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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.