacked another girl there, was charged with assault, and ran away a week later.

She was 16 years old.
We haven't seen her since.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that some people do truly come into this world "Broken".  Some vital piece of their very Soul seems to be missing.  I have no better way to say it.  There is nothing anyone can/could say or do to fix that.

Don't blame the parents of this madman.  Blame the madman.  He made the choice to commit the atrocious crime he did.  HIS choices. HIS atrocity.  HIS Darkness.

His parents may have done all they could and lost the battle anyway.

We did.

And we have to live with that.


  1. To all those that have been there for us and with us through this, we thank you and appreciate it more than you will ever know. To those that never knew this was happening, don't feel bad. We tried VERY hard to keep what was going on from destroying everything in our lives, and part of keeping it under control was NOT letting it COMPLETELY dominate our lives. We almost lost this war, and every part of our lives that we could keep from being ruined was a refuge and a "won battle". So to our friends from Boy Scouts, Sweet Potato Queens, work, and everyone else out there who knew little or nothing of what was going on, we thank you for being that refuge!

  2. What an amazing brave family/women to tell your story. I have done foster care and was also in foster homes as a teen, not that I was a broken child i was an abused child but I was housed with several broken children and I say the same thing it is a choice that madman did! nothing his family or anyone else did. Your lives need healing not judgement and with time that will come, my prayers for that healing are being lifted up to you & your family. please keep strong in faith that you did try and that is all that you could do the rest is up to God and His plan. Thank you for sharing this because I know so many will benefit from hearing another side to what is so common in human nature to play the blame game when the only blame is with the person doing the hurting. Blessings to you <3

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience...I can only imagine how terribly difficult it is to think about, much less put out there for the world. Someone somewhere will benefit from learning of your experience. Your daughter has chosen her path - hopefully the path you and the rest of your family chooses leads to healing. I'll keep you all in my prayers.

  4. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
    Thank you for your selfless decision to share with us your story. You and your family are in my prayers. Your strength and bravery are an incredible inspiration.

  5. I feel nothing but the biggest respect and so honoured to you, in sharing this post with us.

    There are no strong links to suggest that the condition is to do with upbringing and I can tell you as someone who counsels children, some as young as 4, that you and your husband couldn't have done anymore than what you've both already done.

    It's easy for some to blame the parents but nobody realizes the pain and suffering that they too go through.

    You are an absolutely incredible lady to have gone through what you did. Kudos to both you and your husband.

  6. Thank you for having the balls to write about yourself.

  7. There does come a time when you know you have done everything that can be done and there is nothing left.
    You cannot unfry an egg.

  8. I was sent over here to read this post from a fellow follower in response to my blog post I did today about the shooting.

    I am sorry to hear of your troubles and problems you've had in the past and continue to have from what it sounds like, I could never imagine having to deal with that situation.

    I like your statement about coming into the world broken. It makes perfect sense.

  9. My heart breaks for you, to have to go through that with your own child has got to be as hard as it was to write this post. I don't know you well but you've earned my respect just in putting it all out there like you did above.

  10. Thank you for being courageous enough to share your story with us all to help clear up some of this parental blaming that is happening surrounding this current tragedy.

    I don't have any children of my own so my parenting skills are rather limited but as someone who has a little bit of a psychological background educationally, it irks me to hear people automatically blaming the parents for the horrible actions of their children, without knowing a darn thing about that family's lives.

  11. I'm so sorry to hear what a struggle this has been for you! And continues to be. It must have taken a lot to let this out - though I hope you found at least some cathartic effect in the process.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.