Hurts Me More Than You: Clay’s Story

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Trigger warning for Hurts Me More Than You series: posts in this series may include detailed descriptions of corporal punishment and physical abuse and violence towards children.


Clay’s Story

My parents didn’t spank in anger, usually.

They were convinced that they were practicing biblical discipline.

They believed that spankings were to be delivered calmly, leave no serious injury (red marks and the occasional bruise were OK), end with reconciliation and a forced hug, and be painful. As a child I was spanked nearly every day. But I got off easy.

Dad said that children in the old testament got stoned to death for rebelliousness, so it was a good thing I didn’t live back then.

Spankings ranged from three to ten swats. I remember feeling really lucky the few times I only got one or two. Mom and Dad both spanked but it hurt more when Dad did it. I think that was just because Mom wasn’t capable of hitting as hard. When Dad spanked he swung with his whole arm like he was trying to hit a home run on our butts. We weren’t allowed to keep our pants on, but usually we could keep on our underwear.

When Mom or Dad spanked it was painful enough to make me see stars. One time after getting spanked by Dad the pain was so much I almost vomited. When I told my Dad this he laughed and said that was impossible.

We were supposed to be still and quiet while receiving a spanking. If we resisted at all we got spanked more. Spankings with our hands in the way didn’t count. If we screamed we got spanked more, and told that CPS would come and take us and we’d never see our family again. We were allowed to cry, but it had to be sorry cries, not angry cries, or we would just be spanked more.

My Dad chose wooden instruments that would leave as few outward marks as possible. Usually something flat like a wooden kitchen spatula. As my brother got older Dad spanked him more, and harder. He started breaking wooden spoons and spatulas on him. Dad made a paddle out of a thick piece of wooden molding or something. It was about two and a half inches wide, half or three quarters of an inch thick, and a couple feet long. He drilled a couple big holes in it so that there would be no air cushion, that it would sting as much as possible.

I always thought I was a bad kid. We got spanked more than anyone else we knew, so it followed that we must be the most disobedient. It didn’t occur to my childish mind that maybe my parents were spanking too much. I remember when I was eight years old realizing that I had gone three days without a spanking.

I thought that was really cool because I had set a record for being good.

Maybe if I had gone on that long I’d be able to be good forever and never get a spanking again. Alas, I got a spanking later that day.

I always wished I could be my cousins. It must be easy for them to be good. I wished it was easy for me to be good. I didn’t understand why it was so hard for me to be good. Impossible, in fact. My parents explained that it was because I was a sinner, but that didn’t explain why I was apparently a worse sinner than anyone else my age. I couldn’t wait to grow up, because grown-ups don’t sin — that’s why they don’t get spankings. My last spanking was when I was twelve, I think, but the threat didn’t go away. Mom would tell me that a teenaged friend of mine still got spankings for rolling her eyes, so I’d better watch myself.

My parents stated goal in all this discipline was to break our wills.

A child’s will was something evil, something that needed to be eradicated.

They never really explained what this meant in detail, but it had something to do with us never having desires that misaligned with theirs. I can only imagine that the desired result was to condition us to have a visceral reaction to the thought of going against their wishes. It worked very well on me. I learned early on that the best way to cope was just to go along with what they wanted, to say what they wanted to hear, to hold still and not resist, it would be over most quickly that way.

It didn’t work so well on my brother, he would fight. Not fight physically — he’d fight by not crying, or by saying that the spanking didn’t hurt. That’s why Dad had to hit him so hard that wood broke against his flesh.

Yet, I’m not convinced that my strategy was better. It seemed so at the time because it was the path of least pain, but there were long-term consequences. For years into adulthood I wasn’t able to act in my own best interest. Doing something just because it was the best decision for me was so far off my radar I rarely contemplated it. I lived my life with pleasing my parents in mind. It wasn’t even conscious, it just was. When I started making decisions I knew they would disagree with I had physical reactions that were so intense I would sometimes be incapacitated for days. It would start with my whole body shaking, then my throat would close up. Then my heart rate would soar, like my heart was trying to escape my chest. My mind would race, and then I would start vomiting. Even after the vomiting stopped it would take a day or so before I could eat normally again. It would take several to get my energy back.

I’m shaking just writing this post.

My parents always told me that they spanked us because they loved us. It is true that they loved us. But I don’t think that was their primary motivation in spanking.

Spanking gave them a tremendous amount of power over us: power to break and then remake us according to their will.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Seven

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Seven

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 Seven: Losing Rita

More Punishments

"I am really scared."
“I am really scared.”

Tonight is bath night.  I am so happy about that because we don’t have to do any mopping. Mom sends Abby and I to take our baths and we hurry to obey. We love taking baths together and we have fun together. I love getting in the warm water because it feels so good on my sore feet and bottom from all the spankings.

We get in and start playing. We brought our Barbies in with us because we love playing with them in the tub.  Abby has a special Barbie that has a bathing suit that changes color when you put it in the water. We are having so much fun that we lose track of time. All of a sudden we hear stomping down the hall way and we know that Mom is coming to get us. I am terrified because I know we are in big trouble. We have still not washed our hair yet. Mom storms into the bathroom with the belt and screams at us why we are not out yet. I do not know what to say so I say I don’t know.

She yells at us to stand up and turn around and she starts spanking us and screaming that “I don’t know” is not an answer and that we are in trouble for wasting time. When she is finally finished spanking she tells us to drain the water. I try not to cry because I know that this means we will be getting an ice cold bath. When the water finishes draining she starts running all cold water then stomps out of the bathroom to go get ice from the kitchen.

She fills up the tub with ice and tells us that we have 10 minutes to get all washed and rinsed and that she will come check to make sure we did it right. We hurry as best as we can to wash and rinse our hair in the freezing water and then wait for Mom. We are so cold. I cannot make my teeth stop chattering. Mom walks back in and starts checking our hair. She starts screaming that we did not rinse it properly and pulls us down under the water by our hair and holds us there while she rinses it correctly. She finally says it’s done and lets us get out of the water.

She says that we have ten minutes to be dried off and dressed, with the bathroom cleaned up and our towels hung in their place, or we are in more trouble. She finally leaves the bathroom but says that we are not allowed to close the door because we took too long. I hold my towel for Abby so she can get dressed without anybody seeing her naked and then she holds her towel for me. We clean the bathroom as fast as we can and get done right before the timer goes off. Mom still gives us more spankings and tells us that we get cold water baths for a week because we took too long in the tub.


