Anonymous Story: Probably Triggering, DEFINITELY Cathartic

Hi Everyone, Anyone or No one… I just have this inane feeling of wanting to express what I have lived in words for anyone to read or take advice or criticise. I don’t even know what I want other than to tell my story. But here goes, it may be triggering… it may not. But hopefully you can take something from it even if I’m still trying to.

I was born in 1999, to a mum and a dad… I know surprising right, I thought it had always been a happy family but in the past couple of years, as I have seen my mum break down on multiple occasions (we will get to this in the future) not everything was at it seems. Supposedly my dad was incredibly abusive to my mum, like pushed down the stairs while pregnant and emotional abuse with trivial things like love etc. Mum doesn’t really talk about it all that much because my dad, technically in a doctor’s own words, should’ve died at least 10 years ago (Parkinson’s) and I guess she tries not to bad mouth him unless she is under the influence of anything. A way for her to escape I guess. They broke up and divorced when I was about 4 or 5 but personally the most I remember of them together was them arguing… which is really fucked honestly and writing that down has me in tears. My mum and dad also had another little girl, my little sister who I adore so much, and she will never realise what I went through so that she didn’t have to. We are less than a year apart but experience wise (as far as I know) I am a lifetime ahead and not in a good way. But I will forever look out for her, because she at least needs to hope for some good, she at least deserves a chance.

So yeah, they divorced. Mum immediately moved onto a man, let’s name him Fred, who was a charming sociopath right from the start. I guess at the start, mum only ever saw the good in him. And as a 5, 6, 7-year-old kid… you also try to just see people for who they portray and just take life one step at a time. My memory of this time is very hazy… but there are multiple times where emotional, physical and possibly even sexual abuse occurred. And the fact that my memory is so hazy of this time only seems to scare and confirm what I fear. The mind is amazing at protecting itself. I remember at a young age telling my mum that Fred had touched me in places where he was not meant to. I remember begging her not to tell him. I remember crying about it and telling her that I had lied about it so as for her to not tell him. She was worried, and as a reasonable parent she confronted him. Yet she took his side. And I remember the first time she left me and my sister alone in the house with him after that incident. I was alone in my room falling asleep… he came in, pulled the bed sheet up over my eyes and repeatedly punched me in the head (fun fact, I now have panic attacks under bed sheets, I wonder why) … my sister and I no longer shared a room and I cried myself to sleep. I was 6, or 7. Ever since then, I was afraid to be alone with him. I had told my mother repeatedly about what had happened but still…. She confronted him, and it just got it worse. I ended up stopping telling her. Fred became bolder, in public he’d grab my hand, as if to help me or lead a child through a public space and crush it so much that you could feel the bones move out of place. He’d also repeatedly attempted to make me flinch… coming too close or raising a hand too quickly in my proximity. If I flinched, I knew I’d get hit later on. I learnt to not flinch or display when I was in pain. I kept quiet. The thing is, I don’t think my little sister ever got hurt or abused. He adored her, I adored her. As much as I probably hated the fact that he loved her so much, I took the blame for many things where she could have gotten a slight punishment for. All because I think sublimely I was trying to protect her. The thing is, I should hate my mother. I really should. So many terrible things happened to me in that household. Death threats were a daily. So much hate, and pain, and inner destruction that sometimes flashbacks occur and I really do lose all hope. But I remember how much she dealt with. I remember at an age of 10 trying to convince my mum not to sit her wrists in the shower. I remember sending my 9-year-old sister, who was whingeing about how bossy I was to bed because she didn’t need to see our mother like this. I remember grabbing the knife out of my mother’s hand and holding the bathroom door closed while she was sobbing and banging on the door for me to let her have the knife. I remember every bruise, cut, slander, sob, slammed door and cry of desperation that my mother went through. I now recognise her crippling dependency on drugs and alcohol and the love of a terribly abusive man. My mother was in just as much pain as me, possibly more, she was not able to see a way out for herself and therefore had no chance of seeing any hope for us. They soon were married with a kid along the way. At the age of 10 my little sister was born, and in my eyes I think I became stronger. Mainly because my mother couldn’t. And no one else needed to suffer at his hands. You may ask about as many ways I could to have helped her, or them out… I think by the age of 13 I had called the police 5 times on him…. No fucking 13 year old should have to/ be able to say that. Yet he never stopped hurting me. And I am still terrified of him.

