Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Discipline?

How many times has abuse teetered and been taken on as discipline?" Spare the rod and spoil the child" Even though abuse was on the extreme side, I think it was the domestic war that made the most amount of impact in a destructive way. I am not talking the on going screaming and yelling breaking of windows, objects and anything that was breakable. My parents were strict, go figure " dysfunction with a cause" Fear we lived with fear, it had become our lives.
My mother had a clear love hate going on for my father, I think she loved to hate him. She couldn't get away herself, she clearly wanted him dead. Saturdays were the typical cleaning day and flipping the mattress over each week was normal part of cleaning up. My mother had a bad habit of leaving her chosen weapons for the week either under the sofa cushions or bed pillows. It was really weird, you know it doesn't belong their but your afraid to touch it. The list is so long, guns, knives, hatchets, hammers, she just wanted the man dead.
I remember this one day, I thought that the new house and going back home was a sign that the bad memories were behind us. I can't really tell you what they fought about, lot of times it was other people. My mother a people person and my father completely opposite. This one day, my mother grabbed my sister and I and threw us in the bedroom, my father was trying to kick the door in. She called his name out and said get away from the door, she moved the dresser in front of it. He still was pushing the door in and moving the furniture. She cocked the gun and she aimed it at the doorway. Bullet after bullet through the furniture into the door. We stayed in the room with her till early ours of the night. He always left but he always came back. I just don't understand any of it. I don't ever remember talking with anyone about it. You know even as brother and sisters we never spoke about it. I know it was normal, but I can almost say I didn't know what normal was, it was the only life I knew.
The following day my father came back and he fixed the holes in the furniture and the doorway as if it was expected. He always seem to blame us for mothers episodes, " look what you made her do! It's all your fault" It is something how you learn to read people, the eyes really do tell all. We would go off to school and were always afraid to go home. You never knew what to expect, I am not surprised, the teachers always called me a dreamer, little did they know.
We were expected to excel in school, to have straight A's to be perfect little children. Speak only when spoken to in a very structured setting. How could this be, how could such dysfunction expect so much from children, such perfection in such a hellish situation.
It wasn't like the episodes were once in a while they were chronic, day after day, some days worse than others. My father was very afraid of the system, afraid of his own mental issues. He use to threaten us regularly that if anyone ever knew that we would be taken away and never heard from again that it would all be our fault. It is not like the system didn't know, its documented in all the papers, the violence, the suicide, the consistent calls from neighbors for the police. The system knew they even sent social workers to the house. Well they didn't find anything wrong, the house was clean, we were dressed well, there was always food, nothing appeared out of normal. There we stood five children well dressed in a row, quiet, well behaved.
Were we children that fell through the cracks? Did the system not know what to do about it? Can you only help those who want help? I am not sure, there was a big age gap, so my brother and sister were the role models, the housekeeper, the cook, the baby sitters, they filled all the roles that you would expect parents to. They kept the secrets of their pain well hidden.
I remember really cold nights with no heat and only the tics that my mother use to sew. She would sit in the rocker chair her mind a million miles away and she would just sit and sew and sew. My mother she not only went to the doctors for medicine for herself but she also gave the symptoms of my father so she would get medicine for him. Oh the games they played. I try to think what set them off, sometimes it was absolutely nothing. But a calm could become a madness really quickly.
My eldest sister went to court and filed forms for legal emancipation she was fourteen, she gained her freedom by demonstrating her financial independence as well as a place to live. My parents were furious and battled to get her back, once home they beat her so badly she could not walk not sit. She had health issues, she suffered from a kidney disease and that is one of the few things my parents did provide was medical help. She again moved out and I remember the quarelling and the ugliness. We lived by the river at this time, but we were always moving, every year another place, none of them were home. In a huge argument my each parent blaming the other until my mother yelled enough, enough! She took a knife from the kitchen he tried to hold her back and the knife entered his stomach. Wasn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last but it was one of the most serious, he lay out in front of the house nearly bleeding death. My brother and sisters stuffed the wound with bread. The ambulance was summoned and he denied any domestic abuse, he said he was attacked by a stranger.

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