How could this happen

by Maureen P
(New York)

I think the question should be how could it not happen?

Let's face it I had been primed since childhood to be in an abusive relationship. That is all that I saw growing up. I think I was nine or ten before I realized my family life was not as normal as I thought it was. I had a friend in grade school, and she invited me to her house to hang out. Her mother was in the kitchen cooking and gave my friend and I such a warm welcome. The mom offered us a snack, and my friend showed me around her beautiful house. It had a warm happy feeling. Even just the house had a different feeling than my house did. My house was chaotic, and I was always unsure what would happen next. In my friends house I got the feeling that everyday was good and peaceful. I didn't know anything was wrong with how I lived until I saw how other people lived. I had to pretend while outside that everything was okay. My friend probably had a great safe life. I was more confused and a little sad when I realized that my childhood life wasn't normal. I guess it was normal to me. Don't get me wrong there were times when everything in my childhood included having fun and not being afraid, but that never lasted too long. I always was waiting for the other shoe to hit the floor.

I can think of only a handful of adults in my life that were very good to me all of the time. However, most of the adults thought it was very funny to scare little kids, thinking it was funny. I was teased a lot by the adults, and I am sure that they were doing it thinking it was funny and not to be cruel.

If I had just witnessed a really bad fight between my parents and my mother took us out at night to ride the trains to get away and we just got home in time to go to school, being teased or scared by trusted adults is very hard to understand as a child. I couldn't even tell anyone what was going on. So if an adult was trying to be funny while scaring me, it was all the more I had to handle in silence.

I was a child living in a house of horrors, with no nurturing from the adults and just being taught how to get through the day. I really don't blame my parents for my childhood because they were doing the best they knew how. My parents did love me but didn't protect me. They didn't know how to raise confident children.

Being a teenager after a whole life of being in a scary, unsafe, chaotic house would be difficult for anyone. I was already exposed to beatings, being scared, feeling unloved, and being taught to be silent when I was hurt or hurting. So the transition into being adult was going to turn out just like my childhood because that was all I knew.

I was in a vulnerable time in my life when the abuser took advantage of me. I was a typical teenager just trying to fit. I was rebelling against everything like most teenagers. After all, I was just trying to find myself. I was sixteen when I met my abuser. He was charming and handsome, and he was a great talker. He said everything he thought I needed to hear just to get me to fall for him. I was so loyal after he asked me to be his girlfriend. As soon as he had me in his grip, the process to being abused began. Of course, I didn't see it happening, nor did the people around me because I didn't discuss what was going on in my relationship. He slowly was sucking the life out of me, the little life that I did have coming from my background of my parents abusive relationship. I thought I had no one to discuss this with, at least that's what I felt.

If I knew how to ask for help or the courage to tell someone what I was going through, I probably could have been helped. I didn't even know how to ask for help, so I just went through it.

Click here to post comments

Giving Birth was Anything but Beautiful

by Maureen P
(New York)

I was just 17 and a trusting naive teenager. I believed what adults told me, and I was not taught how to stand up for myself.

I was a clinic patient for unwed mothers at a teaching hospital. We were all under eighteen. This meant every time I went to an appointment, I was seen by a different intern. They weren't even real doctors. They were just doing their rounds in maternity labor and delivery.

I was given a due date of December 9, I was getting nervous I didn't know what to expect. My mom never prepared me for what was about to happen. We didn't discuss much of anything. On one of the weekly appointments, the intern said that the baby's head was intact, which meant she was in position and it shouldn't be too much longer. This had to be when I was one or two weeks past my due date. One thing the intern did while giving me that internal was to press really hard and twist his fingers back and forth. I told him that was really hurting me, but he continued doing it. When he was finished I was trying to get dressed, but my bottom and lower stomach was hurting making it hard to put on my clothes. I managed to get dressed, and I walked home. I told my mother what had happened, and she said the internal wasn't supposed to hurt, and she hoped he didn't do anything to the baby. Her words would later haunt me.

