Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Three
HA notes: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Mary” is a pseudonym. The following series is an original non-fiction story that spans 33 pages of single-spaced sentences. It will be divided into 10 parts. The story begins during the author’s early childhood and goes up to the present. At each stage the author writes according to the age she is at.
Trigger warnings: various parts of this story contain descriptions of graphic, often sadistic, physical abuse of children, apologisms for religious abuse, deprivation of food, as well as references to rape.
In this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Conclusion
Part Three: I’m Not Going Back
…things are about to get worse.
Finally Dad comes and calls us into the living room. He has the belt in his hands and Mom is sitting in the chair looking like a martyr. We all sit and wait to see what punishment Mom has decided that we should have. She always has the final decision even if Dad is the one to tell us what it is. If Dad doesn’t give us a punishment that she thinks is bad enough then she will start yelling at him and we will end up getting what Mom has decided.
Dad has the belt in both hands with the two layers together. Then he separates the layers and then pulls them flat again very fast to make a loud crack. It sounds like he just spanked someone very hard. I shiver but try not to look scared. He’s done this before and now I am terrified because I know what’s coming.
Dad looks like he is enjoying our reactions and has a slight grin on his face. To me it looks like an evil grin and I yell at him that this is not funny. Mom jumps up out of her seat and rushes over to slap my face and yells at me not to ever yell at her husband. She sits back down and Dad gets up and starts walking around the room in circles in front of us over and over. While he is walking he keeps cracking the belt very close to us changing the person who he does it in front of.
He is talking the whole time about our rebelliousness and our bad attitudes and making Mom miserable. He has been around the room at least four times now and now he is starting the fifth. This time he starts swinging out the belt towards us. Abby just screamed. He hit her across the front of her legs. John is next; he got hit on the knees. I am trying not to show how scared I am but I can tell that Dad knows I’m terrified. He gets closer to me and I hold my breath and then slowly let it escape as he starts to pass me. All of a sudden he turns back around and catches me with the belt across my lower arms and stomach. I can’t control the scream of pain that comes out.
I look over at Mom and she is looking quite satisfied with what is going on. Dad keeps going around the room, someone gets hit every time he goes around but we never know who or where. Sometimes he hits the sofa beside us just to scare us. By the end of it he had gotten the fronts of my legs, shoulders, arms, chest, knees and stomach. Abby got hit everywhere too. I wasn’t paying attention to John because he was on the other sofa. Dad finally sat down but he cracked the belt one more time just for effect.
I am so angry now I am trembling. I know Mom and Dad think I am trembling because I am afraid but I’m not. I am screaming at them in my head, screaming at Dad asking him how he could do this to his daughters, screaming at Mom for making him do it.
The lecture is finally over. We are going to miss supper tonight and we are so hungry. Mom has a home school meeting tonight which means we get a little break because Dad always falls asleep on the sofa after supper. As soon as he starts snoring I go to my room and pack my duffle bag. I pack some clothes and my favorite blanket and Rita. Then I sneak in the kitchen and get some apples and put them in the duffle and head out the side door.
I sneak around the back of the house to the woods that separate our house from the road. It is the middle of summer so I know that the leaves on the trees will hide me. I have to be careful though, because there woods are full of poison ivy and I don’t want the poison on me.
I start to head for the road. I just got to the road and now I hear Dad calling me. I don’t answer but I start to walk faster. As soon as I get to the road I start running and I run as fast as I can all the way to the stop sign. I am going to run away and I’m not going to let Dad find me. I turn around when I get to the stop sign to make sure he isn’t following. I hear a car coming on the main road and run up the hill into the trees so they won’t see me. When I see the car I almost throw up. It is Mom.
I lay down as low as I can and I know she didn’t see me. As soon as I see the van turn into our driveway I take off down the main road. I know where I am going. There is a lady that goes to our church that does not live very far away. I know I can make it there by morning time.
This is the third time I have tried to run away and Dad always caught me before I got off our road. Now I have made it farther then ever and I’m not going back. Every time I hear a car coming, I get off the road very fast and hide in the trees. I am almost to the end of this road now all I have to do is get onto Broad River Rd and go till I get to the lady’s road. I hear another car coming up behind me and I hide as best as I can. There are not good trees right here so the best option I have is to hide in the ditch.
I get down as low as I can and hold my breath but this time the car doesn’t keep going it slows to a stop. I hope that is because the car is about ready to turn but it isn’t. I hear a car door open and the Dad yell at me to get into the car. I know I am caught again but this time I get up and yell back that I’m not going. He yells at me again to get in the car and I yell back no!
I start to try to run in the other direction but he is faster and catches me. He drags me back by the arm and shoves me in the car. He gets back in and takes me home.
I know I am in big trouble.
We get back to the house and Dad tells Mom where I was. She grabs my bag away from me and dumps every thing out on the kitchen floor. As soon as she sees Rita she grabs her away from me and tells me I have lost her again. She sees the apples and tells me that because I took them, I am going to miss every meal tomorrow and I have a twenty page paper to write on stealing. I don’t know how long she will keep Rita this time but I refuse to let them see me cry. I pretend like I didn’t care and leave the room.
Abby asks me if I am upset and I tell her no. I will try to run away again one day.
It is finally bedtime and we are all relieved.
Abby is so weak from being hungry that she can hardly walk and all she wants to do is sleep. John somehow always manages to sneak food out without getting caught, but Abby and I are too afraid to try. Abby and I climb into bed and talk for a few minutes trying to ignore the nawing hunger in our stomachs. Abby goes to sleep very quickly but I have a hard time going to sleep while I am that hungry.
