When Abuse Hits Close To Home
“I’m Starting to remember who i was before you convinced me i was worthless”
This morning I woke up in a panic for the first time in 6 months. Sharing my story especially with abuse, with so many is bound to cause some backlash. I am facing my fears by opening up and I will not let it get to me.
I want you to know just because I’m overcoming certain areas of my life I am still learning and still working on the same things I talk about. I have come such a long way and I still have a long way to go.
I knew that this day would come after starting my blog, that some people may misunderstand me and my intentions, and i would be put down for it.
I know my story will be used for a purpose and if not that at least maybe the right person that needs to read this will understand themselves and/or even me a little bit more.
I always knew I was an anxious person. I always knew that there was times where my body would over react to certain situations.
Gut aches, sweats, trembling.. I am used to that. Panic attacks were a different story. (Anyone that has had one knows what I’m talking about.)
If you have read any of my blogs from where I first started, you will notice that my anxiety and panic attacks had to of stemmed from somewhere in my childhood to have just come up so suddenly and on a reoccurring basis.
6 months ago I couldn’t barely remember half of the things that had happened to me as a child.
Maybe sharing some of my memories I do remember now will help you understand me more and if they don’t, if anything, this is helping me to just get it out there.
My mother who was a child herself at the ago of 15 started having kids. She only had two of us, and had us both before she graduated high school.
During this time she was dealing with her own family drama from her mother divorcing her dying father because he was terminally ill.
She is the oldest of 3 siblings and had a lot on her plate at the age of 18. She was technically a single mother because she worked and went to school all of the time, never having support from our biological father- who ended up being a piece of crap anyways —and still refuses to have anything to do with me or my sister or any of his grandchildren.
Her boyfriend at the time who I looked up to as a father ( he had been in my life since I was 6 months old) was not helpful or beneficial to her life whatsoever. Or mine for that matter.
Daycare and school was where I formed a lot of my memories and even ‘terrible’ memories as a child. One of my main reasons for never ever allowing daycare to be an option in our house. I’m not against it, but I just can’t allow it myself.
I would say I grew up pretty sheltered. Sheltered from the real world. What Real Love is like. What a normal or typical family is like, and what life should really be like.
My mother worked so much that I never did see her much. During the weeks it was daycare until 5 or 6 pm.. and then from there it was home and bed.. plus the little time I had to interact with my siblings before bedtime.
The older I got I was expected to wait at school until my mom got off work at 5 in the evening because we lived so far away and most of the time had no where to go and nothing to do. I spent a lot of time at the church next to my school because there was always someone there.
Yes I could have asked friends from school to be at their house all the time but imposing was never my intention. I never felt comfortable just sitting at someone’s house unless I was doing something for them in return, and that’s always exhausting.
My sister and I spent so much time to ourselves just waiting. and most of the time we didn’t make it home until 6 or 7 at night during the week. When we made it home it was just always straight to bed, and we were always late again the next morning to school.
The inconsistency created so much anxiety for me that I think that’s where a lot of my OCD and control issues come from. I try so hard to control parts of my life that are out of my control and get upset when i don’t succeed to my standards i hold on myself, and yes it’s something I’m working on.
I didn’t go many places, we didn’t have money. And the people I became friends with in our neighborhood ended up really hurting and effecting me. I had a few times where I made some wrong choices and hung out with the wrong people and it really got me no where and provided no positivity in my life, and no hope for the future.
My sister and I had no boxes or bins with toys in them as small children. I never felt less fortunate and I tried so hard to be thankful for what we always had. We had movies and a small TV, but I have never been interested into movies. I craved getting out of the house.
I was always interested in what adults were doing, and always thinking about success or of a better life per-say. I was always observing those around me. I was quiet, I was extremely clean, and from what I remember and have been told I just did my best to stay out of everyone’s way.
A lot of the real world was hidden from us as kids because my own mother was in fear of what It might do to us. That’s shaped me to really be anxious about real life. Leaving the NW, meeting Jordan and some of his family in So Cal was literal culture shock for me and really opened my eyes to stuff I had no idea about.
Among many other things I experienced, I realized that the violence and the abuse I had experienced was nothing to what else was out there. At that point I felt that I had no right to talk about anything or even complain about anything from my past. I didn’t want to tell Jordan, I still didn’t want to talk to my mom. During that time I felt best keeping it to myself.
