home page for a little history.com1874 The Mounted Police Tame the Wild Westthe Metis half of the 1885 Northwest Rebellionthe Native half of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion1900-05 Diary of a student and young teacher1908-1920 homesteading experiences and lifestyle1920's farm and community lifestyle1954-56 diary of a boy, before the effects of televisionLife in the Future - 
inventions, and 
future problems



My Career Struggles


Why not excel at a career?


Many people, including myself sense that I have lots of talent. Throughout my career I have worked long and hard in an effort to get into a job in which I could do well, so I could take on an adult role and have a family. But in spite of taking work seriously, attempted University three times, taking night school courses in an effort to get ahead, and even after doing volunteer work and projects (which created work samples and skills), I was not able to handle a suitable job and not able to turn the jobs I did land into something that worked.



My efforts to build a career after High School:
After High School, when I couldn't find a job, I tried University. But in both of the years that I tried, mainly due to extreme tension and serious learning blocks, in spite of long hours of work, I couldn't cope with the work load. Also, all the jobs I tried in the first part of my career were a struggle. On many jobs, I repeatedly ran into blocks, excessive tension, and burn out due to weaknesses and poor coping skills. Jumping from job to job was not an option, because job searches were always long and difficult. I was the opposite to the eager and enthusiastic type that managers prefer to hire. Work was a struggle and I had personal problems. So I would stay with a job until I became sick and tired of that type of work, or I was convinced I had hit a dead end. As a result, as I gained experience, instead of getting better and developing more choices, I was eliminating my choices.

When I sensed I had hit another dead end in 1979, I spent a big chunk of money to write 2 days of tests, then have a Psychologist do a personal interview and a written analysis of my abilities and interests. He found that there were no workable career choices. While I had strong assets, there were also strong negatives which nullified the worth of my assets. So at 35 years of age I hit a dead end, and was still unemployed. One way of broadening my interests and hopefully opening new doors was to return to school.


Returning to school:
In 1980, after again struggling to find work, I gambled by returning to school in the hope that I could overcome a few weaknesses as I trained to become an Elementary School teacher. In my spare time, I had developed leadership skills and was excited by some of the things I was able to do. I had noticed that my depression and learning difficulties became less when I was working hard at a high interest task, so my hope was that my high interest in teaching would help overcome some weaknesses, and the training would eliminate a few others. This time, I was able to handle a carefully selected course schedule, and I did get good marks in most class presentations. However I couldn't cope with the unique challenges of student teaching. Instead of responding to the stimulating challenge and getting better, my mind slowly shut down due to tension and the heavy work load. I struggled to learn and recall, and struggled to relate and cope. A few years later, after testing my skills in a daycare, I was further convinced that my mind was not capable of doing a consistently good job in any type of teaching position.


Life after too much failure:
It took time to get focused on another career, but I kept working, adding to my skill set, and adding work related projects which improved my thick portfolio. Promotions eluded me until 1995, at the age of 51, I submitted my portfolio to the supervisors and management. They not only gave me a major promotion, but when I struggled, I was given lots of time to adjust. However, this time, my tendency to self destruct became more evident, and the emotions from past work struggles were getting in the way. I avoided talking to the new people there because I knew my mind would not absorb anything of our conversation. The next day would be embarrassing, I wouldn't recall anything about them, not even their name. This is not how you make friends or acquaintances. So even after getting time off and months to adapt, I still couldn't cope.
[At times, this had happened at University. After a lecture, I could completely blank out the content. I would recall the Prof and the subject, but nothing of the topics covered or anything else that happened during the lecture. When I checked my notes, they wouldn't jog my mind, and even after relaxing, I still couldn't recall anything that was said.]