It is now after lunch and all of us are doing our school work at the kitchen table.  I am trying to concentrate on my work but Mom is mad again and stomping all over the house. I am worried that she will find something else to make her even more mad. She is stomping down the hallway now and I hear her stop at the hall bathroom. I groan because I know that she has found something.


I know we are in trouble. She stomps to the kitchen and says that we all have a five page paper because she found the bathroom light on again. She says that the bathroom is also a mess and that we have a $3 fine every time she passes the bathroom and it is still a mess. I ask her if we can go clean it up and she says no because we are in the middle of school time. We cannot go clean it up until our lunch break. Before lunch break she passes the bathroom ten times.  She adds $30 more to our debt record.

Nobody got their chores done before the timer went off and we are all lined up outside her door for our turn to get spankings. I go in for my turn and she tells me to pull down my pants. I start counting to try to help keep my mind off the pain. I think she is at sixty right now. I think I may have lost count. She finally stops at one hundred and I can no longer feel my bottom. I get out of her room as fast as I can and go to finish my chores. I am still not done when she is finished spanking but she says that I have to stop because it is school time and that I will have to finish them during the next meal time.



Mom and Dad are in a fight.  They are screaming at each other and I am scared. I run and hide under my bed to try to get as far away as I can. I hear Mom scream that she is leaving and never coming back.  She says this all the time and she never does.

I pray this time that she means it.

I hear her stomp out of the house and I pray that she never comes home. I still don’t get out from under my bed because I like hiding there. I can make up my stories and I know that Dad will not bother me. I pretend that I am a princess and that I am in hiding because someone is trying to kill me. I pretend that Mom is the evil lady that I have to live with and that she doesn’t know I am a princess but that when my father the king comes to get me that she will be punished for the way she treated me.

Mom is still not home and it is dark outside now. Dad still hasn’t called me and I know we are not getting supper so I stay under the bed longer. I think of another story. Now I am Mary again but I have been kidnapped. The man that kidnapped me is evil and he rapes me. I am scared of him but I know that Dad is going to come save me because he has to save his daughter.  When he saves me then I will know that he loves me.



They have taken Rita away from me again.

This time I am really scared.

Mom and Dad said that I am not getting her back this time. I am fourteen and they say I am a baby to still love a baby doll so much. I don’t care if I am because I love Rita so much. She is mine and I sleep with her every night when I have her. She catches almost all of my tears. Today I was able to sneak in Mom’s closet and hold her for a while.

I am really scared.

I hear Mom tell John to go get some wood and make a pile in the backyard garden. After a few minutes Mom yells for us all to go outside in the backyard. Mom and Dad say that they are going to burn some of our things.  Dad has started a bonfire and we have to sit there. Mom brings out John’s BB gun and my art kit, lunch box and Rita. The lunch box my Uncle Tommy gave me and it has my name sewn on it. The art kit Grammy gave me. I watch as Dad puts my art kit and lunch box on the fire. I am angry but I don’t know what to say. Dad all of a sudden changes his mind about putting John’s gun on the fire and tells him that he has just lost it for two years (they gave him the gun for his birthday).

I watch in horror next as Dad takes Rita and walks toward the fire. He puts her on and Mom tells me I have to watch as she burns. It really doesn’t matter anyway. I cannot make myself look away. I am frozen.

I watch as my precious doll starts to melt.

Her arm falls off and burns up. Her face shrivels up and she is unrecognizable.

I cannot think. I cannot move. I cannot cry. Something is stabbing me in the chest.

I cannot breath.

Hope is sobbing on the other side and Mom is screaming at her to shut up. She looks at me waiting for me to cry.

I cannot.

My heart is broken and torn. I hurt deeper than I ever have before. Mom looks very satisfied at what she has done.

Mom yells at us to go back inside and get back to work. I am in a trance. I don’t know what is going on and I don’t know how I get to bed. I lay in the dark and cannot sleep. My mind finally starts to work and I know that I hate them. I hate Mom and Dad and I want to them dead. The tears come and I cannot stop them. I  sob and sob. I do not go sleep for hours but I just keep crying. I finally cry myself to sleep.

The next morning I wake up and I know that I will never let Mom or Dad see me cry about this or anything else in my life.

To be continued.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Six

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Six

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.

Extra trigger warning: this particular part of the story also involves a description of rape.


In this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Conclusion


Part Six: Losing Control

We sit there as she walks from room to room of the house, trashing every room as she goes through it. She comes back in the living room and says we have 15 minutes to get the whole house spotless. Abby and I go in our room, but I don’t even try. I know that I’m going to get beat no matter what and I know that it is impossible for us to get it all clean in 15 minutes. Abby is crying again and trying to clean the room. She looks desperate. She says that she knows she should be able to get it cleaned up in time the way Mom wants it. I tell her that it is pointless but she begs me to help. I try for her because she looks so weak. I cry inside for her. I can’t let her see me cry because I need to be strong for her.

I try to make her feel better. I tell her that we are princesses in disguise and that Mom is the evil person that we will be able to punish later when our father comes to save us. She smiles a little and we work hard.

Mom comes to the door and screams that we are not working hard enough. She grabs Abby and yanks her into her room. As I listen to her cries of pain, I yank on a pair of shorts under my pants as fast as I can to try to add more padding. I am next and she tells me to pull my pants down this time. I know I am in more trouble. She sees my shorts and gives me extra spankings with the belt and then tells me I now have a 10 page paper on lying. I try to pull my pants back up and get out of her room as fast as possible.

We only have 2 minutes left to clean the house and we haven’t even finished our room.

We don’t make it before the timer goes off. Back in Mom’s room we go.

I try to keep count of the spankings to keep my mind focused on something besides the pain. I refuse to cry. I know that’s what she wants and I won’t give it to her. Wait, was that 120 or 130? I’ve lost count again.

After that round of spankings, she trashes the house again and we start all over.

I know this is going to go on for the rest of the day. We haven’t even finished our regular chores for the day or started our school work. All of today’s school work is going  on our undone lists. Mine is about 5 note book pages long. She says that we will only get yucky meals till we are completely caught up. I know it is impossible.

As we start to clean the room again I let my mind wander. I am a princess again. My father is away for a long time and my stepmother is forcing me to be her slave. I just keep hoping that my father will come home and rescue me soon.

