Oprah Winfrey has shared more details about the abuse she experienced as a child and described how her grandmother would ‘whup’ her all the time for small reasons.
In her new book ‘What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing,’ the 67-year-old detailed the horrific trauma of her upbringing as she shared some of her heartbreaking experiences as a kid on Instagram.
She described how she grew up ‘rarely feeling loved’ and how she spent the first six years of her life with her abusive grandmother before she moved in with her mother who made her sleep on the porch.
She took to Instagram and posted three never-before-seen photos from her childhood, sharing two adorable photos of her as a toddler and one as a young student.
“The most pervasive feeling I remember from my own childhood is loneliness,” Oprah wrote.
“My mother and father were together only once, underneath an old oak tree. Nine months after that singular encounter, I arrived.”
Oprah said she spent the first six years of her life with her abusive grandmother, who beat her regularly.
“As a young girl, I was “whupped” regularly. At the time it was an accepted practice of punishment to discipline a child. My grandmother, Hattie Mae, embraced it,” she wrote.
“But even at three years old I knew what I was experiencing was wrong. I was beaten for the slightest reasons. Spilled water, a broken glass, the inability to keep quiet or still. My grandmother’s home was a place where children were seen and not heard.”
Oprah said that the mistreatment had left a long-lasting impact on her.
“The long-term impact of being whupped — then forced to hush and even smile about it — turned me into a world-class people pleaser for most of my life,” she wrote.
“It would not have taken me half a lifetime to learn to set boundaries and say “no” with confidence had I been nurtured differently.”
After her grandmother passed away, she was ‘shuttled’ between her mother and father in Nashville.
“When I went to live with my mother at six years old, I did not feel welcome,” Oprah recalled. “The night I arrived in Milwaukee, the woman my mother was boarding with, Ms. Miller, took one look at me and said, ‘She’ll have to sleep on the porch.’
“Ms. Miller was light-skinned. She could almost pass for white, and she was not going to have this ‘nappy-headed dark child,’ as she said, stay in the house.
“My mother said, ‘All right.’ As I watched my mother close the house door to go to the bed where I thought I’d sleep, I was consumed with a terrified sense of loneliness that brought me to tears.”
She continued: “I imagined a robber snatching me from the porch or somehow breaking through the windows and choking me. That first night, I got on my knees and prayed to God to send angels to protect me. HE did.
“And that was my first lesson in learning other people (even your mother) can disappoint you, but God doesn’t.”
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