“How did she get to leave, but not me?”

Remembering my sisters escape…and what it felt like afterwards…

It was like she was in a constant state of punishment. Some mornings my father would come in and laugh and make a joke with us…but she would still not leave her post in the corner. Other days he would come in angry and pull Teresa out of the room, into their room. The screams and cries would soon be heard.

When Teresa was locked in the closet – my parents locked the door with a pad-lock. They used to keep the key on top of their dresser.

One day my parents had company over – they we occupied in the living room, drinking and laughing with their friends. I was coloring in my bedroom alone, when for some reason I went into my parents room to talk with my sister. I remember that it was sunny that day.  In my flashbacks – I’m always surrounded by the light of sunshine.

I don’t know why I went in there, maybe she called me in – or maybe it was our plan all along. I can’t remember what made me go in there. It was absolutely forbidden, I knew I would receive a beating if I was caught.  I usually tried not to do anything that was going to cause violence.

I can remember reaching up to grab the key from the top of my parents dresser – listening carefully for my parents to be sure they weren’t coming down the hall. I unlocked the door…

Next I remember she was standing in front of me asking me if I wanted to go with her? I see myself looking down at my feet.   I was four – to me that was too scary of a thought.  I said no by shaking my head.   I remember thinking how much trouble I would be in if I were to get caught, and where would we go?

Before Teresa left she asked me to go into mom and dad’s room again (right across the hall) and grab her something to wear. Teresa was naked, that’s how my parents kept her in the closet. They used to say it was easier to beat the shit out of her if she didn’t have the clothes on. In fact, each time we received a beating we usually had to be undressed. It was almost a part of the ritual.

When my sister and I reunited years later she was so full of anger towards me.  She had told me once she left it was easy for me. Apparently she was under the delusion that once she left my parents learned their lesson and stopped beating, neglecting and torturing us.   Easy is not the way I would have described it though.. Who the hell does she think got it next? And, why was she so blind to our mothers deception after her first hand knowledge.  And we both knew our brother would not receive the same fate as us.  He was treated differently from us.  He was still considered a human, a person…someone worth putting their love and effort into.  My brother rarely received corporal punishment.  Although, he was still a victim of my parents.  He was tortured in other ways.   However, even my brother was welcome to eat at the table for dinner.  Even he was allowed to eat food and eat with mom and dad.

My sisters belief that I had it easy when she left; is just simply not true.  I had to stay. She got too leave, too what I thought at the time was going to be a safe, loving home.  I could never have imagined what was in store for her.  In my eyes – she was saved.  She got out!  Having my sister gone just meant it was now my turn.

Just think – at the age of four I already knew that I was going to have to fight to survive.  I knew what was happening and I believed there was only a slim chance that I too could be saved.  If people let me stay after what they saw happen to my seven year old sister – them knowing just how bad it was for her… and still returning my brother and I back?  How bad did it have to get? This was a terrifying truth that I had to face for many years ahead.

Before my dad would start the beating phase – he would torture the crap out of us by asking us millions of questions, over and over about the bad thing we had done. He would ask us why? Why did we do that? And, we would answer. At least I know in the beginning with me I would always tell my dad the truth, even if it meant I was going to get a beating over it. At least it was the truth, and I think I believed my dad would some how catch me a break if I told the truth. Not the case. Even though it was the truth – there had to be more to it. This is what my father would say.

Once Teresa left us and was permantly removed – the police and Ministry of Children and Families decided to allow my parents to continue caring for Jason and I. In fact – my mom was charged with the abuse on Teresa but the court system gave her weekend jail time, that way she could still care for us. Oh – and they said my parents had to go to Parenting classes. Guess those didn’t pan out.

