The topic of abuse is confusing to me. I don’t even know if I experienced it. I know awful shit happened and I know it has had an effect on my life, but was it really abuse? I don’t believe I was sexually abused until I was a teenager, and then it was my boyfriends, but was it really abuse? Was being pressured into sex really abuse? Was being made to feel guilty if I didn’t give it up count? Was being pressured into unprotected sex count?
I remember hacking off all of my hair in defiance of that one. He turned it into a trust issue. If I didn’t do it then I didn’t trust him because he could control himself and if I thought different then I didn’t have faith in him and that made me a bad person. The fact that I went to go visit my mother in Colorado made me a bad person because he never would have done that. Obeying my father’s rules made me a bad person because he would have done anything for me and the fact that I wasn’t willing to meant I didn’t love him and that also made me a liar for ever saying that I did love him. Liar seems to be the common word, the common accusation.
My father used to call me a liar. He called me that the first time I told him about Ryan dragging me through the yard by my hair and telling me how much he hated me. He said that Ryan really didn’t mean that and that he didn’t believe me that he dragged me around. I never told him another thing. I talked to the school counselor instead and when he found out about that he got pissed and established the house rule of LasVegas—what happens in this house stays in this house. I knew better than that, I knew that was wrong and I kept talking. Eventually Mrs. North begged me to let her call CPS on the condition that they would come to the school and that they interview my brother and sister with me in the room. Michael wouldn’t talk to someone he didn’t know and Tarah was likely to make shit up because she wanted attention. Before we came into the picture, she was the baby, but not with Michael around. CPS showed up at the house though and dad and Theresa made it pretty plain that nothing was going on and we were exaggerating things. After that all I remember is dad coming in our room, lining us up and mostly yelling at me, telling me it was all my fault and that I was a liar while he held up with one hand around my neck on the closet door. I still flinch if people raise a hand to me.
I don’t remember much between four and twelve and I don’t think that I want to. I don’t want to think about what Ryan could have done. I remember that he paid me to sleep nude and that when I took his fifty cents and then didn’t sleep that way that night he was pissed the next morning. I remember he wouldn’t let Michael play with me and that Mike got really upset. Dad came down the stairs all angry and asking what was going on and I was still young enough to think that daddy could fix things. So I told him that Mike was saying he wanted to kill himself because he was so sad and he was only three or four. Dad took the biggest butcher knife he could find and told my crying little brother to do it. He yelled at him to go ahead and kill himself and when Mike was too broke down into tears to hold it up dad told him to never say something like that again. I have never gotten over the guilt of not saving my little brother from that, for not being there for him.
After that Mike played with the knives like they were nothing. Dad pulled that crap again when Mike was in middle school. Apparently the school counselor had been told by another student that Mike had made suicide threats on the bus and they called my dad. when we got home dad had a stool set up in the shower of out bathroom and handed Mike his forty-five. I can’t remember how the conversation went, only that dad told us that much and mike argued back that it was bull and was some other kid saying that crap not him and that the rat was mistaken. mike left the room and I was very proud of him but hated myself all over again for not interfering first. I jumped my dad’s case before we left the room asking him what the hell was wrong him. he said the gun wasn’t loaded, I told him it didn’t matter. I failed my brother so many times and I think perhaps that will earn me a place in hell if there is one or at the very least the next life as a pig or something. I moved out of my father’s house and in with my mother when I was twelve, but Michael couldn’t come. The court system will listen to you about where you want to live when you are twelve, but not before and Michael was nine or ten. Dad wouldn’t let him go too so he had to stay and I was too selfish and too scared to stay. I should have. Without me there, mike was the only target for Theresa and Ryan. I think my mother blamed me too, even though I went to live with her, even though she hadn’t saved my brother too, but just me. It wasn’t her fault, it’s the fucked up system.
My first serious boyfriend got pretty bad. He would force sex on me, not physically, but I felt forced. I didn’t give a physical fight because he had already beaten me down mentally, so what was the point? When things got really bad and he was being really controlling, I told him we should tone things down. At this point we were “engaged” and I thought perhaps we had rushed things. He said he treated me like his wife, if that’s true I’m glad I never married him. Long story short, he told me we should go for a ride and talk. Whenever an ounce of your being is screaming for you to go the other way, you should listen, but I didn’t. I got in that car and once he started to drive and talk I could have sworn to you that I knew I would never see my family again. I thought for sure he was going to kill me. Beyond the shadow of a doubt. He even said he should just drive off a bridge. One of those if I can’t have you no one can.
When I did get home, when I did live through it, I still didn’t leave him. I remember he used to threaten suicide when things were getting bad between us and that kept me around. I thought I could help him or something, I thought there was hope for this person I cared for so much. I did leave my freshman year of college. when I did I was stupid and went to his place alone and told him it was over. this was after one of the worst nights of my life where I had moved in with him to great objection of my family. I got stuck in traffic for hours and ever song on the radio was something special between me and my father (our relationship got better once I moved out and he left Theresa) and me and my brother. Then I get to my boyfriend’s place and he isn’t there. I move in with no help, thinking about my family. He shows up and yells at me for being late, saying that he was out looking for me. I spent the night crying and so upset I threw up until I could only drag myself to the bed and pass out. If I woke up, I woke up crying.
The next morning I had to leave for work and I couldn’t take being alone with my head. My father had told me that I would have to come back the next day to pick up the rest of my shit or it would be on the curb. so I drove back feeling rejected by my father and abandoned by someone who was supposed to love me. I got lost, being new to the Dallas area and ended up on the opposite side of the metro-plex. I got back to my dad’s and packed and when my dad got there, he begged me not to go back. After being cussed out on the phone by the boyfriend and being told by my father that someone who would talk to me like that doesn’t deserve me I spent the night there and the next morning I went to get my things. There is more to all of this, the emotions of each of the actors, but it is too much to go through it all again. In short, when I broke up with him it ended with me pinned to a bed with his hand around my throat saying he wasn’t going to go away just because I wanted him to.
The next guy was worse, but he didn’t seem that way at first. He was like M, very sweet in the beginning. He tried to pressure me into things but I would have none of it. After that he would just get me distracted and then do things that I didn’t want him to do. He was into sodomy and wrapping his hands around my throat. two things I was not cool with but that he did anyway when he had me distracted with something else later saying that I like it so what was I complaining about. Does that make him a rapist? When I say no and stop and he doesn’t? When he claims ignorance? Some how he always looked the victim, no matter what really happened. I don’t know how, and I don’t know how I let that happen to me.