Leaving The Past In The Past

Is it that easy though? To just leave the past in the past?

There’s been something running through my mind a lot lately. I am tired of being told that I need to “just forget about what happened before, you have to stop thinking about it – it’s not good for you”… Don’t you think I would much rather NOT think about it. The only thing I can do is not talk about it. In order to make others more comfortable I need to seriously filter my words. I’m not saying living in the past is healthy, but let’s face it our memories reside within us – and just trying to forget about it is both unhealthy and impossible.

I’m certainly not trying to say that everyone is this way, but in my experience growing up, being an adult, working in the social services field, having children, friendships and in family this has been a hard pill to swallow sometimes. It’s fucking impossible to not think about it. That is the kicker, the lasting wound that I am left with still many years later. It’s like asking me to scrape off my scars and start anew, fresh – if we can’t see it – it’s over.

But, you know what – it’s not over. It may not be brand new pain, I don’t need to give it all my energy. In fact I believe I have done so well managing my relentless heartache and pain. And I know I am not alone in this minute by minute, day by day, and year after year we try to heal ourselves.

I worked so hard from as long as I can remember to be better than all that and to now allow it to run – or worse ruin my chances at a better life. To be a better person, kind, forgiving, open-minded, and loving human being. I knew that my chances of coming out of it all – unscathed and a productive member of society. And to you that may seem obvious – of course we are trying to be a good person, of course we want to do well for ourselves. But this wasn’t in our reality growing up, not even one little bit. I was told from day one I was not worth the air I was taking up in this world.

For years my mother only told me how much she regretted having me. She resented my dreams to escape all that came with our family. She would ask me who that fuck did I think I was? Do you think your better than us? Cause you aren’t Carrie. You can think you are better, but you will end up just like us one day. And, well my father only referred to me as the “rat” in the family for most of my childhood well into my early twenties he blamed all that went wrong on the fact that I told people the truth. Why couldn’t I just learn to keep my big fucking trap shut??? Both my parents repeated this constantly.

You know my brother and sister both struggled the most with this. They believed that they couldn’t speak out -because our parents were beating that into our heads. They would scream into our faces that what happens in this fucking house – stays in this house! I don’t know why they were less resilient than I was, this fact eats me alive. But I believe the fact that I was given the courage to speak out is what saved my life. Talking about it saved my life. I am a resilient human being and this has served me many chances at a better life. Sometimes though, this can be a detriment to others understanding that just because I look strong, capable, fresh and brand new, years from the events that shook my world so young – just because I look ok doesn’t mean I’m not still hurting and healing.

It’s the smells in the air, a song on the radio, some story on a TV or movie show’s, it’s the everyday things I do in my day to day that triggers a memory. That memory sometimes comes with a visceral reaction, a physical pain that surges through my body. I sometimes feel like puking because I feel so “dirty” from the sexual traumas I have survived. I don’t want to think about it. I would love to find that magical pill that gave my brain and heart some rest and just wipe away all that shit. But, there again makes my point – I can’t find some easy fix to take away the symptoms caused by on-going healing of my mind and body. It’s hard work to keep going, and to be able to turn down the conversation in my head telling me I’m not worth it. Everyday I struggle in some way or another – and it’s always got this underlying deep sadness that I work so hard to overcome.

For my brother and sister they chose to do drugs and alcohol and crime to try to mask and or avoid their reality. They choose not to get help – and too use their devastating childhoods as an excuse to give up on themselves. I am positive they can still hear our parents words screaming in their heads… They still sit silent in their memories – allowing them to completely gut them inside out, killing any spirit they had coming into this world. I didn’t have any less of brutal experiences at the hands our parents than they did, but somehow I feel as though I was more stubborn maybe? Like I wouldn’t allow myself to believe this was it, I was not going to be worth anything for the rest of my life. I had to much spirit and courage to ever let that be my anthem.

This is a very long winded way of just letting it be known that because we still have symptoms of trauma and choose to talk about it doesn’t mean that we are dwelling on it. Talking about it heals me, and I believe if my brother could have found their voices -they too would have a chance at truly healing.

As a survivor – I ask that we take the time to listen to each other’s stories. That we give each other the courage to find their voices, even when sometimes it’s uncomfortable or sad. Acknowledgement goes a long way in the healing process. Not feeling shame or embarrassment by what we have endured – but the strength in our truth and our actions. Letting others see our pain and vulnerability helps to take that shame and deep sadness away, little by little. Keeping it in the past is sometimes not that easy. Sometimes we need to just talk about it – let it out and let it go.