A week later at the next appointment, I was given another internal, and the intern said that the baby was now presenting breech. I said “how can that be, last week the baby was said to be intact head-in position in the pelvis. He couldn't explain, but he did say I was in active labor and would be going to the labor room. I wasn't in pain. I just followed the nurse to the labor room.

When I got into the labor room, I was treated like an experiment. Every intern and doctor came in to give me an internal. I didn't have enough sense to put a stop to the multiple invasive examinations. Everyone that came in was putting their hands in me. Most times they didn't even say anything, just gave me the exam. I heard the interns talking, and they were nervous that the main doctor wasn't there yet. They kept paging him, and the doctor was not returning the page. It was a very long time. I wasn't even in pain, and I thought that they had made a mistake. However, the monitor I was hooked up to was showing that I was having contractions. The baby’s heartbeat kept dropping every time I had a contraction, and now that the contractions were coming faster and longer the interns were getting nervous again.

I was told I couldn't have any pain medicine because the baby's heartbeat was erratic.I felt like I was just a good clinic patient to teach how to deliver a breech birth vaginally. They were actually going to try to deliver naturally, why not a cesarean? No, they were playing God that day. They were big shots, and they were going to teach a breech birth.

Around 9:00 p.m. I started feeling the contractions, and I started to cry. It was the most pain I had ever felt, and I remember asking for something. They gave me the same answer that they can't give my anything. They were still waiting for the main doctor, but my contractions were coming every two minutes, and I was fully dilated. So, one of the senior interns said it was time.

I'm not exaggerating. Fourteen interns piled into the labor room, and filed around the bed. One intern asked who wanted to try to bring the feet out, and one lady intern said she would try. I was told to move down to the end on the bed and open my legs. I heard the one instructor intern tell the other intern to go in and feel where the feet were. She reached in and said that she thought that the baby was coming knees first. I was screaming it hurt so much. She still had both of her hands inside of me, and she did force the babies knees up and bent the legs so that one foot was out. I was still screaming. I had no pain medicine, and no one seemed to care what I felt. The nurse that was standing behind my head put her hand over my mouth and leaned down into my face and said for me to shut up, stop screaming, that I was scaring the other patients. This made the first intern not want to do the second leg, so someone else took a turn, did the same thing; reached in, bent the babies leg up and back and pulled the foot out. The senior intern said the baby should just come out now, just pull her as hard as he could. When he pulled she came out up to her waist, and she wouldn't budge.

Everyone panicked, I was told to push myself up on the bed and that they would be right back. They all left the room. It was such a strange feeling. I had no pain, and I think I went into shock because I felt like I was going to faint but stayed awake. They were standing right outside my labor room, and I actually heard one of them say maybe when we go back in they both will be dead. Of course, I wasn't dead and neither was my baby. She was kicking and hanging out up her waist. I heard over the load speaker for a certain doctor to come to the labor room. This was the doctor that they were waiting for all day. They came into the room with a bed for me to get on so they can bring me to the delivery room. Can you believe the same mean nurse actually wanted me to get myself off of the labor room bed and onto the other bed by myself? I found the strength to slide over, but all the while with my vision I felt like I was like looking through a pin hole and I felt nauseous. I told the nurse I felt like I was going to vomit. She just ignored me and wheeled me into the delivery room.
I then had to get off that bed onto the labor room bed, this time I had to stand up. The baby was hanging out of me up to her waist, and I think I'm going to faint, but I manage to get on the bed. I had to put my feet in the stirrups while my baby dangled out backwards and no support. No one else was in the room, but one nice nurse. She was sent in to wash the area. She was nice because she pulled out the shelf that was at the foot of the bed and at least my baby could have some support.

