It was really horrible and the reason that I got physically sick when I needed to go home, dreading each step as I got closer to home or dreading rounding the corner if someone was taking me home. Friday’s were really bad. Sometimes, I just wanted to sit on the corner one street over on the curb and cry and stay there. Sometimes, I wanted to scream. I was terrified to go home because of what they might do to each other or to me…I was always afraid that my mother or myself was going to get really hurt or killed because it could escalate really quickly into physical violence.
Sometimes, I thought I’d rather die than go home. I did threaten to run away, but that was turned into a joke and I was teased about it…and they continued to bring it up. I wish I could have told someone why I wanted to run away instead of feeling humiliated.
I was absolutely terrified to go home especially if it was one of my step father’s days off. As I got closer to home I felt almost immobilized…kind of like when I’ve been going to work. And my anxiety was really, really high…I stomach would start to churn, hurt and become upset. I’d become nauseated and have a migraine headache and go to this place where I really wasn’t present. My chest would be tight, I’d get light headed and I’d have a lump in my throat. I really wanted to die or felt like I was going to do so. I felt so overwhelmed, trapped and knew sometime during the weekend that there would be at least one fight. Sometimes, I threw up before I got home. Right now, I want to scream don’t make me go back there…I don’t want to remember how awful it felt. But, it is much like I’ve been feeling the past three years. [During this four year period of therapy, I was having the same feelings which is what I am referring to in this text.]
The arguments and fights included loud yelling and screaming that would sometimes especially at the duplex escalate into physical fights mostly with my step-father hitting her with his fist or open hand or grabbing her and pushing her into the wall or almost throwing her into the wall. Things were also thrown…small objects breaking them, and larger things like a chair, wall picture or a birdcage. Sometimes, they were thrown outside. One fight broke the duplex screen door and our second home they fight cracked a window that was never fixed until we sold the house. I really wanted to try to protect her and felt like I was bad because I couldn’t and also terrified because I was so afraid someone was going to get really hurt or get killed. [One incident, my birdcage was thrown out the front door and my birds flew away and never returned. I was quite upset.]
Afterward, usually my step-father or my mother would leave…sometimes, my mother would take me and sometimes she would leave me alone. Eventually, he always left and if he left first, my mother responded only in two ways. The first was for her to start crying and then I would comfort her and reassure her that everything was going to be okay.
The second was for her to start raging at me usually beginning with it being my fault for some reason she picked…it would start with her screaming at me and slapping me. I was lucky if it stopped there, but, often times, especially at the duplex she would start hitting or beating me. Or she would suddenly get into these cleaning fits and I would have to help and do it exactly like she wanted or I was going to get, at least, screamed at and slapped or possibly hit with her fist or she would start beating me.
My mother and my aunt said that their first year together was okay…then, it got bad. When I was older, either her anger was directed at me verbally and physically & she would get into a cleaning mode, or she would drink and smoke and throw her wedding ring across the room not caring where it went or what it hit. Sometimes, especially before tenth grade we would go out to eat and shopping, but there was always the unpredictability of going home. When my aunt moved to the area, we mostly went out to eat…and had favorite hole in the walls...where everybody knew our name.