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little-boy-standing-on-chair-to-see-face-in-mirrorCHAPTER FOUR


The former step-father and my mother drove me downtown after they picked me up from my elementary school.  I noticed they were driving the same route as the policeman used when he picked me up from school after my bruises and strangle marks were reported.  I knew something was very wrong because my abuser was being extra nice to me.  I was very uncomfortable because the former step father was rarely nice to me.  I noticed the building where the police took pictures of my naked body coming into view in the distance.
My Mother: “Johnny we are taking you to a person who is going to talk to you.  She is going to ask you if we ever hit you.  You need to tell them we only hit you when you need it.  You need to tell them this or they will take you away from me and you will live with all the other kids in a foster home where they do not have a mommy and daddy.  Now what are you going to say if they ask you if we ever hit you?”
Johnny Wright: “They only hit me when I need it.”


I would never again trust my mother to put my wants and needs before hers after she chose to put my life in danger by lying to the social worker.  I was afraid the former step-father would beat me if I did not do a good enough job convincing the social worker I was only hit when I needed it.  I realized that either way I was living with foster parents no matter what I said at this point because I could not believe what my mother had done.  That is why at nine years old I finally admitted to myself that both my real dad and mom were officially dead from that day forward.

The social worker was pissed. She knew I had been coached.  There was no way the marks on my body in the police department pictures suggested that I was only hit when I needed it.  I remember exactly what she said to my mother that day.

Social Worker: “You know what lady?  I have been doing this for a long time.  I have been doing it for over twenty years and I have never heard a nine year old child answer me saying ‘I am hit only when I need it’.  This child has been coached.  You are really lucky this child did not tell me what really happened to him because I would have taken him away from you and put you in jail.  That is why you better figure out a different way of disciplining him without putting your hands on him.  I suggest you learn how to pick your boyfriends.”

Several months after the visiting the social worker my former step-father left my mother.  I remember she picked me up from school crying hysterically.

My mother: “He left us!  What are we going to do now!?”

I could tell my mother was looking for me to console her because I would always console her after the former step-father would beat her in the past. I will give you an example.  I remember one time I came out into the living room to find my mother crying with blood all over her face from him knocking one of her teeth out during a beating.  I hugged her and told her how pretty she was and how everything was going to be okay because I loved her so much.  Not on this day though.  I just continued to stare out the passenger side window watching all the other kids leaving school.  I wondered what their lives were like with their mom and dad.  I continued looking out the window not saying a word until my mother pulled away from the school about five minutes later.

There was not much time between my former step-father leaving and my mother hooking up with a new boyfriend from her past.  She immediately moved him into our new house on the hill with a view of the city.  This time my mother told me I did not need to call him ‘dad’ unless I wanted to.  She said it was my choice.  I chose to call him by his first name because I was still pissed off about the former step-father continually beating me and trying to murder me.  I did not care that the new guy was being really nice to me because they were all nice at the beginning.  The real test was when they became angry at me.  I still remember the first time the new boyfriend disciplined me just weeks after he moved into our house.  He made the mistake of moving his hands too quickly when yelling at me.  I very quickly moved backwards and curled up into the corner and covered my hands over my face.”

The New Guy: “Johnny what are you doing?  I am not going to hit you.  I did not mean to scare you.  I am so sorry I scared you.  You never have to be afraid of me because I promise I will never hit you.”

I did not know how to process my feelings at this level unless I was being hit.  So I immediately stood up and right in-front of him began socking myself in the face over and over with both my fists.  The new guy freaked out and wrapped his arms around me from behind in an effort to restrain me.  I was still unable to process my feelings.  So I leaned forward with his arms still around me from behind and began slamming my head over and over again into the sink.  He lifted me into the air and pulled me away from the sink still restraining me.

Johnny Wright (crying): “LET ME GO!  I HATE YOU!

The New Guy (crying): “No!  I will not let you go!  I love you!  I am not going to let you hurt yourself!  I will not let you go unless you promise to stop hurting yourself!”

Johnny Wright (crying): “I DON’T CARE! I HATE YOU!  I HATE ALL OF YOU! LET GO OF ME!”

I stared in the mirror at my new-stepfather restraining me from behind and felt feelings of rage.  Then I noticed my own image staring back at me in the mirror.  I felt all the power instantly leave my body as I began to feel sorry for the little boy looking back at me in the mirror crying.  I knew everything about that little boy in the mirror and everything he had been through. It was only at this time I realized what had just happened.  I realized I could not process my feelings unless I was being hit.  I could see all the years of damage from the former step-father who had been gone for a few months by this time.  The new step-father continued to restrain me as I looked into the mirror crying.  I began to process my feelings without hitting myself.

Johnny Wright (crying): “Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Oh my God!”

The New Guy (crying): “I don’t know what this other guy did to you but I promise I will never hurt you.  I want to kick his ass for what he did to you.  I promise I will never hit you.  I am so sorry for scaring you.”

I went to bed that night exhausted and confused.

The next day at school I thought about what happened all day long.  I came home from school and went directly to my room and continued to think about the night before as I did my homework.  At one point I needed help with my homework.  I would usually never ask my former step-father for help because he would beat me unless I answered the questions correctly.  I will give you an example.  One time the former step-father gave me fifteen minutes to learn my times table chart.  I was so terrified I could not concentrate.  Then he pig tied my hands to my feet so I would not move around as he beat me.  I thought about how the new guy promised the night before that he would never hit me.  So I thought I would put this promise to the test.  I walked into the living room with my homework in my hand and just stood there staring at him watching television from his chair.  He did not know I was there until I said something to him.

Johnny Wright: “Dad?”

The new guy immediately turned his head and looked at me with surprise as this was the the first time I called him “dad”.

Johnny Wright: “Will you help me with my homework?

New Step-Father (smiling): “You just called me dad.  I have wanted to be your dad since you were very little.  Come sit with me in my chair.  I would love to help you with your homework.”

On this night I became his son and he became my father.

I eventually fell asleep in his chair with him watching television.  Then a few hours later he woke me up and carried my half asleep limp body in his arms and into my bedroom.  I fell into a deep sleep satisfied with my day and my night because the physical abuse from my former step-father was officially over.  This was even though the psychological and physical abuse from my mother was about to begin.

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