At some point during this blog, I fully expect someone to suggest that I seek counseling or therapy. Let me just get it out of the way and say that I’ve already been there, done that and I have the bills to prove it. 🙂
Now that THAT is out of the way…let me share a few things that I’ve learned about life thus far. People will treat you however they want to treat you, as long as you let them. This has been a really hard lesson for me to learn. Especially hard when the people who are mistreating you are your parents. It becomes a pattern in life thereafter. If you learn to accept it early on, every person after that doesn’t seem to have a boundary. I didn’t have to pay for therapy to learn this.
My parents were controlling. Ugh…that word just doesn’t even do them justice. Honestly, what parent isn’t controlling, right? Well, mine took the cake in that department. I was abused physically and mentally and this is something I’ll cope with for the rest of my life. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over something like that. I was hit, punched, kicked and hair pulled not just once or twice – but countless times over the of course of my life. As strange as this may sound though, …I feel now that I could have taken the physical abuse day in and day out, if that is all that was occurring and probably could have coped a little bit better in the future and gotten over it better, but then you have to throw in the mental abuse and that, in my opinion is much more devastating to a growing person. There really are no words to describe what that feels like. To be belittled and made to feel guilty for living. I was told on a weekly basis how much I ruined their lives. But when times were “good” I was told that they thought they couldn’t have children and how much they prayed for me, to find out shortly thereafter that they were going to have me. It leaves me confused – how can you tell a child that they were wanted and in the next breath they tell you how much you ruined their life. How much they had to sacrifice for you and how much their life sucks now that they’ve had you.
And I can remember the times during the summer when I was locked out of the house because my mother just didn’t want to see me. She also threw my clothes out on the front lawn, along with my father’s multiple times and told me that I wasn’t wanted and that I should leave.
Oh how I lost count of the times that my parents would get into a fight. My mom trying to shove my dad down the long staircase to the cement floor at the bottom. Wanting to kill him. Wishing him dead, over and over again. Screaming and telling him on the phone that she wished he would run head on into a semi and never come home. She would ship his body back to his family in South Dakota, she would say. Apparently she had a well thought out plan, how disturbing. She wanted nothing to do with him anymore and as far as I know, they are still married.
I heard similar words and it got worse as I got older. I was told on a weekly basis what all my mother sacrificed for me. Her career, because I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a year and half and somehow – that was my fault. How much it cost for me to live, with insulin, supplies and doctor’s visits and somehow – that was my fault. I’ve driven a lot of people crazy over the years because I apologize incessantly, for things that couldn’t possibly be my fault. And I say it as though I truly mean it (a lot of times I do and other times it’s a passive knee jerk reaction). I can tell you exactly why I do that. I did it all of the time with my parents. When being told that they picked up insulin for me at the pharmacy and how much it cost “thank you, I would say…I’m sorry”. Just rememeber that – I was told.
The words, phrases and images are forever burnt into my head. There are so many days of my life that I can’t seem to get away from it. It might just be a glimpse of a song that I used to hear on the radio and sing to myself on the way home from school (for comfort) – being scared what kind of mood my mother would be – that can set me off and make it all come back to me again. How I’ve wished so many times that I could delete that part of my brain, like a hard drive on a computer.
I can remember on several specific occasions when I would wake up in the morning and get ready for school and I could just “feel” it in the air – it was going to be a bad day for my mother and her mood. I would worry the entire day at school that she wouldn’t be there to pick me up and I would have to walk home and maybe I would find her dead or maybe I would find my clothes on the lawn again. The parents would park along the one side of the school building and parents usually parked in the same spot every day. I can remember walking up and down the long row of cars looking for her car, feeling panicked and worried about whether she was there and what kind of mood she would be. I would always greet her with a smile and immediately thank her for picking me up and ask her how HER day was. …Never being asked about mine. How reversed my life was. Oh the anxiety I felt, the racing heart and sweaty palms. As I sit here and write this – all I can think about is that poor little girl, I can imagine the look of worry on my face and it makes me wonder what all of the other parents thought as they saw me pace up and down the row of cars looking for hers. I’m not one to cover up my feelings on my face very well, so it must have been there.
Then there are the couple of occasions when she did NOT pick me up. Just left me at school because she was angry at me. I can remember the long walk home, a mile or so. But a long walk of worry (probably seeming like it was twice the distance than it was), my little mind racing as to what I would find when I arrived home. And yes, on both occasions, she was home and just decided to lock me out. I had to wait until my father got home from work. Who knows when that would have been. When I was seven years old my mom locked herself in my parents bedroom (having an ‘episode) with a gun, of course threatening to kill herself. That was one of her favorite ultimatums. And my dad had to ‘talk her down’ and pound through the door. When I tried to tell the school nurse about the previous night’s experience and why I was a wreck the next day at school (oh how I would fight back the tears and just try to fit in. It was hard enough being diabetic and having to get different treatment.) Apparently a call was made to home and again, I was locked out of the house that afternoon and threatened, and hit and screamed at for hours. That of course wasn’t the first time as I mentioned. Her other favorite way of threatening was to pack a bag and leave the driveway, tearing out and promising to crash her car somewhere.
She never did get help, it wasn’t until recent years that I learned that she had been this way before she even met my father and my grandparents tried to get help for her. But she denied that she had a problem at all. If you ever tried to bring it up or mention it, even when she was ‘normal’, she would freak out and not talk to you or lash out even worse. And yes, drinking also was a factor in this situation as well. She drank to the point of vomiting on a few different occasions. I always prayed that the alcohol would at least make her tired so she would sleep and be quiet, at least stop yelling and lashing out.
I have to ask myself now, as I look back on my life – how did no one know what was going on. Why didn’t someone help me? Protect me? Something…? It’s because she always put on such a great ‘front’ for people. She was a room mom at school and helped plan parties for holidays for the kids. She got my date and I a limo for Prom. She always did these very public displays of advertisement – protesting what a great mother she was. Behind closed doors the things that were said were along the lines of “do you know what I had to do for you? Do you know what I had to sacrifice to do this? I’m a great mother, I’m a great mother! I never had this!” She always claimed how abused she was as a child.
I never got the chance to really get to know my grandparents very well until recent years and now that I have. I find it extremely hard to believe that she was beat on a daily basis. I find it very upsetting and earth shaking to think that she protested and claimed to be so abused and yet she did it to me. And protected herself so well from the outside world from finding out much about what was going on inside our home. Although I’m positive the neighbors had to have heard the fights, and seen her peel out of the driveway. The screaming was so loud and the crying and pleading I did had to have made it’s way outside of the walls of our home. No one helped though. My father never protected me. I told him on numerous occasions that if he didn’t do something, that when I was old enough – I would leave and never come back.
I kept my promise.
Until next time…