The first time I stood up to an abuser I was 6 years old and it’s a story my mom likes to tell the because I was so cute. My father had come home from work and was taking his bad day out on my mother and I. Me, with my platinum blonde hair and chubby cheeks, stood up to him and said, “Daddy, stop being so crabby!” Over the years the stories had gotten less cute and more the type of stories shared over a bottle of wine with friends.
Abuse comes in many forms and not all, I’d argue that most abuse never, leaves a physical mark on a person. In my humble opinion, verbal abuse can be one of the most hurtful and longest lasting forms of abuse. A broken bone can mend in weeks, but the self-esteem issues can take YEARS to fix. I’ll fully admit that I can’t remember every place where I was hit, but I still know almost any name that I was called.
Please understand that I am NOT saying that physical abuse cannot, and does not, leave a long lasting affect. This is just me and what I’ve been through.
My father wasn’t always abusive and that was a difficult thing to separate in my mind. The man that still walks this earth is not my father, my father hasn’t been around since I was 8 years old. This man is a shell of a person filled with prescription drugs, alcohol, and bitterness. I talk to a lot of people who say, “well she/he wasn’t always this way” or “maybe they’ll go back to the way it was”. A perfect example of this is Rihanna and Chris Brown. The following is a transcript provided by Jezebel of Rihanna’s recent interview with Oprah.
R: I have to move on. It happened to me, so I can’t tell people how to feel about it, they’re entitled to feel angry, because it wasn’t a good thing that happened.
O: But you have forgiven him.
R: I have. I have. We’ve been working on our friendship again, and now we’re very very close friends, we’ve built a trust… and that’s it. We love each other and we probably always will.
O: What happens when you see him?
R: It’s awkward. It’s awkward because I will always love him.
Thank you, Rihanna for speaking out about this. For every person recovery time varies and it is upsetting when people ask why a person “hasn’t gotten over it”. They won’t “get over it”, they will become a survivor. A survivor is someone who has taken back their power. I hated still being a victim until I left home for college. At college, I became an abuse survivor and can now openly talk about what happened to me. I’ll also say that it wasn’t just my father that was abusive. I was verbally abused by school teachers and other “mental health professionals” when I was growing up.
I am one of those people who will stop a parent from hitting a kid in public or any other act that constitutes as abuse. People ask if I became that way from the trauma I had been through. I can honestly answer no, I was ALWAYS sticking up for the bullied kids in school before I was ever abused. My friends sometimes tease me for being a defender of the weak; I don’t mind it.
It’s taken me years to fully recover and it’s only recently I have begun to value myself as a person and feel safe. For the first 3 years after we kicked my father out of the house, I would always sleep with a bag packed at the foot of my bed in case I needed to run in the middle of the night. Even today, I know where my important paperwork is and I can pack a bag in less than 10 minutes. I also know how to evade a car that is following me, only happened twice but a very useful skill. I know how to sweep my car for obvious tracking devices and know where the police stations are in my local area(s).
My life has happened, so far, and overall it’s been wonderful. I don’t like to be pitied for what has happened to me, so I doubt I’ll ever post a sob story about my life. I prefer my stories to be funny, but there is a time for serious things. So to all my friends, know I care about each of you and I want you to be safe.
Remember; if you are ever in a bad situation know that you are not alone. There are others that have gone through similar situations and got out alive. There is help for you in a situation and recovering after. Google is a wonderful tool for finding local resources.
I highly recommend Caring Unlimited as a resource for those in need in Maine.