I am afraid someday she will kill me. What happened? Where did my little girl with the beaming smile go? She gets drunk and rants and raves, breaking things, storming around as her sister and I sit frozen, scared to say anything as we never know what will send her off.
I know about domestic violence. I grew up in an alcoholic family with all that entails and watched my mom get beaten by her drunken spouses and boyfriends and I swore it would never happen to me. I didn’t follow in her footsteps in that way but I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, I was a terrible person to be around for many years and a horrible mom. I have been sober since she was 4.
I am her mother but that means nothing to her when she hits me. I have lived my life with the childhood memories of abuse. The fighting, leaving with only the clothes on our back, being homeless, watching as a drunken man throws all our stuff out into the yard while my mother sits and bleeds and cries, waiting for a ride to somewhere safe.
She has never seen a man hit me, so why does she think its okay for her to hit me?
Looking back I can see the mistakes I made when she was little. She is a survivor of child abuse that took place when I had left her in unsafe places so I could get high. One always thinks they are safe with family but that is not always true. Guilt and shame for who I was and what happened to my little girls eats at me, even though it was many years ago. I still know I let them down.
It began after I sobered up and we got our first home, when I let her get away with telling me who could sleep with me and who could visit our home. She would freak out if there was a man in the house and I would make him leave. I stayed single for 6 years until I thought she was old enough but there was
always something she would do to sabotage any personal male relationship I had. I didn’t think at the time it was deliberate, but now looking back I can see that it was.
She drinks; she is a volatile, belligerent drunk. How do you keep safe from someone whom you are used to protecting? I see clearly that although I love my child it doesn’t make me her doormat. It doesn’t make me her punching bag. It doesn’t make me less of a parent because she makes me feel like I somehow let her down, somewhere along the way, that it was my fault and I deserve how she treats me. I provide a home, food, clothing, rides because she is my child and I want better for her than it was for me, but I have crossed the line into enabling her. Into the deep dark hole of guilt ridden deeds I have done so she won’t throw a fit or quit loving me.
I look in the mirror at my black eyes and broken nose and wonder what I did to deserve this, even though I know I did nothing, it doesn’t change the way I feel or think. It will take time to heal the broken voices in my head, telling me I deserved the beating, that I am a failure as a person and a parent.
I decide not to let her come “home.” No matter the pleas, the promises or what she is doing to wreck her life, she must write her own story. She is homeless, she gets high, her man beats her, she talks of changes but they never come. I will not buy or reward her good behavior as I did when she was a child, she is no longer a child, she is 22, grown. The expectations of an adult are placed upon her and what she does with her life is no longer my business no matter how much I want to “fix” it for her. She must now do it without me.
I am worthy of respect from my child. I am not responsible for the choices she makes. I don’t deserve to be hit, no matter what mistakes I made in the past or what I did or did not do or what mistakes I make any time, there is no excuse that makes it okay for her to punch me in the face and tell me what a
worthless person I am because I am not doing or acting like what she wants.
A weight has rolled off of me and I feel free for the first time in years. It doesn’t mean I won’t worry about her, it doesn’t mean I don’t care, it means I finally think enough of myself to recognize what has been going on and to stop it from continuing. I am not a prisoner in my own home. I am her mother but who she chooses to be is not my choice and what she does with her life is up to her, I do not have to participate in her insanity no matter what the social expectations of a parent might be or what people might say or think.
I am a survivor of many things, but the hardest one has and will always be looking at me from my mirror, talking to me in my head, telling me lies, feeding my guilt and shame, saying things that I know aren’t true, questioning myself about my worth and value, the decisions I make. I will speak up, I will not let
fear rule me, but deep inside I still think, someday she will kill me…
If you or someone you know is possibly in danger, please call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or visit thehotline.org for free and anonymous professional guidance.
I am a victim and survivor of domestic violence from home. Growing up, I’ve always had an abusive father. He was violent towards my mother, sometimes towards me, but mostly above all he was verbally and emotionally abusive towards everyone in the
family. I have deep scars from his verbal attacks, at times physical abuse, neglect, and witnessing the horrific and harrowing ordeal he would put my mother through. He would yell at her, scream at her, be in fits of rage, threaten, and terrorize. He called my mother an SOB in Mandarin Chinese repeatedly throughout the years, saying she was stupid,
that she was good for nothing, and she let people walk all over her. No wonder, since he put her down so much that she wasn’t strong to stand for herself.
To me, he was always critical, always disapproving. He would yell at me and call me stupid for not learning things fast enough or getting things right the first time. It was terrifying. He always belittled.
One of my earliest memories is of my parents fighting. My dad was angry at my mom for buying a necklace which he said was too expensive. Even then I remember–at maybe 4 years old?–going into a state of shock and kind of “freezing” on the inside. Little did I know that would become routine and my permanent state of functioning for the next 20+ years of my life.
My dad has always been an angry person. I think it’s from his upbringing. His mother died of cancer when he was very young and his father remarried another woman. He hated and resented this new woman with all his heart and soul–and it destroyed him.
