Well intentioned people often don’t realize the harm they do.
From October of 1980 to until April of 1983 I was in the care of a military social worker named Captain Terry Totzke.
Terry as I knew him.
Under Totzke’s care I had seen a few different psychologists in the Edmonton area. But even though I had been seen by various psychologists I never did receive any type of treatment even though as I would find out they were calling for drastic measures including institutionalization.
When Alberta Social Services became involved with my family in November of 1981, Terry seemed to always be at odds with Pat and Wayne. At the time I thought that Terry, Pat, and Wayne worked for the same organization.
It wouldn’t be until August of 2011 that I learnt that Terry was a captain in the Canadian Armed Forces and that both Pat and Wayne were my civilian child care workers and that Alberta Social Services had been called in due to the inactions and inability of Captain Totzke to help me with my myriad issues.
It would appear that Terry had a very different agenda from that of Alberta Social Services.
Because of the way that Terry and my father reacted to Alberta Social Services I formed very negative views not only of myself, but also of “do gooders” like Pat and Wayne.
Both Captain Totzke and my father had drilled into my head that what happened on CFB Namao was my fault, that I was to blame for what happened to my younger brother, and Terry was adamant that I had a mental illness called “homosexuality”.
I was told by both Terry and my father that I needed to be very careful with what I told Pat and Wayne as they would “twist my words” and make it sound as if I said things that I didn’t say.
I was supposed to have received psychiatric care back then.
But I never did.
Instead what I received was torment, apathy, anger, and belittlement.
It WAS my fault.
I LET the babysitter touch my younger brother.
I was just ACTING up for attention.
I was a SELFISH asshole.
I FUCKED with my father’s military career.
Throw into this mix my grandmother’s issues and my father’s issues and you hopefully can understand that my mental health and well-being were doomed.
As one would expect, a child suffering from major depression and severe anxiety often has a very hard time making friends. So I was fucking lonely.
And a kid without friends often gets beat up a lot. And I got beat up a lot.
A depressed child tends to cry a lot. Nothing would fire up my father’s temper like my “whining” and my “pouting”. Richard was always more than happy to give me something to cry about.
And this doesn’t take into account all of the memories of the sexual abuse that occurred on CFB Namao. Even though it was known what had happened on CFB Namao, Terry knew, my father knew, I received absolutely no help with the year and a half of sexual abuse and the hands of a very disturbed teenager.
So, it should be readily apparent that I am not a suitable candidate for touchy-feely, celebrate you inner-child type therapy.
I was a kid who was found in 1981 to be completely unable to display or express any type of emotion.
One coping mechanism I had found was to allow myself to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. Sure, I was being put down, but at least people were talking about me.
In my adult life I’ve had people call me a psychopath because I couldn’t display emotions.
I often get accused of “being angry” when in fact my mood is neutral. It’s just my face betrays no emotion, so people assume that I’m angry.
I like to keep to myself. So of course this means that I’m a self centred asshole who thinks he’s better than everyone else.
What therapy do you think will fix this?
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?
Electro Convulsive Therapy?
What therapy is going to erase the gross malpractice of Captain Terry Totzke from my brain?
What therapy is going to erase the various incidents of sexual abuse from my brain?
What therapy is going to erase the abuse and neglect of my father and my grandmother from my brain?
How about the abandonment issues. My mother fled an abusive situation and left my brother and I in the care of a rage prone alcoholic. Sure, it’s more than likely that Richard used the Defence Establishment Trespass Regulations to have Marie thrown out of the PMQ by the military police, but I wouldn’t find out about that until around 2014 when I received a copy of a report that looked at spousal abuse in the Canadian Forces.
My father would often take off for weeks or months and leave us in the care of his alcoholic mother or his second wife, Sue.
That has to really fuck with a person’s psyche.
Because of the war that I was caught in between Captain Totzke and my civilian social workers, I have a severe distrust of anyone in that field.
What upsets me is when people say to me that I’m not trying, implying that it’s all my fault for not seeking treatment.
It’s such an odd predicament that I find myself trapped in. A survivor of military sexual trauma who wasn’t in the military. A child living on a military base, the dynamics of which most civilian social workers don’t understand.
Military sexual trauma is a unique beast all on its own as the abuser can use the military hierarchy to control their victims. Sure, P.S. wasn’t in the Canadian Forces, but his father was. And at the time his father was a Sergeant. My father was only a Master Corporal. And then of course Captain McRae was a Captain. P.S. freely threw his father’s rank around as threats to me and the other kids he was abusing. And even though I have nothing in the way of memories after the wine in the rectory, I have no doubt that Captain McRae would have thrown his rank around to threaten the kids that he was abusing.
And don’t ever forget how homophobic the Canadian Armed Forces were back in the ’50s, ’60s,’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. If you were a male child on a military base, and you had been sexually abused by another male, you just kept your mouth shut least people assume that you were a queer, or a faggot, or a homo.
I had tried in all honesty going to a couple of sessions with the BCSMSSA – BC Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse. I tried, I really did. But I just felt like they didn’t believe what I was talking about. Almost as if they were disbelieving of what I was saying as I seemed “too functional” and of course I also detected a bit of skepticism when I told them that I had lived on a military base as a child.
I had tried counselling through work. At first it was great to have someone like Dave to talk to. But then it became clear that talk was all that we were going to do. Yes, it was nice to have a sounding board to reflect off of, but at the end of the day I was expected to fix my problems on my own.
I tried getting help through the EFAP program at work. But again this was more talk therapy.
The public psychiatric system is so underfunded and overwhelmed that people like me, unless we go completely off the fucking rails, we’re not on their radar. And even if we do get on the radar of the public psychiatric system, the system is so overwhelmed that it can only apply bandages to mental wounds and get the person out of the bed ASAP as there’s probably another 20 people waiting in line for that bed. Don’t forget, I work in an urban hospital with a large mental health component. I know exactly how overwhelmed the system is. People like me are not on the radar. I function. I get up in the morning. I take a shower. I take my meds. I go to work. I work. I go home. I go to sleep. I don’t pose a risk to society. Completely off the radar.
Trying to find a psychologist to give me a clear diagnosis is almost absolutely impossible. And without a clear diagnosis there is no place to start from. All I have for a diagnosis is what was contained in my social service paperwork from back in 1980 which said that I was beyond depressed and suffering from severe anxiety.
And without a clear diagnosis there is no place to start from.
More “falling through the cracks”, a skill that I seem so very adept at.
When I hear professionals say “Oh Bobbie, why don’t you give this a try”, or “Oh Bobbie, why don’t you give that a try” all I hear is “Bobbie, your problems are far too complex to be dealt with realistically, so we’re going to blame you for not fixing yourself, you’re not trying!”.
Can’t you just do CBT? It’s all the rage these days.
Have you tried art therapy? Colouring will make your inner child happy.
Just try thinking positive thoughts Bobbie. Positive thoughts will set up positive energy and will get you in tune with the universe.
Crystals Bobbie, crystals have magical healing powers.
I hate myself. I despise myself. I hate my fucking intelligence.
In another post I’ll talk about how my fucking intelligence has been a fucking curse all of my life and how it’s caused just as many problems as it has solved.