Karen told me to write,
Cathy told me to write,
Denise told me to write,
So I wrote this and shared it in group on Tuesday and with Denise on Wednesday, I’ll see Karen on Saturday.
Thinking too much yesterday in group, then at work. I thought about what one of the gals said about hiding in the closet — at least I never had to hide in the closet. But I’d hide under the bed. Sometimes I’d fall asleep under the bed and when I would wake up hours later no one knew or cared where I was.
Dialectical. Yeah I can be so angry with Mom, I think she was the cause of every thing, that she set me up (not deliberately) but evenso. She was hard. She had little time, too many kids, no help and raging depression. Her rage would come out, and she would call us horrible things and let fly with her hands — never fists, but she would pull your hair, slap your face, slap you anywhere.
Her idea of discipline was creative. “Bring me the extension cord!” Or, she would stand in the doorway with it in her hand and demand that you go into that room. And when you would dart past, she would hit you with it, over and over.
I turned 8 in the third grade, so I was at most 8 years old when I received 42 swats at school for not getting 21 things done on the lists on my desk. When my mother found out, my father held me down, while my mother gave me 20 more with that extension cord. (it was a small one for a coffee pot, fitted nice in the had and had good size connectors on either end, vicious thing.)
She once got Bobby across the face with it, and Brian had welts all over his back and legs when he broke his collar bone on the ice, the day after my mother went after him. She was worried about that, even in those days.
“How can you be so stupid?” My mother has always thought I was stupid. Not stupid enough to be held back. I was never smart like Lynn, but she put me in school early too, and when that third grade hag, Mrs. Hirsimaki, wanted to hold me back, she had me tested. I was not held back. But Brian and Lynn, Mark and Lisa all have better brains than I do. And, Bobby has a photographic memory. I am the one with the least.
I wonder if I was stunted by having to survive crap in critical developmental stages. Or maybe the genes just played out that way. Or maybe I just don’t have the self-confidence. I mean, my second semester at Kent State, when I had just turned 17, I was taking 18 hours — full time was 12 hours, and got a 4.0. And when I went back to finish my B.S. at Youngstown, I earned the departmental scholarship after my first year in the engineering technology program, upper division, while working full time, going to school full time, and driving between Youngstown and Geneva and Jefferson — about 2.5 hours a day. I’m not stupid. But it is so hard to get past the “How can you be so stupid?” and “You don’t have the brains you were born with!” How? Easy, smart peopld do stupid things sometimes.
But that isn’t the dialectic. The dialectic is that I love my mother and cannot imagine life without her. In fact, I really don’t want to go on when she goes. Karen says we are built to survive these things. Maybe. I blame my mom. I love my mom and understand where she comes from, and how she did the best she could with the tools she had.
I focused so much energy on Brian, but Bobby was as bad, if not worse. He was not violent, and did not use physical force. He didn’t have to. I was so much younger, and when we started, I was so young, I had no idea. None. He started with feels and it went up from there. By the time I was 10, he was trying to penetrate me. And he would tell me to stay downstairs for a while so they would not get suspicious. And I would.
I got no protection from Mom. None. I “knew” she would beat the Hell out of me if she found out. That turned out to be untrue, but I wasn’t going to find out when I was so vulnerable.
Almost as hard as surviving what my brothers did to me was the lack of connection/attention/affection from my mother.
I got no help from no one. The schools were in league with parents and so was the church/school. There was no where to go. My mom’s best buddy, girl friend, goombah from childhood was questioned when m mom tried to take on foster children and she put the kebosh on that.
Ah well, I grew up, but I had no validation, no sense of being anything but ugly, fat, stupid, an embarrassment. And dirty. When I could understand the words my mother used, cock-sucker and slutty pig , they were, in fact, true. Yes, my brother Bobby, would give me money or things to do stuff with him. In some ways that has been harder to accept than what Brian did.
And this is why I panic when the suggestion is made to give up the group. It is where I get validated. Where I feel secure. I know I can’t stay there forever, but I am having a terrible time with the idea of letting it go.
Thanks for reading.