We have now come to the part, where the child has repeatedly been forced to cope with a laundry list of “innocuous horrors”. We use this term, because our parents could be famous quoting to us the many reasons that we were never abused. The verbiage was almost always the same, even though over time the emotion grew from an wher and resentment, to a seething hate of my very being. This is the kind of hatred, that takes a lifetime to incubate. We were only a child, his child, not even old enough to have garnered such an esteem. This hatred was old, and personal. The fact was, we had to carry this water, ours or not.
Everyone had a part to play in our dynamic transformation. Our mother was just as culpable. Much of the household dramatics centered around our mother, and us. For many years, we seemed in alliance together. However the his could change at a moments notice, especially if us, the system, did something to anger dad. As was almost always the case. We managed to do on a more then regular basis. Our mother, was perhaps the most emotionally unstable person we have ever known. That is quite a monumental statement, compared to our own emotional dysregulation. even in times of crisis, our mother was not a quiet port in a storm, she was the thunder and lightning.
Mom was a small woman, in comparison to our fathers two meter height and broads and a tank build, she was a meek looking lady, just under five feet in height. She had dark skin and long black hair. Mom, you see was half Native American, Irish and Native American to be exact. She was born, in Norfolk Va. to a lady of the evening named Helen. Her mother had no real idea who her biological father was, only that he was Indian. Her mother, was in the care of a gangster, named Dailey Mathena, of Bluefield, Va. Needless to say, moms childhood was not all that idyllic either. Witnessing shootings, murders, assaults and a varied other amount of racketeering offenses, her judgments as just as skewed as ours would come to be. She too was a victim, and would continue to be one her entire life.
The entire story about how my mother and father met is a bit murky. However we do know a few things. Mom was a bit wild. She was working in adult movies, as well as escorting. This is how my father came to know her we believe, in a brothel. Apparently, according to mothers story, he charmed her so much that she fell for him instantly. She was marrying beneath her social status because, he was such a sweet and charming man. Nothing could have been a more dangerous deception. Regardless they were married about nineteen sixty six, this was my mothers second marriage; A fact we only learned after her death.
In the home dynamic, mom and us were oh so close. We were, as it seems, bound together in struggle and fear of dad. They always has fought, as long as we could remember. To see one of them with a fun pointed at the other was so commonplace, we no longer became shocked by the display. The sounds of fighting, that didn’t involve actual violence, were the good days we looked forward too. The quiet times, those for us were frightening. Waiting for the next time, when he would turn his attentions to punishment. My mother and I both suffered at the hands of his family rule. Our mother devolved over time into a hostage, a prisoner in her own life, same as we had become.
Seeking refuge and security, a fairly normal pursuit for most life forms. However for us. A futile effort for sustenance in a desert of misery. We had nowhere to turn. Home, the place that is meant to be a safe haven, was a battlefield of anger, guilt, manipulation and punishments. When things were too much, and overwhelming, we could not trust our mother to be “mothering”. Leaving us completely alone, and except for ourselves.
Sandy, mom, was more creative than dad. She compensated for her small stature, by mastering cruelty. We struggle to this day with the feelings for our mother. We KNOW, how she loved us, however the pain from her entire life, combined with the nightmare when he we both currently occupied, was just too much to overcome. For mom, the only way she felt she had control over anything, was to dominate us. To scare us into submission through threats, or simply to torture us, as she was many years before. Even as we know she adored us, she could not fight the programming of her past.
The day was a summer day, in Western New York, the days usually remained cool. However the temperature today felt as if it were over a hundred. The walk home from Williamsville North High School, about four miles away, took us along a two lane, county highway. We are having what could be described as the worst freshmen year in history. Today, we were going home to explain yet again, why our school performance was less than adequate.
We remember that day, knowing full well when we got home, we were only certain we had no idea what was coming. Although many of the same aspects of our punishments came to pass, the methods and accompanying verbiage, was always up for grabs. Maybe they had an idea from a friend in their Tough Love Group. Could they have watched TV, and learned of a new treatment facility or birding school to threaten us with! We never knew. We approached the house, a French Tudor, two story in a neighborhood that wasn’t quite middle class. Just up the road, where the majority of our schoolmates resided, the money laden subdivision we lived just outside. We literally lived on the same road. Just across the county/city boundary. We wish it had been mikes of distance, and it might as well have been. The quant house, with the never ending lawn ornaments of old cars and bad fencing, welcomed us home daily, to the other side of the fence. Passing up the drive and inside we began to panic.
Mom, was already aware of the days events at school. tardiness had become an art form with us, and drama was more than a class we could take. We were not sure which mood mom would be in today, but the time for waiting was over. As we walked into the kitchen, down the hallway, she was standing over the stove. Hands on hips, tapping her foot, looking up at her son. The onslaught is soon to begin.
“How dare we??“. She would scream. Dare we what? Make dad angry. How could we be so stupid, selfish and lazy. Did we not care about anyone but ourself? Did we not love her? How could we just sit there and breathe, when we were causing her, as we always do, all the problems between her and dad. How could we just be so smug about it all. Did we not care about her at all??! As the diatribe continues, we could always start to see in her eyes the resentment she had for us. As much as she lived us, the emotional toll we take in the family is too much. It truly is our fault as she says to us. Soon, any reservation about hurting us slips away to anger.
“GET UPSTAIRS IN THE PUNISHMENT ROOM NOW!!! We heard as we had been holding our face, covering our bill yes and we’re from the now coming blows from the wooden spoon. We constantly pleased with her not to hit us anymore. We would be good. We promised, but we always messed up. She knew that, so we were lying in her eyes. Another reason to hit us even more. We were ushered up the stairs, to the first small room on the right. Originally a spare room, mostly used for storage, had a wooden chair in the middle of the room. Dad would strip us down and use the chair as a punishment pedestal. After the first time we tried to run, he would tie us to the chair, until he was done. Today however, was not dads day, it was mom.
Mom was livid. Our little brother was watching, Ashley, now age 5 and in kindergarten. He was always afforded a front row seat to the action in the house; They made him watch, so he would learn what happens. Mom ordered us to strip off, all the way down. This again, was par for the course. We were then made to stand on the wooden a chair, and tending our arms out to the sides, like a cross. The feeling of this is like a vulnerability we have come all too much to not know. Today however, the stead of taking locks from an outdoor extension cord, we were given the task of holding a one quart can of oil, in each outstretched arm. This, is not an easy task. We have already been getting punished for an hour, we were exhausted.
Every time an arm began to fall, we were hit quite randomly, with an outdoor extension cord, not once, but until we picked the cans back up. As she was standing about two feet away, the loop on the cord was striking everything from our legs to shoulders. The pain of each strike was familiar, but we could never get used to the hatred she had for us. We would watch her as she hit us many times, and we would see the face of a woman high! She was exhilarated by the damage she was causing, the fear she was breeding in her son. When the wire landed in our genitalia, she laughed and hit again. This continues till we fell in the floor crying. They always stopped after we had just given up sobbing. Sobbing alone, would only get us hit more.
We never forget this day, though many times we cannot remember. We are not sure how why the system is allowing us access to so much, all at the same time. We were tied up many times, beaten many times, locked out, ran away, and stole money from them. We hated ourselves and what we had become, sometimes to the present day these feelings persist. We ask people, “Are we really so bad”. Why is our life anything but ordinary and yet completely fucked! Sorry.
Nowhere to be safe, cannot go home, cannot run to mom, school has been made unsafe, and our only safe place, was an abuser who had died eight years previous. Even to this day we have trouble finding a safe space. Perceived or otherwise.