Monday, August 3, 2009

Did Dave Pelzer's Mother from "A Child Called It" Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

During the entire time I was reading "A Child Called It", I couldn't help but draw correlations between David Pelzer's mother (Catherine Roerva Christen Pelzer) and Borderline Personality Disorder. After I was finished reading the book, I started my search to see what mental illness Catherine had suffered. All I have managed to find was that she was mentally ill and an alcoholic. No details have emerged of what type of mental illness she suffered. So, with the facts about Catherine from "A Child Called It" and professional resources (namely Lawon's Understanding the Borderline Mother) about BPD, I will pose case that Catherine suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

David Pelzer paints the picture of a seemingly normal childhood until his mother's behavior changed radically. He describes his mother as a "wicked witch" on (pg 30), which hit the nail on the head. She exhibits the behavior of the prototypical BPD Witch. "The darkness within the borderline Witch is annihilating rage. Her inner experience is the conviction of being evil, and her behavior evokes submission... She is filled with self-hatred and may single out one child as the target of her rage. The Witch's message to her child is: Life is war" (pg 38) Lawson.

WOW. Catherine was most certainly filled with rage. Every page of that book, Catherine was filled with rage that she took out on her son day in and day out. Her inner experience is the conviction of being evil, where she even speaks of it on (pg 41) of Pelzer's book, "Now it's time I showed you what hell is like!" Throughout all of her abuse, her behavior was to evoke submission from David. She was constantly beating him down mentally, emotionally, and physically. He says that his soul was consumed in a black void from the intense abuse by his mother (pg 132). She certainly was filled with self hatred as indicated by her alcoholism, not taking care of herself ("Her once beautiful, shiny hair is now frazzled clumps. As usual, she wears no makeup. She is overweight, and she knows it. In all, this has become Mother's typcial look" pg 5), and being so filled with annihilating rage. And, the fact that the BPD Witch singles out one child as a target of her rage is so revealing because Catherine singled out David. For years he was the only child abused. When David was put into foster care, the younger brother was then singled out as the target of her rage.

David was without a doubt the "no-good child"; however, remarkably he didn't turn-out to be what Lawson identified as the lost child (pg 171). His mother, Catherine, called him a "bad boy", and an entire chapter is devoted to the "bad boy" David.
  • Catherine had David look in the mirror and recite, "I'm a bad boy" repeatedly (pg 31).
  • Even though he was successful with school, his mother told him he was a "bad boy" and held him back in the 1st grade (pg 36).
  • David was left out of Christmas due to Santa only bringing "good boys and girls" toys (pg 38).
  • His mother accuses David of making her life a "living hell" (pg 41) and talks to the other siblings saying how she didn't have to worry about them becoming like David, "a bad boy" (pg 43).
  • Even when David was awarded the honor of naming the school newspaper, Catherine says, "There is nothing you can do to impress me! Do you understand me? You are a nobody! An IT! You are nonexistent! You are a bastard child! I hate you and I wish you were dead. Dead! Do you hear me? Dead!" (pg 140).
As mentioned above, the BPD Witch's message to her child is that life is war. David recieved that message pretty early into the story as he states on (pg 43), "For the first time, I had won! Standing alone in that damp, dark garage, I knew, for the first time, that I could survive. I decided that I would use any tactic I could think of to defeat Mother or to delay her from her grizzly obsession." Catherine put David in the middle of an all out war with her, even making him sit in the prisoner of war position (pg 50, 84, 111, 114, 123) by sitting on his hands with his head thrust backward. Lawson states (pg 125), "The Witch's children feel like prisoners of a secret war."

In Lawson (pg 137), rejection triggers the desperate fear of sinking into the cold, dark abyss of abandonment, a fate the BPD Witch feels worse than death. Catherine was an alcoholic who had been drinking from the age of 13. Brought up in the Mormon community of Salt Lake City, she would hide in the outhouse during Prohibition to wince down bootleg whiskey. Her parents were divorced, which made them outcasts in that religious community, and Catherine was frequently locked in a closet, denied food, and told how despicable she was. Catherine primarily appears as a Witch, which a BPD who primarily appear as a Witch is filled with self-hatred as a result of surviving a childhood that required complete submission to a hostile or sadistic caregiver (pg 131) Lawson.

The BPD Witch is sadistically controlling and punitive with her children where they fear their survival. The Witch's children are forced to submit to her control and may be victims of sadistic emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Lawson explains, "Therapists hear horrifying stores of child abuse that never make the headlines... Some children may not survive simply because they are too young to get away" (pg 122). David Pelzer is VERY fortunate that he survived his horrifying ordeal with his mother.