Then, the doctors started to come back in, and I heard that they think the baby's arms are locked behind the head so that they would have to give me an episiotomy. No one talked to me, it was like I wasn't even in the room. I was invisible to them, they were treating me like a cadaver. One doctor (I think the one they were waiting all day for) walked over to me and grabbed the baby by the feet and lifted her up and proceeded to cut and give me an episiotomy, I was screaming and crying, but he kept cutting. Towards the end the doctor said “enough with the screaming just put me out”, meaning put me out with anesthesia. I woke up in the delivery room by myself, and my poor baby off in the corner in a bassinet screaming. When a nurse came in, I asked what did I have, and she said I had a girl.

From the beginning I knew something was wrong. First, the hospital never gave her any extra oxygen and allowed her to stay in my room. According to the nurse my baby was crying so much that she was keeping the other babies up. I didn't get any rest from the horrible ordeal. I had a baby to take care of. The nurse left the bassinet by my bed. At feeding time, while all of the other mothers were getting their babies to feed, the nurse would bring me a bottle and diapers for me to feed and change my baby. I took her home after one and a half days with no special instructions. She never stopped crying.

We later found out that while pulling her out, the doctors had dislocated both of her shoulders and never said anything. That's probably why she cried so much. Usually, if the shoulders are dislocated on a baby, the doctor should pin the arms to the clothing or tape them in place so the arms don't move. My baby suffered at the hands of those interns practicing. She suffered brain damage because she spent a long time being compressed while hanging out of me before they violently yanked her out. I ended with one hundred stitches from the episiotomy. Not only did they connect the vagina to the anus, they cut completely around my ass cheek. I could not sit for months, and I was in so much pain. My mother would say “stop walking like that”; when she had her babies she was up and walking around with no problem. I tried not to let her see me walk or sit so she wouldn't make a comment, if she only knew what actually happened to me.

I never told anyone what went on in that room. I thought all babies were born that way. I was seventeen and trusted adults. I came from a family where you didn't complain when you were hurt, or what anyone did to you. I was dealing with an abusive boyfriend, a baby that never slept and only cried, and my mother, even though she did help in the beginning, was telling me that when I turn eighteen I had to leave. I just went through hell. I am in hell, and I have to leave to go to another hell.

Anyone else probably would not have survived that birth, but I had training in being tortured.

My life had to be all about my daughter and finding her early intervention, all the while being afraid and scared of an abusive creep who offered absolutely no help.

Click here to post comments

Just Existing

by Maureen P
(New York)

My thoughts today have all focused on I have not been living.

I have been existing.

I go through the motions each day, and I'm just glad that I made it through the day. I'm happy if I notice that it's time to go to bed because that means I survived another day. I have trouble sleeping, and I think the last time I slept through the entire night was over thirty years ago. I am up at least six times a night, so I start each day already exhausted. I want to start to enjoy things. However, I don't know how to be happy. People who have been abused don't believe they are entitled to be happy. I pretend a lot that I'm happy, but I am just content. That's something I am working on. But for now I just exist.

Click here to post comments

How can you say you didn't see anything

by Maureen P
(New York)

Say something before it is too late..

Say something before it is too late..

One thing that I couldn't understand is why anyone who witnesses domestic violence doesn't do anything about it. Many times my abuser was so violent with me while in public, and people would just walk pass me without saying a word. This just gave my abuser more power over me. He would say all the time "you see no one is going to help you, I can do whatever I want to and no one is going to stop me." I was so afraid he would kill me in public while everyone was watching. There was no way that people didn't see what he was doing to me, yet no one came to help.

He would also threaten to hurt my family. I actually believed that he would do something and make me watch, and it would be all my fault. So most times, I just did what he wanted. I was really upset with my mother at different times because I would finally ask for her help and she would say "no". It took many years to figure out why my mother would not help me. She had so much violence in her own life that she was unable to handle the stress of more violence. She just couldn't help me because she was finally out of danger from my father that she just wanted peace. I did ask her once why when I really needed help did she not offer help. She told me that she believed I would just go back to my abuser, and she didn't want to be involved.

