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A Lancashire Rose, Born to be a Thorn

Updated on October 11, 2011

Countryside.

just like the view from our small holding, as I was growing up.
just like the view from our small holding, as I was growing up. | Source

Memoirs

Writing my memoirs has been the most devastating and inspirational moments of my life. I have been pulled apart and live in shame of some of my reactions in life, especially to those whom I have loved. I admit to being the worst and the best person at the same time, confused and focussed beyond belief, but most of all scared. It is only with the help of a very understanding and caring editor that I have finally managed to get my book into print. At the moment I am awaiting my proof copies before the book will be available for sale with Amazon.

My story is very ordinary in many ways, but it shows how a child's life can be so eventful as to make them disbelieve their worth as an adult. The pain I still carry with me, albeit in the recess of my mind now; but without the knowledge of my life's experiences, I would be a very different person than I am today.

The section of my memoirs that I have decided to share with you all is as an older child, still vulnerable, but old enough to start to understand what her future holds.

Realisation Dawns, My Question Answered.

I was just approaching my ninth birthday when my life was to take a dramatic turn. From about the age of seven I had noticed a great change in my mother’s personality. She had always had a temper, but now she started to say some of the most hurtful and vile things, very cruel things. Things that, even for her, were out of context.

She took to telling me: “if you had never been born I could have had a boyfriend and got married”. Or.... “My life ended when you were born.” She would deliberately pick arguments now, pushing me to the brink of answering back giving her reason to beat me with a riding crop. The crop was the type of wooden crop then used in working hunter classes, approximately 3’ long with regular notches in the length of it. Believe me, it hurt when I got struck with it. At first, I had no idea what was happening, why she was acting so angry much of the time.

She would take to trapping me in-between the kitchen sink and cooker and beat me repeatedly. I can still remember, with much alarm, the sheer delight she appeared to take from my beatings. She would get a wild look on her face, distorted, almost twisted and her face became paler the more she shouted.

It was never just a couple of smacks that I would receive, but the beating would continue until I was on my knees with my head underneath my arms, totally broken; totally shattered and with no more energy to protect myself. The more I screamed the more her eyes became vague and the harder the blows became.

One day, Stan caught her beating me and he had to forcefully wrench the crop from her hands. She turned around and smacked him across the face with a wet dishcloth that had been lying at the side of the sink. Not only did I begin to become very fearful of her, but the resentment I began to feel building up inside of me was alarming. I believe to this very day that I wanted her dead. Not the way any child should feel about a parent, but the beatings began to take their toll on me, not just physically, but mentally as well.

There often were times that I wanted to grab that crop and beat her back. I wanted to hear her scream for mercy; to squirm under my look as I had done for so long under hers. I wanted to inflict on her the pain that I felt. I felt physically sick and almost numb when I found myself having such cruel thoughts.

During one summer term while I was at school, Mum apparently had learned to drive a car while I was away from home. I hadn't any idea she had been taking driving lessons until she came to collect me from school one bright sunny afternoon in a white Ford Anglia car.

I was surprised but also very impressed and I waved like Lady Muck to all my friends on the school bus. We didn’t go straight home when she picked me up though. Instead, mum took me to a little café in Banks, where I was allowed a fancy cream cake and a large glass of orange. It was there, in that very picturesque little garden at the back of the café, with the gentle summer breeze and the buzz of passing bee’s, that she gave me the news that would change both of our lives forever. After watching me enjoy my treat for a while, she said: “I have cancer and we will have to move.” She told me we would have to give the small holding up. She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would no longer be able to cope with the heavy work.

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I came here because of Gail's tribute to you with her Rose hub. I then clicked on other links within her hub, like Bobbi's, and finally landed on your page. It is an honor to meet you here. I will definitely purchase your book. It would seem that just from what I have read about you that you have not only survived what most people would describe as a horrendous childhood...but have been strengthened because of it and are now in a position to help others. May God bless you!