Oh no!  I just heard the front door slam.  Dad is home. That means another meeting and another round of spankings.  At least this round of spankings will be from Dad. He doesn’t spank as hard.



Why is Dad letting Mom yell at him like that? Mom is treating him like a child. Maybe she will get mad enough and leave the house. Yes she is! I hear the door slam and the car roar out of the driveway.

Abby and I look at each other and sigh a sigh of relief. I pray while we finish cleaning that she gets in a car wreck and dies.  I hate her. I want her out of my life.

After we finish cleaning, Dad asks us if we have eaten today. He tells us to eat a bowl of cereal and then go to bed.  It’s after 9 pm.

We climb into bed and Abby goes right to sleep. I lay there and start thinking.

It starts happening again. I feel myself losing control of my mind again. I start getting chills.

I’m laying on some pavement. I don’t know where I am but I look up and am surrounded by four men looking at me in a way that I don’t understand but it terrifies me. I suddenly realize that I am naked. One at a time they start doing things to me. I don’t understand what, but it hurts. After they are done, they start laughing with an evil laugh. I still can’t figure out why I can’t get up.

They have me tied down somehow. One of the men walks away and comes back with sheets of ice. He starts covering me with ice and laughing. I don’t understand the looks they are giving me. What is funny?

I am freezing. Then they all come over and start peeing on me. Why are they doing this?

I am screaming for them to stop. This goes on forever. Finally they stop. One of them brings over a bucket of freezing water and uses it to wash me off. Then they all start to do things to me again. This time I really don’t care because I am so cold. At least them being on top of me is warming me up.

Suddenly the side door slams and I am jolted back to my room. I realize that my hand is between my legs and I am all slimy and wet and it’s not pee. I don’t know what that stuff is but I think it’s gross.

I sneak to the bathroom to clean up. I try to be quiet because I know that Mom is home again. As soon as I have cleaned up, I rush back to my bed again. Abby has woken back up and is crying. We both know that Mom is about ready to come yank us out of bed again. We know that we didn’t get the house cleaned like she wants it.

We sit and hold each other while listening to Mom and Dad fight and scream. Even if she doesn’t come get us up, we can’t go to sleep with that going on. Sure enough, a few minutes later she storms in our room and screams for us to get out of bed because we didn’t have permission to go to bed. She yells at us to all go into the living room. She screams at Dad to bring our desks in the living room. She says that we are not allowed to go to bed till we each have 20 undone school assignments done and passed.

I look at the clock. It’s 11. It’s going to be a very long night.

She says that if she finds us asleep at all then we will get a ton of spankings. She lays down on the couch and goes to sleep with the belt across her lap. I know we will be here all night. I try to work on the school work but I am so tired I can’t think. I lay my head on my desk for just a minute.

I wake up with a sharp pain across my back. I jolt up and see Mom standing over me with the belt coming down again. This time it hit my head because I arched back to stop her from hitting my back again. She yanks me out of the desk and then the belt lands across my chest. The swings keep coming.

She stops and pulls me off the floor and shoves me back into the desk. She wants to see the math page that she told me to work on. I can’t figure out this problem and I asked her for help, but she says that she isn’t going to help me because I should be able to figure it out on my own. She says that I am stupid because I can’t figure it out. She says I can’t be her daughter because a child of hers can’t be that stupid.


It’s about 4 am now and she finally gets tired enough to want to go to bed. She says that we can finally go to bed but we will resume this in the morning. Abby and I go collapse in our bed.

The next thing I realize is that I am cold and soaked.  Our whole room smells like pee. No! I peed in the bed again! I wake Abby up and try to get the sheets changed on our bed as fast as I can without waking Mom up. It is so hard because her room is right across the hall. I can’t do it and Mom storms in our room. She calls me a baby.  She says that I should still be in diapers and that she is going to tell everybody how I am such a baby.

It’s about 6 now and she decides that we have to stay up. I start to let my mind wander again. If I don’t, I won’t survive. This time I have been kidnapped and sold as a slave and I’m praying that my father will find me and save me.  Why does my father never actually save me?


Yay!  Mom is getting a headache! She says that she has to go lay down. I know that she will sleep a long time because she didn’t sleep last night. She goes in her room and shuts the door.

I head to my room and crawl under the bed. I am so tired… my mind drifts….

Am I dreaming or is this real? I honestly don’t know anymore.

To be continued.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Five

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Five

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.

Extra trigger warning: this particular part of the story involves a description of rape.


In this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Conclusion


Part Five: Deeper Shame

I’m feeling it again.

"I don’t know what happens to my brain and I don’t understand."
“I don’t know what happens to my brain and I don’t understand.”

I don’t know what it is but it makes me feel shameful.

I can’t ignore it. It hurts, it’s pulling me to go hide under my bed. I have to figure out some way to sneak away without Mom noticing. Some days I’m better at this than others. I know if I disappear for too long, I will get in trouble, but it doesn’t matter. I am pulled into my room, at least I feel pulled, but I don’t understand how. I feel like something is really, actually pulling me but no one is there. What is going on?

I don’t like it but I can’t help it. I manage to get to my room with nobody seeing and, as fast as I can, I hide under my bed. I have to do this, but I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can’t ignore this pain. I lay on my back and open my pants just enough to fit my 10-year-old hand in. What am I doing?

I don’t even know what this is but I cannot stop myself. I start rubbing and then it happens. I don’t know what happens to my brain and I don’t understand. Mom and the house disappear.

I am no longer under my bed. I don’t know where I am. Who is this scary man that has me? He is dragging me.  My hands are tied and how did this thing get tied around my mouth? He keeps dragging me. I am fighting, this hurts. I am trying to run, but can’t. We are deep in the woods and it’s dark and scary. Is that a really high wall ahead? No!  Please don’t go in there. I am so scared! Is this a dream or is it really happening? He pulls me into the wall.  All I see is a concrete building. He pulls me to a small door on the ground next to the building, opens the door and throws me in. I hear the door locking behind me. It is dark, pitch dark. I can’t see anything. I feel a spider crawling on my leg and I shake my leg as hard as I can. I am too scared to cry, what is happening? I lay there forever before I hear the door unlock again. That man is back. He comes in and pulls me back out and into the building. He unties my hands and takes all my clothes off then ties my hands again. What is he doing? I really don’t understand. I don’t have any breasts yet, why is he touching me everywhere? What is he doing? It hurts. It hurts so bad. I cry and he yells at me to shut up. He finally leaves me alone but doesn’t give me my clothes back.  He just leaves. I am so tired, I don’t want to go to sleep but I can’t stop myself. I don’t know how long I slept, but I wake up later to that man again. He is on top of me again and hurting me again. Please, please leave me alone.  I am hungry and I am terrified.