My experiences in life don’t dictate who I am going to be, but they do have a lot to do with who I am right now. I am who I am today because of all I have survived. It doesn’t excuse anything but I am hoping it explains my many different areas of struggle.

“Little Blonde Girl – Looking For A Family.. Will Do Chores!”

One of the most important moves of my life was when I was 10 years old.  At the time I was living in the Eileen Corbett Center in East Vancouver.  Basically it was like a jail for kids. By this point I had moved a total of 62 times since I was apprehended at seven years old.  So in a period of less than 4 years I would have moved over 60 times. Eileen Corbett  was a bad placement, they were apart of my lawsuit that took place starting in 2009, settling in June 2005.

Eileen Corbett was a placement that had each child in their own small locked room, with a window that was also locked so that it didn’t open wide enough for even a child to escape.  I did manage to gain quite a record of AWOL’s from E.C though.  I ran every chance I could.  This “home” was a terror for each child that was forced to reside there and to endure the ongoing sexual, and physical abuse.   I have a pretty clear memory now of what I went through there.   I didn’t remember fully of the terror until I was in my late teens when I suffered very intense flashbacks, and visceral reactions.

Some of those “homes” were simply a couple nights here, and a couple nights at another… I spent quite a bit of time sleeping in the Emergency Services office in New Westminster as well.  Many nights.. it got to the point that they wouldn’t even look for an emergency shelter for me to spend the night at – they would point to the leather love seat that was located in the lobby of E.S and tell me that I was just going to have to sleep there for the night.  Usually my social worker would then come in early and get me either back to my home – or start the task of trying to find me a new foster home.  Other times I would just get up and leave after getting myself warmed up, and got some food inside my belly.  More often than not I would convince myself I needed to run again.

I knew towards reaching age 11 that my luck was really going to be running out soon.  If they (Ministry) couldn’t find a permanent home for me – at least before I turned 12; well that could mean that I was going to be put into a locked facility long term.  This is something that Karen had been telling me over the last couple of years.  At one point they were so desperate to find me a home – they had actually posted an ad in a couple local newspapers for foster me.

One day I received a visit from my social worker to say that they had found a group home to move into.  It wasn’t going to be permanent, but it was supposed to be the last placement before my forever placement.  The place I would call my home for the next 18 months; Morley House.  Morley house was one of 5 group homes run by Browndale Care Society.  It was based out of Vancouver, BC.

 

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Morley House would be a life changing place for me.  It’s where I would meet my future “Mom” Anj.  I met Anj very soon after moving into the group home.  I remember it being around Christmas time, there was still snow on the ground.  I remember the day a little bit when I first met Anj.  She was a resource worker for Browndale Care Society – she was not a foster parent – and hadn’t thought about being one until the day she met me she said.

It’s kind of a sweet story – Anj said on her way to Morley house that day she was pulling up onto our street and saw this little blonde girl walking up the side of the road with a large sign made out of cardboard with writing on it that said; “little blonde girl wants family, will do chores!”  Anj said she was both heartbroken and filled with love at the same time.  I guess now looking back I feel sad for her too – I was so willing to try anything!  I didn’t know it then, but 18 months later I would officially find out that Anj wanted to take me in and foster me permanently.

 

April 19, 1988

The following is an excerpt from my Ministry File, no words have been changed or altered.   

April 19, 1988

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for referring nine year old Carrie Bush.  The child is seen in the office for a period of just over three hours.  She was brought to the office by her social worker, Karen Zilkie.

INTERVIEW

Carrie is a very pretty, blonde haired child.  She seemed quite comfortable in the office.  In interview , she was direct and forthright in responding to my questions.  She co-operated fully when taking the psychological exam.

This child is tense and nervous.  She has a low frustration level.  Like may disturbed children, she reports that she often feels angry but she does not know why.  She experiences stomach aches and headaches.  I asked her when she gets these symptoms and she responded, “When I run too much or eat too much my dad punches me”.

Carrie reports before she was apprehended, she lived in a house with her twelve year old brother, Jason.  She states that a girl named Jude lives in the basement of the house.

According to Carrie, her older sister, Teresa, was taken away and adopted because she was beaten by her parents.  Carrie stated that her parents used to lock Teresa in a cupboard.  She said, “I used to let her out”.  Carrie reports that she has been in foster homes three times before her parents beat her.  She states that her parents also beat her brother, but that her brother does not want to leave home so he “will not tell” .   She states that her parents have told her that she should not tell either.