I thought about that, and, if I had someone that was willing to help and protect me, I don't think I would have gone back. I needed someone to convince me that my abuser wouldn't be able to hurt me and that no matter what happens that someone wasn't afraid of what he would do to them. I believed he was a big chicken and just needed someone to stand up to him, and he would just leave me alone.

If someone stood up to him, he would have backed down. Many times he would be out drinking, and he would leave to come home to start a fight with me because the guys at the bar were bigger and meaner than him. By beating up a helpless woman, it made him feel like a man. He would never fight at the bar because he would have been the one getting the beating.

It still makes me so mad to know that people just walk past a person getting abused. It would have changed my life if only someone had come over and helped me. I would have been so appreciative . Sometimes that is all the course that an abused person needs to be able to help themselves. If someone would have stopped him from punching me in the face or stopped him from choking me, it would have helped me find the courage to stand up for myself. All I had was a maniac telling me that no one was ever going to help me and for along time I believed him. Even if someone doesn't get directly involved, at least make a call to police and stay near the scene to make sure that it doesn't get worse.

Every one that came by and saw or "did not see" the abuse and didn't do anything to help, you just made a madman more violent.

Help stop the abuse.

We need you to help stand up to the abuser. If more people would get involved, more abused women may be saved.

Click here to post comments

Don' Cry - Don't Tell

by Maureen P
(New York)

Don't tell. Don't cry. Just pretend everything is ok.I was destined to be in an abusive relationship. That was all that I knew while growing up. My father was an abusive acholic who beat my mother and brothers. My father would come home drunk and start a fight with my mother. It wasn't long after that he was beating my mom. My father was over six feet and my mother was five feet so she didn't have a chance once he started to hit her. I would be hiding in my room because he sometimes would beat my brothers, especially if they tried to help my mother. I hid so he wouldn't find and beat me too.

It was almost every night of the week he would come home drunk and fight and beat my mom. Most nights after she was beat and my father fell asleep, she would tell us to get dressed and we would walk to the train station. It could be two or three o'clock in the morning on a school night, but we were out riding the train. We would just ride the train from one end to the other and back. My mom was saving us from getting a beating. We never discussed what happened. We just traveled in silence. We would go home and get ready for school. This was normal to me, and, in fact, I just thought every family was going through the same.

One rule we absolutely followed was do not discuss what happened in the house. We were told to keep our business private. Even if we got hurt we couldn't cry or tell anyone what happened. One time my father took me out. He told my mother we were going to church, but we really went to the bar. He was drinking, so I did walk to the church and go to mass. I was only six or seven at the time. After mass I went back to the bar to find my father. Just before getting to the bar, a man with a horse asked me if I wanted to ride the horse. I didn't even get to answer, and the man lifted me up and put me on the sadle. He started to walk with me on the horse, and a car backfired and scared the horse. The horse bucked me off, and I fell into the street. When I landed I saw that the horse was going to come down and step on me so I went to roll over. I didn't roll completely and the front hooves of the horse came down and squashed my rib cage and knocked the wind out of me. I couldnt scream or cry, but I knew enough to roll over so the horse couldn't step or kick me again. People who witnessed this happening started yelling.

My father finally came out of the bar, and I was still on the ground. I couldn't move, and I couldn't breath. He went after the man with the horse and beat the crap out of him. He came back over to where I was, by this time I was sitting up, and the first thing my dad said was don't tell your mother and I better not cry because it was my fault for getting on the horse. Remember I am 6 or 7, and the man just picked me up and put me on the horse. How was it my fault? My dad stood me up and told me to go into the bar bathroom and wipe the dirt and blood off of my dress, he didn't want my mother to yell at him. I remember limping to the bathroom, and when I lifted my dress my whole right side of my rib cage was black and blue. I was bleeding from my arms and the back of my head. I cleaned as best I could and came out of the bathroom. I still couldn't catch my breath so I took short breaths. My father was annoyed that we had to leave early, and he took me home.

