Beat Animal(updated: 06/13/2012)
I saw my brother ‘beaten animal’, I’ve seen dogs ‘beaten animal’. Their domesticated qualities abandon them and they become vicious snarling beasts fighting for their lives. Keep beating them and they finally submit – quivering on the floor in their own pee, trying to hide their faces, ribs heaving in short gasps . . . yes, we were there too. I don’t know it, but I can think it, knowing these quivering emotions within me. And it was really bad.
As a child you don’t dare fight back (brother did once – and PAID) – so you do as brother did: run around the room screaming like a monkey, trying to climb the walls – do anything – to escape the pain – until, nothing left; there’d be a quivering doll on the floor: trembling, shaking, foam at the mouth, eyeballs in dazed pain: Hello? Anyone home? Nope. Home’s gone empty. My turn.
I would just sit there, ‘zoning’. Still as a rock, though before father would come in I would occasionally bark at my wailing brother: “Shut UP! Your not helping anything! Crying won’t help!”. (Because crying never did.) And because his crying hurt me too, no matter how much sometimes hated him (and him me.)
It hurt, waiting. Did you know waiting can hurt a child? Especially waiting for something like this kind of punishment. Dad would always have us wait – for a half hour, maybe some more – while he worked himself up (or got off on the thought) of meting some punishment. Or perhaps it was as he said “So you can think about what you’ve done.” When I was a Marine I learned: waiting is 90% of the torture: anticipating the pain to come. And yet it wasn’t the pain I feared . . . it was the ‘separating’ . . . the going away from myself – as well as the pain. Weird, huh.
Brother would wipe out the instant punishment was announced – or even threatened. Instant burst of tears, wails, et cetra ad infinitum. I was stoic. You wouldn’t catch me crying if my life depended on it. That’s because I reckon I secretly knew: he enjoys watching pain. He enjoys tears and howls of terror. That’s why he’s gonna have us wait for him; enjoying my brother’s screams . . . while I sit down and ‘remove’ myself from his presence – and all of ours. Years later I think in afterthought: I should have been more like my brother. He would usually just beat you to screams and tears, not this other thing. But I was close lipped; hard to ‘get along with’ during these sessions – I would hold my tears until the last second; right before the thing happened . . . when the burning got too bad …. (o’tay, skipping away from that, man, that child has some problems; he’s sooo friggin sad.)
Being beat animal is no fun.
He’d have us strip down – usually leaving the underwear – bend over, grab your ankles; two white butts showing. And then it would begin.
That’s also where I learned: Always face the bed when you’re getting beaten. Otherwise he’s gonna throw you into the wall. Our faces were sometimes as beaten as our butts and behinds (and backs and thighs and legs and calves and shoulders and arms and sometimes a good thumping ‘whack!’ to the head). And by our faces I mean from striking the wall, some furniture – anything.
It’s odd, being beaten animal. You reach a point where everything kinda fades out – but not completely. What is left is the dim fuzzy memories, kind of like when you’ve awakened from a dream you can just . . . barely . . . recall – but sorta more real, if you know what I mean. (And I KNOW that some of you abuse survivors reading this KNOW what I mean; you can be beaten ‘animal’ at any age, I reckon; knowing: I’ve seen such things in my Marine Corps career.
The weird thing about being beaten animal is . . . you just can’t remember things. It’s like, okay, I went into that room, he came in; okay, pants then OFF pointing butt in the air and THEN- BANG! – gone. Just like that. And then … dim memories (in the corner? on the floor; always on the floor; the hell with what I said about the bed; you always ended up on the floor booted feet kicking you. He’d drag you off the bed; yanking clawing so hard it hurts – dangling you by one foot, the belt slashing, lashing away – a thick leather one, or the one with the ‘hooks’ on it – and old military combat belt he used.
Getting beat animal sucks. Big time.
Okay, moving on.
What is left is a slobbering, sobbing, curled up animal. It isn’t a ‘state of mind’ because when you are beaten this bad, you have no mind. It’s gone. You don’t remember it – a part of you shuts off, turns off the world – and YOU – off. There is simply nothing there. What remains is just an animal mind. And that animal’s desire is survival. Unable to attack its attacker, it cowers in the corner and defends with thin unwieldy arms that have tired from shielding from the pain. Shins that ache from bruising. Yeah, that kind of thing. You just ‘go away’.
Extreme fear I hear can do that too, and I’m pretty sure it did – but by the time I was eight or nine, fear had been pretty much burned out of me. Like I tell folks: “I don’t get afraid – I get cautious!” – because ‘caution’ or ‘wariness’ is the emotion I feel – not ‘fear’ or mind raging panic. All that’s gone from me. The more ‘dangerous’ things get – the more cautious I get- but I’ll proceed because that is what I was trained to do. Never say quit, never say ‘uncle’, keep on going until there’s no ‘go’ left anymore . . . Handy in tight places. Invaluable in a life saving situation.
Like I said, being beat animal: weird, no good – you FIGHT it. It feels like your soul is struggling to survive – and it can’t, so it leaves. You mind tries to hang onto reality – but is transported by pain and the really deep dark and very disturbing knowledge that you are totally helpless. There is no escape, you cannot stop it – you can just dangle there and die.
Weird. That’s the only word I can think of for it with my kazillion word vocabulary: weird. And it hurts somewhere way deep down inside – I don’t know why (but yes I do: it’s one of – several of – but mostly the “one who went through it” – he’s hurt, feeling abandoned right now, and sad. We will ‘hold’ him later on, when we are finished with this posting. ) Sad, don’t you think? And weird.
Being beat animal. A hard thing to know. A harder thing to do . . . but HE could do it (our dad). It was never fun – never. Being beaten until you puked then even more – raising hands to have them whipped down; raising face to have it backcrossed with a belt or the backslap of a hand as a foot was kicking and the belt coming down again for what felt like the hundreth hundreth time . . .
Being Beat Animal. Not a good thing to do. Especially to children.
Really kinda sucks sometimes.