Recently I’ve been thinking about this event, and I thought write about it for my next blog installment. For those of who have been reading my blog, you’ll realize this is just par for the course of my childhood.
I was in the sixth grade and we were assigned to write our first research paper. I had never had such a large school project assigned to me before, and I hadn’t kept up with the assignment. We were to write about a country, create a visual project, then serve a dish from that country. The first due date in a series of deadlines was coming up for the project. We were to have a set number of note cards filled out with references and quotes. I hadn’t done any work on the project at all, I had only chosen my country. Now I know I’m not the only child in the world who has ever procrastinated on a school project, however how my adoptive mother reacted to this scenario is unique.
Over reaction and punishment
So the the first due date for the project was the next day. The teacher called my home and spoke to my mother about the project and stated that she felt that I might not have note cards ready for the due date the next day.
What I am about to recount, can best be described as two hours of terror.
Gathering Resources & References
After my adoptive mother hung up the phone, she came to me, with her rage just starting to bubble to the surface. She questions me on the school project and what I have done. I admit that I do not have the first part of the project started, the note cards that are due the next day. She starts yelling at me, and yelling at me… In retrospect I know I’m not the only child to ever do this… and it was the first time this had ever happened to me… and the last- because after the next two hours I ensured that I kept any due dates to myself, and never discussed if I was behind. I answered her honestly that ‘no’ I hadn’t done any work on the project… this was the last time I would ever give her a truthful answer if I felt the situation could spiral out of control.
My adoptive mother is now forced to actually “parent” me. She just assumes I’ll complete my homework without really taking anytime with me to discuss it, or participate in it. Her anger is growing, and she is getting angrier and angrier as each minute that passes because she will have to take me to the library and a travel agency to gather the materials I need for the research project…. And I have inconveniently forced her into a situation where she is must participate in being a parent.
She grabs my arm and hauls me to the car forcibly. Her hold is tight on me and she is hurting me. I start to cry, and she starts yelling at me to knock it off, or she will give me something really to cry about. It’s a veiled threat of beating me. I get into the passenger seat, and she speeds off to the library. She is driving like a maniac, speeding, making fast hard stops, swerving around other cars. All the while she is yelling at me in the car… venting her frustration on being forced to “parent” me.
We arrive at the Library and hit the card catalog to find the books we need. But instead of calming down as we work toward solving the problem, she is continuing to get angrier by the minute. I’ve stopped talking, or making any kind of sounds. I am scared out of mind at this point. I am in fear for my own safety, and I’m worried she is really going to try to hurt me badly. There had already been an incident before this where under the guise of hugging me from behind, she held her arm across my throat and cut off my air way…choking me. So I know what she was capable of.
She speeds off from the library to the travel agency, continuing her erratic driving and continues yelling at me. As we speed into the parking lot, she pulls into a handicap parking spot. She has never done this before, and I’m more than a little shocked by it. As we walk to the travel agency, her verbal barrage on me continues… She continues to get angrier by the moment. I’ve long since gone silent, I am so scared… I just want to get home and crawl into my closet.
We leave the travel agency with some brochures on Norway, and she continues her erratic driving home. Only this time she cuts off a woman who has decided she isn’t going to take my adoptive mother’s erratic driving. For several miles what can be best described as a full-on road rage incident unfolds. With each of them trying to cut of the other, each making sudden stops, flipping each other off, and increasing levels of rage being displayed. As I sat in the passenger seat I hung on to the door handle. I was so scared that I was beyond fear, and I was beyond panic, I was waiting for an accident to happen. My adoptive mother unleashed her anger on the other driver. The other driver lashed it right back at her.
I was 11 years old at the time, and I will never forget this as long as I live. The terror and lack of control that I felt. Wanting to break into tears, and the treat that she would give me something to cry about if I didn’t stop.
All this being caused over procrastinating on a school assignment for the first time. Forcing my adoptive mother to actually “parent” me.
I know what true terror caused at the hands of your caretaker feels like… As long as I live I will never forget it….