Although Carrie reports that both parents beat her, it seems that Mr. Bush is the most frequent offender.  Carrie says that he is “real mean”.  She states that he beats the dogs too.

This child has been in an environment where there is a great deal of marijuana smoking and alcohol drinking.  She says “we would have a lot of money if my dad didn’t smoke drugs”.  She reports that friends come over to the house and her dad buys drugs from them.  She names Jude downstairs and a certain Luke and Susie who bring the drugs.  She calls the drugs “pot”.  She reports that one day she got beat because she did not look for “roaches”.  I asked her to draw a “roach” for me and she drew what looked to be a cigarette butt.

There does not appear to be much money or food in the home of this child.  She reports that they hardly ever eat anything but sandwiches or Kraft dinner. At her foster home she says she gets sandwich meat and lettuce and other things.

When I asked the child where her parents got their money she said, “that’s a funny thing, they phone someone and say “that need money because they have three children, two , four, six , and they have no food to eat”.  The child states that she does not understand this.

In my opinion, this child has also been sexually abused in her parent’s home.  Using the anatomically correct puppet dolls, she demonstrated how her parents have sex on the carpet in their living room.  She says, “they are drunk and out of their minds”.  When I asked her if her dad hurt her mom she said “no, they like it”.  She said that she and her brother watch.  She reports that her brother says “wow look at that”.  Then when her parents are out of the house, he forces her to have sex with him.  He takes her clothes off and holds her down and inserts his penis in her vagina.  She says it hurts. When I asked her if she got wet when this was happening she said “sometimes”.  When I asked her where she got wet, she said, “where he puts it”.  She does not know the correct names for the genitalia.

When asked if anyone has ever done to her what her brother does, Carrie responded that a man names Claude who was baby-sitting her did it.  She demonstrated how she was lying in her nightie watching TV when he came and rubbed her on the perineal area.  According to her he also penetrated her vagina digitally.

A technique I use to determine the person to whom a child is most closely bonded is to ask them to draw me a picture of their most favorite adult.  This child was not sure whom to draw but eventually she drew a picture of her current foster mother, Heidi.  This indicates that she is not strongly bonded to anyone for she has not know Heidi for long.  There is some emotional bonding to her parents however.  When I mentioned that she had recently had a birthday she said that it was a terrible birthday because she was not with her family.  She said, “I’m going miserable without them”.  However, she does not wish to return to a home where she is beaten.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS

WECHSLER INTELLIGENCE SCALE FOR CHILDREN REVISED (WISC-R)

The WICR(R) test results indicate that Carrie of average intelligence.  Her full scale I.Q. score is 96.  Her I.Q. on the verbal part of the WISC(R) is 95 and on the Performance part is 100.

There is no significant difference between the Verbal and Performance I.Q.  but there is significantly low score on the Information subtest of the Verbal part.  This suggests that the child is not learning in school.  She told me that she is kept home from school “when I get child abuse”.  When I ask why, she replies, “because I have bruises”.

SEXUAL ABUSE INVENTORY (SAS)

The Sexual Abuse Inventory is an 81 item true/false questionnaire which has been designed for children ages seven to seventeen.  the questionnaire was designed to elicit information about the child’s feelings of tension, self worth, family support, moral development and sexual involvement.

Responses indicate that this child is experiencing emotional tension and anxiety.  She reports depression and worry.  She feels that she  needs more love and attention than she gets.  She does not believe things will turn out well for her.

The child reports no support in her home.  She did not trust her father.  She answers “true” to the question, “I wish I had a different father”. She indicates that she would rather have been raised in a different family.

Her responses to items about specific sexual acts indicates that she has been involved in sexual acts which include fondling of the breast and perineal area and penetration of the vagina.

As a result of this child’s moral development, she feels guilty about the abuse.  She feels that children should not have sex until they are at least sixteen years old.  She does not enjoy talking about sex.  She feels that she has been used by others.

SUMMARY

Carrie Bush is a disturbed youngster.  She is anxious and depressed.  Feelings of anger sometimes overwhelm her.  She does not understand the reason why she feels this way.  She is not strongly bonded to anyone.  She looks for affection and attention where ever she can find it.

