Jumping back to 1974 when we moved out of the mobile home on the little hill next to my grandparent’s house and into the old wooden house just about a mile or two from my grandparent’s house. Other than spending time with my best friend, Stacy while we lived there, that old house holds many, many bad memories.
This was Christmas morning and I was 6 years old. I remember getting up that morning, putting on my little red and white house coat and running into the living room to open presents. My dad made me sit down on the couch and wait. He didn’t like that I ran into the living room and that I was excited. While my mom did not see a problem, my dad did. Mom told him all kids are excited on Christmas morning. He said he didn’t care and he was going to make me sit there until HE was ready to open presents. I remember him looking at me and daring me to cry or say a word. Not sure how long I actually sat there. My mom had gone into the kitchen to fix some breakfast. While she and my dad ate in the kitchen, I was made to sit on the couch and wait. I just remember being upset and scared to move because my dad had a violent streak.
After my parents finished breakfast, they came back to the living room and my dad said we could open presents. I remember getting this tea set with plates, tea cups and a teapot and thinking it was the best present ever. My grandmother collected tea cups and saucers so it made me feel like I had a collection like hers. After opening all of my presents, I took that tea set to the dining room table and carefully removed everything from the box and set everything up on the table as neatly as any 6 year old could. I was so proud of my set up! That wouldn’t last long, though. My dad came into the dining room and got angry because I had set my tea set up on the table. It was in his way because he wanted to sit down, read the paper and have coffee. He waved his arm and quickly swept my tea set onto the floor. He looked at me and dared me to cry or say anything and told me I had 30 seconds to pick up the mess. I grabbed everything as fast as I could and ran to put it into my room. After that, I was afraid to take it out in the house because I was afraid my dad would get angry again and wasn’t sure what would happen next time. That tea set was put away and I only played with it when I could take it outside with my best friend to play.
To end Christmas day, my mother made a bath for me and I climbed in. She went into the kitchen to fix dinner while I played in the bath. Mom came to check on me and asked me to wash as good as I could and don’t forget to clean my ears. I took the washcloth and soap and began to get myself cleaned up then rinsed off the soap and continued to play in the water. My dad walked in to check on me. He made me stand up and he looked me up and down to see if I was all clean. He said I missed a spot and to sit down, he would be back. I remember my dad coming back with a stiff bristled brush with a wooden back. He put that brush into the water then started scrubbing me with it. That brush turned my skin so red and left many scratches up and down my back, arms, legs and stomach. I had started to cry because it hurt. My dad said if I kept crying he would scrub harder. Tears were held back as best as they could be. When he was done, he had me get out of the bathtub to dry off. Once I was dry, I went to my bedroom and slowly got dressed. When I walked into the kitchen, there were tears in my eyes. My mom wanted to know what was wrong. When I told and showed her what my dad had done, she was furious! She confronted my dad who promptly grabbed her by the arms and threw her against a wall. He turned to me, walked over, grabbed me by my hair, drug me into the other room and slung me across the room into a corner. I remember he left the house after that. Guess he came home some time after I was asleep.
This wasn’t the most pleasant memory but it came to me this morning. As a survivor of childhood abuse, I sometimes get flashbacks of these types of memories. I told my therapist that even though I went through what I did (she called it a lot of trauma) that I tell myself that I’m lucky because it could have been so much worse. She told me while she understood what I was saying that I should not discount the abuse I went through. People will tell me to leave the past in the past and move on. If only survivors of abuse could do that. What those people do not understand is that the abuse we endured is with us in some way, shape, form or fashion every single day. We try to live normal lives, whatever normal means. Sorry this post is somewhat bleak. It is my reality and only a fraction of my story. Do not feel sorry for us survivors. That is not what we need or want. What we need is understanding and support when we have a bad day here and there when the past interrupts our day.
We are survivors! We are warriors!
3 responses to “Going back to 1974”
😭😡 Dang (not the word I really want to use here) I’m sorry you had to endure such things. I know this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg but…
Anytime you have a flashback and need someone you know I’m just a phone call away!
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Thanks Stuart! Love ya, too!
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