My father was a monster. He abused my sister and me in every way imaginable. I used to love the days my mom stayed home sick. That meant she would be home when I came home from school. She was the only source of love in our house. She was his victim, too.
The only positive feedback I ever got was from my teachers at school. I loved school and very early on developed a love of books. With them, I could escape reality. I could travel. I could learn. Even the smell of books made me happy.
I could count to 100, do simple addition and subtractions before entering kindergarten. Activities didn’t hold my interest because it was all so easy. Now, I’d be in an accelerated class. But they weren’t around then. So, afternoons, I’d be reading to my fellow Kindergartners. Kept me out of trouble.
At home, I was called “Boney,” “String Bean,” “Bucky Beaver.” Skinny with buck teeth. I was told that if I got kidnapped, I’d be returned when they got me under the streetlight and saw my face. The only reason any boy would be interested in me was for sex. I should be seen, never heard. I died inside.
At age 5, I remember being made to do laundry on the back porch with a wringer washing machine and hang it on a clothesline before going to school. I was the dishwasher. The remote. The house cleaner. My mom was always at work.
I was such a loving little blonde girl. I smiled all the time, usually hiding the tears. All I wanted was to be loved and make other people happy. I started believing the lies I was bombarded with. My self-esteem was nonexistent.
So I became obsessive compulsive about cleaning everything, trying to make everything “perfect.” That would keep me out of trouble with the monster. Only it didn’t. Nothing did. My first concussion was him kicking me in the head while wearing steel toed boots.
I developed no social skills. I was never asked to a dance at school. Not one.
No friends could come over to my house because of him. So I was lonely and sad all the time. Except when I was at school.
With this beginning, I began trying to be whatever I perceived others wanted me to be. In doing so, I lost sight of who I was I didn’t really have a clue. I just knew that I wasn’t lovable, I was ugly, no one wanted to be my friend and I could never voice an opinion or wish.
My mom was my Brownie and Girl Scout leader. That was nice, but, to prove that she didn’t give me preference, on every camping trip, it was my job to clean the latrines.
Diagnosed with migraines at age 9, they began concurrently with the sexual abuse. My brain’s way of protecting me. The doctor literally put a bottle of Emprin #3 (the equivalent of Excedrine with codeine) in one hand and a bottle of Darvon in my other. He told me to try one. If it didn’t work, take one of the other ones. Or if that didn’t, take one of each. I was nine! Plop, plop, two in the mouth.
When my Aunt and Uncle took me to church with them, I got a huge spanking. I was “Supposed to be home cleaning the house.” I went anyway. I learned that I had a Heavenly Father who DID love me, who would forgive me all my sins. But I felt guilt and shame for most of my life.
My aunt took me to a Billy Graham Crusade! I was so overwhelmed. Of course, I went up to the front, crying me eyes out. I was so elated! But, then, they took me home. My enlightenment was smothered.
For so long, I couldn’t remember any of my childhood. My brain shielding me still. It’s taken me years of therapy to understand that the guilt and shame I was carrying, the guilt and shame I believe was the source of the Migraines was not my guilt or shame. I learned where it came from and was able to give it back to him. Or, at least I thought I did.