For those who aren't aware, I have another blog, which is my professional one:

Feel free to share and comment!

Erin Grace

Monday, October 1, 2012

Realization: A Story For Everyone

I've been doing a lot of soul searching and to say that I'm trying to share my story, in hopes to encourage others to not feel ashamed or oppressed by it, doesn't seem to give me the satisfaction I had hoped for when I first began writing. My story is for everyone.

To some, who have had a good childhood, what I'm about to say may seem so basic but be honest with yourself. I'm realizing now, I want to tell anyone, even those from really good families, that if you still feel there's something missing, ask some questions about how you grew up, there has to be things that you would like to see done differently. A family that is truly supportive will accept the questioning. I actively encourage my kids to question what I expect from them. Yes, it drives me crazy but that's truly what I want for them (and hey, it keeps me honest with myself!). I want them to consider how they can do things differently than I did, to figure out what works for them and what they can't live with. Yes, families can seem supportive, be supportive and maybe they are looking out for your well-being but also consider that even if you come from a really good family. that perhaps when people try to say they're just looking out for you, maybe they're taking your actions a little personally. Try to consider their reactions: how much might be being defensive and how much may be they are genuinely concerned for the decisions you're making. Both?

So I guess what I realized, in sharing my story, is that this is meant for anyone. How loyal to your family's belief systems are you? Does it truly inspire and motivate you? Are there areas you're holding back, for fear of actions and/or emotions from those closest to you? How realistic is your fear? How can you do things differently?

Try not to take it personally when someone questions things, literally and figuratively. I know how difficult that is but remember we're all just trying to manage how we can be happy and how we can live our best life.

It's not always personal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

*My Other Blog*

Just a reminder for those who aren't aware, I have another blog, which is my professional one:

Feel free to share and comment!

Erin Grace

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Please Visit Me On My New Blog For Relationship-Communication Coaching!
My new blog:


Twitter: @LifeSightsCoach

Current website: however, I will be updating it soon, starting the second week of June (after I move to my new residence)!

See you soon!
Erin Grace

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bullying Dialogue

The following is a project my step-daughter did for one of her courses. In light of the movie "Bully" being released, I thought it would be a good time to publish her paper. I think this is where I really connected with her in the first place, back when I met her at 8 years old. We both went through a lot of bullying and tough times and we speak up for those being bullied. Years ago, when my job had "Bring your child to work" day, I brought Allie with me. One of my co-workers brought his son, who had various problems, including ADHD and Tourette's Syndrome. Turned out that the boy was in Allie's classes in school. My co-worker told me the next day that Allie was the person his son would tell him about, who stuck up for him at school when the kids picked on him. So proud of her...great job, Allie!


Disclaimer: * I’m a college student and this was an assignment for my Argumentation class. We had to pick a topic that was both politically and socially significant. I chose bullying in public schools. This project had to be a dialog between two or more characters arguing their points of view on the subject. One character had to be on the pro side the other on the con. The final assignment was a persuasive essay on this same topic.* 

                   Is Bullying a Progressing Problem in Public Schools      

and is it Beneficial?  


 by Alexandrea D'Acunto


           Harvey Noble is 58 and the principle of Viking Ridge High School in Foxx Horn, Colorado. He started his teaching career at Viking Ridge in 1980 at the age of 26 after getting his masters of arts in teaching at Colorado State University in 1979. In 1987 he was the youngest and quickest teacher to become the principle of Viking Ridge High School. Harvey’s high school days weren’t the greatest and he was at the mercy of the school bullies. He was your typical straight A student who loved math and tutoring others. His passions for helping others lead him to pursue a career in education. He graduated from Hollow Pointe High School in 1971 with a full scholarship in mathematics. His ambitions of success drove him to Florida where he received his B.A. in mathematical science from the University of Florida in 1975. Harvey loved Florida, the weather was beautiful and the people there were congenial and entertaining.

Harvey grew up in Hollow Pointe, Colorado where he was the youngest of five brothers. He was beat up and bullied on a daily basis and never given any slack. Harvey grew up with a retired war veteran from World War II as a father. He drilled into his sons that how they were being treated would help build character and function in society if they were all man enough to stand up for themselves. Emotions were a sign of weakness to his father and Harvey could not afford to have a weak back bone and he carried this mentality with him to college. Today you can find Harvey spending most of his time with his family. On weekends he loves to go fishing at Grand Lake with his two Yellow Labradors, Teddy and Dottie. Some of Harvey’s favorite shows and movies he loves to watch are Numb3rs, Deal or No Deal, A Beautiful Mind, and Good Will Hunting. He also has an interesting talent for making model ships from the 1800’s from scratch, some of which he has sold for thousands of dollars. When Harvey is not at home relaxing he is at school where he makes sure that everyone is taken care of to the best of his abilities. 

