Too many thoughts, too little time.

Posts tagged ‘abuse’

A Success Story, part 4

Continued from Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Part 4: Baby makes 3, and 4, and the Mistress makes 5

I was willing to deal on my own. I told him to get lost, because I didn’t want myself, or the baby to get too attached just to have him leave later. He told me no. He told me it was his baby too, and he was going to be there to raise it. He loved me, and we could work this out, let’s go ahead and move up the wedding and save everyone the embarrassment. I didn’t know what to do, and told him that. A couple months later, my parents found out I was pregnant. They weren’t mad, at this point, but, all they said was “I guess we’ll move the wedding up.” I felt like I couldn’t say I didn’t actually want to marry him, especially since they were handling this incredibly well, for them. I am not a hugely romantic person, I didn’t believe in soul mates, I figured, as long as we both worked at it, we could have a happy marriage together. We got married, and everyone could save face, and again, Punkie is a success story, happily married with a baby on the way at 18, like God intended. When we closed on a house before my 19th birthday, there was even more celebration about how successful their parenting was, because Punkie is living the American Dream. I told them recently, I never wanted to marry Joe, I only did it because they said I had to. Because they said I should have thought of that before I slept with him. Because I remembered them berating other people for not forcing their pregnant teens to marry the father, because that was the consequence of having sex before marriage. So, I accepted my fate. My mother said “oh, we didn’t mean any of that. We didn’t make you marry him.” True, no one held a gun to my head. I guess I never learned to tell when their demands, lessons, etc were meaningful and when they were just talk.

I had grown up and married my father. When Joe would punch holes in the wall, and blame me, I knew just what to do. When he’d throw things at me, I remembered, this was how a loving family acted. There was nothing to talk about, because, it was a given, like saying the sky is blue. Pointless, because, everyone knows, right? When he decided to keep me away from church, it was familiar, and when he eventually took away my access to our car and our money, I stayed quiet, because, I was going to be happily married, even if I was dying inside. Immediately after having our first son, my mother got pregnant again, and relished the comments about how adorable it was that we were pregnant almost together. Laughed and encouraged comments about how I better get busy if I planned to keep up. A while later, I conceived our second son, and shortly after, she got pregnant again too. I still think she wasn’t ready to give up the attention. The only thing in her life people knew was she had a bunch of kids, with weird names, and now, was pregnant at the same time as her daughter. I don’t think she could stand to not be the center of attention. It was humiliating. I said I was done after 2, I wasn’t going to become them, and I wasn’t going to be a joke. I only had my two boys.

Over time, my husband got worse. I was alone, and isolated, with post partum depression and 2 babies. He began cheating. And, I had no social network, no support system. I cried a lot for two years. I tried to go to the church, where I was told that he said he wasn’t cheating and I needed to trust him. The reason he was always home late was because I was such a nag. So, I shut up, and tried to “nice” him into not cheating. Instead, he cheated more, and began abusing me. Pushing, shoving…once, he threw me off the porch, cracking my tailbone. Once, he tried to run me over, while I held our sons hand. The final straw was the night I caught him sending naked pictures to a woman. I lunged for his phone, he threw me down and strangled me until I blacked out. Why did I put up with this? Because, this was what I knew. Because, I kept being “saved” only to be put in a worse situation. Because, my biological father left my mom when he found out about me, and my dad swooped in to “save” me, and I better be thankful he was willing to accept me. Then, Joe came in to save me from dad. While his abuse was ramping up, I was reminded, continuously, that if I left, I’d have to go back to them. I was told I was worthless, all his anger was my fault, nobody would want me. I was told how I drove my biological father away, just by existing, and was such a crappy person, I not only drove one, but two men into abusing me. That nice girls, good girls, didn’t get hurt like I did, because they never made anyone hurt them.

I had no money, no car, no job. I was 21 but had no high school friends to call, because I was never allowed friends. I had no family, because  our relationship had been destroyed. One night, I called my parents for help, I cried and begged. Joe said if they came over, he’d have them arrested for trespassing, and my father’s exact words were “you aren’t worth going to jail for.” Eventually, I called the police, and they took Joe away. He and I have not been a couple since that night. Can you guess what I did? You know who is perfectly willing to befriend pretty, naive, hurt, scared, 22 yr olds? Men. In fact, my insanely low self esteem, and non-existent support system made me the perfect target. I was looking for friends, for help, for somebody to say I wasn’t worthless, I hadn’t been used up like a piece of gum, I wasn’t undesirable, I wasn’t “used”.  I was getting my first real taste of being on my own, and had no idea what to do. I slept around, I got a job at a bar where I spent most my time drunk, I had various relationships that were based on everything but love.

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A Success Story, Part 1

I really debated about posting this. I’ve went back and forth. But, my 9 year old brother is staying with us for a couple weeks while our parents are on vacation. I’m really struggling, watching him. Not that he misbehaves. He doesn’t. He’s loud, but, when you grow up with all the noise he does it isn’t any wonder. I’m trying to curb the constant yelling and interrupting. I’m afraid 2 weeks isn’t enough time though.