A few years later, after more job related submissions, that same company gave me another chance by putting me into a low pressure situation as a minor supervisor. But although I had years of experience doing this, and I was dealing with people and routines I was familiar with, I didn't have the emotional strength needed to cope, so I went back to working on the phones. At the time, I still believed that drugs did not offer a quick solution, that they would not overcome PTSD, my career blocks or learning problems. By now my siblings and father had become concerned with what they saw as my bad management. It isn't surprising that they were slow at thinking, knowledge, and understanding, and quick with action. It was a major struggle to deal with their misunderstandings and criticism because they had been my foundation. Later, as I gained strength, I looked seriously at a potential management position and other full time jobs. But I could see from major struggles in my personal life that a new job would be a struggle, like banging my head against a brick wall. So near the end I avoided more disasters. I felt extremely lucky to have part time routine call centre work to hang onto. I kept my burnout symptoms under control while attempting a variety of different other ways to make money.


Why was I struggling?
Most people don't know that I was living with symptoms from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): memory and attention problems, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fears, and shame. The struggles with these symptoms made jobs frustrating and irritating. As I grew up I did learn to adapt, and during the two years of University in which I flunked, I took counselling so I was learning to cope and some symptoms diminished. But whenever I was in a crucial position so I had a chance of landing decent work which would allow me to provide for a family and live a decent life in the adult world, I would recognize the importance of what was happening, feel strong tension, withdraw, struggle, and self destruct.


My Physical Symptoms:
[These are important, because most people tend to discount the power of emotional weaknesses.] I responded to a big step in my career with extreme tension: my rib cage gradually froze like a vice, restricting my breathing; so as the tension increased, my ability to think clearly decreased (the emotion was overwhelming because it felt like the situation was overwhelming, so IF a relaxation technique, worked it only worked during the time it was applied; it wouldn't remove the tension I was overwhelmed with). Also, as an Introvert, I was a poor fit for an introverted job. It was necessary to constantly force myself to concentrate, to focus on the work and the details, a constant struggle that included a strong fear of losing my job. If I lost my job, who would want to hire me when I was slow to learn, quick to forget, tend to be withdrawn, and obviously undergoing a constant struggle which was gradually creating health problems. Also, through most of the work day, my stomach area was extremely tense. This extreme tension trained at least one muscle in my gut to cut off digestion. As a result, I couldn't lay down and relax. This turned my efforts to sleep into a major struggle, and with time bloating added serious complications. All of this prevented quality sleep, and so my ability to think, remember, and learn became even worse. Many people don't appreciate my excuses because they can carry on when they get tired. But when I was too tired, I was incompetent on a thinking job; and with physical work, I could be awkward and dangerous.

These symptoms aren't easy to control or cure, especially when the fear of being fired is real over a long period of time. In this period of my life, work tension was often relentless, staying with me even after a week on holidays, and even at the end of a night of drinking in a bar. Eventually I gave up on alcohol. The prescription drugs I tried in the 1970's didn't help. Some put me to sleep while I was working. That generation of anti-depressant drugs didn't seem to help, although I could sense they were strong, like poison. Eventually I became skeptical of the worth of all drugs. Instead, I learned to get a joggers high from walking, so walking became my drug of choice. In the 1990's inline skating was thrilling, healthy medicine. These activities not only lifted my spirits, but they helped make me healthy instead of sickly.

Some who knew me probably saw that there were times when I seemed to manage quite well. But, they didn't see what was under the surface. In order to prove the truthfulness of what is here, I offer a few more verifiable examples. In the 1970's, I was involved in a relationship for about two years. So my girl friend's judgment should hold some weight. A few years after we broke up, she returned to tell me that many of the symptoms I had displayed when we were together fit those of someone with hypoglycemia. So after getting blood test results which suggested mild hypoglycemia, I went on a special diet. It helped a little so I stayed on it for about 5 years.

