One of my worst waking nightmares from childhood was homework, especially maths, when as a very scared seven year old I tried to do as best as I could. I did not understand maths very well, and instead of explaining it to me my adoptive father just become very angry at his stupid daughter. He slammed his fist on the table and shouted, “Just write a number, any damn number!” and swore loudly at me. I was thinking feverishly about what number I was supposed to write. I could feel my pulse when, very frightened, I scratched a number on the paper. Again he shouted, “How the hell can you say that this is correct?” and swore at me again. He grabbed my pencil, pounded his fist on the table once more and yelled at me to go to hell.
My adoptive father was excellent at maths himself; it was what he did for a living, it came easy to him, and he was very proud of that. But he just couldn’t believe that anyone could have trouble learning it, especially his own daughter. This homework terrorism would last for hours, several times a week. And it always ended up with me crying, and being put to bed while I heard him complain to the world and everyone about how incredible stupid I was. “How,” he asked, “is it possible to understand absolutely nothing?”
This went on for years. Whenever I brought home a poor test result to be signed, I got yelled at and beaten, so I tried to sign them myself. This was of course discovered, and so I was beaten for that, too. But what was a frightened little girl suppose to do? I have so many awful memories from the years that I was in primary school, and they often come back to haunt me, telling me how stupid I am, just like my adoptive father used to do. I wish I could just forget them all.