I suddenly feel jolted.

I hear Mom screaming mad. Wait, that wasn’t real? I’m in a fog. I can’t move my body for a minute. I try to hurry and get my pants back up, but I just can’t make my body do anything fast. Mom is at 8 and I know it is impossible for me to get into the kitchen before she gets to 10.

I stumble into the bathroom and wash my hands quickly.


Why does she have to count so fast? I’m trying so hard to get in there. I finally make it to the kitchen as I hear “25.”  Wait. How many spankings is that? I can’t think to try to figure it out.

I see Mom standing over me with the belt in her hand. I see anger, hate and rage in her eyes. In a quick glance around the room, I see John standing in his underwear in the corner sending seething glances at Mom. Abby is curled up on the floor sobbing. Why does she do that? Mom just wants to see us cry and she is just giving Mom what she wants.

Ouch! I am yanked back to paying attention to Mom because she yanks my hair. She yanks my head around so I have to look her in the face. You know, that’s weird, my head is so numb from her yanking my hair that I really don’t feel it that much.


I don’t know what to tell her. I am still confused. I still feel like I’m in a fog.

I mumble something about being in my room.


She shoves me towards the back door and finally lets go of my hair. All three of us go to the back porch. My heart is sinking. It is pollen season. I am allergic to it and I know that I am going to have an allergy attack. I am embarrassed for John. He is still in his underwear.

I look at the clock in the kitchen from the window.  Wow, it’s only 9:30 in the morning.

This is going to a long day. Well, what’s different than yesterday?

Mine and Abby’s stomachs are growling. I can’t remember the last meal we ate. Abby looks weak and sick. I want to cry for her. I am so hungry but I’m not feeling sick. John and I managed to sneak a few handfuls of dry cereal while Mom was in the bathroom this morning.


Oh no!

Mom is storming towards the door. She yanks it open and nails us with her eyes.


I don’t want Abby to get in trouble for this so I tell her it was me and John. He sends me an evil look. Now John is angry at me too. Mom walks away and I know where she is going. She comes back with the ipecac and two spoons. John and I refuse to take the spoons and she starts screaming at us. She says that if we don’t take the ipecac then we will be outside for a week. That sounds better than throwing up and getting stomach sick, so we say fine. I knew that wouldn’t work. I can see the rage in her eyes.

She grabs my head and throws me up against the side of the porch. She holds me down and forces the spoon in my mouth. I guess she didn’t like our choice. When I throw up later, it is almost all just stomach juice. That smell makes me sicker than throwing up. Hours pass. It is so hot outside. We are so thirsty and hungry. My eyes and throat are itching so bad.


Mom opens the door. She has been crying — her eyes are all puffy. She sounds so sad. I roll my eyes.  ere we go again with the martyr act. It makes me so mad when she does this. I know what’s coming next.

“For the last few hours I have been praying and trying to figure out why God gave me such rebellious children. I have been trying to figure out why you are all ganging up on me and trying to make my life miserable. One day is going to pay you back and give you rebellious children. Do you know what happened in the Old Testament to rebellious children? They were stoned to death. That is what you deserve. We are going to sit here until we get to the root of all your rebellion!”

(Will she ever stop talking?)

You know, everything that is happening to you is your fault. All of you are forcing me to act like this. When I was a little girl, I never did this. I never misbehaved around my parents. I know I am not perfect, though.”

I know she is lying. I know she wasn’t that good. And I know this isn’t all our fault.  She has been talking for 3 hours now. Dad will be getting home soon. I am so tired and hungry.

“For the rest of the day we will be having obedience drills!”

That means we won’t be getting any food for the rest of the day.

To be continued.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Four

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Four

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 Four: Crackers and Cream Cheese

It is finally 6:15 am and time for family devotions.

“Mom yells at me that I am faking this to get attention and that if she sees me limping anymore I will get fifty more.”

Everyone else gets up and comes in the living room. Mom says that we can’t sit on the sofa because she knows that we will fall asleep so we have to stay in the desks. I am trying not to fall asleep in the wooden desk I am so tired. But I need to focus on what Mom is reading because she will ask us questions at the end. If we cannot answer them then she will start over and make us write papers about it. I am able to pick one verse and mumble something that I learned from it; just enough to satisfy her so we can move on.

She is finally finished discussing what we read and I feel a little hope that maybe we can leave for chore time. I think that if I get my chores done fast enough then maybe I can sneak somewhere and take a little nap. I am not so fortunate!

Mom just announced that we would be having drills all day today because of not getting our chores done yesterday.

I want to scream and cry.

I hate drills and all they ever do is get me into more trouble. Mom seems like she is having fun as she goes through the house ransacking every room in it. She says that we have fifteen minutes to each get our assigned rooms spotless. She says that our character is more important than our school work and that if we never get any school work done that is fine with her. She says that any school on our assignment list that we don’t get to because of doing chores will just have to go on our undone lists.

My rooms of the house this week are the living room, dining room and back porch along with my bedroom.  I try not to panic — there is no possible way I can get all of those clean to Mom’s satisfaction in fifteen minutes! I work as hard and as fast as I can but it is no use. Mom keeps coming in and out of the room yelling at me that I am not working fast enough. I want to yell back at her that I am working as fast as I can on an empty stomach of several days and no sleep for the past 24 hours!

I dare not actually yell at her though or I will be dead meat.

The dreaded sound of the timer going off, cuts into my thoughts. I know that I might as well head towards her bedroom because I am in for a spanking again. Nobody got their rooms done so we all have to line up. Today Mom feels like spanking our feet instead of our bottoms. I have to lay on her floor on my tummy with the bottoms of my feet up. I wasn’t able to put a pair of socks on this morning so she is spanking my bare feet.

I can’t stop screaming because of the pain and I try to pull away. She grabs my legs and yanks me back and then sits on them so that I cannot move. All this time she is yelling at me that, until I stop screaming, none of these are counting. I bite the inside of my lip till I taste blood trying not to scream. I am focusing so hard on not screaming that I lose count sometime after forty.

