My Childhood: Excerpt from the About Me Chapter of Become the Best You

become the best you

This is a direct excerpt from my book Become the Best You, for a more detailed version of this you can listen to it on podcast

“I was mostly dragged up. My mother had an unhappy childhood and had a baby (me) aged 18 because she wanted someone to love her. By the time she was 25 she had three kids. I had a different father to my siblings, but she felt it was best to tell me their dad was also mine. The official lie being that he was in prison when I was born, explaining why he wasn’t on my birth certificate. I would eventually be told the truth after leaving home. Turns out my biological father was engaged to his current wife when he got my mother pregnant. To this day she doesn’t know I exist.

My step-father had an horrendous childhood, and was a cold man. Growing up it was obvious that he didn’t love me as much as he did the other two. He wasn’t around a huge amount during the formative years, and didn’t live with us full time until I was eleven. Before that he would come over after school had finished and be gone by 5:30pm. He provided extras which went some way towards supplementing our benefits income, but she was awful with money and we never had much. The phone and electricity were forever being cut off, and the cupboards would often be rather bare. I have many memories of her asking for money from anyone that might give it to her. I grew up thinking that her life must have been utterly miserable. I knew above all else that I wanted more for myself when I was an adult, and had to do things differently rather than repeat history.

Being the eldest I was regularly left alone to babysit the younger two from a very young age. One distinct memory shines through the rest of the garden catching light one night when she was out. I was nine years old and seeing fire through the living room doors was absolutely terrifying. Fortunately our neighbours across the road were home and came to our rescue. Shortly after this my mother took in a friends 16 year old son and he lived with us for a while. He would take advantage of me when she wasn’t home which lead to me having an unhealthy attitude towards men for many years afterwards.

We moved house over a dozen times, and I went to eight different schools where I often endured bullying for being the new girl. The abuse I suffered in the last one was significant, and lead to a suicide attempt. By my last year of high school my self esteem and confidence were at an all time low, and I hated going in. I’d do anything for a day off and subsequently fell behind with my work.

My step-father was a permanent feature in our lives by then, and it’s clear to me now that he was a deeply unhappy functioning alcoholic. We got into a fight one morning about me not wanting to go to school, and he punched me in the face. He was often harsh with his words, but usually kept his fists to himself. He almost broke my nose, and this became the catalyst for me leaving home. I was fifteen, had no qualifications and £50 in my pocket. He said I’d be pregnant and living in a hovel within the year. I went to stay with an aunt in her two bed maisonette where I slept on the floor of her kids room, between the cot and the bunk beds. It wasn’t ideal, but I was safe.

No-one escapes the psychological fallout of a childhood like mine. I went through major bouts of depression as a young adult, and lived life in self-destruct mode for many years to numb my pain. I’d go on all-weekend benders and sleep with people I wouldn’t have even looked at when sober. Eventually I had a breakdown aged 22, and sought help via an amazing counsellor. She taught me that I needed distance from my family, that I deserved to be loved and how to respect myself. Although she tried her hardest, she couldn’t get me to tackle my love of booze or partying. That would come later, along with breakdown number two.”

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69 thoughts on “My Childhood: Excerpt from the About Me Chapter of Become the Best You

  1. I can relate to this post so much, although my mother was the abuser and kicked me out at 17. I too have cut ties from her. I relate so so much to the self destruction part to, the boys etc. You are truly amazing. Xx

  2. Wow. Just wow. That reads very well, your book is going to be brilliant. Achieving something great out of something shite is, in my opinion, one of the biggest achievements EVER. xx

  3. My goodness. :-(. Is this a memoir?
    If so, wow. Incredibly brave and strong to talk about this. Hugs for you xxx (I’ll be catching up with your Virtual Blog Tour later).

  4. Thank you so much Vicki for your kind words. I’m not sure I have a secret, but I do try and use my time as pro-actively as I possibly can. I think it really helps that I’ve adapted to only needing 4 or 5 hours sleep per night. I was awake before baby this morning and working on my tablet for a good 20 mins before he woke up at 5:30am. I’m sure it’s not good long term but it works for now xx

  5. You are a seriously inspiring and incredible woman. Your story brought tears to my eyes and I always marvel at how you manage all your kids whilst writing your blogs…and now I find you are doing this as well!! Incredible. I would love to know your secret! Keep it up x

  6. You have been through so much. Glad you were able to make it out of the other side and be able to write about it. You are an amazingly strong person.

  7. Thanks so much Claire! I can’t imagine how tough your job is, and the worst part must be watching these kids go on to continue the cycle of dysfunction.

