April 13, 2021

How to get over abandonment issues. Jackie's story of her father's paranoid schizophrenia and what she has learned from it.


One day Jackie's father walked out her life and would't be found by anyone until eleven years later. This story is one of getting vulnerable about abandonment and mental illness. Jackie's journey to healing has been long, but now she is putting the pieces together as to why her Dad leaving had such an impact on her and her relationships with people. She shares some great insight on self reflection and what she had to do to start making sense of everything.
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Transcript

Jackie:

I just want to live the best life I can with the rest of the time that I have. So why not recognize it, own it and then just do your best to get past it. It's a work in progress, man.

Melissa Bright:

Welcome to the bright side of life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life. Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host Melissa Bright. And for this week's reviews, I wanted to share one from a past guest and then a new listener. The first review comes from Alex and she was a guest sharing her story of overcoming student debt. This is what she said, sharing your story is healing. Love the story shared on this podcast real honest, truthful. I am part of the podcast sharing my story with student loan debt. There is a power in storytelling. What is soul healing podcast? Melissa, girl, you're changing the world one story at a time. And Alex, thank you so so much for the review. And you know that we're definitely on the same page about student debt. And the next one comes from a listener that accidentally stumbled on my page because of a Facebook post that I wrote that resonated with her. So Patricia said, new to listening, I find the podcast I have listened to so far to be very pleasant, knowing I am not the only person who feels I am blessed but still struggling to keep my head on straight. So thank you so much for that review as well, Patricia, that really means a lot. And if you would like to leave a review, you can do so if you go to the bright side of life, podcast calm, and then click on the reviews tab. And you can either leave it on Apple reviews, but if you don't have apple or pod chaser, you can just leave a review right on the website. And today I am talking with Jackie who is going to share her story of losing her father and how that has shaped her life. But Jackie didn't lose her father in a way that you would expect. And she's here to tell us that story. But first I want to read something that she wrote to kind of set the scene a little bit to give some insight of what her childhood was like. So Jackie says, I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and our family mom, dad and baby sister moved to a small town in Keene New Hampshire. When I was four. My dad was a doctor and secured a practice and keen. My mom was a nurse. Three years later, I had a new baby brother. And although memories are super, super hazy, I can recall laughter in the house, playing in the snow, chasing our dog in the backyard and swinging as high as I could get on our swing set, running through spring and running through sprinklers with neighbors in the summer. Sounds normal, right? Fast forward a bit. My mom, sister, baby brother and I are now in a shitty two bedroom apartment in the worst neighborhood in town. My dad isn't there. Jackie, thank you so much for coming on here to share your story. How are you doing today?

Jackie:

I'm doing good. I'm a little nervous. You probably see my rosy cheeks but I'm doing all right.

Melissa Bright:

Thank you for having me. Yes, you're welcome. And you're gonna, you're gonna do great. So let's just get started. I know that I've kind of set the stage for listeners to know what your family was like growing up, but now I want you to share. So what do you remember your dad being like, as a little girl? Well, first let me say I wish I wish I wish I wish I remembered more. I don't remember a lot. It's it's fits in spurts. It's flashes. It's from old pictures. It's songs, you know, things that I hear. So my image of him is of a larger than life guy. Just not only broad shouldered but broad minded. You know, I I I ask all the time, like his cousins and his brother, like just tell me a story about him. And so my memory of him is really those pieces that I've gotten from other people with that kind of hazy thing that I mentioned kind of in the in the little story starter that I shared with you so I have good thoughts. They're not they're not like I'm not mad. I think I did go through a stage of my life when I was mad at him. But that's trying to, you know, not really understanding what was going on until I got older when I when we kind of figured out what was happening. Yeah. Do you have any memories of your dad? When when maybe things didn't seem quite right with Him when maybe he acted a little bit strange or you're like I Dad? Was Was there anything off that you you ever notice it? And if, um, how would you describe him being if if you can remember any of those times?

Jackie:

Yeah, the probably the most vivid memory I have was actually pretty normal. But what was a little not normal about it was I was getting, we were at the shitty apartment. I'm getting I'm getting in his old crappy car and thinking, where did this car come from? And where am I going with my dad? You know, and we ended up going. It was me and my sister, I think because it's so hazy. Right? We went to this small little like, kind of motel in town that he was staying at while he you know, thought through some things. Apparently, there was just there's a lot there, as you know. So I remember not talking a lot, but him having a smile on his face and being happy that me and my sister were with him. But as far as like acting really strange, not. Not really. He must have though. And I don't know, if I've blocked that out. But that's one of the things that's really hard for me to get from my mom as far as like, helping me understand exactly what that looked like, for her. And for her. Just too painful to even go there. Even after all this time.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I'm sure at this point, listeners are like, what the hell? Are they talking about? What happened to this lady's father? What What are they talking about? So, um, we'll just we'll go into that part really quick. So before just so I can understand why did you guys move from the one house into the apartment and your dad was still part of the picture at that point? A little bit?

Jackie:

A little bit. So from what I know, and again, I'm at this time about seven, maybe eight. Okay, so try to pull some of those memories forward for yourself. That's kind of hard to do. Yep. And especially in such a kind of, I mean, I guess I could say traumatic time of my life. It's, it's hard to remember exactly. But what I know is that my mom had gotten to a point where she was begging him to get help, begging him to get help. And he refused. He didn't want to get help, he thought everything was going to be fine. And they separated. So that's why he was in the motel. And we were still in the house. The house, went into foreclosure, my dad stopped going to his practice stopped working, started disengaging from most things. And that one memory of us getting in his car is really the only one that I have, that I can almost touch and smell. The others are through pictures through stories. So my mom having us three kids now. And I'm the oldest. So I'm eight at the time. My sister's three years younger than me. So she's five and my brother. Barely one. Yeah, so and she was a nurse and she worked at a nursing home. And we were in the shitty apartment because it's what she could afford. So that's what I know.

