Tangents: They’re Not Just For Math (Or Field Hockey)

Mother was known for her tangents. Beginning one thing and then right in the middle of it switching to something entirely different. Usually it was when she was having a meltdown and she would maniacally fly from one subject to another. It could make you dizzy just trying to keep up with her tangents.

Mother thought if she was wound up then she should use her energy to get it all out. By the end of her session, everybody would be worn out, especially Mother. A nice, cold drink was always on her menu after one of these verbal brawls.

My sister and I would usually escape to a quieter place, which was anywhere Mother was not. Sometimes, before I could make The Great Escape, I would get caught in her crazy rantings and try to talk some sense into her. This was a huge mistake!

Mother was also known for being verbally and emotionally abusive. The last time I ever subjected myself to enduring one of her meltdowns was when she punched me in my already-injured nose.

Field HockeyI had been run into in P.E. class and thought my nose was broken. Another student who was really into the game of field hockey accidentally ran into me (at full speed) with her hockey stick and her head. I was almost knocked senseless but rather than make a big deal out of it, I returned to class and finished the day.

By the time I got home, my face had become swollen and bruised. Mother was about as disinterested as if I had been a distant cousin just visiting for the day. I said I thought I needed to see a doctor and she reminded me how I had the opportunity to take care of it at school. In her esteemed opinion, since I chose not to do so, the case was closed.

I reached for the phone to call my dad and she grabbed the phone out of my hand and her fist flew to my face. The punch connected exactly where my earlier injury had occurred and I felt like I was going to pass out.

She was likely drunk or high on pills when this occurred, but regardless it was at the least child abuse. Looking back, I feel fortunate that an already nasty head injury from the soccer field was not made significantly worse by my own mother punching me…on the very spot of my field hockey injury.

Unlike Dad I am not a lawyer, but I do believe this could have led to charges of child endangerment, aggravated assault, and (knowing her, if the police had been called) interference with a police officer.

As soon as I regained my composure I called my sister Abby (who was in college at the time) to tell her that Mother had gone too far. Abby, my hero, flew home and confronted her. Mother never lifted a finger to assault me again and I knew between Abby and my dad, they had my back!

And Mother had been told she was not only on thin ice, but that the ice was going to break and she was going to drown if she ever lifted a finger to harm me again.

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