The thing is that although most of the violence and abuse was directed at my mother, I suffered just as much–if not more–than she did. I know this now because of the frequent amount of flashbacks I have of my father yelling at me. He is saying I’m an SOB, that I’m lying or that I’m not saying the real truth, that I’m full of baloney. I stopped believing in myself. I stopped trusting myself. The scars run plenty deep.
My father has been called out on many times. He’s served nights in jail when my mother called the police on him reporting the domestic violence. Another vivid memory I have is one night after a few very intense days of fighting, avoiding each other, and general tense frigid atmosphere at home, my mother called my sister and me out of bed in the middle of the night and hurried us into the minivan. She wanted to flee from my dad because she was scared for her life–and ours. My dad noticed us pulling out of the driveway and immediately followed us in another car. My mom saw him chasing us a
few streets away from our house, panicked, crashed into the sidewalk and got a flat tire. My dad came out of his car screaming and furious of course. After we went to a friend’s house because my mom didn’t trust going back home with just him alone. At the friend’s house, the husband tried to call my father down and talk some sense into him, but angry people are usually stubborn, and my dad is as stubborn as it gets. This was all at 3am or 4am. So this is the kind of ordeals I’ve lived through my entire childhood. My whole time growing up it was like this, and I am just beginning to acknowledge it and speak out.
Usually the fights would spring up around money, or power and control over the house.
It would always be on an off, over the years. When there wasn’t an actual fight, the tension in air around the house was still enough to make me dreadfully nervous and fearful.
Basically, now I have depression and anxiety and still feel really hurt. Please help me see the light and the beauty of life once again.
Thank you for giving me the chance to be brave. It hurts and it’s scary divulging all this information, but it helps as well. It heals.
It also helps bringing these memories up to my consciousness. I have been
repressing them for so long and I don’t want to do it anymore. It’s too painful, and little by little, I want to be emotionally healthy and balanced. It sheds a little light into what used to be a black hole in my life, so thank you.
Once upon a time there was an idealistic little girl. Her parents had separated when she was 6 years old and her mother moved on with a new man. This man did everything he could to ruin the idealisms of this little girl and her two brothers for many years. He used his words, his fists, his strength & his authority to try to tear them down. This little girl was me and this is one piece to my story.
Years passed and I started to change into an idealistic young lady. One fateful day when I was 12 years old, I came home to find that the house was empty for my stepfather and me.
I had been in the house alone with him many times before, but lately I was growing more and more uncomfortable. It had started a few months prior, innocently enough. He would ask me to sit on the couch and watch TV with him.
He gradually began to ask me to lie down and cuddle with him. Caught somewhere between a little girl wanting to feel close to a father figure and a young women terrified to anger an abusive man, I obliged.
However on this particular day, our cuddling took a turn that I would never be able to erase or brush off.
“Come lay with me,” he said. I began to walk over, quietly saying “okay.”
As I started to lie down in my usual spot beside him, he grabbed hold of my hips and lifted me onto his body. He held his arms tightly around my wrists with his hands resting on my lower back. My legs were left to dangle between his legs and my belly rested on his.
I could feel his arousal hard against my leg, although I barely registered what that meant at the time. He began rubbing my back and stared at me.
“Do you love me?” he asked. “Yes, of course,” I said. As mean, abusive and hurtful as he could be, he had been a father figure in my life for nearly 6 years and we had shared some happy memories as a family. He seemed pleased with my answer and rested for a moment.
Taking a deep breath and looking noticeably nervous, he looked up at me again and said, “Kiss me.” I leaned down and gave him a quick kiss, no different than I had done many nights at bedtime for many years.
He laughed lightly and said, “no, kiss me like you kiss your boyfriends.”
Not fully understanding, I leaned down and kissed him exactly as I had before and said, ‘that is how I kiss my boyfriends.’
This was true, since I had only had one or two boyfriends at this point and had only made it to holding hands and chicken peck kisses.
When he realized that I wouldn’t or couldn’t give him the kiss he wanted, he looked upset. Sensing and fearing a shift in his gentle approach, I quickly told him I had a lot of homework to finish and that I needed to get started.
He hugged me to him again, then pulled back and asked, “Do you still love me?” I said yes again. I didn’t want to anger him.
This level of confused intimacy, with gentle kisses and caressing, carried on for 3 years before I had him arrested for physical abuse. I never told the police at the time about the sexual assault. It would take me 2 more years before I ever shared it with a few close friends and I was nearly 20 years old before sharing the details with my mother and father, at the suggestion of a therapist.
Although the acts never escalated too much more than his arousal and some physical movement with clothes on, his kissed became more determined and he would hold me tighter against him. As I grew older, I became more aware of the inappropriate nature of these moments. I grew increasingly distant while it would take place, abandoning my body to fend for itself as my soul went to somewhere better.
Looking back, I often wonder what he was taking from me saying that I still loved him. I still wonder if he would have pushed the sexual acts further if I had fought him off with more force and aggression. The fear of what could have happened & the memories of what did, cast a small shadow in my resilient idealistic nature.
