Monday, September 28, 2009

Monster Monday

Lectures. When my mother's husband, Satan, got upset, we all got lectures. Not yelled at. Lectured. For hours at a time. Often at meals. You would sit down thinking it was spaghetti night and four hours later you were crying because you still had two hours of homework to do after the lecture. The offense didn't need to be anything serious. It just needed to be serious in the warped mind of Satan. It could be something as small as going to the mall with my mother without telling him, even though he wasn't home to be told (before the era of cell phones) and you arrived back home before he did. It could be relating a conversation I had with my dad about a non-offensive topic like shoes or a baby cousin born that week or dogs. Once his eldest son came home from boarding school (Lucky duck! I used to pray for the chance at going to boarding school to get away from them but my dad never thought that was a good solution to my issues.) and mentioned that he went on an overnight visit to a friend's house one weekend and attended a Catholic church. That lecture lasted years on the wickedness that is the Catholic church. Imagine his excitement when my dad sent me to a Catholic high school! The offense didn't need to make sense to anyone other than Satan. Decades later I am still unclear on what sparked so many of the lectures.

The thing is, if it was at their house over dinner, it felt containable. I could just keep it to myself. Just grin and bear it. Nod. Say yes. Apologize profusely even though you weren't there when said offense occurred and have no understanding what the problem was. Apologize and promise till the cows come home that you will never do it again (even if you never did it, said it, thought it, or knew about it in the first place.). But it was horrifying if it was one of the rare occasions when you had a friend over to the house. Because it was hard to put a spin on the situation then. And you were never allowed to get up from the table until he gave you permission. Needing to use the potty was never an excuse. Phones went unanswered. Homework would wait until midnight to be started. And friends had to endure the suffering too. It was mortifying! And not just kid friends had to witness this. Adults, family members, church clergy, everyone. If you were there and a lecture took place, you were in it for the long haul too. Just like me. When it was over, I would spend every second trying to cover up the situation. Make light. Lie that it never happened or wasn't bad or whatever I could think of.


I rarely invited friends over when I stayed with my mother and Satan. There was simply no predicting what might go down. Everyone felt so sorry for me growing up. And I hated that sympathy. It felt so much like pity. Maybe it was. I know it was out of the kindness of hearts but it was humiliating too. It made me feel so different. Like the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. I never felt like people cared about me for me, it always felt like they just felt so darn sorry for my situation. My adult self knows that people loved me and wanted less suffering for me. But as a little kid, the view was different. I always felt less than.


One of the worst situations happened when we were traveling. Actually, most of the worst situations happened when traveling or out at a nice restaurant. We were in Europe, though at the moment I can't remember where. Switzerland, maybe? He got so mad at a nothing comment my mother made (like literally nothing that had to do with anything. just babble conversation.) and he left us in the middle of no where. Took the car and left us in some unknown town on the side of the road. We had no idea where he was or where we were staying that night as everything was in the car with him. No way to contact him and no way to get anywhere. Where would we go anyway. We were there being "punished" for nearly the entire day. We weren't allowed to do anything because we had to wait and hope that he would return. So me, my mother, and Satan's two sons (both older than me) stood on the side of this road in a little town for an entire day. When things got very bad, my mother always used to rationalize them by saying that Satan took us on very nice vacations. That standing on the side of the unknown road example is one of my nicer vacation memories. Seriously. So I'm sorry, what exactly justifies the misery? A lecture or mistreatment in a fancy location is still a lecture or mistreatment. But really, a lot more work because you spend all of your energy trying to pretend to the world that you are happy.


It upsets me to no end when the media/people criticize situations such as Mackenzie Phillips or Jaycee Dugard. They go on and on about how they could have left those situations. I guess it means that those criticizing have never experienced any sort of abuse themselves. Which is such a blessing. I actually used to pray for Satan to hit me. Just once. Because even as a little kid I knew that I would never escape unless there was concrete proof. He never hit any of us. Threatened all the time. But never laid a hand. He knew. We all knew. That emotional abuse of power is just that....power. It is powerful beyond explanation. There is no such thing as just walking out the door. It takes an act of God and aligned stars to "just walk out" of an abusive situation. It is beyond exhausting to try to live your daily life as if you are acting in a Broadway show. Everything is a lie. It's all a performance. To fake being normal. To hide the humiliating truth. At the end of the day, you are satisfied if you didn't draw more attention to yourself and if you got away without being big trouble. Extra energy to just walk out the door is nearly nonexistent. The fear is far too great to risk it!