Throughout the book, David speaks of being able to survive his mother's abuse. He made a promise to himself when the discipline drastically turned to punishment out of control, "I knew, for the first time, that I could survive. I decided that I would use any tactic I could think of to defeat Mother... I knew if I wanted to live, I would have to think ahead... I could never give in to her. That day I vowed to myself that I would never, ever again give that bitch the satisfaction of hearing me beg her to stop beating me" (pg 43). He later refers back to that promise when he was stabbed by his mother, "I wanted to lie down and quit, but the promise I made years ago kept me going. I wanted to show The Bitch that she could beat me only if I died, and I was determined not to give in, even to death" (pg 91). He was a survivor from the start through his determination of thought. References of survival also include:
  • He also talks about that "water was my only means of survival" (pg 104) as his mother starved him for ten consecutive days.
  • Later, when his mother used chlorine gas while locking him in the bathroom, David relates that "to survive her new game, I had to use my head" (pg 108).
  • He started to lose his instinct for survival when his mother had him sit in POW style on a 1 inch diameter of rocks, stating "all my efforts for mere survival seemed futile. My attempts to stay one step ahead of Mother were useless. A black shadow was always over me" (pg 111).
Because the Witch emerges when the mother and child are alone, no witnesses can verify the child's experience (pg 125) Lawson. Catherine typically abused David when no one else was around, making sure to cover up the abuse if and when family members returned to the house. David says on pg 42, "I knew Mother never acted his bizarre when anyone else was in the house."
  • When Ron came home, Catherine ceased to attempt to burn David further on the stove (pg 42).
  • When Catherine tried to have David eat the dirty diapers, the abuse stopped when Ron, Stan, and David's father returned to the vacation cabin (pg 57).
  • David always noted that he appreciated when his father was home, calling him his protector, as the abuse was not as prevalent. (pg 101).
  • When he would come home from school and his brothers weren't home, David knew that his mother's "game" would be full force.
  • After Ron and Stan went go to bed, Catherine ordered David upstairs to feed him ammonia (pg 73).
  • David even devotes an entire chapter to "When Father is Away", starting the chapter with, "When he was home, Mother only did about half the things that she did when he was gone" (pg 101).
The BPD Witch can be cruel to the target of her rage; however other children may not perceive her as a Witch if they do not possess qualities that trigger her rage. With the information contained in Pelzer's book, Catherine did not treat the older two or younger baby abusively. They were immune to her physical abuse. Being cruel, the BPD Witch may make a statement such as "I'm going to make your life a living Hell" or "I'm going to kill you" (pg 137) states Lawson. Catherine said both of these statements to David: (pg 41) "Now it's time I showed you what hell is like!" and (pg 85) "If you don't finish on time, I'm going to kill you." David continues by saying that she said that same statement over and over for almost a week (pg 86).

The need for power and control over others is important to the BPD Witch as well as the need to elicit a response of fear and shock. Catherine certainly illustrated how she needed each of these. She exerted power over David, reducing him to a "slave" (pg 50, 84, 126), an "it" (pg 140), and "the boy" (pg 50). She controlled every part of his life down to what he ate (or rather, what he didn't eat). He was controlled through having to "work" constantly around the house with only being allowed to attend school. Her pathological "needs" resulted in David viewing his home as a "madhouse" (pg 104) and "hell house " (pg 137), as well as his existance as a "morbid life" (pg 116). He felt as if his soul was consumed in a "black void" (pg 132).

She used fear and shock throughout her abuse. He was relegated to the basement on a cot, not knowing when he would be fed, allowed to see sunlight, or beat (ten rounders (pg 111), whipped with dog chains (pg 116), broom handle blows to the backs of legs (pg 117)). He was often intense with fear: shaking, unable to concentrate, heart skipping beats, and startled. He was put though tremendous shocking situations such as being fed ammonia, subjected to chlorine gas, submerged under cold water for long lengths of time, burned on a gas stove, arm dislocated, stabbed in the abdomen, smashed into the counters breaking his teeth, forced to eat dirty diapers & rancid food, and so much more.

Children who resist the control face worse punishment. David did not resist her control. He knew the rules & punishments to his mother's "game": (1) if he took too long to do his chores, his mother would withhold food (2) if he looked at one of his siblings without permission, he was slapped (3) if he was caught taking food, he was subjected to hideous punishment (pg 83).

David did not resist control. He would do everything in his power to get his work done under her strict time restraints. He says (pg 50) during the time when he had to stand until summoned to perform chores, "It was made very clear that getting caught sitting or lying down in the basement would bring dire consequences. I had become my Mother's slave." Without putting up a fight, he took his "punishments": remaining in the chlorine gas filled bathroom, submerged under cold water & then forced to sit outside on rocks 1 inch in diameter (Bathtub and Backyard Treatment pg 114), and skating in icy cold weather without appropriate clothing (pg 120). Additionally, he would sit for extraordinary lengths of time on the bottom step standing and in POW position as she instructed. Once when he decided to not "take anybody's crap anymore" (pg 142), the results were a stomping from his brothers and Mother, a special batch of chlorine gas in the bathroom, and a choking.