It is my opinion that this child needs protection from the physical and sexual abuse which I believe she has experienced in the home of her parents.  At the present time and for the next few years of her life, her emotional problems will require special attention.

Please call if you have questions.

 

Yours Truly,

Monica D. Angus, Ph.D

Consulting Psychologist.

 

 

Lost Entry

It`s been a few weeks since I have been able to get my ass in front of this computer to blog – I was feeling overwhelmed by my previous post regarding a former foster parent (Wayne Haydamack) and the sexual abuse that started at the age of 8 and lasting another four years.  I have no memory of what made Wayne finally give up with me- however I do know the abuse lasted 4 more years before the ministry was finally able to sever all forms of contact between Wayne and myself.   More importantly however is that my previous blog on Wayne is the first time I have ever written, talked or openly shared my memories pertaining to any sexual assaults on me – as a child.  I can’t believe sometimes that I am so afraid to write and talk about the sexual abuse, I thought I was fearless, I was a survivor? Yet many years later my mind, heart, body…fingers even fight with the keyboard to get the words out. 

Funny thing is,  I used to think and share my opinion to others that I really was not that affected from the numerous sexual violations I endured as a child.  In fact, for the first 30 years of my life I truly made light of the act of rape.   I had made a complaint sexually assaulted many times over, and over again – I do remember But, four years is a very long time for an eight year old girl I feel like I have been really struggling lately.  It`s almost as if I am lost in my own skin .  Not many people in my life know the battle going on inside my brain, body and soul lately, or how bad it has really gotten.  I feel unfocused in my goals, where I was so clear for most of my life.   I was always confident that I was going to have any life I worked for.  I always had big dreams that started as a very young child. 

I`m finding myself feeling lonely a lot lately, in fact I would say that the past 3 years have been the  saddest times in my adult life.  Even though I have had friends and family that have been there for me.  Those that love me , those that I love so dearly in return; amazing husband, three beautifully delicious children, can’t leave out our little pooch “Rosco“ – all tidied up in a bow…so to the naked eye out there, I bet you would start praising me right away.  OK , I made it technically.  Saying that I ‘made it’ is usually what people say when they hear even a  fragment of my story. 

I am very blessed, and recognize how lucky I am to have loyal, loving husband that works very hard to provide for our family.  He helps to ensure our children grow up in a safe, supportive, and loving home. My children never go without.  They even have their very own beautifully furnished and painted to their liking.  For example; my oldest daughter has a beautiful pink room, with a white canopy bed (with the actual pink canopy) and the dresser and side table to match.  Each has their own color, at first it was what I wanted, however now that the kids are getting older they have more say how their room looks.  I digress.

What I really want to say is that I am very aware of how blessed I am to be in the situation that I am.  When I start to show weakness, others are quick to remind me of how lucky I am… you know, considering.  Well, I do know.  I am currently beating the odds – and should be celebrating all the cycles I have broken all the while remembering to thank god that for my unwavering sense of resilience.  It was always one of my best qualities; the ability to get the fuck back up on my feet and keep fighting.  I did it because I could.  I refused to allow myself to become a part of that cycle.

At a young age I started to compare my “resilience“ or as I understood it to mean my strength in coping and healing was to one of those blow up clown, that no matter how hard you try to knock that fucker down – it just keeps popping back up really for another blow.  That’s me, that clown balloon. 

But, at times I feel as though my family made the easy choice.  They just get drunk, high and have very little respect for themselves – but mostly they just don`t give a fuck about what anybody else feels about who they are or what they do.  They don`t work.  In fact, they feel entitled to say the government, and everyone in the fucking world owes them.  Then they can spend up an entire lifetime spewing hate and anger to the very ones that are after all – paying their living expenses.  All of my immediate family has been on welfare from the get go.  Their clown balloon deflates though, it`s covered in masking tape, trying in vain to keep them in the game and able to fight for their own existence. 

But they were weak, all of them.  Sometimes I just think that being weak, and allowing myself to be broken, shattered so badly that I gave up – well that’s the easy route.  My sister gave in.  My heart aches when I say that, I have guilt that weighs heavy in my heart that I am sure will be with me until I die.  She is broken, completely shattered, leaving her empty inside and unable to see the beautiful soul she really is.  She is an IV drug user/addict (crack, meth, heroin, crystal meth, cocaine…) and a sex worker in various towns throughout the lower mainland, such as Surrey & DTES Vancouver.  

