I hope to God that they did. Basically me just getting this out and pretending it happened in a fic.
I decided on having this in Gerard's POV as my brother is mentioned in this a couple of times, and it fits best.
“I got sick because I wasn’t strong enough.”
Think of the thing that scares you the most. Something that’s haunted you for years, like a sickness you can’t shake. Something that makes you want to curl up and never face the world again. I know some who might say something common, like a spider. I know those who are in a bad place and say themselves. I know people that quake in fear at shadows, or dolls, or heights. But I have yet to meet a single person that would reply to that question with: my mother.
But that is my answer to that very statement.
When you were young, did you ever tell your parents you loved them? And if you did, did they answer with “I love you too”? I wish I could say the same. The answer I always received was “If you loved me you would…”. Perfection, I learnt very quickly, was the only way to make her happy, and I will tell you this, I have never and will never be perfect. No one ever is. Your parents are supposed to be the people you love unconditionally, no matter what you do, and are supposed to be the people you can rely on to be in your corner at all times. If your parents don’t love you, who will?
I was bullied, I realize now, in my own home. Taunts about how I looked, how I acted, how I did at school, my friends and what I liked was what I heard the most. Everything I did or said was counted as worthless. I was pushed into what they wanted me to do, in order to be the perfect child. Dancing classes were more suitable for girls than karate. Drama was a stupid, pointless idea, and I should get it out of my head.
I took the blame for as much I as I could for my younger brother. If it was something I could of done, but didn’t, I lied and said it was me to avoid the crying I could hear at night. The tears in his eyes as she yelled at him, towering over him and hissing hateful words no one should ever have to hear.
The anger was the worst. I remember being called downstairs, and looking at my brother so fearfully and whispering: “On a scale of one to ten, how angry is she?” At Four and a half the violence would start. Slaps, shoves, - the little things you get on the playground you could shake off after a while. Ten was something I only had the fortune of meeting twice. Once, when I was about six or seven, and me and my brother drew on the Wendy house. Which was old, and outside, as well at the end of the garden. How would of your parents reacted? Would they have laughed it off? Say, “Don’t do it again” and leave it at that? I wish mine did.
Instead, I was punched in the stomach and given hate filled glares for the next two days. The only things she said to us were “Shut up!” and “You brought it on yourself”. My brother was, at most, five years old. Two children making an innocent mistake and receiving such a punishment. The other time I encountered ten on the ‘anger scale’, as my brother used to refer to it, was when I was ten. I think I had left my room untidy for a couple of weeks, which had started the tension, and had then managed to fall over the hair dryer lead and crash into a door. Which prompted the response of me being pushed down the stairs. Both of these events, whilst happening four years apart, and the last one happening about five years ago are still firmly stuck in my memory. I can still hear the “FOR GOD’S SAKE WHY AREN’T YOU MORE CAREFUL?” that was screamed at me before I was pushed down the stairs.
I’m naturally clumsy; it was a sore point for my mother who wanted a graceful child, but over the years I cultivated it to explain otherwise inexplicable bruises. An ugly bruise on the thigh spotted whilst doing PE that was actually received by being kicked could be easily ‘explained’ as me falling into an open drawer whilst at home, and - especially as I fell over in that lesson twice, and would fall into various tables, chairs and people throughout the day – no one thought any thing else of it. It’s a habit I cannot shake, and still fall into things regularly, even falling over my feet.
Oddly enough, another thing my mother hated was flinching. You have to understand, the violence was not every day, but that fear it be would controlled my every thought, every word. If she were angry with us when she went to bed, would she still be angry the next morning? Would saying this make her shout in anger and hit me?
I lived my life ruled by her mood swings, and they were common and mostly inexplicable. If she was angry with my dad, it was our fault. If someone had infuriated her, it was our fault. If we didn’t do one tiny irrelevant thing – like putting away a game – spitting in my face and then slapping me across where she’d just spat was an acceptable and necessary punishment. I learnt to stay silent, and move around my house without making any noise. Another habit I have yet to break. I can’t bear to make any noise, even if it’s pulling my chair out in the exam hall.
The most ironic part of all of this is that my mother believed – and still believes – that she was and is a good mother. She never apologized for any this. I recently walked out of the house whilst arguing with her and received a phone call about ten minutes later, demanding where I was and giving me a lecture on how she’d never done anything like this, and that’s why I shouldn’t. I can remember so vividly how she would, when exasperated with us, would slam the door, get in the car and drive for about five hours, leaving us alone.
She locked us in the back garden without coats whilst she went out and did the shopping and then claimed she’d “left the front door open for us”. But she locked the damn back one. And I heard it slam. It was February. In England. For two kids, aged nine and seven, without coats. We both got sick, and she was adamant we’d caught it at school.
I was dragged down the stairs by my hair and slapped across the face for not clearing the study.
I was kicked in the stomach for not saying ‘Thank you”.
I was spat on, sworn at, slapped, pinched, slammed into cupboards and walls, punched, yelled at for the best part of seven years of my life.
I lived in the absolute terror of being not perfect.
And, guess what?
I’m broken now. I can’t trust. I’m scared of people and how they’ll manipulate me. I’m too violent. I cut. I hear little voices that tell me that I’m shit and that not even my mother could love me. I can no longer face people. I have a social phobia. I’m fucking scared and I can’t show it.
You know the expression “You have a face only a mother could love?”
Well, you know, even my own mother didn’t love mine.
Fuck you mum. You’ve effectively ruined my life.
And, sadly, that's all true.