In life there are struggles and many ups and downs. My life has seemed to have more downs than ups but I still survived them. I will continue to survive life’s twists and turns as I venture through my life paths. I am not perfect and I make way more mistakes than I would like to admit. However, where I am currently in my life is far better than where I was just 5 years ago. I finally nerved up and moved from Virginia where I never believed I could because I wanted to be there when my kids come find me when they each turn of age when they are allowed to. I could not move out of emotional entrapment done to myself by my own mind. I finally worked through that and moved here to Upstate South Carolina about 8 months ago. I am not happy where I currently am though. I don’t know anyone here really and I have no friends. The so called family that is here has only made it harder for e to be happy here and want to stay. I thought moving here could help my mother realize I am her daughter, her oldest child, and I deserve better than the life she provided for me. Unfortunately because of my traumatic childhood in which she was part of creating I have PTSD and it has caused me more anxiety being around her and the narcisstic behaviors and things she says. Her own victimization when I try to address something creates animosity within the relationship and causes a complete attitude from her of shutting me out of her life like she did most my growing up. She never really had to take care of me when I was young. I was raised by a system from a very young age, though not young enough not to suffer from the effects of abuse. So when something happens I try to talk to her by text about it only for her to deny and invalidate my experience and then attack me. I get defensive and bring out the things she has done to harm me in my life and she feels she owes no apology, she was a young mother is her excuse, and she’s moved on and so she says I need to move on and forget all that. I cannot just forget. Much of my life is a mystery and blank to me because of the trauma I have just forgotten. But when triggered I experience emotional triggers and flashbacks more than actual flashbacks and triggers of the actual physical and sexual abuse. Anyway I was doing emotionally well and protected myself by not being around her and limiting my contact with siblings and other family that increased my triggered emotions until I moved here. Now I am stuck here for the remainder of the year until my lease ends and I can move elsewhere. I however never wanted to move back to Massachusetts because I felt that was moving backwards in life. now I want to go back to Virginia because the last 8 months I lived there I met some awesome people and created great support system and friendships I dont want to lose. I also really wanted to move to the beach which in Virginia is 3 hours or more away from my friends and I still would be lost there like I have been here in SC without friendship and supports. In Massachusetts I have friends too friends I have had for years even though I left there 11 years ago, I was raised there and know lots of people and could have support there too. There I would be closer to the beach or even could look for a place at the beach. I could also just start over in a completely whole new state on a beach and hope to get a group of awesome friends like I have in Virginia that are accepting, friendly, care, loving, and very supportive. Though I have a lot of good about moving back to the area I moved friend in Virginia there is some bad. it puts me back in an area that’s close to siblings that are just like their mother and have many traits of their father manipulation, lies, no values, selfish, and narcissism. I would however be close to where I was when I lost my kids and would be near for them to find me. But with the internet nowadays they should be able to find me easily since I keep an online presence everywhere I go. Also I like gardening and want to go somewhere and be able to garden still. I have thought about staying in SC and just moving to the beach which is atleast 3-4 miles away currently from where I am and that will give me the independence and space away from those that live here I want away from. I have never been out west like the western shore board near the beaches there or down south like Florida beaches either. Those could be options I look into to. But right now I am very unsure and confused on what to do and where to go from here. Anyone have any suggestions or further information that could help in y decision I welcome your voices.
Remember: A Poem on Recovering Innocence After Abuse
COMMITMENTS : Cutting the Cord : Saying goodbye to your therapist can elicit bad feelings–unless it’s handled right. Then the parting can be a chance for growth.
That period of wrapping up therapy and saying goodbye is known as “termination,” a word that evokes images of being fired from a job or being stalked by Arnold Schwarzenegger. But mental-health experts consider termination a crucial stage in therapy.
If handled properly, it provides an opportunity to re-examine the issues that led the client to seek help in the first place, to evaluate the therapy itself and to deal with feelings that might bubble up in the face of bidding farewell.
