The Inheritance Of Shame: A Memoir

Paperback | May 16, 2017

byPeter Gajdics

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The Inheritance of Shame is the true story of author Peter Gajdics' six years in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to "cure" him of his homosexuality. Virtually imprisoned in a cult-like therapeutic house called the Styx with other heavily medicated psychiatric patients, they were all under the total authority of a violent, dominating, rogue psychiatrist named "Dr. Alfonzo." Their treatment devolved into intense primal scream therapy, weekly injections of Ketamine Hydrochloride (a dissociate drug most commonly used as an animal anesthetic) and constant pressure to abandon their birth parents and form unquestioning bonds with surrogate parents - Alfonzo, as "daddy," and a woman hired to act and nurture them as a new "mommy." They learned not to question Alfonzo, and to prove their loyalty by complete obedience and unpaid servitude. The Inheritance of Shame details Gajdics' recovery and somewhat successful attempt to seek legal recourse, juxtaposed against his parents' histories of trauma: his mother's incarceration and escape from a communist concentration camp in post-World War II Yugoslavia, and his father's upbringing as an orphan in war-torn Hungary. Though culturally and politically dissimilar, the emotional undercurrents of each of their narratives converge at key moments throughout the memoir.

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The Inheritance of Shame is the true story of author Peter Gajdics' six years in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to "cure" him of his homosexuality. Virtually imprisoned in a cult-like therapeutic house called the Styx with other heavily medicated psychiatric patients, they were all under the total authority of a vi...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:350 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.75 inPublished:May 16, 2017Publisher:Brown Paper PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1941932088

ISBN - 13:9781941932087

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Boys turned into men, and when I was fourteen, I had sex with another man. I had skipped out of school, was steps off the bus downtown, when I saw him, a perfect stranger, on the street. He was blonde, with a handlebar moustache, and I remember that he licked his lips and motioned for me to follow him, which I did, like a sleepwalker, through the underground shopping mall, into a department store parkade, and down into the bottom of a concrete stairwell. Neither of us said a word the whole time we walked. Words weren't necessary. The stink of piss and cum dizzied my mind as the stranger pushed me up against the graffitied wall and kissed me, hard, on the lips; held my hands above my head and devoured me, as I did him, each of us like sexual cannibals, starved for what the other had to give. When I opened my eyes two other men were five steps up, like on a balcony, rubbing crotches through bulging 501's, kissing, entering each other's flesh while spitting, sweating, watching.When he knelt down before me, for an instant the image of Sunday mass flashed across my mind, then joined the memory of the fat man in my elementary school toilet that seemed suddenly like it had never left me, and had now only surfaced. But then a pressure peaked in my groin as the man's hands slid up inside my shirt and out came from inside of me all thought, and memory, and fear."Thanks, boy," he said, wiping his mouth, zipping up.There was a gap in my thinking where I followed his lead and thanked him as well. I looked up the stairs but the other men had disappeared. When he pushed open the heavy aluminum door, the sight of an alleyway lined with drunks and junkies rushed inside of me with a gust of fresh fear.With every panicked step toward the bus around a corner, I repeated to myself that what I'd done could not be done again, would not be done again.

Editorial Reviews

"In Peter Gajdics' memoir, we're taken into a real-life horror film of malpractice and corrupt psychotherapy, hoping at every turn of the page that our narrator escapes. A shocking, crystal-clear, unsettling book. The Inheritance of Shame is both a necessary and devastating memoir about the trauma of conversion therapy and the homophobia that persists to this day."- DANIEL ZOMPARELLI, author of Everything is Awful and You're a Terrible Person