I’ve decided to let Monday be unit study day for my kids. Since I have LB here, I figure he needs to do school work as well. But, I wasn’t brought anything for him, nor any guidelines or instructions. So, as I worked on the unit study packets this past weekend, I made him one as well. A few weeks ago, my mom was acting irritated that LB made her look bad, that he told our grandma he couldn’t read, but he reads all the time. I thought that was an odd thing to lie about, but ok. Now that I’m doing homework with him, I see, he really can’t read. And, he just doesn’t understand  anything we are doing. My youngest boy is old enough for 3rd grade. But, because of when his birthday falls, I started him late. He’s in 2nd. He’s 8 and a half. My brother is a year older. And, also in 2nd grade. And, struggling with basic addition, or ANY reading. Today, as my boys worked through the worksheets, LB said “I’m really getting behind in school now.” I said, “No you aren’t. I’m working with you.” And he said “Yeah, but I don’t do school at home.” I asked how he felt about that, and he said angry, why is he “stupider” than my youngest? I said “Well, why don’t you do school?” he said “Mom is gone all the time, so, 17 yr old babysits. We just watch tv or watch them play video games.”

If I bring this up, my mother will 1. tell me he’s lying. 2. tell me she has never stopped him from getting out his school books and doing work. and 3. she will decide the problem is the video games, and get rid of the system my brother bought with his own money.

My parents cannot admit their homeschool experiment was a failure, because, I wasn’t a failure. I’m a “success” story. And, that is the story I want to share. How I became the poster child for doing things right, their way. It’s long, so I will divide it up. The story is actually going to be published anonymously elsewhere. I submitted it, and they said it would definitely be published. There was some things that are fairly identifying, however, when I read through the other submissions, so many things weren’t identifying. The huge number of siblings. The messy house. The emotional and physical abuse. The ideal front, and the church attendance, that hid everything else. Sadly, my story can easily be told while remaining anonymous, because there are so many Punkies out there. I apologize for any repeated information. I am copying and pasting from my submission to the other place.

Part 1: Elementary School

I am a homeschooling “success” story.

A fact that is rolled out by my parents, constantly. They have 10 children, and, if you dare question them about anything, including the fact their 6 year old acts more like a 3 year old, or that their 18 year old son can’t read, they will quickly point out Punkie and how successful she is.

As I read stories and as the online community has grown, I realize there are other people out here just like me. People who had parents who kept them isolated, who didn’t let anyone around, who weren’t actually taught anything. In some ways I think my abuse wasn’t so bad. I mean, I didn’t have to wear dresses all the time.  While my parents loved the Pearl’s method of raising children, it required too much work to keep up with. And, the abuse wasn’t usually physical, much. So, I have nothing to complain about. Then again, I read stories and am jealous of kids who were allowed to go to church activities and be on debate teams, and even go to conventions. My husband, Brad, has some of the same thoughts. His abuse was mainly mental, spiritual, and emotional abuse. Mine was the same, but with some physical thrown in as well.

I went to public school from K-3rd grade. In 4th, I was homeschooled. I was given dozens of different reasons why I was homeschooled, always seeming to change with whatever hyped news story was being broadcast. I was handed a stack of books and told to do the work in them. Since I could read, my mother claimed she did not need to teach me, just read the directions. That never changed. The sibling just younger than me has severe learning disabilities, even now, in our twenties, she has the mentality of a 6 year old.  She didn’t get schooling.  Our parents decided she could not learn, and didn’t even try. While we grew up, I’m the one who taught her to write her name, and how to make letters. I taught her to ride a 2-wheeled bike, how to pet a dog (she was terrified of animals), how to tie her shoes. When she was 16, I taught her how to swim. I’d been working on helping her over her fear of water for years, and one summer, she was swimming with me. Not often, and she didn’t like it much, but she did it. One day my father decided she needed to swim, he wanted to see how she did. She started to cry and fight him. She screamed, I tried to stop them. He picked her up and threw her in anyway, because she was disobedient. She panicked and needed saved, I had to calm her while pulling her back to the boat, in the middle of the lake.  She’s never swum again. I taught other siblings how to read, and long division. My mother rarely ever cooked, she only knows how to microwave junk food.  She says she doesn’t know how to cook, but, somehow, I learned how to make real meals.

I hated being homeschooled. I hated being taken from my friends, I hated being home all day. I hated not being “taught”. I hated that I lost my reprive from my mother’s screaming, and my dad’s constant yelling and temper tantrums, often that ended with the sound of the belt being pulled from his pants, to hit us with. My mother would scream at us, calling us names, expecting me to parents the others, and if I wasn’t a very good 10 year old mother, then it was made clear that I was worthless. She was always pregnant, always tired, always napping. When she wasn’t sleeping until noon, she was sitting on the sofa, watching t.v., demanding we clean something. Or mad at us for watching t.v. too much. Wanting to know why we were hungry, why hadn’t we microwaved a plate of Pizza Rolls if we were hungry? But, don’t forget, you can’t eat too many, because then she and dad wanted to know why we were such pigs  and wasted all their money.