Charlotte Warbain is 42 and a widower with two sons. Her oldest Patrick is 21 and in the Air Force. He is stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. Luke is 14 and in his freshmen year of high school at Viking Ridge. In 2005 Charlotte’s husband Graham was diagnosed with an Inoperable Brain Tumor. After three hard years of fighting Graham succumbed to his illness in 2008. Graham’s passing ultimately brought the family together but it was particularly harder on Luke because they shared a unique bond.

Charlotte grew up in Lexington, Kentucky where her father worked as a stable hand and exercise jockey for Calumet Farm. Charlotte and Graham graduated from Sterling Gate High School in 1987 and married shortly thereafter. Charlotte went onto the University of Kentucky where she received her B.S. in business and finance. However, four months before graduating from UK she found out she was pregnant with Patrick. They moved to Foxx Horn, Colorado right after graduating so Charlotte could start her internship at Scenic Valley Savings Bank. Today you can find her as the Senior Loan Officer for Rocky Mountain Mortgage and Loan. In her spare time she volunteers at the local ASPCA and walking the nature trails by her home. Charlotte loves watching Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. She watches the stock market daily and loves Jeopardy.

When Patrick left for basic training three years ago, Charlotte and Luke started to become closer than they have ever been. In Luke’s spare time he loves to read comics and mystery books along with watching SyFy channel’s original movies on weekends. Since entering high school Luke’s natural shyness has increased and he’s become antisocial. He is a perfect target for the neighbor hood bullies that roam the halls of Viking Ridge. Charlotte’s tolerance for the situation Luke is in is rapidly decreasing. Luke is coming home with bruises, black eyes, and on one occasions a broken left arm. The mental and emotional toll this violence is taking on him has him coming home in tears and causing night terrors. Luke’s health is diminishing and he’s beginning to beg Charlotte to let him stay home from school. His interest in anything is lost and she is determined to get her fun loving son back. 

* * * 

On March 14, 2012 Mrs. Warbain goes to Viking Ridge High School for her appointment she made with Principle Noble to discuss with him the condition her son is in. She is there to ask why nothing has been done to stop and prevent this harassment and bullying that Luke has to suffer through every day he is at school. Charlotte is outraged at the lack of awareness for bullying that the faculty has at this school. Growing up Charlotte was taught that in order to gain respect you must give it. Bullying is an increasing problem and Charlotte wants to know why her son cannot feel safe at school. Why aren’t the proper precautions being taken into effect to prevent bullying? Her appointment is about to begin… 

* * * 

Office Administrator: (Buzzing in through the desk intercom) Excuse me Principle Noble, Mrs. Warbain has arrived for her one o’clock appointment with you. 

Noble: (Buzzing back) Thank you send her on in. 

(Charlotte walks from the lobby into his office) 

Warbain: Hello Principle Noble, thank you for seeing me today on such short notice. 

Noble: Oh it is no problem how can I be of assistance? 

Warbain: Well, I am here to discuss the building concern I have for my son Luke. He is having a rough time dealing with some of the students here. In a nutshell, you have a serious bullying issue that I feel needs to be addressed. 

(Noble scratched his head and folded his hands together on his desk) 

Noble: Well Mrs. Warbain I’ve been the Principle here for 25 years and I assure you that we do not have a bullying issue. 

(Charlotte shifting her weight in the chair and quickly becoming irritated) 

Warbain: So (pausing to clear her throat) are you trying to say that I’m making up the fact that my son is having issues with the students on and off campus? (staring him down with her head cocked to the side and arms crossed) Listen nowadays the kind of bullying my son endures is not just physical Mr. Noble so please let me enlighten you. The things that these kids say to him at school and write to him via text message and Facebook are horrible and terrifying to Luke. I’ve gone to the extremes of changing his cell phone number on numerous occasions to having him block these kids from his Facebook account. Luckily I was off work the day he came home from school and I had to take him to the ER. Doctors said he had a broken left arm and three bruised ribs. So tell me Mr. Noble why you say that Viking Ridge does not have a bullying problem? I say you are not governing your school properly. 

(Noble just sat there in silence trying to retain all of what was just said) 

Noble: Mrs. Warbain did you know that, “psychologist at the University of California have carried out a study and found that bullying gives children an early lesson that not everybody is going to like them in life and teaches them about conflict resolution?” (“A little bullying”) It’s important for children to be taught conflict management but not to suffer in silence. My father always taught me and my brothers to stand up to the aggressors and then we are more likely to develop healthy social and emotional skills (“A little bullying”). “Today children ought to be self-sufficient enough to deal with bullying.” (“Bullying”) 

Warbain: Why, yes, I read that study done by Melissa Witkow from California and I find it to be completely preposterous. “Research has shown that bullying affects academic achievement. It’s been linked to depression, low self-esteem, and in some extreme cases, suicide.” (Vail). Principle Noble since my husband passed in 2008 Luke and I have become very close and we share everything together just like he did with his father. This bullying is getting out of hand. Luke has become severely depressed and even though his self-esteem never was the greatest it’s gotten worse. His grades are beginning to slip from the lack of sleep due to night terrors almost every night. Some days he doesn’t want to go to school simply because he does not feel like dealing with the harassment. I’ve been so concerned that I took it upon myself to read his journal and there are many entries where he discusses suicide. I’ve lost my husband already and I can’t bear the thought to lose my youngest son while my oldest is property of the government. 