People come into our lives for certain reasons in our life and some are just for seasons. Jordan was my reason 100%. I never experienced panic attacks the first year we were together so he has watched it all unfold and has watched how it’s effected me. He’s been there for me, hasn’t left me, and hasn’t judged me. I don’t know what I did to deserve him. But I am so glad our paths have crossed.
If it wouldn’t have been for the last 4 years of my life and how bad the panic attacks were getting, I’m not sure I ever would have ever talked about these things. It was totally the straw that broke the camels back. I never realized how bad I was really feeling, mentally. I had ignored so much for so long, and my body was starting to suffer physically.
The violence and the abuse I had experienced was nothing to what else was out there. And I felt at that point that I had no right to talk about anything or even complain about anything.
I have always craved interaction with people, love and attention more than anything. I wanted so bad to snuggle with my mom as a child, and to gain the comfort a child craves when they are sick.. I was sick a lot.
I wasn’t allowed in my mothers bedroom. I wasn’t allowed to speak to her when she got off work. My step dad would say “ leave your mother alone she had a long day” and she would be in the bath tub for hours in her room.
Those times built me for the strength for the times where I really had no one. I never wanted to go through anything alone, but mentally, i was conditioned to.
The older I got the more I tried to open myself up, especially after making certain friends that helped me and encouraged me to be a kid. I was always struck down immediately at home.
I wasn’t allowed to do many things without being punished for doing something wrong. And I didn’t go to many friends houses because of my own insecurities that I never wanted to show.
At times when it was tough at home though, I would push to stay wherever I could looking for a way out. I was heartbroken during these times because there were so many times that I simply couldn’t escape- i had no where to go-no where to hang out- no where to escape.
There has been so much I have been ashamed of through out my life. Of things I could never control. There were many times on top of that in which I was even afraid to leave my mom. I never knew what would happen while I was gone. Life was very inconsistent.
My older step brother was a huge “daddies boy” and was always allowed to sleep in bed with my mom and step dad. I suffered from ear infections so bad I had tubes in my ears.. something I dealt with for a long time. If K wasn’t around, I could sometimes get some sympathy from my mother.
Some of my worst memories were being in so much pain that couldn’t stop crying and I just wanted to be held.. my mother would be sleeping and I would try so hard to wake her up without my step dad noticing. But the minute he did I would get yelled at immediately and told to get to my room.
The voices that haunt me can be bone chilling sometimes. They reoccur some days so much as if every moment of my day starts to be a flashback of the terrible feelings I used to feel. It’s been hard and a struggle to let it all go.
“Courtney, make yourself useful”. “you are so annoying, why in the hell would you say something so stupid?” “go away, no one wants to hear you or see you” “ you are an idiot for thinking or saying that” “ who the hell do you think you are” “ “your voice and your laugh are annoying you need to stop”..
Guys, this is my life.. not so much anymore thanks be to god. But, these are the voices that run through my head.
I was afraid to ask for help, express how I felt, let alone show any emotion. No matter who it was that I tried to be close to, I was always so ashamed to share much of myself.
It seemed to be always something that I myself was in the way of. Between his and my moms relationship, him and his kids and then a mother too afraid to protect me let alone herself, I shut down.
I wasn’t allowed to have my mom when I needed her most and I wasn’t allowed to have a dad either, apparently. He refused to show how or who he was when other people were around and it was always a slap in the fade when he would hit on my “cute” friends and he was always so kind to them so I felt like he made it to where I wouldn’t be able to convince even my friends of what was going on.
I was verbally put down, hit in the head multiple times, pushed around violently, whipped with a belt, and grounded to my bedroom, a lot.
My step dad hated me, and I had no idea why.
Weekends were a different story. Most days when my step dad was home I was nervous as all hell.
Alcohol was the main substance used in our house mostly every night it was always the same story. Yelling, screaming, blaming, shaming, berating, mental and physical abuse.
My mother was a victim too. And she was scared too. We had no way out. And for those who think we did, I want you to know we tried..
Those times were some of the scarier times of my life, and I will save those for another day.
No matter what though, I have always searched for the good. If I can’t find the good, I start smiling. Nothing can stop me from smiling when I want to.
