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Monday, December 21, 2009

Old Wounds.

I hate Christmas. Here is why.

Most of us - well, all of us, probably - have things in our past that hurt. Sometimes these things seem meaningless at the time, or maybe sting a little, and it isn't until years and years - decades, even - go by that we realize the damage that was done.

For me, that damage centers around Christmas.

The damage didn't occur during Christmas though. See, when I was a little kid, my aunt would come over nearly every evening and play cribbage with my mom. I was not allowed to be around them. In fact, every memory of my childhood is of being alone, because my brothers were too young to be any fun and my parents just wanted me out of their hair. Every time I approached my mom with a need, I was told to go away. Often, the need was just for human companionship. I don't remember many hugs as a child. There were certainly no cuddles or hair tousles or even high fives.

This was especially true, however, in the evening, when my aunt and my mom played cribbage. My brothers, who are five and ten years younger than me, would go off and play with my cousin, who is two years younger than me. All three boys would hide out in my brothers' room, and I would have to amuse myself.

I don't remember the particular event that started the thing that wounded me, but I know it probably went something like this: I was in my room alone, because I was not allowed out with the adults. I was feeling sad. I went to my mom to relieve the loneliness, and I was shunned. I cried. I was mocked. (Mockery was big in my family.) I got mad. I yelled.

And then, they started The Song.

The Song haunts me. The Song hurts my soul to this very day, each time I think of it, and Lordy be, wouldn't you know it's a Christmas song.

They did it in jest, but it was cruel. I can't understand why they did it - why they did any of the things they did, really - because, as a mother, I would never do it my own children. I might holler at my children, and curse at something they did ("Cat food in my fucking shoes? Again? Really!?") but I would never, ever, as long as I live, do to them what was done to me.

The Song is sung to the tune of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." And it goes like this:

"You're a mean one, you're a bitch
An awful, wretched child!
You're as nasty as a polecat,
You're wicked, mean, and vile
You're a bitch!"

My maiden name rhymes with "click" and they'd work that in there too, and then say something about me behaving just like my piece of shit father.

Every time I approached them, it was the same thing. They'd look at each other and pause, and then laugh this horrible, cruel laugh, and sing The Song. And I would get mad and cry, and they'd sing it louder. "See! She really is a bitch!" [Never mind that I was nine years old...]

It wasn't just a yuletide thing; they'd sing it every time I came out of my room. And it went on for years and years, until, a month after I turned eighteen, I moved out.

And I'll never forget that day. It was raining, and my mom had a trailer with all my stuff on it, parked in front of my building. But there had been a mix-up, and I couldn't get the key for several more hours. It was entirely out of my hands, but she blamed it on me, and as I stood there crying in the pouring rain, she dumped all my things on the front lawn of the apartment complex and drove away.

Anyway.

"The Grinch" seems like it's such a great thing for so many people. It seems like everyone is so eager for ABC to air it each year, alongside Charlie Brown and that stop-motion Rudolph film, to pass the tradition to the next generation.

My kids watched it this year, and I tried to watch it with them, but I couldn't. It hurt too much, brought back those lonely memories of nights spent alone, in confinement. Reminded me of being hurt by the ones who should have loved me the most.

My mom says she doesn't remember it. But I think she does. I hope she does. Her convenient amnesia only makes it hurt worse, like I don't even deserve an apology for all of that.

I'm not even worth an apology.

9 comments:

Jenny said...

That is despicable. I know what you mean about having old wounds you don't fully recognize until years later. I have them too, though mine are completely different--and my mom, too, says she doesn't remember them. I think the part that hurts the worst is that a flashbulb memory that is extremely painful for me is so insignificant to her that she's forgotten it. We do have a good relationship now, but there are a few things from my childhood that have not been resolved. Pretty tough to forgive someone and move on when they don't even seem to be sorry. I have found comfort in knowing that what happened to me as a child has influenced my own parenting for the better. I know just how important understanding and respect are to children.

Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry you had to go through that :-(

Lisa said...

That is SO FUCKED UP. Any parent who would sing a song like that to their child deserves to be kicked in the teeth. I am so sorry you had a childhood like that. My childhood may have been kind of lousy, since my Dad died when I was a kid and my Mom was depressed for a long time, but I always knew she loved me, and even though we fought like cats and dogs, she never called me names. All kids should know their parents love them. Good thing you are doing 1000X better for your own kids.

Joanna said...

Oh sweetie, I am so sorry you had to go through that. I was mentally abused as a child too (alcoholic mother) but never to that extent. I wish we could go back in time and fix it, and I'd bet your mom does too. I've noticed that mothers tend to develop selective memory on the things they wish they could change about raising their children. The only thing you can do is treat your children with that much more love and kindness, and make good Christmas memories for them, and new ones for you. I hope you can find the joyous things in the holiday. With much love, Joanna

Stuff On My Blog said...

Wow..just WOW. I cant' even express how horrible that is. Your mother *does* remember, be sure of it, and likely it eats a hole at her heart now. At least I hope it does.. because she deserves it to. (sorry, I have no charitableness left over for abusive parents)

My wish for you this Christmas, is that your beautiful little ones and loving husband can help you start to heal the hurts that this season brings up. In hopes that you can see & experience the holidays as the wonderful time of year that it can be. You deserve it.

breedermama said...

Oh sweet wonderful lady, you are worth a mountain of apologies. This is one of the most cruel things I have ever heard of a parent doing to their child. I would rather be hit than suffer through the emotional abuse were stuck with. Also I agree with Lisa, anyone who would sing this to a 9 year old child (let alone their OWN) deserves a kick in the teeth...at least.

mrs.notouching said...

Gawd! I can relate! People often think I exaggerate when I tell them stories from my childhood. After my husband met my parents he admitted that he always thought I was making some of the things up, but now he is convinced. My parents STILL insult me, compare me to every crazy relative we have (including my father, of course!) and constantly remind me how disappointed they are with me.
Anyway, not to make this about me, just wanted to say I GET IT. It is awful. ((hugs))

Karen Sugarpants said...

As a fellow survivor (see "The Little Series" on my blog if you want) my heart goes out to you.
I hope you heal. I really do. No child should have to go through that.

Lisse said...

Wow! There was a lot of mockery and belittling in my family too, but nothing quite like that.

And of course my mother "misremembers" a lot of the goings on as well, as if she can't bring herself to believe she was every that nasty.

Veronica said...

Oh honey. I can't even fathom it.

Hugs.