18 comments:

KK said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. There are many kinds of abuse!

Preppy in Pink said...

I was thinking today how awful it must have been for my brothers and sisters when I went to college. I was so happy to flee and it was an impossible situation. I feel guilty now having left them behind but freedom, oh freedom. I'm sure people knew but I never told a soul. I wonder why I never dialed 911 or told a teacher...freinds, no way I couldn't have them. So sing baby, sing!

Nora said...

That is terrible! I hope your Mom eventually left that jerk. I'm sorry you had to have a childhood like that.

Gracie Beth said...

I am sorry to read this, my mother was abused by her stepmother until she met my father and his parents who had 5 children of their own took my mother and her 4 siblings in.

e.m. said...

Ah..the lives we have lived. My mom left my dad after 23 years and I often wonder how things would have been different for me and my brothers growing up without the mental emotional and physical abuse. I hear you..xoxo

Torch Lake Prep said...

Are you free know? Hopefully your mom is not still with him?

Suburban Princess said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Are you angry at your mom for putting you through this for so many years? What about the other adults you said had to sit there too?

Rachel H. said...

I can't imagine going through abuse like that! I'm sure that you are a better person because of the experience!

tintarosa said...

We hear so often stories of physical abuse. Not so much about emotional abuse. It too takes it's toll. Reading your post today brought back memories of an old friend. I hated spending the night at her house. Loved having her at our house. A few years ago I attended his funeral (to support my friend). I was shocked by the eulogies given by his friends. The person I knew and the person his friends loved were very different people.
Satan is a jerk. I am sorry he is a part of your life.

Diane said...

I lived through much the same thing for 13 years with my ex-husband. People always ask why I hung around so long. I never know how to answer because I don't have an answer. I think its easier to pretend emotional abuse is not really abuse, since you aren't being physically assaulted. But at least I was an adult when I lived with my satan. I'm sorry you had to live through that as a child/teenager.

Jennifer said...

I am so sorry that you experienced that. You are so brave for sharing!

JulesTX said...

Like the others have said, I too am sorry that you had to endure that abuse growing up. Continue to speak out as your words help set you free and others around you too.

Wila (aka Ali) said...

Thank you for sharing that. He sounds just like my ex-husband. I used to pray he would just go ahead and hit me, it would give me a "real reason" to leave. I finally got the strength to walk away before he did, though. I often think of the phrase "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." I'm not so sure what I think about it, it just makes me nervously laugh and shake my head.

adozeneggs said...

That's just horrible. I thought my parents S.O.'s were bad.
I'm hoping that your mom has left this man.

thepreppyprincess said...

Oh Miss Crocodile.... this one made my eyes mist up, the horror of what adults do to each other is one thing, but when it is inflicted upon children, robbing them of their innocence, it is far worse. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing with us, the unpredictability of it all must have made everyone live on pins and needles.

I'm sending you a monster hug,
tp

Miss Wendy said...

WOW.... I am sorry you experienced that growing up. I was emotionally and verbally abused by my step dad. My mom choose to look the other way too. I struggle still with self esteem issues. I am just thankful I married a wonderful guy.

Kerree said...

Did he have a drug problem??? I had a stepdad like this too only he did hit us. Once he kept hitting me and hitting me across the back of the legs because I had asked him if I could go for a walk, then I had actually gone to do something else first then when I had finished I asked my mother if I could go for a walk (mainly just to let her know that I was going now) and he got in a big shit because he said that he had already told me I could go and I didn't need to ask my mother. Afterward I was forced to stand in the pool for hours until the redness went away. Stepdads are great aren't they?

Miss M! said...

Even being hit is still no guarantee of escape. My mother used to beat us, irrationally, with closed fists or whatever was nearby she could grab. Grown men were afraid of this woman. Yet we never told anyone for the same reason you listed - fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not being believed, fear of her finding out and retailiating.

Abuse is abuse, even if it is "just" words. I'm sorry you and your siblings had to go through that.

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