We had to walk home and for a little kid with injured ribs and bleeding from the head and arms that walk seemed to take forever. The trip home was the lecture on what to tell or not to tell my mother about what had happened. All I was thinking was why he wasn't taking me to the hospital. I really was hurting, and I couldn't take a full breath.

So we get home my father doesn't say anything, and I just went to my room. It was bath night, and my mother wanted to help me wash my hair. I told her I can do it myself and went into the bathroom. I couldn't get the dress over my head, when I put my arms over my head I hurt and couldn't breath. I did manage to wash myself and did the best I could with my hair. My mother was getting mad because I was taking a long time in the bathroom. She wanted to come in so I opened the door. She took one look at my rib age and my arms and asked what happened. I remembered what my father told me so I just said I fell in the street. I couldn't complain about not being able to breath, and I couldn't cry because it hurt so much.
No one asked about it again. It was like it didn't happen. But I still don't understand why my mother or father never took me to the doctor, I think I broke a few ribs, and my head hurt for days. But I survived.

This just set me up to live a double life, one where you were scared, hurt, or beat, and the other life after you stepped out of the house and you acted as if nothing was wrong. You don't mention the beating my mother got or the train ride to escape the violence, and most important you don't cry.

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life". - J.K. Rowling

Click here to post comments

Like Looking in the Mirror

by Maureen P
(New york)

Speak up not Shut up

Speak up not Shut up

You never know what someone has gone through. I met a person I hadn't seen in a long time, and she just started talking about her abuse she suffered for years. She didn't know why it was bothering her, but she just had to tell someone. As I listened, it was like she was telling my story. She was very young, and her mother forced her out at 14; I was eighteen.

She had gotten pregnant, and her abuser made her life miserable. She was so afraid of him and afraid of what he might do. She would get protective orders, and he would just rip them up. I had several court orders of protection, and my abuser would ignore them, rip them up and laugh at the cops because the cops only had to bring him 600ft away from me and let him go. He would just be madder and come back and do more harm. My friends position was even worse. He was a correction officer who can manipulate the system, and his cop buddies would just ignore the calls to 911 when they heard it was from her address. It was a constant struggle to stay sane, and the abuser was getting enjoyment out of seeing us scared and helpless.

After listening to her speak it just made me realize that

there are others going through the same thing.

Maybe those in fear of an abuser will read these posted and seek help. One message to learn is that there are people going through the same or have gone through the same. Choose to get out and be the one who is able to talk about it, not the one that is silenced because the abuser has won.

Click here to post comments

Walking on egg shells

by Maureen P
(New York)

My abuser was so good at keeping me guessing what would happen next. When we had a bad fight and the beating was extra brutal, he would always say he was sorry, and he loved me. The next day he would act like nothing happened. I even started to think I was going crazy because he was so convincing that he would never hurt me and that he must have blacked out and that he has no memory of what he did to me. That was the end of the discussion, and I was expected to clean up the mess while I was hurt. The day continued, and I had to take care of the kids, do all of the food shopping, all of the cleaning, so there was no time nurse my wounds.

He must have realized that he had hurt me because he would be extra nice to me. He wouldn't drink, he wouldn't go out. He would be the perfect husband. This could last for weeks to months and then he would snap which was always followed by the phone being ripped out of the wall, this was the signal that things were about to get rough. He would then blame me for something to start a fight and then followed it with beating or choking me.

I felt like I was walking on egg shells. I never knew from one day to the next what would happen. When he was on good behavior I was more afraid than when he was mean. He was like a simmering volcano just waiting to explode. I never would know what set him off. I had to be on guard all of the time even while I tried to sleep. My daughter never slept through the night so I was up six to ten times a night tending to her. She had such a traumatic birth one doctor explained she was actually having night terrors and was probably reliving the birth any time she fell asleep. My abuser slept through all of the times I was up and maybe in his sick mind while he was sleeping and dreaming, he would wake up and believing I had left and visited my "boyfriend" and a fight would start. Basically, I never slept. Either my daughter was keeping me up or my abuser was starting a fight. He was very good at mind control. I was so sleep depraved that I didn't have the strength to fight back. He wanted total control, and for most of the years we were together he was in control. I was afraid to upset him because he would beat me or embarrass me in public.

