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.     

To Believe or Not To Believe… It’s About More Than That Though.

Oh, so you don’t believe me?

I think one of the hardest parts of being a survivor of any or all the horrific and traumatic abuse I endured is the fact that most of the people that I share my story with rarely believe me.  Sure, they give me the usual head nod, “omg” … but then it just turns into a sarcastic disbelief.  Most times they say they believe you 100%, but soon you find out they thought you had to be making it up all along.  Then, to top off calling me a liar in so many words – they say something else so infuriating; “Well, it couldn’t have been that bad – look at you now..”  Oh, so because I found resilience and strength it is no longer possible to have gone through any or all of it? How is that fair? And then because I am living my life the best I can – although I am still struggling every day – just because I am not in jail, a junkie or worse then someone can not imagine how that is possible… sometimes they say that they could never survive an ounce of what I had to bare.  In which I always respond – it is incredible what our bodies and soul can actually heal from, and I am forever blessed to have been given the balls to do so.

I have 8 large boxes that are full of my life story – provided by the Ministry of Children and Families, and then all the extra research that was done by my lawyer who took on my case against the Ministry.  It is full of doctors reports, social worker notes/reports, court documents, police incidents and so much more that took place in my life dating back to when I was nearly six months old.  Those files are so important to me because of the fact that they provide solid tangible proof of my history.  Regardless of what anyone thinks – I have proof.  Regardless of what ever I may tell myself sometimes – I know that I can go into my closet and pull out my files and see for my own eyes that it was all true.  And, regardless of what anybody thinks there is a reason I continue to talk about what happened.
I did survive it…it was not ever just a sad story I would share to get sympathy or attention.  Or as my mother has been telling me and anyone else that will let it slip through her lips that I have been lying all this time just so I could get put into the system in order to get “things”.  She says I wanted toys, new clothes and all the things I must have seen other people get.  So I came up with this elaborate story to be able to find a parent who would buy me things.
I guess one question I have for her story – and so many others who think I am flat out liar; how the fuck does a 6 year old know about sex?  Sorry for the anger in my tone…but really… Do you know a six year old fluent in blow job techniques?  How did I end up with so many bruises, lacerations, rips and tares that were shown in pictures and doctor exam forms?  Did I make those up?  All for toys?? All for a fucking haircut??
I know this is an old issue, and at my age why should it matter what people believe or not.  However recently it came up in a very real painful way and it’s left me feeling freshly wounded, raw and angry even.  Let me explain…
A few months ago I was in the middle of an argument between my husband and his Aunt.  It was a silly argument, but at the time it was very heated.  During this argument I said that she was flat out lying about something she had JUST said moments before – which is when she blurted out that I was a liar too.  I said tell me what I lie about, because I knew there was nothing I had ever said to this women that was a lie.  This is when she said it.  Her next statement to me would rip open every half healed trauma that lived in my body, soul and mind.  And she was so sure of herself…smug even.
She said, “We all know you lied about what happened to you in your childhood, we know that couldn’t have happened to you!”
After being a part of this family for nearly 17 years, I can honestly say her statement shocked me to my core.  I felt like the whole world just dropped all around me, that I was left standing there all by myself.  I could hear my husband asking her how she could say such a thing, after all we had been through.  I heard him bringing up the fact that I had been to court, been on the news – evidence heard and seen to prove I was not lying…  Yes, I thought.  Exactly.  How could she say such a hurtful and cruel blanket statement like that?
Truth is … she still has no idea how painful her words were to me.  I know they are just words.  But I thought they knew me, really knew me.  My husbands family are incredibly important to me.  And I can honestly say I thought they believed in me, and my story.  It was a different kind of heartbreak for me this time.  And the aftermath of the fight just solidified how I feel about myself and my role in my “family”.
