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Feb 03, 2008
Our childhoods mirror each other...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

When your mother asked you to forgive her, she made it about HER, not you. She doesn't have the right to ask anything of you. She didn't care about your needs when you were a child. If she really wanted to make true amends, she would never have asked for you to forgive her. Instead, she would have acted in a way that showed how sorry she was. But I'm not convinced she has the ability to be truly sorry. You see, our mother's were cut from the same cloth, Amanda.

As I read through your story, I related all too well, including your mother's tearful request for forgiveness. I feel the raw pain of your statement: "I could never forgive her." I forgave my own mother, but only after I let myself feel the hatred for her that I had bottled up for so many years. You, as I was, were emotionally and physically battered and beaten by a mentally disturbed mother. She strategically set out to destroy you, and she wouldn't stop until she was successful.

But she WASN'T successful, Amanda. The fact that you didn't want to hurt her feelings the day she came crying to you tells me that you are an amazingly compassionate, empathetic, kindhearted person, in spite of your mother's cruelty. That is something to be very proud of.

Your mother doesn't deserve your forgiveness, but you deserve to forgive. That is not a contradiction. Forgiveness is about you. It is about finding a way to get past the anger, hostility, feelings of helplessness, betrayal and abandonment, so that you can move forward with your life. But forgiveness must come on YOUR terms; not on hers. If you haven't already read through my Exchange with Jane page on this site, I recommend you do. There's valuable insight regarding the whole subject of forgiveness.

As for your father, he was an enabler, a child abuser, and a coward. He should have had a backbone. His job as your father was to protect, nurture, support, and love you. He failed miserably. He should have stopped his wife from hatefully and humiliatingly punishing you. He beat you with that belt buckle every bit as much as she did. The fact that he held you down while she strapped you with it makes him just as, if not more, reprehensible. And by the way, YOU WERE NOT TO BLAME FOR YOUR SISTER'S BEATING that fateful first night. You couldn't have done anything to help her. So stop blaming yourself. It wasn't your fault. The blame lies ENTIRELY with your violently abusive parents.

Amanda, I strongly urge you to enter into some form of counselling. You need help to deal with the horrendous abuse you had to endure growing up, abuse you had no hand in. You deserve that kind of help.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Feb 03, 2008
Of course not!
by: Francine

Amanda, you and your sister are not stupid! You are not lazy! Neither of you are worthless; you are both smart, beautiful and very worthwhile; just don't ever let anyone think otherwise! Neither of you don't ever deserve to have to clean up the whole house, that was your mother's job! You did not deserve to have to make any breakfast for your parents, that was your parents' job! Bad news...you got a raw deal, Amanda, a crappy, raw deal (so did your sister) and here's why: your brutal parents had a lot of choices and they only made the wrong ones because they should have loved you, cared for you, nurtured you and protected you from harm although they chose their brutality over you, their daughters. I am sorry and I would strongly recommend that you and your sister might want to try counseling. The only stupidity that I see comes from your parents.

Feb 03, 2008
you helped me understand what people do through
by: Anonymous

Hey,

I am doing a project for school and a part of it I decided to do about abusive parents, to connect to the story we were reading. I was searching the internet and I saw this web site where I found this story. It touched me so much I cryed. I decided to take the whole story and show it to my teacher for my asighnment. I feel that your story tells a lot and people need to know about your hard ships. It affected me and I hope it will affect me class. Your story is the one that will stick with me forever.

Feb 03, 2008
You are "Someone"
by: Brian

Hey Amanda
I read your story and it was like reading my own story of child abuse at the hands of my father,my mother wasn't there,she had left my father when we were very young.

It has taken me the better part of my life to realize,that forgiveness is about forgiving yourself and not forgiving the abuser.Like you I believed everything my father said about me,that I was worthless and stupid and wouldn't amount to anything in life.

This year I will celebrate my 50th birthday,and for the first time in my life I feel I have overcome the effects of child abuse,and now I can move forward helping others to heal.

Amanda I want you to know that you are someone, and that you are loved. The child abuse and the mental abuse you suffered as a child and the effect it has on you today,is not your fault or your sisters.

I want to share a little story with you. After yrs of abuse at the hands of a drunk,I grew to hate my father so much,and after I moved out and realized there is a life other than being abused.

My outlook on life changed,and I changed over the yrs and found forgiveness for me,by finding the spiritual being inside of me.The one that was born of innocence and purity,and this helped me to realize that I am someone and I can overcome the child abuse and achieve anything in life.

Amanda you are a spiritual being born of innocence and purity and unfortunately like myself and others you have had to live through the humanistic
experience of child abuse,that is not part of your spiritual being.