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      Oh what a sad story. I do think it has made you a strong person. This is only the 2nd hub i have read, but I have to say you seem like an amazing person.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Nell, thank you for stopping by and leaving me a lovely comment. As a young girl, and an only child growing up it was hard. I built up a lot of frustration and bad feeling towards my mum, but it was out of ignorance at that time. I haven't covered any of my fears or anything else in writing my memoirs and I know that many people will hate me for what I have written. I have written the truth in the hope that other child care givers in a similar situation know that it is ok to feel pain, and desertion and all the feelings good and bad to giving up their childhood. I will wait and see who attacks me first when my book is read. x

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, how hard this must have been for such a small child, the fright and pain must have been so bewildering. Thank you for sharing part of your story, Nell

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      My Darling Maria. How wise you are. Indeed, writing my memoirs does portray me in a terrible way, and at times the read is not for the faint hearted. Many children care givers are put on a pedastol where it is encouraged that these children are wonderful. They are, but it was my intention to write from the heart, that although these children are truly God's little ones, they also live a life of fear, resentment and hatred. As a community, we fail them horrendously. These children are living proof of a society that listens to what it wants to hear, and not to the long term affect that this suffering has on their young lives. My story is insignificant compared to the stories of much more blessed children than I ever deserved to be. Thank you hunnie, for allowing the voice that is truly me to speak. Love you so much. xx

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dearest Annette,

      I feel as though I want to acknowledge a point you made in an earlier comment about the editing process for your memoirs. I also wanted to thank you for your beautiful response to my comment, which I treasure almost as much as you.

      I studied a family theorist, Nage, in school who described "invisible loyalties" that we can have with our loved ones. On first blush, a reader would believe your Mother was "all bad...in the wrong". Through your insight, self reflection and powerful writing style, the reader will learn that your Mother was operating in the very best way she could with the cards she was dealt in life. I am so grateful that your inner strength and wisdom allowed you to keep searching until you found the perfect editor to allow your message to be told. You will be teaching (already are...) so many how to forgive, move on and actually live the life they were blessed to have.

      BRAVO to you and your editor. Love you, Maria.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Beata Stasak, thank you for leaving such a kind comment. There are times in our life, when sitting back and doing nothing is as bad as closing the door to your heart. If my story can help but only one other child carer in this lifetime, than I will have done my job. It is part of living to feel as I had felt. Making a hero out of our young care givers lives is not the way forward for them or their family.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Ruby, thank you for stopping by. Writing my memoirs had bee very liberating and to a certain extent has allowed most of my pain to go away. However, for those who read my book they will be surprised to learn that I was not the heroin here. I have portrayed myself to the truth if my feelings of resentment and hatred too. So much so, that one editor found the story hard to edit sympathetically and allow me to keep my face in tact. It is only with the help of a second editor, who has far more understanding of my feelings that this book has ever managed to reach the printing stage. My mother was the sufferer in my story, not I. I have been the vessel in which her pain has passed through. xx

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Maria, my dear sweet friend. I am so grateful to have you in my life, your kindness and forgiveness are awesome. Your heart although tender, is the biggest gift that you offer to everyone, I was one of the first. I am so proud of you my dear friend, and much of my strength is written here in Hub Land by being inspired by you. xx

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Dearest Martie, I echo your comment completely, but in favour of two of the bravest and kindest woman I love in my life. Maria and yourself. I only need to look at the qualities that you bestow on everyone who touches that huge heart of yours. You are a very talented and gifted writer and one of the strongest female characters in my life. You are an influence that I am glad to share with, and honoured to be called a friend. xx

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      My dear friend Mike, thank you for your return. I have happy memoirs too and have shared them in my memoirs. I have to thank this time in my life for making me a far better person today, and also for memoires and the ability to write about them in my own special way. Bless you for reminding me of that. x

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Eiddwen my dear friend. You have such knowledge and a huge heart to even try to understand what these children have to cope with. Yes you are right to allow them their own memoires and to be able to put a distance between their memoires and their lives. But the truth of the matter is that these children are abandoned by, and made heroes of, a system that is supposed to care for the vulnerable. These children are as vulnerable as any other in our society. More so when they see at a tender age how much a loved one suffers. x

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hillbilly Zen, thank you so much for taking the time to read a little of my memoirs. I am just an ordinary person who lived what in fact is, ordinary circumstances for many a child today. It is fine to write memoirs full of love and affection, but so taboo to write about resentment, fear and hatred. Alas many children care givers feel the same way, with no opportunity to voice an opinion. We make heroes out of these children, but we do not face the torment that is lived within their souls every day. Why, we are supposed to be a nation of givers, but are we not all in fact, takers? x

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      Just stumbled upon your beautiful 'memoir piece'...thank you for the great experience, you are truly inspiring human being, dear Annette...I have many Irish friends here in Australia so I feel I know you little:)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your story is so compelling and so very sad. I hope and pray that you find release from the past by writing this story. They say that by putting it on paper is a cartharsis, i've found this to be true. Thank you for sharing your life story....Blessings

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Annette, you inspire me with your inner strength and bravery. Telling your story is both freeing you and helping a myriad of others. Your capacity for forgiveness, understanding and grace in all circumstances has taught me more than you may ever know.

