Hi–I am Lynny Gal. That’s what my Paw Paw called me when I was a baby, and it stuck. I should have been a happy child. I grew up in a great neighborhood in Atlanta in the early 1960’s, with lots of friends and a good school. I turned cartwheels, ran through sprinklers and had sublime moments lying in grass watching clouds drift. But embedded in the happy memories of growing up, there is a skunk at the garden party. My mother. She was not an evil step mother like the stories in fairy tales. She was my biological mother.  Now, anyone who had a normal, loving  mother knows there are ups and downs. There were rainy days stuck indoors with a mother who lost her grip on patience, maybe yelled or spanked because that’s the way she was raised. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I experienced was brutality. I was a target for Mother’s rage and frustration. I was singled out from other siblings and beaten without mercy. I was told I was ugly and stupid and that no one would ever love me. I was rejected, despised, and isolated. But it turns out I was lucky. I had friends who liked me and teachers who showed me that I was not stupid. I had a wider life outside in the community that helped me endure my crippled family life. I decided that I would not forget what it felt like to be beaten, despised, and isolated. I vowed that when I grew up and had a family, I would never do those things to my own child. In the isolation of my bedroom, I dreamed about writing stories that told people why they should never beat their child.

Now, for most children, mistreatment ends when their childhood ends. The abusing parent stops trying to hurt them in obvious ways when they become and adult. Sometimes the abuser becomes remorseful for how they treated their own child. That did not happen for me. Throughout my life, my mother continued to single me out, despise every accomplishment, criticize every positive change as  I moved through my life, graduated college, worked, traveled, married and started a family. Despite this occurring, I reached out over and over throughout the years to heal the relationship. I did the best I could to forgive. But after  a violent outburst during a Father’s Day visit that involved my three year old son and a damaged family member co-opted as Mother’s proxy, I finally cut ties with her.

I didn’t see or speak with my mother for another fifteen years. I worked, raised my son, and  lived a reasonably happy life. I continued to have a healthy, solid relationship with my father, a workaholic and conflict- avoidant to the point of blindness, but nevertheless a pretty good guy. Despite the fact that he failed to protect me from Mother when I was a child, he helped me throughout my adult life. He providing support and advice, and made himself available at every serious turn my life took. He sat with me while I cried when my husband of eleven years committed suicide. He was in the hospital waiting room when I had surgery for a serious illness a few years ago. He was at my son’s high school graduation cheering him on. He was present at every Christmas, birthday, funeral and marriage I can remember.

In January this year, my father died suddenly. Within three days of his death, my mother started coming after me again. She fired me from the small role I had at my father’s company. She cancelled my health insurance, knowing that I have a pre-existing condition and getting insurance is difficult. Weeks later, she closed my sons’ college savings account and hid the money from him when she couldn’t cash the funds that my father set aside for him. She blocked my phone so that I couldn’t call my father’s company. She refused to share information about my father’s will, making it necessary for me to hire a lawyer. And she has not, as of the date of this writing, purchased a headstone for my father’s grave, despite inheriting his money and property.

I learned important lessons through my experiences with Mother. I learned that if an abuser never experiences remorse about his/her abuse and if the victim keeps quiet about it, the abuse will never end. Abusers are predators who operate in secret and require the silence of others to thrive. My wish is to put a stop to the cycle of violence in my life and in the lives of others in the broader world. As stated in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


Scott Crawford says:

Hi how are you ?

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