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This is the thirteenth post in this series, to start from the beginning, 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.
Moving into a new place with new rules
At the beginning of my senior year, our apartment complex found out that we had a felon living with us and we were evicted. My mom scrambled to find another place to live and only signed her name on the lease.
This new apartment seemed like a new start for the both of them. But they didn’t want me to be a part of their joy. They bought a new couch set for the living room and when they brought home they told me I wasn’t allowed to sit on it.
Quickly, new boundaries were set for me until I was secluded to my room, only allowed to come out to clean or use the bathroom. I was their new slave that they never had to look at. When they made a mess, I was there to clean it and then back to my room I went.
When my mom went grocery shopping, she shopped for two. And when she cooked, she cooked for two and then called me out of my room to do their dishes.
I wasn’t allowed to eat their food. I became anorexic, I guess, but it wasn’t by choice. School or at work were the only places I would eat, with my own money of course.
When Bruce would get mad at me for not doing something right or fast enough he would shut off all of the power to my room. He used the circuit breaker box so that I wouldn’t have a TV to watch, be able to listen to the radio or charge the cell phone I was paying for.
It would get worse and worse and I would call my sister crying on the phone every day. I hated being there. I wasn’t expecting a perfect life but this was definitely not what I had in mind.
It had gotten to the point where Bruce had called me once and made me come home from school to clean a spoon out of the sink.
I made sure to never get in trouble at school or anywhere for that matter. The only thing I had was a job and I didn’t want her to take that away from me.
I became disposable
Bruce had started up his drinking habit again that we had noticed before he went to jail. He became more and more disrespectful to my mom in the process to the point where her opinion didn’t matter to him anymore.
When he would get drunk and want to go somewhere in the middle of the night like the store, my mom would force me to get in the car with him to make sure he got home safe. Those were some of the scariest moments of my teenage life. Not knowing if we would make it back home.
I felt like I was in some type of dream, wondering if this could actually be my reality. I was seventeen years old, and I still couldn’t figure out my mother. Still to this day I will never understand how she could have treated me this way.
Using work as a getaway
I would still go to work as much as I possibly could. If there were extra hours then I would take them. Anything I could do to stay away from home I would.
One Sunday a customer had stayed in the store asking questions past closing time. The buses stopped running at six o’clock so I had no way to get home. I called my mom and begged her to pick me up but she refused, saying that she was in her pajamas as an excuse. I don’t know why that would prevent you from picking up your daughter when you would never have to leave your car but she said no anyway.
After calling everyone else I knew and couldn’t find a ride so I was forced to walk home. I worked across town and had to walk all the way home, four miles away. Four miles isn’t much, but when you have a mother at home that is perfectly capable of driving you, and this was the only favor that you have asked for in years, that four miles are a walk of shame and anger.
I was near my breaking point. I don’t know how I hadn’t reached it already.
I was convinced, as I still am now that my mother doesn’t love me. And if she does, it’s a love that I will never be able to understand.
Each and every day I would get angrier. I hated where I lived and I hated everyone around me.
Every day, I just wanted to die.
I thought life could never get better and so my answer would be to end it all. But I was too scared to kill myself so I never tried. I didn’t want to hurt the people that actually cared about me.
I was so angry with God the only conversations I had with Him were to ask why I was going through all of this.
What was so strange about my situation, I felt crazy for the way I was feeling. As if my situation wasn’t bad and there was something that I was doing wrong.
My mother had convinced everyone around me that she was a good person. Even my siblings. So when I called my sister crying every day, I was convinced she thought I was crazy.
My best friend at the time seemed to downplay what I told her was happening. Because she knew my mom, and my mom didn’t act crazy around her. It got to the point where I didn’t even tell her what was happening anymore. I hated complaining and being a victim- I still do. There’s only so long you can cry on deaf ears before you start locking even more away. The problem was, there was no more room in my brain to hide those things.
I was surrounded by people who made me think what I was going through wasn’t a big deal. And so I questioned myself constantly wondering if I was making a big deal out of nothing.
How I left
A couple weeks after my long walk home, Bruce walked into my room and told me to do the dishes.
I had had enough. I told him that I didn’t dirty any of the dishes and so I wasn’t going to do any of them.
He threatened to shut the power off in my room and so I called my mom.
I asked her how she could allow a man to treat me the way he did. Why does she treat me the way she does? He’s not my father. I cried out to her one last time.
After hearing me rant and cry she said simply, “Elizebeth, you better get in there and do those ******* dishes.”
I hung up the phone and closed my door. I told him I wasn’t doing them. When he shut the power off I packed a backpack full of clothes after opening the blinds in my room to use the daylight as light. I put the bag over my shoulder and walked out of the house.
I still remember the sound the door made when it closed. The memory of myself standing there for a split second wondering if this could really be the last time I ever deal with all of the nonsense is still as clear as day. And trying to figure out how to make my escape final. I was seventeen, my mom still could call the police and make me come home again.
I was so angry I didn’t want to wait for a bus. Since I already knew I could walk across town I continued to walk in my anger until I got to Red Lobster, across the street from the mall where Kathleen’s mom Carolyn worked.
I waited in the lobby and asked them to grab her. When she came to me, I told her I couldn’t take it anymore and asked to live with her. She welcomed me with open arms and I am forever grateful.
Making sure I never had to go back
A couple days later I got a ride back to my house so that I could grab more of my things and leave a note for my mom.
I told her that if she called the police this time that I would turn Bruce in for violating his parole because he had left the state for vacation. I told her I was more than willing to come home but if I did, then Bruce was going back to jail. It was him or me.
I knew she would choose him. When I went back a week later to get more of my things the locks had been changed and I knew I was finally free. I didn’t hear from my mom for almost a year.
For the next year or so of my life, I tried my best to just become “whole”. Once I was finally released from such a stressful life, my migraines started to subside. But instead of migraines, memories began to flood in from the abuse. I had locked so much away that it started flooding out into my thoughts and dreams. It started affecting my concentration in school and I didn’t talk to anyone about it.
I began writing what I like to call “hurt journals”. The thoughts of what I went through were overwhelming and so I carried little journals with me everywhere I went and I wrote what came to mind down. Even in the middle of classes my senior year, I would be constantly writing in those journals. I figured if they were written down somewhere, I wouldn’t have to think about them. And they helped tremendously. They are what I turned to when writing this series.
Turning my life to Jesus
For two years after I left my mother’s house my life was a rocky mess. My inability to communicate properly, or handle situations that made me uncomfortable crippled me in my early adult life. I made some horrible decisions but God never left me. When I was nineteen, I encountered a person that changed my life forever. You can read my Why I Rededicated my Life to Christ post here.
It’s been a long road of forgiveness and continued sanctification. But I’m grateful that God has blessed me with the life I have today. He’s blessed me with an amazing husband, three wonderful children and stability. It took years to forgive my mother, but the freedom that comes with forgiving those who hurt you most is inexpressible. I cannot thank God enough for what He’s done in my life.
“For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity,
whose name is Holy:
‘I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who as a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of contrite ones.”
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.
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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?