Destroying valued objects and being intentionally withholding, the BPD Witch may intentionally withhold what their children need. David's mother withheld food from David, severely starving him. He only had his brother's left-overs from breakfast on occasion, a P&J sandwich with a few carrot sticks for lunch, and rarely any dinner. Due to the obsession to find food, David resorted to taking other kid's lunches, (pg 48), food from the grocery store (pg 59), frozen cafeteria food (pg 63), begging for food (pg 69), and frozen from from his basement (pg 79). He also would eat scraps from his garbage can after his family ate (pg 62) until his mother started to add ammonia to the waste or planting rotten food so that he would get sick (pg 63). She also would tease the starving boy by putting food in front of him then taking it away (Two Minute Game pg 105 -107). When she found out about his eating of frozen cafeteria food, she forced him to vomit it up by forcing her finger down his throat, scooping the vomit out of the toilet, and then eating the vomit later that evening (pg 66 - 68).

Along with withholding food, Catherine also intentionally withheld proper hygiene and clothes for David. Kids made fun of him for how he smelled calling him David Pelzer-Smellzer, and teachers not used to his smell wave their hands in front of their face. He was consistently in tattered and worn clothes, even if new clothes existed in the home for him.
  • David says, "Because my Mother had me wear the same clothes week after week, by October my clothes had become weathered, torn, and smelly" (pg 47).
  • He continues further in the chapter, "In September, I returned to school with last year's clothes" (pg 57).
  • He indicates that his mother had newer clothes for him but withheld them: "One Sunday during the last month of summer ... Mom let me put on new clothes that I had received last Christmas" (pg 123).
  • By the time he was rescued, "My long sleeve shirt has more holes than Swiss cheese. It's the same shirt I've worn for about two years. Mother has me wear it every day as her way to humiliate me. My pants are just as bad, and my shoes have holes in the toes. I can wiggle my big toe out of one of them" (pg 6).
The BPD Witch organizes a "campaign of denigration", enlisting others as allies against the target of her rage. "She may seek out friends, family members (including siblings and children), and co-workers of her victim in whom to confide fabricated stories designed to discredit her enemy" (pg 141) says Lawson. David's mother, Catherine, denigrated David by turning family against David including his father and other siblings. She also had the school turned against him, pegging him as a thief and "bad boy". She told neighbors negative things about David, further denigrating him. Many believe the allegations because of the intensity of emotion. When the ability to enlist allies disrupts and divides groups, such as neighbors and the school system, that could actually help him.

The Witch does not recognize boundaries and exploit the child's trust by denying right to privacy and humiliating & degrading the child.
  • Catherine stripped off David's clothes having him stand naked, where he "shook from a combination of fear and embarrassment" (pg 40).
  • For months, David was forced to sleep under the breakfast table next to a cat litter box with newspapers as his covers (pg 68).
  • After his mother made David drink dish-washing soap, David needed to use the bathroom and begged his mother to use the bathroom, and she refused. David "stood downstairs, afraid to move, as clumps of the watery matter fell through my underwear and down my pant legs, onto the floor. I felt so degraded; I cried like a baby. I had no self respect of any kind... I felt lower than a dog" (pg 77).
  • While lying naked in the tub submerged as his mother instructed, his brothers would come into the bathroom, glare at him, shake their heads, and turn away (pg 113).
  • After all the humiliation he endured, he talks about how he ate like a homeless dog, grunted to communicate, didn't care if he was made fun of, and nothing was below him (pg 132).
  • At one point, his morale became so low that he hoped to be killed (pg 141).
The BPD Witch seeks and marries a "Fisherman", someone she can dominate and control, which is EXACTLY who Catherine married. Stephen Pelzer was completely dominated and controlled by Catherine. He was a subservient partner who relinquished his will at her command (pg 179), as Lawson describes the Fisherman. Further, this type of husband has little or no self-esteem and see himself as a loser. He also fails to protect his children from abuse. All of these characteristics fit Stephen who does not step in to stop the abuse (pg 50, 58):
  • When David was first deprived of food, Stephen gives David scraps of food and tries to get Catherine to change her mind about feeding David.
  • Catherine and Stephen begin to fight, and as the arguments between them became more frequent, the Stephen began to change-- he is not around for David.
  • When David was forced to eat his own vomited hot dog, his father "stood like a statue"and watched him eat something "a dog wouldn't touch" after unsuccessfully "trying to talk Mother out of her demand" (pg 66 -67)
  • David's father stood by as David's mother refused to let David use the bathroom but instead had to use a five-gallon bucket to relieve his diarrhea (pg 77).
  • David's father started to help David with the dishes. Catherine stopped this, as well as she said that Stephen gave David too much attention. After that, David notes that his father "gave up" (pg 101 -102).
  • When David was stabbed by his mother, David's father didn't even look at David when David reported the incident.
David said, "I knew that Mother controlled him like she controlled everything that happened in her house... All my respect for my Father was gone" (pg 90 - 91). Stephen gave up on David without a fight and started not even staying at home on his days off. One day he told David that he was sorry (pg 103) and eventually left the family all together (pg151), leaving David at the hands of his terribly abusive mother, Catherine. David said that he was fully aware of his father's lack of courage to rescue him, and he hated him for it (pg 134).

