From Pixabay: johnhain
Trigger warning: Mentions of bullying and scapegoating at home
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the cards' meanings, let's talk about an individual I will refer to each time I point out an example.
Risa never left her hometown because she felt too guilty to leave her family. She also never had any real aspirations.
However, she did get married and had one son with moderate autism. She also has caregiving duties for her parents.
When she is not caring for her son or her parents, she works at a low-paying job as a clerk at a furniture store. Risa has worked there for years.
She also has a non-verbal learning disability which caused her not to read social cues properly, struggle with social skills, and have problems with motor and visual-spatial skills.
She struggled with a lot of that when she was younger, but it improved as Risa got older.
But that did not help her choose to do something meaningful with her life. Her self-esteem is extremely low for that to happen.
To make things worse, Risa has the polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, the main reason for her weight and acne struggles.
She used food as a coping mechanism behind her weight struggles to make things worse. It is like one thing feeding another, so to speak.
Now that you have the general introduction of Risa, let's talk more about what contributed to her trauma and why she has such low self-esteem with mental illnesses.
The Story Of Risa Green
Risa Green was born in Manhattan, New York, to semi-wealthy Jewish parents, as she was the first one.
However, her father, who used to be a business lawyer, got an opportunity to work in Syracuse, and when Risa was a toddler, her family moved there.
The birth happened not long after moving there, Risa's sister, Tamara.
Over the years, it was apparent that the parents favored Tamara over Risa. Her mother especially was incredibly hard on Risa, and Risa was becoming overweight as a child, whereas Tamara was always slender.
Her mother constantly criticized Risa's weight and monitored everything she ate. She also called her "stupid" numerous times because she struggled to follow instructions and struggled in school.
She also earned the name "stupid klutz" because Risa kept falling. Her mother told Risa to be more like her sister and encouraged Tamara to bully Risa to make matters worse.
When Risa was hitting puberty, her weight ballooned, resulting in acne. Both the mother and sister called Risa a slob, and the father was never around since he worked all of the time.
To make matters worse, Risa had to move to a new school because her school at the time did not include junior high.
However, her classmates ignored her, but what she faced throughout junior high and the early part of high school was worse.
Risa endured horrid bullying at home and at school, where she was called horrific names and experienced trash being thrown at her.
All Risa did was dissociate because that was the only way she could cope. Risa endured bullying at home and then at school, where she was not treated well.
Eventually, the tormenting ended, but the mocking did not. Risa struggled with severe depression, and her mother told her to get over it.
Risa tried but couldn't. All she did was cope by eating and dissociating.
Risa never had friends, and she went to a community college to take basic business courses.
Her sister, Tamara, followed in her father's footsteps, went to law school in Seattle, Washington, and became a business lawyer.
Tamara settled there. It was no surprise that Risa stayed in Syracuse. However, she did meet her first boyfriend, Ron, who, like her, had no self-esteem.
Another thing in college that happened was that based on Risa's apparent low moods, one of the counselors encouraged her to see a psychiatrist.
She did, and after an assessment, she was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and was put on antidepressants.
However, Risa did not continue taking them. She did not think she needed it.
Risa was also embarrassed as she did not want Ron or her parents to know. So one day, Risa tossed the rest of her antidepressants in the trash for that reason.
Ron and Risa got married. Risa got a low-paying job as a clerk at a furniture store, and Ron worked as a bank teller. Neither made a significant income.
They wanted to have kids but faced that one child was all they would have.
After being married for several years, Risa and Ron had a son named Justin, who was not developing typically and was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.
Unfortunately, neither of them could afford a lot of therapy for Justin, and he only used a handful of words, was never potty trained, and put the parents under a lot of strain at home.
To make matters worse, Risa's mother continued to be a nightmare for her. She not only blamed Risa and Ron for Justin's lack of proper development but compared him to Risa's niece and nephews, who do not have special needs.
In addition, she told her that Tamara was a more competent mother than her and made it clear once again that Risa was a complete embarrassment to her mother.
