child abuse story of healing and recovery from M Cathy page was created February
14, 2007 and was originally posted on January 18, 2007 as healing story #6.
Cathy is from Walworth, New York, USA
following child abuse story of healing and recovery from M Cathy depicts
physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect and sexual abuse.
The child abuse effects on M Cathy: panic attacks and lingering memories of abuse. As a child, M Cathy bore the physical effects of systematic starvation at the hands of her parents.
Do you want to be heard?
Sixty-one and Still Having Nightmares About Child Abuse
"Give me your
statement made me cringe when I was a little girl because I knew the ritual
that would follow. My mother would demand that I kneel down near her and then
she would beat my face. If I dared to shield myself by putting my skinny arms
upward, it'd go all the worse for me.
mother died in 1993 of lung cancer after a long horrid illness, and deep in my
heart I pity the woman she was. She had seven kids; one of whom, at age 30,
committed suicide in 1975. My dearest brother, Bobby, and I were only 13 months
apart in age and he was my very best friend. It took 10 years before I could
even go to his gravesite and I've never fully recovered from his death. My
father died in 2001 from stroke complications.
I was a child, I didn't want to awaken in the morning because of my mother's
vicious moods. As soon as my eyelids opened, my whole body shook from fear. To
this day, at age 61, I awaken from screeching nightmares and anxiety everyday.
I was nothing less than a hostage in my parents' home years ago, taking care of
their brood, while they verbally, emotionally and physically assaulted me at
will. Honestly? If I had my choice, I'd never have been born. Since we're all
plopped on earth without our consent, I've muddled through life as most of us
even had two, near-death experiences; one in 1967 and one in 1976. Both times,
I was deemed comatose without a pulse and totally on my way out. In 1967, I
overheard a paramedic saying that he thought I was dead.
1976, I had no blood left in my body, was in desperate condition and surgery
was performed on me without an anesthetic being administered due to time
factors in saving my life. My relatives were told, if I made it, that I'd be
brain-dead and on machinery for the rest of my life. Fortunately, or
unfortunately, depending upon how one views life, I survived quite well without
being hooked up to a feeding tube or respirator, my brain is multifunctional
and those dreaded child-abuse memories still have a stranglehold. I'm not
knocking life, mind you, since I've had the opportunity to see my daughter grow
to adulthood and am now a proud grandmother of two.
a kid, I was bone-thin due to my parents' starving me as their means of
control. I was always hungry, fatigued, and almost robot-like in demeanor.
Their reinforcement that I was a "bad seed" kept me in a state of
self-loathing. I believed and did everything they said. They screamed and swore
at me while playing sadistic mind games, thus causing severe mental
the dinner table one time when I was about three, my father stuffed my mouth
with a bunch of smelly, cold, stringy Brussels sprouts as he yanked my hair to
make my head go back. Not only did my scalp sting terribly from his pulling my
hair roots, but he positioned my body and neck so that it became impossible for
me to swallow. When I gagged, he and my mother laughed aloud and told me that
if I didn't eat the sprouts then, I'd have to sit at the table all night until
I did. I can even recall the manner in which my father deliberately and with
precision kept stuffing those foul cabbage rolls into my mouth with a fork
while enjoying my torment.
mother often bit me and left marks on my arms, so I would pat my arms and try
to diminish the redness when I went to school. After a while, I became numb to
her biting me and actually relished my being able to take pain. My father had a
cat-of-nine tails (nine leather straps riveted onto a wooden handle) made at
his place of employment that he used on me. He was sneakier than my mother
because he made sure that he hit me where the strap marks wouldn't show. Those
welts hurt like the dickens underneath my clothing.
the dinner table, if my mother was having a bad day, she would throw cold water
in my face or forks and knives at me right in front of my father and siblings.
She thought nothing of spitting at me as well.
I began writing my autobiography back in 1975, I found out from an aunt of mine
that I was never wanted from the get-go. In other words, when my father and
mother found out they were going to have another child (they already had
Bobby), they were horrified. From the day I was born, my life became nothing
can recall being stored away, like baggage, in a small closet where they would
close the door and entomb me in the dark. I screamed, but nobody heard or
cared. To this day, when I hear a child cry out in pain, I have a panic attack.
people ask how my childhood was, I try to skip over it. Of course, people
continue prying and then when I mention one iota of abuse, they say, "Why
are you bringing it up now? That's all in your past."
because I'm not living in a corrugated box underneath a bridge, holding onto a
bottle of cheap red, doesn't mean that I don't experience the ramifications of
child abuse every waking moment. Those child-abuse memories will haunt me for
the rest of my life.
for my being sexually abused when I was a child? I was touched inappropriately,
when I was eight, by an uncle of mine who is now deceased. A cousin of mine
made me touch him inappropriately when I was only four. There were other
instances of sexual improprieties by men during my adulthood which I won't
discuss at this time.
the case of my uncle's molestation of me, I found out years later that some of
the aunts in my family blamed ME for his putting his hands in the cookie jar.
Yes, an eight-year old innocent little girl "egged him on." I recall
everything that happened that day, during the summer family reunion at his
home, and how he coerced me into his living room closet. I had no idea what was
going to happen, but quickly found out. When I rushed outside to tell my mother,
she told me that it was a dream. Years later, however, she "fessed up"
and let me know that my uncle had indeed molested me (as if I really hadn't
known it already).
society wants to know why there are so many disturbed people in the world, just
say the words child abuse. It's a known physiological fact that brain chemistry
is altered when children are abused. Look in our prisons and psychiatric
hospitals and at the homeless. Are people born with so many problems? Can any
medical expert say that with certainty?
can tell you from my own research on child abuse that abuse begins early on. A
victim within a family unit is selected and each family member learns quite
fast just whom he or she can go after. It becomes an accepted daily practice.
Usually, by the time a child-abuse victim acts out, he or she is a teen.
of extreme violence in today's society, kids are acting out earlier and
earlier. Children have become little adults and are crippled emotionally
because of parental neglect; indifference. This is called child abuse.
a person commits a horrific crime, we ask how he or she can do that. Is the
person evil due to hidden turmoil deep within him or her that is unbeknownst to
any of us, and is the person so sordid that he or she has become a diabolical
animal rather than a human being? I know this sounds cruel, but every time an
adult hurts a child, the same should be done to the adult. If an adult rapes a
child, the adult should be raped. If an adult scalds a child with hot water, the
adult should be scalded. If an adult murders a child, the adult should be put
a child is abused, the child's soul is murdered. There is no turning back and
restoring the child's innocence.
you have a concept in your mind that pedophiles only lurk around large trees in
parks and playgrounds, salivating at the sight of your child, think again.
Child abusers can be fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters,
grandparents, friends, people in authority outside the home; not just
strangers. Delve into the history of your own family unit and you'll be
surprised (or maybe not).
you know of child abusers in your family, tell them you'll be watching them.
Let them know they need help, but that you'll put a child's safety before theirs.
I've written articles and spoken publicly about the child abuse that I endured,
of course I'm the odd woman out within my family unit. Hey, it was a lonesome
road growing up so I'm used to it. I wasn't allowed to say anything about my
being abused when I was a child, and now that I'm an adult people call me a
liar and tell me to shut up about the abuse.
hear this: I'M A CHILD-ABUSE SURVIVOR!
Hear it loud and clear.
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the
Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
Child abuse story of healing and recovery from M. Cathy was re-formatted June 15, 2015
From Victim to Victory
How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life