Surviving Abusive Relationships- Part Two

Cause and Effect                                                                      When I was in my early 20s, I began experiencing glimpses into my past.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.  I felt like I was remembering things from my childhood.  At the same time, I doubted myself.  Although I thought I was remembering disturbing events involving certain people in my life, I was skeptical of my suspicions.  In any case, something was not right.  I went on with my life, trying to dismiss these thoughts and set them aside.

As the years went on, the intensity of the memories became stronger.  When I was in my late 20s, the situation got progressively worse.  I began to have flashbacks about my former step-dad.  I had nightmares and panic attacks.  I would periodically go into fits of rages.  It took several years for me to come to the realization that my heavy drinking during my teen years was a coping mechanism I had used to block out horrific memories.

There were people in my life who should have provided support to me.  Yet, they only made things worse.  This prolonged my recovery and made it more difficult to get past the trauma.  I relied on these individuals- and actually relied on them because they put on a pretense that they were “in it with me.”  However, one of them ended up being a self-serving opportunist.  The other turned out to be a manipulative, narcissistic heathen who wished me dead.

Dysfunctional Beginnings

When I was four years old, my mom married her third husband.  I really don’t know why she even got involved with him.  He was dirty and stinky—and he was not a nice person.  We must have always had junky cars because he was always working on them. 

I remember one time the car broke down on the highway.  I must have been five or six at the time.  He was ranting and cussing the entire time he was trying to get the stupid car started.  My mom did not want him cussing in front of me.  When he picked my mom up from work and she learned about the car problems, she asked me if he had been cussing.  I told her that he was.  He immediately chided me and convinced me to tell my mom he had not been cussing.  I felt so horrible because I did not want to lie to my mommy but didn’t want him yelling at me.

On another occasion, he was supposed to take me to school.  I was still learning to tell time and was unsure of myself, but I felt like I was going to be late.  The jerk was watching TV, and I tried to ask him about the time but he said it wasn’t time yet.  He seemed irritated, and again I did not want him yelling at me so I just waited.  Of course, I was late.  I felt so humiliated.

One night when I was about eight years old, my mom and her slimy husband were watching TV.  It was time for me to go to bed.  I went to hug my mom but she wanted me to hug and kiss my step-dad first.  I didn’t want to.  She refused to hug me unless I hugged and kissed him first.  I was crying and would not do what she wanted, so I went to bed without hugging her as well. 

After a few minutes, she came up to my room to talk to me about the situation.  He loomed behind her in the doorway of my room.  She “reasoned” with me, saying that I hurt his feelings.  HIS FEELINGS?!?! WHAT ABOUT MY FEELINGS???  I ended up being forced to do his bidding.

My mom divorced him not long after that, but the damage was already done.  Four long years of torture had passed.  The abuse he inflicted on me during my formative years would scar me for life.


Developing Suspicions
   

Over the years, I periodically encountered this monster.  His mother was a truly wonderful woman and I had formed a strong relationship with her.  How such a kind-hearted woman ended up with a slimy loser for a son I haven’t a clue.  I regularly spent time with her for many years after my mother divorced her creepy son.  Fortunately, he was not at “granny’s” house much when I was.

I ran into him in town once when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I had a conversation with him but remember that I was not real comfortable during the encounter.  He told me that I should come over for tea.  For whatever reason, I went along with the conversation—even though there was not a chance in the world that I would ever go to his house.  Maybe it was because I was raised to be polite.

As time went on, I became more and more aware that something in the back of my mind was telling me something was not right with that man.  At one point, I told my mother that I did not want to hear his name again.  She asked why.  I told her I wasn’t sure, which I wasn’t.  I knew somewhere deep inside I was shoving the “why” back into its little hole.  My mother wasn’t much help.  Even though I had made it clear that I never wanted to hear his name again, she would occasionally throw it into a conversation.

When my daughter was five, I moved to another town for a job.  One day I went back to my hometown for a visit.  While I was there, I went to the bank.  The bank had a play area with toys for kids.  It was not far from the line, so I let my daughter play while I waited my turn.  The next thing I knew, my former step-dad was in the bank.  Alarms went off in my head.  I panicked.  I wanted to scoop my daughter up and run out of the bank.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I kept looking back and forth between my daughter and him.  I was scared to death.  I don’t know what I thought he was going to do with me and about a dozen other people standing there, but I was scared out of my mind.

I prayed that he would not see me.  I don’t know how, but I finished my business in the bank and walked outside with my daughter.  I was relieved that we had remained undetected.  As I walked to my car, I noticed he was getting into his car RIGHT NEXT TO MINE.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was sweating.  I was shaking.  I took my daughter to the driver’s side of my car and had her climb across the seat.  I was so glad that he never saw us.  Afterward,I tried to figure out why I had become so frantic about running into him butcouldn’t.

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