Dancing on His Grave
Mom and Dad
Completing the trilogy begun with Dancing on His Grave, a story rich in American history, Canadian constables, bungling bandits, ruthless women, horses, wagons and locomotives, spiced with adultery and incest.
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The continuing story of five sisters and their mother, first enduring and then escaping their father’s psychopathic abuse, only to find themselves cast into the world drastically ill-equipped to cope with the demands of adulthood, marriage and motherhood.
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE STORY
In my years of research, I’ve come to believe that my father was not mentally ill, in the moral or legal sense. I’m convinced that he was a narcissistic sociopath, a personality disorder that is untreatable, but is not considered mental illness. He knew right from wrong, but believed that the world revolved around him, and therefore the rules of decency that other people live by did not apply. In other words, in my estimation, he was born without a conscience. Studies have indicated that as many as one person in twenty five - four percent - of the population fit into this category. That means that when you sit in a room with one hundred people, as many as four may have no conscience, and therefore, no constraints on how they treat other people. Their only objective is to get what they want - to serve their own needs. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a scary thought!
These abusers are so alike that they perform as if they have access to a manual or textbook on abuse. They isolate, indoctrinate, and manipulate their victims, and administer abuse with impunity. And most often, (with the exception of the occasional serial killer) they are not caught or held accountable.
There was never any alcohol or drugs involved in my father’s behavior. I never saw him take a drink until after I was grown, and aside from his copious non-prescription pill-popping for real or imagined headaches and other ailments, no mood altering drugs. All his abuse was administered cold sober.
The isolation and the deprivation we experienced are important factors in this story. Unlike most of our contemporaries, we never had a flush toilet or bathtub, a furnace or heated bedrooms, in eastern Montana where winter temperatures frequently dipped to twenty degrees below zero or lower. We had a well for only four years, and for at least six of the first twenty years of this story, we did not even an outdoor toilet - just a shovel and a lot of cleanup in the spring. These were lifestyle choices made by my dad, and were part of the set of tools he used in his indoctrination and manipulation, to keep us from resisting his control.
I invite you to walk with me, through these three books, holding hands with five little girls and a battered, delusional woman, whose every day experience is terror and minute to minute survival.
“A page turner, a difficult and important story of survival in nearly unbelievable circumstances. The father emerges as the most heinous character in the history of western literature. I found [one scene] the most disturbing primary account I’ve ever read.”
Judy Blunt, author of “Breaking Clean.”
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