Just a warning, this is stream of consciousness writing about events that happened over a quarter century ago, triggered by current events. Please have patience with the time jumps. I’m trying not to tell all the details that are huge, but not important to this part of the story, and to try to be as anonymous as possible.
You see the pictures, the young people, basically still children, with hate and contempt in their eyes. Hate is taught at home, that’s what we say. We post the pictures of toddlers hugging, one pink, one brown. The idea is clear; we can solve racism in just one generation if we stop teaching our children to hate.
If only it were that easy. In high school I fell for the stereotypical bad boy. He had a car, a leather jacket and a terrible grade average. When you are living in a rural area, a car is essential when it comes to dating, and who can resist a leather jacket? He was tall, blonde and never smiled. He wore button-down shirts in an era of pop-collared Polo shirts. He was older, but was in a couple of my classes anyway (I mentioned the terrible grades). I am an empath, so I gravitated to him.
Maybe I could help? Here, I can explain the math. I tell a joke, he cracks a smile. What charming crooked teeth! Oh, that’s why you don’t smile, just a little self conscious, not such a bad guy!
I eventually met his mom, the woman who would become my mother-in-law. I loved her instantly. She was so sweet, not a mean bone in her body. She had a rough life. Her father’s violence ended in the death of both of her parents, in a murder-suicide that scandalized the town, leaving her and her siblings behind to face the judgement of small town gossip. She fell for a boy and his promises of freedom, only to have him disappear when they found out she was pregnant. It was hard, but she did it. She was a single mother at time when that was a huge stigma, working hard and struggling with a young son.
I don’t remember much about the man who was technically my father-in-law. I may have met him once. That was another thing that drew me in: a broken relationship with a step-father. “This poor bird has a broken wing!” My empathic brain was in overdrive! I. Must. Fix. This!
Anyway, that’s a long story, and I’ve set the scene. How romantic! High school sweethearts get married! That’s what the world sees. Behind closed doors, hatred grows.
For my bad boy, who needed to graduate? Not him! He was so smart, his teachers just hated him. Trouble getting and keeping a job? Those stupid bosses didn’t know how good they had it. As time went on, the need for a scapegoat grew. His problem must be his teeth. His stupid mother was too damn cheap to get him braces. Our money problems were my fault, for not being ambitious enough. But I couldn’t socialize to network because then I was being a slut. Rather than looking at his behavior, he looked for someone to blame. And he found them everywhere! He couldn’t do what he wanted to do because he was a straight, white man of course! Stupid Equal Rights! And then he found a new hero who would always tell him the truth, Rush Limbaugh.
I don’t know exactly what went wrong. I don’t know when the wheels came off. I was suddenly in a marriage with a Nazi. Hate ruled my home. My mother-in-law did not teach this. People like Limbaugh, (and now Alex Jones and the like) didn’t start this. They fan the flames, turn a spark into a brushfire, but where did the spark come from? Mental illness in an era where it wasn’t talked about certainly ran in the family. Remember his grandparents? I eventually admitted to myself that murder-suicide would probably be the end of me as well. But even in an era where mental health is widely talked about, hate still happens. Hate is easy. Mental health is hard work. I’ve been working on it. He did not. His mother even warned him that he was pushing too hard, and our marriage broke under the strain.
I am one of the lucky ones who escaped the hate. Too many don’t survive. After all that rambling, all I can say is, I don’t know. I use words as I learn them. Malignant Narcissist? Incel? I was that frog in a pot of water, unaware I was boiling to death. It happened under my watch, was it my fault? Of course not. Neither was it my mother-in-law’s fault. Yes, there are many generations of racists being born and taught to hate. Some even gather in enough members to teach it in schools, perverting religion to suit their needs. But sometimes it seems to just…happen. Nature versus nurture? I wish I had the answers. Even having lived through it, I don’t know what I would do differently. I have to release myself from the “should haves,” but could have I done something? If not, does that mean we are all powerless? I hope not. For all our sakes, I hope not.
At the age of 3, my father began sexually molesting me.
At the age of 5, the sexual abuse was replaced by physical abuse from my father and my mother.
At the age of 9, both my mother and father went to rehab for alcoholism.
At the age of 10, I finally knew what it was like to have a home after living in over 200 houses, more than 100 cities, fifteen states, and two countries.
At the age of 14, I was raped by a classmate my freshman year of high school.
At the age of 15, I started working two full-time jobs and single-handedly supporting my family because my parents flat-out refused to work.
At the age of 16, my parents decided to start drinking again. I took on a third job to support their alcoholism.
At the age of 18 I graduated high school at nearly the top of my class.
After my first year of college, I was told that I was not allowed to continue even though I had scholarships because “I wasn’t raised to think I was better than anyone else.”
At the age of 21, I was raped again … by the man who had betrayed me seven years before. My parents told me I deserved it, and was lucky that a man had paid that much attention to me since I was worth nothing. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
My birth certificate says that I was born on April 2nd, 1987 at 1:25 p.m.
I was born on March 30th, 2009 at roughly 9:45 p.m. when, at nearly 22 years old, I decided I had been through enough.
I am the adult daughter of two alcoholics who have been diagnosed by multiple mental health professionals as suffering from a variety of mental disorders.
My father suffers from Bipolar Disorder and severe Anxiety. My mother is a Paranoid Schizophrenic. Neither one has any sense of reality beyond their immediate perception of the world, and both are Compulsive Liars.
The man who raped me intimidated and frightened me into a silence I would not break for almost ten years. When I ran into him again, he introduced me to his wife and child as if we were old high school friends.
He contacted me after getting my information through old mutual friends and asked if we could meet to reconcile and so that he could apologize for what he had done. He never had any intention of doing so and in my own foolishness, I met with him and he forced me into the back of a car and raped me … again.
My parents told me I had to be lying, and that if I had been raped then I should consider myself lucky because that was more than I deserved from anyone. When I insisted that I was not lying and needed their help, my father smacked me across the face and broke a chair over my back.
I was almost twenty-two years old at the time and the only thing I remember after that was my youngest sister’s face. She was staring in horror and fear trying to figure out what to do.
I was the only one who stood up to the two of them. I defended everyone. I fought everyone’s battles and kept everyone safe. The thoughts in her mind were clear on her face: Who was supposed to protect me? How could they help me?
I had stayed for years thinking that I was protecting them. In that moment, I realized that if I showed them that all you could do was take the abuse and not actually do anything about it … then one day my little sister was going to be in my position … and no one would be around to help her either.
I didn’t have anywhere to go. I had nowhere to stay that night. I called up a friend and grabbed a ride, and crashed on a couch while struggling to find somewhere to live.
I went through months of endless torture and doubt while going through the trail that put my rapist in jail for what will be a very long time. I changed my address, my phone number, and all of my information so that I could cut ties with the life I didn’t deserve and start living a life that was not filled with fear, or doubt, or regret, or abuse.
Today, I am 23 years old.
I have a home of my own for the very first time.
I have sought counseling for the traumas I have been through in my life.
I have struggled with body image, self-esteem, guilt, and an intense lack of trust in people I care about.
I have cut all ties with my family, stopped supporting them financially, and moved on to start a life of my own.
I have found love in a man who is the best thing to ever happen to me. A man who would never raise a hand to me, who loves me in spite of my demons, and who has already supported and seen me at my absolute worst.
I have found peace.
I am not sharing my story to shock, horrify, or scare people. I am not sharing my story seeking sympathy although it is graciously received.
I am sharing my story because somewhere out there is a man, woman, or child who has faced demons that linger in shadows all around them. They may not feel that they are able to overcome them and they are utterly alone.
I am telling you my story to tell you this:
You are not alone. Ever.
No one is ever alone. There were moments when I wanted to give up and give in. Just tune out and wait for the worst to come so that nothing else as bad could happen. I figured there was nothing that could help or save me. I have been there.
I made it out and I am waiting for you with open arms on the other side. There’s plenty of room here.
I have had so much on my mind lately.
So many things make me question my worthiness. I don’t even know. I don’t even know what I want to say. Usually I pull out my journal and just write until my hand cramps. Everything that comes from my head through my fingers. Usually it doesn’t make sense. But I need to get it out.
So that is where I am today.
First. I have missed the Band so much. I am so grateful it is back together again!
I was fired last year from a job I HATED! but loved at the same time. I was a teacher in a 2-year old classroom. I loved my kids. Even on the worst days they made me smile.
People left, got new jobs. People were hired that didn’t like the way my classroom ran. They didn’t have the heart for 2-year olds. They accused me of some shady shit and state got involved. It was bad. I cried every day for a few months. I was terrified!
I mean, this is what I know I was put on this planet to do!
And it was taken away from me and ruined by some 18-year old snot nosed little bitch who didn’t want to work where she was told. I could go into a rant about entitlement here but that would be another post for another day. Ultimately she made up things that just weren’t true.
And to deal with it, I was fired. I was HEARTBROKEN! I was losing my kids. I couldn’t tell them why. I couldn’t tell the parents why. It was absolute bullshit! I was so hurt and angry. These people I worked with I thought were some of my best friends!
Guess what? I’ve talked to them maybe 5 times in the last year. They don’t care; I didn’t matter.
That is when I get into my head. See, I have heard my whole life that I don’t matter. That I am not good enough. That I am ugly and clumsy and not proportioned right – and too skinny, and too fat.
I was told I was stupid.
I believe all of these things to be true.
If the people in my life who are supposed to love me the most say these things to me as a child, they have to be true.
I don’t have relationships. I have people around me who I know I am not good enough for. I was just starting to actually build some self-confidence, believing that I was worthy of a friend.
Once again, I was told I am a terrible human; I don’t deserve friends, don’t deserve to do what I love.
I really thought my ‘friends’ wouldn’t disappear. I thought I might actually matter enough. And reality, once again, slapped me in the face.
It made me realize that I don’t have a single true friend. Someone I know I can call any time of the day and talk or cry or not talk or laugh.
I constantly feel like a burden. I don’t have a relationship with my own sister. Sure, I love her, I want to be her friend, but I am not even worthy of that. I feel so incredibly alone….. Even surrounded by people.
I know if I weren’t there, no one would notice. Or they’d be talking crap about me.
I have a new job now that I absolutely love and I work with some great people. But my walls are even higher than ever now: I can’t let anyone in. I can’t be devastated like that any more. It’s crushed me.
It’s happened more times in my life than I can count.
And here I am, rambling again.
I even suck at writing. I just wish I had a person. Someone who really cared. Someone I could give all my secrets too. Even the ones I am not so proud of. The ones that make me terrified.
I just want to feel worthy of someone.
To know that I matter.
A wise woman told me to write up my story and tell the hell out of it. So, here I am.
Sometimes, I feel like I have the only kid like mine. My son was diagnosed between 3 and 4. He is one of 3 I have, with special needs. For the time being, I’m focusing on my oldest.
We knew something was not right with him. He threw an 80 lb. mattress across the room at me. How does a 3 year old do that? He never slept. He would have meltdowns and throw things at me. I have gotten black eyes from everything from a book to an army boot to the back of the head.
Thankfully, I had a wonderful doctor tell me how to deal with the meltdowns and those came less and less often. However, he would wander. We had two incredibly scary events where he wandered off when he was 5, but he had angels and off duty police officers watching out for him.
When we got the Autism diagnosis, I knew nothing about Autism. Most people equate it to the movie Rain Man. I had never seen the movie so I had no clue. All I knew was Doug Flutie, an NFL football player, had a cereal that’s proceeds went to autism awareness. The only reason I knew that is because I saw the commercial once while my husband was watching a game. That’s all I knew. Nothing else.
So, the journey was rocky and hard. The first year my husband was stationed in Korea, so he was not around to learn what I did.
I relied on “friends” I thought that I had to help. Instead, I got investigated by CPS (child protective services) for making everything up. The only thing that was founded was that I was stressed. (Gee no idea why???)
My son’s first year in school was horrible. Open classroom and he would have meltdowns. They did not want to deal with him, so 5 out of 5 days he went to school, he was sent home early. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing or how the school should have been handling him.
Thankfully, the school he was moved to had a wonderful Spec Ed teacher that knew what she was doing, to this day, I will still kiss the ground that she walks on.
He improved and stayed in school. Had messy moods and lack of sleeping so we had to join the medicine bus. So many doctors and specialists, “you should do this” and “don’t do that and this and that.”
The kid is a loving, sweet amazing kid. He has a hard time showing that. He has many co-morbidities along with his autism. ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, depression, hypermobility, OCD, etc.
In our journey with him, we realized he wasn’t like most kids with autism. So many can use an iPad and it’s nothing. A phone and no problem. With my son, he can not tell the difference between reality and what’s on the iPad or phone. We tried. We tried so many times, so he could be like his friends or brothers. But it ultimately turned out so, so, so, so bad.
When he was 11 a child that bullied him at school told him that triple x rated stuff on the internet was bad and if you looked at it you were super special because not everyone’s computer can look at it. Ever since that day, my son has been fixated on it. At 11 he had no idea what it was, just that it was special and not everyone could see it. As he grew into puberty it got worse and worse. I still don’t think he knows exactly what its supposed to mean to a person, because his thinking age is around 10, but he knows its bad, he’s told his therapist it’s bad. He’s tried to look at it on the internet at school.
We had everything on our cable blocked so that he could not watch it or order it and somehow he got around it and we had a $900 bill. (I’m still drinking coffee to cope with that one)
Now he’s in a dark, dark place. He’s obsessed with death. He writes and writes and writes about death scenes. Then he tears them up. He talked to his therapist, but he sees no problem. We can not even let this child watch cop TV shows it’s that bad. Nothing to do with magic, or death.
My husband and I have been watching his behavior as of the last 2-3 months and I’m not liking what I see. Neither does my husband.
His moods are very erratic. One minute he’s happy, the next he’s angry and ready to fight. Then he’s happy. (Note: he has not touched a soul, just has gotten angry with words) These mood changes make me think he’s bipolar. We were warned that he probably was a few years ago. We knew it was coming.
Now we’re questioning the doctor, because my husband and I are so completely and mentally drained from dealing with his moods and trying to keep his brothers from upsetting him. The doctor is trying to tell us that he’s making it all up and that we just have to deal with it. My first thought, no lie, was, “The fuck you mean deal with it? I’ve BEEN living with it! We came to you for help on how to KEEP dealing with it, asshole!” I, of course, did not say that, because I was too tired.
This kid has been in-patient 7, lost count after that, times for being bullied and being suicidal. I’m scared to death something is going to set him off. Granted all sharp instruments are kept under lock and key. We continue to try and understand what is going on, but our son can not tell us because he does not remember the mood swings.
His doctor said, because he does not feel bad for being angry and mean, he is not bipolar. DUDE, he’s autistic, he’s not going to feel bad.
I had 2 major surgeries and he bumped what I had surgery on, I started crying and he didn’t give two craps. That does not mean he’s not bipolar!
It’s hard to keep him busy. He gets bored with puzzles and crosswords and TV, because we have seriously toned down everything that he can watch. I’m just at a loss on where I should go from here. There’s probably a lot I left out of his story, I’m sorry for that.
Here’s another twist on his story. He legit thinks he’s from another dimension. He thinks he is a female from another dimension, that he will leave to find when he is 18 years old. There are artifacts all over the world that he has to collect in order to remain safe in this other dimension. He thinks that the here and now is just temporary. Because of his beliefs with this, he can not watch or read anything that involves fantasy. Because he can not and will not be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not.
His therapist and I had a long talk today about it. I had to stop from bursting into tears, because I have never heard of another child like mine. I explained that to him and asked what do I do. He said I do what I’m doing… Be mom.
It did not help when he said that in the 13 years that he had been doing what he does, he had never met another kid like my son.
Sometimes, being a mom is rough as hell when it feels like no matter what you do, it’s out of control. You know all those books you read before you have kids? I never read any chapters on Autism or special needs and I sure as hell never read any on how to deal with this kind of life for your child.
I guess I should add that I am dealing with my own depression and anxiety right now. My anxiety is off the charts and my shrink threw me into counseling. Didn’t even ask just threw me in. I also have a chronic illness and it flares up in the form of pain when I’m extremely stressed out, the last 3 months I’ve gotten little relief.
It’s sad to say at this point, I’ll deal with me as it comes. I just want my son to be okay. I know I need to worry about me, too. If he is okay, then I can be okay.
Basically, I’m writing this because I just need to know I’m not alone. I’m so tired. My gut instinct with this kid is never wrong. My gut says he needs help with this anger thing and his doctor is being stupid.
I don’t know where to start this, but I need to put it out there to start healing.
I’m now 42 years old and I’ve always needed mental health care; I hear voices and I see things that aren’t there. I was molested and raped as a child and again as a teenager. I couldn’t cope, so I began self-harming – just to feel something; anything, however this behavior was never allowed in my house.
When I was 16 and tried to kill myself, my parents took me to an ER out of town and then swept it under the rug. Never to be spoken about again.
In 2004, I took a job with my father as my boss.
See, I’ve also always been a high-functioning addict and I wanted so badly to NOT be the black sheep in my family; I wanted my parents to be proud of me. So I took this job. I worked so hard for many years. At work, people thought i was a “princess” because my father was our boss. Little did they know that I got all the shit jobs that could never be done late or missed. Even when my oldest child collapsed with leukemia, I was given a laptop and worked from her hospital room.
My husband and I use pain clinics, but if we run short, I’ll buy some to help get us through the month. Plus, I’ve always had bad panic attacks and I smoked weed to help out with those and help me sleep.
Last year, a woman wanted me fired and gone.
She broke into my Facebook and found a conversation, between my husband and I, that we’d had about a year before. She took pictures of this conversation, then showed them to my father. The conversation included information about me being bisexual and about buying weed and a pill.
I was fired, as was my husband. I was disowned by my entire family.
The same family that KNEW that I had mental illnesses, heard voices, saw things, and that I experienced black-outs during which I did and said things I’ll never remember. They didn’t offer me help – they set me out, cast me aside. After running my life, (they controlled what I wore, what vehicle I drove, what I did with the kids…etc.) they washed their hands of me and walked away.
My brother also works for our father – did I mention we were all cops? I was not a cop but I did time-keeping for the jail and registered sex offenders.
My brother had me pulled over 48 hours after I was fired and disowned, he had his people tear my truck apart searching for drugs and other illegal stuff. All they found was a single pain pill that belonged to my husband. I told them it wasn’t mine, my husband told them that it was his, yet they still wrote me a citation for possession.
So I went to court, for the first time ever – I had never been in trouble before. I’d never even gotten a speeding ticket. The lawyer took me aside and told me the only plea I’d be offered was 11 months 29 days for misdemeanor probation. I took it. Even though I’d brought the pill bottle to show them the pill was legal. I knew if I tried to take it to trial they would give me jail time. I was an example to be made.
It gets worse.
The press got wind that we’d been fired.
My parents had the woman who had hacked my Facebook handle the press.
It went national and none of it was true. They said we were on meth. That I’d been arrested.
It was single worst time in my life.
Our landlord evicted us.
We had another trailer lined up in the county next to ours because we couldn’t go ANYWHERE in our other county without being followed by local police.
At the last minute, our future trailer fell through. We put everything we owned in a storage facility and officially became homeless. We rented a long-term motel in the neighboring county. We were both drawing unemployment so we just hid in the motel, licking our wounds and trying to figure out what our new life was going to look like.
For the first time in my life, I went to the local mental health facility and made an appointment to see someone. The blackouts where getting so bad that I’d broken into my mother-in-law’s apartment and stole money – I have no memory of any of it. They diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder, Type I bipolar disorder, insomnia, and schizophrenia. I was prescribed Vraylar (a new medication to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). It has made such a difference in my life.
Then the next thing that struck us down, the unemployment dried up. No one said that it didn’t last all year. I worked there for 15 years my husband worked there for 21 years and we got a whole 6 months of unemployment.
So we go from living in a long-term motel, to living in our Honda. We had our pug and beagle with us and that was it. My husband’s mother decided to help us get a rent to own trailer, so we went to an estate auction (a little 85 year old lady had had a heart attack in her kitchen and died) looking for furniture and things like a fridge, stove, washer, dryer. We’d lost all of that when we lost our trailer.
When the time came, they started bidding on the actual house and no one made a bid.
Suddenly, my husband’s mom raised her hand and bid $30,000 on a $100,000 house. No one else bid. My husband and I sat rock still, holding hands so tightly that the color was seeping from our fingers. For 10 minutes, the auctioneer continued asking if anyone else had a bid. They didn’t want the house going for that low.
Finally the auctioneer said, “SOLD FOR $30,000!”
My husband and I grabbed each other and his mom and together we sat in our new back yard and cried and thanked God.
I managed to get a job at a gas station that’s within walking distance from our new house. I make just enough to pay our lights and water. I’m trying so so very hard to get us into the green, to get my husband’s guns out of pawn, and to get some money to help my grown kids out if they need it.
Truly, this has been the worst year I’ve ever known. I spend every evening wishing that I could speak to my parents, while knowing that they won’t answer me. I even tried sending an email last month saying that I was sorry for embarrassing them and that I loved them more than life, and got no answer.
But even though it’s been the worst year, it’s also been the best.
I got fired from a job that made me so unhappy, I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. Now, I work at a little gas station with no stress, just fun. I had forgotten that work could be fun.
I got disowned by my parents and completely slandered in the news. But, that meant that I’ve stepped out of my parents control. For the first time IN MY LIFE, I wear what I want to wear, go where I want to go, and say whatever I want to say. I went from homeless for the first time, to sleeping in the Honda, to owning my own home. No mortgage, no nothing!
It’s the light of my life! Now no one can evict us; we have our own home!
I went from never having any sort of mental health care, with blackouts so bad I turned the only mother-figure in my life against me due to something I can’t even recall, to feeling almost normal. I didn’t know that I NEEDED mental health care. It’s amazing that I do NOT hear voices, I don’t see things that aren’t there, and I’m neither severely over-emotional nor completely numb.
I guess the moral to my story is this: I’m learning and I hope that my story helps anyone else going through the worst things they’ve experienced. That if you are going through things that you can’t imagine making it through, if life has you by the balls and you can’t breathe without the weight on your chest, if you want to crawl under the bed until the sun rises. Just hold on. Hold on tight.
Things WILL get better. It may not work out the way you want – heck, just look at my living situation! – but it will work out in a way that you never could have guessed.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have problems. I’m still depressed, I miss my family so badly it hurts. I still don’t sleep (and when I do, I wake up screaming from nightmares that the last thing I said to my parents will be the last thing I’ll ever get to say to them.)
But for the most part, life is getting better, I’m enjoying my job and my house. My husband and I are doing well. I can’t wait for the next chapter to come. I know there will be more struggles and hardships but I’ve learned that things will work out, maybe not the way I wanted or thought it would. But, I’m going slow and finally, finally, I have hope.
For those of you out there in the bad place, go slow… hold on… and have hope.
In the United States, every 107 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted. Four of every five sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 68% of all sexual assaults go unreported to the proper authorities.
Why do so many sexual assaults go unreported?
Shame. Self blame. Embarrassment. Fear that no one would believe their story. Fear that they may have caused it. Not wanting to be the victim. Wanting to move past the sexual assault. There are a multitude of reasons why sexual assaults go unreported.
Just as there are a number of types of rape (gang rape, date/acquaintance rape, intimate partner rape, statutory rape, sexual assault), there are a multitude of responses to sexual assault. Each of which is completely normal.
This year, The Band Back Together Project is shining a light into the darkness of sexual assault. Please share your story of sexual assault so that we can Light the Darkness.
All are welcome.
Can a male adult be abused and raped?
A gay male friend of mine has a female friend who has been bothering him, abusing him, stalking him. He has low self-esteem and a difficult time standing up for himself. His father has rejected him because of his sexual orientation, and he has had a difficult time coming to grips with that.
She started showing up where he was when he would travel for work or on personal vacation.
Then she isolated him.
She asked him to have sexual intercourse. He refused.
She offered herself as an experiment to see if maybe he was straight and didn’t realize it. She continued asking despite the fact that he repeatedly said no.
Many of those times he said no, she just forced herself on him.
He said he does not remember how he felt during or after, but remembers that he avoided being alone with her many times so that he wasn’t put in the same position. He felt like there was no way to say no that she would listen to as she would do what she wanted to anyway.
She manipulated the situation to the point of saying they can have children together and to continue traveling together as friends. He wanted to do it as a sperm donation with no more physical contact, she refused and threatened with no baby.
He was forced again and now she is pregnant.
Once she got pregnant she threatened him with abortion if he refused to live with her as a couple and have more babies.
He wants the baby and he feels like he is trapped.