Want to see my guts? Here they are.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My mother married her third husband when I was 8.

My mother was really never quite together. She was 17 and in High School. I was her firstborn, and then my sister arrived...then she divorced, brother came along in 1965. Between those marriages she spent some time at a mental health facility - picture Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty (who my father actually resembles, but I think my father is more handsome.) Mom has told my sister that if she (my sister) had been a boy, she (Mom) would still be married to my father. Nice touch, Mom. Years later, my sister said the same thing to HER second daughter. Way to perpetuate.

My mother's second husband, and my brother's father, was a veteran of the Korean War. He spent 8 days in a foxhole with seven dead friends (in those days, you could choose your unit, including family members and people you knew from your home town), a victim of 'mustard gas', and lost a lung. He was a kind, if brittle, man - and eventually died of alcoholism many years later. (I had to post bail for my brother so that he could attend his father's funeral.)

When I was 8, my mother met Satan. Okay, he was a man from Texas, mostly raised in Louisiana. I'm an atheist - more than a little in part due to him - but if I believed in Satan, this was the guy.

When my mother married him, my baby brother was 24 months old.

He beat my brother with a belt shortly after moving us all to California, away from all our family.


So, life went on. My birth father, along with my brother's birth father's family sued to keep us in Washington State. They lost - in those days (1968) mothers were ALWAYS awarded custody. Interestingly, the judge who ruled on the case was murdered about a year later. Not by anyone in MY family, but he was notorious for his nastiness.

Things in California went downhill after my mother's health took a turn for the worse. She had a cerebral aneurysm at 31. She was only the 7th person to be treated with a new method of sealing off the 'bubble' and she lived. Her older brother had died at 22 of a cerebral hemorrhage - after her aneurysm they concluded he likely had the same vascular defect and that's what killed him.

Mom was never the same. She was chronically ill, and many of her 'illnesses' where related to a particular doctor who gave her a multitude of drugs. About a year later, she had another surgery to replace the arteries to her kidneys with veins from her legs - and she contracted Hep B from the transfusions. Again, she nearly died.

Meanwhile, I'm 11. The oldest of three kids, with a sick mom, and a sh!thead meanie stepfather in the Navy during the Vietnam War. I literally took over being the 'mom' of my siblings. I did all the housecleaning, the cooking, the laundry, the ironing (including this man's shirts that he needed to wear every day, according to my mother's "Seven Steps To Properly Ironing A Man's Shirt" which was in the laundry basket.")

I made the weekly menus for a family of five, and my stepfather would take me to the 'Commissary', I would do the shopping, and he wrote the check.

I would listen to my brother scream from the beatings in the bedroom next to mine. The smallest infraction warranted a beating. We lived in terror, literally. We were supposed to come home from school and go directly to our bedrooms, and not come out until an adult came home. Well, of course we couldn't do that! We would come home, get a snack (sneaking food, of course, yet another crime) and watch TV on low volume - all of us listening for the sound of a car pulling up, or the garage opening. My brother and sister and I would all listen, and if someone heard it, we'd holler out the ALARM and all run to our bedrooms.

Then I would come downstairs first to judge his 'mood'. If he wasn't pissed off about something, I would give the 'all clear' signal. If he was in a bad place, I'd back off, be placatory, start dinner.

It took me YEARS to be able to hear a garage door opener working without having a panic attack.

After Mom's brain surgery, I became this man's - how do you say it? 'Wife.' He chatted me up and gave me special privileges, served me drinks. Talked to me as an adult. Told me that my mother should have never had children because she was so incompetent. Complimented me, courted me.

I escaped to college a few years later. I graduated at 15 with a 4.0 with a full State scholarship.

I came apart at college.

I got pregnant the second year.

I had to move back in with my mother and this man, now moved to San Antonio, Texas.

My brother was still at home, thankfully my sister (who is a lunatic now) had escaped and moved to lived with my father in Seattle.

I was pregnant, at 17, by a MEXICAN, and I was called WH0RE at dinner every night. In front of my younger brother. I fantasized constantly about how to kill my stepfather and get away with it.

My mother and my stepfather arranged to give up my baby to a friend of theirs back in California.

My maternal grandparents came down from Seattle just before my due date. My grama was a retired RN. They were there with me when I went into labor - and was sent back home from the hospital three times (Yah, Fort Sam Houston.)

