A gut-wrenching obituary about an abusive mother
The obituary below, written by the daugher of an abusive mother, has gone viral. The story is gut-wrenching and tragic, but sadly, in my experience treating childhood trauma for the better part of 14 years, it’s not unusual. Abandonment, rejection, abuse, cruelty, shaming, torture and beatings disguised as “discipline” have scarred the lives of millions of people. This kind of deep, untreated trauma, grief and rage can sometimes trigger illness, particularly auto-immune diseases as well as vast emotional problems.
Some religions and cultures normalize child abuse and beatings as necessry to raise children “right.” Some fundamentalist Christians who believe that the Bible is to be taken literally use “spare the rod, spoil the child,” (which is not what the Bible actually states, by the way) as a green light for every kind of abuse from spanking to naked beatings with belts and tree branches.
Treatment for childhood trauma and emotional wounds
I’ve treated many of these broken people, and they have some common emotional wounds. They don’t trust, they have chronic anxiety and depression, some have insomnia and hypervigilance like a combat veteran because they were raised in a combat zone in their own home, always on the edge of danger and chaos. They close their heart becaue it isn’t safe to be vulnerable, and their relationships either repeat history and become abusive, or they run from anything that looks like the love they so desperately seek. Many become addicts and some revisit the abuse on their spouses and children. It’s a dark legacy.
During treatment, I’ve introduced the idea to some of them that if they need to for self-protection, they can “divorce” their toxic parent(s.) In one case, the abused child became an attorney. She drew up the legal form divorcing her mother and I signed it. She framed it and put it in her home. That provided the closure she needed.
Here’s how the daughter of Marianne Riddick, age 78, described her nightmare of a childhood.
Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Aug. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.
On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviving children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.
Most of us have found peace in helping those who have been exposed to child abuse and hope this message of her final passing can revive our message that abusing children is unforgiveable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a “humane society”. Our greatest wish now, is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.
We all have a sacred duty to protect children, whether they’re relatives, neighbors, friends of our kids, kids at church or kids we see being abused in public. I have intervened twice in public when I witnessed a parent abusing a child and would do it again in a heartbeat. Child protective services depends on reporting from outsiders to do their job. If you know a child is being abused or bullied, do yours.
My mother can be very brutal to me, but thinks my son and brother walk on water. I’m 45 with a 20 son. Brother is 46. But this started when I was small. She said I was lazy at a year old, wouldn’t get up and walk. So, I was propped in a corner while family went to play. Clear through my memory of growing up I was ‘sub human’ As a kid, I didn’t have many friends. My brother decided, age 5, that I wasn’t good enough play with him. I learned to spend of my time alone in a pretend world. Of course, brother HAD to find me a couple times a day to call me retarded or fatty, punch me, make me cry. Various types of that behavior continues still. I would run to mom, cry. But, to this day, her response is still: JUST IGNORE IT. OR: YOU ARE ALWAYS ASKING FOR IT. I had no idea how to make it through a day. So, at 5 I began cutting my feet….a lot. As I got in my teens, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, and still cutting. As teens, I began down the wrong path. My brother had decided my name was BIGGEST ASS FATTY.He succeeded in getting many of his friends to humiliate me…every single day.
I made some bad decisions. Drugs. Been clean for 22 years. In their eyes I am broken, not reparable. My son and mom have an amazing relationship. And I’m very very happy for them both. As she’s getting older it has evolved. She’ll tell stories about my crazy self and the terrible way I treat her. I am starting to think she believes them.
I spoke to my brother about how worried I am for her. Her behavior is getting much more and more strange. Even sometimes scary. He really lost his cool. After all, how could I EVER say anything about our mom.
I worry because my son loves her. He’s been very close to “Grama” since the day he was born. And she’s never hurt him, however, he is aware. I worry because I don’t want her to get hurt. I mostly worry because my brother has assured her that it’s in MY head, and that she requires no evaluation or treatment. He’s wrong, though.
NO CHILD SHOULD EVER HAVE TO BE HURTING SO MUCH THAT THEY CUT THEMSELVES..
Dear Tanya, I’m so sorry your mother was abusive and allowed your brother to continue the abuse. In my experience, many people feel more hurt and angry due to sibling abuse than parental abuse and bullying. It wasn’t your fault they were so cruel. You can heal from this and recover the parts (ages) of you that suffered this abuse. Please let me know if I can help, or refer you to one of my colleagues in your area. Take care. Sue