A so-called natural termination, in which the two of you agree to end treatment because your goals have been met, is difficult enough. Who, after all, likes to say goodbye, especially to someone who has helped you so profoundly and so intimately? But a premature termination, where a dissatisfied client leaves without much notice or a therapist departs before the patient is ready, can be downright traumatic.
“It’s always best if people can have time to pay attention to the process of saying goodbye,” says Carl Shubs, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills. “If people leave too abruptly, it interferes with the process–they’re not able to deal with the sadness or anger, the mourning that occurs.”
Adds Sylvia Martin, a licensed marriage, family and child therapist in private practice in Sherman Oaks: “Termination is a time when people start to deal with all their losses. It can trigger feelings about old issues, or issues about the relationship between the therapist and client.
“If there is an old loss they have not grieved, they will tap in and experience the same feelings,” she says. “Maybe they had a feeling of abandonment when they were young and did not understand it. Or maybe they have not had the luxury before now of dealing with a loss–for example, going through a divorce with two kids.”
If it is the patient who says so long, a good therapist will try to determine if he or she wants out because the topics being discussed are becoming too painful. In those cases, the therapist will encourage the patient to remain, so as to work through the discomfort and resolve those issues.
Many times, though, the client is willing to slog through the hard stuff, but feels this particular therapist is less than able. Such was the case last year for Laura, 41, who works in the travel industry in Orange County and sought counseling for marital problems.
“I was therapy illiterate,” she recalls. “I had no basis for comparison. But I never felt I was getting help. I would drive home and think, ‘Why did I just go there?’ I didn’t expect a magic cure, but I was just begging my therapist, ‘Give me some tools to help me.’
“All she said was, I had to divorce my husband, which I wasn’t ready to do. I felt her attitude was, ‘You won’t take my advice, so I don’t know what to tell you.’ ”
Laura–who is still married and on better terms with her husband–found another therapist to her liking. But she stuck with her first counselor longer than she preferred to because, she says, “The last thing I wanted was to look for someone new to spill my guts to, to start over again.”
Indeed, for some people, leaving the current therapist is the easy part; it’s finding a new one that poses problems. Says Studio City writer Catherine Johnson, author of the book “When to Say Goodbye to Your Therapist” (Simon and Schuster, 1988), “Finding a new therapist is not like finding a new dentist. It’s extremely difficult to find a match.
“It’s a bit like finding a lover, or best friend, or a parent. You don’t just go out and find a new best friend. You have to find a real emotional fit, on top of basic competence.”
Lisa Moore, 34, a West Los Angeles advertising account executive, discovered that last year when she left the marriage and family counselor she had been seeing for 15 months because she thought the therapist had crossed the professional line and was becoming too friendly. After six weeks with a new therapist recommended by her physician, she decided to return to her former counselor.
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When is it time to say
goodbye to a therapist?
Maybe you don’t like your therapist. Maybe you do, but you’ve resolved the
issues that drove you to seek counseling in the first place. Or maybe those
issues remain unresolved, with few signs of progress. Maybe your sessions feel
as if they’ve morphed into very expensive chats with a friend.
For myriad reasons, people come to a point when they wonder if they should
break up with their therapist. And “break up” is the right term for it, because
quitting therapy can spur emotions as painful and complicated as ending a
How do you know if you’re ready to stop therapy? And how should you go about
it? First, any therapy that is abusive or destructive should be stopped
immediately, said Dr. Kenneth Settel, clinical instructor in psychiatry at
Harvard Medical School. Examples of abusive therapists are those who are
disrespectful or insensitive to certain issues; those who violate boundaries;
those who reveal too much about their own problems; and those who insist on
focusing on areas the patient didn’t come in for.
But assuming you’re not dealing with that, patients should approach ending
therapy as a chance to grow, Settel said. Rather than cut and run or avoid the
topic altogether — tempting routes for the confrontation-avoidant — it’s
important that patients, well, talk to their therapist about it.
In therapy, the relationship between the patient and the therapist is a
vehicle for understanding the patient’s issues, Settel said. So the way you end
therapy can be a way of examining how you say goodbye to people, and the
feelings involved in leaving and loss.
