I am the youngest of five. My dad was a very hard worker. Not around much. He was intelligent and excellent at any job he tackled. He just didn’t apply that to parenting. The abuse he handed out to my older siblings was scary and I tried to never get him angry. That meant no noise, no complaining, no emotion…stay out of his view. Don’t give him a reason to notice you with that angry stare. Sometimes this worked, other times not so much. He called me names, hit my head just out of the blue. No warning, no explanation. But this was mild compared to what the older ones received.
I believe out of their pain, my brother and sister began to sexually act out. I was a toddler when they did things to me. They were only 12 and 11. I really don’t hold this against them- they were just children lost in the despair and tension. No power. No control over their pain and suffering. I don’t believe it happened too often or for very long. Can’t be sure. Not much memory of it. Only a scant recollection…a brief glimpse of wrong-doing.
There was a man from our church, led the song service. He was always drawn to us kids. Didn’t seem to communicate much with the adults but would approach us kids. He had candy in his pocket that he would give us after he played his little games. Seemingly innocent enough…stupid handshakes, touch our nose, ears, tell us jokes. He made me nervous, but we knew we would get candy after he did these things. So we would tolerate it. My mom was very close to his wife, and there were times my parents would drop me off when they went out of town. He would play games with me in his office. I was so scared. I would stop breathing and get sick to my stomach. At night he always read me that STUPID hideous book…Where the Wild Things Are. Even now I am scared to look at it. What happened after that, I can’t say. I just don’t know. I know he was a well known child abuser. Most knew or suspected this of him. Now my mom was the ultimate optimistic lover of people. She couldn’t believe anything bad about them. I know she thought I would be safe there. Reality. I wasn’t.
My words want to stop and go no further. Why? Please answer me. Please tell me why. Please tell me how you could do this to me? Wasn’t there enough ugliness in our lives? My brother crushed me. How I wish he would have been my protector. Instead took my trust and my love and tore it to shreds. He showed me pictures of naked women and told me this is how I was suppose to look. I was 10. He was 18. Please tell me how a ten year old is suppose to look like a grown woman? I was fat. Maybe not to anyone else, but I knew the truth. Fat. Disgusting. Not enough. Too much. He touched me. I pulled away. I tried to stop him. I tried to scream. I couldn’t. It’s like a nightmare where you try to run but you are stuck. You try to scream but nothing comes out. So into my mind I ran… This was my reality. This was my safe place. I created a new existence in my mind.
From that time on, my life was lived inside my head. No one could hurt me. No one would get in. I could protect myself. I could control every detail of my day…deep inside. I would become so beautiful no one could touch me. I would become so skinny no one could say I was too much. I would become untouchable.
I became obsessed with my weight. First through exercise but by high school I began starving myself. Occasionally self-induced vomiting. By age 18 I became sexually active…only this time it was by my choice, not someone else’s. The darkness closed in on me. I kept thinking that maybe now I would feel love, but afterwards I sank even deeper into despair. Depression, thoughts of utter hopelessness and suicide overtook me.
When I was 14 the depression began. This was after my brother had attempted to kill my mom, my youngest brother and me. My brothers were fighting. Mom told my older brother to leave. He said he would after he killed us. He ran outside, opened his trunk, and began loading his shotgun. Mom screamed to my youngest brother, “Lock the doors!” Told me, “Go to your room and pray!” She quickly called the police. I remember kneeling between my bed and dresser and praying. I could hear the pounding on the doors. My brother screaming, trying to break in. Mom frantically trying to calm him down. All commotion stopped when the sirens in the distance could be heard. He ran into the vast acres of corn that surrounded our home. The police searched for hours but were unsuccessful. By evening Dad, who returned from work, saw him trying to sneak by the house. He went out calling to him. Somehow Dad convinced him to go to rehab. Not another word was spoken about this.
THIS was my spiral into the darkness of depression.
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I’m so sorry. You made it through so much – you should be beyond proud of yourself. You are worthy of only the best, and I hope you are surrounded by light right now.
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You, brave, beautiful, warrior, you. Thank you for your courage in speaking truth. Into your mind you ran… lived your life in your head… Oh how I can relate! But you’ve spoken out now. I am so sorry those things happened to you… but so glad you’ve the courage to speak them. Every story deserves to be told. And every story told opens the door for another to walk through. Beautiful warrior, hold your head high.
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I’m so sorry those awful things happened to you.
I’m so sorry these awful things happened to you. I’m so glad that you made it through and that you are here with us now. I can relate to building a world in my mind where I was safe and beautiful (and clever and wise and popular). What a surprise to step out of it and discover that my real self was beautiful, clever, wise, and beloved all along. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
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How brave to attempt to create words to describe these horrible glimpses into your past. As an educator and parent, my heart hurts for you and what you survived. I have, of late, begun to reflect on what it must be like to spend one’s formative years with the caring guidance and support of unconditionally adoring parents. How truly famtastic that you have evolved into this resilient, open soul who is willing to shed light on a darkness faced silently by so many. Wishing you all the best in your continuing journey of healing and love.
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Your bravery is sharing this story inspires me to speak the truth about my story. Although I don’t know you, you are my people. Your words of “So into my mind I ran…” are a reality I know as well. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are enough and so much more.
You are a survivor and you are brave. ❤️