Dad would come home from work, furious that there were dishes left undone, and I should have done them. It  didn’t matter that it wasn’t my turn, or we’d been busy. The only thing that mattered was they needed done. He would fight with mom because she was lazy and he worked so hard. Mom would get offended and tell him it was our fault. The fight would ramp up, the screaming getting louder. And, eventually, she would decide she didn’t have to put up with it, and she’d walk out. Leaving us with him. He’d continue the yelling for hours, getting so in our faces, sometimes we’d get spit on us, it was disrespectful to not stand there and take it. He would punch holes in walls, he threw a toy tractor through a glass door, he hit my sister with the vacuum cord because she didn’t wind it right. He’d call us pigs and worthless. He’d throw cups full of milk. I remember one time very clearly crying, and he got in my face, demanding I explain why I was crying. I told him I was scared, and he said “Good, the Bible says you should fear God.” That was the moment I lost any bit of respect I had for him. My tears were often ridiculed and punished. I tried to protect “my” kids the best I could. Often mouthing off so the ire was turned towards me, while the others ran away. 20 minutes after the screaming stopped, he’d call us back. He’d apologize, but the apology was always blaming us. He was sorry he couldn’t control his temper, we had just pushed him too far. Then, he would say “Will you forgive me?” but, it wasn’t a question, it was a demand. The only allowable response was “Yes, Sir.” Then we had to give him a hug.

to be continued…

 

We Were Raised This Way

I recently read another blog post, We were Told to Do the Hard Things. Well, We Are.

I agree with much of the post, but what really resonated with me was this;

You know those concerns about advanced technology escaping our control and taking on a life of its own? In some sense, that is what is going on here. The leaders of the Christian homeschool movement set out to create an entire generation of culture changers. Well, they succeeded, but it’s our turn now. And they’re going to have to live with it.

Brad and I were the in the first big wave of home schooling. Maybe it wasn’t completely unheard of, but it was definitely weird. Mainly used by religious zealots. We probably fit into that category. Or, our parents did anyway.

We were told we were being home schooled to keep us from bad influences, because we’d give into peer pressure, because they didn’t want what they taught us to be undermined by anyone else. We needed to be kept from others until we were strong enough to fight for what we believed. We were supposed to stand up proud and defend our beliefs.

Somehow though, they never expected our beliefs to be different from theirs. We were supposed to grow up up and parrot back the things we’d been told for 18 yrs.

And, many of “us” did exactly that. But, some of us didn’t.

A lot of those kids are my age now. A lot of us are in our late twenties, early thirties, and have a lot to say. We’re a decade or more out now, we’ve learned to speak our minds, and make up our own minds. We’ve seen where our education was lacking, and where our up bringing bordered on abusive, and we finally realize it. Some of us tried to get help back then, but weren’t taken seriously, and realize we have a lot more power now.

Now, we are speaking our minds, we are standing up for what we believe. It is us standing up and asking for stricter regulations, more checks in place. We’re talking about all of this.

And, often, the parents have become the school bullies. The ones trying to shut us up, trying to discredit us. There are many of them fighting back saying that we have exaggerated our stories for sympathy and attention. That we have ulterior motives. I’ve even seen us compared to demons, being used by Satan, attacking good Christian families. These loving parents have destroyed their relationships older siblings have with younger ones… because they won’t allow the older sibling to say “this is wrong”.

They wanted us to be strong, to stand up for what we believed.

Now we are, but, we didn’t follow the script, so, they believe that by becoming everything we were taught to be, that we have become the enemy. We are supposed to shut up otherwise we lose our siblings, our parents. We are supposed to shut up because anecdotes do not equal data, we are supposed to shut up otherwise we will have more government in our lives and our children will be taken away. We are supposed to keep the secrets, because not EVERY family was like that.

That one always amuses me, in a sad sort of way.

“Don’t tell anyone about abuse, because there are so many families doing it right. And, don’t tell anyone about your upbringing, because it wasn’t that bad, there are so many families that abused their kids worse.”

Yes, we can’t tell, we can’t beg for more regulation, because there are many families who do teach their kids to read, and they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of the very few. But, we are also told that the isolation wasn’t that bad, because some people lock their kids in cages. The bruises weren’t that bad, because some people break bones. It wasn’t real abuse, because other people had it worse. (And then you have the nerve to question why i didn’t have my ex-husband arrested the first time he tried to run me over…because he didn’t succeed. Because he didn’t break any of my bones. Because he never punched me. So many women had it worse, you know. That’s why I didn’t tell.) You can’t have it both ways, you can’t say we don’t need more regulation because all the parents are good people, while saying your poor parenting didn’t need examined because SO MANY people were worse.

I am thinking about doing a series about home schooling and change, this will be the first part. I have a lot to say, but, I don’t want to make today’s post a novel.

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