Many times I have tried putting my past behind me and many times I’ve failed. No matter what I do, something triggers those ugly, painful memories and I’m right back where I started.
I have been to many counselors, all for different reasons. My current counselor however, is the only one who has made me dig deep into my past to find out when it all started and why I try to forget. My counselor has told me that one way for me to work through it is to write about it so I decided to bring you the condensed version in the hopes of helping you as well as myself.
Before I begin, I want to apologize to those closest to me if I hurt you in any way by bringing some of this to light. I love you with all of my heart and that was never my intent. Without further ado…
Not Naming Names
In one of my previous articles, I wrote about words being hurtful. I won’t go into that again but you can find the article here. As I continued to think back to my childhood I realized that there was something else that hurt even more, I felt like I never really belonged.
I had parents, step parents, grandparents, step-grandparents and siblings (all half siblings) but I was an only child. An only child who felt like she was on the outside looking in.
Feeling the need to be wanted and loved left me vulnerable prey to some very bad people. At the age of ten, I was molested by an adult family member and at the age of sixteen, I was involved with a married man. Not a good way to start out life.
Welcome to Adulthood
When I was nineteen I decided that I was an adult and ready to face the world. I decided to move in with my boyfriend who would later become my first husband. I remember my mother telling me when I was eighteen that I could live with her and my stepfather as long as I wanted, but when I move out I could never come back. I didn’t care, I was an adult and I finally felt like I belonged. In case you’re wondering, I never did go back to my mother’s to live, even when faced with being homeless with my children several times. I always found a way and if I’m being honest, part of me resents that, but an even bigger part of me is grateful for it because it made me stronger.
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage
Three weeks before my twenty-first birthday was when I was married (the first time). We struggled like a lot of young couples do and we argued with each other constantly but we did this before we were married so why we thought we could make a marriage work is beyond me. Nonetheless, we gave it a try. Six days before what would be our tenth wedding anniversary our divorce was final. The marriage wasn’t a complete failure though because we ended up with two beautiful children who were (and still are) my world. I really finally belonged! I was wanted and needed!
Fear Steps In
There I was, two young children, no husband, and a lot of bills, including a mortgage. What was I going to do? How could I raise my kids on my own? How was I going to keep a roof over our heads?
Well of course! I would find another man. But not before I filed bankruptcy. Yes, I know I could’ve gotten another job but I couldn’t bear to leave my kids with a sitter and never see them so I did what I thought was the best. But…of course that meant that we were going to lose our home so this was our first run-in with the fear of being homeless.
Along comes a “friend” who happens to be the girlfriend of a co-worker and good friend of the “new man” (I use the term loosely) in my life. She had recently separated from her husband and had a brand new doublewide trailer we could rent. Super! Assured that her husband wanted nothing to do with the place, we moved right in.
Lo’ and behold, turns out her husband DID want something to do with the house so, after their day in court the judge gave my kids and I a couple of days to get out. Now what were we going to do? My boyfriend had his own apartment but did he offer to let us stay with him until I could find a place? No he did not. Instead his friend said we could stay with them until I could find a place. Great, my boyfriend is willing to let us live in the car, meanwhile his friend will let us stay at his house. This just keeps getting better….
The Devil Has Arrived
What kind of man allows his girlfriend and her children to face being homeless, knowing that he has enough room for them to stay at his place temporarily? Any woman in her right mind would have told him to take a hike. Did I? No. I ended up marrying him a few years later.
As a side note; we only ended up staying with his friend for about a week before I found an apartment for us.
Danger! Trouble Ahead
I won’t bore you with the minute details of my second, marriage, only the BIG ones. Looking back, I should have paid more attention to the minute details, maybe then the BIG one would never have happened.
The Day it all Came Crashing Down
One day while I was at work, I received a phone call from my husband. He told me he was being arrested and taken to a State Troopers Barracks near us. I thought for sure he was joking, He wasn’t.
I asked him what he was being charged with and he told me “publishing and promoting child pornography and unlawful surveillance.” His victim(s) were very close to me. Never in my life could I have prepared myself for that. I asked him if he did it. He replied that he did. I said a few choice words and told him that he would never again be a part of our lives.
It Doesn’t End There
As if things weren’t bad enough, we had the State Police, the FBI, and the Bomb Squad at our house the night of the arrest. We lived in a small village so within minutes everyone knew they were there but they didn’t know why (at least not until the newspaper ran a story).
The State Police and FBI were there to collect evidence but while they were searching they came across a pistol and a hand grenade. I explained that he was a WWII reenactor and that they were most likely part of his gear (I never really paid much attention to what he purchased for his hobby). They informed me that the pistol was not for reenacting and they weren’t sure about the hand grenade. Enter the bomb squad. It turned out that it wasn’t an active grenade but better safe than sorry.
The next day the State Police Investigator, a Child Protective Worker, and a Victim’s Advocate appeared at the door. The investigator had more questions and paperwork for me to sign. The CPS worker wanted to make sure that I was in no way involved our had knowledge of his actions because my son was still a minor and the Advocate wanted to tell us about our rights and the services that were available to us. This all seemed like a very bad dream I couldn’t wake up from.
Liberty and Justice for…..
None. At least that’s the way we felt the day he was sentenced. When all was said and done, he ended up spending a few weeks TOTAL in the local jail. He received ten years of probation and had to register as a sex offender (level 1). WE went through major trauma, what seemed like endless therapy, scorn from the neighborhood AND we lost our home because I couldn’t afford to make the repairs (it needed a new roof and multiple other things) on my income alone and I didn’t qualify for any assistance.
No, it’s not really THE END but it is where I’m choosing to end this story, for now at least. Do I feel better? Yes and no. Yes because I managed to talk about some very important pieces of my past in the hopes that not only would it help me, but maybe it would help you as well. No because I still feel a lot of anger and hatred toward others as well as myself and I know that is a sin. I know that in order to become well that I need to forgive everyone, including myself, and let go of my past and I hope that someday soon I will be able to do so.
I couldn’t have come this far without the support of my family, my friends, and my counselor. If you or someone you know needs to speak to a counselor and don’t feel comfortable making that appointment you may consider trying Online Therapy. There are some options that are free so you can see if it’s right for you.
Above all else, please remember that there is ALWAYS someone who cares and someone you can talk to.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-8255. If there is an immediate danger, call 911.
*The content of this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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