The validity of my childhood memories:
Some might claim that I can't recall things from when I was a very young child. They might claim that I never was shy. [ An informative CBC radio broadcast in June 2015 made this an issue which I will address in the box below.]
I not only have the memories, but I have two anecdotes which verify the truth. In a speech my mother made at her wedding Anniversary (that I have a recording of), she briefly described my life as a child. She stated: "Brian, he was quiet, he played quiet, you hardly knew he was around in the room." Also, a number of times my father told an anecdote which showed that I was still making strange with other neighborhood children at about 4 1/2 years. Bob Barton went running to Dad to tell him that Brian had started to talk. Bob is one year younger than me, so he must have been at least 3 1/2 years old in order to make the observation, then deliver that message to my father. So, Bob had observed enough to assume that I didn't talk, then that I had suddenly started to talk. In addition, I still recall in Grade 3, struggling to blurt out words in order to get used to saying something as I hung out with the other boys at recess. It was a struggle to get my mind to think of something to say, then to decide it was a proper and okay thing to say, then to suddenly make my statement. All this is consistent with other memories I have of struggles while growing up and while dealing with the adult world.


MRI's prove that proper treatment reverses the physical damage of PTSD:

(These 2009 MRI results validate what I had experienced and what I believed I needed.)

On Nov. 10, 2009, the Associated Press carried a news report on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in which they stated that an MRI could detect bigger gaps in nerve fibers of those suffering from PTSD. They found that those gaps were healed not with drugs, but with proper PTSD treatment in which the victim changed how they felt about their trauma. The examples of the cause of trauma included child abuse, where the emotions can be stuck and buried, causing a lifetime of struggles, unless the feelings are uncovered and dealt with through proper PTSD treatment. So this report confirmed my experiences with successful treatment, and proved that my repeated insistence that I again be given PTSD treatment was the right thing to do.




The Reliability of Early Childhood Memories:


But first, an UPDATE from November 2016:

UPDATE from November 2016:
I'm just now throwing together a final update, recent insight and recovery experience which should help the patterns in my overall life make sense. Briefly, in rough form, I will say that as a preschooler who was too scared to play, who skipped the experiences of play (which is known as preparation for life), I faced life with a lot of fear. I had seen kindergarten and knew that the next big challenge would be school. Going to school and adjusting to learning was all new and frightening. My inability to learn in a lot of areas turned school into a struggle, so that added to reasons why I was fearful. I couldn't listen and follow directions very well, so that would have been another problem except that the teachers seemed to be aware of my fears, and so adapted. Learning to fit in and talk with others took years.

This fearful pattern continued, although I eventually became accustomed to school. However, as an adult, the fear continued, my worklife was another huge struggle. Right from the start, I could not find a job that I felt I could cope with. That was why, when I found I had adequate marks to enter University, I decided to take my chances. I was familiar with school, and hoped that it would open doors and would prepare me for work I could enjoy. Most jobs I had were a major struggle. At the end of my banking career, in 1971, I was burnt out. I couldn't come up with a decent job, so was grateful when I was hired onto work which I didn't like. I was an introvert, but struggled to concentrate. So I worked with a lot of tension, and my health suffered. In 1979, I was again unemployed and not able to find anything I could enjoy and cope with. In 1989, I finally settled on part time evening call centre work. So I was able to avoid the foggy brain early morning struggles. After about 6 years I was promoted into the back rooms. But after struggling and being let go, about a year later, after a long search, I was back to working in the call centre on the phones. I did that for about 5 years (although I did try to move to Winnipeg to become a supervisor), and then our call centre was shut down. After about a year of looking for work, I was forced to move to Edmonton. So, luckily I was able to make the move and find work there in another call centre where I finished out my career. So during my peak earning years, I was stuck in that kind of work.

After retiring, I no longer had to struggle with my career. But I still had fears to overcome. Out of luck I landed work as a volunteer instructor {one evening class a week}, so was able to deal with a lot of buried fears. This is where my guess that my life was full of fear became fact, because it took years for me to uncover past fears and let them go. Shyness was replaced with feeling vulnerable. Gradually learning to feel and live like a real person has been a long process.