Marsha Linehan, in her book Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of the Borderline Patient, describes the normalcy that BPD's present to others. When people around the BPD mother hear her complaining about her child, the assumption is that the child is troubled rather than the mother. Further in social settings, the BPD mother may be engaging, gracious, and endearing.
  • David talks about how when his mother was a den mother for the Cub Scouts, the kids commented how they wished their mother was like Catherine (pg 39).
  • She snowed the school administration by showing up with her infant son in her arms and agreeing to cooperate with the school regarding David (pg 53).
  • Additionally, he notes that in the presence of neighbors, his mother "played the role of the loving, caring parent-- just as she had when she was a Cub Scout den mother" (pg 122).
  • Catherine also painted a different picture of their home life when David's Grandmother came for the holidays (pg 126).
Lawson points out that "children have faith in their parents and believe in their greater wisdom. No child wants to believe that his mother is capable of brutality" (pg 273).
  • After stabbing David, he accepted his mother's increased compassion towards him. He hoped that she was trying to make up to him and hoping that he was back into the "family fold" (pg 94).
  • Later that night, when he goes to bed with the large laceration, he goes so far to say "I felt safe knowing she was nearby to watch over me" (pg 95).
  • Before a visit from Social Services, Catherine manipulates David into thinking that his ordeal was over and that she will "try to be a good mother" (pg 123). He even starts calling her "Mom" at this point.
  • Near the end of the book, David is called an "It" by his mother, and he reveals, "I gave all that I could to accomplish anything possible for her recognition. But again, I failed. Mother's words were no longer coming from the booze; they were coming from her heart" (pg 141).
So, even through the devastating and intense abuse, David still held onto the hope that his mother loved him and that she would return to being a nurturing and caring parent.

Through and through, I believe that Catherine suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. She illustrates the maternal functioning of a Borderline Mother, including:
  1. Confusing her child
  2. Not apologizing for or remember inappropriate behavior
  3. Expects to be taken care of
  4. Punishes or discourages independence
  5. Envies, ignores, or demeans her children's accomplishments
  6. Destroys, denigrates, or undermines self-esteem
  7. Expects children to respond to her needs
  8. Frightens and upsets children
  9. Disciplines inconsistently or punitively
  10. Feels left out, jealous, or resentful if child is loved by someone else
  11. Uses threats or abandonment (or actual abandonment) to punish the child
  12. Does not believe in her children's basic goodness
  13. Does not trust her children
Catherine fully qualifies for each of these points. Further and more specifically, as the Witch BPD mother, she sent the following messages to David:
  • I could kill you
  • You will be sorry
  • You won't get away with this
  • You deserve to suffer
  • I'd be better off without you
  • You'll never escape my control
  • It's my right as your parent to control you
  • I'm going to make you pay
The Witch's child is raised in a hopeless situation-- and David made it out with his resolve, smart thinking, and strong will. The Witch's words can be vile, her heart cold as stone-- thankfully David survived the vile words and the heartless mother to become a highly successful man and an inspiration for all.


  1. You can call it whatever you want in a clinical sense. I call it Fu@#ing crazy as hell. Hope that when she dies there's a hell below.

    1. Thank-you! Somebody who agrees with me!

  2. She passed away in 1992 from a heart attack... and yes, she is / was 'crazy as hell'. No one in their right mind treats ANYONE anything like how David and his brother were treated. Tragically horrible and heart-wrenching, particularly due to the victims being helpless children.

  3. I've read a Child called it.
    Im reading The Lost Boy now.
    Thank you so much for doing this for Dave.
    Your heart is in the right place.

  4. I am in the process of reading, "A Man Named Dave" and completely wrapped up. His Grandmother was definitely mentally ill-- narcissistic for sure but the book doesn't contain enough details (to the point where I am presently)to assess anything further. Let me know what you think of "The Lost Boy" if and when you get a chance. Thanks for stopping by. Happiness to you and yours always :)

  5. I just starting reading the boy call It, and this story is so heart breaking, I can't believe that his own mother could do that.. The book made me so mad, that I actually wanted to see where she lived, so she can get the same treatment that she brought on her own child, but then I found out that she had passed away in 1992, I hope she went to hell for what she did...... Kids are innocent, and precious, and I hate all the ones out there that abuse their own children/ mentally/or psychically.... I'm so sorry for all you went through Dave, Take care..

  6. Dying in her sleep from a heart attack was just too humane for her. Just as he said:May God be with you for no one else will.

  7. I just can't believe that it took so long for someone to rescue him and then for his brother too! How can anyone who knew what was going on in that house, can live with themselves by never coming foward and seeking justice for this boys.. I know I would never be able to pretend that I did'nt know anything. I wont judge her, because Iam no to judge her I live it to the man upstairs. Dave god was with you no matter what abuse you endured in those years, because you survived it and you are a better man and father because of it.