Early in our relationship he convinced me to tell him everything about my childhood and family. He would then use that against me when we fought. He knew what I was afraid of and would go out of his way to torture me by scaring me. I couldn't count on anyone, and the people who lived in my building won't get involved. On the few occasions that one of the neighbors called the cops when he was beating me and dragging me around the apartment by my throat, the cops would show up and knock on the door. My abuser would drag me into the back room and lock the door and go and open the front door. He would tell the cops we were having a little fight, but it was all over now. He even could convince the cops that there was no need to check on me because I was probably sleeping. The cops always believed him and would leave. The cops never came to check on me or to see if I was ok. They would take his word and leave. I was in more danger after the cops left because he would blame me. I would hurry and grab the babies stuff and my daughters school bag while he was talking to the cops. My kids slept in the back bedroom so it was easy to get them ready to escape.
I would wait for him to fall asleep, and I would ride the trains just like my mother would do when I was a kid and my father was drunk and beating her. The train was a place I could go and be around other people and almost feel safe. I was safer on the train at 2 or 3 in the morning with two little kids than I was being in my apartment with a drunken delusional physcopath.

I never knew when I would have a good day or a really bad day. I just wanted to make it through the day alive. Remember I was just existing not living my life.

Posted by Maureen P at 10:53 PM
Email This
Share to Twitter
Share to Facebook
Share to Pinterest

Click here to post comments

Why ask why

by Maureen P
(New york)

Why ask Why? you ask

Not a day goes by that I don't ask myself why?
Why did I let myself be talked into giving up my friends and family for a liar? He was such a good liar, and I was looking to be loved. He told me anything just to make me believe him. He complimented me. I didn't hear nice compliments growing up. I was always in fear or scared as a kid. He was a con-artist. I was a fool.

I ask myself “why did I allow myself to believe the first person who told me to trust him?” I didn't trust anyone, but he promised he was the one person I should always trust. Growing up I never knew what would happen each day. The only thing I can count on was that I was going to wake up and start all over again. I didn't know what to expect growing up. My father was an alcoholic, and we learned to walk on egg shells. One day my father would be full of fun and we would have a good day. On other days he would be evil and all hell would break loose. As a kid it was normal for me not to trust people. Children should at least be able to trust their parents. I started out trusting my abuser. At first he was perfect. He was always there for me. He protected me by coming everywhere with me. He said call him when I was going to go out so he can come with me to protect me. I felt special; someone was actually protecting me. He made me feel safe. Then I realized after a couple of serious beatings for not calling him to tell him I was going out that he was no different than anyone else in my life. I was fooled again. I didn't have the skills to get out of the relationship. I had no friends. I couldn't tell my family because my abuser had convinced me they wouldn't have helped anyway.

Why, after he beat me and then said he was sorry and that only he loves me, did I stay? I now know I had to stay because he would find me and kill me as he often said he would do. He conditioned me by beating me in public, and no one would intervene. This would give him power. He would always say “see there is no one that will help you. I just beat you in the street and no one helped.” I had a daughter with a disability who needed special care, and I had an infant. I was stuck living in fear just like my childhood.

Why didn't I tell the doctors who examined me after a beating? Most of the beatings the marks were in places I could hide the bruises, like when he was extra violent and I had to seek medical attention when he broke my nose three times, or when he put a cigarette out on my arm over and over again, or when he broke my finger by bending it backwards just because I didn't do something to his liking.

His form of torture was to choke me until I passed out. It usually started with punches to the head much like boxing someone's ears, then he would start to choke me. So, why didn't I tell the medical personnel what really happened? Well, he would accompany me to the hospital and stay by my side like a good loving husband. He always had a good believable story and the doctors always believed him and they never asked me. This just gave him more power. You see, the doctors didn't even want to hear what I had to say.

