It’s a question I have often asked myself, how did I survive my childhood? Well there are different ideas of surviving. From what my sister and I went through, not ending up in a mental institution or dead is survival. So from the beginning, I will tell you a story which has rarely been told, I am now in my thirties and am still “surviving” so I believe I am qualified to write this story now.
My mother and father were a deadly combination of narcissistic, controlling and sexually obsessed people from different backgrounds. My mother from South Wales and father from Bolton, their meeting was not one that could have ever been predicted. Especially in the early eighties. They met in a night club in a village near Bridgend, my Father was in the RAF and he was out with his regiment on a field exercise for a week near bye. My mother, who to this day will insist she was a quiet little wall flower who knew nothing of boys or sex or dating, was out on the lash looking for men. Yes she tells the story like she believes her own lies.
Very young, they both rushed into a fast marriage and produced my elder sister exactly nine months post wedding and then myself just a year later. Their relationship was toxic, they lived on the barracks in Acrotiri in Cyprus where they frequented private swinging parties together. In the time they were there, both of them cheated on one another a multitude of times, causing pain and mistrust and family break-up’s all over the place.
My mother and father broke up when I was about three years old. By this time we had been moved to RAF Finningly Doncaster where we were living in a council property close bye in a village named Bentley. My father will say it is because my mother was violent and cheated a lot. My mother says the same about my father and we believe them both.
Leaving us in my mothers care, my father dipped out of our lives for a few years. Only to return and inflict his own abuse once he had gained my trust. But we won’t go into this just yet.
My mother had absolutely not one clue of how to raise and love and care for children. Her mother, a cold and unaffectionate woman with a temper to watch out for, she billowed and cursed at her family and disciplined them with violence. Mum had seen some terrible things growing up that no child should have to witness, including the indecent sexual assaults her brother forced upon her older sister, who incidentally broke free at 13 and placed herself in care to protect herself (I too was 13 when I placed myself in care. She told us about her trauma over the years from very young ages as though we should appreciate how good our lives were with her. In truth, no matter how her stories made us cringe and how they stalked our nightmares, we were never ever happy living with her.
Yet, when she was not in a mood to tell horror stories, her account of her childhood to us and to others, will always be a countryside dream of a perfectly behaved little girl growing up on a farm chasing chickens about. A virgin bride who needed sexual education the night before her wedding and who was taken by my father who showed her too much too young. Ever the victim.
Growing up in the Bentley house, my sister and I faced so many daily challenges not to get beaten by our mother that the memories of those four years taste of bloody mouths and salty silent tears. She could explode any second over anything, real or fabricated.
Being suffocated with her pillow over our faces was one of her regular punishments, she would use the weight of her body with a knee either side of our heads and the pillow being pushed into our mouth and nose by her hands. She’d do this until we stopped struggling then whip it off and start slapping us around the face.
Dangling our little bodies from her back bedroom window by our necks and threatening to drop us to the ground floor, describing the bloody scene of our brains and guts smashing everywhere if she let us drop to the pavement below.
The times she would disappear for a shift in an Indian restaurant and not come back for days on end, my sister and I enjoyed the most. Our neighbours were aware of the neglect and the abuse. They heard our mothers screams through the walls, cursing us and telling us we were worthless and evil little bitches. They heard her hitting us, with her hands or with objects. She would sometimes think of us enough to dump us on their doorstep naked, dirty and hungry, saying we needed feeding and she was off to work. Our neighbour who had three boys herself, was always happy to take us in, she wanted to bathe and dress us and get some food into us. I used to call my sister mummy and she only being a year older, took on the task of taking care of me.
My sister at this point, was the only person I had any kind of affection from. My mother reminded me constantly that she never wanted me. She would say my sister was perfect but I was meant to be a boy and that I was possessed with the devil. Along with blonde bimbo, thick as pig shit, stupid, evil little bitch and cunt my mother would refer to me as anything but my real name.
