Part 3 – Hopes dashed and constant failure (I don’t deserve to live)

The “maybes” grew less positive each day. I couldn’t understand why my mother married Frank. He was a pain, but in those early days I didn’t realise just how much of a pain he would become or how much of an effect he would have on my life. It wasn’t long before I discovered just how totally evil he was.

Frank obtained work and so did Pam, and I started school. If I had been older and realised the implications, I would have refused to use Frank’s surname. My mother’s insistence that we all had the same name made sense, but being older, Pam refused. In a way, using his name gave me a sense of belonging. I didn’t belong to my father but maybe if I used Frank’s name, he would accept me? Because Pam refused it became necessary for my mother to say she had “lost” her husband and let everyone think he had been killed in the war. Divorce was a disgrace in those days.

We’d never had any money but everyone in England had seemed about the same and there was never much to buy anyway. Now the difference was obvious. I suppose most of their money had been spent on the fares, the time in Sydney and the deposit on the house, but it seemed as though we had nothing. My mother had an abhorrence of debt, gained from her life with my father. All bills worried her and she paid cash for everything. As soon as gas, electricity or rates bills came in, she immediately walked to town to pay them, regardless of weather or anything else. The mortgage on the house was like a noose around her neck and every penny was used to make extra payments. Her only thought was to finish paying for the house. She started knitting and gained orders quickly. It seemed as though knitting needles were glued to her fingers. This brought in extra money, but bread and dripping was the usual fare, along with a case of partly rotten fruit bought for a few pence. She’d walk miles to save a penny on a pound of carrots.

I felt so embarrassed at school because I didn’t have any proper writing pads. My mother cut up wrapping paper, envelopes etc and stitched them together down the sides to make pads. My clothes were so different and dowdy that I was the odd ball. I was thrilled when I was given a length of material for Christmas and told to make myself a dress. A shop had closed down and the material was cheap. I had no pattern, no machine, no experience and no help. I had blunt scissors, a needle, a few pins and a reel of cotton. I was eleven years old but I made myself a pattern by measuring an existing dress and I made what I thought was a masterpiece. I begged for some lace to put round the hem and thanks to the closing down sale I got some. I was so proud of that dress!  As soon as I arrived at school I was humiliated to find the “lace” was actually a trim for the top of a mosquito net. I think I hated those kids and I hated green dresses and most of all, I hated myself.

I guess being English had made me somewhat of a novelty at first, but it was soon obvious I was different. I just didn’t fit. At first they wanted to hear about the war but didn’t believe the accounts of the bombings and dead or maimed bodies. Why did they call me a liar? I had lived through it and it was real. I couldn’t make friends. I hadn’t had a friend in England, but that was different. Here, everyone had friends. I blamed my clothes. I blamed our poverty. I blamed many things, but I believe it was much deeper. It was mental conditioning over the years of my life.

I expected rejection. I expected people to dislike me and my consequent actions brought about that response. When I saw a group of kids talking I KNEW they were talking about ME and laughing at me. I often lay in bed, trying to sleep and imagining what they were saying about me and how they were plotting against me. It was so real in my thinking that I had trouble separating fact from fantasy. I soon learned that the only people who could hurt me were ones I really liked, so the answer was easy: even though I was crying out for acceptance, I refused to allow myself to like anyone. No one would ever touch my emotions!

I did well at school. I was always top of the class, being especially good at mathematics and English and I won the district spelling bee.  I did the headings for my homework in Old English printing in scrolls, and while the teachers praised it the kids accused me of cheating. I loved school during class times but hated play times and would mostly stay inside reading a library book.

I continued to make my own clothes with only a needle and thread and oddments of materials. I made my mother some kitchen cupboards from packing cases and tea chests which were still in use fifty years later. Looking back, I would have to say I excelled at many things but I never felt so at the time. I considered myself a useless failure. Was that because Frank constantly told me so? He laughed at everything I did. He said I was no good. I was ugly. I was fat. I was stupid. I was totally evil. I was a misfit and a failure. I was a nuisance to him and everyone else and I didn’t deserve to live.

My uncle visited us most Saturdays and was always greeted by Frank with “What, you again! Haven’t you got a home of your own?” My uncle secretly gave me two shillings every week and I used that for entrance to the local swimming pool (or baths as they were called then). I needed a new swimming suit so my mother KNITTED me one. Can you imagine a knitted swimsuit in a sub-tropical climate? As soon as possible I made myself one from an old dress.

The local radio station conducted a children’s club with talent quests, games and competitions. I entered most quizzes and competitions, especially for drawing and painting, and won several prizes including a new bicycle. After winning the bike I was hardly ever at home in daylight hours. After winning a number of art competitions the judge, a well known artist, offered me free art lessons. The first lesson was great. He said I had a great talent. I never returned for more lessons because I was asked to bring my own paper and pencils and my mother said we couldn’t afford it. That put an end to my entering competitions because I wouldn’t be able to face the judge if I won again.