I don’t remember what happened – or exactly where we went from there. We were in Prince George I believe when Teresa was removed. Either way this is when we I’m sure this is when we moved down to Mission, BC. We stayed at a friends house; we slept a couple of nights on her living room floor. I remember one morning before my mom and dad were awake, Jason started poking me…teasing me. It went like this; Dad, Mom, Jason, then me. All laying on the floor. All of a sudden I saw my fathers fist come down on my face. My dad was just reaching over my mom AND my brother to get to me a beat my face in. He beat the whole left side of my face for what seemed hours – couldn’t have been more than a few moments though – otherwise I guess he would have killed me. While he punched me he kept saying – “Yah, you fucking like that, you fucking loud mouth…” My mom and brother didn’t say a word.

What I remember the most about that beating was actually post-attack.  My dad always thought of me as a rat.  He called me a “fucking rat” daily for years. The thing is – I guess technically I was a rat.  I could understand even then that every time I would tell someone about what was happening to me at home and anywhere else something awful did occur; I told the first person I felt remotely safe to do so.  But this day I was making my dad proud.  My father said that he would be proud of me if I made sure no one could see my face.

We ended up moving up to Kamloops after this – and while we were moving there was this moment when I was inside the trailer that we were moving into – and my father was outside. When I went to talk to him out the window I made sure that my bruised side of my face was not showing. My dad was so proud of me. He even called me “boo-boo” that day.

See, now Teresa always said that once she left it was easy for me. Easy is not the word. Who the hell does she think got it next? Certainly was not going to be Jason; he was the golden boy. Even Jason was allowed to eat food with mom and dad.

Once Teresa left – it was my turn.  All the rage was aimed at me.  And, honestly it wasn’t because my parents found out that I was the one that helped my sister escape – in fact I don’t even know if they know that I did at all…they were just angry at me for being alive.

So…how did she get too leave, but not me?  How could the Ministry of Children and Families drop the ball so badly?

True Heartbreak

hickorysticks

It feels as though my heart is truly broken.  Like all those things people have said in the saddest of love songs – a heart can break. I’m not speaking of a  romantic heartbreak, too be honest I have been blessed in that way.  It’s a deeper heartbreak.  A much darker kind of break stemming from years of abuse and neglect. From the dozens of times that my belongings and self were left at the end of a driveway for someone else to have me.  From the age of six months I was being tossed about as though I were trash on consignment.   Nothing broke my heart more than losing my mom; my foster mom Ang that I lived with since the age of 12 years.  Not even the “loss” of my biological mother did the damage that was done when Ang walked out of my life. 

You see, I had to walk out on my biological mother’s…

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I Hate February! Some Anniversaries Are Too Painful…

I hate February.  I used hate Wednesdays just the same.  There are also many dates throughout the year that I may not be able to share off hand – but I know that when that days hit, every year – I …

Source: I Hate February! Some Anniversaries Are Too Painful…

I Hate February! Some Anniversaries Are Too Painful…

I hate February.  I used hate Wednesdays just the same.  There are also many dates throughout the year that I may not be able to share off hand – but I know that when that days hit, every year – I fall apart.  And, sometimes by the end of the day I will remember why this day is so horrible.  What special “anniversary” is my soul celebrating? It is not always just a date actually; sometimes it’s a smell or sound. Or if I run into one of my abusers too.  But the two anniversaries that stick out so much that even my friends and loved ones have bear witness to my pattern.  Wednesdays are not so bad anymore. 

When I was a young child, I would say it probably started around age 9 that I can remember – but I am sure if I looked back into the records from the Ministry of Children & Families that it would show that it was happening long before my mind remembers.  Every Wednesday was my parents visit day with me.  I can remember clearly sitting on the end of the driveway at a couple homes for what seemed hours.  I was sure they were going to come this time.  Every Tuesday I would eagerly call my SW and ask if my parents had picked up the money from the Ministry Office yet? They always did – but they rarely used it too come visit me.  Of course in the records they would always have some song and dance regarding why they couldn’t come after all. But towards the end – it was just that they didn’t fucking give two shits too see me, I was a fucking rat.  But, they would gladly take the money.  As far as they saw it – it was their money regardless.  Even if they did have to kiss a SW’s ass the next week in order to convince them enough to hand over the money for the next visit. 

