What Our Mother Taught Us
We have been told that, considering the likelihood of inter generational
abuse it is probably that our mother was abused herself. Although
we have little doubt of this, it angers us that many use this as an excuse
for her behaviour. There is in our opinion no excuse for abusing
a child, in your care, let alone the systematic and premeditated torture
and destruction of your child. My mother had a choice and she choose
to continue the abuse with her daughter. She refused for whatever
reason to look at her life, her actions and her beliefs. Instead
she shut off her past, hiding in her own denial and taking out her hurt
on her own daughter. For a long time we believed, we needed to believe
that our mother had major anger and impulse control problems, she just
couldn't control herself. Therefore we could pretend she did love
us, that she wasn't an evil person. Every child needs to believe
they are loved, that their parents cared about them. And we were
no exception. But as more is learnt of our life with her, more is
looked at and accepted we can no longer believe the excuses and have to
face the truth. This truth is of a woman who had not only the inability
to control her anger but also planned out her attacks on us. She
worked hard on her abuse, planning it for days, until it would be the most
effective way to cause us the most harm possible.
It was said that our parents tried hard to have their second child,
and when my mother got pregnant with me they were very happy. I wasn't
a mistake, an unwanted child. I was planned for, anticipated with
please. But the daughter she gave birth to seemed abhorrent to her.
Upon returning home she has as little to do with her daughter as possible.
Neglect was the beginning of our life and remained the constant influence.
Active abuse would come and go but the neglect, being thought of as non
existent would always remain. As an infant we would often be left
alone , hungry and dirty. The excuses given for this, was that as
a child we were loners, never crying or grizzling and in my mother's mind
not wanting attention. She was there, able to justify her actions,
it wasn't neglect or abuse, it was our fault, we should of let her know
we wanted attention. So already, as in infant we were responsible
for the actions of others, and the one to be blamed. The neglect
shaped our lives, for we soon learnt we weren't a person like everyone
else, we didn't have the same needs or rights. In many ways the neglect
was the most damaging of the various abuses we suffered at the hands of
our mother. For this neglect taught us we were nothing, not even
worth the effort to abuse. Over time, many of us developed the need
to be abused, to have her beat us. For then we existed, we became
a person that she was hurting. But the reality was existing to our
mother put us in a very dangerous position.
Our mother had a vicious streak, it was not enough to merely hurt us,
she needed to destroy our spirit as well. The beatings we endured
from her, although horrendous, in the long term did less damage to us compared
to her emotional attacks. Physical injuries heal quickly, the bruises
and welts fade and the wounds close over. But her words, the taunts
and insults that accompanied the blows stayed with us all our lives, changing
our view on ourselves and the world. We took the blows, patiently
enduring them, the majority of us never fighting back. For we were
nothing, we didn't exist like other people, so it was ok to hurt us.
The beatings were her right. She had taught us we were bad, that
there was something inherently wrong about us. Therefore everything
that was done was acceptable. Bad people got hit, not to make them
good, she had already taught us we were beyond hope, beyond salvation,.
The beatings were not to make us a good person, they simply happened because
we were bad. There didn't have to be a reason. The beatings
themselves, were seldom enough for our mother. She wanted more damage
done. So not only did she search for better implements to do us damage,
but she also worked out ways to degrade and punish us further, such as
destroying precious belongings in front of our beaten body. She would
have to beat us before we had any event outside of the home, telling us
that we did not deserve enjoyment, that the pain we would be in would remind
us that we were bad and make us grateful that she allowed us to go.
We learnt to fear fun times because there would always be a price.
There was nothing we could do about being bad, it was almost genetic.
Something that was as permanent as our eye colour. But, to our mother,
we would only make that worse. We also chose to be bad. Our
appearance, the fat girl with uncontrollable hair and stubby fingers was
one of the ways we chose, it was our fault. We were doing this on
purpose, to shame her. Many of her punishments were because of our
weight and looks. How could we do this to her, she would rage.
She wanted a thin pretty daughter, she deserved one. Our very appearance
was a disgrace to the family and she would continue to abuse us until we
learnt, and behaved. Learning and behaving meant becoming the acceptable
image, thin and pretty, like good girls should be. Her starving us,
making us go days without food, originally began as a way to achieve that,
but later became just one of her many punishments occurring without reason.
We learnt our badness manifested in our body, we could never be pretty
and no matter how many diets she put us on, we never became thin.
I think that, of the countless ways we were a disgrace to our mother,
that was the biggest failing, being fat and ugly was an unforgivable sin.
There were others of course. When our creativity developed with language
an dart instead of music, when we became academic rather than athletic,
she grew more annoyed. We learnt to hide our achievements, lying
about grades or purposely failing We would destroy anything we created
rather than risk it being discovered. We were afraid of our own skills,
they would bring us attention, and therefore enrage our mother. We
could never be anything more than average, never do anything to stand out,
or bring praise onto ourselves. For to do that would mean another
punishment, another bout of suffering, it just wasn't worth it.
The recent discovery of our mother's sexual abuse of us has meant another
round of lessons to be understood. For years we remembered the abuse,
what we called physical punishment using sexual means. Being sodomised
with a candle was about pain not sex. But now we know different.
There were times when she would get sexual pleasure for us. We were
a slut and whore, she told us. She knew of my behaviour with my grandparents
and how dare I not do this with her. It was ungrateful. So
not only was the sexual abuse my doing, but I was also selfish for not
giving her the same. We had conflicting messages from her, which
I suppose isn't unusual. She would tell us no one would ever want
us, that we were too ugly and dirty for anyone to love, or want to make
love to, but we should be grateful that she is allowing us to do this.
We were so dirty, so evil, that she took it upon herself to prevent us
having children, she told us that we would only bring forth twisted vile
creatures, but this never stopped her using us in that manner. We
learnt we were an object for the use of others, and at the same time we
were responsible for their use of us. We were to blame for the abuse,
but it was our job to be abused. The confusion is still there, not
knowing if we deserved it, if we were blamed. Sometimes it doesn't
even feel like abuse, it must of been what we wanted.
Our mother's lessons have stuck with us, worked their way into our fabric.
We are learning a lot of what we think and feel about ourselves comes from
those lessons. She hurt us for years, the wounds remain, physically
there are only a few permanent scars, but mentally we will never be truly
free of them, she worked too hard to place them in us.