Melissa Bright:

Right? Did you know what like being that young? Did you know what your mom what what their troubles were? Or was that kind of like kept hidden from you guys in terms of Well, I don't know what mom means by I want dad to get help. Or was that something that you were aware of?

Jackie:

I may have been aware of it, but I don't remember being aware of it. I remember my mom mostly at the apartment. I don't remember a lot of emotions coming from her at the house with him in it. I don't recall any arguments or anything like that. Nothing like that. So I think they probably are my mom probably kept it from us kids and you know, tried to tried to get it figured out without including us. But then we're in this apartment. So what's going on? You know, we're gonna ask questions. My sister, my brother can't yet talk. But so you know, and I remember being worried that I was gonna have to switch schools. I do remember that. And my mom was like, we're not, you know, I'm not gonna do that to you, I will drive you, which was all the way across town, just so that I could still be with my friends and go to the same school. Same with my sister. Yeah. So I remember her being sad a lot. I remember her having a friend over and kind of barging in remember, I'm little some barging in and coming in and seeing her with her her face in her hands and her, her friend her girlfriend like consoling her, but I didn't hear any part of the story, or any of that. But she always tried to be, you know, happy. But can you imagine just just really hard being? You know, I guess she was late 30s with three kids. And not knowing what was going on with her husband. Right? Oh,

Melissa Bright:

yeah. So when did you notice? When did things really start for your family start to change and and what did ultimately happen with your dad.

Jackie:

So I think really, when things started to change when we moved into that apartment, because it was just a completely different environment as a completely different part of town, not a great part of town, as I mentioned in my little write up to you. So that was a big pivot. And also like, through, you know, as I'm growing up through junior high, and then High School, you know, I was angry. And I kind of, you know, I, I shut my mom out quite a bit. I think probably I maybe I blamed her. At some point. I obviously don't blame her for anything now. So we're at the apartment, there's a knock on the door. It's Sorry, I'm going back in time. But we're in the apartment, there's a knock at the door. And it's my my father's brother and my father's cousin who looks a lot like him. So I run to him thinking it's, it's my dad. And it's not. And I remember a lot of joy, they're trying to be joyful. They're trying to, you know, Jackie, you know, Deanna and trying to make sure we're okay, and that it's not too traumatizing for us. So, you know, they come in and, you know, obviously, my mom, I think she was just kind of either outside to play or something, because I don't recall hearing their conversation. But ultimately, their conversation was about trying to get him out of that motel and into some kind of hospital to get him checked out. Because they didn't know what was going on. They knew that he didn't want to work, they knew that he was starting to lose touch with reality. And thinking that he was it was almost like delusions of grandeur. Like someone extra special put here to do. I don't even I don't even know, he, he goes they talk him into go into the Hospital in Boston, I'll get to that part. And they check him out. And he kind of passes all their tests, right, you know, more, more or less. Because he was a doctor, remember, he's really, really smart. So it's not like he's just you know, and oh, he's he's very, very well educated man. And I think it you know, it sounds like he outsmarted you know, the, the doctors and, you know, they kind of had this diagnosis, I think roughly at that time of of that they thought he was a paranoid schizophrenic. So, what there is a missing link here for me still in that they, you know, my my, my uncle and my dad's cousin leave the hospital and I don't think my mom went or any of that. I think it was just too much for her. So they leave him at the hospital and he walks out of the hospital and doesn't come home. So he's Mia. He's missing. He's gone. No one knows where he is. And that period of time last 11 years. Nobody knows where he is. My uncle has you know, people looking for him. He's paying people to you know, detect it you know, whatever you call it at the time investigate you know, detectives. Whatever trying to find him for 11 years. So my mom never changes her last name, but she eventually gets married. So now I'm you know, we're in like a mixed family, which was super hard. Whereas my dad, no one knows. So very. And being a teenager now that I was a lot, and I wasn't an easy kid for my mom, I think because of that. So right. And we're close. Now, let me make sure everybody hears that. We're really close now. Oh, good. Good. Good.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Yeah, let's take it back to the day that your dad leaves the hospital and doesn't come home. Do you remember? Do you remember that day at all? Do you remember anybody saying or family members? Anything saying like? When did you start to remember? Like, Where is dad? Like, is he coming home? And what was what was life? Like? If you can remember, maybe even for like, the first year where you? Did you just at every corner? Look for dad? Did you expect him to walk in the door?

Jackie:

Yeah, I expected him to walk through the door. You know, if anyone at the time had told me, it's going to be 11 years? Do you know what happened to your father, after he walked out of that hospital? I would have said, whatever, you know, because you always expect them to come back. Because, you know, your parents love you. You know, and you think, how could something like this happen? And so I remember trying to explain it to my friends, like because they're, you know, we're, you know, teenagers are, you know, tween and then teenagers, and they're like, you know, so where's your dad? And I remember not having a good answer to that, and just kind of changing the subject. And around the same time. I think I did a lot of deflecting, you know, a lot of change the subject a little more about because that was so heavy. I would I come at life and still, to this day, really light, you know, really, I was class clown of my high school, you know, we're always Goofy, always funny. And I think that's just how I dealt with that all of that unknown fuzziness. And I, you know, wish I could answer that question. Like, how did what was that first year exactly? Like, and, you know, I've lost a lot of time, I think because of the drama of it all, like in, you know, in in my head and stuff, so, it's super fuzzy. And, and, and that irks me, it drives me crazy, you know, to think, Oh, I can't, I can't put my finger on, on those specific things. But I can tell you how it's affected me. I can tell you how it's Yeah. How I think it's affected. every relationship I've ever had. Even just, you know, just girlfriends hanging out. I mean, I would. I loved all of their fathers, I just, you know, and if one of them was ever mad at their dad for something, I'd be like, Oh my god, you have one. Don't be mad. Don't be mad. You know, your dad's awesome. Your dad's awesome. And I know, my friends would be like, you know, he's, he's just dead. He's not awesome. He's just, you know, he's just there. And I'm like, No, you should, you should make sure that you have a relationship and you should make sure make sure make sure and almost to the point where it was a little bossy, you know? And I think it was, you know, because I was missing that. I missed that. And I think it's, you know, obviously affected relationships with boys growing up and man and yeah, now I find myself single at 50 and not knowing what that means. Is anyone ever going to be good enough for the right person? There's all of that that comes with this kind of dad not being there kind of kind of stuff. You know?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So your Do you remember? Okay, so you were How old were you when he was for sure. Gone? But you knew like he left for sure. Gone? Or not? For sure. Gone? But you're around? Yeah.