Anyways, I may as well say why I didn’t run away to my dad. I honestly would have probably been better off with him. A technically meant to be dead crippled old man, and his full of hatred wife. She still hates me, I still hate her. She never understood why I supported my mother and she doesn’t need to. I’m cordial for my dad, who I do love. I have only ever known him as a pathetic old man… one who cries during rom coms and can’t walk up a hill. He has supposedly softened immensely over time. Yet it’s hard to love someone when they are meant to die any day now… even harder to form a connection when your one life rope out of hell has a fire lit beneath it and slowly burning its way through. I love him, as much as I can love… I really don’t know how to do that but I’m trying and I’m always going to be learning. Anyways back to my step-mum. I respect her for how she helps and stands by my dad but I don’t respect her for how she treated me. I guess she just deals with her demons as well. I only found out 2 months ago that she is severely depressed as well… go figure that we would be dealing with similar things in completely different ways. Me internalising and exploding on the inside, making sure not to harm anyone while she tears through everyone like a fucking tornado. But yeah, I cared too much about my mother and sisters (and little brother on the way) to leave them to the monster that was my step-father.

Anyways, I was lucky enough to actually have a chance to be selfish and escape this cycle. My dad was very willing to fork out some cash for me to go on exchange, I know privileged right, to go to Italy. I was 15 when I went… and I realised how fucked up I was. I technically had no idea how to keep friends (I still feel fucked up in the friends department, like I have no idea how to make or keep any… I’ve just stopped trying and pretend I don’t care now). But I got to see what a normal, or at least normalish family was like. I grew so much over 6 months, I grew to have a back bone and opinion. I finally grew some courage, a fire to stand up to Fred.

But while I was over there, my mother and Fred moved to the USA. They took my little brother and sister. And I knew if I didn’t go there… they would be much worse off. Fred had learnt that I had fire now… and he made it a mission to try and snuff it out. So I moved to the states, and my little sister (same dad) came with me. We lived in a house that was like a dream on the outside, in a fancy suburb… Malibu if you can believe it. But for 6 months we lived without furniture on blow up mattresses and sharing a suitcase with another person. We went to school and pretended everything was fine and dandy but Mum was still being abused, I was still being threatened… not hit anymore. Fred knew that they moment I had a mark on me, he’d be done for. He never touched my siblings though… I made sure of it. By this point in my life, I had honestly given up caring for my mum. In my mind, if she died, I could make a case for custody over them (siblings) and I’d have extended family members willing to make similar cases. I was 16.

Then over summer shit really went down. My little sister and I came back to Australia to visit my dad and supposedly Fred had attempted to kill my mother multiple times. We only found out once we were back in the US, but he had nearly run her over in a car and had held her down to drown her in the pool. I still have my now 10 year old sister bring up stuff about it and I just hope she doesn’t fully ever understand what happened. When we got back… I knew I had to do something.

My mother was inconsolable, its hard to explain but after years of growing up with someone who had been beaten down so much… you learn how to manipulate them and push them into doing what you want. And in my eyes… I needed her to do what I wanted. I pushed her into packing her bags, I packed my bags and I got my siblings to pack theirs. We had packed up all our belongings in less than an hour. I got her to call an uber and she had just become a shell by that time. I directed the driver to take us to the LAX airport. We arrived at an airport hotel where we would spend 4 months living in. Fred was holding my half sibling passports hostage. And my mum was in no state to deal with this. She drank herself to sleep every night for 4 months. We all shared a room and I can honestly say that I was the only thing keeping the 4 other people living with me sane and alive. I was in constant contact with my grandparents in Australia (who luckily had money and means to help us out), I was in charge of finances, I was in charge of talking my mother out of suicide every night or every second. We eventually got their passports and legal action to take them with us back home. I learnt a lot over those 4 months on the legality of marriage and kids and life in general. I needed ways to tell my mother that what we were doing was right. I needed to show her that he was abusive and that she was in denial (still is). I can honestly say that denial is one of the deadliest things in the world.

