Physical abuse


Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be.

Jim Horning

Sometimes you just give up because you’ve had enough disappointment, wasted enough time waiting for things to change, taken enough abuse, gotten some self-esteem and realized you deserve better than this and you always have. Come to understand that the person you are dealing with is one sick puppy who is never going to change and the only thing you can change is yourself.

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change
the courage to change
the things I can
and the wisdom
to know the difference,
living one day at a time.

Sometimes you grow up and find yourself in spite of your parents.

B

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What happened surrounding Michael’s wedding was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mother. I realized then how much she manipulated my father and drove him absolutely batty in exactly the same way. He would beg her to tell him what was wrong just like I had and she would just be bitchy and negative.

To this day I don’t know if I had done something to offend her or what the hell was wrong. She wouldn’t talk about it. That was over and done. The past. We didn’t need to dwell on it. For fuck’s sake, Mother, you damn near ruined you son’s wedding. You certainly put me in a precarious position having to explain it all. Aren’t I entitled to know what the hell was going on? Apparently not.

I never trusted her after that. And I didn’t get over being angry. That incident was such a revelation. All sorts of shitty memories started flooding back into my concious memory of the abuse my brothers and I suffered at her hands.

How she had stuck my finger under the sewing machine needle and deliberately rammed the needle into it for a few seconds as she held my hand there because she caught me playing with her machine. I was maybe three when that happened. Maybe younger. My god in heaven that ain’t that woman was cruel.

It had always bothered me that I could not remember large parts of my childhood but now I think I don’t want to remember. No, I’m almost certain I don’t.

B

That family genealogist found these blogs and contacted me. He told me he’d be happy to update our family information if I cared to give it. I told him to contact my mother and tell her how he found out there was an error. There have been a few hits on the site–two yesterday specifically for Phyllis Ann Fate Gavin.

What can I say? Welcome to my world, Mom if you are the reader. If it’s my brothers well hey there bro. Welcome to your world as well. It wasn’t always happy was it. Thanks to the sheer neglect that went on we managed to make it happy though. You three banded together and did all those crazy things that might have gotten you killed. I was so lonely watching the three of you sometimes. I felt shut out.

Well, that’s the way things were, It’s today that we should be living in. We’re all estranged and everything. I wonder what you think about that. I wonder if you give a rat’s ass. I wonder if you even know the reason why or care to know.

It might be other family members. If so, welcome to the Incestuous abusive story of one of your family members. Actually it involves a number of us. Right off hand I can’t say how many since I’d have to count all the ex-wives, girlfriends and husbands and children and their significant others. You get my drift right?

I’m tired. This shit makes me even more tired.

B

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the night and the empty skies my love
To the night and the empty skies

Roberta Flack

The pain of my parents’ betrayal lies deep in my Psyche. It’s hard to talk about how deep the wounds my mother and father inflicted go but especially my mother because she was the supposed sane one. My father was certifiable, in and out of psychiatric wards from the age of 17 until his death at age 47.

My Mother didn’t “go crazy” until I started talking to her about how hurt and angry I felt about some o the things she did. Then she had a “nervous break down,” effectively shutting me down and protecting her status as the victim. It’s hard to write about it. It’s hard to think about it because I get so angry at her for manipulating me for so many years and for continuing to try to manipulate me now.

The closest I’ve come to actually talking about the ways my Mother abused and betrayed me is some abstract poetry that really doesn’t tell it all. It just hints at what happened and how I felt at that moment. None of my therapists have really wanted to hear about what my mother was up while Daddy was putting his filthy hands all over me.

That was secondary and she was not at fault. My father was the offending parent. Like Harry they aren’t listening to what the hell happened in that situation. They aren’t hearing what I am saying. This woman told me she wished I had died instead of her first born son. She told me this repeatedly for 17 years.

God damn-it, I’d rather had my father’s beatings and his hands in my panties than that refrain echoing in my head for 55 years. Why can’t these crazy therapists understand that?

Truth be told, I feared my mother more than I feared my father because there was no end to the torture she inflicted upon me and my brothers. Daddy was violent at times and he was crazy heavy-handed. Mother had good reason to say “Stop, you’ll kill her!” He could become that enraged and he drew blood on more occasions than I care to count but once he stopped hitting you he was done.

Mother’s psychological warfare never let up though. The guilt at not having been the child she wanted when I was born still haunts me even though intellectually I know that this was one of the most patently ridiculous guilt trips of all. There was nothing I could have done to alter being who and what I was at birth. Had she said this to me once or twice, I might have remembered it and felt grieved but this was a litany that I heard at least once a month for 17 years.