  8. Sadly, truth on child abuse is one of the many highly common problems associated with children. Child abuse has been evident for centuries, but only recently has been diminished due to laws enforcing the rights children have against domestic abuse. These laws were, however, not enforced until the 70s. Unfortunately, what this means is that children before this era were unprotected from the child neglecting or abuse that was so frequently performed (during / after David and his brother's abuse).

    Additionally, the Pelzer brothers and husband / father in the household were ALL emotionally abused. The husband / father, although negligent in protecting his kids, was an emotionally abused spouse. The older brothers were manipulated and brain-washed against younger brothers (once David was put into foster care, Richard was the recipient of the abuse). And in the end the grandmother in junction with the school, saved David from certain death from his mother's hands.

    I would bet that the older brothers that were recruited to help the mother with the abuse are grappling with their pasts just as David and his brother Richard are trying to find peace with what they went through with the physical abuse.

  9. i cant even think about what u went through dave.. i myself was from an abusive famliy..late night beatings,my older brother molested me for 4years my dad friends tryed doing the some age 12 i went to live with my mother who hated even the ground that i walk on because of my light brown skin was way too much for her german ass.. i too went into foster care and thats were i fund my real family.. to my foster mon shonda trevino thank u so much for being there for me i love u mommy.. Dave after i read were book i felt like my life was hollywood compared to urs,im so sorry from the bottom of my heart.. i too now have a son and all i do is kill him with love something i never had when i was growing up.. to everyone out the child abuse is real, be aware and never take anything lighty.. because a stronger got me out off the hell hole i called home..David god loves u sweet baby and the best is yet to come that what i tell myself everyday...
    HELP A STRONGER:Angelica davis

  10. May peace, love, and happiness surround you Angelica. God bless you for your perseverance and strength. My best wishes for you.

  11. thank u Gretel ella little things like that helps me get through the day. god bless

  12. This reminds me of my grandson under care of his stepmom and my sons weakness to stand up 4 his son. And now they say they may go to Japan. She is in army medical.Please pray that somehow thier real Mom will get custody. There is no physical abuse but belt spanking but isolation,being black sheep never good enough,game,no comfort swift end to any joy or anything hes good at.

  13. hey do u guys know the name of his foster parnets?

  14. Dave was in 5 foster homes:

    1st- Aunt Mary
    2nd- Mr. & Mrs. Cantaze
    3rd- Mr. & Mrs. Turnbough
    4th- Mr. & Mrs. Nulls
    5th- The Joneses

  15. It seems as if she was suffering some kind of personality disorder which is generally caused from being abused as a child (often of a sexual nature), indicating that she herself suffered abuse as a child. She also mentions after beating David "When i was your age, you wouldn't believe what i was put through..." (pg 266) indicating that she suffered extreme abuse as a child.

  16. Bingo-- that's what this blog details. She was suffering from BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)and how her background as well as alcohol abuse contributed to the BPD.

  17. Was Dave's mother ever prosecuted?

  18. No, she was never prosecuted. After Dave was taken away by the police, his brother (Richard) soon took his place as the abused son. Richard was never taken from his mother but endured the abuse for 10 years until he moved in with friends. Although the abuse he received was brutal, he did not endure much of what his brother did. Hope this answers your question.

    She died in 1992. When she died, the youngest (Kevin) was still living at her house.

  19. Doing an auto biography on the witch which includes a short obituary. Is there more information on her? Parents names, education if any.

  20. I wish she was put through everything she put her children through, over and over for an eternity. Reading this has really upset me and I don't care what mental illness she had, she was sane, knew what she was doing, and she made the defenseless in her life suffer her disease rather than she suffer alone. She didn't suffer from BPD - David and then Richard suffered in her stead. I hope her putrid soul roasts over satan's rotisserie spit for an eternity.

  21. Father: Stephen Joseph Pelzer died of cancer in 1980 in San Francisco (born 1923). He was a fire-man of Austrian decent.

    Mother: Catherine Roerva Christen Pelzer died January 6, 1992 in her sleep of a heart-attack (born 1929).

  22. hannah louise..

    i was reading the child called it.. and have also just finished reading the lost boy.. not im on the 3rd book. . i really wanted him to go back to the cantaze in the second book bless him. .i cant belive how such a lovely mother like that could turn so quick. . regardless to wheather she had a disorder! all the things she made him do i was discussed!! but on to the better things like the books are amazing and have really loved learning about the boy david.
    i cant wait to read the 3rd 1 which i will be reading tonight..

  23. It's horrible how a mother could do so to her own child. And there isn't alway sickness for it.
    In sweden we had a retired police chief. Who now is charged at raping women and almost raping a girl in who's 14 years old.
    Now his as an excuse his loyer claims that he has a 'sickness' so he loses control of what's right and wrong.
    Honestly ?
    I don't believe it at all.