Unfortunately, I responded poorly to my aunt-in-law after her comment to me.  I called her a fucking bitch.  And, even though she tried to take back her comment once she saw how much destruction it ultimately caused, the damage was done.  And, even worse – once the rest of the family heard of the fight, it was clear they only heard that I had called our Aunt a fucking bitch.  Her damaging words seemed to go unnoticed besides for my husband and myself.  Sure, a couple members said they understood how upset I would be, but then I was told several times over that they couldn’t and or wouldn’t get themselves involved.  I was even told that because I was not real family, not blood family – that they would not be able to stick up for me either.  Another stab in my heart.  Not that they could see that.  All they wanted from me was to kiss and make up with her so the “family” could get back to normal.  But for me, nothing was ever going to be the same – even with some kiss and make up bullshit.  I now knew what they really thought of me. It made me feel kinda foolish having so much faith in their faith in me.
The thing is I have evidence.  I have photos, police reports, social worker notes, court documents – even video.  But, it’s not enough.  Mostly because ignorant people rarely want to be educated about what they believe they know about.  My in laws don’t want me to talk about my past or my struggles.  They tell me to forget about it, don’t talk about it – it only makes it worse they say.  I say, no it only makes it uncomfortable for them.  People would rather not hear about it, not know the truths – stay ignorant in their safe bubbles.  People like myself make them uncomfortable.  So – they call me a liar.  They whisper among themselves instead of talking to the one person that could clear up any questions they may have.  I have always been an open book – but rarely am I picked up and truly read and understood.
So this question of believing or not believing is a very sensitive one.  I ask – what is it that I have said that would make you not believe me?  Usually it’s just that it’s so unbelievable one could treat another human being so poorly, especially one they love, or a child.  Of course, it’s that I apparently look like I have all my shit together – so it’s couldn’t have been that bad..right? I ask, what gain do I get from sharing these stories?  Clearly I don’t get pity, or money or sympathy.  I’ll tell you why.
I share my stories because that helps me heal.  Simple.  If I am quiet, and secretive about my struggles then they become too hard to manage.  My past eats away at my soul when I stuff them down.   But, when I am able to talk about it I am free’d of shame, disbelief and guilt.  When I share my really scary stuff – the shame is taken off of me and put where it truly belongs; on the abuser.  It helps me feel less alone, less crazy, less afraid to talk about it.  Talking about it can remind me of how far I have come.  It can sometimes me feel a sense of pride and accomplishment to share my story, that feeling of “see I did it, I survived when no one thought it possible!”  I have to say too…just because it was years ago doesn’t mean it’s over.  It’s never truly over.  I am still having flashbacks, anxiety, and depression.  The scars I carry on the inside also spill over to the outside of my body, and seeing those can sometimes send me into a PTSD downward spiral. It seems impossible, but some memories come as though I was remembering them for the very first time.
I also share my life stories because I know it helps others who may have gone through the same or similar experiences themselves.  Those who are not able to talk about it, or are afraid to talk about it.  Those who have been told like myself to be silent.  Those who hold all that shame inside when they should never feel one ounce of it – I tell them my story as to support them to unleash that burden.  When people ask me how I have survived, how I have ultimately flourished even – I tell them “I talk, I talk and talk and talk… ” When I talk about it I am healing myself.  I know it hurts sometimes to talk about it, but in the end it makes me stronger.  It allows me to be bigger than all that horror.  I want the same for others, I want people too feel OK, even brave for sharing their stories.  As they should be.  Even writing this blog I feel better, I feel proud.  I feel like if even one person gets it – I am on the right track, I am fulfilling my purpose.  I didn’t survive all that horror just to keep quiet and fit in where I can.  It’s impossible.  The moment you can no longer hear me is the moment I have let myself give up, and I wont.
I will not allow the fact that people refuse to listen or believe me change the belief I have that knowledge is power.  The more people that know exactly what has and or is still happening in our world will help others to escape from it, or survive it.  They will see the signs they need to see in order to help others.  They will know that even when it seems to unbelievable – it’s not.  It takes courage to share your story, especially the unbelievable ones.  Be courageous and brave.  Most of all have yourself be heard!  Keep talking – I know I will.

“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?

