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Mariah Carey’s Abusive Sister Threw Hot Boiling Water On Her As A Child

She detailed for the first time she suffered at the hands of her sister when she was just 12 years old

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Mariah Carey’s new memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey aimed to unpack the woman behind the fantastical diva, larger-than-life persona she’d created for herself—and it ~really, really~ delivers. If you think you know who Mariah Carey is.. Think again. 

Mariah’s reflections on how her upbringing and the challenges she’s faced have informed her choices as an artist are as illuminating as they are emotional, combining a rare self-awareness with a radical level of respect for her inner child and all that she’s survived. Among all those deeply felt revelations, she details for the first time the extent of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her older sister, Alison, when she was just 12 years old. 

The incident happened when Mariah, her siblings and their mother were at home together, trying to have a family tea when their father called

She recalled the terrifying day that her sister severely burned her with boiling hot tea, Mariah is unflinching in recreating who she was at that moment. And hearing the betrayal in young Mariah’s voice when she realized her big sister couldn’t be trusted is absolutely heartbreaking. 

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The incident happened when Mariah, her siblings and their mother were at home together, trying to have a family tea when their father called. Mariah took the phone to speak to her father, “As I went through the mechanical niceties of the conversation, my sister began gesturing wildly, shaking her head and slicing her hand across her throat, signaling for me not to let on that she was there. As I tried my best to carry on the conversation with our father, I made silly faces back at her, doing all I could not to break into laughter. I thought we were playing a game. Eventually I figured it was her turn to try and talk seriously to our father while I tried to make her laugh, so I said, ‘Guess what—Alison is here! Want to talk to her?’ Laughingly, I motioned at her to take the phone.”

“But she wasn’t looking at me. She was looking down at her mug of still-steaming tea in her hand, and when she lifted her face, her eyes were rabid, without a trace of playfulness,” Mariah continues. “Before I realized what was happening, she yelled, ‘No!’ and, in a flash, threw the boiling-hot tea on me.” The effect was immediate. “The next thing I remember I was stripped down to my waist, and a doctor was removing the remaining bits of my white-and-turquoise diagonal-striped top, which was embedded into the flesh of my shoulder, with large tweezers.”

Before I realized what was happening, she yelled, ‘No!’ and, in a flash, threw the boiling-hot tea on me

Mariah’s insight on why it defined her relationship with her sister proves that she’s taken the time to process and work through that trauma. Young Mariah may have had her heart broken, but grown-up Mariah is teaching us all what it means to heal.

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