Because of my wins in that club, the radio announcers asked me to audition for a pantomime they were presenting. I gained a speaking part and after that I was used in many adult roles in radio dramas with the announcers. They thought I was great but Frank said I sounded dreadful and that the men he worked with laughed at me. Why did I believe him? I didn’t realise it at the time, but I drove myself to achieve. I needed to achieve but I always felt I had failed. I found fault with everything I did. Agnes was right. Frank was right. I was useless.

Frank’s behaviour towards me became increasingly worse. He never missed an opportunity of telling me I was ugly. I was no good. I was evil. No one would ever want me. I was useless. I had no right to live. I avoided him as much as possible. My mother had health problems. She often walked to the hospital to see a doctor and for treatment and would be away for most of the day.

One day when my mother was at the hospital is a day which haunted me for many years to come, giving me countless nightmares when I would wake screaming, with a big hairy ugly huntsman spider coming down onto my face.

That dreadful day under the house governed my life for many years . . . . .

About meetingintheclouds

I am Cloudwatcher, a 76 year old Christian lady, happily married to a wonderful man for over 50 years. We have five wonderful sons, all with at least one University degree and in top positions in their chosen fields. One son is still single but four have found perfect wives and they have given us five lovely grandchildren. I was born in England and while I'm proud of my English heritage, I am doubly proud to be a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie. My husband and I are committed Christians whose first priority is to love and serve our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My life story will tell of my journey from abuse to peace. I suffered 22 years of abuse, being constantly told I was totally evil and an ugly freak: no one would ever want me, so I might as well do the world a favour and kill myself.
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7 Responses to Part 3 – Hopes dashed and constant failure (I don’t deserve to live)

  1. Todd Beal says:

    “I loved school during class times but hated play times and would mostly stay inside reading a library book.”

    I do this, and have my whole life – in all areas of interaction. I hide behind books to protect myself!


  2. Todd Beal says:

    ”I expected rejection. I expected people to dislike me and my consequent actions brought about that response.”

    What a statement. I have observed myself doing this very thing. Ironic; the very thing we use to protect our wound, is the very thing that wounds us.


    • Hi Todd.
      While that feeling still flitters into my life at odd times, I must say that it is indeed a rare occurrence. My life completely changed when I was 22 years old, when I entered into a personal relationship with my loving heavenly Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ. In the last 52 years He has been my Counsellor and Guide, my Comforter and Encourager, my Strength and Enabler – my Everything. I now know who and what I am (and what I’m not).


      • Todd Beal says:

        You are living proof that Jesus Christ is not only alive and well, but lives, and indeed lives through you. What a great witness you are for him! Thank you. I talked to my grandmother today who is also a true witness for him. She was a missionary to the Turks and Caicos Islands (along with my grandpa). I have faith in the testimony of very few people, but this I am for certain; both are the real deal, committed to serving Jesus Christ, completely. My grandmother is now in her eighties with a sharp mind and a normally indestructible spirit, but today she told me she was ready to go to sleep and pass on into heaven (she has fallen and hit her head so many times, and also has cancer). I am here to tell you, never in my life have I been so certain of anyone’s personal spiritual authenticity. I have never encountered that kind of statement before, but today I knew… she is going home.

        I will miss her. Before she hung up the phone, she said she loved me and that she and grandpa pray for me every day. Knowing how she is I believe her. I want the world to know that Max and Thelma Kirkingburg (my grandparents) gave numerous and selfless years to serving the spiritual and personal needs of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Very shortly, my grandma will personally receive her reward from Jesus and my hope is to someday join her in eternal celebration. I will miss her.

        Todd Beal


        • I am sorry to hear about your grandma, but I rejoice with her. I can relate to how she feels.

          I enjoy my life here. I enjoy wonderfully sound health. I have the best husband possible and five wonderful sons, but aside from all that, my true home is in heaven with my Saviour and I long for His return. The only thing that dampens my enthusiasm is the fact that I know many who are not saved and I know time is running out for them.

          You have a great blessing in your grandparents who no doubt have prayed for you all your life.


  3. Hi Stephen. Thanks for dropping by.

    Romans – my favourite book! The very first passage I read in a Bible study was part of Romans 8 and what a blessing! My God knew what I needed to hear above all else – ADOPTED into HIS family! I’ll be blogging about that soon.


  4. snowgood says:

    Reading this I can imagine that you could be a great blessing to many others who are still suffering rejection, and don’t know what love is…..but maybe I’ll find out more as I read the latter installments.

    Sometimes I think my folks could have done better bringing me up, but I haven’t really suffered in any way.

    God Bless you today, and every day – may the joys of your latter days far exceed the sorrows of your youth.

    I could be thinking of a verse from Romans, but I guess that one’s a favourite already?



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