The Lucatorto Family
Danielle Lucatorto suffers from a severe anxiety disorder that makes her afraid of cars, people and wide, open spaces. She’s often gone months without leaving her home, scared that someone will attack and kill her.
How does a woman develop such serious, debilitating fears? Years of abuse. As a child, her mother went through a series of violent boyfriends. Two of them tried to kill her. Danielle witnessed all these horrors.
Then she became a victim herself. From ages 7 to 11, Danielle was repeatedly molested by a close family member. There was no one around to defend or protect her. As a result, she developed a deep distrust of all people, especially men.
At age 16, Danielle became pregnant with her daughter Tiffany. She and her mother raised the child alone until Danielle was in her early 20’s. That’s when she met Mark. Mark was a mild-mannered, real estate agent who took an instant liking to Danielle. Although Danielle suffered minor anxiety at the time, her symptoms weren’t nearly as bad as they are today.
Danielle and Mark dated, fell in-love and married. For the first few years, the family thrived. Then in 2006, the real estate market crashed. Mark lost his job and all his money. He went into a depression and withdrew from Danielle. That sent her into a panic.
Mark was the only person Danielle had ever trusted. And now he was failing her as well. Danielle started to distrust everyone. She developed agoraphobia and shut herself up in her house. She refused to shop, eat or do anything. As a result, Mark was forced to take care of her. The more he took care of her, the more helpless she became.
Mark is now a full-time servant to his wife and hates it. But in order to keep peace in the home, he keeps his frustration to himself. Tiffany is also frustrated by her mother’s illness. But neither of them knows what to do about it.
Danielle Lucatorto is a 33 year-old wife and mother. Due to a history of childhood abuse, she is scared of people, places and germs. She suffers from agoraphobia, anorexia and has frequent panic attacks. She stays shut in her home for months at a time, which limits her interactions with friends and family.
Danielle’s husband, Mark, does everything for her, thereby making it easy for her to stay isolated. Tiffany walks on eggshells around her Mom, afraid to say anything that will set off a panic attack.
She and her husband haven’t had sex in 5 years and she’s afraid that one day soon, he will leave her. She doesn’t know how she can exist without him in her life.
Mark Lucatorto is a 50 year-old real estate agent. He had a lucrative career until the market crashed in 2007. At the time, he lost 80% of his income and hasn’t been able to recover financially. He lost his self-esteem, became depressed and withdrew from Danielle sexually. That sent her into a panic.
The only person Danielle had trusted was Mark and now he was proving himself untrustworthy. So she retreated from everything; people, places and all activities. Mark was forced to do all the shopping and errands as well as drive Tiffany to school and back.
Today, Mark is severely depressed and doesn’t know how to fix Danielle. He feels impotent professionally as well as personally. He has a hard time feeling or expressing his emotions and has very little hope that his life will change for the better.
Tiffany Lucatorto is a 16-year-old high school student and dancer. She dreams of becoming a professional choreographer one day. In fact, she can’t wait to get out of her house so she can start her career.
Living with her mother is very stressful. Danielle is emotionally fragile and can’t tolerate any negative emotions from her daughter. So Tiffany either babies her mother or has to hide her negative emotions from Danielle. But it doesn’t always work. After weeks of walking on eggshells, Tiffany will break down and cry, which, sends Danielle into a screaming tailspin.