I gave birth to my daughter - but my parents had given word to the hospital that I was giving up the baby for adoption. I couldn't see her. My grandmother, bless her soul, was in the delivery room - and for the rest of her years was fond of saying, "I saw her first!" :)

After I woke up in the recovery room, sans GLASSES, so I couldn't SEE anything, the nurse gave me my chit in grocery sack and gave me directions to the OB/GYN ward. I couldn't stay on the maternity ward since I was giving up my baby. I remember walking down that long path - stopping and leaning against the wall - so weak and in so much pain. I remember the intern proudly saying to the OB/GYN, "I didn't cut through her sphincter!" Great, didn't know that was an OPTION, MF.

So I get the OB/GYN ward. I'm drugged, I'm in pain, I'm 18, I'm scared. Nobody gives a chit.

Somebody comes in the next day with 'papers' for me to sign.

I say, no, I'm not going to sign them. I want to see my baby.


Three days, I'm recovering from a BRUTAL episiotomy. OMG, it took me about three years to recover from. Jerk.

No, you can't see your baby. Again, again, they come with the papers.

My mother shows up, YOU CAN'T COME HOME if you don't sign the papers.


Then they let me see her. :)

They have no choice.

I go to the place where the babies are - and they let me hold my angel.

They had told me that I couldn't nurse her because they'd given me drugs to stop the milk - which I know NOW was BS.

I hold my precious girl, and as soon as she is in my arms, I fall asleep! They send me back to the ward for 4 hours, I pace like a cat, they let me back for 15 minutes, again, as soon as I hold her, I'm at peace.

After she and I came home, it was not good. My stepfather was horrible, my mother was, well, let's say not supportive.

My grandparents, back in Seattle, offered their home to my daughter and I. :) I packed my chit in a trunk, flew to Seattle.

I have never regretted my decision for a tenth of a second.

My brother died in 2003 of an accidental overdose. After his death, his fiancee confirmed what I had long suspected - he, too, was raped. As were my sister and I.

My mother denies that any of it ever happened - has openly claimed that her children 'make things up to make her look bad.'

I guess the bottom line is, you can be a Victim - or a Survivor.

I'm not a Victim.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My Mom used to tell us, "We never know how some people have to live."
    You have an inner strength. I am glad you survived. Many teens turn to things like cutting to lessen the pain they cannot verbalize. You didn't have a childhood to enjoy and your blog helps me to understand and try to really listen to what others say. I appreciate you sharing this. I am sure there are many hurting because they have never been able to tell any one what is really going on in their life. Too often when they try to, they are not believed and often it is because of the fronts put up by their abuser or those that know about the abuse but cover for the abuser.
    I am so glad that you are enjoying life now. I am glad that you didn't let them take your daughter, she should be very proud to have a Mom like you. Happy Mother's Day!
    3272 days ago
    I cried as I read your blog. I can't imagine having gone through all that you did and, yes you are a survivor. You sound like a very strong lady and I applaud you. My father came from an abusive family. His sister who was like his mom (his mother died when he was 8) told me some of what went on. Keep your strong spirit. Hugs to you and your family. How wonderful that you kept your daughter.

    Mary Anne emoticon
    3280 days ago
    A powerful testimony to the human spirit! I found myself cheering you on as I read your story. You are more than a conqueror!
    3281 days ago
    Wow you have guts. A true story Wow lots of pain I am sure.
    Hoping that your journey bring you peace from your pass.
    take care

    3281 days ago
    Wow, I am sorry for all that you have been through. I am glad that you were able to come through it. Thank you for sharing your story and being such an inspiration.
    3287 days ago
    I love your guts! You are a wonderful survivor and I am so proud of you for making your decision and sticking to it. If YOU had made the decision that you couldn't keep your child, that would have been fine, but it was YOUR decision.

    Some people seem to get through life unscathed and some of us have to scratch and fight to find sanity and strength. I have felt your strength in your previous blogs and now I know where it has been forced to come from. I love having you for a friend.

    3288 days ago
    This is one of the most powerful blogs that I have read on Sparkpeople. Thank you - for sharing your guts. You are living proof that life is not what happens to you, it's how you react to it. Your fighting spirit shines through every piece of this.

    You are without a doubt a strong, smart, courageous women. I'm sorry that your siblings seemingly weren't able to rise above. It's not easy. But you've survived and your daughter has a great role model. You've stopped the abuse & with luck you've started something new for your daughter & any children she may have. And that ... is HUGE!

