I am reflecting on my 15th year of life after watching #RIPAmandaTodd’s video. I was not bullied in the traditional ways at school I worked very hard to keep a smile on my face and pretend that life was perfect. I kept my distance just enough and avoided controversy by trying to be LIKED by everyone. This was crucial to my survival at school because I was being bullied by my mother at home.
When I think back on my 15th year today I am actually trembling. This didn’t strike me as one of the worst years of my life but clearly my heart and soul remember it vividly to create anxiety in me at 44 years of age. I look around and my mother is not in my life, she can no longer manipulate my friends by pretending to be the best mother and telling them what a liar , slut and bitch I was.
A bit about that year as I think back this morning. My mother was miserable and had borderline personality disorder or some other nasty mental illness that made her jealous of her 15 year old daughter and planning to destroy her. My mother would take my purse or backpack and dump it out looking for drugs or condoms when I got home from school. I was not sexually active yet, I was not doing drugs…but because I smoked cigarettes that meant I was evil and doing other things too. I drank alcohol with my friends at school I skipped school to have happy moments in my life. I was attracted to the bad boys and the rocker girls because I was being told I was one of them at home.
Other nights my stepdad would be away on business and my mother would force me to sleep beside her in bed telling me that she would likely die overnight and she wanted me to check to make sure she kept breathing. So I would never sleep on those nights, if i drifted off i would wake with a start and make sure she was breathing.
My mother would call my friends and be their support system, manipulating them, making them question why I was so miserable. If I shared anything about the things happening in my house my friends would roll their eyes because my mother was acting so perfect to them.
One night i was asleep in my bed around 2am. My mother woke me up and demanded i get out of bed because someone was on the phone for me. I got up blurry eyed and picked up the phone… I said hello wondering who would be calling for me at 2am…On the other end of the phone all i heard was you are such a BITCH. Then they hung up. I burst into tears and my mother sent me back to bed. I cried the rest of the night and got up for school in the morning. I remember so clearly looking at all my friends and wondering which one of them was on the other end of the phone. I had recognized the voice but didn’t get enough of it to be sure who it was. All my friends denied it, Clearly I was insane. I stopped trusting my friends that day. I felt incredibly alone and my mother had worked very hard to make sure I was.
I was then in a place where I knew that my friends didn’t truly care about me and my mother hated me. I had no one, nothing. This was one of the very first times i considered suicide. I had a mother who was plotting to destroy me. How does that happen? Was I crazy, maybe I was the reason she was so miserable? Maybe I wasn’t worth talking to or being around?
My 15th year peaked with another night where my mother was threatening to kill herself. This time she locked herself in her bathroom with a suitcase of drugs. I was screaming and pounding on the door begging her not to kill herself and asking her to open the door. She yelled back FINE you want to watch me kill myself you bitch….go ahead come in. My mother was sitting on the floor , she had poured all her pills on the floor and looked up at me and said which one do you want me to take next? I begged her to stop. she told me that this was my fault anyway, I was the reason her life was ruined, I was the reason she was killing herself. I was frantic I yelled for my stepdad and he called 911.
4 police cars pulled up to my house that night. It actually took 4 police officers to pull my mother out of the bathroom. She fought them tooth and nail. She was taken to the hospital and I was taken to a temporary foster home. I was a mess , and I was put into a co-ed home. This was a mistake for a completely destroyed 15 year old. Boys gave me attention and I lost my virginity that summer because I had no self esteem. I didn’t even like the boy that took my virginity I just thought i might as well do this since my mother said i was a slut anyway.
I was put on birth control that summer which was the right thing to do by the foster family. I actually loved the freedom I had at this home. I started to calm down and they had a big pond that I could sit by and be soothed by the water. I was having supervised visits with my mother as she was being treated at the hospital and had been there 6 weeks. After she got home I received a call from my mother…and all she said on the other end of the phone was Why did you steal my frozen spinach pastry puffs? I was mystified, I told her I did not steal them and I hung up. Then I started laughing and I knew that my mother was actually crazy. This was the clear line for me. Why would anyone steal a frozen pastry puff? I was not even living at home to steal it.
In actuality , she was obsessed with me, she needed to control me, she needed to make sure I didn’t love anyone more than her. I was sent home to return to school in August of that year, I decided that when I went home I would no longer respond to her attacks. I would treat her like she was normal and refuse to feed the craziness in her. At 15 I completely understood mental illness.
She went back to school that september and started volunteering for the college newspaper. She moved into a happy period of her life and thats why my 16th year was actually pretty good.
Amy Todd was bullied to the end of her rope. She didn’t know anyone was there for her, she didn;t have tools to find inner strength and peace to guide her back from the brink. I was lucky that there has always been something in me that was a fighter, I refused to be totally destroyed by anyone. I refused to make my mother happy by killing myself!
At 17 she actually chased me with a knife and wanted to kill me, but thats another story and its in another blog titled the night my mother tried to kill me.
No child should ever feel this alone in the world, Someone should have stood up and helped Amanda stand up to her bully. Whoever that boy or man who constantly manipulated her and stalked her from town to town should be charged with murder. Where was her family? Were they supportive, did Amanda listen to them? She was 15 only 15…..
My message to teens is YOU have NO idea what is going on at home for a child you are bullying. For all you know they have a mother like mine. Are you really willing to be the person that pushes someone to the edge of considering suicide. Be kind, be supportive, don’t rush to judgement. Everyone has a story and everyone deserves to be heard. Everyone deserves to have someone in their life they can turn too.
I survived my mother’s bullying and I wish strength to any child who is dealing with a bully in their home or in their life outside of home. You are not alone. Many of us have been there and know your pain.