Ask yourself why you want to move on. When did you start feeling that the
therapy was no longer helpful or productive? What happened that made it
different? Was there a change in you, in the topics being discussed, in the
therapist? Confronting that tension can be a turning point because it forces you
to work through obstacles, Settel said.
“Ending therapy can be very therapeutic,” Settel said.
Though the patient-therapist relationship can have a weird power dynamic —
you’re paying, but the therapist is the expert and knows your every demon —
patients should feel they have control of the process, said Lynn Bufka, a
psychologist and head of the department of practice, research and policy at the
American Psychological Association. Patients should feel empowered to ask
questions, steer the sessions to focus on particular issues and let the
therapist know what’s not working.
The tricky part is making sure you’re not leaving therapy just because it’s
unpleasant or difficult, which oftentimes it has to be, Bufka said. More than
make you feel better, therapy is supposed to help you understand yourself
On the flip side, therapy shouldn’t be some indefinite appointment you keep
as part of your routine. There should be regular discussions about what you’re
trying to accomplish and whether you’re meeting those goals.
“I hope that I’m going to work myself out of a job,” Bufka said.
There is such a thing as staying in therapy for too long. One warning sign is
if a patient has to run all decisions by his or her therapist, which can signal
dependency, Bufka said. Another concern is if the therapist relationship is
taking the place of building other relationships.
Another downside of staying in therapy for too long is that you don’t have
the opportunity to practice the skills you’re developing independently, Settel
said. If the therapy was aiming to help you build internal skills of
self-observation, stopping therapy can encourage growth because it forces you to
internalize the process.
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How to Figure Out When Therapy Is Over
If you think it’s hard to end a relationship with a lover or spouse, try breaking up with your psychotherapist.
A writer friend of mine recently tried and found it surprisingly difficult. Several months after landing a book contract, she realized she was in trouble.
“I was completely paralyzed and couldn’t write,” she said, as I recall. “I had to do something right away, so I decided to get myself into psychotherapy.”
What began with a simple case of writer’s block turned into seven years of intensive therapy.
Over all, she found the therapy very helpful. She finished a second novel and felt that her relationship with her husband was stronger. When she broached the topic of ending treatment, her therapist strongly resisted, which upset the patient. “Why do I need therapy,” she wanted to know, “if I’m feeling good?”
Millions of Americans are in psychotherapy, and my friend’s experience brings up two related, perplexing questions. How do you know when you are healthy enough to say goodbye to your therapist? And how should a therapist handle it?
With rare exceptions, the ultimate aim of all good psychotherapists is, well, to make themselves obsolete. After all, whatever drove you to therapy in the first place — depression, anxiety, relationship problems, you name it — the common goal of treatment is to feel and function better independent of your therapist.
To put it bluntly, good therapy is supposed to come to an end.
But when? And how is the patient to know? Is the criterion for termination “cure” or is it just feeling well enough to be able to call it a day and live with the inevitable limitations and problems we all have?
The term “cure,” I think, is illusory — even undesirable — because there will always be problems to repair. Having no problems is an unrealistic goal. It’s more important for patients to be able to deal with their problems and to handle adversity when it inevitably arises.
Still, even when patients feel that they have accomplished something important in therapy and feel “good enough,” it is not always easy to say goodbye to a therapist.
Not long ago, I evaluated a successful lawyer who had been in psychotherapy for nine years. He had entered therapy, he told me, because he lacked a sense of direction and had no intimate relationships. But for six or seven years, he had felt that he and his therapist were just wasting their time. Therapy had become a routine, like going to the gym.
“It’s not that anything bad has happened,” he said. “It’s that nothing is happening.”
This was no longer psychotherapy, but an expensive form of chatting. So why did he stay with it? In part, I think, because therapy is essentially an unequal relationship. Patients tend to be dependent on their therapists. Even if the therapy is problematic or unsatisfying, that might be preferable to giving it up altogether or starting all over again with an unknown therapist.
Beyond that, patients often become stuck in therapy for the very reason that they started it. For example, a dependent patient cannot leave his therapist; a masochistic patient suffers silently in treatment with a withholding therapist; a narcissistic patient eager to be liked fears challenging his therapist, and so on.
