My story of abuse starts early. It set off a chain reaction of abuse that I’m still trying to shake off.
I was sexually abused for over a year by a boarder (Monster #1) who lived in my house when I was seven years old. I won’t go into detail here, but there’s a reason that I can’t sleep near a window. There’s a reason that tying me up induces a panic attack.
Monster #1’s actions threw a shadow over the rest of my life. I’m still trying to escape it. I doubt that I ever will, at least, not entirely.
When I was in my early 20’s, I was in an abusive relationship with Monster #2. Unlike the first monster, this one started out charming and funny. It’s hard to think of him that way now, but at the time, he was. It was only later that his true sociopathic nature began to show. Over the course of a few years, he turned into a physically and mentally abusive attempted murderer.
Why didn’t you just leave? I used to fall into the category of people who would say, “I know if I was ever in an abusive relationship, I’d just leave.” I used to think that way before it happened to me, but it’s really not that simple. It rarely is. Their hold on us is far more involved than just a location. Even if abusers aren’t physically violent, the emotional abuse is just as bad, if not worse. Abusers constantly chip away at self-esteem. My abuser really had convinced me that I was worthless. He convinced me that I could not survive without him.
It was only towards the end, when he began strangling me, knocking out my teeth and giving me black eyes that I realized the opposite was true; I couldn’t survive with him. If I stayed, he was going to kill me. It was as simple as that. I was only able to muster the strength to get out because I had a friend visiting from out-of-town. If she hadn’t been there, it might not have been the end of the abuse. I might not be writing this now. She gave me the strength to say enough is enough. I talked about that night on my blog in the post called Hurt.
Monster #1 set me on a horrible path and Monster #2 finished the job. Monster #1 destroyed my childhood. He took my innocence and my ability to trust anyone. Monster #2 took what was left. Monster #2 ruined my finances, he stole everything I had of value, he took my friends away, he took my self-esteem and any sense of trust I may have had left. He nearly took my life.
For me, it’s pretty easy to blame my adult abuse on my childhood abuse. It’s easy to write it off as a domino effect of abuse, but who knows if that’s the case. I will never know and it’s not like it matters anyway. There are lots of people who end up in abusive relationships that don’t have a history like mine. What happened happened. The important thing is that it never happens to me or anyone else again.
My life after abuse has been spent trying to figure out what I can possibly do to avoid having more monsters in my life. When you’ve been a victim twice, well, it feels like you are a target. It seems as though I have an invisible sign hanging over me that says, “makes a great victim.” I’ve been trying to find that sign and destroy it.
I retreated into myself looking for answers. I found none. There were no answers inside of me, just pain and hurt, and above all, anger. I am overflowing with anger. I feed on it. I thrive on it. It keeps me going, but there’s got to be more. There’s got to be trust and acceptance and self-esteem in there, too. I just have to find it again.
I find it very difficult to trust people. I find it impossible not to get angry whenever I hear yet another story of abuse. I mourn the loss of my childhood. I mourn my innocence. I sober up when I realize just how close I came to losing my life. I hate. I hate so much that sometimes I feel like I might explode.
But I laugh instead. I laugh and cry and I listen to the birds sing and watch the clouds go by. I give my dog a hug. I take a very deep breath. And I spit it out. I spit on the hate and the fear and the pain that lives within me.
I want to protect those who are going through or have gone through similar things. I want to wrap them up in my wings and fly away, but before I can do that, I need to protect the little girl who cries inside of me. She is so very alone. She is so very sorry for allowing Monster #1 to change the course of our life, for allowing Monster #2 in the door. Even though I tell her she’s not to blame, she doesn’t believe it. I can feel her tugging at me as I write this. She needs mending before we can help anyone else. She needs to accept that she is not to blame. We’ll get there eventually.
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