For many survivors of abuse, it is difficult to move forward on the path toward healing until such time as one shares his/her story. It is my desire to help this journey of healing by giving “voice” and blog space to those who feel their voice has been taken from them as a result of abuse. I invite you to read the stories as written by those people who have lived through abuse and are on a journey of self-exploration and healing their hearts.  Please join me in supporting these survivors as they bravely and boldly tell their story. – Jackie

Survivor #1

I’ve held this in for a very long time because it wasn’t safe for me to talk about it when I was still living with my parents.  I’m still very afraid to talk about it with anyone who may know my dad personally and/or professionally…

A bit of my story…

My father physically abused me when I was growing up.  He punched, kicked and slapped me several times whenever he and I got into an argument and he didn’t agree with my side of it.  My father can be a man very full of rage.  It wasn’t easy growing up with him and he could never be pleased no matter what you did.  Our family looked perfectly normal from the outside, but we were far from that. I was a good child in school and received excellent grades.  It was always expected that I do better than my brother.  I remember when he received a ‘C’ on his grades.  It was okay for him, but when I received one – it wasn’t okay.  I was asked constantly what I could do to make it better.

Dad and I never agreed and were always at each other’s throats.  I was told it was because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.  That’s why I got punched in the mouth.  I believe Dad just couldn’t control his anger once it hit a certain point and he went overboard.  He kicked me once on the backside of my thigh with his shoe on.  It left a huge bruise for a few days.  To this day, I don’t remember what I did to precipitate that.  He also punched me in the mouth which ended up splitting my lip and causing it to swell and turn blue for a few days.  I know I was worried about having to go to school with it.  I didn’t stay home though.

Dad always had to have things his way – always.  If he didn’t get his way, he threw a hissy fit.  This made me angry, and, if I challenged him, this is what precipitated a physical altercation.

I remember writing in my diary that I hated my dad and wanted to kill him.  I also wrote almost on a daily basis about wanting to kill myself.  I couldn’t see any other way out.  My mom tried to protect me and, would at times, tell my dad that he was going too far and needed to calm down.  He would either yell at her or ignore her and continue yelling at me.  Still, to this day, when he gets frustrated or raises his fist in a threatening manner, I am very afraid.  This frustrates me because I want to not feel threatened by him.

He thrives on control and threatening.

I also have been sexually molested and/or abused.  These memories didn’t present themselves until college.  This abuse included penetration and oral sex.  I’m not completely sure who the perpetrator was as of yet.  Something tells me it might have been my father, but I still don’t have the concrete proof of this.  I keep asking myself how this could be possible.  I go back and forth with the memories I have and putting my father in the man’s place.  Sometimes I think I’m afraid of believing this and the subsequent consequences that may occur.  I don’t want to ruin my dad’s life if he honestly didn’t molest me…

What does abuse do to a person?  Well, abuse turns your whole world upside down.  You don’t trust anything you do, feel, think, or act upon.  It makes you insecure of your abilities and unable to accept compliments.  You doubt everything about yourself.  You trust no one – nothing.  It isn’t safe to trust.  You learn that lesson very early.  When abuse is perpetrated upon you by a parent, your entire foundation is ripped from under you.  You feel completely lost in this world with no direction. You look for comfort in anything, anyone, but you never find it.  Never.  Your life is constantly like walking on pins and needles waiting for the next shoe to drop.  And, you know it will; it always does.  You don’t trust yourself.  In fact, you hate yourself.  You hate yourself so much that you try to kill yourself – anything to make the pain go away.  You can’t succeed at anything.  You may look successful on the outside, but you don’t feel it.  You get so angry and so irritable at the drop of a hat and you don’t really know why.  You’re unable to put two and two together and you question your sanity.  You turn to self-injury just to relieve the tension.  That only works for a little while, so you find comfort in food – Anything to numb the feelings – the pain.  You’re a successful career woman on the outside, but you’re slowly dying on the inside.

Insecurity, loneliness, mistrust, anxiety – these become your daily companions.  You never are able to find a healthy relationship.  The abuse always gets in the way.  You can only get so close and then you must run.  Run far away.  Safety is something you only find in your own home.  Outside, there’s the mask to wear – The mask of security, a sense of humor, trustworthiness and success.

Your life is a scene of black and white.  It’s either promiscuity or celibacy.  No sexual relationships or too many to count.  Hey, you may even experience both in your lifetime – if you’re lucky.  Your mind constantly plays tricks on you.

Then, there comes the overweight piece.  You grow up covering your feelings with food, but you don’t know what you’re doing.  It’s normal to you.  It’s what you know.  Then you notice it’s not normal when you are made fun of for being fat.  Before you know it, you’re taking medication for depression and high blood pressure.  Your knees hurt everyday and your seat-belt doesn’t fit.  The self-loathing gets worse when you try to buy clothes and read your size on the tags.  How did you get this big?  When did this happen?  You look back and you can’t honestly remember being thin. You’ve always been…fat.  You envy thin women and then settle with yourself to never look that way because you’ve been so messed up from your childhood.  You give up, take your meds and just keep overeating.

Abuse robs you of any joy you were meant to have.  You may feel that joy for a surreal moment, but rest assured, the guilt will soon follow.