I had two older step brothers that I had looked up to very much. Why? Because they were my step dads children and they were capable of doing absolutely no wrong in his eyes. I wanted what they had, so I did what they wanted me including their chores, always.
Being the youngest out of 4 children I felt like I have never really had a voice. There was always so much going on with my 3 older siblings that I couldn’t and didn’t want to have any attention on myself.
Not only was i criticized on a daily basis from him and my siblings ( they would feed off each other) for everything I did. I also dealt with the fear of him coming into my bedroom at night.
He would get so plastered drunk some nights that he would come into my bed while I was sleeping, rub me, touch me and played with my hair.
The minute I would wake up and realize what was going on I would always panic right away- and it was always the same excuses “oh sorry I thought you were your mom”.
Oh ya. No big deal.. a young girls body is totally the same right?? I’m not stupid. I was then. But not now..
If I would have known then just how sick he really was I would have been even more freaked out and probably would have done or said something.
I realize now just how much that damaged me mentally.
I have always like the saying “never judge a book by its cover”.
Because I know there were times throughout my childhood where I had friends and people in my life that didn’t understand certain things about me and totally judged me for it.
I can’t tell you how many times that I had been asked questions by a friends mom who was probably just concerned for me but always took a good nasty look at me and I took it as I was being attacked.
I wanted to protect myself and even my mother. I didn’t want her to ever get blamed for what was happening.
There is so much I have always wanted people to understand about me. And it’s way too much to explain In one post.. even in 2.
I have always wanted to be happy and live a happy life. I have seen others who had way less money then we did, a crappier house, a crappier situation, but their family was happy.
I feel like I can sense those things.
Most who truly do know me would call me an em-path. I do tend to take on emotions of those around me, with the intention of fixing them myself.
When you live in a broken home and it’s all you are used to, it’s so hard to sit back and not be envious of all the children surrounding you.
I always wanted what they had. I wanted affection, I wanted freedom to be myself, and to be accepted. I couldn’t help the way I felt. My only exception to that was to keep loving.
My family in general is very shame based and expressing your true self was something I knew nothing of, and quite frankly was terrified of.
This wasn’t just in my home, everyone surrounding me that was a part of my family has ignored everything that was happening.
As a parent now, it’s hard for me to understand and realize why no one ever did anything about it, especially the adults that were around me. I was unprotected and what i felt was that not one person even wanted to protect me.
Not to mention the abuse that was happening to me while I was In daycare, I never trusted anyone enough to talk about any of it. No one ever even noticed something was off and if they did they didn’t really care.
Something I have never really talked about because it’s something that makes me very emotional.. is the fact that I literally thought that I had Downs Syndrome until I was about 8 or 9 years old.
You must think I just felt sorry for myself right?
To explain a little, I was a very quiet child and one of my ‘quirks’ is that when I concentrate while cooking, cleaning, homework, whatever it was that I was doing I had and still have a “concentration face” I use.. my younger hangs out of my teeth sometimes and it looks silly I get it.
Its obviously not one of my ‘best’ looks I admit.. lol but over and over again, on a daily basis, I was made fun of for having Downs. I stuttered sometimes when I talked to him because I was so nervous all of the time.
This is something I never even wanted to talk about. Obviously, at my age I had no idea what that meant and I actually went along with it.
It wasn’t until I was about 8 or 9 years old when I met someone who actually had Downs Syndrome and realized that I had been lied to.
The older I got and started to realized, I wondered why it was that no one in my family ever stopped me.. I didn’t think it was a joke and I never found it funny.
But oh my gosh, how bad I felt for people with Downs, and not for myself. All I could think about was “OMG, what If I told someone who has or knows someone who has Down syndrome??” “What must they think of me?”
Can you imagine how that would make them feel.. I felt terrible about myself. I still do l for the people I may have told and hurt.
My heart has always been so open and especially for those in life who are dealing with something completely out of their control. Not only because I understand but because I have always had the ability to put myself in other peoples shoes.
Typically, I love everyone. Regardless of what you do, what you wear, what you listen to, or how you live your life. Authenticity is so beautiful. I want to know you and love you for you.
But, I was heart broken when I found this out. And all I could think to myself was.. “what is wrong with me that I was made fun of for something I do not have?”. This is what bullying must feel like but I was experiencing it on my own with the people who are supposed to love me the most.
