I was slowly growing, with no steady income, or father I had to help my mother a lot with my siblings.
We were neglected as my mother resorted to booze for depression. We were a dysfunctional family there were no boundaries nor routine.
Many alcohol users came to the home to ‘party’ leaving us to fend for ourselves. I’d have to cut potatoes into slices and fry them as chips.
Nutella spread was a life saver.
Instant mash for my younger sister. That’s all we knew.
I thought it was normal because it was continuous. My mother conditioned us well in never being allowed to reveal what happened at home otherwise we would be taken away from her.
That thought frightened us all especially me, as I did not want to be separated from my siblings, I thought no one could take care of them better than I did. So, we stayed quiet; the art of deception and manipulation.
My mother had multiple partners and relationships, I never developed an affectionate bond with her so there were no intimate moments such a cuddles or alone time spent with her.
Her attention was more focused on partying with her pals.
No one cared for us we were just side-lined. My mother often verbally abused us even beat us when we refused her demands or were unhappy with something.
We would all be woken up sometimes in the middle of the night from a deep sleep to accompany her to the shops to buy more booze. I remember all of us crying out of tiredness.
Many times, we would go hungry as she spent welfare benefits on booze.
We were isolated, abused, and neglected. We all had severe headlice, the soles of our feet would be black from all the dirt from the carpet, many times drinks, faeces, and urine would be embedded onto the carpet. Our uniforms would be dirty, naturally we all possessed an unkempt look, our attendance at school was declining through that concerns were raised by school to social services.
Normal checks would be undertaken with us not saying anything against our mother eventually the case being closed. My mother developed a reputation within the area as being the local ‘prostitute’ her promiscuity didn’t help.
We often were teased & bullied due to that. I hated her!
I just wanted her to be normal, a normal mum, why couldn’t she be normal? I’d wonder.
I thought about my father, what state was he in?
Was he ok?
Would he get well soon?
I formed a hate for my mother she would turn into another person when drunk, a pretentious egotistical embarrassment! We never brought friends over because of the state of the home including her impulsive behaviour. It was all about her, her drink, her party, he music, her enjoyment. We would always come home to a full house and music with drink. my maternal uncles knew my dad left, they included themselves in my mums partying, playing an active role in supplying her with drink. They did not care about us. I developed a thick skin when my uncle tried to molest me with my mother’s approval. Promising to buy me a new phone if I allowed it. I was determined that would not happen by pre- planning my escape and defence if it did. (it didn’t happen) the verbal abuse was bad enough though. I would get so upset sometimes I wrap myself up so tight into my quilt and sob.
I couldn’t believe someone that was supposed to love me could hurt be so badly.
No one was there to protect us no one was kind to us.
I’d look at my mother in her skimpy outfits dancing provocatively, insinuating sexual gestures toward men in the home openly.
She knew I was unhappy she laughed.
There was no stopping her-she did what she wanted, the attention was too great for her.
It gave me a gut-wrenching feeling where at times anger would build up, I imagined wanting her dead believing that would give me some release.
1999 I was 11 years old. I started high school. I enrolled myself, went to all the open days on my own dressed in my primary school uniform.
Many children were there with their parents, I was alone.
I got through, settled well made friends and was happy enough. My mother was still beating me especially if I didn’t tend to my younger siblings or clean up before she woke. One Saturday morning I did everything that was requested of me, yet my mother proceeded to grill me about how useless I was, I felt anger instead of being scared.
She continued holding a broom stick waiting to strike.
I conjured up strength from anger, got up snatched the broom held it towards her and said
“don’t you ever hit me again, if you do, I will hit back”
I believe at the moment I would have damaged her. My mother was in shock she used my little sister as a pawn called the police and stated I beat her. The police attended our home I was shaking and crying. The officer spoke to me alone explain indirectly that he knew I didn’t do anything. I was so fearful. He could see I was a lost soul. I said
“I don’t want to be here, I have to stay because of my siblings”
He took a statement and passed it on to the right department.
From that day forward my mother never laid a finger on me or my siblings. I took sole care of them. She went out selling herself for cash or to party. Its as if she was the child and I were the parent.
The roles switched that’s how it felt.
