Our childhoods should be filled with such fond memories. Memories of when we played with our friends, or that family holiday in a caravan in Anglesey, birthdays, Christmas, days out… But that’s not the case for everyone. Some have memories of the traumas that happened during their childhood, and they haunt them every day.
Unfortunately I am one of these people. My childhood had many happy memories but it also had some very unhappy ones too. This is where my blog begins: who is the Incognito Blogger?
It’s fair to say when I was a child most parents still gave their child a slap when they were naughty. We weren’t the little snowflakes that most children these days seem to be. If you misbehaved you knew as soon as your parents found out you’d get a smacked arse and sent straight to bed, grounded for what felt like an eternity. That was the norm. So when I say I was abused as a child, I don’t use that term lightly. I don’t mean I was a disobedient child (perhaps I was but that’s beside the point) and I didn’t like authority, I mean my childhood was destroyed by people I believed I could love and trust. Not my entire childhood – up until I was about 10/11 I was happy. But once my world began to crumble it continued to fall apart.
I suppose we should begin in about 2008. I would’ve been about 10, living with my Mum and my brother. We’d been living in our ‘new’ house for 3 years so you’d think we’d be settled, but my Mum wasn’t. Sure she had new friends, she was finding new customers in the area, she was settled in that sense. But something in her life was missing. She was lonely, plagued by thoughts that at that time I couldn’t understand. She was miles away from her Mum, miles away from her lifelong friends, she felt alone. So of course she befriended the bottle – the soother of all problems, the over the counter sleep aid, that benumbed all pain. What more could she ask for in a friend, right? And so her addiction snowballed: what started as a tipple before bed, became a bottle a day, to two bottles a day, to bottles hid under the sink, vodka stashed in the wardrobe, within a number of months the tipple before bed was an essential part of daily life with supplies available at all times. And with the increased presence of her new friend came the crumbling of my world. She’d forget to pick my brother and I up from school. She’d forget to come home from the neighbours. She’d put our tea in the oven yet be adamant we’d already eaten in. We watched her fall apart. I couldn’t understand, why did my Mum act so strangely? Why did she call me a liar for telling her we hadn’t eaten? But eventually… it clicked. I’d find the bottles, and I’d confront her, but no 31 year old wants life advice from a 10 year old and she made that clear. Everything became my fault as a I continued to try and stand between her and her best friend until everything fell apart and my Dad came to save the day…
He’d come for his weekly visit (how kind right?) as my Mum and I had finished being at each other’s throats. Saved by the bell. I’d opened the door and opened the flood gates too as I began to hysterically cry, just hugely grateful he was there. He took my brother and I to his house for a week, we didn’t want to go back though. We’d cried, begged, screamed… We didn’t want to go back. But to him we were in the way so we had to go back… That night we returned to the frosty atmosphere. My mum barely spoke to me but I didn’t mind, I didn’t want to talk to her either. I was heartbroken and frankly didn’t want to acknowledge her existence. That night I lay in bed, unable to sleep, wishing I weren’t there when I heard her talking on the phone downstairs:
“I saw him drive past so I made sure I didn’t buy any booze” she laughed.
Those words rang clear as day in my ears right up until the moment my Dad came to visit the next day. As soon as he arrived I blurted it out, begging him to take us with him. My mum, angered to have been caught out, ran at me with two fists, ready to punch me. I was terrified. Luckily my Dad pulled her away from me and told me to wait in the car. I don’t know what happened whilst I waited in the car, but I do know that’s the last time I would see for 4 years.
I know what you’re thinking “oh that’s terrible but that’s not really abuse.” and I hear you, but let me reassure you, that’s nothing in the scheme of things. This was just the start…
Skip ahead to 2010. Since my Grandparents owned the house my Mum has lived in they had evicted her when she got herself into arrears. The purpose of buying the house had been for their grandchildren to live in so, they moved us back in with my Dad. Life was great, a proper little family unit, especially when his girlfriend came to stay. Now, I’m going to pause right here, here’s everything you need to know about his girlfriend:
At this point in the story she’s 21 years old, that’s a mere 10 years older than me and whole 20 years younger than my dad. When they’d first met I’d hated her, purely because my Dad has never taken us bowling or out for meals, he always told us he didn’t have time or money, so I resented her. But when I finally met her, she was so much fun. She has an illness that I didn’t understand but it meant that sometimes her head felt funny. We’d have the best time together when she was feeling up to it and it was like having an older sister. I loved having her around. She’d come from a family home with her Mum, Stepdad and Grandma, she’d been an only child and the centre of attention for her entire life. She didn’t have many friends due to bullying as a child but she seemed quite happy just being surrounded by those she loved. She was an all round pleasant lady.
So she would stay with us for 4 days every week. She will now be referred to as X. It was great and my life was finally back to being happy. We were a family.
I was in my first year of high school and as you can imagine I had a bad case of the ‘pre-teen angst’. I had attitude, mood swings, and a mouth that to this day could cause world war 3, however, I wasn’t a particularly naughty kid. I didn’t run away from home, I didn’t go stealing or causing fights, I just had an attitude. But that attitude coupled with X’s somewhat strange tendencies resulted in a breakdown of everything.
One night I’d been cleaning out my hamster downstairs and I’d gone way past my bedtime but X had agreed it was fine and she really didn’t mind. She sat watching south park whilst I ‘multi-tasked’ (I sat gawping at the TV) – everything was fine. Just a few minutes had passed before X grunted at me
“Are you nearly done?”.
I looked at her in complete disbelief, she’d been fine a moment ago?
“Well no, you said you didn’t mind though?”
I said back. Now I’ll admit I said it in THE most sassy tone I’ve ever used in my life. At just 12 years old I was the queen of the world and of course no ‘fake mum’ was going to tell me otherwise.
“Well can you hurry up?!”
She snapped back. To which I simply glared at her, daggers for eyes. She glared back at me, so I carried on cleaning out my hamster. She stood up ‘oh shit’ I’m thinking. I keep my eyes locked on the cage, ‘I’m not indestructible’, not daring to make eye contact. As she marched past she kicked the hamster cage at me, causing a piece of plastic to snap and cut my foot. I carried on cleaning waiting for my dad to inevitably come home from work…
Within 20 minutes my Dad came home, and I was glad to see him. What was he going to do? Break up with her? Kick her out? Surely he wasn’t going to let anybody treat his own daughter like that? So he sent me upstairs whilst he spoke to X. 10 minutes passed, 20 minutes passed until finally he called me down. X was sat on the sofa, whilst Dad stood strong in the middle of the room. He pointed at the little stool placed well away from X
I did nervously making a joke about it feeling like an interview
“Right tell me what happened.”
So I started slowly, ready to tell Dad what a bitch X had been:
“I was cleaning out the hamster and it went past my bed time, and X said she didn’t mind…”
I began. Seeing the anger in both their faces I quickly lost control.
The words just tumbled out of my mouth with not a breath in between. And before I had a chance to finish my splurge of words she had stood up running at me
“I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU, YOU CUNT!”
She screamed. I ran upstairs hysterically crying! Surely it wasn’t happening again?! Not this again?! My Dad was definitely going to make her leave now? Right? Wrong. After their first explosive argument came to an end Dad came upstairs into my brothers bedroom where I was residing to make sure he was ok.
“X is really sorry. And it’s not like your Mum, you know that don’t you? It’s just her medication.”
Of course at the time, I wanted this to be true so I leaned into the premise. I forgave her. I moved forward. I so wanted this to be the beginning of the end. But it wasn’t. It was just the start…
(To be continued…)