Trigger warning: physical abuse
Remember how I mentioned there’s a lot I wanna tell you but my mind’s been a blank? I bought a little notepad today (my weakness) so I can write them down as they come to me. Ergo, this post. 🙂
I’ve told Dr. G several times about some of the emotional abuse I’ve experienced growing up. It was only recently I remembered there were some other types of abuse as well. I guess that’s the joys of therapy. You get down to the bedrock of your issues & find shit there you had buried years & years ago. Things I honestly forgot happened to me.
Here’s one of those buried stories…
I’m right-handed. To my dad, that meant I shouldn’t use my left hand while eating at all. I, naturally, disagree. Sometimes you need help scraping up the last bit of sauce on your plate. Being the youngest in the family & eating foods like frozen peas meant I wasn’t as coordinated (or as sneaky) as my older brother. My dad sat across from me & would scream at me for using my left hand to assist my right. And then one day, he had had enough.
He got up during dinner & grabbed two belts. He belted the top of my left arm & down by my wrist to the chair. It was tight & it hurt. I couldn’t move it at all. This went on for a while. Every time I would come to dinner, I had to be belted in. Every time, it would hurt & I would have red lines for the rest of the night.
I don’t remember how long that lasted as all of that is foggy for me. See? My mind is trying to protect me. I do remember at some point I learned to just sit on my left hand & be frustrated at dinner. Dinner never lasted too long anyway as Dad wanted to go watch TV for hours & Mom wanted to sit on the couch & read about stupid bullshit that fed her victim mentality. My brother & I had to clean the whole kitchen. And my parents are not “clean as you go” type of people. They are hoarders who destroy anything they can. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never known anyone who had to replace their drip pans twice. In one year. Because they rusted through. Oh, BTW, I bought & replaced them because I felt like it was a fire hazard & I didn’t want my house to burn down.
Anyway, this is how it was every night. My brother & I would spend about an hour cleaning everything in sight. Mom & Dad would check it & if it wasn’t up to the impossible code that they couldn’t even reach, we weren’t “released” from the kitchen.
Which reminds me of a side note: If Mom or Dad cooked, we had to clean up. They would claim that if we cooked, they would clean. Every fucking time we cooked, we still had to clean up. I think that’s fucked up.
Stories like these are interesting to me. I have no idea how I survived. Probably because I thought everyone else was treated like this. I had learned early in life to not share too much about myself especially since I knew my friends were richer & had other experiences, usually better experiences. But shit like scrubbing the kitchen every night a la Cinderella? I thought everyone did that. I didn’t know that most families will clean up TOGETHER. Most families spend time TOGETHER. My family was 4 people going in 4 different directions.
I’m sure they are other instances of physical abuse that will come to the surface. I was never beaten, thank God. But there were acts of rage that I know now as an adult aren’t normal nor are they healthy.
I wanted to be with my older brother all.the.time. I idolized him. He was a typical older brother who only seemed to tolerate me when he got something out of the deal. One time, I was pestering him because I was lonely. I just wanted some company, a friend. He was popular with the local kids. I was the only girl & if my one friend wanted to hang out with the boys, well, there went my playdate.
Anyway, I was bugging him because I wanted his attention. I don’t remember what prompted me but I grabbed his arm & bit him. I had braces on so I’m sure it didn’t feel amazing. I do remember that I didn’t break the skin because I didn’t want to hurt him. I just wanted his attention. Not the greatest logic but I was like 8 or something.
He yelled for Mom & she came in all pissed. He was already the Golden Child & “how dare I hurt him.” There was no communication or training on how to compromise or how to voice my concerns. No, instead she grabbed my arm & bit me. I still remember looking at shock at my arm. There were teeth marks. My mom, instead of using a voice of reason & being an adult, was no different from my 8-year-old self. Actually, she was, because I didn’t leave a mark. I remember my brother was shocked, too. Once the shock wore off, I ran into my room & cried. Not only because it hurt but because my mother did it. I felt betrayed. That feeling of isolation sunk in even more when no one came to check on me. But that was common. According to them, I was being “emotional” & I was “just tired.” But we’ll get into that another day.
I never bit him again. Not because I didn’t want to hurt him, but because I was scared of what she would do to me next. I would cower when she grabbed something out of anger. No child should be afraid of their parents. Their parents should protect them from harm, teach them how to handle problems, & make their home a safe haven. They shouldn’t bite them or tie their hands to a chair.
Ugh. This was hard to share. Thank you for allowing me to be me & to clean out these skeletons out of the closet. If it helps one person out there to know they’re not alone, then it was all worth it.