Freudian Slips: Girl Interrupted

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

February 14, 2008

Girl Interrupted

Gina Nina Willits is a mildly retarded individual with a soft-spoken personality that got easily consumed by her strong-willed parents like a merciful life there for the taking. In 1978, her parents broke off Gina Nina’s engagement to a non-handicapped contributing member of the community. She had been a girl interrupted ever since. Her parents denied her opportunity to be the only thing she ever wanted, a beloved wife and mother. Gina Nina eventually earned her driver’s license but her parents refused to let her drive outbound except on practical errands around a hayseed of a hometown. Her parents did not want her to work because they selfishly wanted her to keep them company during the day. They told her what to do and when and for how long and with whom.
Before I became Gina Nina’s case manager, the parents virtually smothered her with no insight or understanding to the damage done. After years of inroads and outreach, I had finally convinced the parents that a residential placement was in their daughter’s best interest. First, Gina Nina needed professional help if she stood half a chance of making it in the real world.
Sitting before a psychiatrist, Gina Nina was asked to speak like history in the making. I watched Gina Nina’s sheltered incomplete existence unravel before her stiff-lipped parents. Gina Nina’s co-dependency prevented her from answering a direct question without first looking at her parents for their approval to speak. With approval to speak now granted, regurgitating her parent’s opinion was expected like the silencer on a gun that really needed rapid firing on a range.
Being forced to assume an identity of her own in session broke her soul down. She was the pink elephant in a room that she would soon snake with tears. The cloud-like clinical and sinister depression that wrapped hold of her and prompted the need for psychiatric intervention bungled her mixed emotions. Likewise, the challenges of integrating her in the community seemed dauntingly incomprehensible to her parents. Gina Nina had difficulty even envisioning a life separate from her family’s home and the idea overwhelmed her in the sterility of this psychiatrist’s office of an initial consultation. She was a victim of her parent’s doting and she became dependent on them in a learned helplessness force fed down her throat for decades. Now a psychiatrist was asking her to speak, an unheard of proposition in the Willits family dynamics.
Thinking about the high hurdles ahead of this woman, took my breath away like few clients who came before her on my caseload. I painfully sat there waiting for the psychiatrist to take the lead and quell the overbearing parents. I waited for him to provide the forum to allow a tiny voice to muster a fraction of autonomy. I did not know what I would hear next.
As if the mother needed to show her culpability of the daughter whose life she snuffed, she moved strangely forward in her chair. The father sat dispassionately disinterested. Gina Nina choked on her tears trying to get out her first words in a lifetime, like a baby trying to form a monosyllabic word. Before words emerged, Gina Nina’s needed to look away from her mother's cast stare and gain her composure. It was not much of a declaration of independence but Gina Nina's stubby fingers crawled along a mahogany desk towards a coffin-shaped cardboard box there for the taking.
The mother shook a finger at her 51-year-old daughter. Her sighs and posture acted like a preemptive strike on a familiar target. Gina Nina's fingers recoiled and the mother snapped harsh judgment.
“And don’t take all of this man’s tissues. Two tissues will be enough for your sniveling and blubbering.”
My disappointed eyes met the psychiatrist’s change in expression. As I double swallowed my own emotion, the clinician now knew where to begin. Two paper-thin tissues were expected to cover the sadness of an aborted lifetime. I could not get over this. So my own stiff lips quivered in undoing and that is when I began to cry. It was open season on tears for the girl interrupted.



Blogger mommanator said...

this poor gal needed the mommanator in her life to squash the parents like they were squashing her!
hope the names were changed to hippa standard or i am gonna report you you sniffling caseworker! lol its nice to see some caseworkers still have feelings!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

the story is hipaa compliant. i do still have feelings, they ebb and flow through burnout. lol.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Maja said...

I would cry, too.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

we got something in common.

4:48 PM  
Blogger e said...

wow .... hits too close to home.
May I say the parents don't have to still be in the picture at 50. The legs get cut off at a very young age .....

12:21 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Ask me in person about her for an update if you want.

5:37 PM  
Blogger e said...

meant to say the parents don't still have to be in the picture for the crippling results of their abuse to affect her life even at her age.

Taking away a child's ability to function socially or relate to others is .................

yeah, Joe, I might ask.

8:39 PM  

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