Of course, you may ask why therapists in such cases do not call a timeout and question whether the treatment is stalled or isn’t working. I can think of several reasons.
To start with, therapists are generally an enthusiastic bunch who can always identify new issues for you to work on. Then, of course, there is an unspoken motive: therapists have an inherent financial interest in keeping their patients in treatment.
And therapists have unmet emotional needs just like everyone else, which certain patients satisfy. Therapists may find some patients so interesting, exciting or fun that they have a hard time letting go of them.
So the best way to answer the question, “Am I done with therapy?” is to confront it head on. Periodically take stock of your progress and ask your therapist for direct feedback.
How close are you to reaching your goals? How much better do you feel? Are your relationships and work more satisfying? You can even ask close friends or your partner whether they see any change.
If you think you are better and are contemplating ending treatment but the therapist disagrees, it is time for an independent consultation. Indeed, after a consultation, my writer friend terminated her therapy and has no regrets about it.
The lawyer finally mustered the courage to tell his therapist that although he enjoyed talking with her, he really felt that the time had come to stop. To his surprise, she agreed.
If, unlike those two, you still cannot decide to stay or leave, consider an experiment. Take a break from therapy for a few months and see what life is like without it.
That way, you’ll have a chance to gauge the effects of therapy without actually being in it (and paying for it). Remember, you can always go back.
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Why Mental Health Professionals Don’t Help
Are you unsatisfied with mental health care? Do you get the feeling that professionals just don’t care about you and would rather you just went away and left them alone? Do you get disappointed or angry when clinicians ignore your tears or tantrums. Have you ever wondered why?
Mental health professionals deal with all sorts of psychological, emotional and behavioral problems every day. They’re trained to assess and react appropriately to many different situations and are often confronted by violence, manipulation, ridicule and sometimes even honest distress. They’re also human.
Not all psychiatric patients have an illness. Many are just trying to manipulate the system. They may want to escape a court judgment or perhaps they’re keen to get more benefits from the state. Sometimes they want to manipulate a family member and are pretending to be depressed to get their own way. There are lots of reasons why some people will get themselves into the mental health system. Mental health professionals are interested in treating illness. They’re not generally too interested in spending a lot of time and energy ‘treating’ someone who’s healthy but trying to use the system for their own ends.
Some patients are genuinely ill but use their illness as an excuse for unacceptable behavior. Just because you’re anxious doesn’t give you the right to hurt others. If you have a drug habit or alcohol problem staff can help you with that but don’t expect to intimidate them as well. Caring does not mean being fooled by a manipulative threat to injure self or others and mental disorder will not always protect a person from the consequences of their actions. After all, ill or not most people still have choices and can choose to abide by the law just as easily as they can choose to break it.
Very often staff will ignore a client’s threats simply because they believe them to be a manipulative technique. Common examples include:
Threats of suicide if staff don’t dispense or prescribe inappropriate medication;
Threats of violence, including veiled threats such as ‘I don’t think I can control myself much longer’ (a common one from people awaiting trial for violent assault as they think a diagnosis of anger problems will mean a reduced sentence);
Emotional blackmail such as the suggestion that the professional is making things worse by not letting them have their own way and thus is a ‘bad’ practitioner.
When faced with manipulation the usual course of action will be to ‘disattend’. This means effectively to ignore the threat and so demonstrate the pointlessness of manipulation. Often clients learn this lesson very quickly and then real work can begin on the actual problems. This does not mean that the manipulation isn’t a symptom of the disorder – often it is but focusing too much upon threats of self-injury or whatever just clouds the issue.
Of course any one of these threats could also be a statement of fact from a genuinely distressed client. In these cases the reaction from staff is often very different. As a rule mental health professionals are so used to manipulation that they can quickly tell the difference. For example the drunken young man who breaks up with his girlfriend, takes an overdose of aspirin and then calls her to get the ambulance is more likely to want her to feel guilty than to end his life. Most psychiatrists resent getting out of bed at three in the morning to interview such cases.
