“We won’t arrest you today because your daughter is here”Mall security stated.

I was crying so hard as we sat in that store Claire’s. I had a major anxiety attack. Part of me wanted so badly for them to arrest my mother but I was terrified of losing something I thought I had… a mom. I was young close to 7 or 8 years old. As my heart raced I looked into the servility guard ladie’s eyes as she tried to reassure that I was okay. I couldn’t breath. I hated shopping with my mom.

I have barely ever spoken of my the period of time that my mom stole things. It was a dark family secret very people were aware of what took place. My mother understood that me being with her on her “stealing adventures” would create a distraction and prevent an arrest. 

Kleptomaniac- is someone with an impulse control disorder that results in the irresistible urge to steal things.

My mother stole groceries, food, toys, jewelry, clothes and even household products. I spent most of this time period wishing to God I was dumb and had no idea what was going on. But I was too smart even young. I knew the purses my mom would wear and the mood she would get into. I understood the look she would make before she stole. I felt so guilty and ashamed because there were times my mom would almost get caught and I would cause a scene or distract the employee to prevent her from being caught. 

I felt an obligation and a responsibility to protect my mom even though she was a monster to me. 

From that moment on in Claire’s my mother took me on every shopping adventure to prevent arrest. It wasn’t until months to a year later that my brother and I got home from school. Hours pasted, around 10pmish my mother came home with a distraught look in her face. She sat down on the bottom stair not able to look at my face. She told me about how she went into krogers earlier that day and stole and then as she walked out she was arrested for stealing.. cleansers. I held her as she cried really hard.

I was asked recently why I refer to my mom as my mom instead by name… this is because I was my mom’s mother, her protector, i was her therapist, her personal assistant, her guardian, her sounding board for decisions. This was very wrong it forced me to grow up despite the abuse and torture I still look at my mother as someone I will always love. Just because someone is disgusting and toxic doesn’t mean I have to refer to them as something other than the name i knew them as. 

To this very day I get heart palpitations as I walk out of stores. I have never personally stolen anything but because of the period of time that my mom forced me to assist her in her stealing adventures I remember the anxiety the fear and the pressure of those moments. I learned that I never wanted to steal. I learned that working for my things was worth more than purchasing them. The best lesson I ever could have learned from this experience… the actions we choose to make have consequences and those consequences effect not only us but those closest to us. 


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