My thoughts are clicking through my head at rapid speed, kind of like a flip book or old school film reel clicking through a projector. I keep sitting down and starting a deep or profound post before getting distracted or losing focus all together.
A lot of it is the stress and emotional reset from all the mess of break ins last week, and a lot of it is the kids interrupting me. Lol…
There I go, two paragraphs and my mind wandered right off. Argh, it’s incredibly frustrating, especially since I’ve had great in depth thoughts I just can’t seem to capture them and put them on the page. I feel like the only things that are coming out are a jumbled mess. Maybe they really aren’t, but I feel like they are.
I should level out here in a day or two. It usually takes my nervous system about two weeks to calm the eff down after a triggering event. I’m actually kind of thankful for the racing thoughts, because that means my brain is actually processing things instead of getting stuck in trauma mode. It’s a resounding sign of healing, even if it does make daily life a challenge trying to get chores done and write.
I’m slowly working toward the acceptance of beginning the work on my childhood. I’ve been resisting it for a long time, but I know I really do need to get into it. Mostly because when I’ve been thinking about it and talking to Hubs I’ve noticed HUGE memory gaps. Like I’ll remember snippets of events, but I won’t remember who I was with or why. Most of my memorable childhood memories were spent with random adults, in random places. Experiences that were awesome, but now as a parent a little bit disconcerting to look back on.
The biggest one being a trip to an overnight camp with a few women/girls from my parents church. It was like a Girl Scout camp, but I have no recollection of why I went. I very clearly remember thinking the same exact thing when getting dropped off and getting in the car. The other girls that went with me thought I was nuts because I kept asking where we were going. I guess every one thought it was a joke because no one really answered me, or if they did it was an answer that didn’t make sense.
Nope. I really had no idea where I was going. I remember eating in the cafeteria, and playing around in the bunks, with other girls freaking out about spiders in the rafters. I remember going on the nature hike the next day, wandering around doing a scavenger hunt with these girls whom I had befriended yet never saw again. I don’t even remember if I ever saw the two adult women who accompanied us again. Which isn’t really that scary considering the scale of the attendance at my parents church. There are lots of people I’ve only encountered once or twice that still attend the church.
There were other events much like that one, where I would be sent off with other kids my age and their parents. A lot of it was the whole homeschooling thing. Mom would go to meetings of support groups and meet other parents with kids my age, and in a backwards attempt to socialize me just sort of ship me off with random people to random field trips. Those events only really happened after my sisters came along. I can kind of see her horrible logic behind it. She wanted to give me age appropriate experiences while tending to the younger kids, but shipping me off with random strangers to random places was a horrible way to achieve that. I don’t know if she just didn’t care, or if she thought it would be a surprise to break routine, but I was rarely told before I was going anywhere.
I woke up in the morning, got dressed, finished my assignments and then the door bell would ring and some random adult would be there ready to pick me up. Introduced always as Mrs Such and Such or So and So’s Mom. Occasionally it would be some parent or kids that I’d connected with before. That was always a relief, although those friendships never lasted very long. Mom would get mad at the parents for whatever reason and then I wouldn’t be welcome back to play with the kids. I don’t think I ever had a lasting friend until I was 9, but even that didn’t last past my teens.
I think the other really big young childhood event was going to an amusement park with my mom. She thought it would be a fun treat, and it would have been if we actually got to do the things I wanted to do. Instead she took me on terrifying rollercoasters that I had no interest in because they would be “fun” and I almost fell out of/off of one of those tram things. I don’t know exactly what they’re called, but they’re like ski lifts. They go around on the cables and you have to be ready for them or they’ll take off with out you? Yeah… I didn’t want to get on at all and I panicked being terrified of heights so I froze and being so small (I think I was three because it was before my sister was born) not getting far enough back in my seat I slipped right out. I don’t know why in the fuck the operator didn’t stop the car immediately, but I rode most of the way across the park clinging literally for dear life dangling out of this tram car thing. Mom was mad at me for making a scene, and let me dangle for a good long while before she offered a hand to help me. Instead of comforting me, she scolded me for embarrassing her.
I don’t remember anything else about that trip other than another terrifying ride on a roller coaster. It wasn’t a big coaster, because we were at Americana which has since been shut down. (Is that surprising letting kids dangle from 50 feet?) The big coasters were at Kings Island, and we didn’t go there because I was too small. It was a little one, but it was orange, it spiraled up making most of the ride completely horizontal, I didn’t fit into the seat belt very well and all I wanted to do was bumper cars and paddle boats. Coasters didn’t really interest me then, and they still really don’t now. Although after that hell, it’s not too difficult to understand why I have an aversion to coasters lol.
I think that was the hardest part of growing up with my mom aside from the constant fighting and threats to leave my dad anyway. Her abuse was rarely physical until I got older. There were a few instances when I was really young where she got mad at me and tried to “spank” me, but I got away.
**Let me pause in my recollection here and say: Spanking as far as a mode of reasonable discipline I agree with. What my mom did was not corrective, loving discipline. She got mad and went straight to beatings. Two entirely separate things. A small consequence after many warnings to correct behavior? Yes. That’s appropriate in certain circumstances. Just using the word “spanking” to justify physical abuse is NEVER appropriate… but that’s a debate for another post and another day.
The one time I really remember is the time she grabbed my arm trying to catch me, but I pulled out of her grasp and launched myself straight into the corner of the wall fracturing my eye socket, and probably my nose as it started gushing blood everywhere. Then she decided to be maternal and try to comfort me after chasing me around the house in an angry rage and I wanted nothing to do with it.
Later there were several times were she beat me with a wooden spoon. Not spanking, but beating to the point the spoon broke and she switched to a plastic spoon so she could finish her “punishment”. There were only two or three times that happened before my dad stepped in and told her enough was enough. That went over well, launching into the entire “you love her more than me” tirade and threats of divorce. Most of the time he just let her do whatever she wanted (which is complete bullshit btw. If your spouse is acting crazy, tell them they’re acting crazy especially if it involves the kids. If the marriage falls apart, everyone is better off that way. Well unless custody ends up with crazy spouse anyway) and tried to comfort me after the fact with notions of “oh that’s just how your mother is. She loves you, she just doesn’t really know how to show it. If you just obey and do what she says it won’t get to this point. She’s your mother, you need to listen…” Yeeeeeeeeeah… no. All he did was enable her insanity under the name of love. I’ve been guilty of that myself, so I get it, but I wish he would have realized it sooner. He gets it now that all of us kids are out on our own, but they’ve been together for 30+ years now and it really is too late to make any significant changes to their relationship dynamic.
Those times mom was physically abusive were few and far between. Far enough apart that no one ever suspected her of anything more than “over protective” parenting with her manipulation and control over literally every aspect of my life. Especially back in the late 80’s and 90’s. Mental abuse wasn’t even on the radar as far as the young science of psychology was concerned, so all I had was “just my mom, loving me the only way she knew how”.
Yeah… basically being an accessory, a pawn, in my mom’s narcissistic facade was the only version of “love” I knew, until I wound up in therapy in my 20’s. It’s really amazing that I managed to catch myself without falling into the usual coping mechanisms of substance abuse or crime. I never did because I knew it would ruin my only chance to get out, which was a career and paycheck. At least until I started taking interest in the opposite sex… lol. That was my undoing. I saw a great quote scrolling around on Tumblr the other day that pretty much sums up teenage/young adult me and my choices:
“My parents warned me about the drugs in the streets, but they never told me about the drugs that come with brown eyes and heart beats.”