She is finally done but I cannot feel my feet to stand on them. Mom yells at me that I am faking this to get attention and that if she sees me limping anymore I will get fifty more. I try my best to walk out of her room without limping and as soon as her door is shut for the next person I get down on my hands and knees and crawl to the living room.

Now that round of spankings is done and she has just finished ransacking the house for round two.

Dad just got home and we are still drilling. I have lost count on what round we are on and I feel like a moving robot. The last round that we did, Abby and I finally got our rooms done but John and Henry did not. It doesn’t matter for me and Abby because we are still going to have to do it again. Mom says that our family is a team and if one part of the team fails than we all fail. I am so mad at John and Henry — why couldn’t they have gotten their rooms done?

It is now time for the evening mopping and we are still drilling. Mom finally says that we are done for the day because she is tired and we have to get our mopping done. I am only partially relieved. I have dust mopping this week and that is the worst one to have. I never can seem to get all the dust off the floor and I am always missing spots. Mom says it is because I am lazy and stupid and don’t care. I think she is too picky. She is always telling us that we are lazy but we are the only ones doing the work around the house. All Mom ever does is play solitaire or free cell on the computer or lay on the sofa and watch us work.  I know that she is the lazy one, not me and not Abby.

I am so angry with her all the time and I think I am starting to hate her and I don’t even care. Mopping time is over and mine does not pass her inspection again. That means that I get another $15 fine to add to all the other ones I have gotten. That also means that I will have to redo it tomorrow morning during breakfast time because mopping time is over then it is bed time.


I climb into bed and pray that I will be allowed to sleep all night long.

I am so tired and hungry that I cannot think. Everybody else is asleep now but even though I have not slept in over 24 hours I cannot sleep. I am so hungry that my tummy will not be quiet. I am hungry enough to try to get some food.

My room is right across the hall from Mom and Dad’s so I have to be very quiet. Mom is a very light sleeper and wakes up at anything. I tiptoe out of my room and very carefully down the hall. I know where all the squeaky spots are and am very careful to avoid them.

I make it all the way to the kitchen without turning on any lights. I then go into the laundry room and turn that light on. That light is left on all the time and maybe Mom wouldn’t notice if she came out. I open the cabinets as fast as I can to keep them from squeaking and I find a column of crackers. There are a few in there so I feel safe to take one.

I go in the laundry room and get a clean shirt out of the dryer and wrap the crackers in the shirt so they won’t make any noise and so they will be hidden if Mom comes out while I am walking back down the hallway. I listen and do not hear anyone moving so I get a little braver and pull the block of cream cheese out of the fridge. Mom gets the big Sam’s blocks of cream cheese so I know I can cut off a chunk without any being missed. I wrap the cream cheese in a napkin and then put it in the shirt too then turn off the laundry room light.

I start heading back to my room and am just starting to go down the hallway when I hear Mom’s door opening. In utter terror and panic I rush into the living room and hide behind the chair up against the back corner. I see the hall light come on and I peak out from behind the chair to see Mom heading towards the kitchen. I am terrified that she heard me, but I guess she didn’t because she got something out of the medicine cabinet and went back into her room turning off all the lights.

As soon as I hear her door shut I run back across the living room to listen. I hear another door shut and I know that she has gone into her bathroom. I know this is my chance so I dash down the hallway as fast as I can without making any noise and get back to my room. I climb in bed just as I hear her come back out of her bathroom.

I lay very still with the food hidden under the covers for a very long time just to make sure she has gone back to sleep. I sneak into my closet to eat and I have a flashlight hidden in there so I can see. Abby wakes up when she hears the crinkle of the cracker paper and she comes into the closet with me and we both eat half the crackers and cream cheese. It is not nearly enough to make me not hungry but at least I can go to sleep. I wad the cracker paper and the napkin as tight as I can and then go to the bathroom to flush them down the toilet. I am not scared for Mom to hear me walk to the bathroom because if she comes out all she will see is me going back to bed after using the bathroom. She does not come out though and I know I am safe for now and I am finally able to sleep.


Today makes the fifth day that I have not been allowed any meals. The cracker and cream cheese that I snuck a few nights ago didn’t last very long on my tummy. Every night since then, I have managed to get a little something, but no meals.

It is lunch time right now and John, Abby and I are all standing in the corners in the living room. We have been standing here for 1 hour and we will be here for 9 more. Somehow we all earned 10 hours in the corner and now is when we have to spend it.

Mom left the room for a minute to go check on the little ones eating their lunch. I take this opportunity to sit down for just a minute. My feet already hurt very badly and I don’t know how I will be able to make myself stand here for 9 more hours. I am so weak and tired and hungry that I feel like I am going to faint. Abby and I start trying to make signs for each other to help pass the time. Mom sees us moving and yells that if we don’t stop, she is going to start our time over. I put my elbows on the shelf in front of me and rest my chin in my hands.


I wake to my head hitting the shelf and the wall as I collapse onto the floor. Mom is standing over me in a minute with the belt in her hands yelling that I had better stand back up this instant or she was going to start spanking. I pull myself up as quickly as I can and turn my nose back toward the corner.  I manage to glance at the clock as I turn back around and see that only 25 minutes have passed. It is taking everything in me not to burst into tears right now. I can’t and won’t let Mom see me cry! I refuse to let her know how much this hurts. I don’t want Abby to see me cry either, because I am her big sister and I need to be strong for her. 


We now have three hours left.

There is no feeling in my feet.

I have been switching the foot that I stand on for hours now. But now I can hardly pick up either foot.  I don’t dare let myself fall asleep again but I have to find something to do to help pass the time. I finally work up the courage to ask Mom if I can get some school assignments to work on while standing. I makes me so happy when she says yes. I go to get my work and sit as long as I dare and then head back to the living room. Done!  Our corner time is finally up but it is now past supper.

I know I will be sneaking food again tonight.

To be continued.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Three

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.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Two

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Two

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 Two: The End of Happiness

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will be eight years old!

"Maybe tomorrow I will start to be loved again by Mom and Dad."
“Maybe tomorrow I will start to be loved again by Mom and Dad.”

I am so excited because Mom said that I can make my own birthday cake. I feel like such a big girl. Mom has been yelling at us a lot for the last few weeks but I know she won’t yell at me tomorrow because it’s my birthday!

I am so excited about tomorrow that I don’t pay attention to my mopping after supper. Now Mom is mad at me again because I missed so many spots. Why can’t I get it done right? I tell Mom I’m sorry and I’ll try harder next time. I hope this doesn’t mess up tomorrow. It’s finally bedtime and I know that the faster I go to sleep the faster tomorrow will come. So I am a good girl and don’t talk to Abby.


