I read this article earlier about hurtful things parents would say to their children that still affected them today. It made me think of my mother.
From the time I was about 9 until I was 18, my mother became increasingly emotionally and at times, physically abusive with me. I don’t know why, to this day, it was only me that received this treatment. I have a couple theories but to this day, it remains unknown.
There have been a few instances that always remain with me. So much so that when I was a step-parent, her means of discipline carried over to me and I found myself hurting the children I loved so much (emotionally). I realized after that short marriage that even though I can’t have children, it’s for the best. I could never be a good mother.
I remember a time when I was about 12ish. The house we lived in had a large shed out back. The thing was 2 stories, so my parents had converted it into an apartment space and for a few years, we would rent it out to church members who were down on their luck. At one time when I was about 12, my grandparents (mom’s parents) were living in that apartment space. That evening, I was being given spankings for some bullshit reason (who knows? I don’t remember what I did… Mom had a thing for saying I back talked a lot, apparently). However, with my mother, she always hit out of anger rather than controlled discipline. In this particular case, she was attempting to hold me down by my hair and was attempting to spanking me with a wooden paddle that her father made for her after us girls were born. Her blows never ended up on my butt but usually my hips, my thighs or my lower back. My mom just swung. She didn’t really aim much. At one point, I managed to break free of her hold and I ran out the back door and started pounding on the door of the apartment out back, screaming for my grandmother. My grandmother is a very kindly, good natured, Christian woman. I just knew that if she would only answer the door, my mother would stop what she was doing. I don’t know if she didn’t hear my cries or the banging on the door but she never answered and my mother caught up with me, dragging me back into the house by my hair.
My mother had a thing for calling me names. She liked to tell me I was stupid. Or that I was a pig. My mother couldn’t stand having an ugly child. She forced me on a leafy green diet the summer before my 9th grade year to force me to lose weight before starting high school. She made me get contacts. But she never taught me how to style my hair or wear make up. When she realized that I was never going to be beautiful like she wanted, she turned her attention to my younger sister who did end up with some pretty genes. My sister she doted on and bought clothes for and make up and even got her into modeling at one point. I was tossed aside and generally treated like a stain on her perfect parenting record and dubbed a troubled child.
When I first started showing signs of bi-polar depression, she shrugged it off as me being over-dramatic, wanting attention through negative means. I’m sorry, but when your child attempts suicide at 16 years old, it’s just being over-dramatic, right? I went through the most influential years either being ignored or berated or hit for denying her allegations that I had done something or another wrong. My PCOS was overlooked and ignored because she couldn’t be bothered to take me to the doctor. Never you mind that your 15 year old daughter wasn’t having regular periods. It’ll eventually happen. That’s exactly how she treated it. My teeth are a disaster. Gaps and other genetic issues and yet they were never taken care of. Weight issues? Nah, I was accused of being a midnight snacker for years. FYI: The weight issues are due to the PCOS.
After my mother couldn’t be bothered to remember my 21st birthday, I had decided that I was done with being treated as an after-thought. I cut my mother off. We didn’t speak for 5 years. At my grandmother’s insistence, I decided to let it go and try to have an adult relationship with my mother. Even then, she still couldn’t be bothered to call me now and then. Only when she needed free tech support. So, during a visit with my family, I attempted to bring up my upbringing with her. The most I’d ever get out of her was, “I admit, I may have gone too far at times.” And that was the only “apology” I’d ever get.
Fast forward to 2 years ago. Almost exactly 2 years ago. My ex-husband and I were separated. He was still living out where they are and I had returned home to the Pacific Northwest. My ex joined my mother and her husband for Thanksgiving. Somehow, they started talking about me and the things from my childhood that I had told him about. My mother took it upon herself to tell him to not believe the things I say. I tell fanciful stories for attention or over-exaggerate the truth. When my ex told me about this discussion, I was livid. I called my mother the day after Christmas and we had it out. There was lots of yelling and my mother dropped a bombshell on me. She never believed I was ever honest about a thing. That my religious beliefs and my political beliefs were all fake… all done for shock value. (Side note: I am a Satanist and a Democrat) That all I know how to do is make things up for attention. It took me about 5 months, but I let it go.
But between you and me, that’s the last straw. If she ever pulls that shit again, I will no longer have a mother.