Jackie:

Eight in the apartment? Eight to 10? I'd say eight to 10. Yeah, around that age.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So what happened to your what kind of happened to your family? You know, year one, year two, year three. I want to ask how was your mom?

Jackie:

Can I can I ask that you can ask that? Yeah, she is one of those people that keeps just keeps things inside bottled up. She doesn't like any Kind of confrontation. She really does not like it when people are sad. She doesn't like movie dramas, even that, you know, like she, you know, it's sort of like, she always looks at the bright side, I was just looking upper left, I see the bright side of life with Jackie, like, oh, gosh, that's my mom. You know, she's, she's truly amazing. I mean, she is a she's got a huge heart, and super smart and is just, I don't know how she got through all of that. Right? You know, she has told me, you know, he was the love of her life and all of that stuff. And, you know, when I got married, the day I got married, she was a little bit of a mess. And gave me a she had split their wedding ring and two threes, one for each of us, me, my sister, my brother. So on the day we got married, we each would get a third of that wedding ring. So when she gave it to me, she was a mess. I think I you know, I was a mess too. But there was no, it was your dad would be very happy, you know, with you know, the person you've turned out to be? And that was it. Yeah. And I find like, even to this day, Melissa, it's like I I just want to ask her and I have tried, you know, to get her to open up and talk to me about it. And she she falls apart. And she's 70 she won't tell me anymore how old she is. She's 7576. And this happened. So I'm 50. Right? So it pisto pains her so much that she can't even she just can't talk about it. She just can't talk about it. And I think you know, maybe if she knew how badly you know, that would mean a lot to me and my sister and I'm sure my brother, you know, to hear more of those stories, but we're all sweet. It's like a little bit of taboo. taboo,

Melissa Bright:

right? Yeah, that. Yeah, that definitely makes sense. So which year? Do you know? I told you, I wasn't gonna ask you math problems. But I might ask you at least a year. But if you don't know those, either, that's okay. But you at least remember at what point that you know, did did the your uncle come back and say like, Oh, your dad was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia? At what point? Did you learn that? And did that help at least? Answer maybe at least one question you your mom your family might have had about your dad?

Jackie:

Yeah, I think it did. I you know, and yes, and it was my uncle. I mean, my my uncle, as much as he could always told us stories, but my uncle and my dad weren't that close. They were close, but because they were brothers, right? But very different. So there's only so much he could really, you know, tell me story wise, but he has been and still continues to be very, like, you know, open and direct with. This is what happened to him. This is what we know. And so without him, I don't know, if I would even know as much as I do today. So I'm so grateful. so thankful. And he did step in, he would take us to Disney World. He I mean, he would, you know, wherever he was living at the time, he was dean of several law, law universities. So when he was in Albany, New York, he would bring us to Albany, New York, give my mom a break and spend time with us. And he was really that father figure for a long time. And if you know, you're asking me for like a timeframe, I'd say now I'm like, broaching junior high, you know, around around that kind of tween age when, you know he would, wherever he lived Florida, New York, Oklahoma, he lived. Yeah, he would always make it for either holidays, or, you know, take us away for the summer. And he would, he would talk about him and he would, you know, try to do as best he could to kind of make it okay. All right, you know, for us to want to talk about it. I think he knew that my mom didn't want to talk about it. So he, I don't think ever really pushed her. Right. Yeah. So he was a huge part. I'm glad you brought him up because my god if we had finished this podcast, and I didn't bring up uncle Marty. I mean, he was like, and he knows this now, but and I tell his kids, I'm like you he It was, and it still is an amazing human being that he would just put drop everything what he was doing, and be there for us to kind of make up for it.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah.

Laura:

Yeah. That's, that's so good that he that he could do that. And you know, maybe he thought like that was kind of what he thought you guys were owed for, you know, your your dad leaving? Yeah. Can I ask you this? Do you? Do you ever wonder what your dad could? I mean, what we know? And I guess we haven't said this yet is we find out that your dad was homeless, right? for 11 years

Jackie:

homeless on the streets of Boston, Massachusetts. Amazing, right?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And do you ever wonder like what your dad was thinking why he would choose to walk out of that hospital that day to never to return home? And I also know you you mentioned whenever you emailed me your story, that this is the 70s and that there wasn't maybe as much known about paranoid schizophrenia and what that means. But do you ever wonder like what, why your dad would choose not to ever come home versus living on the streets for 11 years. Thank you to better help for sponsoring this podcast. I have been using better help for almost a year now. And the progress that I have made in my mental health has been incredible. I just want to tell you, my listeners a little bit about better help to see if it might be a great fit for you. Their mission is making professional counseling accessible, affordable and convenient. So anyone who struggles with life challenges can get help anywhere, anytime. They offer four ways to get counseling, from video sessions, phone calls to live chat and messaging. It's also available worldwide, you will be matched with your counselor and 24 hours or less better help offers a broad expertise in their network. So it provides users with access to specialists, they might not be able to find locally, financial aid is also available for those who qualify. So visit better help.com slash bright side of life, that's better help.com slash bright side of life, join over 500,000 people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. And for your first month you're going to receive 10% off by being a listener of the bright side of life. So let them know that I sent you by using the link better help.com forward slash bright side of life. That's better help.com forward slash b r i g h t side of life. The link will also be in the description section of this episode.

