I’m not going to apologize for the way I feel anymore. If something bothers me, it just does. I can’t help it. I’m not going to project and make someone else react and fix whatever is bothering me, but I won’t take it back with shit like “I know, I’m just being stupid, but..” No. Fuck that. I’m not stupid. I have every right to have something bother me, most likely because of some past similar event, and I shouldn’t apologize for it. All my life I’ve decided I need to project this image of someone who doesn’t give a shit, because then people wont know they can hurt me. I am invulnerable. but guess what? I’m not. I’m too vulnerable for my liking, but there it is. I am.
A psychiatrist once told me I exhibit dissociative behavior. Well, no shit, lady…if you saw the environment I grew up in, you’d learn some serious coping mechanisms like that too. It was eat or be eaten in my house. You had to be tough. Shrug shit off. Nothing could beat you down, because the minute you were down, someone was gonna be kicking you. Not physically, just mentally. Verbal warfare was the norm. The minute that household saw you going down they just kept pushing and pushing until you not only hated them, you hated yourself. You hated everything. Maybe that’s why I’m so quick to anger now. Also, at the hint of any disrespect, I react. No one is going to walk on me now. I’m an adult now. I have a CHOICE now.
Some people say they’d give anything to be a kid again. If you went through the guilt, the choices I had to make, the things I’ve done, the things that happened to me, you would definitely welcome adulthood, jobs, and bills with open arms. I’m not saying I had the roughest life. There are kids out there that didn’t have a roof over their head, thousands of dollars of orthodontia work, health insurance, food on the table, and I cant complain about any of that. I had all that. What I didn’t have was a strong support system. What I had were insults. “Tough Love” translated into “You’ll never amount to anything because you are interested in boys/giving up clarinet/not wanting to be in 4H”
SO. I wouldn’t amount to anything because I hit puberty? Because I didn’t want to play an instrument that I wasn’t any good at playing to begin with? Because being in 4-H automatically means you’ll be a successful adult?
I was called a whore at 13. I hadn’t even kissed a boy yet. She said she meant I was a whore because I acted like I didn’t care about anything. I was cold. Unemotional. She forgot that I had to act this way. To be tough. Just waiting til I was old enough to get the hell out of there.Then, at 14, my virginity was taken from me by an adult in that household. The smell of Dr. Pepper, stale cigarettes and basement STILL induce brief flashbacks of that out of body experience. I was there. I felt everything, but I was also separate from it. To this day, I don’t play victim. My uncle was sick. There was something wrong with him mentally. He grew up in the same environment. He wasn’t strong enough not to let it affect him. My grandparents weren’t going to ruin my life the way he allowed them to ruin his. They beat you down so you depended on them. He couldn’t hold a job. He lived with them because he couldn’t make it. He has no excuse, but I know the events in his life made it easier for him to be sick like that.
I was not going to end up like that. I had my shell and my dissociation. I don’t talk about it like “OMG you cant say rape around me. I was raped as a kid. Poor me” No. But I don’t drink Dr. Pepper. I don’t like the smell of cigarettes. I avoid men that resemble him. I can’t watch violent rape scenes in movies like American History X or Pulp Fiction, even though I wasn’t violently raped, it’s still watching an act of someone forcing someone else to do the most intimate thing two people can do against their will.
When the truth came out, my grandparents treated me like the bad guy. Of course I was lying. I was ruining his life. My mom had put me up to it. blah blah blah. This is the WORST reaction a “victim” can get from the people who are supposed to protect and provide for them. They took my sisters and I from our mom when I was 6 claiming she was unfit and chose abusive men, and here they were, berating me for getting abused in their house. I shrugged it off. The physical exam proved I wasn’t lying, and he went to jail.
The result of that ultimate betrayal by my grandparents was to hate them and their house and their rules even more. I started cutting. Sneaking out. Talking to strangers online and meeting them in the middle of the night where I could possibly be killed. I just didn’t care anymore. My youngest sister found out and tattled and they sent me to the psyche ward.
It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I was free. The staff were kind. Friendly. Positive. I wanted to stay. They sent me home, and I cut again just to go back. I had learned that if I didn’t stop, they’d have to send me to a group home. If it was anything like the psyche ward, I wanted to go. Immediately. So I told the psychiatrist that. My grandparents claim THEY made that decision.I feel like dementia may have set in, because I distinctly remember telling the psychiatrist if he sent me home, I’d be right back and that I wanted to go to a Residential Treatment Facility.
I’m not making myself out to be a hero, here. Like I got everything I wanted and manipulated my way out of shit. No. Group homes are no joke. Talk about having to wear the ugliest gray sweatpants and sweatshirts in the WORLD. Your shoes are padlocked into a wooden box with everyone else’s because of runaways. There are red lines of tape across every room separation and you have to ask “May I cross” if you want to go from one room to the next. You can’t have a razor unless you’re off suicide watch. It’s like a very low security jail. But, the staff respected you. They didn’t insult you and break you down. They wanted you to get better. They wanted your self esteem to be higher. The time I spent at Resolutions was the most healing period of time in my life. For some, it may not have worked. Maybe their life was a pattern of negative and the group home didn’t help them. But it saved me. I learned there were people who could like me. Who would think I was intelligent and tell me so. People who would encourage me to be better, to express myself and I wouldn’t be insulted for it. I got out of there at 16. At 17, I moved out of my grandparents’ house when I gave them the excuse to kick me out. I found I no longer needed my depression medication with the change of environment. I was going to college after senior year. I was going to amount to something. I have amounted to something in society’s standards. Let that be a big Fuck You to my childhood. I still call my grandparents every few months to let them know I’m alive and fine. They did provide all the things I needed to grow up healthy, disease free, and they even had insurance to pay for that group home and psychiatric care, and I owe them that. They just had a really fucked up way of raising kids. I’m sure they did the best they could with their own issues.
But SHIT ya’ll, I made it. Don’t let anyone tell me they just can’t handle things, or they just can’t get out of a bad situation. Or they just can’t leave that mentally abusive husband. Ohhh yes you can. Because FUCK THAT. No. Just. No.