As Justin was growing, he was still very much like a kindergartener as the most he could do was stay on his tablet.
Ron was offered a better-paying position at the bank, but he had to decline because he had to be home to help Risa as Justin was becoming more challenging to handle.
Ron and Risa knew that Justin would be in their care for life, and then Risa's parents were becoming frailer as they were aging.
So even though Risa had her hands full with Justin, she was desperate to get love from her parents, and she committed herself to care for them.
But unfortunately, even though Risa has been their parents' caregiver, they still did not treat her better.
Risa had no choice but to start seeing a therapist again because of having to fight so many demons.
She was referred to a psychiatrist who said she had signs of not only depression but CPTSD. Is it a surprise after what she has endured in her life?
Let's now go over something that has not been mentioned in detail. How Risa really feels and how she struggles with her mental illnesses.
Risa's Struggle With Mental Illnesses
As you know, Risa has C-PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder. In addition, you know that she dissociated a lot during her youth when bullied at school and home. Risa was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder when she was in college.
Then after struggling with her autistic son and with her parents, she was also diagnosed with C-PSTD.
What happens in Risa's mind day after day?
Risa has so many demons to fight. Risa struggles with flashbacks and intrusive thoughts of being bullied by her family and classmates.
Some of those thoughts result from situations that she faced with Justin retraumatize her.
Risa gets those intrusive thoughts at work and does other things suddenly. Risa checks out a lot, which means she still dissociates.
Risa also thinks that she is pure garbage, and she is amazed that she got married at all even though Ron has no self-esteem.
She cannot help but look at her child and wonder what went wrong.
She constantly mourns over not having the family who loved her; she mourns over never having friends and mourns having a child that will never hit milestones.
She knows that she will never be a grandmother and experience the joys that her sister and many peers will share with their kids.
Risa is insanely jealous of her sister, peers, and others who appear to have it easier than her.
All she thinks about is how she keeps ending up with the short end of the stick. That makes her so jealous and resentful.
However, here is the thing. Risa appears to be exceptionally kind and very friendly.
She will always be the type to give money to a homeless person even though she is struggling financially.
Likewise, she will continuously allow others to cut in line in front of her while waiting to check out at the grocery store.
Also, if a neighbor asks her for a favor, she will drop everything she is doing to do it even if she has other commitments.
That means she will do a pile of Justin's soiled laundry or do her parents' grocery shopping very late at night. That is because Risa cannot say "no."
She is terrified to do that because she is desperate for people to like her. Here is the kicker.
Risa's neighbor asks her to do favors makes fun of Risa by gossiping about her to friends. The neighbor never once thanked Risa for sacrificing herself.
As you see, Risa is one of those too nice and has no boundaries, as she is an echoist. You may think she is a forgiving angel underneath.
But that is contrary to the truth. Risa is full of intense anger, rage, and resentment.
She dislikes her parents, everyone, and even dislikes her husband and son. But, most of all, she hates herself.
Risa feels she is undeserving of good things because she is forever damaged.
She will never talk about her trauma to anyone except for her therapist because she knows they will not take her seriously unless they do.
Risa feels she is very different from others and not in a good way either. She goes through the motions and is feeling hopeless.
All Risa does to cope is eat, and she is close to 300 lbs now. She does not even go to the doctor, but she drinks a lot and always has to head to the bathroom, which may signify having diabetes.
And when Risa loses her temper, all hell breaks loose.
That lovely girl appears to disappear and has scared her husband and son many times.
Oh yes, she has lost her temper with her parents, and the mother slaps her hard with a wooden spoon which stops her.
So you see how she struggles to regulate her emotions and feelings.
What will it take for Risa to start saying "no" and develop boundaries?
That is how she will begin to gain some self-confidence which can help her cope in better ways, and that may help her feel better about herself.
I will use the story about Risa Green throughout the card meanings and interpretations series.
The definitions of each card will pertain to examples of her story to help you visualize and understand the meanings better.