I will fix your stubbornness, said my mother

It seems like I cannot live without knowing the truth and seeking answers, no matter how the outcome will affect me. I am very depressed since coming back home in the USA, complicated with an ear infection that is holding on for too long.

Nevertheless, I have the urge to write about the memories and put together single puzzle pieces toward a whole picture.

My last hope to find a kind and understanding family member in Germany was destroyed at my visit over Easter in Germany. Among other revealing evidence, one shocking scene has found an explanation. I finally understand why I am, as an adult, still having such extreme fear of consequences. It was the imprint of a fear, of being punished for defending myself. I had to learn as a 3-4 year old child to be blindly obedient to the will of others.

A memory of my mother telling me how she had cured me from “snapping” has left an imprint of blind obedience.

Snapping was her description of me screaming and crying until I turned blue in the face and passed out, at the time, I was 3 or 4 years old.

I have again visited my hometown, on the 23rd of March, 2002, and stood reflecting in front of the house where I was born and raised. The new owner has changed the entry to the house and the entry door is now set back. For no particular reason my eyes searched for the water faucet that was next to the house door, but it was gone. At this moment I experienced a feeling of relieve, but I could not relate it anything I saw at the moment.

The seemingly lifeless house came alive in my memory. A completely for years suppressed scene appeared. I saw myself as a three year old. My grandfather pulling me down the wooden steps inside the house.

I did not want to go with him to the workshop at the old house and cried all the way down the steps. Lella said I must go with grandpa since she had wash-day and had no time to watch me. When we reached the courtyard I stared screaming as loud as I could, turned blue in the face and passed out. I remember doing this only when I had to go with grandpa to his workplace. Passing out and waking up again was a good feeling. I usually felt comfort by Lella and I did not have to go after all.

Not this time. I woke up out my unconsciousness, my head and clothes were soaking wet, feeling how my mother jerking cruelly my arms shaking and yelling at me. “I’ll make an end to this snapping of yours. You little brat will not be terrorizing us adults any longer,” she screamed: “I’ll fix this.”

Yes, she fixed it. While I was unconscious she turned on the water faucet and held me under the ice-cold water, proudly saying, and “This is what you will get from now on when you snap.”

Reassured, she looked at the adults who had meanwhile gathered in the courtyard, saying, “We can’t have this, she needs to learn to obey. Her stubbornness needs to be broken now since she will be enrolled soon in Kindergarten.” The adults around knotting their heads in agreement saying in a confirming tone, children should not have their own will.

“Just the day before,” my mother explained to the applauding people in the courtyard, “Dr. Fuchs, (our house doctor) spanked her behind and told me to hold her under the water when she is snapping again. Well, Dr. Fuchs knows what she is doing; she is after all, a doctor.”

I did not want to believe that I was just a bad little brat who screamed for no reason. As this scene appeared, I suddenly remember why I didn’t want to go with grandpa. It was another memory and the dream of dark eyes I’d had for years, seemingly unrelated, that brought the answer.

Like in a video playback I saw myself as a 2 ½ year-old on fall afternoon standing on top of grandpa’s work bench while seeing dark brown eyes and the greasy, bad smelling, almost black hair of a man. He is pressing his hand over my mouth pushing my head against the wall, while his other hand was under my dress, – he was fondling me.

This was the answer to why I did not want to go with grandpa.

Snapping was my only defense, hoping that I don’t have to go to grandpa’s workshop.

I understood my snapping now, but why the adults around me never ask for a reason for my reaction. They simply categorized it as bad, disobedient, strong-headed. My mother, as well as my grandmother, never questioned why I did not want to go to this place, they simply forced me to obey.

What have I learned as this little child at the age of 3-4 year old at this moment?

As a child in a very important mental developing stage it was proven to me that I have no rights, I must obey; I must endure molestation and if I don’t, I’ll be punished for it.

My choice to avoid violence against me was taken away by the violent careless reaction of my mother. The results as that later in life I wondered why I, as an adult, my decision making is subconsciously to look for a lesser pain related solution, instead of a healthy and beneficial one. I have to remind myself today not to measure my option on the worst, ratter on the best options possible. My instinctively reaction, by making a decision do defend myself was violently altered by my careless controlling, ignorant parents, and grand parents. Their actions implied that I don’t know what is good for me, only adults know. It could be the case that parents know more and care enough, but only if they are willing to engage in the feeling of a child, ask question, listen to their answer and respect their children as human being with equal right.

How many adults misjudge their children’s reaction without questioning their motives or ask for a reason for their behavior.

The reason for their judgmental and impatient reactions can be found in denial, lack of respect for another (little) person, or simply in being disinterested in the needs of the little one. Children must obey, no matter what.

What has changed today in the upbringing of children? The Law in Germany has being renewed, but the people in this country still regarding Children, as their private property with the right to control them the way they believe is right. My mother once one of them too who believed she was right.

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