My family was never a loving one. There were no hugs, no kisses, no “I love you’s” that I can remember. If someone was upset or traumatized and needed support, they weren’t going to find it in this family! Nobody ‘rallied around’ to support them. I never knew self-esteem or self-worth-not even briefly. Everywhere I turned, I found cruelty, sadness, fear and pain.
Any attention-seeking or moping around was usually met with something like-“Oh, for Christ‘s sake! Get over it!” If I had friends over, she would scream and yell and completely humiliate me right in front of them. After a while, kids just stopped hanging around with me.
And, of course, my mother’s favorite: the wooden paddle! It was in the shape of a hand and had ‘Mother’s Helper’ written across it and when she got really mad-well-you knew you were getting smacked with that paddle.
I truly felt like my parents resented having to raise me. I was sort of born and left to figure life out on my own; to somehow instinctively learn right from wrong; how to be a perfect child. Of course, when mistakes were made, she made it perfectly clear what a failure and disappointment I was.
My childhood was over before it started
I took my first drug at age nine. One day, in 2nd grade, I had come home from school crying, probably from being bullied. My grandmother sat me down at the kitchen table and put a half of a little orange pill in front of me. “Don’t chew it” she said, “It looks like a baby aspirin but it’s not. Just swallow it with your milk”. So I did. And I loved it! It was a valium.
I started drinking at 12 years old. See, my parents had a fully stocked “liquor closet”; full of every kind of liquor imaginable. This puzzled me because I had never seen either of my parents drink alcohol-ever. But, there it was, so one Sunday, while both of my parents were working, my friend Pam and I filled BIG Styrofoam cups with a little bit of every type of liquor. We just mixed some from each bottle.