Monday, April 23, 2007

Hot Wheels

I was watching the Simpsons last night and something in that episode triggered a long buried memory. In last night's episode, Bart was playing with Hot Wheels, and I was looking at the long plastic track which the car races on. We used to have that (it was yellow), and my mom would use that to beat my brother and I as punishment for whatever bad deeds we had committed. I remember we would try to hide them so she couldn't find it when she needed to vent her frustrations at us. It's funny how it was a toy, and yet I don't remember ever playing with it. I only remember it as an object that was used to beat me.

I got more beatings than my brother, of course. Sometimes my mom would even give my brother permission to beat me (he was older). As a kid, I never saw how twisted that was.

There was also the cane that you could buy at the local market. It was made of bamboo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane#Disciplinary_and_coercive_implement) and I remember too clearly what it felt like being beaten by that. It wasn't as bad as the Hot Wheels track because the cane was thin and while the pain it inflicted was sharp and intense, the Hot Wheels track was thick and less flexible, so that it felt like being beaten by a wooden plank.

Isn't it funny how memories we thought we'd already buried long ago and walked away from, can somehow still claw its way back onto the surface and have that kind of force to rip out a beating heart? The Simpsons always makes me laugh - that's why I watch it, but last night it made me cry.

In therapy I've talked many times about the "silent treatment" my mom would impose on me. If she didn't like something I'd done, or if I displeased her, she would scream at me and express in more than one way why she hated me, and then ignore me for days on end, sometimes stretching out to weeks. I always felt that the silent treatment was more detrimental than any beatings she had ever given me. That's probably true – that’s why I remember the silent treatments more than I do the beatings.

But I couldn't even begin to measure and compare the depth of hurt and mental anguish that both types of punishment brought on me.

I’ve never said this out loud before – but my mother was a terrible mother. She raised me based on principles that were shockingly backwards and twisted (for example, she said she didn’t show me love because she didn’t want to “spoil” me). For a well educated woman who made the conscious decision to have two children, she was grossly unqualified and unprepared.

There’s so much more I could say. So much more emotion could escape onto the surface and break me. I am not going to let it.

5 comments:

Suzanne said...

Do it with V. It's all valid and your story needs to be told.

Can understand about the mother thing. Mine was well educated, had a bit of money and was a FUCKING primary school teacher to boot! Didn't stop her being a twisted fucker towards me!

Ophelia said...

It's so easy to understand that you have major emotional difficulties now. I hope you'll get all the support there is. And, Congratulations For Your Birthday! I forgot that earlier.

sansanity said...

i can only shake my head in agreement, that sometimes intelligent mothers don't make the best mothers.

But i ahve realized that my mother is just the vessel by which I came into the world. she was not equipped to give the emotional support a child needed because she was emotionally flawed herself. Maybe with your mom to?

James said...

Yeah doesn't sound like she'd win mother of the year by any measure. What a nightmare.

I use to get smacked with the wooden spoon and the metal spatula that had slits in it. It always left marks.

To this day when I see either objects I think of the smacks.

Memories are odd indeed. I often have entire years come into the fore front of my mind when I catch a certain smell or song.

Hang in there.

Hugs.

Sid said...

I'm sorry you had to endure all that as a child. No one should ever be treated that way. My mother's weapon of choice was a two inch wide leather belt. If she couldn't get to that fast enough though, she'd use whatever was handy...the dictionary, that same plastic track you got hit with, her fists, etc.

But for all the beatings, I have to agree with you, the mental torture was far more detrimental than the physical.

Big hugs.