Some people come into contact with services with impossible expectations. For example they may expect to sit back and wait while the clinicians sort out their marriage difficulties or change their apartment for a state owned house. They may have themselves admitted to a ward for detoxification so that they can sell drugs to patients already there – sometimes they even sell drugs prescribed to them by the unit they’re in. It’s surprising how often these people claim a mental illness defense when the hospital authorities call the police. Mental health units generally take a very hard line where drugs are concerned because many drugs, when combined with psychiatric medications can cause major problems and even kill.
Inpatients are often very vulnerable and the effects of other patients upon their mental health can be devastating. Clients admitted to psychiatric hospitals who set about exploiting, ridiculing or otherwise distressing their fellows are generally ‘moved on’ very quickly by the ward team. It’s not a good way to get help for yourself and it can be very damaging to the care of your victim. This is also why those patients who demand a lot of staff time and attention will only get it if the staff think it’s because of genuine need. Time spent with one patient is also time taken away from another. Many people are surprised to learn that this is also considered an abuse as it prevents other patients from getting the care they need.
Bear in mind that this does not mean that inpatients are expected to sit quietly and wait for their medication like good little girls and boys. Mentally ill or not adults are adults and have a right to express their needs, fears, distress or whatever. They’re also entitled to friendly conversation and many clients do strike up friendships with professionals as a result. It’s simply that attempts to monopolize staff time for non-genuine reasons cause problems for patients and staff alike.
Some clients have an expectation that mental health staff are there to be assaulted. They too become surprised at the reaction they receive. Staff who are attacked by florid schizophrenics as a result of a genuine delusional state tend to be quite philosophical about it. Staff attacked by people who simply want to prove a point or by those who just enjoy hurting people tend to press charges.
Mental health professionals are not anywhere near so stupid as many of their clients believe them to be. It’s true that they are often deeply cynical but that’s different. As a rule, however, they will work hard to help the genuinely ill so long as the client is also prepared to help themselves. It’s often impossible to help a mentally disordered person to move on without co-operation and so people who spend their time trying to justify their illness instead of working to overcome it tend not to do very well. Shortage of professional resources often means that after a while professionals stop trying to treat those who would prefer to manipulate them and move on to those they can help after all.
The concept of ‘treatability’ is very important to mental health clinicians. In any other job or profession people would not be expected to spend time trying to do the impossible. Much can be done to alleviate or even cure mental disorder but this is rarely possible if the client doesn’t play their part. Sometimes of course the client doesn’t know how to behave appropriately or isn’t able to in which case practitioners tend to do the best they can. Often teaching appropriate coping skills is the first step. The person who can control their actions and chooses not to however is a very different proposition.
This does not (or at least should not) mean that clients are written off. It’s simply that clients aren’t always ready to change. Often they are so bogged down with secondary gain issues that no amount of therapy will help. The response from services is often to stop trying and wait until the client is actually ready to change. That’s why many clients who begin drinking or using substances immediately after an inpatient detoxification program will not be admitted until six months or a year has elapsed. The client needs time to come to terms with their situation and build some motivation before trying again.
This concept of ‘readiness’ is valid for many types of mental disorder from neurosis to depression. It does not mean that medication won’t help in the meantime and very often medication is all that is necessary but for those who need to make other changes the will to do so must be present.
It’s often very difficult for professionals to know exactly what is going on. Patients tend to tell their doctors, nurses or social workers what they think the professional person wants to hear. The obvious result of this is that professionals are generally very wary and regularly find themselves ‘second-guessing’ their patients. This is not usually helpful for either patients or staff but it does explain why professionals are so used to spotting manipulation. Usually professionals will ‘see through’ the deceit to the distressed person beneath and hopefully will always begin from a position of trust but it doesn’t take long for that trust to disappear in the face of obvious and persistent lies.
Professionals are also very aware that a client who lies to one staff member will usually be just as ready to lie to all the others. That’s why playing one member of staff off against another often results in the whole team’s mistrust. Mental health staff are ordinary people who do their work in order to help people – not to be treated as fools. Neither do they take kindly to verbal or physical abuse and will respond with criminal charges if necessary.
