I am the oldest of six
kids. My mother was incredibly abusive to me. If any of the younger kids
did something wrong, it was me who would get in trouble for it. And when
I say, “Get in trouble” – I mean she would take me and
beat my head against the wall like a battering ram, she would even say,
“I'm, going to use your head like a battering ram!” I can
still hear her saying it.
And when I say, “do something wrong”, I’m not talking
about something like sneaking out at night, or stealing. I’m talking
about crazy stuff. One time she thought I had eaten one of those little
gel packs that come in a bottle of pills (why would anyone eat that?)
and when I told her I didn’t, she slammed my head against the wall
again. Then she found the little gel pack in the trash can. Things like
this happened all through my childhood. My mother’s second husband
was a pedophile. Of course I didn’t know what that meant back then,
all I knew is that I would wake up and he would be in my bed. I was 6,
7 something like that. When that happened, Mom would surely beat me soon.
She would take my head and claw me. My arms, my neck, my face and she
would send me to school that way. One day she even bit me in my mouth
and on my lower jaw. That took forever to heal. I began to have seizures.
One side of my body would go numb, and then the other side would go numb.
I was scared; I didn’t know what was happening to me. I tried to
talk to the school, to the teachers, to my grandparents, uncles, anyone
- but no one would believe me. Instead they put me in a psychiatric hospital
and put me on phenobarbital. After that I never said anything bad about
my mom because I was too afraid. And, you know? You just get to a point
when you stop saying anything, especially when it is so damn obvious and
no one even notices.
When I was twelve she was on her third husband. He is the one who put
a stop to it. She beat me again and he said to her, “Nancy- If you
beat Joyce Ann one more time, I am leaving you.” Thank God. Three
years later we were in a car accident. This woke up the blood clot and
cellulous mass in my head and I began having seizures. The blood clot
was the size of a green lime. It was actually green, but the outside was
red. I had two brain surgeries when I was 15. When I was 16 they went
into my groin and arteries with a camera and dye and all that. The doctor
said to me, “You shouldn’t be alive – you should have
been dead when you were 7. But you are alive for some reason.” Then
they did the last surgery and took out all the mushy stuff in my head.
It was bad. Staph infection, all that. But I lived. The doctor finally
believed me. Someone finally believed me, but look what it took to get
My mother was bipolar, she didn’t know it then. She finally got
on medication, but she would be on it, be fine, go off it and be scary
crazy. You have no idea how scary.
As an adult I tried, again, to have a relationship with my mother. She
was in trouble and my sister couldn’t take her in. I didn’t
know she was off her meds and so I agreed to take her in. It didn’t
last long. I have taken care of many foster children and I adopted two
girls who are my daughters and I love them. My mother came into the house
one day; not long after she got there, she needed something from the garage.
It was a DVR player and she wanted it for her room. We couldn’t
find it and she started screaming at me and calling me a “fucking
bitch” and calling my daughter a “fucking bitch” and
then stormed at me and told me I needed to beat my daughter. She just
had to go there. She had said to me earlier, “If I did
now to you what I did then, I would be in prison”. I was shocked,
I thought, “Wow! She is finally sorry!” But she wasn’t
sorry; it was something she just needed to get off her chest. When she
went crazy again and “offered” to “help” me beat
my girls, I lost it. There is no way in hell I would even think about
beating my girls. No way.
We got into it. That was the day I finally stood up for myself. She left
calling me names and the sheriff picked her up and put her in as a 5150.
I refused to pick her up. I have not seen her since.
I guess I hit critical mass at that point. I was very lonely. I have headaches
every day. The kids were moving on. I was divorced, I had no income, and
I couldn’t get a job. It seemed very bleak. So I took my dog, Ellie
May, and I drove up to Arrowhead Drive. I looked over the cliff. There
was a house down there and I didn’t want to hit the house, so I
had to figure out that part. Then I looked at Ellie May and asked her
if she wanted to go. She said no, and I was afraid that if I went, nobody
would take care of her, so I didn’t go either.
My mom thought she had killed me a number of times. I would slide down
the wall like a human puddle, bleeding and barely conscious. That was
my mother’s goal for my life, not mine.
She isn’t going to make me take my own life. I have found ways to
get around it. I have a great boyfriend, I’m glad I’m alive,
and I have my happy places. I love my beads. I taught myself how to do
beading. I have my girls. I have my life.
If I was going to say anything to anyone who is walking through the loneliness
and abuse I went through, I would tell them that if they get hurt and
it really, really hurts, they should tell somebody. Don’t try to
talk to the person who is hurting you because whoever that is, is only
going to hurt you more for it. But talk to somebody. I think these days
the schools listen more. Just keep trying to find someone who will listen.
I think there are people who are able to see behind the walls now. At
I don’t want to live in and with all that anymore. I want to get
out and live my life. It was a hard path, but it was worth it.