It’s my birthday!  Mom says that, as soon as the kitchen is cleaned up from breakfast, I can start making my birthday cake. I am going to make a carrot cake. That is one of my favorites.

I get out all the ingredients from the recipe card and put them on the counter just like Mom does. Then I separate the dry ones and the wet ones like she said. I tried to be very careful to make sure I had each one right but somehow I got the flour and the baking soda mixed up on the card. I put in two cups of baking soda instead of two cups of flour. Mom came in just as I put the second cup of baking soda in and saw my mistake. She is yelling at me now and all I see is her angry face almost touching mine. She says that I’m stupid and lazy and can’t follow directions. She says that I just wasted a lot of ingredients and that she should never have let me bake anything.

I try not to cry but I don’t do a very good job and tears start flowing. She yells at me to shut up and get out of her kitchen. I run to my room as fast as I can to get away from Mom and grab Rita and curl up on my bed and keep sobbing. Why did she get so mad? I tried so hard. I guess I am stupid and shouldn’t be allowed to bake anything.  Rita’s yarn hair is very wet with my tears now but I know she doesn’t mind and I know she loves me.

Mom just called me back in the kitchen. I don’t want to go but I know I better or she will get even madder. She is still very angry when I get back and says that I have to make my cake and that she is going to be standing over my shoulder to make sure I don’t do anything wrong. I am scared now because I know she is looking for me to do something wrong and now I don’t want to make my cake. She makes me get back on the chair so I can reach the counter and start measuring. It is so hard because I still can’t make myself stop crying and I know she is getting madder at me. She tells me that I’m a crybaby and to shut up. I really try but it is so hard!

I finally get everything done and the batter mixed and in the oven and she finally lets me go. I am angry but I am careful not to show it. Everything is ready for the party now and Mom is back to happy again. I pretend I’m not mad at her so that I will have a good birthday party. John and Abby say that the cake is very good and I am very proud of myself and I hope that next year Mom will let me make my own cake without her watching me again.

I forget that I’m mad at Mom because they gave me such a nice card and present and I tell them I love them.  I do love them.  They are my parents. I am happy as I go to bed and hope that maybe tomorrow I will start to be loved again by Mom and Dad. After all they had made such a sweet card and I knew they meant it.


It’s now almost my ninth birthday and I really don’t care.  I have so many undone school assignments that I know I won’t have a good day.  Mom says I’m lazy and stupid. Mmaybe I am, I don’t know and right now I don’t care.  Every school assignment that she gives me I can’t do it right, so why should I bother?  She has a clipboard hanging up on the kitchen wall that says Mary’s undone list. John and Abby have one too. I hate that clipboard!  There are several pages on it.  All of them are filled top to bottom with assignments that she says aren’t done.  Most of them I already have done but she didn’t like the way that I did them or said I didn’t try and ripped them up for me to do over.  I also have a whole bunch of chores that Mom says I haven’t finished.  That means more trouble and more spankings.

I know it will not be a good birthday, so I pretend I don’t care.  Inside I am so angry at Mom but I dare not show her.


Fear and shame grip me as soon as I wake up.

The bed and my pajamas are cold and wet again. I am terrified.

The last time I wet the bed only a couple of nights ago, Mom got so angry. I am a big girl. Why can’t I wake up when I need to go?

I shake Abby awake and tell her I’m so sorry because I know that she will have gotten wet too. We jump out of bed very fast and take the sheets off the bed and I take them into the laundry room for Mom to wash, then Abby and I run to the bathroom to get cleaned up as fast as we can. We run water in the tub and take a bath as fast as we can and get dressed to go clean up our room.

I don’t make it back to our room before Mom is yelling for me to get in her room. I hate her room and am scared to go in because I know that she knows. She yells at me that I’m a big baby and that I’m lazy. She screams at me that I’m causing her more laundry and that from now on, if I wet my bed then I have to wash everything I messed up. I am crying now and I don’t understand why Mom is so angry. I want to wake up when I need to go but I just can’t. She is still yelling at me and I try to listen just so she will finish and let me go, but she keeps going. She says that if this doesn’t stop, then she is going to tell everybody at church what a baby I am.

Now I am really terrified.  She finally finishes but I know I am in trouble. We only have an hour to finish all of our chores and she yelled at me for almost 20 minutes after I had already used up about 15 minutes to get the dirty clothes in the laundry room and get cleaned up. I now only have about 25 minutes to clean the two downstairs bathrooms, empty the dishwasher from last night, vacuum all three bedrooms and the living room, and fold laundry. I know I am doomed.

I work as fast as I can but it is no use, I am only able to get the dishwasher empty and clean one bathroom before the timer goes off.  Mom yells at all of us to get to the kitchen and we trip over each other to get in there as fast as we can.  She goes down the list starting with John.  His chores are not signed off neither are mine nor Abby’s.  She yells for us all to line up outside her door for our spankings. John goes first and we listen outside as the belt hits him over and over again. I try to count them so I know how many I’m going to get but I’m so scared that I loose count.

I’m next. I don’t seem to be moving fast enough for her so she grabs me by the hair and drags me to the side of her bed. I try not to scream as she yells at me to pull my pants down. She starts spanking and I start counting to try to pay attention to something besides the pain. I don’t want to scream and I try not to make a sound but tears are running down my face by the time she reaches spanking number fifty.

She finally stops and yells at me to get out of her sight. I pull up my pants as fast as I can and get out of her room.  I run into my room across the hall and grab Rita to hug her and cry into her while Mom gives Abby hers. I am counting Abby’s so that I can put Rita down and run into the living room before Mom comes out of her room so I don’t get caught and Mom doesn’t take Rita away from me again.

She took Rita from me a while ago for two weeks and I just got her back.  I can’t lose her again.

As soon as the rounds of spankings are over, she yells at all of us to go into the living room for a family meeting.  We all know what that means and it means we are going to have a miserable day. Of course what is different than all the others? Even if they don’t start out like today did, they are all miserable.

