Dave Pelzer's Life Story Dave Pelzer was born in 1960 and grew up in a middle-class suburb of San Francisco. His dad was a firefighter whose work kept him away for days at a time. His mother was a homemaker and an alcoholic who started abusing Dave when he was four years old. While his mother cared for the rest of the family, Dave was starved, beaten, burned, and referred to as "the boy" and eventually, "it." His mother made him eat his brother's feces, drink ammonia, and would hold his arm over a gas stove. Dave internalized his mother's hatred and believed he was unworthy of love. No one stopped his mother. In the Pelzer household, dad worked, and mom raised the boys. Dave says his father was the perfect passive observer. For Dave, survival became a matter of out-witting his mother. School was a safe haven for Dave. It was a break from his mother's cruelty, and he could steal food from the cafeteria and from classmates' lunches. Teachers noticed his odd behavior and evidence of physical abuse, but no official action was taken until 1972. Two of Dave's 5th grade teachers risked their careers and notified authorities, saving Dave's life. From age 12 to age 18, Dave lived in a series of foster homes. Fearful of becoming homeless when he became a legal adult, Dave dropped out of high school and worked double shifts at a factory. He passed his G.E.D. and joined the Air Force. For the first time in his life he felt stability. Despite the years of abuse, Dave could still feel the psychological pull of his mother and he craved her acceptance. He tried to stay away, but life-altering events would bring them together twice before she passed away. The first time was at his father's funeral. When his mother tried to slap Dave's face, he held up his hand to halt her and said, "May God help you, Mrs. Pelzer, because no one else will. You may think bad things about me, but I am a good person...Now get out of my way." The second encounter was after the birth of his son, Steven. Dave wrestled with questions only his mother could answer. Why did this happen? Was it genetic? If my son does something, am I going to lash out at him? But his mother didn't have any answers. He realized he had to rid himself of resentment and forgive her. The act of forgiveness, not forgetting, cleansed his soul and made him feel more grateful than before. "[My son]Steven is the first human being I ever loved. He will graduate high school. He will graduate college. He has the world in front of him. My job has always been to protect him from this atrocity, and that's my greatest achievement."Dave now uses what he has learned from his tragic past to help others. He has written four international best sellers and his most recent book, Help Yourself, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
I've read these before and thought I should pass along this information to put awareness of child abuse out there.
Grab the tissues!
Grab the tissues!