[This rough work in this box began July 16, 2015.]
After listening to a CBC radio program on the cognitive view of the ability of people to remember things, I am forced to elaborate. This box and the pictures in it go against the trendy thinking of some therapists and of the field of cognitive psychology. I have no doubt that there are at least a dozen studies for every point that is made by cognitive psychologists, so it is easy for many to make the false assumption that my comments and my proof are false.

The person on the CBC program mentioned that it is easy for a memory to be false, inaccurate, muddled, modified, and/or extremely biased. No doubt, a lot of studies point to these kinds of conclusions. So cognitive psychologists and some therpists can feel certain they are right. So for many people, those conclusions are probably valid.

But, I am not many people.
I have a unique background, far different from the average person in recovery. My childhood was full of fear, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to handle life, how to cope. So my observations at the time were not passing experiences, they were deeply felt, and repeatedly evaluated as I tried to figure out what to do. As a fearful child, I was isolated and so able to do deliberate and careful thinking, and had time to think things through. When issues are repeated in one's mind, the recalling process makes a huge difference to memory. So unlike most other adults, I have been able to recall the key experiences that I had as a very young child. But part of the problem became, that since I was living a life of fear, I did not go through the normal developmental stages that a child goes through. I was too busy being afraid, so failed to experience normal play which is known as preparation for life.
Our family was not full of lies, manipulation, and mind games. Our dysfunction originated from the external. One Grandparent was able to adapt when her mother died when she was only 6 (but her sister was only 4 and wound up in a mental institute). On the other side of my family my grandmother was exposed to toxic beliefs of a family friend. So our dysfunction was not ingrained and comprehensive, it had limits. So when I tuned into my memory as an adult, I did reframe it. So as I was struggling to recover, I did create a new and more realistic interpretation of events. But the actual memory, which was carefully uncovered, remained the same.

Also, my thinking as I grew up and continued to struggle was deliberate and careful, fearing that every little thing could be questioned. I had a lot of fear of embarrassement and humiliation. My assumption, as a vulnerable and fearful person, was that there was only one reality, and I needed to get it right. I had an enourous fear of being singled out, and embarrassed. I didn't have any words to say in response, so my feelings and sense of self were laid bear. Also, as an adult, the therapists I had until 1980, many with doctorates, were competent and caring, giving me and my memories a lot of respect, operating with proven procedures. Their goal was not to make me better by manipulating me and my memory. Their procedures brought real improvements to my life, improvements I was unable to make through techniques learned in self-help books. So by 1980 I understood the process I needed to go through in order to deal directly with the emotions of key childhood experiences. I had learned how to carefully uncover the meories and feelings, and how to diffuse them. Since I knew my parents were not monsters, I was able to reframe how I saw their actions and motivation, and this helped resolve the tramatic emotions.

It was at about the time when Prozac was intruduced that a new approach to therapy was taken. I was told by one therapist that my parents didn't have any impact on my behavior, so just ignore what I believed happened. But, I was about 50 years old at the time, so I told her that my experiences proved that my parents had an impact. So I insisted that I did have past issues, and that I had dealt with those issues successfully. They were no longer a concern. I didn't allow her to mess with my mind.

When I was about 60 years old, after I told one counsellor about many improvements that I had made with my life, she came to the conclusion that I never was shy. Due to past experiences with counsellors, I was expecting this kind of irresponsible treatment. So, initially it didn't seem to do huge damage. However, due to family instability, I really needed her support. Instead, in her comment, she denied who I was, denied my experiences, and all the struggles with life and recovery that I had gone through. My work had been completed. Based on the PTSD findings above, most people who are subjected to her upbeat and trendy therapy make only small and temporary progress. They often get a quick boost with "brief therapy" then are able to carry on with life. I'm okay with this, realizing that most people in need of help are less concerned with recovery, have complex backgrounds, and don't have the time, patience, and understandings in order to attempt to go through what I went through. This counsellors view of recovery, probably for decades, was far different from the experiences I went through. It isn't surprising that she believed I could not have made major improvements. Unlike most clients, I had only a few major issues which had to be dealt with. So in my case, after many years of work, the old treatments worked.

