My memories are so terrifying sometimes that they transport me back to that time and place when it was all happening. I feel like the tiny child hiding behind a chair or in the back of a coat closet hoping no one would find me. Because of DID, I know that child does indeed exist within my mind. Several of her, actually. Each one reacts differently to the present and the past. Some are stuck so deep in the past that they don’t realise it’s over. Others want to pretend nothing ever happened, that life was good and we were fine all along.
Today I feel like hiding again. I remember hiding from my mother once with my younger sister tucked safely in a blanket up against my hip. We were in a cabinet under a sink by a refrigerator. I remember the chemical smells and the drip of water on my back. I remember grabbing my sister’s favourite teddy as I ran with her to the kitchen and praying that she didn’t cry or laugh while we hid. She was aged two at the time, and two-year-olds are nothing if not rambunctious. As is seen often with abused children, though, Meg was shy and quiet. She seemed to learn very early on that if I acted afraid around our mother, she should be very quiet.
So there we were– crouched in a cabinet with me listening for every footstep and trying to watch under the small crack in the cabinet door to see if anyone was coming our way. When our mother found us, she threw the baby into her bed, starting her crying. She dragged me back to the kitchen by the arm and pushed me against a wall. I remember the wall had a nail on it, and it cut my back as I slid down. I remember her hands on my face, hard and angry as they hit my cheek and pulled my hair. Even as I write this, twenty years later, I also remember the shame and feel it now.
The memories of what happened outside of the cult, of the things that my mother did after my father left and before we were dragged back in, that are hardest to cope with. SRA isn’t personal. Had anyone else been in my position, they would have gone through the same things. With my mother, though, a different child might have been treated differently. Everyone tells me it would have been the same, but it there’s no way to know for certain. Maybe a different child could have made her happier or taken away some of her anger. I’ll always wonder what it is about me that made those things happen. Sometimes it frightens me to think about it, because I wonder when others will see that flaw in me that made my mother do what she did. I can speak the best of psychobabble and say I understand why it wasn’t my fault and how abused children often grow up to be abusive parents, et. c. I can’t say that with honesty, though. There’s no way to know.