It was while in Eileen Corbett that I really felt the heartbreak.  It was also here that I really started to grow up enough to realize this was just their con.  They were just using the visit as an opportunity to make some easy cash. 

My mom spent a lot of her time with me just driving the message into my head over and over, ingraining it not just to my brain – but into my bones, into my forever memory.   She always said I was worthless, that she hated me.  “You’re even not worth the drive Carrie! Remember Carrie, you are nothing but a fucking rat! Why would we come see you? You are a fucking liar.  All you want is things Carrie.  All you want is to hurt people, mostly ME!”  She would sometimes tell me this is a calm, controlled tone – seething with anger, disgust, and absolute certainty that what she was saying to me was nothing short of the truth.  When she was angry with me – her mouth barely moved… you could just see a peek of her yellow stained teeth caused by smoking and drinking coffee…  That is, unless she was smiling.  When my mom was angry and smiling that was when the true fear would set in.  Both my parents had that same terrifying trait – they enjoyed it sometimes.  They found humour in my pain – whether it is physical or emotional…  

For me though, there is something bigger going on.  Every February – like clockwork my world starts to fall apart.  Each year is different, the damages are different – but there is always some kind of painful, self-destructive, consistent behaviors that occur each and every February of my life so far.  Years ago, with the help of a consistent foster parent, and my social worker I was told that there was a pattern here.  Could I see it?  Could I do something to change it even? This was something I could change for myself.  Much like I was the one that would decide if I wanted to be like my family or if I wanted to be healthy and happy?  I was in charge of my destiny – just as I have been all along.  I am the one that got out, I saved myself.  But for whatever reason, I just haven’t been able to master this 100% when it comes to February.  I am still struggling – even today – in the month of February. 

It’s not just an emotional feeling of incredible deep sadness…it’s a visceral reaction as well.  I feel horrible in February; I get tummy aches, headaches, night terrors that are worse than my regular variety of horror, terrible mood swings, flash backs, and I always have the feeling of being dirty.  Not with mud, germs and such.  But – that I am a dirty girl.  A dirty slut that is essentially a worthless, embarrassing human being.  I feel very ugly – inside and out.  

In my earlier years as a young girl I was promiscuous, loud, abrasive, self-loathing, and self-destructive the most in February.  I would lose friendships, get into major out of control fights with my caregiver(s), get fired – or get kicked out of something I cared for a lot.   Now as an adult – being aware of the pattern – knowing the consequences; I try hard to not give into that cycle.  But, I still have not figured out why.  Why is my world turned upside down for this period no matter how many years have passed? Isn’t it supposed to get easier?? But my mind is still blocked – I can’t remember what I am reacting too.  I have asked my father a few times throughout the years but even when he has been willing to go there with me, he can’t pin down the actual even that has caused this re-occurring trauma.  It could be something I already remember but have not put together yet in the timeline, or it could be something still waiting for me to unsurface.  I would go with the latter – only because during those conversations with my father he disclosed that there were things that were done to us that no one can repeat, would want to repeat – and that he hoped I would never have to remember.

So for now… I am left scarred, damaged and ultimately changed forever. So much that I have a deep set pattern of self-destructive melt-downs each year, same month…every year.  I am better now, this month has so far (knock on wood) having been able to keep my behaviour in check.  I have a lot of conversations with myself, telling myself I am feeling this sadness and anger because of something deep inside of me – and that I have to remember NOT to allow it to ruin all that I have worked so hard for.  So I may eat more than I wanted too – and I cry a shit load more than I wish too… my night terrors make me not want to sleep some nights – so instead of fighting it I just let myself do what I need to do to survive through the moment, hour, day and month.  If I don’t think I can face the dreams – I write, or play games on my phone.  I’m not out drinking, getting myself high on whatever will take me from my feelings.  I tell myself – this will pass, I will be ok.  So far, so good.  I’m ok – and it’s already almost over the halfway mark of February.