Jackie:

Yeah, well, I have my theories, but I you know, no one really knows. Right? It's it's an mental illness. It's a it was it was like he detached himself from his family, his life, his his career, his friends, everything. Because something else was pulling him in a completely different direction, where it was almost like he split off and was a different person. So and how anyone can can live on the street. I mean, Boston of all places too. So cold in the winter. No, and and also, you know, when when we found out that that's, you know where he had been? I was like, all this time he's been two and a half hours away. All this freakin time. You know, just wow. And Boston is a weird place for me to go. Right. I'm a Colorado now but I you know, obviously did a lot of my growing up in New Hampshire and and worked in Massachusetts for companies right outside of Boston. And whenever we would go into Boston, I I didn't have the greatest time. It was sort I was a little detached while I was there. Because I would be looking around and thinking, What was he thinking? What was he doing? How did he eat? Where did he go to the bathroom? Who did he talk to? I mean, all these things I can tell you like, how we even know that he was a street person is he eventually so after the 11 years is over he for what ever reason walks into I believe it was a church. I can't tell you the name of the church or anything but uncle Marty could tell you I bet. And I'm sure I haven't written down some notes. I do take notes when he tells me things right. So he walks into a church and more or less says I you know My name is Burton Lee Belsky I need help. And he is amazed ciated he has teeth missing. He is unkempt. He's, I'm sure not acting normal. And I remember sitting in the front room at our now combined family house, my mom is now remarried. And there's five of us kids. And I remember being in the front room, which kind of you know, doubled as our movie room and everything and sitting on the couch. And my mom just, she was just a complete disaster. And my stepdad, john Norton stole my stepdad awesome guy put up with a lot of shit. It still does. But he had to tell us, they found your dad. He's, he's, he's, he's still sick. We don't know a lot other than he's alive. And. And your mom is gonna need some time. You know, she's Yeah, I

Unknown:

mean, she was just visibly just so small, just so small. She was just

Jackie:

a mess. And I remember immediately, like bursting into tears and, and wanting to go see him. And I was when can we go see him when you know, can we talk to him? Or that and my stepdad was like you need to? Yeah, can you imagine? It's just sort of like, well, just tell me where he is, you know? Because Because now, I'm almost 18 Mm hmm. And I'm like, you can't tell me I can't go see him. You know, right. I've got questions. Right. So, so I just kind of, you know, bruise there for a while with, you know, my, my mom insisting that no, you're not going to go see him because she didn't know what that was going to entail. What that was going to sound like. But my uncle does. My uncle goes to see him. And I know my mom had set had had gathered some pictures of us. So luckily, he got to see my prom picture that I looked pretty decent in. Yeah. And so he brings the pictures. He says the kids are, you know, the kids are doing great. And and, you know, Carol, who's my mom has remarried and my mom had told him Do not tell him that I remarried Do not tell him just because what are your what are you supposed to tell him? Really, because maybe in his mind, it's been six months, right? for us. It's been almost 12 years, you know, 1112 years. So I remember her being upset at knowing that my uncle had told him that, but my uncle was just being very direct and straightforward and informative. And my dad did say this is per my uncle. That was another life. That was you know that that was another life. And not so much. And he I'm sure said more, but that's more prodding. I need to do you know, with with Uncle Marty, but tell me again, what specifically did he say? So? He knew we were okay. My mom I know was like mailing him cigarettes and clothes. And I guess he's staying at some shelter. But doesn't she doesn't talk about it, you know?

Melissa Bright:

And she didn't want to see him.

Jackie:

Maybe she did. Maybe she just couldn't. Maybe she couldn't. Maybe she was afraid of him saying who were you? Or you're not? You know, that's You're not? I don't know who part of my life. I don't know who you are. I mean, so probably a lot of fear. For all I know, they may have talked I don't think they did. But again, a lot of holes, a lot of holes. Right. Ori? I think that's one of the points is that? Gosh, the you know, just trying to get the pieces put together in a puzzle. Because it's my you know, my mom's not gonna be around forever. And it'll go with her. Right, you know?

Unknown:

Yeah.

Jackie:

So what's the balance of how much do I want to push her to explain and tell me, right, versus, you know, it's just hard. It's really hard.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And yeah. Coming from somebody that like, so I lost my mom at the age of 25. And we we were super close, you know, at 25 my best friend but then like, once I lost her and then like a year goes by two years goes by three years goes by and it's like, I have a shit ton of questions. I wish I could have asked Yeah, like, yeah, I 25 Yes, we're close but like, now that I I'm a grown woman, and I'm getting older. Like, there's so many more like women questions and just just like, dammit, I need these answers. And of course, you can get them. So, yeah, I know, I know. I can't

Jackie:

even imagine, for you, you know, like, having to get these answers from, from uncle Marty from, to just try to paint some kind of picture for you to make sense of, of it all is just your story just like, blows my mind. I tell you this all the time. So So what did your uncle Marty, like? Did he come back and report to you after that or not report but like, come back and say what's going on? How is he doing? Do you know if your dad was on medication at that time to to help? Or I don't know how it works with paranoid schizophrenia. But yeah, and I don't know exactly what they were giving him or why. But I think mostly to just kind of settle him down, you know, kind of stuff, because I think it's, there's a little bit of frenetic pneus to with at least his version of what he had, you know, with the whole paranoid schizophrenia thing. And I've, you know, I've read about it I've, and it's always the, it shows up, but it can be framed in different stories, if you know, like, like most illnesses, it could affect people in slightly different ways. And so there's no, like, this is exactly what he was thinking exactly what he did and exactly how he felt. And so there wasn't, there wasn't all of that, but yes, they were, they were treating him with some medications. And, you know, unfortunately, you know, before I could get to him, or at least form somewhat of a plan to get to him to see him because I would have, right, he passes away. So now I'm a senior in high school about to graduate. And now it's just he's gone. Gone. He's not just gone. Right? Gone. Yeah. So Oh, my gosh, just the emotions. And if you remember to, like, when you're a senior in high school, that's like, that's a happy time. It's a it's a fun time. It's, uh, oh my god, my future's right here. And I'm gonna get that independence finally. And there's all these hopes and dreams and there's your friends. And there's the, you know, I have my license, I'm going to call it all that stuff. just smacked upside the head with this. And maybe I should have talked about it more. I you know, I talked a little, a little bit with friends. And they, my closest friends kind of knew the story, but I mostly pushed it down. Way down. And maybe I learned that from my mom. I don't know. But yeah, right.

