(Part 1 is here)
“The worst days work I ever did was give birth to you” she muttered as I walked into the bathroom one morning. However by this point I was old enough to answer back and retorted with “I think you mean the only days work you ever did”. This didn’t rattle her one bit and she continued brushing her teeth. The days of hitting me had long since ended. Now all she had was bitter words.
When I was around 14 she raised her hand to me for the last time. I didn’t punch her. I just pushed her and she fell, in a sitting position, to the floor. She didn’t say a word as she got to her feet and walked upstairs never taking her eyes off of me. She was angry but this time, and every time from now on, she knew she would not be able to strike me as she had always done. The control was over and the rules had changed.
In the following years she tried to verbally knock me. My weight, lack of girlfriends, academic ability and never liking my friends. She tried to change me from the ground up with words now not violence. I fought her as I always had. She is cunning and fairly smart. She was never a match for my intelligence. Saying that is hard for me though. What is harder is admitting I am probably only as bright as I am because I had to be to survive. I didn’t lack academic ability I was just uninterested in school until I became much older.
The fall out from all of what was going on at home was I had been a bully at school. I discovered that was not the right thing to do though it took some time. My cutting words lingered longer, I would often make the mistake of speaking first and thinking later. I hurt people and I still feel guilty for that now nearly 15 years later. When you live in fear and absolute control it is easy to lash out at weak targets. I did that and it is my burden to carry. Being a bully and always in trouble at school only served to further feed the fire she held about me being a bad child. It was always about image though. She didn’t want what was best for me she just didn’t want to be judged for her disobedient and unruly child.
One day I was sat in the lounge with my friend. My Mother walked into the room and sat down opposite us. She picked up remote for the TV and counted the numbers on it out loud in a very child like voice. She got up and left the room. My friend turned to me and apologised. I looked at him oddly and he replied “I always thought you made it all up, now I realise you were telling the truth, she is mental”. My Mother has held down a very professional job for 30 years. She hasn’t a blemish on her record. Very few people I imagine know what she was really capable of. Image was everything as I said before. The mask can never slip. They can never know.
When I was about 16 I finally spoke to my Father about what had happened growing up. He seemed surprised. He spoke to her when she returned home that day from work. She denied it all and said I exaggerated. She managed to appease him by reminding him what a difficult child I had been. I never spoke to my Father about her again. I found out much later that he had known all along what she was, even going as far as to ask a member of the family to raise me as their own out of fear for my safety. He didn’t know what she was capable of. He was soon to find out just how far she could go.