Then there is my brother, J, who is four years older than I am.  By the time J was 21 years of age he already had a murder conviction along with several sexual assault convictions.  But even before those crimes, my brother was sexually abusing me when I was 7 years of age.  I always say that my parents raised him to be a killer. They raised him to be cold.  Never cry.  Fuck them before they fuck you.  He began to enjoy the suffering of the vulnerable.  There should be no surprise that my brother ended up being so violent giving the extent of abuse that he was forced to endure for the first 18 years of life. They broke him.  The last time I saw my brother in person he was being tried for murdering a man in Maple Ridge in 1995.  Even though my brother was in custody, in shackles behind a very thick plexi glass; I was terrified.  At one point during the trial Jason noticed I was in the courtroom watching and this made him very angry.  He glared hard at me; I knew he hated me already because I told on him for sexually abusing me – but this was so much more intense.  He made a very clear ‘slitting of the throat motion with his cuffed wrists looking dead at me. 

To be honest, I did not realize his trial was being held at that court room or courthouse before getting there with a high school law class on a field trip.  Some of my classmates started coming up too me shortly after arriving at the courthouse saying that they believed that my brother is in one of the court rooms.  Students were already in seated and silent, in amazement that they knew the sister of the defendant that brutally murdered someone just to see what it felt like to watch someone die.  I myself couldn’t believe it was happening. 

I need to explain as well how the hate and or punishment were dispersed between me and my siblings.   From the age of approx.…4 years of age I have reoccurring memories of the clear biases that my parents had in terms of us; their three children. This is something I can say for sure though; my brother was treated differently from my sister and I entirely.  My parents often referred to my brother as a ‘King’,  this was simply due to the fact  that my brother was a male. I don’t ever recall hearing my father say this – but I do have several memories of my mom explaining to me how she and our father felt about each of us.  Our brother was a boy, therefor he would be excused from a variety forms of corporal punishments each of us would receive from either parent.  My mom would say that boys do not need to be hit as often, as girls are naughty and they don’t always understand how important it is too listen.  She would sometimes say that girls were more sneaky, conniving and more inclined to rat out their family.  From as early as I can remember my father has always despised my sister.  I have flashes of conversations between my natural mother and I discussing my sister.  I was always very cautious talking about my sister to anyone of my family members; but especially my mother and father.  Many, many times throughout the years I can recall both my mother and father making snide comments when referring to the time she was forced to live in a closet and bet tortured without any sign of mercy.    

When T was at the age of 7 she ran away – she was quickly found and apprehended permanently from our mother and father. For the following seven years I always wondered and worried over how my sister was doing.   I worried about her. I missed her, and that’s hard even for me to understand because all my memories are with her both locked in my parents’ bedroom closet, and slivers of flashbacks to the many beatings and even witnessing her being forced to eat her own feces.  She was made to eat her own poo because she went to the ‘toilet’ within her small bedroom closet that was her world.  I know that she would be in there day and night.  Sometimes they would allow her to come into my bedroom, but usually that was too standing in the corner and wait for her next ass whooping.  After nearly two years of horrific abuse that my sister endured, she was finally supposed to be safe.  I remember believing that she was doing so well.  My mother told me that she only went there because they offered horseback riding, ballet, and other fancy activities and belongings that we for sure would not be able to enjoy if we were still in our home.  

The way I see it is that my sister has a target on her back.  How can my mom and dad already have decided that Teresa was more of a burden than they had planned? My mom has said too me several times when I question why my father hated my sister SO much.  I can honestly say that to this day I still do not understand where this deep rooted resentment and hate stemmed from.     

The Creature

 

 

The Creature

In the dark my tears fall

this is when

the creature calls.

As he comes closer I start to cry

getting down on my knees

I pray to the lord in the sky

knowing he is watching me.

I’m wondering when or how

death is coming for me.

The creature is not a man

but terrifying coward

only hurting what he can.

I wont give up, not without a fight.

I know I can make it

even for just one more night of

touching and thrashing all day

only makes me think,

only makes me say

Feeling this way makes me sad

for you wouldn’t believe…

the creature is my Dad.

 

I found this random sheet of old lined paper with a poem written by me when I was a teen. It’s nothing fancy – but it shows my inner struggle back then that is still so relevant and painfully present in my life today.

Here’s The Thing Though…

I want this blog to be more than just the “boo-hoo” bullshit – I want to encourage not just surviving but thriving.  But honestly, that is just so hard right now.  I am going through a tremendous amount of stress.  It’s not the regular everyday kind of stress you know?  It’s the kind of stress that most people don’t understand.

