Beside the physical abuse, what are the other aspects of the relationship between Dave and his mother in A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer?

2 Answers | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Dave Pelzer's A Child Called "It," his mother is openly abusive of her son. The most obvious abuse is that of a physical nature, and her mental illness drives her to create a variety of painful and tortuous "punishments" for her son, even when he is young. To the outside world, Dave's mother...

...glowed with love for her children.

She seemed the perfect caregiver. However, at home she was viciously insane.

From a psychological standpoint, all of his mother's frustrations and anger (even though they were unjustified) were poured down on Dave.

As a child living in a dark world, I feared for my life and thought I was alone.

While young, he was forced to repeat of himself, to himself:

I am a bad boy!

His mother became not only his tormentor, but his jailer as well. She abused him emotionally and mentally by isolating him from others—as Dave is ignored by other family members—his older brother, later his younger brother, and even his father—who should have defended him—his suffering is increased.

Child abuse has a domino effect that spreads to all who touch the family. It takes its greatest toll on the child and spreads to the immediate family to the spouse who is often torn between the child and their mate. From there it goes to other children in the family who do not understand and also feel threatened.

Sometimes the abuse was a combination of physical punishment and mental and emotional abuse, as Dave was forced to sleep away from the family—sometimes in the garage or in the basement.

Sometimes at night I would wake up and try to imagine I was a real person, sleeping under an electric blanket, knowing I was safe and that somebody loved me.

For a long time, Dave's only desire was to become as "invisible" as possible so that he could survive—hoping his mother would not notice him. As he got older, the relationship became something of a twisted contest: Dave's mother abused him and he did all he could to thwart her. When Dave experienced the smallest of successes, he was "thrashed repeatedly." He tried often to outsmart his mother, but usually she caught on quickly and he was brutalized again.

Toward the end of the story, Dave's mother tried to rob him of his identity; first he was referred to simply as "The Boy." Finally, she told him he was nothing more than an "it." This was another form of mental torture as his mother worked to diminish his sense of identity and his humanity. There never seemed to be any reason for her behavior other than her psychoses.

In the very early years, his mother loved and cared for Dave. As she became more unstable, the relationship deteriorated to physical torment; later it changed into a battle of the wills—a mental contest; and, finally Dave's mother's emotional cruelty reached a new low when she told him that he was nothing: a "nonentity." While the physical abuse is horrific, equally terrible is the emotional and mental abuse Dave also endured.

Additional Source:

Pelzer, David. A Child Called "It." Omaha: Omaha Press, 1995.

miya1999's profile pic

miya1999 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

another part of the relationship between him and his mother was the emotional neglect .his mother got to the point where she didnt careif he got hert or even died

We’ve answered 318,929 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question