Comments for Child Abuse Story From Elle

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Aug 29, 2008
A similar childhood...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Elle, you said "there was a look on her face," referring to your mother. It was the "look" that signaled the beating to come. I know the look you're referring to; my mother had that terrifying look just about every day of my young childhood. The beatings that followed were vicious. Most of the time I really believed she was going to kill me. I so understand you covering your head and just "taking it." We lived similar lives: the incessant arguing between your parents; the constant fear and sadness; all the while knowing that no matter how good you were, you would never be good enough, that no matter how hard you tried, you would never be lovable.

I can also relate to the emotional shakiness that overcame you whenever you saw a wooden spoon, even in adulthood. For me, it was whenever my husband would remove his belt from his pants when he got ready for bed. Although there was nothing sinister in him removing his belt—just as there was nothing threatening about using a wooden spoon to cook with—my heart would pound in my chest, I felt sick to my stomach, and my whole body would tremble in fear; a Pavlovian response. I had to learn that the implement (and my husband, of course) were not the culprits. I had to learn that the belt was the object used by the culprits (my mother and father), and that though the belt was a trigger for the memories, the belt itself would never again hurt me. I also had to learn that my mother and father could never again hurt me. I had to learn that I was no longer a helpless child. It was a process, that's for sure. This is what parents can leave children with when they strike and/or beat a child, especially when they do so out of anger and rage. The emotional effects scar much deeper than just about any physical abuse ever can.

Elle, I will not sign off until I say you are NOT stupid. You are NOT weak. You are NOT naive. And most of all, you are definitely NOT worthless. You are STRONG to have endured and survived all that you did in that house of terror. You are SMART and COMPASSIONATE. You are CARING and GIVING. You should have had loving, nurturing, supportive parents. That was your birthright. And believe me, you were—ARE—lovable. Instead, you were dealt a life filled with adversity.

And now here you are, a mom to 4 precious little boys, a mom who can choose to live her life setting a positive example for those boys. The best gift you can give them, Elle, is to take very good care of their mother. As you strive to heal from your past, I hope you have enlisted the aide of a qualified counsellor, because doing this kind of work alone is like trying to run when your legs are stuck in heavy tar. Be kinder to yourself than your parents were to you. You deserve that, Elle. You really do.

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

Nov 12, 2008
Wooden spoon phobia
by: Mark

I can commiserate with everything you said in your post. I too tried to be perfect, but still was never good enough and was punished. If one of my brothers was crying and I was nearby, it was again my fault. Wooden spoons can freak me out times as well because my mom used them quite often on me.

Mar 05, 2013
So little love shown...
by: Anonymous

Elle, my heart goes out to you. All those years of trying to be a good girl and please your parents and not seeing love; all those years of also giving the block back to your brother and then trying to calm him down, mostly out of love, and not receiving love. I don't really know what to say...just to let you know that I read what you wrote.

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