Mental Health – A Mother’s Love: My Child Abuse Survival Story Pt II
Part 1 can be found, here.
Living in Filth
Due to the filth, I got so sick, my whole mouth and throat were covered in ulcers, she blamed a coke tin, my uncle, although he never told her, blamed the filth I was being “dragged up” in. Well, she didn’t raise me, I raised myself. I remember being VERY medicated and shivering, but I was practically sweating.
No A&E visits for me as that meant she had to pay for a taxi or get an ambulance. I don’t know if the doctor came out or not, I had such a bad fever, I don’t even know how long I was off school for. I just remember at 9, wishing that death would come and feeling that I would die there, on that dirty sofa. That’s when my thoughts of suicide, began, I did recover, eventually. We had no phone in that apartment, no way of dad knowing what was going on, I was taken to my aunt’s house every few weeks to speak to my dad.
My heart breaks for him now, thinking back, she had done what she had set out to do on him. She’d broken him, she’d kidnapped his child and run away, threatening to never return. He tried several times to come and get me, but each time she created drama and then quietly threatened to have him taken to jail for kidnapping her daughter.
Escaping into Writing
My first love has always books, ever since I was a really small child. I’ve always loved reading, writing and drawing. I could escape and be in my own little world, I was such an intelligent little kid, too. I loved writing and reading poetry and was reading Helen Steiner Rice at 7-years-old. Any gifts I got from the family would always be books, Disney movies, colouring books, sketch pads and pens. I always had at least one book, notepad and sketch pad with pencils anywhere I went.
I loved writing my feelings down, locking them away in my childhood diary with the crappy locks that even a 4-year-old could break open if they tried. I’d write as I shivered in that freezing apartment, with its bare walls and floors. My diary would be hidden under my pillow and I was a light sleeper so if she had tried to look for it, I’d know. She never did, I made my own bedtime routine, I knew how much sleep I needed to not make it look like I was being neglected because my mother was a drunk.
I wrote a lot about suicide in those days, not knowing that’s what it was. I wish I still had my diaries from back then, but I can imagine what 9-year-old me would have said. I remember writing about her alcoholism, about how cold it was in the house, how dirty it was. I was such a small kid for my age, I was deathly pale, (I still am, but that’s my own doing) not the swarthy-skinned Italian Maltese descendant I should have been.
My clothes hung off me as I was so skinny. I don’t remember her withholding food, but I do remember never having breakfast as there would be no milk, or it would be off. I walked myself to school, it was around the corner, but this was the 90’s in Manchester so I suppose it was deemed safe. I’d walk to school hoping I’d be kidnapped, then walk back home in the afternoon’s hoping the same thing.
I’d think about stepping in front of the nearest car, but then realising they weren’t going fast enough to kill me. I’d get home and be disappointed because no one wanted me, not even the kidnappers. I’d wonder what was wrong with me and why no one wanted to kidnap me. This is when my journey into self-loathing began, a journey that I’m still on, almost 20 years later.
We moved back to Belfast after living away for a year because my uncle shot himself, I talked about this in my Christmas post, you can read it here. It was my first experience with the paranormal and ghosts (he came to me in a dream and told me to look after mother as she was going to get sick, I also witnessed him walking through her bedroom door).
Dad was delighted to have me home, and I was glad to see him. It was a very emotional reunion, he felt like I had grown a lot and I’m sure he was sad that he’d missed out in nearly two years of my life. He had kept all my birthday and Christmas presents, I well up now when I picture his face watching me opening my presents.
My poor, kind-hearted, amazing dad, I hope he’s forgiven me for leaving him, I didn’t want to leave, I was so brainwashed that he was this terrible person. It took me about two days into being away from him to break down and cry because I missed my daddy and I realised exactly what mother was trying to do.
He would take me to visit my cousins, but wanted me to come to his house, he was now living with mum who unbeknownst to me was pregnant with my little brother. Mother had my mind poisoned about my mum. She called her a homewrecker, a druggie (my wee mum is NOT a druggie and never was), a slut, a whore, a prostitute and the list goes on.
Remember, I am 9, almost 10-years-old and mother is saying all of this to ME. I knew more swear words and derogatory terms for women than any kids of my age. I also had no bedtime, watched shows like Cracker (if you remember the finale it was pretty brutal and all episodes had sex and murder), Band of Gold (a show about prostitutes).
My REAL Mum
My mum is amazing. She is the most selfless, caring, beautiful, kind and funny wee woman and I’m so lucky to have her. She is amazing, we aren’t best friends, but we are close and although I don’t call her mum verbally, all cards are “mum” cards. She is amazing with me da, they’re so well suited to each other and the relationship is just so easy. I’m glad I was young enough to witness what a proper relationship looks like before it was too late.
Mum and dad had gotten together before we had gone to Manchester. Mother had this delusion that her and me da would get back together. A delusion is what it was, my dad was happy. Happier than he had been in a long time, mother was jealous which is no doubt why she moved me to Manchester.
She would gossip about him and my mum to my aunt (his sister) and her friends. She would bad mouth them both to her family, but my Nanny (the angel that she was) didn’t take any shit and loved my dad. She knew my dad was a good man
I found out when I was at my cousin’s, mum called in to see dad and I happened to look out the window, I saw her and my now 10-year-old self-hadn’t seen a pregnant woman before. So I yelled “fat bitch” out the window at her, my cousin followed my lead. My dad came rushing upstairs and demanded to know why I said that, I told him what mother had told me about mum being poison. Dad was angry and told me she wasn’t fat, she was pregnant and the baby was his.
Dad told mother about what had happened, no doubt they argued. I told mother what had happened, too. She said I was right, that mum was a “fat bitch” and the baby was a “bastard”. I didn’t know what that meant, but she explained it to me and I felt a bit devastated, I had always wanted to be a sister and I didn’t see an issue with my sibling being born out of wedlock. Mother told me I’d done well, she didn’t abuse me for a while after that.
I remember the first time I met mum, I can’t remember whether my brother was born or not, I finally agreed after months of my dad begging me to go to his house, for him. He probably couldn’t afford to keep taking me places and like me, didn’t like clocking in other people’s houses. I’m very like my dad both in looks and personality and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
I went to the house they lived in at the time, we had a Chinese, my aunt (my dad’s sister and my favourite aunt on his side of the family), I spent the whole time with my back to mum. I feel like such a cunt, now for doing that. She was obviously really heartbroken and my mum is the best mum in the world, there I go again, crying…
Mother continued to try and poison my mind against mum and dad. She would often play my feelings towards mum and dad off me. She would say things like “how could you like her, she’s the devil. You broke my heart going to his house.” Anytime I would go she’d ask me questions, what I had to eat, was she a better cook than mother, was her house a mess, was she still ugly. My mum is beautiful, just FYI. My mother was also beautiful back in the day, pity she was a complete sociopath and narcissist. I would often tell mother what she wanted to hear to please her and to avoid her emotional abuse.
To be continued…