Amanda if you can find that spiritual being inside of you,it will help you to heal and overcome the child abuse you suffered as a child.

My father died last yr,and I never had any closure with him about the child abuse.But today I feel a since of relief that he is gone.Because now I don't have to worry about confronting him about it and I know now I can move on with my life.

In closing I want to say,yes I hated my father because of the abuse,but I also loved my father as sons do,but the sad thing is,when I was out with my older sister who was abused also,we talked about our father and came to realize neither one of us miss him or forgave him,this was a special moment for both of us,why because we took the power back and changed our lives.

Amanda you can do it too,and you have come to the right place,Darlene has some great resources on this site that will help you and we are all her to support you also.

You are in our thoughts and prayers always


Feb 03, 2008
A reply re: Brain's comments
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Amanda, I completely disagree with Brian's offensive position on forgiveness. You have nothing to forgive yourself for, because you did nothing wrong!

Brian, I understand your position about spirituality; but to suggest that a person needs to forgive themselves is to suggest that person is in some way to blame. Amanda is not to blame, just as you are not to blame for the abuse your abusers doled out.

You said that you and your sister realized that neither of you forgave your father and that in some way uplifted you. I suggest that your power was taken back, not because of any type of forgiveness, but because your abuser is dead, and as such, no longer has power over you.

Please refrain from suggesting that abuse victims need to forgive themselves.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir



Feb 07, 2008
Re:Darlene's Coomment about forgiveness
by: Brian

My comment about forgiveness is being taken totally out of context. I didn't mean for a minute to forgive yourself because you did something wrong or that the abuse you suffered was your fault.

I forgave (Myself) for believing the abuse was my fault,and this helped me to move forward spiritually.I would never suggest anyone who has suffered any kind of abuse to ask forgiveness for something that was not their fault.

Feb 07, 2008
A thank you and an explanation for Brian:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Thank you for clarifying this, Brian. I really do appreciate you taking the time.

I have received several private emails from various submitters, expressing their concern that visitors would be permitted to write comments that made them feel as though the abuse they suffered was somehow their fault. They all pointed to the forgiving of oneself comments. It was for this reason I felt obligated to reply to your post. Although the author of this child abuse story from Amanda was not one of the visitors who wrote to me, I felt the need to address the comment nonetheless.

I hope you will continue to offer supportive comments to the abuse survivors on this site. I believe they are very much appreciated.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir



Feb 09, 2008
Thank You
by: Brian

To all survivors of child abuse,who are members of this site.

I sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding about forgiveness I made in my comments regarding Amanda's story.

As survivors of child abuse,the issue of forgiveness is very difficult and quite often is not an option anyone,that is being abused or has been abused will even consider or should be be asked too consider.

I know on a religious stand point,we are supposed to forgive.

However; as a child of abuse,my life as a child was taken away,and the years of trauma suffered afterwards made me realize that I could never find forgiveness for the abuser,and this is totally understandable for children who suffer abuse of any kind.

Again I apologize for the misunderstanding,and sincerely understand those that e-mailed their concerns.

I will continue to offer support and advice,because I am a survivor of child abuse,and it's very important to me to be able help other survivors like myself to heal.

Thanks Brian
P.S You are all in my thoughts and Prayers

Feb 09, 2008
To Brian:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Very eloquently relayed, Brian.

I'm delighted that you will continue to offer comments and support to the abuse survivors on this site; and I look forward to reading those supportive posts.


Mar 06, 2008
hi
by: Anonymous

after reading your story, all I can say is WOW!
How does this stuff go on without parents being exposed? I know child abuse is common but stories like this make my blood boil with anger.

Apr 07, 2008
Where was everyone else?
by: Anonymous

I am a college student currently at local college working on what will end up being a long term goal of a proposition on child abuse I hope to get passed. In my research I am trying to figure out if neighbor's and relatives play a role in the child abuse and why no one ever reports it. Therefore, my question to you would be, was anyone else aware of the abuse that was going on and the mood changes in your mother? I will be very grateful if you could respond with a better understanding, so that I may move forward in my prevention on child abuse in America.

May 06, 2008
Response to anonymous
by: Amanda

We lived in a different state than my relatives and times that we were visiting the emotional and physical abuse would only happen when we were alone. As for neighbors they were duped by my mothers act. She presented herself as a great caring mother and person. We also did not have a great closeness with our neighbors on my block. I'm sure if they suspected anything they felt it wasn't their place to pry or get involved. I think one of the reasons that abuse can go on with out people stepping in or children seeking assistance is the fear which is built up. Neighbors are scared to make the situation worse and kids are terrified of what their parent will do if they find out.

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