Melissa Bright:

Sounds like you just answered your own question.

Jackie:

Yeah, kinda. Yeah. Yeah. So I might be wired a little bit. No, like, or actually, I know that I am. So just something you got to deal with. But you know, it's, it's I don't even know how to end the story. Because it for me, it doesn't end it's always there. It's always right underneath the surface.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So yeah. I mean, that's kind of what I want to talk about. Now, in terms of after you lost your dad, and dealing with that. What were for you, we're going to talk about you specifically, in your relationships. What were some of the repercussions of losing your dad for 11 years, and then losing your dad indefinitely? How did this become to affect you in in your adult years, because now you're 50 years old, going forward? I know you spoke a little bit earlier, like this affected relationships with men and so on and so forth. So when did you start to maybe notice, man, I'm asking some really? No,

Jackie:

it's like free therapy. Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough. That's what I'm gonna start saying the bright side of life, the free therapy podcast, no. works. It works. It works.

Melissa Bright:

But when do you for when do you remember? Like, I'm just thinking of all the shit that I've been through in my life and I like have a relationship with my boyfriend and I'm like, Oh, that's I'm talking to him this way because of all the stuff that's happened in my past. So when do you really remember everything affecting you so much that Wow, my relationships are suffering because of this, my mental health, whatever so on, does that question Make sense? To you,

Jackie:

it does and what is gonna sound a little crazy in and of itself, I think is that not until very recently have I figured out? That's why I was angry? Because it would be and I think I told you a little bit, you know, we talked before it's like, not even specific anger triggers been. And maybe they maybe they were specific but I can't put my finger on any right now but in relationships with with, you know, with girlfriends and then with, you know, boyfriends, just this this anger would erupt. I think sometimes when it didn't make sense to the other person, you know, and I think some of it probably stemmed from feeling like not being a part of something or a decision was made without me. Or I can I can tell you, like even going back to junior high into high school, I had a best friend more or less elementary school into into junior high. And over the kind of over the junior high to high school summer, she came back. Like, in my, this is my view, a completely different person. Like all the sudden she had boobs and straight teeth and perfect hair and was wearing these clothes, like showing her midriff. And now this is the ad. So I mean, I guess that's starting to become cool. But you could argue that's more 90s but I don't know. Right? So, and she has this now she has this valley girl accent and she's completely different. And she has new friends. And I'm no part of it. And there was just this anger inside of me that you know, and now I look back and I'm like, it was abandonment. It was abandonment again, and I didn't know what it was at the time. I used to say, you know, and I still do say you know, I'm a Scorpio with a stinger and you don't want to get stung. Because once you're stung, I'm gone. Like I will not, you know all that kind of stuff with the Scorpio, but I made life living hell for this girl. I I it's so painful to think about that I was that person I was that person who would on purpose humiliate her and, and, and walking down the hallway in high school and just kind of bumper into the locker and I was that frickin person. But at the same time, class clown. Um, it's so right. I mean, so talk about, you know, being scared of maybe I have schizophrenia. I mean, because I'm the life of the party. I don't want to go to bed I want everybody stay up. I want people around me I want to be laughing I want to write and the humor in the dumbest of things and and then there's this other part of me where if and when I'm triggered, I'm I I lose all patience. I lose all understanding of the other person. And you see rage. I see red eye. I'm overly emotional. Oh, you get that a little bit too. Yeah. And yeah, and really, you know, and then fast forward to college. I had a college roommate who, you know, everything was fine, but she just she decided to that next semester to go live off campus with a different group of people not with me. I was not asked to go. I had to find a new roommate. And I I was awful to her. I was so awful to her because of that. There was a you know, from what I remember, there was never like a conversation like, why did this happen? Did I do something? Did I say something? It was? Oh no you frickin left me right you know so at the at the you know, the party at Kappa Delta, whatever. I'm, you know, I'm looking at her from across the room and I'm like in raged, when raged. I push her up against a wall, all that crap, all of that crap. Yeah. And at the time, no, I'm not thinking oh, this is because I have daddy issues. No, I'm not thinking that. I'm just mad. Yep.

Melissa Bright:

Yep. So no, continue. Well,

Jackie:

I don't want to

Melissa Bright:

know, but then we're done. And we're done.

Jackie:

No. So there are I've lost I've lost best friends. I've lost roommate college roommates. I've lost you know, and on the other side, you know, like boyfriends and stuff. There was just never a truly healthy relationship and you know, since the pandemic and I've spent a lot Time Alone, I'm trying to assess I'm trying to learn I'm like, take advantage of this time figure your shit out. And because we're, you know, we're all a work in progress, but just trying to figure it out because, oh, I don't want to be alone. I want to have I want to have, you know, really close friends, I want to, I want to love someone I want to partner, you know, in crime and, and, and to do great things for people and with people, you know. So I think, in this past year, I finally figured it out. That you know, and not that I can cure it, but at least I know, oh, and maybe I can stop myself from feeling that way. I mean, I I don't push people around, and you know, the streets, you know, Colorado, and I'm not like a violent person, right. But there were bouts of it in my teenage years and into, you know, 20s and stuff. And, you know, sure I've gotten in arguments and things like that, but knowing that it's probably abandonment, it's probably like, do you really know also, what love is from a guy? kind of thing, too? Yep. And I've kind of moved to like the guy relationships with, if he liked me and loved me, then oh, then I must like and love him. And anyone could tell you, that's not always the case. Right? So I do need to say, though, because I know this is recorded. I mean, like, so I married, you know, a wonderful, wonderful man, who were still very friendly. He's an amazing father. But he rather play video games and kind of be with me. And there's that abandonment theme again, you know, and not, you know, we didn't have a nasty divorce or anything. We co parent like, champs, I really think we're the model for it, actually. Yeah, we never like really fought or, you know, none of that. He never really got the rage out of me, which was actually good. We were never really like, nasty to each other. It was just, I needed. I needed more from him. And over time you grow apart and you have a kid and then everything's different. And then. So it wasn't a horrible relationship. It was just the question of love again, like, right, he, you know, looking back, yeah, I mean, I think I loved him. And I, you know, we were like best friends. It was almost like, we probably should have just been friends. You know, right. But I'm glad we didn't because we have, you know, an awesome daughter.

Melissa Bright:

So, yeah. So how would you say, could you could you said, you know, during the pandemic, I've been doing assessing, and I've been doing this? So? Yeah, question becomes what what kind of things are you? Are you doing? Do you first my first question is, are you seeing a therapist? at all? Or have you ever been to therapy?

Jackie:

You are now my therapist? No, I, um, I, I tried therapy back when I was in high school, and I was so emotional in tears and anger that I couldn't even like really speak. It didn't it just didn't work for me. Yeah. So I haven't had any like formal, you know, the therapy, which is, you know, it's absolutely something it's one of those things that's on my list. Yes, a Jew. Yep. But I think I can get more out of therapy now that I kind of have some awareness. A little more self awareness. Absolutely.

Melissa Bright:

100% cuz that's how I was so like, really, it how you're talking. And I learned a lot of this stuff in my relationship now with my boyfriend because we, I've had way so much stuff that I didn't know about myself until these last like two or three years abandonment issues. perfectionism, people, pleaser, all all these things that I didn't realize. And so our relationship has been Rocky. And then finally, when he started seeing a pattern in me, he would call me out on my shit. For a long time, I would deny it. And then finally, I would admit it because admitting it would get a so much further. And then I was like, Oh, he, he kind of, um, there's something to this. He's not doing this to hurt me. He's not doing this. He doesn't say, You're crazy. You're a bitch. He's never called me a cuss word in his life. But it there was something to it and I started listening to him. So becoming like, self aware, hearing my boyfriend saying these reoccurring things like Melissa, you have a little bit of anger, like why are you angry? I didn't do it. The rest of the world did it. So being self aware is literally I feel like the First step, because you can finally admit, oh, I do have some anger issues, or I have whatever, fill in the blank issues. So I think that's great. So I didn't get I didn't let you answer this part. So how did you start assessing all of this stuff? And coming to these conclusions?

Jackie:

Yeah, just totally just started happening with the, you know, we all live a lot inside our own heads, right? Yep. And what the pandemic, as frickin awful as it's been for everyone, you know, I'm not gonna claim that that's, you know, right. So bad for me, it was bad for everybody. What it did do for me, though, is I had to sit in it, I had to feel it, whatever it was. And so I just would, I started to, like, stop myself and hear my own self talk. And say, Well, hold on, what do you say? Why are you saying that? And it just kind of I, you know, I started almost having more of a, it's gonna sound weird, more of like, a conversation with myself, instead of being like, you know, well, you're not good enough. And well, he wouldn't stay anyway. And she doesn't understand you. And I just stopped those things. I said, Well, wait, why? Why? Why do you feel abandoned in that situation? You're Why do you think you're not accepted? You know, over here with, you know, that problem or whatever? It was just, you know, I don't have a three point checklist. I don't have a job aid for all of you. But what, it's just that I just sat in it. I just, I listened more to what I was telling myself, I think, and I certainly don't have all the answers, but I have some clues now. You know, I, I have made I have drawn the dotted the lines to I think it does have a lot to do with my dad. I do. And I know, my mom is trying, you know, tries to shield us from, you know, all of our moms trying to shield us from that, and the people that love you try to you know, make it okay, but imagine the people that don't know. Yep, those issues, they, you know, I'm sure there are people that are like, wow, the temper on that one? And it's like, Yeah, but for a reason, you know, so, you know, I know, I haven't been to formal therapy, but I've, I've just had a lot of time to think through my feelings and just recognize more about where it's coming from. Yeah. And it doesn't mean that once I do that, I'm a Okay, everything's great. It's more like, Okay, I know what that is. Now, I got to figure out what to do with it, then. You know, I know it's not healthy to keep it in, you got to get it out. So what's the outlet? Right. So, you know, I started writing again, and it's random writing, it's not, you know, I'm kind of an autobiography or anything like that. I'm not trying to sell you a book. I just write stuff down now. Yeah. You know, whether it's a memory or a thought, or a, you know, what I think about something or if I have a, you know, oh, I really want to do this, I write it down. So it's more like, trying to get it out. You're trying to get it out and have it be more productive than hold me back.

Melissa Bright:

Right. And I love everything that you have just said, because you do I do? Because it sounds so similar to like kind of the what I did you know, there's there's no way and look, you don't have a checklist for me. You can't say, well, let's on Tuesday, you're going to do this and you're going to be here and you're going to think about this. You You said some of the things I remember you said you set you first you sat with it. Like you had to sit with whatever is

Jackie:

comfortable. It's so uncomfortable, but you have to feel it. Yep, yep. And let it come over you and don't stop yourself from crying

Melissa Bright:

cry. Exactly. Because that's where so much of the like, the grief and the trauma like comes from if you don't sit with it, well, I'm just gonna push it down and I'm, I'm not gonna deal with it. Well, okay, just to let you know, that's gonna turn into anger, it's going to turn into rage, it's going to turn into all these other things. And then when you go and freak out on somebody, they're gonna wonder why the hell that happened. And you're not going to know why. Or you're going to know why. And you're gonna be like, yeah, so yeah, I think you're, you're headed down the right path. You know, like you said in it. Hey, I know you said I'm just just now at 50 learning this I feel like even at 35 I'm like, how is it just now like, 10 years later, I I'm finally dealing with my mom's death. How was it just now finding out that I have anger issues, abandonment issues, and all this other? The list goes on. But hey, better late than never right?

