The last conversation Kristine Godinez had with her dad was by phone in 1997. "Three days later," she writes, "he died of a massive heart attack while sitting on the toilet." Though they expressed mutual love, their relationship was "complicated." Now a therapist in Arizona, Godinez grew up in Gridley, attended a "fundamentalist" church in Richvale, and eventually came to Chico State University. She was a recent guest for a book signing at The Bookstore in downtown Chico.
Godinez' father was a local attorney, an accomplished man with a penchant for stirring the pot wherever he went. "My dad's behavior was bizarre," she remembers. "The man prided himself on being a faithful marine and a good Christian, but he would get involved in emotional affairs, left, right, and center. Not sexual affairs, emotional affairs. He would find a woman and idealize her and seek to spend as much time with her as possible."
That was not the half of it. Godinez tells her sad and challenging story in "What's Wrong With Your Dad?: Growing Up The Child Of An Addict With Borderline Personality Disorder" ($14.95 in paperback, self-published; available in Amazon Kindle e-book format). The book is the kind of journal Godinez recommends her clients keep. "Normally I would burn this, but this is to show how it is done. Writing it, I experienced every emotion, every tear, every laugh. I made it from the beginning to the other side intact and so will you."
What is Borderline Personality Disorder? Those "with BPD tend to have very low self-esteem to no self-esteem and are terrified of abandonment. They engage in reckless behavior and persist in suicidal ideation or gestures. They also express the belief that they are unique somehow in their suffering; they have an inability to accept personal responsibility for their actions. ... They are master manipulators." The book details a litany of physical, emotional and sexual abuse perpetrated by the man on his family.
There's plenty of swearing in the book, something the author says helps relieve the hurt, and "aside from the fact it makes people I don't like immensely uncomfortable, I enjoy doing it." There are touches of humor (Godinez calls her mother "Cleopatra Queen of Denial") but the wounds are still there.