My Stepdad Changed My Mom

“Hey, we brought snacks. This is Rebecca, remember her from middle school?”

My friends were in the doorway. Of course I remember Rebecca. We were in 7th grade together when I lived in my old town. I had just changed schools to get away from the bullying I was subjected to on the other. I remember it like it is still going on; the year I went to Class 7D; the hardest year of my childhood. I lived in a home with a stepfather who abused, ridiculed and deprived me of everything, be it food or love, a spoiled baby brother who screamed and screamed and a mom who was so distant; the only thing I met there was a wall of cold. I can’t recall her smiling at me or calling me “sweetie” once through my entire teens. If she smiled at me at all, it was mean, sarcastic smirk. She just yelled, gave me filthy chores and took my stepdad’s side. She found out that if she treated me badly, my stepdad would give her some authority in return. She hasn't been the same since.

Every day consisted of a home where I was a third wheel and unwelcome, unbearable, hard tasks on the farm, a school I was bullied at, and people that I couldn’t trust. My stepfather was very controlling. He could ask me to count the number of Cheerios before and after I ate and had padlocks on all the cupboards. It was an endless winter, the whole thing. I hated my parents, I hated my brothers, I hated school, I hated life, but most of all I hated being a kid. I created an inner world, strong, but not strong enough as I needed to draw and write it down to sustain it. My stepdad didn’t approve of this. “I won’t have this ****! Only retards draw! You’re gonna be a (doctor, lawyer, engineer etc.) and that’s that you nitwit!”

if he caught me drawing or found one of the drawings, he would slap me or kick me or pull my hair and tear my “works” into pieces. He drew a special sadistic pleasure of doing this. He was a very sick man. Trust me; the only reason why I haven’t tracked him down and strangled him with his own colon is simply that he’s not worth it. Getting spanked or hit is never as painful as humiliating. The most humiliating thing my stepdad did was to walk behind me in kick me or shove me in the butt every time he though I walked to slow. I could hear the smile in his voice when he talked to me, while doing this.

I remember Rebecca having her own assistant; Evelyn, because Rebecca was in a wheelchair. Evelyn was the kindest woman I had ever met and I was so jealous of Rebecca. Rebecca always had a small court around her. She was paralyzed waist-down in an accident when she was four. I pitied her greatly for this, of course, but that didn’t keep me from having a child’s attitude. I was jealous of her. She had everything I could only dare to dream of. She had an endless line of friends, a loving family who did everything and gave her everything she could possibly want, expensive clothes, expensive things, her own dog, self-confidence and access everywhere. I also remember her having mainly Diddl school supplies; status symbols when I went to school. She was also very pretty; like a fairy or an anime girl. She was petite and dark-haired with big doe eyes, and I hated her for it. I had already for years experienced how unfair life was, and suddenly I didn’t pity her anymore. I felt that the world had been unfair to her, but that the world or God or whoever paid her back a thousand times. “Fate” as I saw it had only been unfair to her once, and to me it was tearing me up inside and outside little by little every day.

I have no idea why Rebecca was popular. She was a mean, spoiled, pampered brat. Her being paralyzed didn’t keep her from being a little monster. But I did become obsessed with her anyway. This is my most well-kept secret. No one in the entire world knows about it. I didn’t even write about in my journals. But when visiting my alcoholic father I drew wheelchairs, I drew myself in wheelchairs and I drew Rebecca. It was nothing bad; but always her without her friends. I still have some of these drawings. Sometimes in gym periods I would say I needed the bathroom just to go examine her wheelchair. I know it sounds completely crazy, and I realize that it was complete mania.

That year, shortly after my 11th birthday, the school nurse was concerned that I was losing weight. I was underweight for my height, but I didn’t see this. My stepdad had a habit of calling me fat, ugly, stupid, clumsy and a range of specie names for large animals when mom didn’t see it. She did the same and had no objection against scorning me in front of her friends. Pentecostals, you know I hate them. She was always sycophantic and fawning towards my friends, so no one would ever believe the things going on in our home if I was stupid enough to tell on them.

If I had pressed charges against them… well, they wouldn’t be allowed around children again. At school the teachers always told me I was too scantily dressed. This was because my stepdad didn’t approve of tees under the sweater, scarves or caps, because that “would cost extra”. I always had a cough or a cold, and an easy target for bullies. I have seen pictures of myself from eighth grade, and it’s not pretty. Bony hands, thin face, arms, pale skin, sad, scared eyes even though I smile. But when I saw myself in the mirror I saw only flab, flab, and flab all over. I thought I was the fattest, ugliest and meanest person in the world and that I deserved being punished like this. I also felt like a loser because I was always hungry and resorted to shoplifting and food theft. I could never concentrate and I was rude to the teachers. I don’t have the “good girl” gene; I’m different fabric, so I bit back where I could.

My baby brother is only my half-brother, he’s my stepfather’s. He was the jewel of my parents’ lives and was treated very differently. My mom owned a small business and we had enough money, but my stepfather still denied mom buying me new clothes. I didn’t even have my own room until spring that year, because I needed to be “available”, as my stepdad put it. I slept in the living room, and one night I remember having a nightmare and wetting the couch. I’m not gonna say what happened next morning. But I got my own room in the spring; I just wasn’t allowed any personal items, posters or books. My stepdad had check-ups two times a day and if there was one thing that didn’t belong there he either put it in the fireplace or crushed it under his feet. Years of abuse and neglect has made me a recluse today. I was bitten in the upper arm by a horse when I was nine, and my stepdad “wouldn’t pay any hospital bills” and so my arm went injured. It still aches today. They didn’t even comfort me when I cried. I had my shoulder separated when I was thirteen and had the arm corrected with a cast and wrapped in a brace. Mom joked about how I was gonna smell. My stepdad also told me I smelled disgusting, yet he was too cheap to let me shower every day. I only got to change my clothes twice a week, and I was responsible of keeping my underwear clean, because I was only allowed one pair a week. I learned to put tissues down there to keep them from becoming dirty. Child welfare had already been in the picture when I went to the first school; probably the reason why mom let me move to Rebecca’s school in the first place. The morning first day of new school my stepfather threatened to kill me if I “spread any stories”. My mom cried theatrically, and said that if CW took me seriously they’d take my baby brother “and then she would have no reason to live”.

My brother is one thing too. That kid ran around, broke things and caused mayhem everywhere. If he, for example, tripped and hurt himself and started crying, I was screwed, because my stepdad would think I had hurt him and give me a punch or kick me. He tried to manipulate my mom into thinking I was cruel to their kid. My stepdad totally thought I was cruel to his son, but that didn’t keep him from putting him on me when he didn’t feel like being a parent anymore. He even kept me home from school on days he and mom were on business because it was ‘cheaper than a nanny’.

I told my dad about the abuse, but he was an alcoholic. He didn’t give a ****. I started getting problems. 2000 was the year I started cutting myself, I stabbed myself with sharp pencils and nails, I banged my head against the wall when no one saw me and I had to leave the classroom sometimes to go behind the building to cry. I cried sometimes and I couldn’t stop. T could go on for hours at the time. If I cried when my parents saw it they would mock me and call me weak. I was beaten if I ever showed anger, so no wonder why I sometimes freaked out like that.

I have been to therapy for the problems mean my childhood has caused me, but I can’t make it work because I don’t trust people. Therapy is also too shifty for me. It’s the one theory as to what my problem is after another, either that or someone yawning and looking at their watches. After living with my parents in a small barren room I now as an adult fill my apartment with cozy things. There are so many books, drawings, happy colorful things, cushions, blankets, knickknacks, movies, flowers, pictures, hobby items, candles… next month I’m starting a new wall decoration. I’m making a Tetris-themed wall decoration in wooden plaques that I sandpaper and paint myself. The Regime is out of my life for good. I need color on everything to block out the memory of my stepdad calling me a fat slob, saying my bloodline was dirty and that without him I was nothing.

I had friends and a boyfriend even. But things were different back then. People hid away to cry, didn’t talk about their feelings. The reason why I’m telling you these things is that Rebecca was in my apartment today. I had forgotten that she was on the softball team. Her father was one of the coaches and even though the team lost big time, he bought her in. My two best friends in school that year and still, Michelle and Linda has her as friend, but she never spoke to me, unless it was something mean. Today, Rebecca is an emo kid. It’s so pathetic it’s to die from. Dressed in her Hot Topic clothes and Converse’s, she was here, as spoilt and selfish as she has always been; the delicate little thing. She was only here today because Michelle and Linda were driving her home, and she didn’t even look me in the eye. I doubt that she even remembered my name before she saw my face. I’m not still jealous of her, for God’s sakes. It ended when CW finally moved me away from home. But the reminder there of a disturbing side of me was there when she was at my table drinking my tea and eating my cinnamon buns. I have no sympathy for Rebecca. Why should I? Should she ever have a rainy day she has her endless array of friends and her loving family to hide behind. Yes, she has a handicap. I also have a handicap. My handicap includes depressions, self-harm, eating disorders, anxiety and mania. So if I ever hear anyone saying that I’m selfish, I’m gonna pound their teeth out.

In March after Christmas word got out to my stepdad that I didn’t pay attention in class and that I was always tired and unfocused. The second I came home that day he took a fistful of my hair and my right ear in a very painful grasp and banged my head against the wall calling me things. Then he took a spatula from the kitchen and beat me in the head with it before kicking me in the stomach and pushing me onto the floor. “Stupid ****! You worthless piece of filth!” I did my best not to scream. When he calmed down he talked about how I was gonna fail at everything in my life and that I would never amount to anything because I was such a mongoloid. He kept me home for two weeks after that because I had tell-tale bruises. I basically had a footprint in my stomach. It was the worst time of my life. He was careful only to slap me after this. I can’t shake the look in his eyes when he hurt me. I can’t explain it.

I had extended family that knew what was going on, but they didn’t say anything. My town is, as I’ve told before, inhabited mainly by rich Pentecostals. There’s a culture of denial here, and even though they’re against beating up kids, they’re also against breaking anything that can be perceived as a taboo. And it has destroyed me. I don’t feel happy or sad, I don’t feel pain and I actually don’t understand it when people mean something nice. I avoid people instinctively and can’t trust anyone. I think sex and love is disgusting. Every time I try to sleep with a guy I get stiff and frightened and feel hideous. When it’s over I grab my clothes and leave. I had depressions as a child but I didn’t have words for it and since it was invisible on the outside I thought nothing could be done. Maybe that’s why I hated and admired Rebecca; maybe she was the very symbol of unattainable. The obsession peaked at the end of the school year when I found the room where she made her daily exercises. She had all her stuff in there. The crutches, her back brace mats and exercise balls. There were bubble gum stickers all over that colorful brace and I peeled one of them off. Yes, I stole things from her and it really scares me to think about, what the hell was going on? I stole her pens, one of her drawings and that sticker.
I have no idea why, but the only thing I can compare it to is frustration.

I was removed from the house by CW, but it took four more years before they finally realized the danger I was in. I don’t speak to my mom today, even though I did move back to the Cabrini-Green of this hellhole country. Today I still have much emotional weight. My slate says alcoholism, suicide attempts, depression, and mania. A child that experiences violence and not being loved can do the strangest things; I have read that. So I guess that maybe my love/hate for Rebecca was that little outlet. But I’m very curious what other people have to say. I like to think about my bad memories as experiences I can learn from. The truth is that they scare me. I still want to be worth saving, like Rebecca. Isn’t it pathetic?
MargaretMcCormick MargaretMcCormick
26-30, F
16 Responses Jul 20, 2010

What an incredible, honest, fearless, strong position you have taken in telling this story <3 I can only admire your strength Reading what you wrote means the world on understanding the side of a child abuse victim. Thank you for sharing the experiences with the rest of us. I only have admiration for you stepping up <3 Big love and true respect xxx

You bought me to tears. You are an amazing person to have gone through so much and come out and told your story.

I have to agree with FullBloon You cannot help the actions of others, but you can always choose your own actions. You are never a victim unless you allow yourself to be one. Stay in the here and now . My stepdad and mother they tend to go back into the past and bring it back on my table...........very draining. My sweet sweet husband is very positive and lives in the here and now and looks for futur wise. We all can go back and look at our past and learn from it but do not take it with you. The last time my stepfather talked to me he said that I was killing my mother and basically to leave her alone. I wish you a happy and bright futur! Stay strong! xo

your mother is a ***** and your stepfather a ******* bastard sopn of *****, put those two pieces of **** in a bag and throw it away, and live your life as best you can, it was not your fault, only the destination put in your life these two ****, try to be happy, not all are as bad as them.

Do you still post to this site, or anywhere else? I think you have made quite the impression and most certainly a lot of friends/fans in us. Like you, many of us have gone through the same experiences. I'd like to keep in touch and tell you what helps me:)<br />

Not pathetic. Though I understand the feeling. Please put your self first. Cater to you needs. You cannot help the actions of others, but you can always choose your own actions. You are never a victim unless you allow yourself to be one. Your memories do not own you, your dark desires do not own you, your hatred and rage do not own you. Only you own you and you decide what to do with your life.

you know your story . is so much like mine as a child i was crying about half way thru <br />
i completely understand you inability to feel anything for Rebecca because there are friends in my life that i just wanna scream. OH so you thought you had ti so bad.. <br />
I also hate when people say well that was your past get the heck over it.. once you have been through something like that . your trust is broken i know mine has and my life as hard as i work to make it a good one is haunted by those years. <br />
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know you have a friend