The person interviewed on CBC was disturbing. She claimed that one person she dealt with became really upset with her claim that her memories were not accurate. That person interviewed said she couldn't understand why someone with mental problems would be upset over scientifically proven facts. But denying a persons reality, what they lived through and their struggles to cope can be really disturbing. It is unfortunate that cognitive psychologists don't accept the real world in which different people experience life differently. It is true that with some people, their lives and minds are really messed up, and they have limited knowledge about psychology. So they are able to respect the therapist, regardless what is said, then make some progress. To some extent, the therpy then works for these people. But other people, like myself, are different.

The reliability of the average adults memories:
With the help of the media, the average person is moving more towards fragmented thinking. Daily news stories have been presented in a disconnected and confusing way (although I have noted recent adjustments, so people are less confused). Multitasking encourages their mind to be all over the place. They no longer have logical, scientific, fact oritented minds. So a therapist can tell these people anything, and they will tend to believe them. So this trendy new way of giving therapy, which ignores the MRI results regarding PTSD tends to be effective, with these people. There needs to be a lot more public knowledge regarding what is happening to the minds of the average human. I am even left questioning the minds of therapists who tend to disregard facts and reality. It is a process which may work some with some clients. But there is something crazy making about he whole process, something very unscientific, irrational, and unprofessional.

I have more to add; soon.


Attempting to get proper treatment for my PTSD:
In 1992, I repeatedly insisted on PTSD treatment (more of the treatment I had received 12 years earlier and found to be successful), and couldn't get it. Two counsellors insisted on ignoring my requests. I insisted that the advice and treatments I had gotten from previous counsellors had been effective, and insisted that I still had serious symptoms which had not gone away when I had ignored them. At that point, shame cut my ability to function down to about 30 to 50% for roughly a day every three days. When this was combined with my other learning/attention/memory/sleep problems, my ingrained fear of other adults, my tendency to struggle with relationships, to feel inferior, and to remain tense, I found my ability to function unacceptable.

I did cooperate with the treatment I was given at that time, but it proved to be ineffective. In their defense, I realize that most clients have complex toxic backgrounds, so treating them for one particular traumatic childhood event usually doesn't have much effect on their lives. But I did explain that I had a small number of traumatic experiences, a stable childhood, and a mostly non-toxic mother which made my needs simpler. At this time the counselling organizations were into "Brief Counselling" [which meant they saved money, but it also meant they had an excuse to dismiss those who needed the more difficult treatments.]. Five years later, in 1997 I dealt with counsellors in a different organization and got the same run around. They also kept things simple, so I couldn't make any progress. The third counsellor I got, the senior counsellor, also insisted on only looking at the positive, the opposite to PTSD treatment. I was left to deal with powerful, unavoidable, symptoms on my own.

My symptoms from buried shame were powerful enough to change my appearance, and I couldn't avoid them. I told one counsellor that when I would walk down a mall feeling shame, I saw in the mirrors that I looked like a creep. She thought she cured me by telling me to describe myself as looking "not well." She refused to believe how powerful the symptoms were. Shame cut my ability to think clearly by about 50%, so this had a major impact on my career.

For about a decade, most of the treatment I received and the progress I made was done with the help of the patient people in support groups. By about 2000 (when I was finally able to get more decent therapy), it isn't surprising that my family had lost patience with me, and (as I explain near the bottom) they became disruptive and so prevented further progress.


Reasons for not trying drugs again:
I was convinced that drugs would not be an instant solution. They would only have a small impact on my learning blocks and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life operating at 50%. Drugs wouldn't eliminate many of my other serious symptoms which were created from buried emotions that were experienced during childhood trauma. I was skeptical of the worth of drugs so the placebo effect would not work for me, and I suspected they were not good for me.