Jackie:

Absolutely no, I'm I mean, as painful as it is, I'm thankful for it. Because now I could at least explain to myself why those things happened. Because, you know, I would like, hate myself after that. I mean, if you were to ask me, like, how many guys have you like, broken up with and then regretted it? Like, I've lost count? Yeah, so that's not good. It's not good. You know, it's just not good. So it's figuring out those things and how to how to process them what to do about it. And, you know, and being okay, with just the recognition of it, it doesn't, you know, I don't have to have all the answers. I just, I just want to live the best life I can with the rest of the time that I have. So why not recognize it, own it? And then just do your best to get past it? And am I it doesn't mean I'm never gonna get angry at anybody ever again, or I'm never gonna feel anxiety. In a social situation. No, those things are still going to happen. But at least I'll be able to recognize it and stop myself maybe from feeling as bad as I would have before. Or maybe I won't hurt somebody or those types of things. So it's a it's a work in progress, man.

Melissa Bright:

It is such a work in progress, for sure. Well, I just have a couple more questions for you. But the first question I wanted to ask you is, how? How would you? Or how do you like to remember your dad?

Jackie:

Oh, and you see, I'm smiling already? Well, and some of the some of the stories that I hear too in the pictures that I have is that so handsome and so happy and an overachiever? It's just so smart. And he's one of in my mind one of those guys, you know, the, you know, the bear guys that you just want to hug? Yeah, I think he's one of those guys. I think he's one of those guys that people were attracted to in that way. And I know he was full of love. And just, I don't know, I wish I knew more. But I do have a very positive, you know, kind of outlook on him. And I did go see a psychic once. And I think I and I think he was there. Is that weird to say?

Melissa Bright:

No, I've heard that before.

Jackie:

Have you work?

Melissa Bright:

Yes. Yeah. Before?

Jackie:

Okay. Yeah, I was on my journey trying to get answers and went to this woman is back in Massachusetts, and I, you know, I'm, I'm skeptical. I walk in, I'm like, Okay, I'm here with a couple of girlfriends, you know, that she's, we're gonna get read, you know, this. And so I don't tell this woman shit. Cuz I'm like, I'm not telling her. And it's not like, she could be one of these. You know, people who looks at you on Facebook, like, I'm not posting about my dad on Facebook. Like, I'm not doing a tick tock dance About My Mom, you know, so how, so? How would she ever, you know, really know. And she, she, she was like, a, you know, I think your dad's here. And I was like, what, and I just lost it. And, you know, without giving all the details, it was just this. It ended up being a really good thing. But she was like, you know, he he's doing this, like he would you know, something was wrong with his head or he was confused or something. And I was like, Okay, yeah, that makes sense. And she did leave me with this. And I was so thankful for it. And my friends, I'm like, take notes, take notes. I'm not gonna remember this. And they took notes for me. And she said, He's really sorry that he had to go, but he had to go. If he would have stayed. Something bad could have happened. Worse than what Yeah. And I was like, Oh, okay. And of course, I'm a disaster. I'm, you know, and at one point, this totally freaked me out and you don't even have to believe me. I don't even care. Are you people listening. She's like, He's right behind you. And I felt a hand on my shoulder and I jumped out of my chair. I screamed, I was freaked out. Crying, but also happy. It was a weird combination of emotions just crashing in. Yeah. And I left with notes from my friends and I read them and it was Just uh it was a really cool experience. And I would totally do it again. And I don't know, even if it wasn't real or, or whatever. I don't know how she could have gotten those things. Right. Right.

Melissa Bright:

Exactly. I know there was more.

Jackie:

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, I've never been to one. But I would love to. And I would be the same way as you. I'd be the same way. I'm like, Yeah, don't tell him anything. Don't do anything. Come with a different name. So they can't look you up on Facebook.

Jackie:

Yeah, right. Well, cuz I mean, I think some of you know, some of them do, but I will tell you this too. Like, I think what what also really got me Are those couple of things. And then she also said, close your eyes. Picture your dad. You know, what do you see? And, and but just tell yourself, you know, what do you see? And I'm thinking to myself, it's this particular picture, it's in black and white. He's in his white medical kind of, you know, they were these white, weird shirts with the buttons across. And so I'm thinking about all that. And she goes, He's very handsome. He's in a white top. And she started describing the picture that I'm telling myself, I'm seeing, and I was like, What? So Melissa, just go just, if anything else, it could be entertainment, but I do think, you know, I do think there was something there and it did. It helped me whatever it was exactly me

Melissa Bright:

it. That's what I was gonna say, if that helps you if it helps you get answers closure, whatever. Who cares?

Jackie:

Even a little bit of joy? Yeah, like I was upset and all that. But man, it felt good to get that out. Yeah, really good to get that out.

Melissa Bright:

I bet. So okay, so I have one last question for you. But before I ask that, is there anything else that you would like to to add to this story? Or to share about your dad or your family or you or anything? Before I asked you your last question.

