A Debt She Never Owed!
by Barbara Ann
My parents divorced when I was 6 years old. There were four children I was third in the litter. I say litter jokingly but many times I felt like a dog abandoned and uncared for.
My brother quickly became my abuser as soon as my parents' fighting started. Once my dad was out of the house he hit more and more. Things became much worse when he began taking and selling drugs. The beatings were so frightening, I remember wondering am I gonna live to be a grown up? I had to--I had plans of being better than all of this hate around me.
Every time I heard on the news of a child being killed by a situation involving sibling's fighting, I thought for sure, that would be me one day.
My mother worked full time to support us and we were on welfare like most divorced families. So my brother had ample time to push me around. He would lock me in the basement and tell me his friends were coming over and I couldn't come out because I was ugly and he didn't want me to scare them away. I couldn't come out until they all left. Sometimes I'd spend hours down there in the dark frightened and cold.
He would also flick lit matches at the carpet in front of my bed and laugh when it caught fire as I screamed, scared to death I was going to get burned. He beat me so many times I would scream for my life. Sometimes I ran out of the house to get away from him and lucky for me I had a friend in the neighborhood whose mom was supportive to me and when she could see me running would always let me in. Lots of times my brother would chase me and when she would see him she'd yell that she was calling the police. I would shake so bad and cry so hard she would hold me until I could breathe easier. I'll leave the names out as a respect to those who were helpful to me.
One day my mom was across the street visiting a neighbor, and my brother and I had a falling out. With his hand on my face he pushed me hard and off balance to the point of me hitting my head on a hard metal radiator. I split my head open and bled badly for a good half hour or so. My sisters took turns going to the neighbors house telling my mom I was hurt and that she needed to come home. She said it would teach me a lesson to stay away from my brother. Like I had any control over staying away from him, I was tiny--just a child. Eventually she came home, and called my granddad to see my cut and he said I needed stitches. My mom refused to bring me to the hospital, saying they will tell the cops and my brother will be sent away. I was left on the couch all night in case I had a concussion, and told not to fall asleep. I was sent to school the next day exhausted.
I've had a knife held to my head, been suffocated in the snow, had my clothes taken off me and tied to a fence like a dog by my brother and a friend of his. I was embarrassed and ashamed when a male neighbor found me and called the police for my safety.
But till this day, my mother stills stands by her story that we were all just kids being kids. I felt abandoned over and over especially when the neighbors would call the police for my sake and my mother would lie and tell them stories so they wouldn't take my brother away.
At one point a social worker came to the house just for me. I never understood how this was possible until a few years ago when I was 40 I had just buried the only person that showed to me unconditional love. My husband Jack who died of ALS. I went back to the house where it all happened and ran into my next door neighbor, I'll call her Cathy. After a long talk she shared with me that years back it had been her parents who called the cops a lot to help me. It had been them who called welfare to get me removed from my home for safety. All those years I screamed so loud, I thought NO ONE cared. I started to cry. She told me that she and her family could hear me screaming for help and would just cringe at my screams. They knew I was in trouble and tried to help anonymously on many occasions. My heart sank and yet felt so touched to hear this.
I learned a lot over the years about myself and what I had gone through after lots of therapy. The woman I had so much trouble taking off a pedestal in therapy because she was my mom, which was gospel to all my relatives, no matter what, you should never say or do anything disrespectful toward your mom, after all she gave birth to you, NEVER deserved to be on a pedestal to begin with.
Your mom is responsible to keep your home a safe place for you. Mine says she tried, but screaming at me and blaming me for my attackers' shortcomings and protecting him from the police instead of calling them for my protection, was wrong!
My mother never held me or nurtured me, never said I love you, but always said how much she wished she didn't have kids. How my aunts and uncles didn't see how disturbed she was made me angry. They laughed about her ignorance and stupid comments at family functions, knew how slow she was to catch on to things and how harsh and rude her comments were in public. My mother slept around while she was on a quest to find a man to take her of her. All that was a story in itself!
But they couldn't see this woman's ability to abuse us.
I have no contact with any siblings anymore, nor aunt or uncle. I find it has helped me to completely say goodbye. This was not easy, I still every once in a while especially around holidays, get a feeling of wanting to see how they all are. But make no mistake, I have learned that it isn't because I miss them, it's because I miss the idea of family. So I have learned to open my heart again and let my heart embrace my husband's family. Time has healed my heart and soul. I am loved, I deserve to be loved. I remind myself of this every time I miss the idea of my family ever being close. That will never be. Remember how hard it is to change yourself into something better, it's even harder to change someone else!
I hate when people say, "Aww, just let it go, it's the past!" NO it isn't! For the rest of my life, every time some one asks me do you have family here? How often do you hear from your family? Are you traveling home for the holidays? Will your parents or family be coming to the show? Do you have brothers and sisters? Are you close? And I have to answer, no we aren't close. I'm constantly reminded about the past and the shame that it brings into my future and once again, I pay for a debt I never owed!
I hope this helps someone. This was only a small part of my abuse. I'm willing to talk to anyone who wishes to have contact.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Barbara Ann, and thanks for telling your story here. I am so glad for your healing. You are indeed a brave and courageous soul, and it sounds like you're becoming a wise woman. Thank you for offering help and support to others. It is so great for others to read your story and know that you have found healing.
My very best to you,