[ In a June 2012 report it said that "abilify" was a new drug which is an aid for anti-depressants. Some anti-depressants can result in a depression that is worse than the initial depression. So, it happens that just at the time when it is made public that the anti-depressants have one more key flaw (they can result in depression), we are told that they have invented a pill to deal with the flawed pill. We are saved again. Unfortunately there are side effects that come with both pills. But the drug companies advertise about the side effects, to help us get used to them. So we have nothing to worry about. (?) ]

Later, it did not surprise me to find that the drugs had a lot of side effects that were not public knowledge in 2001. They would have increased my bone density problems, plus they can cause weight gain, lethargy, and loss of sex drive. At that time, I had one person get upset because one example had proven to him that antidepressants were 100% effective, with no side effects. It is frustrating when people want to believe there are simple solutions and assume they are sane so they must be right. My preference was to remove my depressed feelings through walking and inline skating. Instead of suffering side effects, I got the wide ranging benefits of exercise. In 2009, research with MRI's showed that proper treatment for PTSD eliminated the problems. Although drugs could modify some symptoms, they didn't solve the problem. So, I was on the right track.


My parents did their best:
It is important that people know that I believe my parents had good intentions. My memories of abuse tell me that they did their best to find the best solutions. However, when I was very young, due to bad planning, they got into a tough situation when they began to start a business. At this time, after hitting a road block, Dad was temporarily overwhelmed by the high pressure situation. In 1984, a Sociology course taught me that a human being simply cannot stand the pressure of many major demands. Dad was trying to be a father of 2 young boys, looking after a wife, starting a new business, and providing for his needy family. For the most part this was happening in the two rooms we lived in, 24 hours a day. But after that struggle, they did get the business going, and like most other businesses of that time it became successful. As a result, they were able to provide well for our family.

At the time of their struggle, I vaguely recall my father bent over in agony, he couldn't cope with it all, and noisy children were part of the problem. So I recall Mom and Dad talking and deciding they had to spank both of us long and hard, to give us the message that we had to keep out of the way and keep quiet. If we were quiet, it would be one less stressor for Dad to deal with. In 1946 and 1947, they didn't have a psychology book or a professional to consult, so their strategy had to be their best guess. They probably assumed that our behavior would be modified for a short time, that a few weeks later we would forget. Unfortunately the spankings were a traumatic experience for me, so they became a problem for most of my life. In those days, they probably knew nothing about buried feelings; if a child was shy, a child was shy. Even today's counsellors struggle with the idea that buried childhood feelings can cause problems later in life; this concept runs contrary to a popular method of treatment.


More details which prove that my childhood experiences were real:
But as a two year old [the crisis came in 1946 or spring of 1947, before my 3rd birthday ], my response to the unfair spanking was a powerful fear. I got the message, it was obviously a serious, frightening message that came through strong and clear, that I had to keep out of the way and keep quiet. This is a difficult task for a young child, but the strong fear helped me keep my behavior under control. I not only feared expressing my emotions when my parents were around, but the powerful message left me fearful throughout the day. The message was overwhelming, leaving me too fearful to act like a child. So my feelings never were acted out through free play. Both my feelings and my ability to control my emotions were internalized, and became a long term behavior pattern. In the following years 2 or 3 times, my father lost his temper and appeared to be out of control as he spanked my brother. This was a frightening experience for me, a stern reminder that life as a child was a serious business.

Play prepares a child for life. As a fearful child, I experienced limited play; and grew up painfully shy, with poor coping skills. As I got older I got better, but was still hampered with an internalized reaction: a tendency to withdraw, to fear adults, to fear adult roles and adult work, to feel worthless, to remain tense, and to struggle to sleep (which added to my learning problems).

In my recovery, as an adult, I was aware of faint memories of the spanking I received when my parents were struggling to start a business, and had a sense that that could be why I simply could not cope whenever my career reached a crucial time. I eventually felt strong enough to tune into my feelings and memories from 1946 or 1947. Initially, I sensed the agony and fear my father had gone through when he was paralyzed by the situation. It seems that this stayed with me, so when I was an adult facing a crucial time in my career, when the pressure was on, I was also emotionally paralyzed, so it became an even greater struggle to function: to think and remember.