And then there is the complicity and her actual participation in the sexual abuse. Perhaps this poem expresses it best. I don’t think I can write about it without becoming overly emotional and giving our perverted lurkers too much gratuitous information. This is my first memory of the incest.

Complicit

Three…I am three years old and it is dusk
the last few moments of daylight cast feeble shadows
across the white counterpane of my bed;
the sky is glowing pink fading to gray and
I can smell newly mowed grass and the bitter green
of dandelions gone to seed, the sweet yellow roses
blooming on the porch trellis beneath my window
and the faint whiff of Daddy’s Pall Malls.
And I, fresh from a bath, wearing only cotton panties
smell like ivory soap and baking soda
dabbed on mosquito and chigger bites that still itch.
My hair is damp and your hands are harsh
brushing out the tangles, warning me
“Sit still! Don’t wiggle! Be quiet, you’ll wake up the baby!”

I have this memory now, I’ve brought it up
from the cellar where bad dreams and the sad tears
of little girls are kept when it’s too hard to remember.
I’ve claimed it now even though I’d rather push
it back to that time and place when I was only three
and freeze myself in that chair getting my hair brushed free
of snarls and your hands are impatient and tired.

It came to me in bits and pieces at inconvenient times
in inconvenient places as if it had a life of its own,
refusing to be denied, ignored. It came and insisted
that I recall every single moment, every single
assault on my senses, every single thought and emotion
that ran through my three year old mind that night.
It comes again and again insisting that I recall this information
And when it comes I am, for the duration, three again…

Listening to you walk wearily down the stairs,
the soft murmur of your voice and Daddy’s
deeper and louder, the thump of the screen door
and the heavy tread of his weight on the stairs.
The smell of oil and grease on his blue jeans,
stale cigarette smoke lingering in the fabric of his shirt.
The heat and humidity, sweat on his hands
when he rubs my back and whispers, “Turn over, Baby.
Give your Daddy a kiss goodnight.” The thumping of my heart
as I turn and give myself to his hands and meet
the vacant stare in your eyes as you stand,
watching from the doorway before you turn and walk away

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn

B

Well they say the skys the limit
And to me thats really true
But my friend you have seen nothing
Just wait til I get through . . .

Because Im bad, Im bad-come on
(bad bad-really, really bad)
You know Im bad, Im bad-you know it
(bad bad-really, really bad)
You know Im bad, Im bad-come on, you know
(bad bad-really, really bad)
And the whole world has to answer right now
Just to tell you once again,
Whos bad . . .

Michael Jackson

I see someone has been googling Dr Israelstam again. What’s with that? It’s kind of creeping me out to get six hits on my pdoc. I think I know who it is and I don’t mind so much that he reads here. In fact, he’s more than welcome to read here. But geeze just book mark the Blog already.

Having all of this so/so information about who is reading your blog is kind of strange. Cool in a way but if you are the least bit paranoid it can get your antenna really quivering. I am more than the least bit paranoid On a scale of 1 ot 10 with 10 being so paranoid I would be dangerous if I had a gun and you were to walk up behind me and say boo, I am at least a 4 and maybe a 5. I don’t need any help in getting further up the scale, thank you very much.

Lots of good things going on in my life and lots of mixed blessings. #1 good thing. I am going to be a new Grammy. In fact, I sort of already am! My daughter who does foster care and has been waiting for 4 years to adopt a baby girl through the state has had a baby girl placed with her last weekend. She is 8 months old and her name is Trinity Rose. She came complete with a brother and a sister who may or may not be up for adoption as well. They have a different father than Trinity. In the meanwhile they are going to be in foster care with my daughter and son-in-law.

I am writing like a fiend and I am becoming something of a local “celebrity” or at least a known quantity. The Isthmus Daily Page must have me on a special alert thingie so that when I make a post on my Madison Blog they get notified and if it is Madisony enough and interesting enough they link to me. Dane 101 occasionally links to me as well. I am also writing at a site called Helium which is sort of like a contest thing. The short story I wrote for Gabe is #1 of 79. Wow!

This is a mixed blessing. I am having a hard time dealing with these successes. I feel like a fraud. I am sure someone is going to accuse me of plagiarism because I named the puppy in my story Yeller. I am scared to death that I will not be able to keep this up and my ability to write is really a fluke. It may disappear over night. I may not be able to write tomorrow. Gawd in heaven who ain’t help me.

