Folie à Deux a Personal Story
A personal story emailed to me and presented with only a few identifying features removed
I came to your essay about communicated psychosis and folie a duex. I'm a female almost 70 years old. I am not college educated, I grew up in a small town in _ . In 1983 I began to see a psychiatrist because of some changes in my mind, thought and body that had no physical cause. I thought I'd had brain damage because I'd been in an auto accident and my head smashed up against the top of the car. A few days later I was slapped on my face several hard slaps by my husband. He had slapped me once, a couple of times in the past, but this time he seemed out of control. I thought the two incidents had caused the changes in my mind. I could not sleep at night because of what I described as 'non-stop thinking, I could not rest for several years. A few months passed and one night I suddenly asked him why he never said he was sorry when he did things like he had done that night.
He had no memory of doing what he did, although he said he couldn't have done anything that night because our son was home. I had no idea that a person can do things, say things, and even tell me to do things, which I then do, but the person has no memory of any of this.
There have been several times he told me I imagined things, but one day I became aware that he says things and immediately forgets, or else in a peculiar way he doesn't hear what he says and remember it. He has many habits that are peculiar and unique to him. I began to notice myself doing these habits in the early 1980's, wondering but quite silent, not saying anything to anyone else about the new behaviors. The reason I didn't say anything was not evident until I realized some strange 'bond' prevented me, and the 'bond' was clearly somehow coming from this man. I could not say anything at that point except things that were not normal for me to say, in fact I was horrified to hear what came out of my mouth. I had somehow gotten involved in a belief system that I had no idea he possessed, or was possessed by until this 'new belief system' had caused me to understand why he did the strange things he'd done. But which I was now the one 'doing'. Most of these habits were very childish things, but they were somehow related to his mother, a Dutch woman whom I knew for several years before she died. The main thing about the 'bond' was that I had 'thought' in my mind that was precisely how my mother in law had spoken. I 'felt' her attitudes as quite critical of me, condemning me, and being very disparaging, but I am writing now about both body and thought. An almost unbelievable thing happened as a result of this very visible 'infection' that had it's origin in my 'bond' to this Dutch man, and to his past. I began to experience something that puzzled me for a few years, then it began to make sense, because it related to many odd and unusual things he had said to me, over the 30 years of our marriage. I had not understood these 'strange things' but I had not thought of them as 'crazy' or absurd.
One thing he said was "I cannot do what you are asking me to do, I am only programmed to do one thing and I am not programmed to do that." Believe me, this happened. This man could see his program, and he could and did tell me what was permitted and not permitted of him. I have never found a way to describe how the repetitions related to something that was going to happen in the future. They made sense after I had an experience myself, which he'd had, and which he had mentioned happened when he was in his late teens. He told me he had been told everything he would ever need to know at that time.
This 'event' caused him to be a certain way, and at points of about 9 years there were changes, which I noticed only when I began to notice myself 'feeling' something and saying things that I had heard him say. It was evident the feelings were what made him very, very uncomfortable, although he had never talked about them. One thing about this is that he could describe what went on in his mind, he could see it, and he usually made some offhand remark about what he was 'reflecting upon', which was of course his 'reflection', his understanding of what I had said. NOT what I had said, but his understanding, his reception of what I had said. I became aware that this 'reflection' can change, so that it does not stand out as vividly, and that it can seem to be 'spoken to' the individual, just as though another person were speaking, in a thought content.
This 'visible thought' was new to me, I had never had it before. It was extremely uncomfortable for several years, I could not sleep or rest. But I began to pay attention to the stream of thought, and at a certain point everything my husband said aloud, found a perfect match on that 'band of thought'. This sounds very odd I know, but the 'band of scrolling thought' began in the early 1980's after a short vivid dream, and it was always about the dream until after two or so years. The dream was not about my husband or anyone I knew. I was puzzled about how a dream could produce so much thought, it just went on and on and never stopped. Then at a certain point the words that my husband said to me, 'echoed', or seemed to be 'already in my mind'. I believe they met their exact match, they were somehow already stored and waiting for that moment. This is very strange, but something happened one day to make me aware this is not uncommonly experienced by other people. The sense that my thought is being addressed or 'reference' by some other person who could not possibly know what is in my thought. But there is more to this, books that I read fitted with the content of this 'band of thought', and at times words that came from objects, like televisions and radios also 'spoke' to me, or seemed to speak to me in the same way.
This 'bond' is not rare, I have heard other women say things that make me believe this is what causes people to become 'unbearable' to each other, this nearly invisible 'bond' really creates a new mind, between them. It really was a simple thing, a role reversal, a change of habits, and a change of the content of habits. Like not being able to read fictions anymore as I had always done. I could not make myself read fictions, I felt 'forced' really forced to read non-fictions. Then something quite nearly unbelievable happened, which I have to some degree mentioned: I began to noticed a response in my body, which was at times quite uncomfortable when I read certain books. And the same sense of 'resonation' was visible to me, and this became very, very clear a few times. That certain words I was reading in a book, was also moving in my mind on this 'scrolling tape of thought'. It would probably take too long to describe how my husband told me what was in my thought, but this 'new thought' was just ordinary normal thought in his own mind. We shared a mind, it really created a new mind in me. It is almost the simplest thing to explain, it is a kind of replication, but projection is a psychiatric definition, and does not extend to really becoming 'chemically' attuned after years of projection self contents onto this other. Me in this case. It really was something he had said many time: "I cannot make you think the way you ought to think. I cannot get into your head and change the way you think." All of these 'projections' actually described exactly what he COULD DO, was doing, and in some cases ought to have done himself, until they became part of my body. Many of his 'off hand remarks' were aimed at me, but they were aimed at him and he 'rejected' them, deflecting them towards me, and finally they took 'root'. The way his mind processes information is quite mechanical, so he was correct to speak about a 'program'. Yet there is something more than mystical about this, more than anything I can explain except to say that somehow all of this was intended to happen when it did. Many people say everything happens for a reason. This certainly could not have been a random thing, accidental, without cause or purpose. I became connected to 'history', all of it, the past and what was the present after 1984. The way this 'new mind' processed information was so precisely identifiable, that it was not difficult to identify. It had all the tonal qualities of my mother in law, my husband and behind that, his father/her husband. This man really was behind the 'veil', he had lived in my husband, long after he died. This is probably more than you will want to believe, but when I acquired the 'mindset' of my husband, it was 'occupied by his mother, but this man was controlled and really owned by, being lived by his own father. This father died in the mid 1950's. The idea that a body can be 'owned' by someone like this is probably awful to think about. Yet it happened, and it is very likely more common than you would want to believe. The 'mother in law' was really a part of her husband, the woman that was my husbands mother, was really very little more than a receptacle for the same projected materials from her husband, and very likely her father. You would have to experience this, but it makes sense. The terrible pain of this is more than I can tell you about, it was and still is so painful because I cannot feel my own feelings yet. Well, I hope this letter doesn't turn you off. It is very likely what generated the Greek myth of Athena: a woman born fully grown, from a man's 'head'. There are several myths that make sense to me now, Narcissus and Echo, and in the Euminides, in which there are some lines about this. Lines 656 through 666. The way the brain and mind functions is hidden behind those myths. I know there are psychiatric ideas about 'concrete/literal' thinking, but the man I married was completely separated from the mind that had any connection with 'myths', or the past from which they arose. It caused us a lot of problems. But the main thing is that within this 'new mind' I became infected with a pattern, one pattern that has many sub patterns, that connected me to the past. All of it. I wonder if you get many letters like this? I have read everything that Jung wrote, some of Freud, Ouspensky, Nicoll, Swedenborg, Gurdjieff, Ornstein, Jaynes and authors of books about quantum physics, and as a result of having acquired the way of understanding that my husband had, I believe I understand much of what they wrote about. Paul Davies, a quantum physicist has written some books that make me believe the connection that happened between my husband and myself was connected not only to the past, but to the way the future becomes 'ordered'. In 1984, in July I experienced in my mind a very large explosion of information about my life, at that time, and then afterwards the content on that 'scrolling band of thought' began to 'meet a match' in the exterior world. This was not easy to notice at first, it seemed to be some kind of 'echo' or 'resonation', or 'replay', or 'regeneration' of thought, and the 'echo' was turned around so that it seemed spoken to me like a person would speak to me.
It really created a voice, eventually. This is a real voice, it is not a 'hallucinated voice', or 'paranoia', although it is possible to not 'get' the meaning of this kind of 'coincidence'. The 'coincidences' are difficult to describe because so many personal, trivial details are what the are derived from. That is what makes it such a personal thing, so clearly aimed at just that one person, me in this case. The thing that prevented my husband from 'getting the messages' intended for him was that he could see into his mind, he saw the 'fantasy', the imaginations of his mind, and he regarded them as not worthy of his attention. After they turned around, they seemed to be about me. The 'paranoid' perspective is really more common than anyone would believe, but it relates to something known as 'metanoia', which has reversed in some way, what used to be 'revelation'. It is a kind of 'contact' coming from somewhere, and it seems likely to me this comes from what has been named as God. The kingdom of heaven is within you, makes sense to me now. I don't suppose this makes any sense to you, if you read it. I am always trying to describe what is probably undescribable, and even very tragic when it's not understood.
--- B ---
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