I started this great job just shy of a year ago.  It’s the first time that I feel like I fit you know?  I feel competent, useful and able to do my job very well.  I absolutely love talking and supporting people, especially during times of difficulty – I think I am really good at it.  Before working in the hospital as a Diet Clerk I had been working in Social Work in the DTES for nearly ten years.  I loved that work as well – but just like all the other Social Support Workers – I got completely drained emotionally and physically.  The job was a daily, hourly – minute by minute trigger for me.  I think I did that job because I understand and empathize with the broken people down there.  Every shift I would remind myself – even out loud at times, Carrie – this could have been you.  In every statistic I have heard I am a complete anomaly.

Just look at my brother and sister… My brother is a convicted murderer and sexual offender.  My sister has been neck deep in drugs and crime since a teenager.  They are the statistics people are talking about, comparing me too.  Most don’t survive what we went through.  And, please don’t think that because my siblings have heartbeats that they have survived.  They are still in their nightmare.  They just never had whatever it took to break away from it all..to believe in something else, or themselves.

I’m made of something different…I’m too fucking resilient if you ask me.  I’m fucking Teflon.  At least I know for sure I was.  I got myself out of that – early on I began my fight for happiness and freedom from hurt.  I am happily married with three beautiful healthy children.

Here’s the problem.  My family, my abusers are still out and around.  They are in my world.  My mother and brother have showed up at my work – for a legit reason, but my mom saw me and has been trying to contact me since.  I’m absolutely terrified.  My brother has been in the same building as me.  My brother wants to kill me.  My brother hates me so much.  My brother used to sexually abuse me when we were young – I told the school staff and they reported it.  My brother has hated me since, he blamed his sex crimes on the fact that I had ratted him out when we were younger.

My brother is a killer.  He has been involved in at least five sexual assaults.  He is out in this world – free to hurt someone else.  Before his release after serving a ten year sentence for the murder of Donald Keats of Maple Ridge, BC – the people who were assessing him had said that he had expressed his desire to slit my throat from ear to ear.

I am afraid.  I am tired of being afraid.

Here’s the thing though…I’m not giving up!

It’s Not A Pretty Story…

I am up late like most nights of course, it’s incredibly difficult for me to shut my brain off most nights.  Going to sleep also means facing the unknown – or the forgotten – all while I am supposed to be resting.  As I have mentioned before, I have the worst night tares – most of my nights.  My dreams are so vivid, painful and mostly exhausting.  They have the ability to absolutely ruin my whole day, week or more…  My therapist tells me that while I dream I am actually working through my shit.  I am more able to go through that trauma while asleep – it’s near impossible to really get into it while I am awake.  It’s too painful.  Mostly, it’s too real and unbelievable at the same time.  I hope I am making some sense… Other survivors must know what I am describing.  They often cause a visceral reaction when I wake up, and sometimes throughout the day the feeling of filth, dirt, and shame sit on my skin and fresh in my mind.

Today one of my nightmares was real, and it was in my face.  I left my work after a long twelve hour shift.  I was exhausted and looking forward to the next few days which I have off. I wasn’t paying much attention until she got my attention.  As I was walking towards my vehicle I looked up and saw my mother standing across the street from me smoking.  I don’t think I have ever turned my body so fast.  It was seconds that had passed that I went from feeling peace to feeling utter fear.  My body immediately began to shake from the inside out…I felt as though I was going to either puke or pee myself.  My mother scares me like no one else.  I know that she is capable to anything… and I know that I bring out a special kind of anger in my mom.  I was afraid that she would say something too me like she always done when she gets the opportunity.  No matter what my mom says – it’s guaranteed to instill fear and a deep routed feeling that I am worthless.

As I was making my way back into work – into safety – my mind and body started to play flashbacks of when I was very young.  The memory was so intense I swear I could smell it, I could feel it.  I was remembering when my mom was attacked by my father with a large knife.  I can see my parents in front of the TV – it was one of those old big ones that had mostly wood around them, that sat on the floor. I was sitting on the couch watching the TV, watching cartoons.  It was very early in the am.  No one had gone to bed yet, they had been up the entire night drinking and partying.   I can remember the living room and dining room was full of stinky empty beer bottles.  This is not a “new” memory, but I have never remembered it like this before.