I remember my mother hugging me outside my nursery once, obviously a public display, but the rarity of the feeling made me burst into tears, which was when she squeezed my three year old hand so tight, digging in her nails to make me stop crying.
Going to school was such a blessing, our escape for those hours away from our mother. She stopped getting up to walk us to school after the first week. Instead, she would have a map which was drawn with crayon, directing us to school with strict instructions to post the letter into the post box so she would not be found out. She told us that if we did not do as we were told, the devil would take us to hell.
When I was four my mother met another man, a police man with whom she married straight away and had another baby girl. For some reason, she was not so violent towards our younger sister and just spat and swore in her face. My little sister was diagnosed with autism. My mothers new husband left before my sister was even born. He states that she was extremely violent and he couldn’t take her abuse. It took her father eight years to prize her from my mothers grip.
On rainy days she would take us in her car, the anger in my mother on these days was the worst. Having to get out of bed to take us to school annoyed her so much, we knew we would undergo an array of beatings, swearing and general abuse during the routine of getting ready to leave.
One morning, mum came down the stairs in such a bad mood, she gave her crazy explanation for hitting us both repeatedly around the heads with a hard plastic Denman hairbrush. She said we were little witches who had conjured up our wicked magic to make it rain. The bristles left tiny bleeding prints on our faces and multiple cuts on our heads. In the car, my sister sat up front and took a barrage of beating down onto her legs as my mother demanded she made a good enough story to tell our teachers about our marks.
Her petrol gage started flashing red and she burst into hysterics screaming, scratching at my sister and pulling her hair. My little sister was in the back seat and was crying uncontrollably. She said the car was going to explode and kill us all if we ran out of petrol.
It was at this precise moment that I found my humour through trauma. We got to the petrol station and my mother had filled up and gone into the shop to pay. My sister sat and cried out loud. I put my arms around her leaning through the gap in the front of the car and said “next time she starts going crazy in the car we just drop n roll ok?” my sister’s face changed into one full of entertainment and happiness at my funny joke. Her tears stopped and we giggled so hard I almost peed my pants. Our little sister had picked up on the humour and was laughing along too. From there on in I was going to make my sisters and myself laugh through the pain and that was something our mother could never ever take away from us.
You see, from that moment, no matter what life has thrown at us, my sisters and I have been gifted with a special survival instinct of our own. We are not built with the “fight or flight” instinct like most people, instead, we get through it, take the piss and laugh hysterically in the face of turmoil. Handy when you need to protect yourself, not so handy when you are laughing at a serious issue and “normal” people look at you with a distinct worry and a “should we call someone?” expression on their faces…
No matter what life threw at me, even today, I will find a funny way to look at it and laugh. I have found that even in the darkest moments, a giggle is worth a thousand tears and positivity is inside us all no matter what is happening around us. One thing I have proven, is the abused do not always go on to abuse and that we are in control of our own behaviour. I firmly believe that a child growing up in an abusive situation, will know at some point that it is wrong a long time before they have their own children to take care of. Knowing something is wrong but choosing to continue is outright abusive and there are no excuses.
I went on to suffer years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse from my parents and all of this will be published in due course with a link to my book here so look out for that! I will be covering the multitude of opportunities the Social services, teachers and doctors missed to prevent all of our suffering throughout our childhoods. Where they went wrong and what system would work.
In posting the first short story on child abuse, I hope to encourage others to share. Because you never know who might be reading your story and how much of it will help them in their own situation. Resonating with fellow abuse victims kind of chips away at the weight of your past, it helps to share the burden and realise you are not alone in this.
I’m currently creating stories for children which encourages them to come forward if something has happened that they are hiding, helps parents understand how to talk to their children about abuse and its something any child could read without having a negative impact on their innocent minds. This will help children to speak up and to help safeguard your little ones while they are out in the world away from your protection. Links to these books will also be added here shortly!
Created By Chief Editor Michelle Naughton