So my tendency to withdraw and control my emotions became automatic, and I became a fearful and shy child. In recovery I eventually learned how to not fear adults and to overcome my tendency to be shy. But, recently I discovered that my childhood tendency to keep quiet and keep out of the way was still an habitual withdrawal tendency which made it hard to join and adapt to a group. I tended to be tense and fearful instead of open and friendly. Next, I began to get a sense of how great an impact the trauma had on my ability to have a relationship. At 2 to 3 years of age, after getting the powerful message to keep out of the way, I had an overwhelming burden with no one to turn to. I was afraid to go back to my parents who were busy with the new business. Now, when I look at the pattern of my adult relationships it is more obvious that childhood trauma was getting in the way. Due to my buried fear of attachments, it was difficult for me to meet and date women. Then when I forced myself into an adult relationship it was more like an attachment than love. When the attachment was broken it was extremely painful, probably because it also triggered my feelings of the painful break with my parents when I was a child. It isn't surprising that I am still single.


This is what was real, added on December 31, 2015.
Photographs Mom took when I was about 3 years of age

at about 3 years of age  - 96 kb
With the neighborhood children.

at about 3 years of age  - 87 kb
Still a very serious child.

at about 3 years of age  - 96 kb
I sense that Mom got my brother
to laugh, but not me.

Also, my father's projects dominated our family at that time, so maybe it was natural for me to adjust by appreciating what he accomplished. What he did was obviously number 1, and experience had convinced me that I did not count. I still recall feeling proud of the impressive new stairs he built, stairs I could play on and jump from. My weaknesses, my memories and my recovery all fit together and prove to me that the experiences I have described were real. Most of my problem behaviors did not change until I dealt with the buried childhood emotions in PTSD treatment.

Although my mother made a few honest mistakes, in many ways the stable family life I experienced was far superior to what others experience. I was a sensitive, fearful child, so I needed my family to provide a stable foundation. It was only due to our stable and non-toxic family that I was able to gain confidence, get rid of some of my shyness, and live a fairly normal life as I grew up. I will always be grateful that at that time I was surrounded by decent friends and family. It is interesting to add that as an adult it was relatively easy for me to get over my anger and forgive my parents for coping badly when they started their business. I could understand because whenever I faced an important career challenge, I also struggled in a major way. Plus, they were able to do well in the adult world and accomplished a lot; they did things that I couldn't do.


The consequences of delays:
Although some treatment was successful, during the 1990's I couldn't find a counsellor who would continue the PTSD treatment I needed. Support groups and group therapy allowed me to work on issues on my own so I was once again getting on top of life. In the year 2000, Calgary finally got some counsellors that were properly qualified and trained doctors who could provide drugs if needed.

Unfortunately by 2001, my family had run out of patience. After my job was eliminated and I wasn't able to step into a new job, my siblings were not in the listening mode. Maybe the reader can sympathize with their probable view of things. My siblings may have thought I was being a bad role model for my nieces and nephews who could easily access my latest work on their computers. I could see them guessing that my greatly expanded website was just another hobby, and failing to recognize it as an impressive work sample.) The Internet did create a dramatic change in our family dynamics: so although I was a remote figure 200 km away, my work activities were easy to access right in their home. Unfortunately, the communication in our family was poor, so this is only my speculation, my guesses based on hindsight.

My siblings were upset because they felt that I should be landing decent paid work. They didn't believe the skills and experience I was gaining were worth anything. While I was struggling with unemployment, at 57 years of age, I was improving on my writing/marketing/computer/Internet skills as I aimed to become a web site developer (Eventually, I did make some money running a website, made submissions for others, and was working towards creating a community of maybe a hundred websites, with the assumption that some would like additional paid work done.). But my siblings had lost patience with my emotional struggles. Although I told my father about the doctors I was seeing and that two of them had offered to put me on unemployment insurance sick leave, my siblings were unresponsive. They wanted action, so Dad and my siblings became critical. Dad did his best to understand and was quite reasonable, but he was caught in the middle. When my siblings all felt the same, how could they all be wrong?