  24. You guys, i know she was a horrid mother, but dont wish for her to be in heck, and dont wish for her to 'get the same treatment'. Wherever she is right now, we have to pray for her, for her soul was clouded, and she needed help. So pray for all those people out there like her, to become better persons and never lose sight of what matters.

  25. It's really sad to me that this kind of abuse happens daily. Kids go through this hell all the time, and the adults who cause this will be the ones who suffer so horribly in hell. And also, what angers me, is that parents choose to have kids and just "do it because they can't stand it anymore." It was their choice in the first place.
    I was reading lately, and there was a woman in 2001, that drowned her kids in the bathtub because "she couldn't stand it anymore." When the police got there, they found wet feet prints throughout the house of the oldest 7 year old boy who was the last one to die, trying to run away from his mother. And when they removed his body, they found the body of a 3 months old underneath him.
    I'm sorry for talking about these really horrible things, but I think that many people are oblivious to these things. They still happen daily. And it angers me that they do.

  26. what happened to his brothers ross, scot and the others.i wonder if david sow his mother before she passed away.

    1. Yes he was the main one taking care of her in her old age. She never apologized but did give a weak explanatiom: his voice annoyed her.

  27. How can anyone do tis to a child and thenhis brothers just watch plus the father that lady needs to get her @ss beat and i hope there shoving vomit in her mouth right now in hell!

  28. Greta, I very much appreciate you shedding some light on how such horrible acts can be committed by a mother. After reading the first book, like many other people, I was compelled to find out more about the family and Roerva. I think it must be human instinct to want to know more about the actual mother's life even though David tells us what is obvious (that she was a very sick woman). I hope that if anyone right now is reading this and is an abuser, that they just let their child or children go to protective care. If you truly hated your own child so much then why would you want them around anyways... It's a sick world but thank our Lord that there is always hope and there are good people in this harsh world.

  29. I don't believe that people who abuse children read blogs or stories of abuse except to discover new ways to abuse their children.

    It is a tragic story for sure. My heart was breaking as I read Dave's story "A child called It". I was often times beaten as a child and was very fearful of my Mother for years. However, I never endured what Dave did. There is no excuse for his Mother's actions, mental illness or the drinking, no excuse in the world to answer for what she did to him and then later to his brother. I give thanks to God that Dave was able to survive and to his teachers who stepped in.

    I pray for Dave's continued happiness with his new family and for the foster parents who showed him kindness and love.

    I also pray for his mother. How awful to feel such rage towards anyone, especially one's own child. I believe she probably knows now what a horrid person she is and has to deal with that for all eternity. How sad, so very sad.

    I think that being the best person Dave can be, being happy and loving his family, hi son is the best revenge.... to live!

    That is what I do when life treats me badly... to be happy in the end. It was what I did when my mom beat me black and blue and it is what I do now when life get rough.... I work hard devise a plan and I make my family, friends and me happy! Then I win for all the right reason.

    God bless us all

  30. Thank you sooo much... i didn't know what she had any i thelped:)

  31. I just finished "A Child Called It"...words escape me to explain the feelings left from Dave's story.

    I just had to know what happened to the mother. I've ordered the other 2 books in triology hoping to find out what happens to other boys. As a victim of an abusive step mother and as her object of hatred ......when I escaped at age 14 my poor little brother replaced me for her hatred. And was subjected to even more abuse than I had.

    I feared for my brother then as I fear for Dave's brothers. But from what I'm reading here, do I understand correctly the mother escaped all earthly punishments? And his remaining siblings were allowed to remain in her care?

    How does our system fail the children so miserably to allow this to happen to other children in a family of known abuse?

    And how is it that family members turn a deaf ear to our pain? My father knew the abuse we suffered and is still with my step mother, 36 years after I ran away. I just can't comprehend it. Aunts, Uncles and my grandfather all knew as well yet no one did a damn thing!

    I agreed with Dave when he continued to say he hated his father more than his mother for not stopping it. How is it possible for so many adults to look the other way? I just can't wrap my brain around it.

    What mental illness would justify ignoring a child's abuse? They are just as guilty as the abusers! What's their consequences?

    So are you telling us Dave's father suffered no earthly punishments either? Unbelievable to say the least.

    The child abuse will never end unless there are consequences for the abusers and the onlookers. There is no safe place for a child to turn to in cases such as Dave's, nor was there any for me.

    Only the strong survive, anger gets you through it. The only thing I ever learned from my childhood was how "NOT" to be a parent. And for that I am eternally grateful for my two beautiful children.

    God bless you Dave.

