One of the main reasons I am writing this book, in the way that I’m doing it, is to explore the story behind the tragedy of Cindy’s murder. What set my sister up to be the victim that she was, in spite of the glaring warning signs flashing before her eyes? She was a beautiful, popular, well educated woman who walked right in to a trap filled with red flags. Why?
I woke up today with a clear thought about something. About how we coped in our childhood home, that had become this juxtaposition of really fun times with a life-of-the-party father and a new “mother” who turned out lives inside out with Behavior Modification programs peppered with violence. How we learned to deny the danger and focus on the fun, desperately clinging to a sense of normalcy. I suspect this is common with trauma survivors.
I wrote about Cindy not being able to discern, as an adult, that danger was, in fact, dangerous. The other part of this is that when trauma is the norm during your development, a person will unconsciously be drawn to drama.
The patterns established early on in our lives, and how we coped, set her up for a sociopath to hone right in on that weakness. That’s their super power. Quickly zero in on vulnerabilities and instantly start using them to their advantage. That is evident with Michael Apelt whether it was a bank manager, a luxury car dealer or the multitudes of women he was courting.
The most common word Cindy used in her journal during that period up to her death was confused. It’s heartbreaking.
She was off balance and thinking she was balancing, only to be knocked off again. That describes many years of our childhood after Marj entered it. Confused about why she turned our lives so incredibly different so suddenly. Confused about why she sparked in to these uncontrollable rages at us, beating us with hairbrushes/hangers/kitchen utensils. Confused why Dad didn’t intervene. We were tweens when this began and had never been hit other than a smack on the butt way earlier in our lives.
So we coped by just getting through it and letting Dad be our guiding force, while bracing for the next trauma from Marj. Never telling anyone.
Anyway, this is a piece of what I just finished writing this morning:
Anke and Rudi were not at the party, of course. We all believed they were back in Germany and Michael reinforced that.
A strange incident happened after I left that night, where a young man came trying to “drink our free beer,” Michael later claimed. An altercation broke out between this man and Michael and a knife was pulled. Michael sustained a flesh wound to his shoulder.
I thought “there is way too much drama around this guy,” while restraining my opinions. Cindy and my relationship was too important to let the likes of him get in the way. I just had no way to predict the devastation that was coming. The worst I could imagine was a nasty breakup, and we had all been there before.
Cindy kept pushing forward–still ambivalent–but trying to make it work. Still trying to craft some kind of normalcy from all of this. Just like we did in childhood.
From the date of the party, Cindy had just thirteen days left to live.
Confused about what I am doing
What do I want?
How can I please myself and everyone else at the same time (Michael, Kathy, people at both jobs)?
One thought on “why?”
I’m amazed at the strength and resiliance you both had to develop. I’m so sorry for what you as a family unit endured at both Marj and later. Cindy was trying hard to find herself and her place during this time…it’s so heartbreaking to see and read these journals from her, especially with hindsight