Friday, 20 January 2006

Who's frying tonight?

This post re-published December 2012

Not for the faint hearted.

This is neither a cookery nor a funny post. After several wonderful and euphoric days re-discovering long lost family I finally got to speak to my cousin long-distance after about 33 years. Amidst everything, she recalled an incident of my youth which greatly disturbed her throughout the years. An incident I only half recalled but that bit that I do recall, it is with absolute clarity and remembrance. Something I had remembered through the years but it seems I had expunged part of it.

I was 9 and half years old. My cousin and I were sent out by my mother to buy baby milk. It cost $1.98 and she gave me a two dollar bill (some countries really had $2 dollar bills!). My cousin was nearly 2 years older than me and was taller and happy with golden red curls that flung carefree round her shoulders. She persuaded me to spend the 2c change on lollipops for us. I daren't and she found that strange because her family would let her spend the change. After a bit of badgering I decided to throw caution to the wind and to be brave. So we happily licked our lollipops on the way home. I pretended but inwardly was scared witless.

On our return my mother asked after the 2c change. I tried to fudge the issue but in the end had to admit what we had done. My mother hit the roof and she ranted and raved over this 2c and all I remembered was that it was an extremely difficult time.

As an adult and even as a child, I understood it was the principle of it. But nowhere do I understand the next bit which I had forgotten.

Today, my cousin told me that my mother then put a frypan onto the cooker and heated it up. She then proceeded to put my hand onto the hot pan as punishment. I don't remember this bit at all and yet I remembered clearly the first part of the event. I don't know if I was burned or to what extent my burns were. And yet, I clearly remember another incident where I (and my brother) were given burns to the hands as a punishment.

It is just so darned peculiar. Bizarre. Outrageous. Obnoxious. Disgusting.

It's done and what's done is done. It is the fact someone else entirely, witnessed this and years later can tell me.

Yeah, so I keep crying at the moment. I can't help feeling that this is the year when everything gets sorted. I have arranged to visit my mother tomorrow to bring news of this family and to finally confess that I had found her other siblings, my Aunts, but hadn't told her. I shall tip-toe around the fact that her own family had been terrified of her or couldn't bear her and so hadn't wanted contact with her. But times are a-changing. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The tragic things that happened to my mother in her childhood or her obnoxious behaviour throughout?

There is no doubt she had an extremely violent father. In fact my cousin was staying with us as her father, my mother's brother, had commited suicide. Reasons unknown but possibly the memories of his own violent past were too much. And here, within days of the funeral she was being barbaric to her own child.

I don't know. I shall no doubt be the wonderful daughter tomorrow, as ever, and do everything to help her. Contact with her beloved brother's family is significant. I'm not sure if I am angry with her or if it is even helpful.

I'm writing this because if I say it here then I have got some stuff off my chest and cleared the decks a little.


Ally said...
I can't think of anything remotely constructive that might help - only, I think I would feel the same way about it helping to write some of it out; and that I hope tomorrow goes okay. Look after yourself.
doris said...
Thanks! :-)
Astryngia said...
It's the expunging that's so darn bewildering - how can we 'forget' that such terrible things were done to us. But we do...The person who was once the most important in the world, who was once 'our world' on whom we were totally dependent...better to forget than believe we were bad enough to merit the treatment. And yet we continue to help, to protect, to...hope...? (Why?)

doris - what a bitch she was. I think you give her too much credit in saying you understood it was the 'principle'. If it was the principle of the matter then the punishment would have fitted the crime.

What a maelstrom of feelings must be bubbling under right now.

If you are driving tomorrow, please be safe. You matter. And you deserve better than you got. But what a magnificent person you became as a result. :-)
Writer Mom said...
Oh dear really got me.

By being the good daughter, you've broken the cycle. History of family violence is definitely the recurring component of child abuse. She was bad, her mother was worse...But if YOU break it, the curse is broken. Still sucks that SHE couldn't have broken the cycle. Why? Why oh why.

Changing the subject a bit, this touches another nerve of mine. Concerning repressed memories. My son had surgery at 20 was traumatic for all of us. That day, they gave him some sort of potion that was supposed to keep him from remembering any of it.
He was recently diagnosed with autism...and I can't quite get that day out of my head. Up until that summer, he was off the charts in development.
Jack does everything fantastically well--except communicate (getting much much better...but slower than kids his age)...His recall is the problem. Asking him what happened yesterday...only this month (at age five) has he begun to cross the wires in his brain and make it happen.
I had a friend who used to tell me she couldn't remember ANYTHING before the age of seven. I always worried about her. Had something terrible happened? She suspected it, I could tell.
This topic...traumatic experiences causing memory's very important to me.
All the more important is for people to realize children grow up...These actions have consequences. Of course, if child abusers were rational enough to think ahead like that, they wouldn't hurt their children to begin with.
Sorry for taking up all the space, but you spoke to me tonight.
I wish you well.
(hugs from over the pond)
Cheryl said...
Wondered where you were and if everything was OK.

birdychirp said...
that's so sad. Am thinking of you
decrepitoldfool said...
Amazing story, yet all too common. I imagine many people you know have had similar experiences but cannot remember or if they do remember cannot talk about it. You do everyone a service in telling the story.

I will be thinking of you - your 'sorting' will surely help.
Ghone said...
Thinking of you also... x.

On another matter - so you think your blog is better than mine? Eh?
(have a look at our current Blog Explosion - Battle of the Blog rankings!)
Jo said...
Doris :-(

Hugs hon...noticed the lack of posts and worried a bit about you...

(strangely I have just posted about my mother too - before I read this).

This is a terrible story hon. Just horrid. It does you great credit to break the cycle of abuse, as others have said, and to talk about it. Astryngia says what I would say too...

I guess from what you have said before, she would simply deny having done such a thing if you confronted her with it now?

Though what would be the point I guess? Unless you wanted to end your relationship with her - which you might.

I wonder how your day went?

Thinking of you :-)

Badaunt said...
That your mother - that anybody - could do that to a child is horrible, and sad.

I wonder if she remembers, herself?

Memory is so strange. When I get together with my brothers (which doesn't happen very often) and we talk about things from our childhoods I always find it disorienting. We remember the same events so differently. Also, they remember things I don't remember at all, and vice versa.
doris said...
Thanks everyone! I have written a follow-up post.

Writer Mom The repressed memory thing is interesting and I hope to discuss it further especially in the context of your son. Your mentioning about the medication has, excuse the irony, stirred a memory about something related to my time working in a children's hopsital but I'd have to think about. Not now thow!

Ghone Eh? What are you on.... :-) But no doubt I shall dive in at some point and hope I won't be too late for your moment of glory! :-)
Carol said...
Doris, I'm appalled. How could the person who should have been loving you so dearly have done such a dreadful thing to you? This seems to be the Year of the Child Abuse Memories for me and mine. I'm so sorry this happened to you. (((Doris)))
jane said...
I want to say so much, yet I don't know what to say. Nobody but you knows what you're feeling right now, so I'm not even going to try & guess.
What I will say is I'm sorry anybody ever hurt you. Knowing who you are now amazes me, Doris. Just know I'm hugging you.
Anji said...
I'm speechless. I suppose you must have blanked it out.
You seem to have come out of it a lovely person.
mrshellonheels said...
((((Doris)))) I am so sorry you had a childhood like horrible at times that you had to totaly block it out. Mine is simular you know. For me, all I can do, is acknowledge that it happened. That it was a part of my life, and then move on. Blogging has helped me with that. We can't change the past, but we CAN shape the future : )

No comments: