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In my own life, forgiving others was not something that I was taught to do. I was always taught that I had a lot of sins that needed to be forgiven, but I never saw forgiveness for others practiced until I had to start doing it myself.

Our hurts, our pains, our lives to this point have all been dictated by our emotional selves. This is understandable. I totally get it. It is fine that, for a little while, we are so mad at anyone else that we would love nothing else than to see them have to walk down the busiest street in town, wearing the most ridiculous attire, singing “I’m a little tea pot,” loudly as though they were singing along to their favorite Metallica tune. I get it. I have been there.

Forgiving others was hard for me because I always figured if someone hurt me, it was on purpose.

We choose what we want to recall of our own memories. We choose the uglies because that is what we have been taught through being shown only a victim mentality. I know this one very well. It is not hard to learn a lesson of being someone else’s victim if that is what everyone in a child’s life believes themselves to be.

I love my mother, and I hate to use her as the example, but the truth is that I now know, that while she did not teach me outright to be someone else’s victim, she showed me that by her example. I believed for a very long time, that in order for me to forgive, I had to make sure that everyone in my life knew that someone else had wronged me.

We humans do NOT want to forgive others. We want them to pay the fullest, heaviest price for the sins that they commit against us. In reality, it is not an actual sin against us, but is an indicator to us that they have not actually studied themselves and explored their own feelings of hurt. Even in church, too many people don’t understand what “turn the other cheek” means. Turning the other cheek means to hear the other person out, to allow them, through your listening, to be able to see the sin in their own energy.

The act of forgiving is not as simple as too many pastors in our lives have made it seem. It is hard for people to admit that they are sorry for the hurts they have caused.

When we hang onto wrongs for too long, it is all we can see. You can choose not to hang on to the anger and pain from the past. The best way that I know to begin the healing process is to learn by first starting with our very selves. We have to let go of the past, because it is no longer there. We need to stop believing that people will love us more if we tell them that we are in pain.

It is great to wallow, for a little while, but eventually that shit gets old, and eventually we find out that it got us nowhere. It is only in that act of forgiveness for others who have hurt us that we will also find the strength to forgive ourselves.

Just Sayin’




My Dead Abuser

When I was a little kid, my father would hit me. My mum didn’t care and didn’t want to listen when I tried talking to her about it. I was growing up, and around the age of 11, it became worse. He started touching me inappropriately, and it was terrifying. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was scared that they would judge me. A year or 2 later, my parents separated. I never wanted to see my dad again, I hated him so much. After a while, I told myself that I would go and see him when I would turn 18.

June 2014, I was 17 years old, and I was in the middle of my exams when I got a call. It was someone telling me about my real dad, who had been really sick for over a year and he was in hospital. I told myself I HAD to go, but I was so scared. I asked someone close to me to come with me and I went to see him. I spent hours in the hospital every day, sitting by his side and talking to him. I have no idea if he was able to hear me, but I still tried. It was so painful. That week, on June 20th, he passed away.

I have been telling myself that I should have visited him before, when he was still in good health. The only memories I have from him now are when he was sick, in a hospital bed.

I still think about him a lot and somehow I have forgiven him for what he did to me. I try to think about the good times with him, when I was very small. He inspired me to start playing music, to start singing, and he taught me that people should be forgiven, people deserve a second chance before it’s too late.


Better Days

There is power in telling others your story. A thousand candles can be lit from a single flame

This is her horrible, uplifting, beautiful story:

At age 35, I went with my father to a professional baseball team’s Fantasy Camp. Our coaches were former professional baseball players and current minor league coaches. I played softball my whole life; I was a good ball player. I held my own with the guys. I was accepted. I had a great week.

Thursday night after the championship game, I was outside the complex where we were staying, talking on the phone to my husband. I was approached by one of the coaches, currently a minor league manager, who was roughly my age. We’d been friendly all week. He asked if he could buy me a beer in the lounge and I agreed. This wasn’t the first beer I’d been offered that week. That’s what you did – you bought people beers. I told him I’d meet him in a few minutes.

I went back to my room to grab some money and tell my dad where I was going. On my way back out, I saw him at the back door of the complex. He waved and asked if I would walk around with him. He handed me a can of beer and we walked out back. We talked about baseball mostly.

We stopped walking at one point and he asked how long I’d been married. I told him ten years. He said twelve years. We talked about kids and my work. We got in to a debate about one of my plays earlier in the week. Then he grabbed me and tried to kiss me. I said “Whoa, no, no, no, I think you’ve got the wrong idea about me.” He pulled away immediately and apologized over and over. I told him I had to go and we quickly parted.

While this situation made me uncomfortable, I wasn’t upset, angry, or scared. I was actually sort of flattered. The next day, we played a game in the morning and then our week was over. I went to the training room to get an injury taken care of and when I walked out, I ran straight in to him. He said hello and we talked about our games that morning. He asked what my plans were for the afternoon. I told him my dad had gone to my cousin’s for the afternoon so I didn’t have any plans. He asked what room I was in and I told him. He said he had some things to take care of and then he’d swing by. I thought nothing of it. I figured he wanted to hang out and apologize for the night before.

He came by ten minutes later and I let him in. I was completely at ease. He was extremely charismatic and very charming. I sat on my bed and he sat on my couch. He asked to put the television on. I told him sure. He put on the MLB channel and we continued to chat. Around three, asked when my dad was coming back. I thought my dad had said around 4:30.

He said, “Why don’t you call and make sure?” I told him I didn’t see a reason to. He persisted to the point where he finally said, “Make the call,” pretty forcefully. Still, I wasn’t alarmed. I ran outside and called my dad, who assured me he would be back around 4:30. I told him.

I had pretty seriously injured my finger earlier in the week and he asked how it was. I told him it was getting better but still pretty sore. He asked to see it, and I held it up. He asked to see it up close so I stood and walked over to him with my hand out.

He didn’t look at my finger.

He grabbed my wrist and pulled me on top of him. He tried to kiss me. I kept turning my head from side to side and arched my back. I said, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” “Yes you can,” he replied. “I’m married, you’re married. I can’t do this.” “Yes you can.” “You don’t understand, I love my husband. I don’t want to do this,” I started crying.

He caught my head with one hand while the other remained tight around my waist. He started kissing my mouth. After a few seconds of struggling, I started to kiss him back. I instantly became nauseated.

After only a few moments of kissing him, I pulled away and told him I needed to use the bathroom; it was an emergency. I ran to the bathroom. I was shaking so badly. I tried to calm down. My head was spinning. It felt almost as if I had been drugged or had too much alcohol, that’s how foggy my brain was. My heart was pounding so hard and so fast.

I thought, “I’m just going to make him leave and if he won’t, then I will. He stopped yesterday. He will stop today.”

I opened the bathroom door and he was standing right in front of it. He grabbed me and half carried, half dragged me to the couch. He tried to pull me down on him but I managed to end up next to him. I had on a t-shirt and shorts along with a bra and panties. He had his left arm tightly around my waist, like a vise. That arm never left my waist.

I again said, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”

I was ignored.

That was when my body and mind shut down. I was no longer able to control my body. My senses were gone. I knew his hands and mouth were on me but I couldn’t feel them. I couldn’t smell, I couldn’t see. I felt like I was in a dream. And my body was frozen. When I tried to move, it felt like I was stuck in thick mud. I could hardly move at all. And I knew. I knew what was going to happen. It was inevitable.

He grabbed my hand and put it on his penis that he had pulled out of his pants at some point. He held my hand there and began stroking himself with my hand. I thought, “If that’s all it’s going to be, I may be able to live with this.” But it wasn’t.

He pulled me on top of him and pushed my shorts and panties aside. He asked me if I could get pregnant. I told him no. I asked if he had any diseases and he told me no.

And then he raped me.

One arm around my waist and the other on my thigh, I had bruises for weeks from his hands. It was rough and it was fast. But I never felt it. I never felt anything. Like all my senses were gone.

He finished and got up. Told me not to tell anyone and that he “hoped I would be back at camp next year.” And then he left.

I jumped in the shower. I was on day three of my period. There was blood everywhere. I thought maybe this was a dreamThis has to be a dream. I got out and got myself ready for our closing dinner that night. I know my dad knew something happened. I was quiet and withdrawn. I hardly said a word all night. He wasn’t at the dinner. I never saw him again. The next day we flew home with me saying less than fifty words to my dad all day.

As soon as we pulled up at my house and I saw my husband, I burst in to tears. I told him I had missed him so much. We had been dating since we were in eighth grade and married for almost ten years. We have three beautiful daughters. We are as close as it gets. After the girls were in bed, he asked me what was wrong; what happened? He could tell there was something definitely wrong.

I told him.

I told him the whole story. I felt like I had cheated on him and he deserved to know every detail. He listened patiently. I told the story sobbing. I felt sickened and guilty and ashamed. I hadn’t fought him. I didn’t hit him or punch him or kick him. I didn’t scream. I had, in fact, kissed him back at one point. I’d also asked him if he had any diseases.

Didn’t all these things mean that I was okay with what was happening? Hadn’t my lack of resistance when my body went numb told him it was okay to proceed?

My husband asked if I ever had any intentions of being intimate with him. I told him that I had no intentions whatsoever. I never even wanted to kiss him, let alone have sex with him. I thought we could be friends. We had a good rapport through the whole week. I thought it was cool to be friends with a professional baseball manager. My intentions were purely innocent.

My husband said, “If you had no intentions of being intimate with him, and you told him “I can’t do this” repeatedly, then you were raped.” The thought hit me like a ton of bricks. How could I have been raped? He didn’t have a gun or hold a knife to my throat. I didn’t fight him. And my husband said that none of that mattered. What he did was against my will and I’d told him as much.

My husband is the most supportive person I’ve ever met. He never once doubted me, even when I doubted myself. He encouraged me to tell my best friend who also agreed that I was raped. I made an appointment to see a counselor the next week. I’d done a lot of reading about rape between the assault and the first meeting with my counselor. I was really beginning to understand the concept of being raped.

Being raped was never something I thought could happen to me. I’m smart, I’m strong, I’m athletic, I’m a professional in my community, I’m a good wife, and a mother of three. How could I be raped?

The first meeting with my counselor was an eye opener. He explained to me the physiology behind our “fight or flight” response. It’s not really just fight or flight, but that it’s “fight, flight, or freeze.” An overwhelming number of rape victims freeze instead of fighting. He gave me the analogy of someone coming up to him on the street and asking for his wallet with no weapon. What does law enforcement tell us to do? Give the perpetrator what he wants. Because if we don’t, we may very well get hurt. We are conditioned this way.

My body and mind shut down to preserve themselves. If I’d fought, he could have easily hurt me. This man was conditioned as a professional athlete. From the bruises on my body, one could see how strong he was. But why had I asked him if he had diseases? Was that the green light for him? One author on this website absolutely nailed it when she said “it wasn’t consent, it was resignation,” (I wish I could find her particular story and give her proper credit) after she asked her rapist if he had a condom. What an epiphany that one line gave me. Finally I had some answers to the questions I’d been asking.

And finally, I came to accept that I was raped.

It’s been 2 months. And it still hurts. A lot. I called my rapist three days ago at the encouragement of my counselor and husband. I always hold people accountable for their actions, so they both thought the best way to get closure was to talk to him.

So I did.

I told him he hurt me. That I cry every day. That what happened in that room was never okay with me. He told me that yes, he probably pushed me too hard, he lost control, and he couldn’t stop. I asked if he heard me say, “I can’t do this.” He told me that yes, he heard me but didn’t think I meant it. He apologized over and over again. He said he felt like shit. I told him I’d been feeling that way for weeks.

He said that he hoped we could be friends; that’s all he wanted from me anyway. That he never had the intention of having sex with me either. I told him he was full of bullshit and that we would not be friends and I wouldn’t be calling him again.

That call was very liberating. I felt like all the chains that were wrapped around me were gone. But I still have bad days and good days. Bad moments and good ones. I’ve been plagued with panic attacks since the assault. Now I don’t have them as frequently or as badly, but they are still there. This is still pretty fresh and new and I know that I still need to heal. I don’t trust men in general. This man was Venezuelan and any time I see a man of Latin descent, I want to stab them. Hopefully, in time, that feeling will dissipate.

I’m writing this in part as therapy for me and in part so that other people that have had the same sort of experience can feel a little bit reassured. That they aren’t crazy. That there are other people out there that have been through it, and are still going through it. But that there is hope that it can get better.

With the right support, you can heal from rape.

That’s how I felt after reading all the stories on The Band. I felt like these people all helped me understand what happened to me and now it’s my turn to help others. The guilt, the shame, the blame, the disgust and the anger can all be healed.


I’ve Had Enough

There are only so many things a person can take before they break. Sometimes, there’s only so much a person can take.

This is her story:

When our son was a baby and you went through that rehab program, they sat me down for Family Day and made me come up with an ultimatum to “help” you with your sobriety.

“If you go back to drinking and X happens, I’ll leave.”

hated it. I didn’t want to say anything like that. I believed there was nothing you and I couldn’t get through together. We love each other very much, and I could never picture a scenario where I would need to leave you.

Since then, you’ve had several medical scares, three suicide attempts, and a second, more intense rehab. You had that spell last winter, where for three days you had no idea who or where you were. Then, after a year of sobriety, you went back to drinking again. I’ve been there for the hospitalizations, your treatments, the roller coaster of your mental illness, and the nightmares caused by the traumas of the things you have seen and done in your past.

I stood by you and loved you through all of it.

I can’t do it anymore.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to really confide in you anything going on with me. You can’t handle it. I had a major emotional upheaval last summer and I can’t even tell you about it because you would never be able to deal with it. It’s still continuing, and it is gaining in intensity.

It’s causing me constant distress, and you have no idea. Because of that, I had a nervous breakdown last winter. I was even having panic attacks. I’m taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor every week to deal with what’s going on with me. You know about my counseling and medication, but you don’t know the real reason why I need them.

While I was still fragile from my nervous breakdown, another horrible incident happened. We were constantly being taken advantage of by your friend. At one point, I was sick with the flu, but you still couldn’t say no to his request. But due to your drinking and your mental illness, you were unable to deal with the responsibility you had taken on that night.

Still very sick, I had to go take care of it and I got stuck in a blizzard. Between my emotional stuff, the flu, all the constant worry about you, and the terror of the white-out blizzard, I had a mini-stroke the next day.

You couldn’t even handle calling for paramedics even though I was incapacitated.

What if it had been something worse? What if it had been a full-blown stroke, or a heart attack, and being able to know you have to call 911 for me could literally mean the difference between my life and my death? What would you do if I died? You can’t even take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of the kids and make sure the bills get paid?

You’ve admitted that you have no hope of being able to quit drinking. You’ve written off rehab, calling it a “temporary fix.” You won’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and you won’t take any steps to try to stop drinking on your own. Then there was that one night last spring when you were drunk and admitted to me that you still think about suicide all the time.

You promptly denied it once you were sober, but considering that you listed all the ways you had thought about doing it, I’m pretty sure your confession was the truth.

Without you finding a way to stop drinking, it’s only going to continue to get worse and worse. It’s to the point now where we live inside the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because you’re a totally different person when you’ve been drinking all day on the weekends.

I know your brain is a scary mess. I know I couldn’t handle five minutes inside your head. You have been through things so horrible that I can’t even process them. It’s no wonder the worst horror movie doesn’t bother you – you’ve been through worse.

It feels like the Grim Reaper has been following you around as long as I’ve known you. On top of all your mental and medical issues, you’re so accident prone. I’ve lost track of all the times I felt like I was looking at the last months, weeks, or even hours of your life.

It has all led to me having to think about your death constantly. I’ve had to plan for the worst. If you were to die in your sleep tonight, I know exactly what to do. I know what to do in regards to your funeral and burial. I know where the kids and I will go to mourn, lick our wounds, and then regroup. I have a plan for what will happen once I get back on my feet. I have hope for a beautiful future.

That future no longer has you in it.

Our kids need at least one stable parent. If things keep going the way they are, I won’t be mentally or physically healthy enough to take care of them. I can’t keep worrying about you. I can’t keep taking care of you.

You and I both believe in an afterlife. I believe that once you have died, you will finally have the peace you’ve never had. I hate that I think about your death all the time. It makes me sick that I have to admit to myself that your death is what’s best for all of us – you, so you can have peace, me, so I can become healthy again, and the kids, so they don’t have to watch you destroy yourself.

I’m purging the house because I don’t want to move all that crap in the basement again. I’ve started a list of the things I will sell when you’re gone. I’ve made my arrangements for where the kids and I will go. I’ve looked into schools there for them. I’ve even figured out places I’m going to apply for jobs. And meanwhile, I pray that God will be merciful and let you die peacefully in your sleep.

Because I know there is only so much more I can take. If I have to break down and just leave, it will break your heart.

And that will definitely lead to you killing yourself.


My Parents, My Bullies

The name is Kat, and I’m a 29 year old college graduate. I feel bad about being so “big” and still being bullied. I thought it was something that just happens to kids and teens, but thanks to The Band, I’ve felt a little more comfortable admitting that yeah, I’m 29 and I’m still being bullied.

My parents have always had problems. When I was smaller, they would get into huge, violent fights that would end up in them beating each other (mostly my dad towards my mother) and cussing at each other. My two younger sisters and I grew up in a very violent atmosphere but were always close.

We also lived with our grandparents in the same house, and they would defend us a lot from my parents’ rage. My dad was an alcoholic and cheated on my mother. She would take it out on my sisters and me, mostly on me, since I was the one that always talked back to her, protecting my sisters.

Thanks to the constant abuses, I grew up insecure about myself. I was actually pretty creative, but also very violent. The slightest insult towards me, and I would attack other kids. Whenever my mom and I fought, I would feel the need to eat, so I was a little chubby. That got me bullied even more.

Back home, my mom used to beat my sisters and me with a wooden flat stick, saying that the Bible told her to “correct” her children like that. Aside from that, she would slap, choke, and punch me in the face, in many of our confrontations.

As a teen, I had a lot of trouble with authority and got into many fights with kids, claiming they only wanted to hurt me. My first boyfriend went to jail, and I changed universities a lot.

At 23, I had enough, and left the house. I got a great paying job and moved into an apartment, away from my mother. Once out, I got thin, got a new wonderful boyfriend and had a “perfect” life. But I still wanted to finish my career, which meant I had to quit my job, go back home, find another job that allowed me to study, and get into college once again.

Back home, I got chubby again. My mother constantly fights with me and tells me she doesn’t want me in her house. She values the pet more than me since she tells me that if her pet is sleeping on my bed, I’m not allowed to push her off. Sometimes I can’t sleep because of it. Her new husband shouts at me and loves getting me in trouble with her. I had to fight and struggle through college because of the stress at home.

I graduated three months ago, and I’m desperately looking for a job, so I can get out of this hell. My mom and I fight at least four times a week, and she always tells me to get the fuck out of her house. I have nowhere to go. I don’t want to involve my friends in this, and my father has another family. I’m desperate, I feel lonely, I lost my boyfriend, and she and her husband are constantly bullying me.

It may sound horrible and harsh, but its the truth. It took me 29 years to figure out why I eat compulsively. Just now, we had another fight. As soon as it ended, I raided the fridge, even though I wasn’t hungry at all. It’s not about filling “the void,” its about the desperation and anxiety I feel that make me want to eat like crazy.

However, I still remain strong. I wish for you gentle people who read my story to stay strong. I may be a little depressive, but I’m not suicidal. I love life and I want to move on. I know there are many amazing things waiting for me, and I just have to go ahead and do them.

Thanks for reading my story.