My mom and dad were on the floor in front of the TV that I was watching cartoons on.  I was told to sit there.  Sometimes my parents made me watch them while they had sex or watched porn.  When a social worker talked about this with my parents – of course they denied it with a strong warning that I was a fucking liar.  But, my mom knew I wasn’t lying…and eventually the workers knew it too.  I knew too much, more than any kid my age should know.  When I was questioned how I knew they were actually having sex I remember replying with a description of how my mom always had her leg positioned during the act.  As vulgar as this sounds – my mom ALWAYS lifted one of her legs in the air.  Every time I saw them doing it – my mom was always on the bottom with her one left straight up in the air.  I said this once in front of the social worker and my parents.  The look on my moms face was clear.  She was humiliated.  She laughed, tried to make it all seem harmless – and sometimes she just blamed it all on me.  I was the pervert.  I liked to watch.

I know I just went off track a bit – but I think it’s really important I explain myself so you can’t read this any other way – other than how it was.  My parents had no boundaries with us.  We saw and heard too much for our young selves. We were forced to be apart of horrific violence and ongoing abuse.  I sometimes feel like no one in my life could possibly understand the level of violence and trauma I survived.  I survived – but over thirty years later the memory stops me in my tracks.  It makes me feel alone, ashamed, angry, sad…and hopeless.

As I walked away from my mom today I flashed back to that morning.  I see a lot of blood.  I can smell it even.  I know it’s strange to say – but as my brain recalled the memory, it’s like my body went right back to that moment.

They were having sex… then for some reason my mom started to fight with my dad.  She often talked down to him and I would say even tried to provoke my dad into a fight.  I cant remember what set it off – but I know that while my dad was still on top of my mom he grabbed a large butcher knife that was on the coffee table beside them with his right hand and swung it over his head and down onto my moms face.  I can remember my mom trying to stop it and screaming at him..I see her arm trying to block the blow.

My dad had stabbed my mom right between the eyes.  To this day she had a deep scar between her eyebrows.  I am actually grateful for that scar – it’s lets me know that my memories are real.  That as insane as the whole experience was – it was real.

My dad stood up, I can remember him doing up his belt.  He was still drunk, not steady on his feet.  He was breathing heavy, and telling her to look at what she did.  For her too look at what she made him do.  I can recall my dad snickering too himself and my mom started to panic and scream.  My mom was wearing a night gown that was white with red sleeves, with a black drawing of snoopy.  As I remembered this today it was as though I could smell the blood, that I could feel the cold and wet nightgown rubbing against my arms.  I remember as I dragged my mom from the house and out onto the front lawn of our home just in shock that she was covered in blood.  What was once a white nightgown was now drenched in bright red blood, the fabric sticking itself too me as I dragged her to safety.  The blood was squirting from her face.  My mom was screaming..my dad was no where to be seen at this point.  I know my brother was inside the house with him.  He always staying with my dad, he was always on his side. In fact he often laughed and cheered on my father as he beat our mother.  I can recall hiding in one of our bedroom closets while the violence escalated – I was crying, shaking – I was terrified.  Jason was laughing… he was enjoying it.  I guess he was a lot like my father in that way.  My dad often found it humerus how we flinched or begged for his mercy.  And, when I was a lot older I had conversations with my dad about how he used to beat my mom pretty bad – and he still thought it was hilarious.   He would brag about how her head sounded hitting the wall, floor or against his boots.

My next memory of that day was all the people from the neighborhood coming out of their homes to watch the nightmare unfold.  No one ever helped…I think they saw it too often, and it was also a time that people didn’t get involved.   What happened behind peoples doors what their business.  They were just there to watch… I remember the police taking my dad away, and the ambulance taking my mom too.  I know that we were not removed that day – so I know we went back with our parents.  My mom didn’t leave my dad from that…she always went back..and scary enough – so did we.

I don’t know why that memory came to me today when I saw my mom.  Maybe it’s to remind me that she is not as powerful as I allow my mind and body to believe.  I have no idea.  In all fairness though – like she kinda is all powerful!  All the evil she has done and she is allowed to have a great life – despite the fact that she has three kids out there that are damaged and suffering still.  Each time I see her, or hear from her  I am right back to my child self – afraid.  Every time I see her I only feel fear.  I feel it with all of my being.  She represents all that I have tried so hard to escape, that I am still trying to escape.  I want to feel free of my family, I want them to let me go.  I don’t want to see my abusers walking about in my world…as cliche as it sounds – it’s just not fair.