I haven’t spoken more than a dozen words to him since he was arrested. I wish I were brave enough to confront him. To tell him that he didn’t ruin my life. He overshadowed many good memories for nearly 10 years of my childhood, but I get the rest. I have a wonderful life and he is just a mean old bastard living in the same small town. I win. I am happy. I am loved. I am endlessly idealistic.
When I age 5, I remember my dad hitting me for no apparent reason. I was forced me to hide underneath furniture (like the dining room table) for safety. My mom always looked on and never said or did anything when I was attacked. At the age of 8, it got so bad that I moved in with my grandparents (my mom’s parents). In the fall of 1985 (when I was 9), my Grandma died from cancer and I took care of Grandpa and household duties the best that I could. I felt Grandpa’s House was my safe haven. Grandpa told me that he would always protect me and that I would be safe at his place. He died in 2003.
But before that, when I was 15 in 1990, while visiting my parent’s house my dad bit me in my left shoulder. My mom covered the attack by putting me in the hospital saying I was depressed and “mental.” She promised the violence would never happen again, but it did. The staff wanted to put me in foster care and I wish I had taken them up on the offer. But my mom begged for me to not to enforce child abuse charges against her and my dad because she would lose her government job. She was the sole financial provider at the time and encouraged me to speak to the staff to discourage charges and foster care. So I did what my mom requested, and I greatly regret it. In 1997, my brother followed my dad’s footsteps and attacked me in my apartment, threatening me with a knife. Due to my mom’s and brother’s police connections, the charge was dropped to disorderly conduct.
In 2011, I moved into my childhood bedroom with my then fiancée and my dog due to avoid being homeless due to the harsh economy. In Nov of 2011, we got married. My family did not acknowledge our marriage. We never received a congratulations card or a wedding gift. About a month later on the day before Christmas Eve, my life changed forever and will never be the same. We both were attacked, and my mom looked on and said or did nothing again (just like the last 30 years). I physically witnessed my dad attempt to stab my husband in the side with a screw driver, and my brother attacked me, slamming me down onto the living room floor while threatening me by waving a blue handled knife in the air. Worse, we had just learned a few days earlier that I had gotten pregnant on our wedding night.
Christmas Eve arrived and my husband and I were in jail falsely arrested because of my Mom’s political connections and my brother’s friends on the police force covering things up for him. The charges against me were dropped and I was released on the 24th. The charges were reduced to two disorderly conducts for my husband although he was innocent. He sat 30 days until I could afford to make bail. I had to sell my wedding ring and confirmation rings to make bail of $500. We missed our first Christmas and New Years together as a married couple as well as his birthday in January.
I worked for my Mom’s business for over four yrs. Because I had called 911 to report the attacks, she fired me on Christmas Eve after she picked me up from jail. (I had no record with the law only a $10 seat belt violation in the last decade.) I was forced to spend my Christmas Eve homeless alone while my husband was in jail as an innocent man. My frozen tears were attached to my face like ice. It was in the 30′s outside and I was leaning against the gas station wall for warmth. Had to leave our dog behind and come back for her. Cars drove past me and did not acknowledge me outside freezing. Then one man stopped to gas his SUV up and asked if he could help. He looked a lot like my husband. On December 26th with a sprained ankle I walked approx 5 miles to the nearest taxi pick-up to be taken the the next town 10 minutes away. There I was greeted with a bus driver (the old high school football coach) who knew my late aunt and my late cousin. He drove me another 10 miles away from where I was attacked so I would be safe and shared his great memories of Shirley and Oscar.
It was then that I realized that my late Aunt Shirley was my Guardian Angel. She opened the doors for me to reach safety against all odds. Her late parent’s church paid for my hotel room although my grandpa and step-grandma have been dead since the 1980′s.
In May 2012, is when a piece of me died. During a routine ultrasound, the doctor said our baby had no heartbeat and that I would have a miscarriage. In June, I went to my primary doctor about a month after my miscarriage because I was not feeling right. They took a urine pregnancy test and told me to come back in a month. In July, we relocated out of state for a fresh start and for safety reasons. (I even got a PO Box and a prepaid phone to guarantee our safety.) I was rushed to the ER where they discovered via an ultrasound that our baby still was inside me. They had to do an ER DNC surgery because of the toxicity.
Since August, my Mom has made attempts to have a relationship with me via email, phone, and text. She has not shown any compassion for our loss as of this letter, asked for forgiveness, or showed by her actions that she’s sorry about giving the violence towards me a blind eye for nearly 30 years which recently cost us the life of our baby. I doubt she ever will. I am disconnecting our phone number and will get another and will continue to use my PO Box.
This is my heartbreaking story. I may never see justice for what was done to us nor be able to hire an attorney for damages. But what I do have is my life and a great husband that loves me unconditionally with all his heart. It doesn’t matter if I have a dollar to my name. He loves me just the same.
Dedicated in loving Memory of Aunt Shirley, Grandpa Ralph, and our friend Doug for being there in spirit during my most darkest hours and guiding me to safety when I needed help the most.