Oprah: Was it a self-esteem issue? There's no way this could happen to you today. I just ran across a letter I wrote in my 20s, when I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. I'd written 12 pages to one of the great jerks of all time. I wanted to burn the letter. I want no record of the fact that I was ever so pitiful.
Tina: I had pity for myself. That started way back when I felt my mother didn't love me. A psychic in England told me that when my mother was pregnant with me, she didn't want me. When I confronted Ma about that, she told me the whole story. When I was born, she felt trapped into staying with my father. I didn't blame her, but I felt sorry for myself.
Oprah: Not being wanted is a terrible feeling. My mother didn't want me, either.
Tina: Did you feel pity for yourself?
Oprah: No. But it affected my self-esteem for years. It's unnatural to not be wanted by your mother. That takes some overcoming.
Tina: Right. I don't think about my years with Ike a lot because I don't need to. It was the worst time in my life.
Oprah: Did your children witness the abuse?
Tina: They saw the black eyes. Ike's children never reacted, but my oldest son, Craig, was a very emotional kid. He'd always look down in sadness. One day when Ike was fighting me, Craig knocked on the door and said, "Mother, are you all right?" I thought, "Oh, please, don't beat me at home." I didn't want my children to hear. I tried to have meals with the children, talk to them about life. But Ike had no sense of that. He'd always come home late from the studio. It was awful.
Oprah: What did you learn from that time?
Tina: That I have to depend on myself. When you stay in a situation like that, you're trapped in negative energy. I believe that if you'll just stand up and go, life will open up for you. Something just motivates you to keep moving. When I left, I simply said to that white manager at a hotel in Texas, "Can you give me a room?" I was shaken, nervous, scared. But I knew I wasn't going back.
After my plane landed in California, my heart was in my ears. I was afraid Ike would be there because when I'd left once before, he tracked me down on a bus. I'd been sleeping, and when I sat up and looked out the window, there he was. That was the first time I got beat with a hanger. So when I got off that plane, I ran like mad. I said to myself, "If he's here, I'm going to scream for the police." And I had one chant in my head: "I will die before I go back."
Oprah: After surviving that, did you feel you could do anything?
Tina: Oh, yes.
Oprah: Were you still scared of him for a long time?
Tina: When he finally found me, he asked if I would see him. I went out and sat in the car to talk with him. I knew exactly where the door handle was. So when he said, "You motherf---er," I was out of the car and back in the house. I think he told my mother that he was happy I'd gotten out of the car because he had a gun and was planning to kill me.
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