What not to do


When I was 17-18, one of my younger brothers was in the room next to the kitchen, crying. I asked him what was wrong, and he refused to tell me. I persisted, telling him that I cared and wanted to know what was bothering him so much. He finally gave in, but blew up on me. He started yelling that it was my fault that he was so upset, and that it was all my fault that the family was so miserable. I got defensive and said that it wasn’t fair for him to blame me for the way that I was feeling, when he was always one of the people in the family to contribute to attacking me verbally and otherwise….and I was left with no help when he did anything mean to me. He started to get in my face, so I left the room. He followed me all around the house, threatening to hit me and break my glasses. I was terrified. I got the keys and headed to the front door to unlock it, and he blocked the door. I knocked his arm out of the way and swung the door open to run outside. He chased me and hit me in the face so hard, there was a golf ball sized knot on the side of my face. I got off the ground after crying for a minute or two, and ran to the neighbor’s house. I went to the hospital to get x-rayed, and they said there was no broken bones or anything. While I was at the hospital, my mom called and told me that she wanted me out of the house. I went back home and begged her to hear me out and understand that he had been in the wrong, and she refused to listen. I had no transportation to go to court when I had attempted to file charges, since my mom was the only person that could have gotten me there. The charges were dropped.

During the event, I was hurt and angry that my brother would play the victim when I had been treated like garbage for so many years, and nobody at home ever cared enough about what I had gone through prior to that. I was alone. Yet there I was, expressing concern for his feelings, even after all of the abuse he had actively contributed to. When he started following and threatening me, I was terrified. Nobody was ever around to protect me. I was almost always in a state of anxiety, fear, etc. Afterwards, I felt helpless. My own mother, who I continued to have faith would turn around and actually try to be more compassionate and loving towards me, was tossing me to the side when it was most convenient for her. I felt like she was probably waiting for the moment when she could legally be rid of me and my problems. Problems that she could have easily prevented, had she even cared about my well-being. During these many years of verbal, emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical abuse, I constantly wrote poetry and prayed….holding so tight to the very possibility of a greater life. Holding on to hope. Swearing that I would never waver from protecting and loving my own child/children. I could never be so cold and dismissive of my own child. I could never allow abuse of any kind, no matter who that person may be.

The event, I feel, was one of the many occasions where my family had purposefully attempted to steal the light in my heart. I always forgave them for the harm they did. During all of this time, I was in a deep and dark depression. The hope for a better life was the only thing I had to hold on to. It definitely impacted my trust in others a little. I think that the abuse from my ex really sealed the deal with adding the most mistrust. It mostly added a huge distance between them and me. I no longer have the same desire for their approval. I tolerate their behavior much less. I am not as reliant on their feedback in order to feel whole.

I think that the fact that, during this time, I was able to see other (mostly from church) families interact, and the interactions with staff at the schools I went to, really helped me to see what people are really like. I came to find that there really are kind and loving people out there. I continued to hold onto that, but was more wary about trusting people I would meet. The desire to make sure my own child/children are always aware of how much I care, how much I want to help, that they are beautiful, smart, loved, etc. was what I learned. I taught myself to do everything my mom did not when I would become a parent. My mom visited in Christmas of 2013…she was in awe of how patient and loving I am towards my daughter. I resisted the urge to tell her that her role as a parent taught me what NOT to do.


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