There are many reasons why, for me, finding work had become an enormous struggle. One problem was to deal with painful reminders of my many job struggles. Some of those reminders had to be on my resume, and somehow they had to be talked about in a positive way. The pressure to find a job was huge, so when my family added more pressure, it made things far worse. No doubt my therapist was frustrated with what was happening to me. The only solution I could find was to move away from my toxic family, three hours north to Edmonton where I was soon able to land another call centre job. Two years later, my efforts to fix things got little response from my siblings. So I lost my foundation. The craziness in our family took away the strength I needed to find better work. In 2006 I tried again to regain some sanity in my relationship with my family. It had finally dawned on me that my files were not only full of examples of my weaknesses, but there were a few key items that provided proof of the kinds of experiences I had lived through.


Submission Proves My Life Was
Full of Learning and Work Struggles
In 2006 I copied about 25 pages of work samples
from my files and submitted them to my father and siblings.
They were proof: I am who I say I am. The decisions I had made were logical.

saved documents I copied then 
used to prove I really had struggled
to learn and work - 143 kb

After finding samples of work and learning struggles, I printed and pasted notes onto them so my experiences became easy to understand. Then, I submitted the documents for my father and siblings to read. The truth was obvious.

It doesn't make sense: how could I take night school courses and two correspondence courses and still be lazy? Another important piece of evidence was found in the critical notes a Prof wrote on my essay in 1965. After giving a poor mark on a key essay that I had put a ton of extra work into, he wrote: "It is particularly weak as I judge presentation at the university level. Doubtless you have worked hard." That says a lot about how I responded to University work at that time. Another memorable struggle came in English. After 6 months of hard work my final mark was 19%, and this included the marks I built up on the 4 or 5 essays I wrote. My calculation is she gave me zero for the final exam. This makes sense because I wasn't able to get hardly anything to stick in my mind that year. I spent a lot of time forcing my mind to memorizing things, and most of her lectures were completely forgotten. So on the final, I could only come up with bits of vague statements. Also, I still have my 1982 to 1984 student teaching log books in which qualified professionals make insightful comments about my limitations.

But my siblings still lacked interest in my struggle. After a lifetime of struggling with learning, failures, and criticism, the last thing I needed was irrational criticism from the people who I thought knew me best. So the long term pressure that came from our family hassles prevented me from fully facing key traumatic memories and making emotional adjustments which would have given me a chance to land a good, decent job and to finally lead a decent life. (It is necessary for the victim to feel relatively strong before it is possible to face disturbing buried childhood emotions.) The solutions, the agonizing feelings that were buried when my parents were struggling to start a business, weren't uncovered until fairly recently, after I became semi-retired.


Justification For This Posting:
So the question becomes, am I qualified to create a file on "Life in the Future?" That's your job, to evaluate and judge. While I don't have a publisher that has evaluated the worth of my work and brought it up to their standard, I also don't have the restrictions that a publisher brings: that my work be marketable, be popular, and fit into the establishment. Although you may complain about being subjected to personal negative garbage, you are being rewarded with unfiltered insights into my personal life, insights that give you a clearer impression of what is real in the real world. Most troubled people find ways to hide information about their mental state, to preserve their reputation and maintain respect. The truth about life is hard to find. What is presented here is unique. It is a carefully presented version of factual personal experiences which reveal the nature of child abuse, of memories, the recovery process, the ways people choose to cope, and the kind of impact it can have on a life and family. It is an honest attempt to talk about what is real.

This is a good time to reflect and evaluate the worth of what's here, and what's elsewhere on the Internet.



Questions?  Suggestions? Comments.
                  Contact the author.

Posted since May 31, 2005.
Modified and linked to "Life In The Future" on May 1, 2010.