  32. Catherine Roerva Christen Pelzer died January 6 - Happy Anniversary to the death of a wicked witch!

  33. only thing i can can say is she was ah bad mother no child should have to go threw what you went threw Dave i really cant see how you survived it for so long i read all your books and i cried off of all them i can not see my self going threw that i understand she was your mother wait i don't consider her as a mother she is a fucking witch i hope she rots in hell as for your dad he could have step up and done something hit the bitch in the face or some why did she bother sending your dad after you if she hated you so much she should have let you be she was just a cold heart bitch it makes me mad every time i think of this cause what if another kid is going threw the same thing you went threw ? when they took you away did your mother ever go to jail. i am glad that you have a wonderful family who really cares and love you i love you too Dave a lot of people look up to you just like me GOOD BLESS YOU DAVE HAVE A GREAT LIFE GIVE YOUR FAMILY A BETTER LIFE THEN WAT YOU HAD

  34. she had no right to abuse him

  35. I feel so bad for David...I hope this madness stops ;(
    God Bless you and your family <3


  36. Thank you so very much Kazaza! HUGS!

  37. I read all 3 books within the last 4 days.. at first I didn't think I could handle it.. it literally made me feel ill and I couldn't sleep. I cried with Dave, I smiled when he rose above adversity and cried again at his successes and happiness. Such an amazing human being -- it absorbed my soul. Our general society is plain ignorant as to what really goes on in this arena of "child abuse"... I am appalled at what any sick "mother" like this could do. She deserves to rot in Hell, no matter what her illness was. I wish the Pelzers happiness and peace. Thank you for the blog. It is 4:30 a.m. and I can't sleep thinking of this man's life.

  38. I read a child called it a few years ago and it breaks my heart i had to put the book over ten times it made me cry and i felt for him i was thinking what mother in her right mind would do that to her own child someone she carried for nine months and just out of the blue start abusing him i wish i could go back in time and just shove my first down her throat.A person never gets over something like that and it hurts me that she made the brothers turn on each other a sibling is something you should never lose.

  39. i read all three books and got very touched by Dave's story. On all 3 books i cried because how could there be a mother with such a black heart>:( i swear it got me so mad i felt like if she was in front of me I would of killed her................. i am so glad Dave never gave up and I hope God the Almighty helps ALL of the children around the world that are being abused every day. Amen.

  40. I to was an abused child and back in my day no one came to your recuse. I remember running outside hoping one of the neighbors would help and no one ever did. I made a promise to myself that my children would never no that kind of pain of being abused. Every day I told my children I loved them and hugged them. It was hard somethimes because no one ever did those things to me (hugs, kisses or said they loved me not even grandparents or aunt or anyone)but, I was determined to make a change in the cycle. The only way I could change the cycle was through Knowing the Lord. I forgive my mother because I know she is a christian as well and she has truly changed even though she would never talk about the abuse I know she is sorry, and I do love her now. Sometimes the devil tries to remind me of my past but I have to stay strong and remind myself that my mother to was abused. I'm sorry mom for all that you went through and I can only be so glad that the cycle is now broken with my children and I'm so happy I know my beautiful granchildren have loving parents because God gave me the strength and courage to break the cycle.

    1. Wow! Good for you, you are amazing. You have really made a difference in this world. I am using your strength as inspiration.

    2. I just read the above. I forgive my mother and others as they don't know or understand what they are doing. I must avoid evil, negative family, friend, etc. My mom had 8 kids, I was the scapegoat. I can't hold a grudge and have moved on, holding on to hate or hating somebody only hurts yourself. I understand hurt, love, hate, evil, finally and still moving on. Pray to God everyday, and count my blessings, it could be worst.

  41. I haved. read the first ,book ,over and over again ,and. it hurts me very deep in my heart, and soul to read that a child had such horrible childhood and that took so Long to be rescue, I am deeply sorry Dave for what you endure as. child. ,You know Dave if you get to read this, thank you for such a big courage, & beutiful hearth,and soul you are such a beutiful. just as you were in youre childhood, you were a great solder, keeping youre heart,soul,spirit, being taken away from you ,much love for you ,& youre family

  42. I haved. read the first ,book ,over and over again ,and. it hurts me very deep in my heart, and soul to read that a child had such horrible childhood and that took so Long to be rescue, I am deeply sorry Dave for what you endure as. child. ,You know Dave if you get to read this, thank you for such a big courage, & beutiful hearth,and soul you are such a beutiful. just as you were in youre childhood, you were a great solder, keeping youre heart,soul,spirit, being taken away from you ,much love for you ,& youre family

  43. Having been a victim of child abuse, it traveled with me into adulthood, hence, my siblings carried on where my mother left off. One especially, always ranking me down, insulting, physically beating and starting to fight with me.... 58 now and I find this book and read it about 2 yrs ago. I now know why I never found the true meaning of life and happiness. Love to be alone, no body can hurt me that way. Pets and children are nice to me. Having been hurt, the saying is not always true, if abused you will abused. NO... been there and would never ever want to see or hurt a child like I was abused verbally and physically. I use to wish I was never born. Not hope my mother or whoever would kill me...I survived and still fighting for my respect from others. Love heals....