During the summer holidays, on one occasion I went out to meet a friend, while doing so shortly I was approached by a family member who instructed me to rush home. I was not interested until I was instructed again in which I did listen and started making my back thinking this better not be a joke. I walked in and to my surprise my brother was in tears sitting on my mother’s lap with two suited men sitting on my floor I thought “what the hell”
My mum said ‘come near to me’ I declined and sat on the sofa alone. Eyes were all on me (sad eyes) my mum shared,
“Nini your dad is dead”
I froze, I wailed and shook uncontrollably.
“He was arrested for being drunk and was taken to the police station, he had a heart attack in his overnight cell”
I couldn’t even understand that!
A part of me died that day, I totally lost my innocence and childhood.
We attended the funeral where there was an open casket, I saw my paternal grandmother who cried non-stop, the grandmother I did not see in years but loved so dearly as a child.
Nobody cuddled us. Not even our mother.
We saw our dad in his coffin while family prayed repeating mantras.
My fathers’ family were informed of his death before we were and took full responsibility for funeral arrangements. It was a traditional Hindu ceremony followed with cremation.
Very surreal, I was frightful as I thought my dad would wake up, he didn’t.
Dressed in a dark ash grey suit he lay there with his jet-black hair combed over concealing his bald patch, he looked like a healthy man just asleep.
My father slept rough and drank constantly his health deteriorated linked to alcohol misuse. He lived briefly in a hostel causing a disturbance as he was highly intoxicated, being arrested and detained He was found unconscious in his cell the following morning.
There was an inquest to his death which ruled “death by natural causes” as the autopsy revealed.
He died two days after my brother’s birthday. He was 46 years old.
Age 27 I managed to locate his coroners report and death certificate. That provided me with much needed closure. Two years later from his death my mother didn’t change.
We were all removed from my mother’s care the local authority placing a full care order on myself and my siblings. My mother lost all parental rights, she refused to undergo requests made social services giving her a chance to prove herself as a mother.
It was a hard time we suffered deep emotional trauma.
My mother did not seek to keep in contact with us. (she made many excuses from not having the means to travel, when she didn’t need to our location was 10 minutes walking distance. Her partners, party life was more important, she was free to do what she wanted.)
Now aged 53 she suffers alcohol related illnesses which include acute brain damage. She is alone, isolated & having to take many forms of medications. My siblings are not in contact with her, I have visited her a couple of times for closure, my mother is still in denial.
She still drinks, however I believe she understands what her choices, behaviour, and actions have cost her. It’s too late, we have all grown up leading healthy lives.
Only recently finding out, myself and my siblings were known to social services over a span of 10 years.
So, when I was age 5! There was discord already at the early stages. 20 years ago, was a different time and place but we shouldn’t have had to endure what we did.
As for compassion I find it hard to have for both parents of mine. I have empathy to a certain extent but compassion is different. I lost my childhood, my identity, my family. I wondered for years what love was, what belonging felt like.
It took me a very long time to figure it all out, well come to some conclusion.
I am age 30 with two beautiful boys who are a pleasure! They are thriving and are super content. I share the stories my parents told me with them as it’s important for them to know about their grandparents, even though they may never meet to build a bond. I see both my mother and father in them. I am at peace with everything as I am strong, having built my life the way I want it.
Being truthfully honest, I have had many bad patches, trials and tribulations. I never knew what potential I had until I left my mother, I received intense therapy, which helped build my confidence understanding between love and abuse.
See I never realised fully that my situation was abuse because I always believed parents do not do that. I loved my father dearly, I loved my mother, but despised her choices and actions. I hated my father for leaving, for drinking, for dying! Same as I hated my mother for her abusive nature, her insults, her lashings, her inability to protect and care for me and my siblings. But then I think as from the beginning look at how my parents met, look under what circumstances, look at their own trials coming into this country fleeing all they knew. was its trauma that was never been dealt with?
I don’t know. But what I do know is the power of love is real, I love my boys and I could not imagine them going through half the things I did.
I have my days where I’m on edge because the world can be over whelming, but never would I subject intentional abuse towards my children. They are my world the only biological family I have that are close.
For them, I work hard, I better myself, I strive for achievement and positivity. Most of all I know I want to be nothing like how my parents ended up. I wish I got to know my parents a bit better their drinking clouded their ability to connect normally.
I’ve had to be totally broken in order to fix myself back up again.
I chose to swim instead of sink, I am a survivor.
Very rarely do I open up privately as it is extremely personal, but I realise real stories should be shared in order to help others heal we are not alone!