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I don’t remember the first time he hit me, and I hope I never do. I don’t know if it was all of a sudden-if he hit me or my brother first or if it was something small. But it happened, and it kept happening almost every day for the next seven years.When I look back I know that he had to have had some pretty extreme OCD. He had roles for all of us. In his mind, I was “the little devil”. The liar, the cheater, the rotten little child that just needed lots of correction. To him I deserved most of the abuse.
I was the youngest, my sister is two years older than me and my brother is seven. My brother was also a target, I don’t know how or why these roles were chosen but once they were-they were set in stone. My sister was known as the good one, she rarely got in trouble. But it doesn’t make it any better to watch your siblings go through turmoil. There was no way to make him happy. When he was angry, someone had to pay, and that someone was usually me.
This is the second post in this series to read my introduction first, please click here.
Disclaimer: I wrote this in 2013 to share my testimony with the world in the hopes of helping other children faced with abuse. Most times, you will be the only person to advocate for a child that cannot stand up for themselves. Children in abusive situations are taught to conceal every aspect of abuse, so if you by chance are able to see something, it may be the only opportunity for rescue a child has. Please take the appropriate steps to report child abuse. I have since rewritten and updated these posts to make them more understandable and up to my current writing standards.
My life started out pretty simple. It’s crazy how a single decision can turn so many lives upside down. I often wonder what my life would have been like if my “series of unfortunate events” never happened. But I know that I am who I am because of these events, even if coming to terms with what happens is still something I struggle with.
We moved from Portland, Oregon to Kent Washington when I was a year old. And four years later, after infidelity, my parents separated. It was a whirlwind of events that happened so quickly. My mother moved us to a friends house, then my dad kidnapped me. When she got me back, a custody battle ensued. From what I’ve heard, my dad had custody at one point but then he gave it to my mom. We visited him a couple times and then the visitation stopped.
And then he came.
I remember the night my mom brought him home. She had met him at a bar and the next day he was having dinner with us.
Sitting at the dinner table, my sister looked up at him and asked, “Why are you here?” And he laughed dismissively.
He moved in right away. Within the first week of him coming over I remember him putting me in the corner. A concept I had never heard of before.
This was the start to the next seven years of our lives.
I remember it like it was yesterday, in the corner of the dimly lit kitchen with only the light above the stove on. Hearing my mom and him play with my siblings in our room. Not understanding why they got to play and I didn’t.
Wondering why I was standing there, staring at a wall. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I guess that was the beginning of it all. Him showing me who was boss now- who was in complete control of our lives.
His name was Marvin. I hate saying his name. I hate looking around corners in public places still to this day to see if he is watching me.
And I hate that my life will be forever connected with his.
That when a police officer looks up my name they will see that I have a restraining order against him until the year 2099. And when I go home to Washington to visit I have to think, “is this the time that I will see him?” “Does he know where I’m staying?” “Or does he not even care anymore?
Did he just come in and unravel lives, move on and not look back?
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And she made us call him dad
Shortly after Marvin moved in with us, he sat us down with my mom and had a “heartfelt” conversation with us. About how much he loved us and how he would like us to call him dad. We never knew any better, we hadn’t heard from our real father in a little while. Soon after our visitations stopped, my father moved to Florida, and I didn’t find out for years that my mother refused to let him to talk to us. My mom looked at us like it was OK and that we should- so we did.
And once he was our “dad” he made sure to make the most of his new role.
He made it his goal to strip away all happiness in our lives. He started by bagging up all of our toys except for one and throwing them all away. Then playing outside became a rare occasion.
No friends, no going to birthday parties, no phone calls, no anything.
We were told where to sit, and that became our spot on the couch or at the table for the remainder of those years. My spot was in the corner of the couch closest to the front door. The first one he could reach when he came home, if I was ever off restriction.
We were told how to sit, how to breathe, how to hold our hands in our laps. How to walk, how to talk, how to not talk, and how to not cry.
Then the rules came. Endless rules-but we learned them quick because we didn’t want to suffer the consequences.
When I look at a four year old child I get lost in thoughts wondering how a six foot three over two 200 pound man could punch a four year old child in the face. What would make someone want to do that? I’ll never get that answer.
When my son turned four, I had endless thoughts of how small and innocent he was. How small and innocent I was. There’s no justification, and no answer will ever satisfy my question.
My childhood ended when I was four. There was no more innocence or joy. No more fun and laughter. Just endless fear.
Nowhere was safe from pain.
Would you share this post? I’m writing this series in hopes to help someone. You never know who’s suffering, whether that is an adult who is trying to live in the aftermath of abuse or a child that someone can help, they just need a push to do it.
Please feel free to share this, my hope is that through my brokenness I can save other children from abuse.
Are you a victim of abuse? How can I pray for you?