I finally start to go to sleep when I hear stomping down the hall. They are Mom’s footsteps and I know that this means she is coming to our room. She bangs open the door and turns on the light screaming for us to get up.
What possessed you to think you had permission to sleep?
She yanks us out of bed and yells at us to get into the living room. She tells all of us to stand on the rug until she gets back and stomps out of the room. Abby looks like she is going to fall over. In my head I plead with her not to sit down because I don’t want Mom any madder. Mom finally comes back in carrying one of the hard wooden desks. Dad is following with another one and puts his down and goes back for the third one.
Mom then tells us that we have not done a bit of school work today. So now we get to stay up until that day’s school is done along with as many undone assignments that she tells us. We each sit down at a desk and I feel total despair. I am so hungry and so tired that I cannot think. She lays down on the sofa with the belt across her lap and says that if she finds us sleeping, not working fast enough, or doing sloppy work than she will start spanking.
I work for a while and steal a look at Mom and see that she has gone to sleep. I prop my head against my hand with my other hand holding my pencil so it looks like I am writing. I tell myself that I’m only going to sleep for just a minute so that I can get a little more energy.
I wake up to a slashing pain across my back.
Mom is standing over me and strikes again.
I stand up as fast as I can so that she can hit my bottom instead of my back but I all of a sudden feel sick and dizzy and fall to the floor. Mom keeps swinging the belt and hits my sides and my legs and my back again. I curl into a ball to try to protect myself while she keeps swinging. She hits my side so hard that I jerk out straight uncontrollably leaving my front exposed. Before I can curl back up she swings the belt again and this time it catches me on my chest. I scream in agony and she finally stops. She reaches down and grabs a handful of my hair and yanks me off the floor and forces me back into the desk.
Her face is in mine, I see in her eyes that she hates me. She screams that if I dare fall asleep again then I will stand in the corner till devotion time the next morning.
For the rest of the night we all fight sleep and try our hardest to get some school work done. We are never working fast enough when Mom wakes up. So periodicly we are all getting many spankings.
It is finally 6:15 am and time for family devotions.
To be continued.
Mary, this is heartbreaking. People are not meant to be treated like that. I am so proud of you for being so clear about the abuse. I feel so proud of your 9-year-old self for trying to run away and vowing to run away forever. I’m so proud of you for knowing that your parents liked abusing you. I wish I could hug you. I wish I was a neighbor who knew your family and turned your parents in. I hope it helps knowing that other people know what happened to you.
As an atheist I don’t believe in hell, but reading this I almost wish I did.
I don’t understand how anyone could treat an inncocent child like this. Were I to do this to a dog I would likely go to prison. That your parents would treat you like that turns my stomach.
As I read I feel such conflicted emotions. There is an anger that wells up inside me, an ache in my heart and a lump in my throat I cannot seem to swallow.
I can’t believe there are 6 more pieces to this horrific story. I hope it ends with this mother dead and buried. Heartbreaking.
I’ve been reading Mary’s story, along with several others. I’m having a difficult time in comprehending the mindset of two power-hungry people who are supposed to love and protect the children they brought into this world and, instead, seem to take great pleasure in the sadistic mental and physical abuse they heap on those same children. My old heart is weeping for Mary and her siblings, and all the others who have gone through the same type of horror those psychopathic ‘parents’ have made them endure. (I use the term, ‘parents’ very loosely and ‘psychopathic’ very strongly). I just need to know that Mary’s siblings have been taken far away from that house of terror and those two sorry excuses or human beings are in jail, or soon will be.
Sorry for typo…s/b. ‘sorry excuses FOR human beings…
I have such a hard time comprehending the reality of stories like these. It is unfathomable that any person could treat any child this way. As I was reading it, I thought, “they couldn’t possibly do the things they did if they didn’t fiercely hate their own children.” And then the author says she saw the hate in her mother’s eyes. It’s just so hard for me to believe that some parents hate their own children. I want so badly to make sense of it, but I fear that might not be possible. What kind of teaching could lead parents to turn on their children to this degree?
This is lawlessness…….I am sick reading this. My heart is breaking for these sweet children.
Self-hate. The Mother really hates herself. We can only feel for others what we first feel for ourselves. SOOO intense, though! Wow! A LOT of issues going on here. Mary, Love to you! Love to your child-self! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
I am sobbing. I am so so sorry. I am so sorry. My heart feels like its being wrung out. Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I am so sorry this happened to you. You are not alone.
Mother of god, the part where you curled up while she was hitting you actually triggered me because i just could feel that because i’ve been there curled up on the carpet of your room being hit with an electric cord because of some mistake or another. I avoid thinking about those parts of my childhood but your paper reminds me of their reality. And even though my childhood was probably not as harrowing or extremely abusive as yours what happened to me wasn’t OK either. Thanks.
Your parents sound like Michael Pearl’s ghostwriters. I call people like your parents and the Pearls failed human beings because they lack the capacity for empathy.
I hate to read this because I was homeschooled too and thought a hateful mother was normal. I didn’t understand when I was older and finally had friends how they could like their mothers. The homeschool and fundamentalist Christian advocates of the 80’s-90’s should be ashamed of themselves for the dysfunctional and unloving homes they inspired.
Break the will, not the spirit, don’t you know.
I am so deeply sorry for the living hell you endured at the hands of these sadistic evil parents.