Growing up in an alcoholic home as a child was not easy. My father was an alcoholic, and physically and mentally abusive to my mother. I am the youngest child, and the only girl. My two older brothers also got the brunt of his anger, after he was done with whatever abuse he chose for my mother. He did not come after me as often, although he did at times once I got older. (That is a story for another day).
I don’t know exactly what my first “bad” memory is. I have a lot of them, and it is hard to always be able to put an age on the memory. Although I know the memories are real, I often wonder if my age at the time is correct. I try to base it off the ages of my brothers, as we are all about 5 years apart.
I was about 5 years old, (maybe 4), when I was sexually abused. This is related to Christmas, because my parents went to a Christmas Party. I was left home with my older brothers. My mother very rarely left me home without her. She did not work outside the home at this time. I can close my eyes and vividly see and feel (like looking down at someone else) what happened to me. I recall exactly how the bedroom was laid out. I can see it clearly. I never spoke of this, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I told my mother. Her reaction was not quite what I had envisioned. I do know she told my father, who’s response to her was “I can’t believe that.” With that being said, this has been swept under the rug, and is not talked about. I recently went to help my parents do a few things at their home (end of October 2016). I do not go there often, as it is not a healthy place for me mentally. We were in “the room”, and I described the lay out to my mother. She confirmed that yes, it had once been like that. My memory was validated. I broke down in tears. I am sure this let her know I had been telling the truth. I had to leave soon after, and I have not went back since. Again, this was swept under the rug, and not discussed. As you can probably guess, I have no contact or relationship with my siblings.
We do not have a large extended family. My father was an only child, and my mother was not close to her brothers. I am sure this is due to the fact my father was an alcoholic. My maternal grandmother passed when I was about 5 years old, and my maternal grandfather had a stroke that left him in a vegetative state soon after. My paternal grandmother was not close to the family, due to issues my own father had as a child. His father was near 60 years old when he was born, to a young mother of around 20 years old. He was put in an “old folks home” and my father says he died of a broken heart. My father was raised by his grandparents. I believe my father suffers from mental illness, and probably his father also.
So, I grew up with no grandparents to visit, or to love me. I had several uncles, and a few cousins, but I rarely saw them. But one year, we were going to one of my uncle’s homes for Christmas. This was a rare occasion, and I was pretty excited. I was in the fourth grade. On Christmas Eve, my father hit my mother and caused a black eye and busted mouth. How no one heard this going on, I do not know. So, Christmas morning we wake up to open gifts. Imagine the horror of seeing your mother beaten. Our trip to my uncle’s was cancelled. Of course, you had to hide the abuse.
My parents pretended as if everything were normal, and we set down to open our gifts. I know this may sound selfish, but remember I was young. I had wanted one specific gift, a Baby Alive. I did not receive that gift, nor did I receive anything that I even remotely wanted. I recently found out that my father did all the Christmas shopping back then, and my mother wasn’t allowed to. So, I had a miserable Christmas, and probably what set the course for me to hate Christmas. Thanksgiving was always just us, my parents and brothers, at home. Although my parents prepared a big traditional meal, it seemed to just be a repeat year after year.
I recall going to school after Christmas break, and confiding for the first time in a friend. I actually told someone my father hit my mother! That was something that was forbidden. If I recall, I believe my mother’s story was that an encyclopedia fell out of the bookshelf and hit her. (She worked outside the home once I started school, and this was her cover up to her co-workers). I highly doubt it was believed.
I always dread the holiday season. It is overwhelming, and having BPD does not help with that. When my children were young, I always made sure to pretend to be happy and excited. They are all adults now. I can no longer pretend, and I am sure they resent me for my lack of the “Holiday Spirit”. This is also when I spent most of my time in and out of the mental facilities a couple of years ago, after I became so ill I could no longer hide it.
There are a lot more memories, abuse, and stories. Of course, they are not all based around holidays. But today, I felt like sharing this. I am glad the holiday season is behind me, at least for several more months.