Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Child Abuse (Mama's Little Girl)

{Below is an intense story of abuse by a parent. Story may be disturbing to our more sensitive audience. - AAN staff note}

More terrifying than an insane stranger is when the person you're most afraid of is family.  The intimacy and inescapable bond of blood brings the terror to deeply personal levels that scary neighbors, ex boyfriends or strangers can not reach.  This is one of the more intense example of something that occurred constantly as I was growing up in the 80's. This is the story of my mom trying to kill me.
Ever since I was old enough to remember, my memories of my mother always involve pain and abuse, both physical and verbal.  She pushed me down the stairs, would torture me with water in the bathtub, and was all around emotionally abusive.  The worst part is that for many years no one else in my family believed me.
My family consisted of myself, my sister, and mom and dad.  From all outside appearances we were your average, happy, American family and I guess most of the time, most of us were.  The four of us attended church, my sister and even I managed good grades in school, and my dad had a steady job.  From outside no one would have suspected the horror I went through, not even those closest to me.
I'll tell you a couple examples of my childhood abuse; for several years when I was very young my mom would be the one to give me baths.  We didn't have a shower, so I took only baths.  My mom would make a game of holding me under the water while bathing me.  I can remember the shine in her eyes and the smile on her face as I struggled underneath her grip as the air left my little body.  Another time I was at the top of the stairs leading from the second flood to the first, and my mother came out of the bathroom, which was right next to the stairs, and the next thing I know I'm tumbling down the stairs head of heels.  I cracked my head on the television stand near the bottom of the steps, and I remember my mom claiming I was a klutz as she and dad took me to get stitches even though I know I was shoved.  These are just a couple examples of what was a decade long  life of torture.
On different occasions I tried telling both my sister and my dad about the sadistic actions of my mother.  My sister, only four years older than me, thought I was telling stories.  My dad thought maybe I was transferring abuse from somewhere else onto my mother.  He checked out teachers, and church officials, never willing to accept that it was his wife, my mother, inflicting such pain on me.
My family's attitude finally changed when my mom slipped up.   One afternoon, while my sister was at volleyball practice and my dad at work, I was doing homework in my bedroom.  Suddenly my mom burst into my room and grabbed me by the arm.  She said she wanted help ironing the clothes.  I knew what this meant as she had said this to me once before.  I struggled to get away from her, but I was still very young, around 7 or so, and my struggle just made her grip tighter.  She used the iron on my hand.  Later that evening my dad came home from work and saw the burns on my hand.  My mom explained that I was horsing around while she was ironing and that I knocked the iron onto my own hand.  Years later he would explain that this is the moment my dad began to become suspicious.  You see because of the earlier incident with the iron I have always been petrified of irons.  I wouldn't get anywhere near them and my dad knew this. 
Eventually  my dad and sister came to believe me, and the three of us left.  My dad, unable to provide any hard evidence to the police, thought it was best if we just get away from her.  He knew that if he filed for divorce that my mom would at least get some custody rights. So we ran. We lived on the move for the next several years.  Though we were unable to put down new roots, life for me was much better.  I knew that my sister and dad, however, weren't happy.  Finally, one year we decided to stay in a town.  My dad liked his job, and my sister and I had friends.  We didn't want to move anymore.  We figured it had been several years, and by now my mom must have stopped looking for us, if she ever did at all.  We were wrong.
I was 16 when my mom tried to kill me.  Walking home from school, I noticed right away that something was off when I arrived home.  At that moment I couldn't place what it was, but I would later realize that the sounds of the neighborhood were louder than normal and that it was because the backdoor to the house was open.  I set my backpack down, and walked to the refrigerator to get a pop.  I sat down at the kitchen table and saw the backdoor was open.  No one else would have been home at that time.  My sister would have been at class, at a local community college, and my dad would have been at work.  It could have been a number of things, a repairman my dad forget to tell me about, a burglar, or even I could have forgotten to shut the door before I left for school, but I knew it wasn't any of those things.  I knew it was my mother.
Still sitting at the kitchen table I didn't know what to do, call the cops, leave the house, or call my dad.  I didn't have time to consider my options because no sooner had I stood up then I hear my bedroom door open, and my mom walks through the living room toward me.  She's crying and saying how everything was my fault and it was always my fault.  Then she shoots me.
Six shots were fired, the police say, and the scars on my body say that three hit me.  In a miracle of luck the police were already on their way before I was shot.  My neighbor saw my mom break in to the house moments before I came home and had called the police.  They caught my mom and applied first aid until an ambulance arrived.  I don't remember any of this as I was thankfully unconscious after the second bullet hit me. 
My mom is in jail for attempted murder and isn't scheduled to get out for many more years.  My sister and my dad fully believe me and probably still feel horrible for not believing me when I was little..  I'm doing okay.  I'm married, but have no kids. 


VJ said...

Wow, that was intense. I feel so sorry for what happened to her. It really puts what the rest of us fear in perspective.

Anonymous said...

agreed. scary thing to thinka bout.

Anonymous said...

I wet through the same years of abuse at my mother's hands--verbal, physical, emotional and sexual...the only differences are that a) my mother never shot me (did try to smother me though) and b)my dad knew about the abuse from the start, he just couldn't stand up to my mother. I married at 17 just to get away from it. Luckily the man I married is wonderful, patient, kind and beyond understanding about my background.

Today, in my 40s, I'm basically an invalid from all the physical abuse my mother heaped on me. I can't walk for any kind of distance because my mother broke my leg and foot when I was nine and the breaks were never set. My back has nineteen healed fractures and I have a permanently broken tailbone. I'm on high doses of morphine for pain and tranquilizers for post-traumatic stress. My husband of 25 years and 14-year-old son help and protect me as much as possible, but I know how hard what you're going through is. If you want, get in touch with me at my son's email addy ( My mother is still alive and in perfect health while I spend every day suffering and in pain...and I don't think she even thinks about me,let alone regrets what she did. My prayers are with you, wherever you are.