Of course not all mental health service users are trying to manipulate their careers. In many cases they genuinely want help but don’t know what to do. Some of these people use manipulation because it’s a part of their culture. They may not even realize that it’s a problem. Many people genuinely believe that everyone manipulates others and are just doing what they think is appropriate. Until recently mental health services have not been good at understanding this distinction. Psychiatry is a relatively young science and there is still much to be learned.
The process of learning, like the process of helping is always hindered by deceit however and clients in contact with mental health services generally do better by being honest in their dealings with professionals. If you genuinely want help with your problems it’s important to trust clinicians to do what’s right. Given the chance they generally will although giving you what you need isn’t always the same as giving you what you want.
Permission by Anonymous Person
Yet, some of the most overwhelming memories come from her first two years of freedom which she and her children have spent reunited with her mother.
“Wow. Now I can walk in the next room and see my mom. Wow. I can decide to jump in the car and go to the beach with the girls. Wow. It’s unbelievable. Truly,” Dugard said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.
Dugard was kidnapped by Phillip and Nancy Garrido when she was just 11 years old in 1991 and held captive in a backyard compound.
She was subjected to rape, manipulation and verbal abuse. She gave birth to two daughters fathered by her abductor in that backyard prison.
Dugard lived in virtual solitary confinement until her first daughter was born three years into captivity and wasn’t allowed to spend time outdoors until after her second daughter was born, more than six years after her abduction.
She writes that the closest thing to freedom she ever felt in the compound was when she was allowed to live in her own tent and plant a small garden.
Now, Dugard is telling all in a new memoir, “A Stolen Life,” and in her exclusive interview with Sawyer.
She’s taking an unflinching look at the horror she’s overcome and giving an unsparing account of the way a predator operates and how she survived.
“Why not look at it? You know, stare it down until it can’t scare you anymore,” she told Sawyer. “I didn’t want there to be any more secrets…I hadn’t done anything wrong. It wasn’t something I did that caused this to happen. And I feel that by putting it all out there, it’s very freeing,” Dugard said.
Dugard, 31, remembers the first night after she and her daughters were rescued in 2009.
They spent the night in a motel room just down the hall from Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn.
Both Probyn and Dugard had held out hope throughout their nearly two decade separation that they’d find one another.
They had no idea that they’d been only 120 miles from one another the whole time.
“That night, I woke the girls [my daughters] up and I just said, “I’m so happy. I’m so happy!” Dugard said. “I ran down the hall…the girls are following me and knocking on the door…I walked in, ‘I’m so happy! I’m so happy!”
Simple firsts have brought healing to Dugard and her family: learning how to drive from the sister who was just a baby when Dugard was kidnapped, eating family dinners around a table instead of the fast food that Phillip Garrido fed her for 18 years, and even just saying her name which was forbidden by her captors.
Still, the sounds of her imprisonment haunt her.
“That lock. Hearing the lock…for some reason that and the bed squeal. It was a squeaky bed…I guess the noise, the sound. Weird what sticks in your head,” Dugard said.
Dugard remembers trying not to cry when she was first abducted because it was too hard to wipe tears away with her hands cuffed behind her back.
“I didn’t really want to, because then you can’t wipe them away, you know? Then you get all sticky and …then they get itchy,” Dugard said.
She says she had no choice but to endure.
“There’s a switch that I had to shut off,” she said. “I mean, I can’t imagine being beaten to death, you know? And you can’t imagine being kidnapped and raped, you know? So, it’s just, you just do what you have to do to survive.”
Two of the most challenging moments for Dugard were giving birth to her two daughters in 1994 and 1997.
“I knew there was no hospital,” she said. “I knew there was no leaving.”
At just 13 years old, Dugard noticed she was putting on weight but didn’t know why.
On a Sunday in 1994, the Garridos told her she was pregnant.
Before her abduction, the little girl who sold Girl Scout cookies and wrote stories, knew nothing about sex.
Dugard writes that giving birth was the most painful experience in her life.
