I wasn’t afraid of her. I wasn’t afraid of any authority figure anywhere. I was afraid only of my mother, but even she could only go so far. I knew that my mother was never going to be one of those parents who tortured, or starved, or killed their kids. She was never going to pummel me black and blue and bloody with her fists.
Sister Barbara made me call my mother at work and tell her I was in the principal’s office, and tell her what I was there for. She made me say it. She made me say “dick wad” to my mother.
I don’t remember getting beat for that. I don’t remember getting beat very often for getting in trouble in school. I remember being put on punishment, like not being allowed to play Barbies, or knowing that I was in the dog house.
Most of the beatings I remember were instances of my mother taking her stress out on us with violence. And that’s the messiest part, that’s what qualifies it as abuse. We weren’t beaten as a means of discipline. We were beaten because my mother couldn’t handle her shit. Because she was under the tremendous burden of raising three children on her own; borrowing, begging, hustling, and scheming by any means necessary to give them the best she thought she could, and keep them away from a life as messy and painful as she had already endured.
I get that much. I fully comprehend the efforts she was making. But when she threw a cup of tea in mine or my sister’s face, or bent my brother over and pounded her fist into his back, or reached for a cylinder tool from the vacuum to strike one of us with, it was difficult to reconcile that monster with a mother who loved her children, and was trying to do her very best by them.
My mother needed the certainty and stability of control. I’ve seen it in various Scorpios since. It’s a trait they all share. She just went about it absolutely, undeniably wrong.
What she needed was control over herself, over her emotions, her fears and doubts and her ambitions. She projected that need onto us, and when we, her three individual, layered, charismatic, inquisitive, explorative, adventurous, and imaginative children didn’t absorb her projections properly we were the ones who paid for her inadequacy.
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