My earliest memories of my family life include
desperately wanting to be held by my mother, rocked like a baby, cuddled
in what I would describe now as normal behavior with a baby. This
I grew up always being the "bad girl". The
routine that sticks in my mind is that every day when my father came home,
mother would give him the litany of all the things that I had done wrong
during day. He would look at me, and we would walk down the hall to my
bedroom. I would lie face down on the bed, and he would take off his belt
and spank me with it 'til I had welts on my butt. All the while, he was
saying "This hurts me more than it does you". I remember crying and screaming.
I also remember very distinctly the time when I decided that he was NOT
going to make me cry any more. I would just lie there gritting my teeth
until he was finished and closed the door. THEN I would cry! To myself,
though...not so anyone could hear me.
Every day, my mother would have something to
say about what I had done. I remember trying VERY hard to be a "good girl",
and of having absolutely NO idea what I was doing wrong. I did not
set out to break their rules, whatever they happened to be on that day.
This continued for all of my life as a child, teenager, and into young
adulthood. The phrase that sticks with me is "We don't like her."
My mother used to say this to my sister all of our lives. HER life was
spent being told to watch me and report anything that I did wrong!
As I look back now, I can see that I was
already "set up" to enter into abusive relationships
in later life..... and my sister, too.
As a child, I was taught that my behaviours
determined whether I was a "good girl" or a "bad girl". I was never once
told that I was loved just because I was their child! In fact, I
do not remember EVER being told "I love you" by my parents; not until much
later in life. I tried to question my childhood, and work through these
feelings with them. I never succeeded in
this, but I tried. I finally came to
the realization that they did love me, but were following the "popular"
childrearing attitude at the time. They did what they considered best for
me. Understanding this, I was able to forgive a little, and get rid of
my own bitterness towards them.
It still hurts, even today, but I am no longer
bitter about it.