Tale of an Abused Child
I remember my own childhood every time I see my kids happy. My kids would laugh together and make jokes to one another. As for me, it wasn’t like that. My brother and I would hide in the closet scared to the bones as we wait until our stepfather would pass out and sleep. If we’d go out before he dozed off, we’d be whipped. At times, Lance and I slept inside that closet overnight, afraid to get out. We’d hold each other and recite the song “You are my sunshine”. That was our way of releasing tension and fear.
Our stepfather was an alcoholic and at times when he was lucid, daddy was kind and gentle. Yes, we called him daddy. I’m not sure if he was faking it or if he was truly genuine. That being said, daddy was under the influence of Heineken every day of the week. “As addiction takes over, the mind begins to develop an obsession with that particular substance or behavior,” according to Sal Raichbach, PsyD, “Even when an alcoholic isn’t drinking, their mind is telling them that they should be. This typically manifests as a preoccupation with good times they had while drinking or their future plans to drink.” Once in a blue moon, he’d forget how bad of a father he was and would actually like to spend time with us. Of course, it was awkward and he’d be sincerely surprised why we were detached. He really couldn’t grasp the idea of how he beat us senseless every time he was drunk.
When I was 18, I got out of that dark house. Too much has happened and I have difficulty talking about it. Sometimes my husband would say, “Hey hun, you’re spacing out again.” He’d hold my hand and comfort me. Tears would suddenly flow and he’d say, “Lance is happy now. You can let go.”
My husband is great with our kids. He would play ball with them, brush their hair or make them breakfast. Little things that, you know, meant a whole lot. I look at how he is to them and I remember how our stepfather was like to me and my brother. If he caught us laughing, he would beat us up until our legs bled. I was lucky, I guess since I made it out alive. My brother Lance, he didn’t make it past his 10th birthday.
I blamed myself for his early death because I wasn’t able to protect him and that really messed with my head. His frail body couldn’t take the beatings anymore and God took him from me. Daddy was sent to prison and after 3 years, I was free.
When I met my husband, it was like an angel was sent from above to carry me. Good thing he is a social worker and he knows how to deal with people like me. People like me…. Damaged… Broken… Crazy… I don’t know how he does it and I don’t understand how he can love someone like me, but he did. Normal people like him who has a good heart have the ability to love someone like me who is torn into pieces. “The consequences of abuse can be physical, psychological, or behavioral — or any combination of the three,” says Heather Gillman, PsyD, a psychologist in private practice in New Paltz, New York, and a member of the American Psychological Association.
We are doing online therapy not because there is a problem with our marriage. “Online therapy and counseling can be convenient and effective.” according to Stacy O’Leary, LMFT. He decided that he will be supporting me, knowing my problem, in every step of the way. He wants to make me feel safe as I speak with our online therapist. Every time he sees me anxious, he’d hold my hand and whisper – Hey, you’re my sunshine.” And I never told him about that, but by miracle he knew.