We have now been sitting on the sofa for about two hours while Mom has been lecturing and lecturing and sometimes reading parts of Proverbs. Because she had been yelling at me first thing this morning, we missed family devotions so she decides that now is a good time to have them while she is lecturing. She finds the Proverbs about the foolish and lazy person and about the wicked.  She tells us that it is in the Bible that the foolish man needs to be punished until his wickedness is driven out of him. She says that we are the wicked and foolish people that God is talking about us in those chapters. She tells us that she cannot let rebellion go unpunished because she is God’s representative to us. If we rebel against her than we are rebelling against God.

She says that God gives people the authorities in their lives and that she was ours, therefore we are supposed to obey her without grumbling or complaining and especially without question. Then she starts down the same thing that I have heard almost every day for as long as I can remember.  She says that she is in a war against us and that God is on her side in that war. She says that she will not lose the war and we will be judged by God for not obeying her. She says that she will keep fighting till she dies, we die, or we are finally broken of our will.  Then she turns to Deuteronomy and reads some in there and tells us that, if we would only obey her, then there would be so many blessings. We would be happy as a family and God would not be angry with us.

I listen to her ramble for a little while and then I just start tuning her out.  I listen just enough so that if she asks me a question, I will be able to answer it. I tell myself that she is wrong. I do try to get my chores and school work done.

Right now I am getting angrier and angrier because I am watching the clock and I know how long we have been sitting here.  We have already long since missed breakfast and now we are only an hour away from lunch time and she is still talking. I know this means that we will miss lunch, too, because we have to have half of our school assignments done and signed off before we are allowed to eat lunch. I can’t remember the last time I had breakfast and this is the third day in a row that I have missed lunch.

Last night I only was able to have one of Mom’s five-minute, one helping meals.

I am so hungry right now that even if I wanted to listen to Mom I would have a hard time.  Mom is still very angry and is making herself angrier as she is talking.  She tells us that in the Old Testament rebellious children were stoned to death and that’s what we deserve. Now she is doing her fake crying and asking why we are all out to get her and to make her life miserable. She asks us why we can’t be good children like all the children in the home school group. She’s too tired to keep going so now she throws us all outside until Dad gets home to “deal with us” because she says we are out of control.

We are not allowed to take anything outside with us even our school work and we are not allowed to leave the back porch. I know this means that we will either miss supper too or only get a five-minute meal.  It’s so hot out here and I am so thirsty but I know better than to ask for water. When we get thrown outside, Mom says that we lose all the privileges of living in the house.

I hear Dad’s car pull into the driveway and am not sure whether or not to be scared or relieved.  Dad comes in the house and goes straight back to his room.  We can hear him and Mom talking through their bathroom window next to the deck.  Mom is talking very mean and is yelling.

We know that means things are about to get worse.

To be continued.

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part One

Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part One

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 One: Early Childhood

I am so excited! I just prayed with Mom and Dad and asked Jesus to come into my heart!  Everybody at church says that’s such a good thing. I like everyone acting so happy with me.

"If they could figure out why she is getting the headaches then everything would be fine again."
“If they could figure out why she is getting the headaches then everything would be fine again.”

Mom says that I need to get baptized now. I know it means that I need to go in front of everybody at church and I’m not excited about that. So many people looking at me scares me so much, but Mom says that’s what God said I need to do, so I will try very hard to be brave. I’m only four, but I will try my best.

Mom just told me that it is time for bed, but I’m still so excited that I can’t sleep.  Abby and talk for a while and then she turns over and goes to sleep.


I got baptized yesterday in front of the whole church! It was scary and I didn’t want that man to put me under water. I don’t like him at all. He always tickles me when I come to church and I hate that!  I’m glad he didn’t try to tickle me yesterday!  Tonight, Mom and Dad are leaving and we have a babysitter.  I like her a lot. She has her ears pierced!  Mom says that I am too young to have mine pierced, but I just can’t wait.  Abby and I play with her earings and watch her take them off and put them back on without even looking in a mirror!  I don’t know how she can do that.

Now it is time for bed.  Abby and I race to see who can get their pajamas on the fastest.  It’s close, but I won!  We go get into our bed and our babysitter turns off the lights and shuts the door.  We are not tired yet, so we start talking.  Abby asks me if I was scared to go in front of the church and I tell her I was, but not to tell anybody.  Then I start to tell her that she needs to ask Jesus in her heart because we do everything together and I want Abby to be with me all the time all the way to heaven!  She is my best friend and I want to be with her always.  Our babysitter comes back in the room and asks us why we are talking.  I told her that I was telling Abby about Jesus and she starts looking at me funny and then says ok, and leaves the room.  We don’t want to get in trouble for not obeying the babysitter, so we stop talking and go to sleep.


It’s morning time!  I love waking up in the morning because I love breakfast.  It also means that Abby and I can play for a long time before it’s bedtime again.  After breakfast, we run into our room to play.  That’s our favorite place to play because most of the time, John leaves us alone.  Today we get out our Barbies and all our stuffed animals and our baby dolls.  We change our Barbies’ names all the time but our dolls are always Rita and Gail.  Mawmaw and Pawpaw gave me Rita for my birthday when I turned three.  She is my favorite toy and I love her so much.  I sleep with her every night because she is the perfect snuggling size.  Mawmaw and Pawpaw gave Gail to Abby too, but I don’t remember when.  Today we are playing “Ranch” first.  We like to play this in the morning because it is cooler outside and we don’t get too hot.  We spend a while drawing the maps to our ranch and marking what everything is, then we head outside to start playing.  Rita and Gail go with us because they are our daughters and the ranch is going to be theirs one day. So they need to learn how to take care of all the animals.

It’s getting warmer out here, so we decided to go in our room and play “Beauty Contest.”  We dress up our dolls in the prettiest dresses they have and then line them up on the bed for judging.  Abby and I are the judges but Gail can’t be the only one that wins and neither can Rita, so it is a tie!  They are both the most beautiful.  Now that the beauty contest is over, it’s time to play “College”!  This is always fun because we go get Mom’s huge nursing books.  They are the biggest books in the house and are so heavy!  That has to be what college is like.  We also get notebook paper and pens and scribble on every line.  We don’t know how to write words yet so we try to make the scribbles look like words.

