Hello everyone, my name is Paloma, I am 24 years old and I have had some issues lately that I would appreciate some help with.
I lived most of my youth with my single mother, but from the ages of 10 to 12 we moved in with a boyfriend my mother had. He was a drunk and during those two years both my mother and I experienced a good deal of physical and emotional abuse. I am proud to say that most of the issues I absorbed because of this, I have put behind me. However for the last couple of months, one particular memory and image has been doing a number in my head. I am losing sleep and work performance because I cant seem to rid myself of the hurt that this memory of one night in particular causes.
When I was 11 we had been living with my mothers boyfriend in Florida for about a year. His name was Andrew, and like I mentioned earlier, he was a drinker. He had an average house with a big grassy back yard that had a small tool shed towards the back. The yard was always a mess and he was constantly working on it, trimming, cutting, etc.
My room had a window that looked right out into the yard, and I spent a lot of time watching Andrew work, mostly so that I could see where he was, and not be surprised when he barged into my room; which he had a tendency of doing.
One night he was working in the yard, surrounded by his usual shovels and beer cans, and I was sitting on my bed reading something for school, glancing out the window every now and again. My mom came home from work a little late, she came into my room, hugged me and asked me the regular questions about how my day had been. My mom had a decent job at a local law firm, so her clothes were usually very formal. After spending some time with me she left my room. After a couple minutes my mom walked out onto the patio of the back yard, still in her work clothes, in order to say hello to Andrew. He was working towards the center of the yard, and had not seen her yet. My mom removed her shoes, on the patio, and proceeded onto the grass towards Andrew. Once she reached him, she bent down and hugged him, and they started talking. At this point my attention returned to my homework. After several minutes, I began to hear Andrew, raising his voice. Apparently he had noticed that my mom was not wearing shoes, and somehow this gave him the notion that, the house would become covered in dirt carried in from the yard on her feet. I knew were this was leading, his and mothers quarrels usually ended in him shoving or pushing her, and he had actually hit her twice before. This time however he grabbed my mom by the shoulders and pushed her away from him with a lot of strength. My mom stumbled on her feet and then fell on her back in the grass and lay still. My entire body tensed beyond belief, with fear as I watched this. When my mom fell, he stood over her a moment yelling some things, and then stormed off into the house. I waited to make sure that he was not headed to my room, and then I climbed out my window into the yard. As I approached my mom, I could see that her eyes were closed, and her mouth lay open, however I could see her breathing, so I knew that she was just unconscious. I remember crying at this point, as I tried to wake her up. After a minute or two, I realized that he would come out here again soon, and the first thing to pop into my 11 year old brain, was that I had to clean my mothers feet so that he wont hurt her again. The soles of her feet were covered with wet dirt, from when she stumbled. When I lifted her feet up I realized how limp she was, and I began crying even more. I used my hands and my shirt to clean her bare feet as she lay unconscious and I sat there crying thinking about how vulnerable she was, and how scared I was.
Eventually he came back into the yard, and screamed at me. I ran and hid behind the tool shed, at the other end of the yard. I remember thinking that he would run after me, and try to drag me out, but he never did. In fact, he simply went back to gardening. He kept on for hours, and I didn't dare move from behind that shed, so all I could do was watch him gardening, right next to my unconscious mother. I remember, my mother came to at one point, lifted her head and called out to him, and then went limp and fainted again. He didn't even glance at her. My mom stayed unconscious and eventually he went to bed, and I was too little to move my mother, so I fell asleep pretty much on my windowsill, watching my mom. I assume she regained consciousness at some point in the night, because in the morning she was cooking breakfast and acting as if everything was normal.
This memory has been stabbing at my brain and my heart for the last couple of months, especially the image of me cleaning the dirt from my mothers bare feet. Like I said I am losing sleep, and I would appreciate any sort of insight. Thank You.