Why did I finally end the madness? I accepted what he did to me, but when he started putting my children’s safety and wellness in jeopardy I had to make a plan and get out. Now I really got scared, but I was determined. I had had enough, and it was time I get out of my hell house.

Click here to post comments

But I Love you, I Would never Hurt You

by Maureen P
(New York)

We were going to a party and my abuser suggested I wear the short black dress. He said I had beautiful legs, and he wanted to show me off. Normally, I wouldn't even consider to wear that dress. After all, the last time I wore it we got into a big fight. But, since he suggested that I wear it, I felt confident.

We went to the party, and I thought we were having a good time. In the middle of the party, he grabbed my arm and told me we were leaving to go get the coats. I did what I was told and when we got outside he grabbed me by my throat and was yelling "why was I flirting with that guy.” I said I wasn't doing anything and then he punched me in the face. I started to run and scream, but no one came to help.

The bus came, and I got on. I was bleeding, and my dress was ripped. He got on and sat next to me. Everyone pretended not to see. My abuser started accusing me of doing horrible things and that I only wore that dress to get attention from other men. He beat me on the bus and then pulled me off by my hair again. No one stood up to help. He said “you see no on was ever going to come to help”, and he could do what he wanted. We fought all the way home. He finally fell asleep, and when he woke up he didn't remember anything. He said he loved me, and he would never do that.

I always walked on egg shells wondering what was next. I learned to be numb and be like a zombie just to make it through the day. I prayed a lot that a night in shining armor would rescue me, but that never happened. I just lived through the hell.

Click here to post comments

Memories Locked Away

by Maureen P
(New York)

I organize the memories my head into different compartments. I lock away the things I don't want to remember. However, sometimes those memories come to the surface.

This was a particularly hard time in my life. I had finally decided to leave my abuser. I had saved some money, and no matter what I was leaving. I had asked my mother if I could come to her house, but she said no. In fact, what she did say was for me to take my two kids and go a shelter. That to me was very hurtful. I'm finally asking for help, and there was no help. Actually living on the street was a better choice for me.

I was working a double shift, and all night long I was nervous that my abuser would show up at work and start something. Thank goodness he stayed home. After sixteen hours of work, I went home to find that my abuser had thrown everything I owned out into the garbage. The garbage truck came early, so all of my stuff was gone. All of my clothes, except for what I wore to work the night before, were gone. All of my jewelry, all my pictures, baby pictures, all of the things that I had been saving since I was a child, were gone. All of my paper work, birth certificate, high school diploma, everything was gone. It was like I was in a fire. Nothing was saved. I was a nobody, and no way to prove who I was.

I had to go back to work with the same clothes I wore the day before. Because all of my clothes were gone. I was so embarrassed, but I did mention it one of my co-workers. She went out on her lunch time and brought me a change of clothes, I remember thinking that was the nicest thing someone had done for me, and I allowed myself to cry in private. I wasn't allowed to cry when my abuser was around.

I had made it through another day. I never knew what to expect and I was just glad I made it through that day.

Click here to post comments

Asked many times how I was feeling - ask me later

by Maureen P
(New York)

When ever I am asked how I am feeling I don't know what to say. I have had mixed signals since being a kid. I had to pretend to be happy when I was actually sad inside. When I was hurting I was warned not to cry so I didn't cry. I didn't feel loved because I was never told by anyone that they loved me. When I was sad I was to pretend everything was good. All mixed signals for a kid.

I do know what it is like to be in a constant state of fear. I know what it is to feel overwhelmed as a kid. After my parents would fight, my mother would tell us to get dressed, and we would go ride the train all night. She was afraid of what my father was going to do to further hurt her or my brothers. We would ride all night and go home just in time to change into our uniforms and go to school. I had to pretend everything was OK, we weren't allowed to tell anyone anything that happened in our house.