Yay!  Mom just called lunch.  Today we get egg and cheese sandwiches, one of my favorites!  After lunch it is quiet time.  Abby and I are supposed to try to take a nap.  Mom says that we don’t have to fall asleep, but we have to try.  I’m too bouncy today and start jumping on the bed with Abby.  Oops!  We hear Mom coming down the hallway.  We lay down really fast and squeezed our eyes shut to pretend we are trying to sleep.  She opens the door and tells us that she heard us jumping on the bed and that if we don’t stop then we are going to have to stay in bed longer.  We really want to get up so we are very good and don’t jump anymore.  After Mom lets us get up we take our Barbies into the living room to play.  John is in there playing with his Legos and train tracks.  He built the most wonderful train track we had ever seen and we wanted to run a train on it so badly!  He wouldn’t let us though. He said that he was fighting a war and the lego planes were about ready to start bombing!  He starts making bombing noises and starts blowing up his wonderful train track!  We can’t believe it, he didn’t even run a train on it once!

He’s now finished blowing up his train track and by the way he is looking, he is trying to figure out what to blow up next!  Abby and I start picking up our Barbies really fast but he is faster and grabs one of Abby’s Barbies.  That Barbie’s name is Helen and he pulled her head off her body and then started yelling that Mt. St Helen blew her top!  We just watched a video about that volcano last week and he really liked it.  We start running to our room to get away from John and we try to shut the door before he gets there, but he is so fast.  He gets his foot in the door and we slam it on his foot.  He is so strong and he almost gets the door open then Abby and I get an idea.  We sit on the floor with our backs up against the side of the bed.  Then we put our feet up against the door and hold our legs out straight and lock our knees.  We finally get the door shut but we have to stay like that until he leaves because he has already broken the lock on our door.

All of a sudden it gets very quiet on the other side of the door. We start laughing and telling John through the door that he can’t fool us again.  The first time he did that, we were fooled and thought that he had gone away but as soon as we opened the door to leave he got in.  We are still laughing and telling John that we are not going to open the door when we hear a thud on our window.  I look over and there is John trying to open our window from the outside.  I run over really fast to make sure the window is locked, then Abby and I start teasing him.  We know he can’t get in that way, so we are not scared.

John looks really mad now. I glad the window is locked.  Wait, he just picked up his bat and is swinging it at the window.


The outside of our window is broken and we know John is in big trouble!  We are glad he is in trouble though. Maybe he will stop being mean to us.


I am scared right now, Mom said everything was going to be alright before she and Dad left us with the babysitter and went to the hospital.  She told me that it was time for her to have our baby brother and that she was ok.  Why does she need to go to the hospital then?  Hospitals are where people go when they are very sick and sometimes people die there.  I don’t want Mom to go, I miss her and want her home.  I go hide from the babysitter in my room and cry.  I am worried about Mom and I want her to be ok.

It’s bedtime and Dad still hasn’t called, I can’t sleep at all.  Our babysitter comes in and reads me another story and tells me again that Mom is just fine.  I want to believe her but it is so hard!  I finally am able to go to sleep because I am so tired.


It’s time to get up now!  Maybe Mom and Dad will be home soon. I want to see them. so badly.  After we finish breakfast, the phone rings.  We jump and try to be patient while our babysitter talks to whoever is calling.  She is smiling very big when she turns around and hangs up the phone.  She tells us that we have a new brother and that his name is Henry and that he is just as healthy as he can be.  I am so happy that I start screaming and Abby starts with me and we run outside because we can’t keep screaming inside.  Mom will not come home till tomorrow, but I know she is safe.

Henry is such a cute baby and I love having a baby brother.  I am such a big helper with him too.  I help Mom change his diapers and give him a bath.  Mom says that I can’t help feed him, but that’s ok, sometimes Mom lets me watch.  I ask her if it hurts to have a baby sucking on her, but she says no, that’s they way it’s supposed to be.  I ask her when I’m going to get the bumps that she is feeding Henry with and she just says that I’ll get them one day.  I always wonder how long away is one day. I am just so fascinated with Mom and I want to be just like her when I grow up. 

Everybody says that I look just like her and that makes me proud.  I am her oldest little girl and I am glad that I am so much like her.

Mom just called us into the living room, we sit down and she says she needs to ask us a question.  Baby Henry is sleeping in her lap and I try to be careful so Mom will let me touch him.  Mom tells us that she and Dad have been talking about her not going back to work anymore.  She said this means that she will be home all the time with us, but she wants to know if we like that idea.  I was so excited and happy — that means Mom would be home every night and would be able to tuck us in and everything!  I tell her that I want her to stay home.  Abby says the same thing and John says that he does not care.  Abby and I are so happy that we start to dance around the living room until Mom reminds us to be quiet because Henry is still sleeping.

Mom’s Medical Problems

I am so tired!  We have been at the doctor’s office all day long.

Mom brought us a picnic lunch and we had to eat in the parking lot.  Finally Mom and Dad come out, but we still have to stop and get Mom’s medicine before we can go home. This is the fifth doctor Mom has been to this month.  She has very bad headaches all the time and she is too tired right after breakfast to get off the sofa.  We have had sandwiches for lunch for so long!  I am so tired of them, but Mom doesn’t have the energy to fix anything and that is all we know how to make. I am not looking forward to supper either, Dad doesn’t know how to cook anything so we know that we will have cereal for supper again.

Why can’t anybody figure out what is wrong with Mom?  I miss her yummy food and her playing with us.  She can still help us with our school work because she doesn’t have to get up for that, but I want her better.  She is always a lot more irritable when she has a headache. It’s harder to get our school work done the right way to make her happy.  As we drive home, I am hoping that this doctor figured out what is wrong.  Mom finally tells us that he didn’t and that she has to go to another doctor next week.

This doctor is not in town and they have to go spend the night for a few nights. She tells us that Grammy is coming to stay with us while she and Dad go. I get very excited again. I love Grammy so much!  She is my favorite grandmother.  For the next few days, Abby and I are counting them down till Grammy comes!  This is going to be a great week.  She won’t make us do school work and we get yummy food again.  Grammy also always gives us lots of hugs and kisses and tells us she loves us.  I don’t know why Mom and Dad don’t do that anymore but I really miss getting hugs.

They finally know why Mom is so tired all of the time.  Her thyroid is not working anymore.  I don’t know what that is but Mom said it is a little thing in your throat that gives your body energy and because it doesn’t work anymore she hasn’t had any energy.  If they could figure out why she is getting the headaches then everything would be fine again.

Right now I am mad at Mom. Her headaches have been worse but now she can get off the sofa. She is angry at us all the time.

I don’t know why — we are not any different.

She didn’t like the way that Abby and I cleaned our room this morning. That is why she is mad. I am mad because she has been yelling at us all morning. I wish the doctors would fix her headaches!

To be continued.