I feel liked something bad is going to happen in my life. Some kind of doom is hanging over my head. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the sword to fall and cut off this happiness. I’m actually frightened by how well things are going in my life right now. Being this happy scares me. Something bad always happens to destroy it.

I remember journaling about that when I was dating Larry and damned if immediately after I started writing about those feelings the bad shit didn’t start happening. I now know that the vast majority of the shit was the Gremlins playing on my fears because they got at my journal and read about my insecurities but still… That bad fall I took at the Union wasn’t the Gremlins. Or was it? Was I pushed? I’m not certain. There were a lot of people there and they were crowding around us. I could have been…

I am juggling four Blogs and I may start another simply to put Gabe’s stories on. Good lord. Why have I taken on so much? Because I have so much to say I guess. I am going to try to get hold of the woman whose illustration on a card inspired the original story and see if she is interested in illustrating a book. I am going to write a children’s book. I’m scared to death but I believe I can do this.

My goal for my next session with Harry is to talk about why I feel like such a fraud when I am having this much success. Why am I so scared to be so happy and successful/productive?

B

The summer I was 13 there were two very traumatic events in my family’s life. I started the wheat field next to the Verona Grain Elevator (which my Daddy managed) on fire on the 4th of July and made the local news and my baby brother Jimmy Dale lost an eye. It wan not a good summer.

I don’t remember much more than those two events from that summer other than bone crushing boredom and being pissed as hell at being stuck in a ghost town isolated from my friends. For some reason my father had gotten it into his head that Mother and us kids had to accompany him to work every day. I suspect that my mother was virtually his prisoner in some ways.  But she was his assistant and book keeper at the elevator.

I know my brothers and I were. He would get very paranoid and imagine us being up to all sorts of no good.  Me especially.  He was certain I was chasing boys around and I spent most of my time that summer confined to a small camper trailer, hidden away.

Mother’s rule of thumb was to do whatever Daddy said and don’t complain. Don’t ask questions. Don’t make trouble. Don’t fight back. I fought back. At least often enough to be a big PITA. But that isn’t how or why the fire got set. <heh>

The fire got set because Mother told me to go out and burn some trash. Handed me the matches. Harvest was in full bloom. The trash barrel was about 2/3 full of ashes and I wasn’t overly cautious about making sure everything was securely inside the barrel. It was a hot, dry windy day. I set it ablaze and went back to the camper trailer to read my book.

I got to see what a prairie fire might have looked like. Horrifying. Luckily the wheat fields that burned had been harvested that day and they got the fire out before it spread to the acres and acres of pure gold in the surrounding fields. It could have been a horrible disaster. It was nightfall before they finally got that blaze put out and and every last spark extinguished.

One of my classmates, Jimmie Dedrickson was there when it was finally all over. He turned to me and said, “Boy, Gavin, you really know how to celebrate the 4th of July!” A few of the men standing around chuckled and I laughed.

Out of nowhere, my father grabbed me by the hair and threw me on the ground and started kicking the shit out of me screaming at me about starting fires and then laughing about it. There were all these people there and news reporters from as far away as Lincoln and Omaha and he went berserk. They stopped him, of course, but he got away with assaulting me in front of at least 50 people.

The county Sheriff was probably even still there. He’d come out to investigate and ask questions as to how and why the fire started. I remember my mother was angry that ultimately they blamed her for the whole thing because she told me to burn the trash. According to her I should have known it was too windy to burn the trash. I was always supposed to know things without being taught or told. If I hadn’t gone out and burnt that trash, if I had argued with her that it was too wind, you can damn well bet I would have caught hell for that.

B

When my children were small they would ask me to tell them stories about what it was like when I was a little girl. I told them funny stories about my brothers. They called them the Uncle stories. I don’t think they even noticed that I told them hardly anything about myself.

I wish I could remember good times. I’m sure there must have been good times. It couldn’t have all been bad times could it? No. It’s just that the bad times over shadow all the good times, drawing a dark curtain over what was good. I remember times that started off good but turned out bad.

Mostly I remember being afraid to be happy because if I was happy something bad would happen. I remember laying awake in my bed at night and praying that nothing bad would happen. I remember making deals with god about what I would give up if only he would stop the bad stuff from happening. It never worked. I gave up being happy but the bad stuff kept happening. I could never be good enough.

Why do bad things happen to good little girls? Because shit happens and there is no one there to care. Especially not an all-seeing, all-powerful god.

B

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