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A Life Worth Living; Chapter Three

I share my story in the hopes that others will learn from my experiences. I am a survivor of abuse and this is my life.

The Cot

It was the so called swinging sixties and my Mam and Dad liked to party. They would go out day and night, leaving me in a cot in the corner of the kitchen to fend for myself.

When I look back, I was aware of my brother and sister but I barely knew them and I don’t remember them being in the house with me. I know that I was alone, in what I remember to be a cage, in the dark. I don’t know why I was in that cot day and night, but I was in that cot for so long that most of my early memories are seen through the cot bars.

One of my earliest memories of my dad was through the bars of that cot. I saw dad sat at the kitchen table, cutting a loaf of bread. Although I was very hungry, I knew not to ask for bread. I was afraid of dad. I just stared, hoping that he would see me and give me some to eat. He noticed me looking, ‘What’s she looking at?’ He asked my mother, as he pointed at me. Mam looked at me and I was terrified. I pulled my face away from the bars and hid under the blanket. I did not get any bread and I was left to go hungry. I must have only been about two years old at the time, but even then, I knew to be quiet and act like I was invisible.

Living In Constant Fear

I remember I could climb in and out of the cot but rarely did. One day I was out of the cot when my mother walked in the house. She caught me stood on a chair, that I had manage to drag to the sink, washing some new born kittens in soapy water. I was dunking kittens and then sticking their little heads in the fire-guard that surrounded our coal fire, to dry them. I had a couple of kittens dangling by their necks and others being dunked in the sink when I turned and saw my mothers face. The last I remember, was the image of my mother’s contorted, snarled up face, as she went ballistic.

When I was older, a relative told me that my mother threw a coal shovel at me. It hit my head and left my scull exposed. Mam ran away, leaving me lying in a pool of blood. I had a fractured scull and needed over thirty stitches to my head. ‘You were lucky somebody came to visit that day and found you', I was later told. I was very fortunate that day that some one did find me, but I did not get the help and protection that I needed. That was not the first serious injury my Mam inflicted on me, and it was not going to be the last.

I was put into care for a while and eventually, returned to my mother, to the constant abuse she inflicted on me.


Unworthy Of Love

Like so many children are being abused, I felt unworthy of love.

Although I was often taken into care, by the child protection services, I feel that I was let down by them. The National society for the prevention of cruelty to children, (NSPCC) Social Services and the Doctor, were all frequent visitors to our house and none of them noticed that I was being abused.

Written reports about me at the time, say that my mother reported me as being a 'Backward child', since birth. She told them I was stupid and clumsy, falling over and banging my head. It was true, I was clumsy. I was not even two years old at the time and I was ducking and diving from my Mams fist and living in fear of her battering me. I was labelled backward, a terminology that would not be used today, in our more understanding and enlightened society. Back then, it was accepted. I remember feeling so ashamed and embarrassed that I was not normal and 'Backward'. My mothers derogatory name calling badly affected my self esteem and feeling of shame and embarrassment about who I was followed me through life.

I was deemed too stupid to be bothered about by all the services that had been developed to protect people like me. People in authority that were all around me, used that labelled to their advantage and I was abused as a result.

All my childhood I experienced, what I now understand to be, severe distress. I remember feeling very tense, withdrawn and afraid of every one.

I had to learn very quickly at a young age to hide my distress as being in distress would only bring further punishment. Crying to my mother would be like waving a red flag to a bull and she would charge. As a young child I was not allowed to show my emotions. I had to learn very quickly to have a tight rein on my emotions and hide any feelings of pain I experienced.

At a very early age I felt unworthy. I developed the belief that I was such a horrible, stupid, ugly person that no body would ever love. I felt worthless.

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