Mommies Special Lessons

I think one of londley-childmy biggest problems is that I have so many memories but due to the PTSD I can’t remember things chronologically.  Things come to me in jumbles.  And, when they come to me I want to talk about it.  Honestly, sometimes I feel like I am remembering something for the first time – when really I have gone through this memory time and time before.  I know this because people around me will tell me that I have shared that story before, or my foster mother would tell calm me down sometimes after I have remembered something – something I believed I just remembered for the first time.  And the memory is so horrific that I relive the trauma over and over again.  An example of this is the burns on my arms.  Not crazy huge burns or nothing… but little circular scars on both of my forearms. 

I will find myself sitting on the toilet on any random day, I will be reaching for the toilet paper – it’s  like a flash that causes a visceral reaction from me.   My tummy hurts, instantly I could feel sharp pains in my back…  I can see an iron pressed up against my arms.  I hear the sound of the iron burning against my flesh. I smell the burning flesh…  Me pulling back, my mother pushing me forward; telling me to shut up.  “Shut your fucking mouth!” 

I was being punished.  About 3-4 hours before this moment my mom called me into my room.  “Where’s you barrettes?” she asked me. I knew something was up by the tone in her voice.  I could tell she was angry, but she was smiling.  That’s how I was sure this was going to be bad. 

“They are in my jewelry box.” I point to my small white box that I was re-tracing over and over in my mind putting them back in the box.  I was sure, I knew I did. 

“Show me Carrie” my mom crossed her arms and never took her eyes off of me. 

I opened the box – it was empty.  My body instantly began to shake. 

“Look at me.” She said.  Her voice was changing.  I could feel the smile had disappeared; I didn’t want to look up at her. 

“I said – Look at me Carrie!” her arms came apart. I backed up.  She laughs.  I look up.   I was expecting her to hit me in the face.  She didn’t. 

“Well I guess you better find them.  When was the last time you had them?”

“Yesterday, I was wearing them at school.” I replied with fear.  I tried to sound sure, because I was sure.  I knew I put them in my jewelry box just like my mother asked me to do when she gave them to me.  I only had one pair of barrettes – I always took care of them. 

“You better get your fucking ass out there fast and find them – don’t come back until you do!” My mom wasn’t holding back now.  When she was mad she would grit her teeth while she talked.   

I quickly walked out of the bedroom and out the door.  I started re-tracing my steps frantically.  I knew the longer I took, that meant the worse the beating.  I was going to get beat no matter if I found them or not.  And how was I going to find them anyways?  I remember that it was sunny as I looked on the ground, searching in the grass and the dirt gravel side of the road for my two white barrettes.  I went up and down the street time after time; I was gone for a couple of hours. 

I didn’t want to go back home without my barrettes.  I knew the consequence for not taking care of my things. I mean – even with my own hair.  My parents give me a beating if I didn’t comb/brush my hair before I leave my bedroom.  It should be the first thing I do – then I have to brush my teeth.  These rules have literally been beaten into me.  I know the rules, and I don’t dare break them for fear of the punishment.  My dad would usually start it with a joke. 

“Did you comb your hair this morning Carrie?” my dad would ask me.

“Yes…” I would reply – immediately knowing what was about to happen.  I am kicking myself inside for not doing a better job.  Don’t I know that he will inspect it? 

 “Which one?” he laughed as he asked.  My dad had this crazy laugh.  I wish you could hear it.  It was loud, and funny.  I have the same laugh now as an adult.

“All of them Dad” I replied. Hoping this was a day that he didn’t feel like being angry with me, hoping he would just continue laughing with me.

 “Get to your fucking room, pants off – lay and wait!” his tone was different from the funny dad.  He was angry.  My immediately began to shake.  I turned around and walked back down the hallway towards my bedroom.  I slowly began taking off my pants, then my underwear.  I knew dad always wanted us naked.  Easier access.  I think it mostly depended on what he was going to beat us with; his hands, belt, boots, wooden spoon, horse whip… the list goes on. 