My love stretches very deeply with people. Especially those with an extra chromosome, If I could hug every one of them and see them daily, I would. They are the people that love with no condition. Not even because they have to.
The older I got, the worse the abuse got.
My step dad ( I will call him K), became more of an alcoholic, more abusive, and more “in control”..
The problem was that everyone on the outside of my situation was blinded by his personality. He was so good at showing off a different side when other people were around.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will.
Being the young and naive girl I was, I fed off of the different personality he had around other people, mostly because he was so outgoing and i played along with it. We all did.
I wanted people to think that I had a good life and to not judge me if they knew the truth.
A lot of people knew of our family as having money because he owned a business, he had nice vehicles and we had nice “stuff”. He played on that and showed off so much. It makes me sick to even think about.
I ended up going through my whole childhood like this. Feeling like he was out to get me. Always playing a different person in front of others and then just a complete controlling asshole once the door shut.
The older I got the more I couldn’t handle it.
I couldn’t handle the violence anymore, I couldn’t handle the demeaning words I heard every day. All the while everyone else continued to praise him. I couldn’t do it.
“Courtney you look like hell, why the hell do you have so much shit on your face?” ( referring to my acne) “ you look terrible” “why are you eating that, don’t you think you have enough fat on your sides?” I got so sick of it after awhile that i just acted like it didn’t bother me, but deep down it was tearing me apart.
He laughed when he asked these questions like it was some sort of joke. Him and his boys really did get a kick out of that. Still to this day those are some of my biggest insecurities.
It was simply just too much for me to handle. And I didn’t want to anymore.
I came to a point in my life that I realized I didn’t have to deal with it all any longer and i didn’t have to. I told my mother that If she didn’t leave that I was going to. She couldn’t leave quick enough,
So, i left.
I met a 20 year old man when I was 13.. it took me a few times of leaving and not coming home for my mom and ‘K’ to realize what was happening and to allow me to do what I wanted.
Even though, my relationship wasn’t the greatest at my young age of 13, it was better than what I had at home and at the time it was all that I wanted. He made me feel like I could not live without him.
What I didn’t realize was that I had decided to spend 5 years and all of my teenage years with someone who was just as damaging to me.
I realize now how much we depended on each other during that time. Age was a number that we cared nothing about.
We were both “happy”(or so we thought), and that was all that mattered.
Going into high school was a struggle for me. I lived with my boyfriend wherever it was that he was living. Several times it was in one of our vehicles.
I worked full time and went to an alternative high school full time.
The older and more mature I got, I could tell that jealousy was a factor in our relationship. It got to the point where I was no longer allowed to have any girl friends, and I wasn’t even allowed to attend high school football games, or dances because my boyfriend was too old and wasn’t allowed to go, so he wouldn’t allow me to go either.
He was always afraid I would meet someone else and leave him, and in fear of that would talk to and hang out with other girls to make me jealous enough to do what he asked of me.
It got to the point where I admit that I was lying to him, just to get away from him. I felt like I was a flower trying to blossom but not getting any water or light. Like I had a purpose but was being pulled away from it. It was such a crappy feeling that i cant explain.
His way of controlling me and keeping me around was to make me feel like I needed him and my life would be shit without him.
I was always told that if I didn’t do what he wanted or asked that he was going to take his own life. He definitely had his way with me. We were both so emotional, and he played that card, a lot.
The last thing I wanted to do in the beginning was to hurt him, but I wanted to have friends and a life, too. It was pure hell escaping that one, too.
I feel wrong for really exposing too much more about my relationship with him. He has since passed away, and i believe it would be unfair for me to publicly accuse him of something that he can’t even speak for himself on.
My whole point in writing this is because I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t get it and that I don’t understand anxiety.
A lot of people that know me have never gotten to know the real me. I have sheltered myself away because that’s what i am good at. Anxiety has been my best friend for a long time.
I don’t and will never want to say that I understand every person and every situation because I don’t and that’s completely unrealistic.
But what I don’t want you all to know is that anxiety stems from somewhere.
The older I am getting the more I realize how my past and my childhood were absolutely not normal and that maybe I have been extremely sheltered to the real world and what the real world should actually be like.
