It was a difficult evening again. I really reacted to the onset of darkness very strongly, much more strongly than usual. I don’t know why. Maths Ma’am was supposed to come at seven, so I had this sense of a deadline. It’s not the greatest feeling. Anyway, she didn’t come.

I tried to tell myself I have this ability to change my physical state now. Some. I mean, the memory of whatever it is will frighten me. There’s no way around it. It is clearly a terrifying memory, but it is not happening now. I have some degree of control over my mind, and I can calm down now, at least a little under some circumstances. I just concentrated on that. I was terrified, and I just concentrated on trying to manage that terror. Feeling, but within bounds, and I tried to create that feeling of calm in my body when it got out of bounds. I guess I did that for two or three hours.

Anyway, what happened in terms of my thoughts was that I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to hurt myself: I had pictures of cutting myself, of hitting my head on things. It suddenly occurred to me, after quite a lot of this, that I was remembering a disorganized state. I was remembering being so completely terrified I was unable to formulate a coherent response. The urge was to do something, anything, and no one particular urge seemed to be a sure thing. That seemed to help, to have some degree of context for the thoughts and feelings. It seemed to be I was remembering something from when I was 2 or 3, and I was so terrified of whatever it was that I did not know what to do. I wanted to run in circles, I wanted to scream, I wanted to hit things, I wanted to punish myself, I wanted to die and make it stop. It seemed to have been the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to me. It might have been. Many terrifying things have happened to me, but maybe they hadn’t happened quite yet.

Then the memory just kind of appeared. I am still shocked by it. It is not particularly graphic, but the psychological aspect of it is just horrifying to me.

They seem to have been make-believe “surgeries.” My dad did not actually physically harm me, but I was a toddler. I had no way of reasoning through this and realizing he wasn’t doing what he described to me. He took something sharp and ran it over some body part—my chest or my stomach or my neck or whatever—as if he were cutting me. I don’t think he did cut me. I think he was using a sharpened piece of wood—something that felt sharp, but actually could not cut. The idea that he was going to remove something. He put something wet and cold on my abdomen like he had opened me up and air was getting into my body, and then would say he was removing my stomach or my intestines or whatever. Or he would tug on my head and tell me he was removing my head. Then he would poke me with a pin or something and say he was putting it back. So he was pretending to dismember me and sew me back together again. The sole purpose of it seemed to be to trick me and to terrify me. Psychopaths like that feeling of being able to con someone. There is somehow a thrill just in that aspect alone. I don’t know why. It’s odd. You lie, people believe you. Why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t a toddler believe you?

The other part of the terror is that afterwards I never felt sure he put everything back right. Was my stomach still really there? Was there some bit of something he had left on the table and forgotten about? Did I still have all my pieces? There was a terror I had lost some part of myself I needed and I would one day drop suddenly dead because a piece of myself was not there or not put back in my body right.

Also, it connected in my mind—very obviously—to the bodies he was really dismembering. I don’t know when I first saw his workshop. It is almost like there was no first time. It was always there, so I think perhaps he began to bring me there when I was still very young—still a toddler. I know there were moments in his workshop when I was there alone. I wasn’t assisting him, and I was worried for my friends, for whomever he had murdered. And if the body was in that stage where it was in pieces, but strewn all over the place, I felt I needed to gather them together. The same terror got repeated: Were there pieces missing? Would I be able to find all of them? It always seemed like something was missing, and I remember very vividly that terror of looking for pieces, of not finding an elbow or a toe or something, of not being able to find all the viscera. There is the heart, but I can’t find the liver. Things were always missing, because of what he did with the body and because things become unrecognizable by that stage. So I couldn’t get all the pieces together and, of course, I could not bring them to life again. The idea that they could not be brought to life after they were in pieces had not fully sunk in. I suppose eventually it would have, but things don’t sink in when you are in a trauma state. They just get stuck in a particular place. My understanding got stuck at thinking I can’t reassemble them. Because of that, I felt a terror at their missing pieces and a terrible guilt and despair that I could not find all of them and could not bring them to life again. I had failed. It was the most profound feeling of failure I think I have ever experienced.