      I am so honored to be your friend and will treasure my copy of your memoirs, mar.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Annette, I'm actually totally without words. I can but only take my hat off for you for being the kind and loving woman you are today. Strange how children/people react in different ways on the same experience.

      Somehow you've managed to rise far above the level most abused and rejected children reach in their adult lives. You can be so proud of yourself. And you are still growing - we all do. Imagine where are you going to be in five years from now?

      I love reading your writings, my friend. You have a charming and captivating style of writing.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      thebluestar, regarding those childhood memories, I say write your own - make them yours - why not?

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Hi Annette,

      Amazing my very dear friend,you are simply an inspiration to all.

      I am at the moment in the process of writing my own story and reading this has nudged me on a bit more again.

      My first book of children's stories is being published at the moment and life is changing so much ;all for the better I must add!

      I understand 100% where you are coming from. To look back and allow our childhood abuse to take over our lives is such a waste of energy,but you have to come to the point you are at now in your life to fully feel and understand this.

      I most certainly want a signe copy of your book and I will read, probably re read and treasure forevermore.

      I am proud to call you my friend and I am bookmarking this wonderful hub.

      Take care and have the rosy future that you so deserve,but I think you know this yourself by now don't you ?

      Take care and lots of hugs

      Eiddwen.

    • Hillbilly Zen profile image

      Hillbilly Zen 5 years ago from Kentucky

      I am devastated for the child you were, and encouraged by the woman you have become. God bless, and I hope you find catharsis in telling your story.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Kadmiels, thank you so much for stopping by. Believe me, words hurt even when you try to stop them, it is the strength that you find in your own character that allows you to move on. I am a very sensitive soul due to those harsh words and I hope that I am a far better human being for forgiving them.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      My dear friend Joyce, I didn't really suffer as a child because to me my life was normal. I never knew anything else. It is when I reached an adult that the suffering began, realising that my life was never normal, but I am a far better person for living my life that way. It is what has made me the person I am today. Now I can finally be true to me. x

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Mike, thank you for your kind words my friend. Sadly I will never be over this part of my life, but I have moved on, that is fairly true to say. Forgiveness is what I had left and I have done that too, but I will forever remember that I had no childhood memories of precious times and love. x

    • Kadmiels profile image

      Kadmiels 5 years ago from Florida

      words are words and can only hurt if you let them

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Nan my dear friend, I'm so sorry you had to suffer through your childhood. My own mother didn't beat me with anything but her bad words.Which took me a long time to start believing in myself. LOLs great lady

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You are passed this now.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Gail, you always manage to say the most soothing things at the worst time, allowing me to grow a little further. You have shared some of my life's secrets, ones that I have been terribly ashamed of, and yet you never judge. Thank you so much for your comforting words one again. xx

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      This is so heart breaking and my reaction is similar to Sunnie's- it will be an honor to read your memoirs, though I can see it will also be tough because you suffered much as a little girl and your writing is so compelling bringing us right there with you. But we have an advantage that you didn't have when you were going through so many tough times- we know, respect and admire the woman you will become and I suspect that our admiration will deepen even more when we take the journey of reflection with you.

      You expressed it best in this sentence: "The pain I still carry with me, albeit in the recess of my mind now; but without the knowledge of my life's experiences, I would be a very different person than I am today."

      I pray that by your shining a light on your past some of the shame you once felt will be dissolved by the light of honest disclosure and that the love and support of fellow hubber friends surrounds you during this vulnerable, yet very exciting time.

    • thebluestar profile image
      Author

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      My dear friend Sunnie, you just pipped me to adding a little comment to my hub. I have not published my memoirs in any way looking for sympathy. I was not the brave person or the wonderful child in this sad story, my mother was the true heroine. When we are younger we see things differently to when we are older. It was only as I became an adult that I realised that both my mum and I were victims of this identity that we call life. She was a strong and powerful personality, and I now love her memory as preciously as my life alone. I hope that my story will inspire other children feeling the same resentment of being a main care giver as I did as a child.

      Thank you for your love and support my friend, I am all the stronger for having the support of brilliant people in my life just like you. xx

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      Oh Net this is so heart breaking to read and to see you as this precous little girl to have gone through so much at such a young age. I look forward with honor to read your memoirs and learn more about my sweet friend who I have come to think so much of.

      Love,

      Sunnie

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