    Time can often be the only true healer. I’m out the other side now, and it’s a fab place to be 🙂

  8. Thank you so much for your kind words. The other side of sorrow feels very good 🙂 You’re so on the money – we are only ever responsible for our own behaviour, no-one else’s xx

  9. Dealing with unpleasant people is definitely character building, but can be just hideous at the time. I’m glad you overcome your own childhood and are out the other end. Hugs to you xxx

  10. Thanks Sam, that’s so lovely of you to say that! How I did it is the basis of the book as it’s self-help, just hoping it inspires others to do the same xx

  11. Wow I’m sorry you had such a difficult childhood, this book will be a cathartic process for you and a gripping read. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  12. Wow, just wow! Amazing and warming. Incredibly insightful and full of raw emotion. Yet it’s clear from reading this short excerpt that you’ve definitely come through the other side by distancing yourself from that emotion. You’re an incredible woman… #Wotw

  13. You have written it so well, congrats!
    Very powerful stuff, unfortunately it’s a story I have heard so many times as a social worker with children in care, they all have some of the most shocking backgrounds, and it’s amazing when I have been able to see how some of them have got through it.

    It takes time, but it looks like you are definitely in a much better place, well done you

    Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo

  14. I always knew that your book would be compelling and reading an excerpt has simply reinforced this. You are an amazingly strong woman, it is so hard to break that cycle of repeated behaviours and having the commitment to do it, and succeeding so completely is inspirational. Your children are very lucky x Thank you so much for linking to #ThePrompt x

  15. Oh lovely. I am so sorry that you had to go through this but my word you are strong. I commend you on being better , for breaking free of the cycle and being better. Well done xxx

  16. Wow. What a truly heartfelt and moving piece. I’m so sorry that your childhood was so tough. I also feel for your mother, as her unhappiness was manifested in yours. I hope your life now is what you always wanted, filled with smiles and love between you and your family. X

  17. I am so sorry that you had such a shite childhood. You certainly had more than your fair share of sorrow. 🙁
    That said, be proud of yourself that you’ve broken the cycle. That takes strength.
    We can’t choose our family. We are not responsible for their actions – only our own.
    I would be proud to have your book on my shelf. Or Kindle..
    Love, T x

  18. What a moving story. I’m sorry you had such an awful experience of childhood. I also had an unpleasant (polite word, understatement) stepfather. It can take a long time to overcome. Thank you for sharing your story xxx #ThePrompt

  19. You are an inspiration, and as Caroline says, so many people repeat the same mistakes, whereas you managed to break the cycle and are now an amazing mum to your little ones. And well done on the book, too. Wishing you every success with it, as you deserve x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  20. I still don’t know how you have managed to turn out so well balanced given what you went though. Your experiences make me feel really sad that life had to be that way for you. Your draft is great though – from a reader’s point of view – I will buy your book when you publish it! X #ThePrompt

  21. Wow, what a childhood…or lack of really. Such a moving excerpt from the book and a story that needs to be shared, obviously. Well done and what an amazing person you are for conquering all of that.

  22. Wow – what a moving and inspiring story, Mummy Tries! I can’t wait to read your book, it sounds like you have overcome so much more than any child should ever have to. So glad you managed to escape your childhood, all credit and respect to you. Love Kx #PoCoLo

  23. From that short extract I think your book will make a very compelling read. I’m sorry you had such a hard time growing up though – reading that, my heart went out to your childhood self. Well done for overcoming it and for finishing the first draft! #theprompt xx

  24. I too was the eldest of children, born to a mother who needed people to love her because. I have 5 younger brothers and sisters. Luckily mine was neurotically overprotective, but I am glad you got help when you needed it and when you broke down.

  25. What a lovely comment to read Caroline, thank you so much for this and all your support. What sets the cycle breakers apart from the cycle repeaters appears to be the $1m dollar question. Writing the book has been a great way to channel my energies amid all the sleep deprivation! xx

  26. It must be great when you see those ones hon, I bet they’re really proud of themselves too. My counsellor used to tell me that I was one of her biggest success stories, which was a good incentive to keep me on the straight and narrow xxx

  27. Oh my gosh! Congrats on writing your story. Such a tough time. I work in a school with unfortunately a lot of pupils in your position and I am proud a decade on when they come back and shown that they have made a positive change and have managed to turn their lives around. Well done lovely and good luck with it all xxx

  28. I have so much respect for you knowing that you had such a tough and damaging start in life yet have managed to turn our life around. You hear too often about kids growing up and repeating their parents mistakes and that could so easily have been the case for you. It sounds like you have struggled and strived to get where you are and it must have been incredibly hard for you to break the destructive cycle. Congrats on writing your book hon, I am so impressed with it and am sure it will be a fantastic read! xx #brilliantblogposts

  29. My heart goes out to kids who are in the same boat as I was twenty years ago Denise! It was hard back then, but I think it would be even tougher now in today’s world…

  30. Your book is going to be a gripping read.  Yours is a very dark story – children who move around the most between schools are the most vulnerable because there is no-one to help them at all.  Things being unsafe for you both at home and at school is something no child should have to put up with… but that makes your determination and vision even as a young child even more amazing.


  31. Sending you so much love and healing. There are many similarities here with my own history it’s a little bit scary, from lies about my Dad, suicide, violence and leaving home at exactly the same age! You are an amazing women and thanks so much for sharing this Zx

  32. Your story is so moving, it must have felt so tough to be living through that. So glad that you were able to break the cycle with your own family. You are an inspiration. X

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