Most Disturbing Childhood Experiences

This was requested as an answer on Quora recently, so I brought up a few examples from my childhood.

When I was around 5 or 6 my sister had been told she could stay home by my mom, due to being sick. When my dad, who was her stepdad, came home and found her sleeping in her bed on a school day he became enraged and flipped her mattress over, screaming for her to rouse herself and “go to school!”. I can’t remember why my dad came home or why I was standing there watching, but the basic components of the memory have always stuck with me.

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There were a few other examples of similar behaviors that I can remember, but it’s often hard to differentiate between abusive actions and a child’s reaction to acts that were perceived as aggressive. An example of this was when my mom told my sister to hang the laundry up on a clothesline in the backyard and he ripped the phone cord out of the wall when she didn’t instantly hang up the phone.

On the first day of sixth grade, when I was 11, my family moved to a mobile home park in Largo, Florida named Whispering Pines.

It was a common sight to wake up to the sight of prepubescent girls outside my window pre-twerking in booty shorts. It was equally common to walk to the playground at the center o the park and find pre-teen boys smoking cigarettes and marijuana, or huffing whatever inhalant they could find in their parent’s garage.

When I was around 12, I was standing timidly at the school bus stop, holding the bottom of my shirt, as was my standard daily posture, when one of the neighborhood boys, unprovoked, grabbed a smaller boy by his shirt and slammed his face into a tree. Years later, while I was in therapy, recalled this scene, and started crying uncontrollably. The sheer randomness of this violent act disturbed me, just as much as the age of the perpetrator. He could have killed him.

The Machinator (An Autistic Navy Veteran’s Critique of Normality)

At the same bus stop, around the same time, a group of neighborhood hoodlums, who were basically the neighborhood leaders, put their friend into a coma by tag-teaming a professional wrestling move on him. The same boy that “tree-slammed” the first boy scolded them, nearly in tears, because this kid was smaller than them and happened to be their friend, which made it wrong. The victim came back a while later and his friends did the same move on him again. I’ve never understood why they were so determined to kill any boy that was smaller than them. Friendship had a very sadistic undertone in this neighborhood. I was just thankful to be too big to lift up.

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