WENDY J. MURPHY: Not all mothers love their children
GateHouse News Service Jul 17, 2011
COMMENTARY — This is part one of a three-part series about a real person whose story is at once desperately sad and profoundly hopeful. She asked me to write it in the first person – but without using real names – so her voice could be heard. The facts are all true....
The first time grandpa touched me I was 4 years old. I was on a bed at my grandmother’s house. It was the middle of the night and I was wide-awake. I must have known it was safer not to fall asleep. He said if I told anyone, I would never be believed because my mother hated me.
He was right....
Grandpa molested mom, too, when she was a little girl, but she didn’t tell me about it until I was grown. She tried to tell her mother, but she called mom a “liar” and hit her with a wooden spoon.
Grandpa touched my older sister, too, when she was seven, but she screamed when it happened and ran around telling everyone. So he stopped for a while. He tried again when she was 14. She smacked him and they had a fist-fight. After that, he left her alone for good.
He didn’t leave me alone until I was 11. That’s when I started fighting back. In the meantime, he got me pretty good every time I was at his house, sometimes once a week, for seven years. When I wasn’t being abused by grandpa, I was home with a mother who beat me. Grandpa’s abuse was far worse, even though my mother did unspeakable things....
Mom made sure we had the best clothes, doctors, etc. On the first day of second grade, I had brand new cranberry colored tights. My best friend was upset because her mother refused to buy her a pair. She had no idea that I’d have gladly traded those tights to live with almost any other family in the world.
By the time I was in junior high, I was in a locked psychiatric ward. I had severe dissociation and almost no memories of being sexually abused. After intensive treatment, I started remembering things but the more I remembered, the more I felt like jumping off a bridge. I finally had a breakthrough when my doctor tried to explain why mom kept sending me to stay with grandpa. I asked him how a mother who was supposed to love her child could send her child to stay with a man she knew was a monster.
I was crushed to hear his response:
“Just because she gave birth to you, doesn’t mean she likes you.”
Hearing this made me very sad, but it needed to be said and, frankly, it helped me to move on....