Oprah Winfrey discusses shocking childhood abuse she endured growing up in Mississippi: ‘I just feel pain for that little girl’
The iconic talk show personality opened up about her traumatic past while promoting her new book on the topic, titled What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing.
Winfrey, 67, said the incident involving her grandmother occurred when she was bringing a bucket of water back to the family home.
The latest: Oprah Winfrey, 67, opened up about her experiences with child abuse, as her grandmother beat her with a switch, in an appearance set to air on The Dr. Oz Show Thursday
‘As I was bringing the water back, I was, like, playing with the water with my fingers like that in the water and my grandmother was looking out the window,’ Winfrey said. ‘And when I brought the bucket in and I’m sloshing the bucket cause I’m a little girl, and she’s like “Were you playing in the water? Did you have your fingers in that water? That’s our drinking water.”
She continued: ‘I was like, and I said, “No ma’am” and she said, “I saw you and your fingers in the water,” so she grabbed a switch and I got a really bad whipping for it.’
The billionaire media mogul got emotional with an anecdote about the injuries she had in the wake of the beating.
‘Later, when I put on my clothes to go to church, one of the welts from my back opened up and bloodied the, bloodied the dress, so, my emotion now is not because I feel such deep pain about it, I just feel pain for that little girl,’ she said.
Details: Winfrey said the incident involving her grandmother occurred when she was bringing a bucket of water back to the family home
Emotional: Winfrey painted a broader picture of her upbringing in rural Mississippi, noting how her grandmother was on guard from her abusive grandfather, and how she still has lingering trauma about sleeping
In the exchange with Dr. Oz, Winfrey painted a broader picture of her upbringing in rural Mississippi, noting how her grandmother was on guard from her abusive grandfather, and how she still has lingering trauma about sleeping.
‘My grandmother and I slept in the bed together,’ she said. ‘My grandfather was in a room on the other side of the wall and one night in the middle of the night, my grandfather gets out of bed and comes into the room and I wake up and he has his hands around my grandmother’s neck and she is screaming.’
Winfrey continued, ‘She manages to push him off of her and step over him. He falls. She steps over him and runs to the front door. I run out of the bed with her.’
The iconic talk show personality promoted her new book on the topic, titled What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing
Candid: Winfrey told Dr. Oz that she still has lingering trauma about sleeping
No holding back: The media legend is probing the best way to heal from past traumas
Winfrey said her grandmother began to call out for a family friend they called Cousin Henry who lived nearby.
‘Cousin Henry comes down the road in the middle of the night to help my grandmother get my grandfather up off the floor,’ she recalled. ‘And after that my grandmother put a chair underneath the doorknob and some tin cans around the chair.
‘And that is how we slept every night. I’m sleeping, I always slept with, listening for the cans. Listening for what happens if that doorknob moves.’
Oprah’s interview airs on The Dr. Oz Show Thursday.