Child Abuse: My Story
This story is from a lady who wishes to be anonymous. She is sharing her story to help others who suffered sexual, emotional, mental and physical child abuse. It’s time to break the silence about abuse in its many forms, so healing can take place.
At the early age of five I knew there was something wrong, but my inner spirit told me to hold on. My father was emotionally, physically and mentally abusing my mother, myself, my two eldest brothers and himself. He was a manipulative alcoholic, an illiterate man and a gambler and blamed us all for his bad life.
My mother who is deaf, dumb, diabetic and schizophrenic really didn’t know how to cope, but did the best she could, to care for us all. However, she needed help and called upon me. So, at a very young age, I became the nurturing mother of the family, her assistant and confidant.
Our father, my mother’s husband was jealous of us; he detested and hated to spend time with us. He never took us anywhere and if he did (the pub or his friend’s house) he would give us money and tell us to find our way home. If he saw me in the street, he would ignore me.
I knew my mother loved me and needed my support to help her care for him and the rest of the family. That was my calling.
We all watched, heard and felt my father’s beatings, blows, words of hate, frustration and put-downs on a daily basis. We were not good enough. We were bad children, a bad wife, we were stupid like our mother and we didn’t deserve to exist. We all accepted it because where could we go? We were only children, plus an illiterate disabled wife, too.
My father told us there were no funds for food, clothes, the house or the children’s education. He would send me to the off-license, to buy his alcoholic drinks. He had also manipulated the social welfare system. They assumed that his benefits, my mother’s and the Child Benefit were going to towards everyone’s upkeep. The house was a mess. We had no toys. We received no birthday or Christmas presents and we had to beg for our existence.
He would literally leave us in the dark, because he would forget to leave money for the electricity meter. On the other hand, there seemed to be enough money for his beers, whisky, cigarettes, betting slips, expensive clothes and nights out with his mates. Sometimes he would be out for days on ends. And, how my heart would pound when I heard the key turn in the lock. I knew I was going to get a beating, be screamed at, have to endure an argument or be blamed for something.
At the age of nine my brothers and I had discovered doctors and nurses. And with one brother (aged 12), the first eldest one asked me or told me that touching/rubbing of his genitals was okay. Not only was he not satisfied with me, I had to get my girlfriends to join in too. One day I recall, a girlfriend took me up on the offer to play doctors and nurses with us. Me, her, my two brothers lay on the couch in the front room under some covers. While my first eldest brother played with my friend, I was supposed to play with my second eldest brother (aged 11). We just couldn’t do it. So we lay there until our eldest brother had finished playing with my girlfriend.
Between my father’s beatings and my first brother’s incestuous thoughts, there was no way out. My father’s belt became the intimidator and my brother’s disrespect for women became accepted. I felt mad, but thought it was normal (every family was like this, right?) But deep down I was angry, ashamed, alone and in a nightmare.
At the age of 14, after many arguments and fights with my dad, this led to him kicking me out. I left and went to live with my auntie. There I continued to be a nurturer, carer, cleaner, and the babysitter of my nephew. My auntie was pregnant with their second child. While she stayed in the hospital, due to complications, her husband, my uncle decided to abuse me or should I call it rape. He said he loved me, that his wife (my auntie) didn’t care for him and that I was beautiful. It didn’t feel right when he touched me, fingered me and penetrated me. I being the carer, asked him if he was okay. His reply was, “I’m fine”.
One time, when he climbed off me and left the room, I cried until it hurt. I knew then that life was about suffering. But that it is not permanent I would find the strength to go on. It was not about what was happening to me, but how I would react to it, and finding my savior.
At 16, I returned home only to be told that I was not welcome. My father attacked me with a hot iron and thank God my second eldest brother was there to hold him back. He saved me! My mother didn’t know what to do and shouted at my father to stop, because I was her daughter and she needed me. But my father didn’t listen, he wanted the power and eventually got his way, and pushed me out of the front door. I heard the door slam hard and I went on my way, far away to another country.
I now live abroad and continue to heal, hold and accept my past, because the past is what has created me. I was brought up in a dysfunctional family, a family who had no tools, real support or understanding about life. Not one person within the family knew how to be honest with one another. Confrontations were not allowed, we never cleared the air, just added more to it. We lived in a world of denial, secrecy, neglect and fear. This was everyone’s comfort zone. The blinkers were on and the shutters were down. Half the family went to church to repent. The other half had nothing to do with it.
The outcome is my second eldest brother no longer wants any contact with us and blames us all for his existence. My auntie wants to ignore it or just don’t talk about our family history. Her now ex-husband (my uncle) has married another woman. Plus my auntie has been left with plenty of extra ex-marital siblings that he created during their time together.
My mother lives in a world of her own. My father was totally disconnected, disconcerted and has now passed away due to drink related issues. My grandma also passed away. She had turned to the church for salvation and because my grandpa (also passed) was harboring a shameful, dark and dirty secret too. He had raped his own daughter (my mother at 16) and made her pregnant with my half-brother (his and my mother’s son). I have hardly any contact with him. My first eldest brother is emotionally detached, superficial, arrogant but highly intelligent. He doesn’t wish to be associated with the past, either.
When I moved away, I made a conscious physical and mental decision not to be a part of it anymore. Because it is not fair, it’s unhealthy, unbalanced and doesn’t feel right.
But one thing’s for certain; I surrender all and am no longer in denial. It happened. I’ve forgiven me and those who didn’t know how to deal with the situation or themselves. But I will never forget. I found talking to child abuse psychiatrists, reading about a predator’s mind and self-defense classes helped, not to attack the perpetrator but to assert myself to say NO. I no longer blame or wish to change them or me because I am now at an age where I am responsible, ready to trust me and willing to embrace accept and love myself.
Signed: Anonymous aged 47.
Have you suffered child abuse or domestic abuse? Would you like to share your story to help others to speak out or take steps towards healing? I won’t reveal your name, unless you state otherwise.