I can’t remember when you first hit me
I can’t remember how often you lost your mind with rage
I remember a bad incident at 9 or 10, a bit old for you to behave this way.
You shouted, chased me, screamed as was your pattern when you lost control,
Grabbing, pushing, manhandling me,
Whacking any limb I wasn’t able to cover.
As I sobbed no place to hide.
And still you have that photo of me you snapped,
My face desperate and bewildered, eyes puffy
To remind me ‘what I had done’ and how the fault was mine.
You always finished by telling me you’d have me sent away, locked up
I almost didn’t care if you did
You were still attempting this when I was nineteen though I tried to fight by then.
Just before I’d had enough, got out the door,
You had no remorse.
You always blamed me,
I’d always done something to deserve it
I was a handful.
I can’t remember when you first left me alone,
But I remember always being in the shadows.
Hiding, wanting the time you gave to everybody else.
Everything had to be on your terms.
You didn’t mind finding me lurking
But the attention I got didn’t come from you
It was the kindness of strangers
I was a novelty, you were working.
Where were you when…..?
I wouldn’t leave my 4 or 5 year old to wander.
Things were different then I know,
If was like a community…..
Things were different then-except they weren’t.
I can’t remember when i first felt responsible for your feelings
That I had to protect you
You were not strong
Your life hadn’t been easy,
You’d no idea what you were doing wrong.
Best friends you wanted us to be
The best Mum in the world
The one you never had
I was really your special girl.
But you didn’t know how to be that Mum and all I saw was your sad.
Yes you gave me everything.
Everything you could afford.
Good education, private lessons,
Expensive holidays abroad.
Told me I could tell you anything
But for some reason I told you nothing, ever
My Mum is full of love. She wanted to be the perfect Mum and doesn’t understand even now where she went wrong. She still justifies her physical and verbal aggression. She still says “You were a handful”. There is nowhere to go with it now and I was powerless then.
I still remember that feeling of powerlessness. She was my Mum, the one in charge. What she said went even if I knew it must be wrong. I knew the consequences of disagreeing. But being the person I am, I did disagree, frequently and so this sort of scene was frequent all throughout my childhood.
This second piece of abuse (see “I don’t like this”) set the stage for my future relationships, romantic and friendship and have amounted to endless pain.
My Mum didn’t know how to express her own feelings and for a long time nor did I. Abuse was present in our ongoing relationship so I thought that was okay. She was unable to support my emotions or provide a safe place for me to talk, so I was never heard, And in fact to a large degree I cared for her and her feelings because if she was calm and happy my existence was normally safer and mood, conflict and violence free.
But it was a big job, she had some big emotions from a troubled past. It was a volatile childhood and I became quite a volatile child/young person. I share the progression in a later poem.
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