Child Abuse~ Not sure what’s going on lately. I thought that I had escaped my 39th birthday unscathed but something has happened. But here I am pouring my heart out again.
In the month since my birthday, I have been compelled to reveal more of myself to you. It was not intentional. It started with my diagnosis which I was sure I would never share with anyone for fear that it would label me like a scarlet letter upon my chest but I did and I am relieved. I feel free. I feel transparent. But now, something else has happened, something I could not have anticipated and I am sorry if it seems like I have been inundating you with confessions lately but circumstances have brought things to the surface and I need to release them, so that I can be free of them. For the first time in my life, I am owning my story…all of it. Thank you for your support and if you are growing tired of my “serious” stories ( I know many of you expect funny at The TRUTH about Motherhood), I promise I won’t be offended if you stop reading now. Last week’s Throat Punch Thursday video has effected me in a very visceral way that I could not have ever imagined. I watched the video once and I was speechless and I was sad, I was compelled to share it with you. Then I watched it again, as I was showing it to my husband, and that’s when it happened. I broke down or maybe I broke through, finally.
I broke down because I could relate to everything the girl in the video was going through and when I shared it with my husband, even though he didn’t know it, I felt as if I were sharing a secret with him that I had forgotten I even had. Of course, I know what I survived as a child but I had put it away in a closet of my mind. It’s not a secret. I don’t honestly know if my father remembers the brutality and frequency with which he delivered his punishment, because in those days he was barely coherent, but I do. I have said the words to my husband “My Dad used to beat me with a belt” BUT the words don’t sound like much without either having experienced it or seeing it first hand. My husband has never known this version of my father. My father was an alcoholic most of my life but is not anymore. My husband has seen glimpses of that person but has never known the man that I speak of from my childhood. I’ve never dwelled on it because for me to survive it and move passed it…I had to compartmentalize it and push it down…way, way down or the weight of it might have crushed me.
To say it now, mostly feels like I am talking about someone else other than myself. It is not who I am. It is who I was when I was small and scared and unprotected before I had a voice; before I could stand up for myself or for anyone else. It was me when I would lie quietly in bed at night, afraid of the dark having to pee so badly that my kidneys hurt but more afraid of having to face him. My little brother and I would lie there, side by side, trying not to stir as we heard him pick endless fights with our mother. She never argued back and still, we heard the flipping of a table, the thud of her falling to the ground or into a wall. We heard her tears and cries to stop, but we were too small to do anything. Then we’d hear him eventually stagger off into another room and pass out. Our mother, tiny and frail, emotionally was no longer present, she was a million miles away. This was when I was 5, by the time I was 7…I was no longer just a bystander. Seeing his treatment of my mother, I lost respect for him. I would try to stand up to him but I was too small.
Not changing the channel fast enough or fighting with a sibling was enough to earn me a lashing with a belt or a switch. Back then, corporal punishment was tolerated by everyone. It was expected. He was angry, always angry when he drank or needed to drink or wanted to drink. He was mean. He scared me. He was big and strong and we were small and scared. Scared to live, scared to breathe, scared to stay, scared to run away. My mom wanted to leave but there were threats. Serious threats. She was too afraid to test these threats. I hated him in those days. I prayed for car accidents and natural disasters. I prayed for death, his or mine, I didn’t care. I only wanted it to be over. We were all miserable.
Then he would be sober and he was different. He was my Daddy and I was his little girl but that never lasted very long. You never knew who was going to walk through the door; the doting Daddy or the mean, moody alcoholic who only cared about satisfying his own needs and wants. No one ever protected us. We were on our own and we were alone and helpless against him. Then one day, over 10 years ago after everyone else went to bed, he was drunk and picked a fight with me. I was no longer that helpless little girl, I stood up to him and unleashed all the hurt and pain he had ever inflicted on me back to him and then he stopped. He’s been sober for over 10 years. I love who my Dad has become,I am proud of him. But I hate many of the memories of my childhood and the man he used to be.
*In the US and Canada you can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD if you are being abused or know a child who is being abused. Anyone can call. Woman, child, man..someone will pick up and listen and HELP YOU get the help you need and stop the abuse!
If you know a child being abused, help them. If you know a woman being abused, be her friend. Help Her. If you are a woman who’s being abused. Help yourself before he kills you.If you are a child being abused, tell someone. Anyone.Someone will listen. If you are a mother who’s child is being abused, do whatever it takes to spare them. They may survive the physical, emotional and verbal abuse but they will be scarred forever. Child Abuse scars your soul and shadows everything you will do from that point on. You can even almost forget the sickness, but the scar is there to remind you when you least expect it. Child abuse is not okay for any reason.