 I remember lying on the bed, legs hanging over the edge, shaking.  I can’t give a play by play on the beating.  However, I can tell you he used his hands this time.  He put me over his knees and spanked my bum over and over again.  If I cried he hit harder.  If I fought the spanking he had tenancy to call my mom in the room to hold me down.  This was much worse.  So I would tense my bottom up as much as I could, squeeze my legs together – eyes closed tightly.  I remember after this beating I was in such pain on my backside and back thighs.  My dad told me to stay in my room until he told me different. 

 I would lie on my bed, on my back with my bum and legs up against the cold wall.  I would switch my spot to a cooler one every few minutes trying to ease the stinging from my backside. Sometimes I would sing to myself quietly or I would spend my time talking to god.  I would ask him to make my mom and dad not hate me so much.  I would beg him not to let my mom and dad get mad at me again today, at least. 

This day – looking for the mysterious missing barrettes I can remember praying all the while looking for my lost barrettes.  I know mom was going to be angry with me.  She scared me the most.  Mom always said how she couldn’t stand my fucking sniveling face – how the very look at it makes her want to puke.  How would I tell her I couldn’t find them? What was she going to do to me when I returned without the barrettes?

This is what I cachild-crunching-up-into-ball-in-fearn recall.  When I think back to that day… I came home terrified.  My mom was sitting at the kitchen table smoking and having her coffee.  She was smiling.  She told me to follow her back to my bedroom.  I figured she was going to make me lie on my bed and give me a spanking to remember.  But when we got into the room she just stood there looking at me, with an evil smirk. 

“Are you sure you didn’t lose them in here?” she asked

 *as I am writing this I am getting anxious.  In the past 30 minutes I have started getting a headache, and eaten a box of KD with tomatoes on it.  I’m what I call emotional eating… stuffing those feelings down as far as I can, then shit them out! It’s just interesting to catch myself doing it, calling myself on it – but still going through with it.  Now I feel sick, disappointed…

I don’t know how I responded to my mom.  All I remember is that she had asked me to check under my bed.  My room was really small, there was a dresser very close to my bed – the only way I could look under it was to crouch down and feel it out.  But when I looked under I didn’t see them.  I did see a couple irons under my bed.  Unusual.  Terrifying. My mother noticed my hesitation – it angered her. 

She pushed me down so that I was basically on my stomach – face down.  I can remember her pulling my left arm out and waving it back and forth under the bed.  There was searing hot pain with each jerking of my arm.  I cried out.  I remember my mom just kept asking me over and over if I could feel the barrettes. 

I couldn’t feel anything but intense pain.  My mom didn’t say anything about the irons to me; in fact she acted like nothing was happening to me. As though she was just assisting me in trying to find my barrettes.  Why was I screaming in pain?  Why was I irritating her? My mom always had a strong grip.  That day was no different.  She squeezed my arm – held it against the irons with force.  She smiled.

“Get up! Stop you sniveling… nothing happened.” My mom was standing now waiting for me to get up.  I didn’t know whether the punishment was over or just beginning.  The pain in my arm was incredible.  I didn’t want to show her how much, I knew that would make her angrier.  She would probably want to show me what “real pain” was.  If I ever acted like they were hurting me while they were hurting me – they would anger faster and more intensely.  I learned the skill of holding it back early.

My mom had one hand on her hip, the other was holding something.  She opened her hand and showed me my barrettes. 

“I hope this teaches you not to lose your things.” She stated flatly. 

She had them the whole time.  My mind was racing.  I had this sense of relief – but then this sense of overwhelming anger.  This was all a game to my mom.  She was smiling when she put them back into my jewelry box, and then walked out the room.

“Clean yourself up before you come out of your room.” She said.  My arm was red, skin was peeled back.  It hurt to touch.  I changed my shirt.  At the time I was wearing a t-shirt, but I knew what my mom meant by clean myself up.  She wanted me to hide any sign of the punishment.  Before going into the bathroom to try to cool it off I put on a long sleeved shirt.  I can remember how much it hurt, how sensitive it was to wear a shirt over.  I didn’t have band aids or medication to care for it.  I can remember just running cool water over it, and keeping it covered.  I also remember constantly be peeling the dead skin off and re-opening the wound.  This was one of my moms lessons. She had many.