Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I had a crappy childhood. My father was (is?) an alcoholic. I can't even count the number of times that I woke up in the middle of the night with my mother threatening (screaming) that she was leaving him. My dad going for the gun cabinet, handing my mother a pistol and begging her to kill him. My mother throwing good china at my dad's head... My dad came home one night and ran his brand new truck into the front steps because he was drunk, my mother came out and as they fought my father opened his wallet and pulled out about 10 one hundred dollar bills... threw them on the steps and then left. I watched this through my window... Believe it or not? These were the best of times...

We moved to British Columbia, my dad had to find a new job and things went from bad to worse. He became depressed, poor, mean... he was master of the silent treatment. If he was mad at my sister and I he would ignore us for weeks on end. He would grunt if an answer was needed to a question. Often just the slightest infraction from us would send him over the edge. My father is a large man... almost 6 feet and a former boxer, rodeo guy and farrier. My father is a very very strong man and had no problems using violent physical force to "discipline" us. Being thrown up against walls and held by our necks. Being beat on our bare asses. Slapped across the face. Hair being pulled. I was never beat with his belt but my sister was. Numerous times.

Many times I would weep while I heard my sister being beat through the bedroom walls. I would beg and cry for him to stop, for him to leave her alone... he never did. I would ask my mother to make him stop. She never did. She never protected us. She never even tried. I got my last spanking on the bare ass at the age of 15 for having brought home a report card that had a C- on it. I told him then that if he ever tried to spank me again I would report him.

My father has an acid tongue. I recall being called a slut at the age of 11 because I dared wear make-up. Fat cow was a frequent title that was bestowed upon me. We used to have "family meetings" where he would pound the table with his large meaty fists for hours upon hours. Calling us names, asking us questions that we didn't have answers to. I would stare at my hands and rub my right thumb over my left thumb over and over... for hours. I still do this when cornered. I still have a very hard time looking anyone in the eye when I experience confrontation with them.

My parents are drug addicts. They have been for as long as I can remember. Everything for them is all about getting their next hit. Their next toke. When we were poor I can clearly remember my dad handing me two dollars and telling me to buy as many packs of ramen noodles as I could... and saying that this was what was going to feed us as a family for the next week. I came out of the grocery store and excitedly conveyed to him that they were having a sale on "no name" noodles... 6 packs for a dollar! I was able to get 12 whole packs. My sister and I had to share one... one per day... for four days until my mother was able to get an advance from her work and buy some groceries.

When I finally moved out and was on my own I spent all my money on food. All the time. I gained over 100 lbs in two years. I have a much better relationship with food now but my cupboards HAVE to be full. My children will never starve. My children will NEVER eat ramen noodles. My children will eat good, organic, home cooked food. They will never have to wonder where their next meal will come from.

My parents felt particularily flush one day and bought my sister and I both horses. Two horses plus all their tack for $600. I spent one whole glorious summer riding constantly. Her name was Misty. We explored all the surrounding mountains, lakes... rivers. She was my life. They sold her without telling me just before Christmas. They needed the money. They let my sister keep her horse... saying that they knew I would understand. They gave away my cat, my rabbit, my dog.

The years have past. I have children now. I don't want to hit them. I don't want to yell at them. I don't want to neglect them. I struggle daily with how I was raised. I get SO MAD when I read that people think it's ok to beat their kids... "they have to learn right?" They "pop" "smack" "tap"... they hit them. Call it what it is. They do it out of "love"... if my husband hit me out of love he'd be in fucking jail! I cannot condone the violence... I just can't.

Am I a perfect parent? No. Have I fucked up royally and hit my children? Yes. Often? No. I can count the number of times that I have hit my older children on less than two hands. I strive daily to improve my parenting skills and find alternate ways to handle my children... and handle myself.

My parents want us to come for Christmas dinner. I have declined. My mother burst into tears and told me that she cannot lives without her "babies"... I had a hard time not laughing in her face. She does not care about my children. She spends no time with them. She does not play with them, talk to them, show affection for them. She can go for months without seeing them... she lives in the same town! I thought things might change after Kylee (my sisters daughter) and Dawn moved to Alabama but it didn't... we just don't matter. I just don't fucking care anymore. I'm tired of striving for their love and approval... I will never get it. I don't want it.

I'm very glad that I have Rose and Al. They have been my parents essentially since I was 15 years old. They took me in to their home. Fed me. Clothed me. Rose was my mother, phychiatrist, best friend. I spent weeks and weeks at their house just hanging out, being a family... feeling normal. Normal was so fucked for me that I didn't know what it was at first. Then I began to crave it, seek it out. Whenever I am stressed or sad... lonely or freaking out I head back to Roses. I cry at the drop of a hat around her. I feel like I can lose it with my kids around her... I know she'll pick up the pieces. I know she'll love me no matter what.

My best friend has helped me more than she'll ever know. Robyn and I's relationship has evolved over the last five years. She knows more about me than almost anyone. My day does not feel complete until I talk to her. She knows bit and pieces about my past... she struggles with her parenting as I do. We bounce idea's off of one another and cry on eachothers shoulders when things don't go as planned. I feel normal around her. I don't ever have to put up a pretense... I know she understands.

And Jeff. Well he is my rock. My love. My life. He has taught me so much about love and forgiveness. I would not be the person I am today were it not for him.

This post has been brewing for weeks... I know it probably sounds disjointed... my mind works that way ;) Phew... I feel better.


Kody said...

I've followed your posts on Storknet for years now and you've always intrigued me. I loved reading your posts, and now I really enjoy reading your blog. You are a GREAT MOM. So sensitive, and it's no wonder because you've been through so much.

Our childhoods are similar. It's good to read about another mom breaking the cycle, just like I'm trying to do. It's not easy. I analyze every single parenting decision that I do or don't make. My mistakes play through my mind over and over again. I'm so afraid of being the mother who doesn't protect or being a parent like my father, who was bi-polar, sex-obsessed, and just downright mean.

We are breaking the cycle. Never give up. I'll be reading, and cheering you on. You're doing a great job.

Frogmorest said...

Thank you so much :) You just made my day!!!

I wish more mom's would realize where their parenting is coming from and aim to stop the violence. My thoughts are that if you are resorting to hitting your kids to get compliance than you need some help.

I'll be cheering you on as well :) What's your snet id?

Robyn said...

(((hugs))) tammy, you are one of the most caring, wonderful, genuine people i know. you are an amazing mom and an amazing person. i'm sorry that your parents haven't bothered to get to know you on that level, because they are really missing out.

i've often wondered how a person like you came from a family like that...and it makes me sad that you had to grow up that way. i'm so glad you're stopping the cycle now, and your kids are so lucky to have you.

Kody said...

I used to be SarahsMommy on Storknet. My son is seven months old this week. :-) I've had to give up my Storknet membership for this year, but I still read as often as I can. :-)

I'm glad I found your blog. You know how it is: Sometimes you think you're the only person out there who parents this way. I'm glad I'm really not. Just an oddball in my own family, I guess. :-)

In regards to your mom not visiting, etc. : I've noticed this in my family too. Just remember that people do not like a reminder of what happened in the past as abuse. Your face is a reminder to your mom. My mom and dad do the same thing to my sister. How sad and wasteful.

I think I changed the day I realized my parents are just people. People who f***** up big time, but people nonetheless. I removed them from the pedestal. Not easy.

Take care of yourself too. :-) I'll be reading and cheering. :-)