“And then I saw her. She was beautiful. I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. [I] had somebody else who was mine…and I know I could never let anything happen to her. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I did,” she said.
Dugard remembers the last time she left her family’s Tahoe, Calif., home to walk to her fifth grade classroom on June 10, 1991.
She’d packed her peanut butter and jelly lunch, worn her favorite kitty shirt and a butterfly ring given to her by her mother.
In all pink, she started on her walk.
“And [I] walked up the side of the hill…that was the safe way to go against traffic. And halfway up, my world changed in an instant,” Dugard said. “I heard a car behind me.”
Creeping behind Dugard were Phillip and Nancy Garrido. Phillip Garrido rolled down his car window.
“His hand shoots out and I just feel numb. My whole body is tingly…I fall back in the bushes,” Dugard said.
Garrido had shocked her with a stun gun. Panicked, Dugard scooted back towards the woods. She remembers grasping a sticky pinecone, the last thing she touched while free.
Now, she wears a pinecone charm around her neck to symbolize her freedom.
“It’s a symbol of hope and new beginnings and that there is life after something tragic.”
After shocking her, the Garridos stuffed her into their car, hid her under a blanket in the backseat.
Nancy Garrido sat on her while Phillip Garrido drove to the couple’s Antioch, Calif., home.
“It was so hot,” she said. “I remember my throat felt very dry and scratchy and like I had been screaming, but I don’t remember screaming,” she said.
Dugard remembers hearing Phillip Garrido laugh and say, “I can’t believe we got away with it.”
“It was like the most horrible moment of your life times ten,” she said.
When they arrived at their home, Dugard was stripped of her backpack, her pink clothes and her name. Garrido took her to the bathroom and told her she had to be quiet.
“I guess he wanted me to be clean…very scary. I was scared,” Dugard said.
Dugard was forced to wear nothing but a towel at first and was locked in a semi-soundproof room that had only one window.
Somehow, Phillip Garrido missed the pinky ring her mother had given her. She’d hold onto that ring throughout her captivity. She’d also hold onto the hope that she’d see her mom again.
Clinging to the Memory of Her Mother
“I wondered if she found out what had happened to me, if she was looking for me,” Dugard said.
Dugard worried that she’d forget what her mother looked like. She’d keep journals referring to her mother as just “her” because to write “mom” was just too painful.
Her mom, Terry Probyn, carried out a frantic search for her daughter, making tearful pleas on television.
She’d continue to hold vigils for her daughter when public interest in the family’s plight waned.
“I feel like I spent my lifetime looking for her and dreaming about her and talking to you and you were always there. You never left me,” Probyn told Dugard during the interview.
The two women, clinching hands and with their bodies turned toward one another, share a remarkable bond.
“Being a mom now, you know, I know that she never forgot about me because I could never forget about my kids. But…when you’re a kid and you think you’re easily forgettable and you’re not important. But she kept…her hope. I don’t know how she did that. You know? How did I keep my hope? How did she keep her hope,” Dugard said.
Dugard still fights feelings of anger towards her captors, but tries not to dwell on them.
“I don’t feel like I have this rage inside of me that’s building,” Dugard said. “I refuse to let him have that. He can’t have me.”
Dugard’s mother can’t forget what the Garridos stole from her daughter and her.
“I think I have enough hate in my heart for the both of us. I hate that he took her life away and that makes me sad…I hate that he stole her from me. He ripped out a piece of my heart and he stole my baby,” Probyn said.
The two women look at one another. Probyn tells her, “I’m sorry, baby.”
She goes on, “He stole your adolescence. He stole high school proms and had pictures and memories…”
Dugard smiles and tells her mom, “But he didn’t get all of me.”
The Garridos mercilessly manipulated Dugard.
When she was first kidnapped, Phillip Garrido kept a stun gun present whenever he raped her, a way to remind her of his power.
After abusing Dugard, sometimes for hours in drug fueled sex binges called “runs,” he would sob and apologize.
He’d tell her that he had a sex problem and she was saving him from hurting other little girls.