We moved back to Sydney and lived in hotels in Darling Harbour for another 2-3 months while legal issues on separation were being sorted and then we moved somewhere new… so mum could have a fresh start. And I finally got enrolled back into school after almost 3 years of missing out. I was going into my last year of high school (Yr 12) without actually having studied anything from the second semester of Yr 9 or onwards. I was fucked and not even 18. I had no social skills and no friends. I only had my fucked-up family and messed up past to define me. I still do.

Anyways, Fred followed us and remained a thorn in mothers’ backside. I think mum has gotten stronger, but we no longer talk about him after I had multiple objects thrown at me, for example a mug at my head and plates denting the wall where I had been standing. I make sure to check in on the situation for my little brother and sister but that is all can actually do right now. I graduated High School and got into a leading global University. Something that honestly surprised me, I had gotten in on grades alone… believe it or not this is the first time I’m telling people my story. I saved money and decided to be selfish, something that really pained me and still stresses me out daily to move away from my family (different state) and go to university and live in a college. It has been both the best and worst thing for me. I have actually become an actual person (albeit trying to learn proper social skills still, I still think I have no friends but I also know that I do and its just my struggles with intimacy that I hate). So I paid for my first semester of college and went to university in Canberra… one of the most boring places in Australia. I lived. I drank. I drank too much and scared myself with my emotions and issues that came out when I drank. I slept around. I had always been called a fat ugly pimply slut and I guess my low self-esteem got improved and bashed down by the fact that I used attention and sex as a display of love. I joke about it but it does hurt still, and I still make the same mistakes. Drinking not sleeping around. Cutting myself when I was super drunk and at my heaviest and lonely because the boy I had been hooking up with had now started sleeping with who I thought was a good friend, they’re dating now which is nice for them. I’ve found a boyfriend, but he doesn’t know any of this and I feel if he finds out he’ll run away in fear. Honestly no one needs to deal with my issues any more than me. I still feel lonely, I still feel like I have no friends most of the time. I float around between groups and I guess I just pretend that I’m fine on the outside, so no one worries…. I guess I’ve pretended so long that I really don’t know anymore.

But my family issues don’t end there. Dad is still dying, slowly getting worse and worse by day. It makes me super depressed to even talk to him on the phone because really, you can’t. Mum has called me up multiple times over the year to tell me she’s about to commit suicide. I have called an ambulance to a house over 1000 km away. I don’t hear much about Fred. I haven’t seen him since the US. Its been a good 3 years. But I still fear for my little brother and sister, but I know that they are happy. And not living with him. I talk to my mum enough to know that shes not using and abusing drugs and alcohol. And I have tried to stop drinking. Its hard in a college but the boyfriend is usually pretty good at distracting me from going out and getting wasted. I don’t think he realises how thankful I am for that but yeah, he really has helped me.

I joined a gym over new years and can say that I still go… it’s the 24th of May so it’s the longest I’ve ever committed to anything ahaha. I feel happier with myself, I feel like I am deserving of love but I still know that I have to work on trust. Trust in others and trust in myself. I can say that I haven’t cut myself since the August last year. I’m on the way to a better life, and the thing that saddens me is that the things that make me happy are the things that have absolutely no involvement with my parents. I love my siblings to death. They are probably the only things I actually love in the world and I don’t think they will ever actually realise. There were many times over the years where I was willing to die for them. If I died someone would have to look into why and maybe then they would be helped.

My little sister (same dad) is still full of hope. Shes gone to Uni as well, in Melbourne. She wants to be a doctor. Wants to help people. And I know she’ll be amazing. I’ll be there to see it. I’m glad I got her out of that situation and she can do what she wants.

Now I just have to find who I am and what I want. I’ve only ever been the fighter and protector but surely I actually have something I enjoy and love. But then again loves always been hard.

I know that was a lot to read and I’m sorry with how long and off the rails it is but if yiu did get down to the end, thank you. It’s nice to think that someone has read your words and appreciates what you have to say. I hope life is good/ gets better for you too.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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