A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

A Personal Story of Abuse

By “C”

I survived being spanked.

Survived.

That’s really the point, isn’t it? I just… survived.

I remember running from my father in true terror that still sends chills down my spine, while he took off his belt in preparation for a spanking.

I spent a large majority of my childhood in fear that my father was going to sexually abuse me. There was no basis for it, or so I thought. It was a strange fear, and it made me feel small, ashamed, and confused. I recently learned that spanking can be a form of sexual abuse. It all makes sense.

I remember being bent over a knee, looking at my mother, begging for her to help me. She would just turn away. My mother never struck me, but she didn’t defend me either.

That was just as crushing as the abuse.

I have always said, “Well, every time I was spanked I deserved it.”

I now know that isn’t true.

I am an adoptee. Adopted shortly after I was born, so I have never met my biological mother, but something like that… well something like that never really leaves you. I’ve been plagued with feelings of inadequacy, fears of being alone, or being abandoned. I have always had “behavioral problems”.

I was put on medication after medication for my difficulties in school and behavior.

I thought I was broken.

My father’s father, whom I did not meet (committed suicide before I was born), was a volatile man. My mother remembers him in fear, saying that he was bipolar and his manic episodes were terrifying. I believe this is why she never stopped my father from striking me. She was afraid, though she’d never admit it.

My parents would never admit that they had a hand in my undoing, but we’ll get there.

I was raised in a Catholic family, going to Catholic schools. I asked many questions, most of which were met with “Go pray in the hall about what you’ve said.” I never quite bought it… When I went to my parents with these questions, I was met mostly with “Because.” Obviously this answer was never satisfactory, and acting out ensued. My punishment then was to kneel in corner, with my back straight, for however my parents felt was appropriate. Usually an hour at least.

When I protested, it was straight to spanking.

Spanking never made me behave better.

Let me reiterate.

Spanking did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING it was intended to do.

I continued to act out. They continued in their attempts to stifle me.

I would sneak out often.

They nailed my windows shut.

I sneaked out of the downstairs window.

They locked my bedroom door.

I picked the lock.

They pulled my bed to their room and locked the door from the outside, having to open it with a key in the morning.

One night, before the time they had started to lock my bedroom door, I sneaked out with a friend.

I was 14 years old, we met some guys at a restaurant. We did not know them.

I left with one of them to take a walk.

He raped me, I lost my virginity that night. Against my will, much like most of my life had been lived.

I saw someone in the window of a hotel that was close. I said help, they shut the blinds.

Just like my mother.

I didn’t tell anyone for a year. I acted out, violently. I was sent to therapist after therapist. I slept locked in my parents room, but so so far away.

I hurt myself often. If I wasn’t broken before, I sure was then.

My father continued corporal punishment, and the screaming. Oh god the yelling. To this day I will cry immediately if I’m yelled at.

I had a boy I was “dating” sneak into my house, unlock my parents bedroom door, and extract me from the house.

That was the last night I was in that house.

I was gone for 19 days. 19 days of drugs, sex, and shame.

I was 14 years old.

I lived under a bridge

On a tarp

Surrounded by heroin addicts.

I begged for change.

I ate discarded food.

I was homeless.

In that 19 days… I’ve never been more ashamed.

When I was caught, I was taken to a mental hospital. I had an extreme UTI that warranted heavy antibiotic treatment. After that was cleared, my parents decided to send me away to a boarding school in South Carolina. I lived in Indiana.

They didn’t take me there, they hired two people to take me.

They abandoned me.

I spent 5 months in that hell-hole, before I attempted to steal a truck to escape.

I was sent to Utah.

Again, I was taken by strangers in the night.

I spent 2 1/2 years there.

I saw my parents 3 times in those years. Talked to them on the phone once a week, and got to visit home once.

When I got home, they had moved a few towns away. I was in a new, unfamiliar place.

I didn’t talk much in those early days, but I wrote a lot.

Without getting off topic and going into too much detail, I will fast-forward. The point is:

This could have been prevented. All of this. There IS blame here. I made poor choices, but what else did I know how to do? There IS blame in spanking, and it is NOT with the child.

YOUR CHILD IS A PRODUCT OF YOUR PARENTING.

PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR CHILD, BE LOVING, BE UNDERSTANDING; BE GENTLE.

Your child will never forget a moment or a feeling about spanking. Not one.

I am speaking from experience.

I survived spanking, and had to survive much more as a result.

I have a son now, and I am working on my own temper. It is so difficult since I was never taught how to cope with my feelings, only how to hide them to avoid punishment.

He is just a baby now, but this change will take a long time. I can see my father’s temper in how I interact with my husband. How volatile I am.

But by god, I will never scream at my son, I will NEVER spank my son.

I KNOW BETTER.

And I will do better because of it.

Signed “C.”

(I am 26 years old, mother of a 5 month old, intact, breastfed and baby-worn Boy)

 

 

Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    You are such a strong woman and I thank you for sharing this story.

    I was so nervous to become a mother because of my own mommy issues and I will continue to try to break that cycle with my daughter. I continue to remind myself of that every time I feel like I’m losing it as a parent. Your story will continue to help me on this journey to be better

  2. Micheline says

    You have NO idea how much I can relate to this. God do I struggle sometimes to not be like my parents. I dealt with years of sexual/ physical abuse from many people. I stood up at 10 years old and spoke on the stand about it. I have a long list of things I have had to give up in the process. All my trials and tribulations of what was done to me. It has been years but in some way it always comes back, and again I have to deal with it as if it just happened. Completely fresh again… Usually has my mind in a whirl for a few days. when he got out of prison, I didn’t leave by apartment for a week, rarely my bed. I went threw some stuff growing and dealing with everything. I had so much damage that I wasn’t able to have kids, I would miscarry every time. I miscarried once, an heartbroken I tried to have another baby. It was a success because I have a wonderful 20 month old son. Who is seriously everything to me, he makes me a better person. He reminds me everyday who not to be. I love him so much. it is ironic how you say you survived….Because that’s how I was labeled…people say I survived…but really I battle everyday…

  3. Micheline says

    oh yea,im 23 and 20 months still breast feeding strong I didn’t baby wear that much, but he was never to far. Im all about attached parenting, nursing in public!

  4. Wow! After all you’ve been through you are really trying to do what you can to really bond with you son – thats awesome, just have to be so strong!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I have my own share of childhood trauma and I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder 5 years ago. I have been on and off many, many, medications and none have ever really worked. Bipolar 2 is much different than just Bipolar, I don’t get manic, mainly just bouts of bad depression for “no reason”. Regardless, I am now a mother to a beautiful 6 month old girl. I have always struggled with control issues and my temper. This was a fantastic reminder that all of our actions have consequences and that as parents those consequences effect another human’s life besides just our own. I have become incredibly patient and calm with my daughter, I love her and I want to be the best person I can possibly be because she deserves that. It’s hard to relearn something that you’ve been doing your entire life, but it will be worth it when we can proudly look at our children and see that they don’t have the emotional baggage that we had at their age. Good luck to you and your son on this complicated journey. <3

  6. I was physically and emotionally abused as a child. I ran away from home at 16 – was caught and sent to a drug treatment center for 1.5 years. I received intensive counseling, group therapy, and finished high school and started college while I was there. I married a wonderful man at 20 and had 2 beautiful children that I raised with love and care. I raised them thoughtfully in the way that I wish that I had been raised. I found it very powerful that one can CHOOSE how to raise children – it isn’t preordained that you make the same mistakes that your parents did. My daughter is now married and pregnant with her first child. She paid me the biggest compliment that I have ever received when she told me that she hopes that she raises her child the same way she was raised:)

  7. Jason King says

    Sounds like you were a willful hussy and needed those trips over your father’s knee.

    • Jason King, did you not read the post? Any child that is made to feel abused- especially in a sexual way- is not okay. Like at all. If this method of so-called ‘discipline’ seriously affects someone this badly, then it should definitely be reconsidered. I hope that when you have children, you will listen to them, and try to see things from their point of view. If your daughter was ever to resist a belting and stand up for herself, then please do not call her a “wilful hussy” and that she “deserves” what you dish out to her, because she is a growing girl with teenage hormones and insecurities. It is within her rights as a human being to defend herself.
      That said, if this kind of painful, outragingly humiliating punishment contributes to your child’s future in relationship problems such as molestation/rape or domestic abuse then you should then reconsider your competence as a parent on a whole and not just your type of discipline. I would also recommend switching methods before your daughter conceives YOUR grandchildren. At an early age, and-probably- against her own will- no thanks to you.

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