sorry you had to go thought hat

Strangely so... I can nearly and totally relate. I chose to advise myself to realise there was a reason for my abuse, though physically painful, there was little of that, and to say it was "abuse," is, in fact, ba<x>sed upon the confines of society's definition as to how one should raise a daughter. Now, I can reflect upon the past, and though burdened forever with the truth of it all, if for no other reason than so those that are otherwise responsible for their actions or lack thereof, I take it all in to me, and embrace the fact that obviously my validation lay in my suffering for the sake of others. Some would say this was a sort of "christ complex," however, those that would say it, would likely not have also lived it, and therefore, couldn't truly know and/or judge fairly that which they couldn't fully understand. <br />
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I leave this comment because I often find people suffering from their continued dwelling upon their past in relation to their having been abused, either mentally/emotionally, physically, or all three. And the pattern I've drawn, that is, my own conclusions ba<x>sed on an ongoing study of the majority of them is that they suffer because they can't understand. If this is the case, I can, again, fully relate, for having a nearly total logical mind as I do, when things do not make sense, I cannot function with this knowledge. I need to "fix" whatever my mind tells me is "broken" in this way. <br />
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Ironically, because of my upbringing that I was designed for use and therefore, the subsequent and ongoing suffering and/or abuse, per the definition and label society gives to such actions/inactions of those who should be responsible for my well-being, "fixing" occurred and was afforded my actions ie: sacrifice, for all but me. That is, I would always put myself dead last in all respects. I still pride myself in this fact, as did my grandmother, and my mother. We are a family of females that insist on being on the back burner of most everything, in the hopes that we can provide happiness for others. Our own pleasure is derived mainly from the realisation that we have made a positive difference. <br />
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And I think between things not making sense, and being one who was raised she was worth nothing, if not put to use... had you the knowledge that you had made some positive difference, the suffering for the sake of others would've only been fuel more to your fire of self-validation, self-realisation, and yes, self-love. Unfortunately, it seems, from your story, there would be none of that for you. In this I find your upbringing lacking, your parents selfish, and your past a shallow reflection of who or what you truly are. You are none of that. You are strong. Truly only those that are surely able to endure such hell and live to then draw of it, write of it, are the strength for the rest of the world. I am one of those daughters. I think you are also. <br />
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Don't cry. Don't worry. Don't harm yourself. Realise you were raised to hate all that you were, for the purpose of those in charge being able to feel better about themselves by belittling you at every turn. It isn't right. It isn't kind. It isn't anything but sad... not sad for you, but for them. For dig deep inside you and realise this, if nothing else. You are, were, and will always be better than those that derive pleasure from hurting others. I know this, for I am like you this way. And for this reason, I trust that you will prevail, will grow stronger, and your message of hope beyond your message of your origins will be the new strength for you as well as for all that have chance to know your compassion. <br />
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I would say I have enjoyed your story, as that is usually part of my individual comment left when reading around here, but that wouldn't be telling you the truth, and I am an honest being, for honesty denotes respect, and I do respect you for your own honesty and insight. Therefore, I'll simply say here now, thank you for sharing, and know you are never alone, dear MissTreacle.

Oh my god. You made me cry. NO ONE deserves to be treated like that. If I knew you back than I would have been your best friend. You are definitely not selfish. I wish I could give a gigantic hug right now...I'll give you a virtual one *hugs tightly*

You are not selfish at all...your stepfather and your mother both deserved to be childless and behind bars.

I grew up in a silent and emotionless house myself. I used to be in big trouble for smirking. After several years and much difficult learning on how it is "normal" to act from new friends, I think I am much happier. But things like saying hi when i walk into a house are foreign to me.

Wow, you have not lead a life that was in your favor. You have unfortunetly, encountered an extreme amount of emotional pain and who wouldn't with the things you have experienced. <br />
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My heart goes out to you. <br />
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Thank you for directing me to your writing. Take care.

Not pathetic, or selfish. The abuse that you received from your parents( I say parents because your mother did nothing and enabled the abuser, making herself an abuser as well; much like my mom) is incredibly hard to comprehend. I don't mean that in a bad way either. I just mean that for everything done to you, for everything you went through, it's amazing to see just how strong you are. I know you probably don't view yourself as a strong person (though if you do that is amazing and I admire you for it!), but you really are. You have put up with everything a child should NEVER have to put up with, and you are now able to live a semi-normal life. <br />
The life of an abused victim will never be normal. There are too many scars to heal, too many memories to come to terms with, too many problems you have to overcome. However, with time, you'll start to make your own "normal" you can deal with and be happy in. <br />
I'm glad you're away from your mom and stepdad, and I'm certainly glad you were brave enough to share this with us. <br />
*hugs tight* Stay strong love, I'm here if you need me.<br />
With Love,<br />

No, it's not pathetic. I'm struck by your intelligence and personal insight. You had so much happen to you during the time of life that your parents should have been helping you to grow into a confident person. You not only survived but you are recognizing the deficits the abuse left you with. I absolutely think you can get better. Not perfect but better. <br />
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I can relate to so many of the feelings you have expressed. I have a lot of questions for you if you would be willing to "talk". I haven't been able to share my story of extreme abuse yet. I have to gear up to it. In the mean time, take care.