Where to begin? I’m 31, have a Mathematics degree and a JD, a crazy dog named Freckles and two silly cats, am closer with my brother and his family than I have been in years, have amazing friends, am loved by many, am learning to love myself, just opened my own business, am overweight and have been since I was 10, have anxiety and depression, had a psychotic break almost two years ago, and am a survivor of mental, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
I don’t speak with my parents much anymore, though they live about 15 minutes from me. My parents were my primary abusers, my mom in particular. She beat my brother up with a 2 x 4 (yes, a piece of lumber), put a gun in my first boyfriend’s face, made me shower with her until I was 17, described her sex life with my father in gory detail when I was far too young, confided in me about an affair she was having when I was a teen (again, in gory detail), and made me stand in the corner like a toddler just before my 18th birthday. My dad is just as culpable as my mom. While he promised at one point never to hit me again and kept that promise, he still hit my brother and perpetuated my mother’s punishments. He didn’t do anything to stop her and participated in one of the worst traumas of my childhood.
My mother is a master manipulator. She and my father have gambling problems and my mom has done a lot of things I believe are designed to keep her habit going. She borrowed money from me the minute I had a job. We didn’t have milk in the fridge because my parents were broke, but they went out that same night and gambled. My mom stole from her grandmother when her grandmother was sick, took money her mother intended for a funeral in case she died while having major surgery, and now as executor of my grandmother’s estate, my mother is self dealing, hiding things from her brother and sister, and holding on to trinkets that my grandmother wanted my brother and I to have just because we’re not acting like the children she wants us to be. Money came up missing, I’m convinced it was my mother. Jewelry also disappeared. Again, I’m convinced it was my mother. I stay out of the estate drama as much as I can, because it only makes me sad, angry, and want to get involved. I know I can’t get too involved for my own sanity, so I don’t.
Back to my childhood. My parents were in law enforcement and that power was used quite often to keep us quiet as kids. Who would believe a child over a cop? No one. We knew that from a young age. My mom had no qualms about using her gun, gun belt, hand cuffs, or knives to intimidate and scare us kids. It was terrifying. I have memories that are incomplete, and I have a hard time trusting my own mind when it comes to certain things that happened in my childhood. I try not to dwell on them, because I know instinctively that the missing parts are probably not good, but sometimes I really want to know.
My brother was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid and was reportedly (by my mom) a borderline sociopath, that beat me up more than the average brother does his sister. I was smart and knew what sociopath meant and knew it meant he was potentially dangerous. My brother also molested me on one occasion that I remember. I’ve sort of moved past the hurts my brother caused, because I know he was a kid. He lived through what I did and got even worse abuse (he took the brunt of the physical abuse for both of us). My mom kept us apart for a long time even as adults (we both thought the other hated us because of how my mom would twist things around). I’m grateful to have him in my life and so grateful that our relationship is growing again, because he’s the only one that truly understands what I’ve been through and was the only one there for me when I went bat shit crazy a couple of years ago. In any event, my parents routinely left me with him at night while they went and gambled, telling me I had to take care of him. My parents knew how he was while they were gone, but they still left us alone together. I very rarely felt protected and safe.
One of the worst memories I have from my childhood is the drowning incident. I was young, probably 7. My brother is 4 ½ years older than I am, so he couldn’t have been more than 12. My brother apparently stole some money that was intended for Christmas. It couldn’t have been more than $200 and I went with him to spend it. I don’t even remember what we bought, but I do remember going to the 7-Eleven down the street and maybe Kmart. We probably got candy and stupid things. As punishment, my mom and dad threatened to drown my brother and forced me to watch.
We were all scrunched into the hallway bathroom at my parents’ house and my dad was standing by a full bath tub holding my brother’s head inches from the water. My mom was encouraging him, yelling at my brother. My brother was scared, but I don’t remember him crying. I couldn’t watch my dad kill my brother and I feared I was next, so I ran out of the bathroom and sat on the living room couch. I didn’t know what to do. My mom wasn’t having any of that; I was just as guilty. She forced me back into the bathroom and hand cuffed me to the towel bar. I was powerless, scared, and couldn’t believe my eyes. I don’t remember how it ended (we both survived), but something changed in me after that.
There are plenty of other bad moments I could go into, but my memory is so fuzzy and untrustworthy, and I’ve given you more than enough to say that my childhood was messed up in a lot of ways, I’m sure. At least for the moment. To be clear, there were good moments too. My parents encouraged us to do well in school, they showed us love when they could, we had family dinners, listened to music and played games. My dad put bad people away in jail and my mom kept them there. They were my heroes in a lot of ways. What a mind fuck. We also went to therapy for a while when I was young, but it stopped abruptly at some point. Not sure why other than to assume my parents feared we would tell what was really going on at home.
I have spent my life ignoring the obvious, denying my feelings, and pushing everything negative down into that dark chasm of my soul that no one could ever reach, including myself. It has affected every aspect of my life and I am a broken soul. I hope to sort through the pieces now that I have the freedom to do so, but I’m terrified that the real story of my life will finally tear me to shreds.