Jackie:

We have another hour, right? Just kidding. What else could I share? I mean, I know in hindsight, or you know, after I listen to this, I'm going to think I should have said more about my sister, I should have said more about my brother, I should have given a go Marty a little more credit. My stepdad, there's a whole thing there about my stepdad. And what a wonderful guy who put up with a lot of stuff. And he's still around, and he's you know, so um, I guess, you know, I don't have any more stories there. I just if if any of them do end up listening, just know that I love you. That's all you need to know, I just, you know, I just let her

Melissa Bright:

go. And if we have listeners, if they start, you know, writing in with all these questions, then hey, there's a part two, and then Jackie will come back on and answer

Jackie:

all those questions. Oh, gosh, it's like Jackie's diary. I mean, this this is been like, this has been kind of therapy for me, like my, and I told you, like, my friends know, bits and pieces, but they've never heard an hour long of me, you know, right. I like these little snippets, and, and especially the anger stuff, or whatever, I know, there's people out there walking through life, like I've totally, my I'm not even in their mind. And like, if any of them listen to this, maybe just maybe they can accept my apology. And know that not an excuse. Just a recognition of it was it was absolutely more me than you. Yeah. You know, so take that, you know, with however you want to take it and maybe have peace with it, but

Melissa Bright:

right. And I didn't go ahead. Yeah. Well, I was just gonna say I think it's really obvious when let's just say the word quote unquote, bullies. Like when they do hurt people, it's because they are hurt. And I just hope that those people know that what you did, like you said, it's not excusable. But now you know, that it came from anger. And hopefully, like you said, Now, if they would hear this, they know that it probably didn't have anything to do with them, even though that situation set you off. It all stemmed from from other things that had nothing to do with them.

Jackie:

Yeah, and I mean, I I have for a lot of them, I can think of I did apologize after a long amount of time, you know, the college roommate, like we reconnected on Facebook many years later, and she was like, you know, I have hearing issues in my right ear because of you. Oh, my gosh, and I I mean, oh my god, just oh my god, I can't believe I cause somebody that kind of pain and apologized, of course, profusely, but how much can you do over Facebook? So it was just kind of like wow, Yeah, that's not good. That's that's not good. But the apologies there, the love is there, you know, please take it and do with it. What what you need to do with it, you know?

Melissa Bright:

And you forgive yourself to like,

Jackie:

yeah, yeah, I mean, sort of. I think that's part of the work.

Melissa Bright:

Exactly, exactly. I heard of that. Yep. Well, all right. Jackie, I just have one last question for you. And the question is, what does the bright side of life mean to you?

Jackie:

Oh, wow. Wow, we I think it's, you got to look at things that way sometimes. And I think I, I've taken that phrase, probably, you know, to heart more times than than I can name in that. I think I told you to, like, a lot of people don't know any of this anger stuff with me don't know, any of the anxiety stuff don't or any of the dad stuff. They see the and I've been told, you know, you're so light, you're airy. You're You're funny your your energy and the energy you bring in, you know, I'm, I'm a facilitator at work, like I get in front of people, I help people I support people. I'm that coach, I'm that advocate. I'm that. And so that's the brighter, so I think we all have a brighter side of who we are. And, you know, you can quote me on this if you want, but it's I do think that everybody has a shithead version of themselves. And some of our shithead versions are worse than others. And there's reasons behind that. Yep. But how can you How can you take that experience and understanding and the self awareness we talked about, and be more on the brighter side, and that's where we should live most of our life, we got to feel pain in order to feel joy, and all that kind of stuff. But Gosh, I hope there's more joy for us than there is the other side. Right? So yeah, I think it's just trying to trying to stay on that track of you know, do you think about it, it person in my situation could have gone down the addicted to drugs, you know, all kinds of crazy stuff. But for whatever reason, I was channeled into this class clown character that was able to survive and thrive. And I'm, I'm successful in my career. I have wonderful friends. I've got an amazing daughter, you know, so I think it's, I think there's just there's choices. There's choices to be made. So hopefully, we make better, more good choices and bad. And look at the bright side of a book. It seemed pretty dark. But there's got to be a glimmer in there somewhere. So it's latching on to that figuring out what it is and following it through. Like it's Tinkerbell, you know, I

Melissa Bright:

love it. Yes. I love it. Well, Jackie, thank you so so so, so much for coming on here to share your story. I greatly appreciate it. And yeah,

Jackie:

thank you for having me. This was therapy, like I told you. So I feel like I owe you money. Do I owe you money now?

Melissa Bright:

No, you don't. You are not the first person that said that this was therapeutic I it is so great. I swear everybody says it because it might be their first time talking about it publicly. Or they just need to talk it out just just using the words and saying it sometimes is you're like, Whoa, I was here and now I'm here. And that felt really good. It kind of hurt a little bit. But now it feels good. And so I love that you said that because that's kind of, you know, with the with the heavier stuff that I have on my podcast. I am very happy for people to say it's therapeutic to talk about it because that's amazing.

Jackie:

You're doing something you're you know, you're you're that's the value in what you're doing is giving people a platform to share and to maybe feel you know, just just feel better about things. And yeah, I'm a fan. And you know, I've been stalking you on clubhouse. So I'm there all the time, keeping me in rooms, and I'll chime in as I can. But thank thank you for having me. This was this was something so thank you. Y

Melissa Bright:

ou are welcome. Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the bright side of life. When Jackie told me about her story. I was blown away. I was blown away because we have to remember that people we have seen on the street have a story and so does their family. We pass by them every single day not knowing what they have been through what they're occurring currently going through or any of that and a lot of times these people are suffering from mental illness as well. And here is Jackie telling me her story of her dad, who is one of these people. And she told us how much this has affected her and her relationships with people at 50. She is realizing that some of her past behaviors are from this traumatic experience surrounding her father. But I am proud of Jackie because I feel that such a huge step for healing and growing and also forgiving herself. Sometimes a hurt that we have caused. We don't even realize it's from pain that we were experiencing. But we didn't realize it at the time. It all it all comes in time the healing does. And we learn from it and we grow from it and I know Jackie is doing just that. So on that note, if you know anyone that may need to hear Jackie's story, please share it with them because we never know if this is the one that puts hope back in their heart.