  44. My adoptive father (he married my mother when she was rejected by my birth father) had been abused in every way imaginable, and my mother still won't give me the details (I told her that's okay, I have an imagination).

    Thankfully my younger (half) sister and I weren't treated that badly. However, there was verbal and emotional abuse. But not physical or sexual. I really think Dad was trying to do his best not to treat us the way he was treated. He never had counseling, either. If we were sent to our rooms as punishment, he let us out to eat dinner, then back to our rooms--he remembered being denied dinner as punishment and wouldn't do that to us.

    I didn't get along with him that well until just before he died in 2000, the years immediately preceding, we started getting along much better. In fact, the day before he died, he played his first game of chess, with my husband.

    Now I have my own son, a 6th-grader, who's on the autism spectrum. He can be a handful, but believe me, I have learned patience. I will not call him names. I will not cuss in front of him. I do my best with him. I know what I put up with, and I do not want my son to go through that.

  45. Why was dave the one being abused nd at the time his brothers weren't??

    1. A BPD mother selects a target of her rage-- an "all bad child"-- therefore, the other children are immune from her abuse. The BPD is prone to black and white thinking, which can lead a parent to "split" one child--or the same child at different times--as “all bad” and thus deserving of punishment and another as "all good." In "all bad" child suffers never learns human bonding. An "all good" child is not given a chance to develop a normal sense of independence and identity as the parent idealizes, rescues, or turns to the child for support. Dr. Christine Lawson (Understanding the Borderline Mother) writes, "Children who are perceived as evil by their mother have two choices: (1) to believe that they are evil, or (2) to die trying to be good. The mother's perception is immutable: no-good children can never win no matter how hard they try." p . 168

  46. I had a really hard time just turning the pages when I read the book "The Lost Child". I went through an entire range of wanting to break down sobbing and then reach through the pages and strangle his mother. I only have one child but I would do anything for my daughter including take a bullet for her. I kept wandering in my mind "How can anyone treat any human being this way let alone her own child?" Life seems so grossly unfair sometimes to see a mother like this one who had five beautiful boys and isolated two of them to be her personal punching bags, while there are literally hundreds of women who cannot conceive and would give anything to have just one. It seems very wrong and unfair to me. Dave, I certainly wish you well and hope you are finding peace in spite of your past. God bless you.

  47. No mother should ever do that to a child. That's wrong. Just because she didn't like him doesn't mean she had the right to do the things she did. I just got done reading the lost boy and figured about looking to see if I could find anything on his mother and sure enough I did. His words are so strong and he is very brave. People can be so careless!

  48. I believe my mother was/is BPD. I won't go into details. She denies the past. My father was also physically/emotionally abusive. They were/are both damaged people, like David's mother, like so many others. I have come a long way but not completely forgiven, as David was wise to do. It is ultimately between each one of us and God, in the end.

  49. It seems with the amount of drinking, David recalls, "fetal alcohol syndrome" would have affected at least the youngest child. The accounts of the abuse are heart wrenching, and I believe them. I am doubting there was as much alcohol consumption as stated, and look at the mental illness as the main culprit.

  50. I read these books when they first came out and what happend to David is sicker than any horror movie I have seen. I am so glad his story has a happy ending. I truly hope David knows the Lord and understands it was God that kept him alive. God Bless David and God please be with all the other little children that have to go through abuse. May they find peace and comfort in your arms.

  51. If that witch of a mom ever hit me I would report her to the cops.

  52. Borderline is a light term for this one...Psychopath fits it to a T...

  53. Anti-social personality disorder could be evident here as well but there's no way to say for sure. She could have been schizophrenic, she could have been a number of things.

    While Borderline rage is a reality, someone with BPD does not experience only one emotion continuously. Mood swings are one of the key aspects of this disorder and while I was reading Dave's work it did not detail any other typical BPD behaviour (note that mood swings in the BPD is uncontrollable and thus unlikely that she could just will herself to be presentable and endearing as this post describes). His mother wasn't suicidal, needy or emotionally dependant. She seemed to be in control of her emotions for the most part. She did not treat Dave badly one day and with love the next, which means she wasn't 'splitting' on him as Borderlines tend to do. Overall her actions became routinely predictable which is unlike someone with BPD.

    I was raised by a BPD parent and while they were controlling and had angry tantrums sometimes, so did they display constant self pity, crying, begging for forgiveness and suicidal tendencies. Perhaps Dave's mother did have BPD, maybe she didn't. We do not have enough insight to be certain.

  54. I have just begun to read "A Child Called It" but I just had to find out what may have happened to the abusive mother. Then it dawned on me..... How could a father, knowing what was happening to his son, allow such behavior to persist. My father, and most every father i n the US would have taken all three boys away from this crazy bitch. I am placing the blame on the father, along with the BPD that Dave's mother had, right in his lap. I see him (almost) as guilty as she was.

  55. I am glad that witch was not my mom.