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Archive for November 9th, 2009

I had an epiphany that I would like to share with you. While I am fully aware that I have broken the cycle of abuse in my family, a specific example drove this point home in a very tangible way.

When I was in third grade, I had to write a book report. I chose a book that was too advanced for me (probably by a few years). Although the teacher was concerned, I pushed for it, and she let me choose this book for my book report.

Sure enough, the book was too hard for me to complete reading within the deadline. Although I read well over 200 pages of the book, I simply could not finish the last 20 or so pages of the book before the project was due the following day. My mother yelled at me and locked me in my room until I finished it. I remember not being able to see the pages through my tears because it was too hard. I simply could not do it.

My mother berated me for not finishing the book and for lying and saying that I had. She put me on probation for two weeks. She then told her friends, S&L about it (my most sadistic abusers), who brutalized me in the name of “punishment” for not finishing the book. To this day, one reason I believe that I must be perfect is because of that experience.

It just hit me in such a tangible way that I am sooo not like my mother or other abusers. My son is in third grade, and he has multiple learning disabilities. His class was expected to read the novel Charlotte’s Web at the pace of a chapter a day until they finished the book. My son simply cannot do this. He reads at a second grade level and has all sorts of accommodations. However, he did have this assignment due.

How did I handle this? In the same way that my mother should have … I read him every word of that book, day after day, from beginning until the end. I didn’t berate him for not doing his homework or for not being able to do something that many of his classmates did with ease. I assessed the situation and figured out a way to make him successful.

I don’t know why this epiphany is hitting me so hard, but it is making me cry. Maybe I am finally understanding from an adult perspective just how cruel my mother was.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

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