    Be peaceful and shine on my friend! Shine on!
    3289 days ago
    Wow. The courage it must take to make it through something like this both at the time it was happening and then in the retelling. You are strong. You go girl, keep being strong, don't give in or give up. I am sure your daughter will always be eternally grateful for the strength and love you showed in keeping her. emoticon
    3289 days ago
    Your story made me cry. I applaud you for having the strength to keep your daughter. Your stepfather should rot in hell for what he put you and your siblings through.
    3289 days ago
    I love that you showed us your guts. That takes guts!
    You have my support, my friend.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3289 days ago
  • MARY1313
    I'm so sorry you had to suffer through all of this. I am so glad that you kept your wonderful baby. I am sorry your Mother continues to perpetuate your abuse by her absolute denial and also trying to make it that you are abusing her by saying it. I would never be around my mother again!

    We love you here and we are here for you anytime you need us. You are a wonderful woman and I have so enjoyed getting to know you.


    3289 days ago
    Wow. I know you mentioned you are an atheist, but the only thing I can think of to say after I read that is God bless you and your daughter. I will never forget your story, the next time I whine over some petty little thing that is wrong in my life/family.

    Stay strong. emoticon
    3289 days ago
    Wow, that's a lot of pain! I'm so glad that you kept the baby and are enjoying life now. Blessings! --Sam
    3289 days ago
    Wow! What strength! I am so sorry for what life had dealt you, but you sound like such an amazing SURVIVOR! I am truly amazed at your strength, your honesty, your perseverance and your strong will. You, my dear, are amazing! SAFE HUGS
    3289 days ago
    All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for your loving and supportive grandparents. And THANK GOODNESS that somehow through all the madness you maintained enough strength to get yourself and your baby away from that abusive a$$hat.

    You are an amazing person who has not only survived an unbelievable amount of abuse, you have THRIVED. You are a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.
    3289 days ago
    I am so sorry to hear how hard your younger years were - I can't even imagine (my parents are June and Ward Cleaver). But I love how you survived it all and turned into the positive, quirky, hilarious woman you are now!
    3289 days ago
    Sorry about all the chit you went through, but look where all of that has brought the lovely, shining person you are today!

    Don't let the basturds get you down!
    3289 days ago
    Rooby, I am so sorry you had to go through that. I wish I had the power to STAMP OUT people like that without going to jail myself. I COULD DO IT. I believe that people like him will get what is coming to him someday whether it is here or in the hereafter. I am just glad that you now have a wonderful supportive husband.
    3289 days ago
    emoticon from another survivor.

    Back when I believed in a lot of woo, I always thought I was "empathic" - turns out that's a woo way to say that I have a survival mechanism which entails being able to quickly gauge someone's emotional state, in case of danger.

    Love you.

    3289 days ago
  • CRIS76
    There isn't much to say beyond you are a survivor. You have been through a lot but keeping the right mentality has saved you from killing yourself with drugs and alcohol and perpetuating the abuse with your own children.
    3289 days ago
    Rooby. We just never know what people go through do we . so often we only look at the outside they are smiling, they are funny , never realizing there may be a whole lifetime of heart ache behind those smiles.Thank you for sharing and I am glad to know you better emoticon
    3289 days ago
    Wow, ROOBY. I don't know if I have words. Just know I'm in awe of your strength and resilience - I am an even bigger fan of you now!!! emoticon
    3289 days ago
    Thanks for posting this personal blog. It's amazing what people do to one another. But also amazing how resilient individuals can be.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    3289 days ago
  • IONA72
    Wow, you make me realise how lucky I am to have a loving family and a settled upbringing, thanks for sharing.

    3289 days ago
    KITANAASH, I never had a problem with my daughter's father being a Mexican - it was my family that did. :) I am completely pro Mexican immigration, and I think that the way the US treats Mexican immigrants is a TRAVESTY. I think they are, in general, a hard-working, family-loving, kind societal group. My family called me a slut for sleeping (and being impregnated) by one.

    The US in GENERAL treats Mexican laborers as slaves. Indentured servants with no limit to their 'contracts' - if we get cranky, we send you home, hasta bye bye, piss off.
    3289 days ago
    Even though I don't know you,I'm glad to know that you were able to survive from such a past.
    You're amazing. A hero.

    That's crazy what people can go through,and what can happen to the individual.
    I'm sorry about the loss of your brother. And I can't believe how your mother can be about everything. It's just...crazy how some parents can think. That having a child would not change them...guess it's only for certain people....

    I hope you continue to be strong for yourself and your daughter.

    And hey,btw,not all mexican men are's just some like that that give them a bad rep. I had a white bf that's a recovering addict and lazy,still has no job. The moment I got with the mexican bf I am now,he started searching for a job to help support my finicial issues withing a week after we started dating. He's amazing. ^_^

    Sorry,I rant,I was just kind of offended....

    Keep the strength,keep the faith,keep the love,

    3289 days ago
  • JODY22002

    From one survivor to another.
    3289 days ago
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