While Philip Garrido was her main tormentor, his wife Nancy was equally adept at playing with Dugard’s emotions. She would bring Dugard things like a purple bear, a Barbie, chocolate milk, a Nintendo.
But she never stopped her husband from abusing Dugard.
She’d even keep Dugard locked in the compound when Phillip Garrido was away serving time for a parole violation.
“In some way, she’s just as manipulative, because she would cry and say, ‘I can’t believe that he did this. I wish he would have got a headache that morning he took you,'” Dugard recalled.
“In some ways, she’s…just as evil as Phillip,” Dugard said.
The Garridos manipulated Dugard until the presence of a stun gun and the use of handcuffs were no longer needed to keep her from fleeing.
It was classic manipulation, Dugard’s therapist, Dr. Rebecca Bailey, said.
Bailey is a family unification therapist.
Phillip Garrido’s power over Dugard grew by being “responsible for everything from time to food to human companionship to your clothes to your identity,” Bailey said.
When Dugard had her daughters, she didn’t flee because Phillip Garrido had convinced her the world outside their compound was unsafe, ironically full of pedophiles and rapists.
Even now, it’s still hard for Dugard to fully understand why she didn’t leave.
“I’ve asked myself that question many times. I know there was no leaving. The mind manipulation plus the physical abuse I suffered in the beginning, there was no leaving…. I don’t know what it would have took. Maybe if one of the girls were being hurt,” Dugard said.
Coping With Captivity
Dugard coped with the manipulation by keeping journals, writing stories and dreams that allowed her to imagine herself in a life outside of the compound.
While the Garridos stripped her of her innocence, they could not strip her of her imagination.
She would come up with stories about the tree outside the window, she named the spider in her room, she wrote in her journals about falling in love one day, riding in a hot air balloon, being a veterinarian.
Throughout her captivity, she would take care of several cats and other animals.
When she became a mother, she turned a corner of the compound into a school for part of the day.
She remembered how she used to play school as a little girl, but now she was responsible for actually educating two little girls.
She made a regimen of classes during the day with worksheets and lessons she found online.
She mothered her girls even though the Garridos forbid the children from calling Dugard “mom.”
Nancy Garrido, jealous of Dugard, required that the children call her “mom.”
Even with access to the computer, Dugard said she never searched for her mother or for news accounts of her kidnapping.
She was scared to because of the Garridos’ manipulation.
The Rescue and the Future
Dugard and her daughters would be rescued in August 2009 after an increasingly paranoid and delusional Phillip Garrido alarmed two campus police officers, Ally Jacobs and Lisa Campbell.
He’d shown up on the University of California, Berkeley, campus with the two daughters he’d fathered with Dugard.
The campus officers, both moms, did something nobody else had done.
They saw a man haranguing and they talked to him, engaged him and then acted on their suspicion.
A background check revealed he was a convicted sex offender.
When they called his parole officer to ask about his two daughters, the parole officer didn’t even know that Phillip Garrido had children.
Over the 18 years Jaycee Dugard was in captivity, parole officers had visited the home at least 60 times and never reported anything amiss.
Phillip Garrido was called to a meeting with his parole officer on Aug. 26, 2009. He brought his wife, Dugard and the two girls.
At first, Dugard lied for Garrido, still under the spell. She eventually confessed who she was by writing her real name down.
In her memoir, she says that writing her name was like an extinguished flame reigniting.
“The light came back…it was very dark for so long…but that light finally came back on,” she said.
Dugard is savoring her freedom and planning for the future.
“I would like to study writing, you know? Really, because I love words and I love mythology…the way metaphors work and how [you] can see things differently with words,” she said. “It helped me get through a lot of days, my imagination.”
Dugard wants her book, her story to help people realize there is a way to triumph over tragedy and survive. And for her captors, both locked away in prison, she has a message.
“[You] can’t steal anything else,” she said.
- The Kidnapping Of Jaycee Lee Dugard – Before And After (letsfindthem.wordpress.com)
- Kidnapping Survivor Jaycee Dugard’s Lawyers Seek Sanctions Against Feds (losangeles.cbslocal.com)