This just put me on the path of never being able to ask for help when I needed it. This upbringing just prepared me for a predator to come into my life and continue the cycle.

I didn't know what happy felt like because, if for a brief moment I did feel happy, it was quickly squashed with accusations or a beating. I can tell you I was very good at pretending to be happy when I was actually extremely sad. So when I am asked, I still don't know how to answer. It's a challenge for me that I am working on to know what feeling I am feeling. This is hard when the only feelings I knew was scared, afraid, confused, anxious, nervous, tired, and not normal.

Even after years being free from the craziness, I still struggle with what am I feeling. I cannot describe happy. I am in a constant state of anxiety. I have a good life, a great husband, my kids are grown and doing well. I live in a beautiful home in a beautiful neighborhood. So, why can't I just get over what happened and move on? I am a work in progress and I won't give up until I have it all figured out.

So, if you ask me how I am feeling, I will say right now “I don't know”, but ask me that in a little while and I may have an answer.

I am existing right now, I want to learn how to live.

Click here to post comments

Hiding in Plain Site

by Maureen P
(New York)

I too breath why Can't you see

I too breath why Can't you see

When you come from an abusive family or abusive relationship, you learn how to hide in plain sight.

As a child I was taught to hide my feelings. If I was scared, I had to pretend to be brave. I spent a lot of my childhood feeling scared. I was always afraid my father would seriously hurt my mother . He did hurt her bad enough to go to the hospital a few times. I had to pretend everything was OK while around everyone else, especially while at school or even visiting other family members.

As a child I had to hide the feeling of being hurt. I was physically hurt many times and was always told to don't even cry it was probably your fault, or we don't cry in this family. So, I became immune to being physically hurt and grew a high tolerance to any type of pain.

Some of the adults in my life took great pleasure in scaring the kids into behaving. I was so afraid of "the shoe maker.” He was the monster that lived in my grandmothers basement, and, if we miss behaved, the adults would threaten that they would let him out of the basement. Then, we would hear knocking from the basement door. It actually was one of the adults banging under the table. To an already scared kid, that banging was the shoe maker coming to get me. I always tried to be good, so the adults wouldn't send the shoe maker to get me. Even the nuns at the catholic school scared the kids. One teacher locked me in a little locker because I forgot to have my mother sign something. I was already afraid of small spaces and the dark, and when the nun closed and locked the door, I thought I was going to die. I couldn't scream because I was already trained not to say anything if I was in trouble or hurt. In those days you never told your parents what a teacher or nun did to you; if you did tell you got smacked for telling and another smack for doing whatever it was that the nun did to you because it was always the kids fault. Children were to be seen and not heard. Very confusing for a child. All of the mixed signals I received as a child, I am surprised I even made it to adulthood.

I didn't feel safe anywhere and none of the adults in my life protected me.

I was hiding in plain sight.

I always wondered why no one looked into my eyes and saw the pain. I waited for my knight in shiny armor to come and save me but that never happened.

I had some hope when I met my abuser. He said everything I needed to hear. He told me I was pretty and that he would protect me. He convinced me that I didn't need anyone else but him. I didn't realize he was slowly isolating me and priming me to be abused. When you already come from an abusive home, it is easy for someone to convince you to go with them to be saved. That is what I was always looking for; to be loved and safe. He was a perfect storm. Slowly he was sucking the life out of me. I didn't realize what was happening until it was too late. I had no friends, no money, and no one that was helping me. I reverted to my hiding in plain sight. I put on the happy face while outside, just as I did when I was a kid. He beat the life out of me until I was just existing. But something snapped, and I started to fight back. He went too far one day, and I decided I had to get out. He couldn't scare me as much. If I sensed he was going to hit me, I would punch him first. And to my surprise, he wouldn't fight me back. I wondered why I let him treat me so bad. I started to like myself and I thought I deserved better.

I didn't want to hide in plain sight any more. I wanted to be seen and heard. I finally realized this was not the life I wanted to continue for my children or myself.

Click here to post comments