I could of done a lot of things differently and I still could of done things so much better too.
The point is that I made it through and I’m still pushing through. Looking back now I realize hat nothing can be changed and all I can do is move forward. The past can’t be changed.
What I wish I would had done differently would have been to devote my time and effort into other friendships besides just the toxic relationship I was involved in.
I don’t necessarily blame myself because I didn’t really know much different. I was honestly doing the best I could for my situation and at my age, I see that and accept that now.
I wanted to hate myself for a short while for not being able to change anything and for not doing things differently, wishing I could have a do over.
I have never had the pleasure to really know what having a “best friend” felt like until I met the father to my three babies. And by the grace of god, I had no children prior to meeting him.
Jordan and our children have helped save my life. He is the realist person I have ever met and we lived completely opposite lives in our childhood. It’s insane how different but at the time how much the same we are. He has helped me understand myself so much more than I ever have before.
Looking at life through the lens that he has looked through has been so moving for me. He grew up in a way different culture, environment and way way more freedom than I ever had. Which developed a tremendously different lifestyle then what I had. Growing up in the woods and sticks is so much different then living a big city, FYI! Lol
We both relate on the fact that we don’t have a dad. But life has been not easy for him, and he doesn’t let it define him. He doesn’t get enough credit for how great of a person he really is, and I love that man so much.
Some people including myself can be really good at masking problems. Covering them up and making them seem 100% different then they really are.
Why do people like me do this? To protect ourselves and what we feel like we are doing is protecting our futures.
We are so wrong. We are really only hurting ourselves.That’s something that is important for others to understand.
The problem with that is when you hide your feelings and you hide your deep internal self, all you do is suppress the negativity that is building up inside of you.
Eventually it will come out in whatever ugly form that may be. So you might as well let it out gracefully. Whether that be to share your story and help others, or if it’s something you want to keep to yourself. Writing is my escape. And writing to all of you has been another form of therapy for me.
The messages of people who can relate with me, the outpouring support and encouragement I get, and the joy I feel from helping some people really truly helps me. I know I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but all I can do is be me.
If only we could all know the love and the life of fulfillment that God has planned for us all. We might be able to look at our own lives a little more differently.
Life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. If it is for you, you need to quit living in La La land because we all have struggles and secrets that we deal with on a daily basis.
I have learned so many things through out my life and instead of letting them define me I have looked at them as something that I don’t want to be, what I want to be, and what I don’t want to be apart of.
With the help of Jordan and my therapist, and of course the love of my babies, life has been getting easier and these demons are finally being laid to rest.
It’s such a process, guys
“Being a survivor of emotional abuse is fighting daily battles in your head with a person you no longer have contact with.”
I obviously, like today still have my bad moments, but I will not let it take down my day, or my week. I will use those moments to help me propel forward to DO more and to BE more. I am thankful for all of the feedback I get, positive and negative as it puts me in the head space I need to be in and helps me think of things I may not of thought of before.
Now more than ever i am thankful for all of it. I now have learned what damage such words can do to a child and i also know what signs of abuse to watch for in my own children. something i may have been unaware of if i hadn’t gone through what i have. I want my children to always know how special they are, that they have a purpose, and that they are amazing people.
A person can only hear so much negativity before they start to really change their mindset. This is why its so important to wisely choose the people you choose to be around. It has made me aware of how to model good characteristics and good behavior and i have found that its important to let kids knew that its OK to make mistakes, the important thing is what we do and learn from them
I realize now that my pain and my experience has shaped me into the wife and mother that I am now. I am proud of the woman I have become and how hard I have fought to become how. I am stronger because of it.
I shared previously how my anxiety has changed my life. I know now that I can use my experiences as a stepping stone to help someone else and I now realize that that’s what I really want to do.
If you want to know my tricks for dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, check out my post here. And I want you to know that if you ever feel alone, I will and want to talk to you, not only because I sympathize but I know how important it is to have someone to talk to as well.
I tell my feelings and my beliefs from personal experience only. We all have a story to tell to help others right? What is yours?
Obviously, you don’t have to share with anyone if you don’t want to, but start by writing and organizing your thoughts if you haven’t already. Or seek out a therapist that wants to truly help you heal from your past. I promise it helps, at-least for me it did.