“Husbands, Take Control of YOUR Household!” Part 3
Something Serious. An American Horror Story.
There were many occasions during which we had no heat. We had no phone. We lived in absolute poverty.
This alone would have been bad enough, but the true horror of having grown up in WWCg is the fact that parents were told repeatedly that they could do whatever it took, including beatings, to keep their children on the right path, which was the WWCg path. My parents, both of whom believed absolutely in everything that the WWCg taught, had no problems with beating me and my siblings bloody every day of our lives, literally. (Although, I must admit, that my having been the oldest of three children certainly meant that I received the worst doses of said beatings. My brother was also beaten, but as he got older, he hit back. My sister, too, was physically abused, but because my parents had her 17 years after they had me, their age sometimes limited how much physical abuse they could impart on my sister.)
But, during my brother’s and my childhood, we were not only beaten with slaps and closed fists, we were beaten with paddles that my father brought home from Imperial School (the WWCg private school), where he was a teacher. We were beaten with belts that had large belt buckles. We were beaten with the thorny stems of rose bushes! We were beaten and beaten and beaten! And, in addition to the beatings, we were told, repeatedly, sometimes on an hourly (if not more often) basis, that we were sinners and worthless.
And, if that wasn’t enough, all of the WWCg children were paddled constantly at the Imperial School. In fact, during my first grade year, I received more paddlings than there were days in school. And, why was I paddled? Well, there was that time that I threw up because I was sick and of course, because my father didn’t believe in our ever missing of day of “God’s school”, I was forced to go to school sick. My vomit induced a paddling from my teacher! Then, there was the time that I dropped my pencil case and of course, this minor infraction was akin to my having committed murder; therefore, what could my teacher do but paddle me (sarcasm intended). And, let’s not forget the time that, after PE, I did not fold up my shorts neatly enough to please the teacher. My punishment? You guessed it. Good ol’ paddle time!
As you can imagine, my siblings and I suffered tremendous emotional and physical abuse, and the scars remain to this day. While, I’ve been lucky enough to have found the courage to look deep within and face the horror of my first seventeen/eighteen years, and thereby grow and become a functional human being, my siblings have not been so lucky. My brother is an infantile and broken man; my sister is living a Jerry Springer nightmare.
And, this childhood foundation, while having made me stronger in the long run, has completely eclipsed my being able to trust in others. When I first left home, at age 17/18, I was very trusting because I was very naive and had no training in how to recognize inappropriate behavior in others (hell, I’d grown up witnessing nothing BUT inappropriate behavior). Therefore, when people acted inappropriately towards me and harmed me, I thought that the reason I was being hurt was because I was “sinning” and God was punishing me.
Luckily, I found my way into a therapist’s office while in my early 20s, and I began to find out that I was not the problem, I was not at fault. However, even with this help, it took another ten years before I could fully recognize dysfunctional and inappropriate behavior in others and stay away from these people. Unfortunately, by that time, I had lived through some horrible, horrible experiences because of my inability to recognize peoples’ harmful intentions.
And now, while I can recognize dysfunction 1,000 miles away, I have a very hard time trusting others.
So, I begin my 40th year wondering what kind of future I’m going to have. I observe people with whom I work or have contact with through classes and charity work; and, while everyone can point to a time in their lives where pain intruded, I have yet to talk to anyone who has even come close to experiencing the horror that I have experienced.
I envy others their lives. I envy their being able to rely on their families (my father and mother are not the kind of people to whom I can turn). I envy others having intact families of their own (I am raising a child by myself, and while I have been a very successful parent -my daughter is very stable, very mature, and a straight-A student, I’ve given up my life to be the opposite kind of parent than that by which I was raised). I envy others being able to afford decent homes. I envy their being able to take vacations. I envy their being able to sleep at night without nightmares. I envy their having had a childhood.