(A long silence falls between them and after a few minutes Charlotte speaks again) 

Warbain: Kids and even adults today find ways to put others down so I’m not surprised at the lack of your concern. I thought you’d like to know that your school is exposed to liability if you don’t deal with this issue (Vail). Principle Noble did you know that most bullying takes place when bystanders are present? (Rigby) 

Noble: (puzzled) Well, uhm, no ma’am I did not know that but…. (Charlotte cuts him off) 

Warbain: And although most bystanders don’t act to discourage it, when any one of them does there is a good chance that the bullying will stop and a large proportion of students would like to see bullying stopped (Rigby). I recommend you read up on Dr. Ken Rigby’s work Mr. Noble you might find it insightful and educational and maybe after today you’ll adopt his techniques to better handle bullying in your school. 

Noble: Well Mrs. Warbain I thank you for this fine information but I still believe that if Luke is to be successful he needs to stand up for himself and reciprocate the dislike he receives from other pupils (“A little bullying”) rather than ignoring the harassment. Moreover I feel that repaying hostility with hostility seems to be the most mature. (“A little bullying”) 

(Charlotte looking at Harvey with complete disgust at what she has just heard) 

Warbain: How..ugh…how can you sit there and say that the best way to fight violence is with violence? “Bullying is widespread and perhaps the most underreported safety problem on American school campuses” (Sampson) and all you say is to attack the attackers. With all due respect Principle Noble I believe your priorities are extremely out of focus and you are not as in tune with your faculty and students as you like to believe. 

Noble: Mrs. Warbain I grew up in a home where I came home every day and was the subject of bullying from my own family and again at school. I turned out just fine because I stood up to my father and my brothers and now we are all successful adults. Luke will be just fine I assure you. I will also take a look at this Dr. Rigby fellow and skim through his research. 

Warbain: Oh please do you honestly think I am that gullible? My son is suffering and it isn’t in silence because I’m the one listening. Do me, my son, yourself, and the rest of your students a favor and leave your office for a half an hour and take a walk around your school and talk to your students. You might be surprised at the things they say if you ask them questions about the school and if they feel safe here. Also take a moment to talk with your teachers they are part of this bullying problem too. Most are ill-equipped to even deal with violence of students. 

(Charlotte stands up from the chair and straightens out her dress and shakes Harvey’s hand) 

Warbain: Well Principle Noble I thank you for your time today but I must be going. I’m cooking Luke his favorite dinner of Marconi and Broccoli and it usually helps me on days when bullying was at its worst, which I have a feeling today was a bad day. 

(Charlotte turns to walk away when Harvey stops here) 

Noble: Mrs. Warbain I can promise you Luke will be fine and I will take your advice and talk with my students and staff. Thank you for this enlightening conversation. 

Warbain: (Looks at Noble puzzled and in a soft, disappointed voice says) For my son’s sake, I hope you are right. Luke’s a great kid who never hurt anyone…not even a fly. It’s interesting to me that someone of your background wouldn’t have any compassion for this kind of thing. Just a thick head full of hot air… 

(Charlotte walked out of his office and left Harvey speechless) 

* * * 

It’s been two months since Charlotte’s meeting with Harvey and a local news station has just picked up a breaking news story about a shooting at Viking Ridge High School that took place at 1:52pm on May 24, 2012 

News Anchor: Good afternoon everyone breaking news is just in and we are following a shooting that has taken place at Viking Ridge High School in Foxx Horn. We have a reporter on scene with updates. 

Reporter: I’m standing here next to a group of students that were witnesses to what has happened here today during lunch period in the courtyard. They say that 14-year-old Luke Warbain, a freshmen here, came out of the lunch room into the clearing by the fountain and started shouting “Is this you want? Well you got it. All you people that bullied me you have all won and beaten me for the last time. You all won.” And then they heard a gunshot and Luke lay there draped over the fountain lifeless. 

News Anchor: Well that is certainly devastating and quite a tragedy. Have you been able to speak to anyone other than the witnesses? 

Reporter: Yes I was able to catch up with the Principle here, Harvey Noble but he didn’t have much to say other than that he should have listen to the boy’s mother in their meeting back in March. I was also able to catch up with Charlotte Warbain, Luke’s mother on her way into the school to confirm that the boy that lay there is indeed her son and she had and in depth response to this recent tragedy that fall in her family. 

News segment of prerecorded video of Charlotte plays 

Warbain: Today I came to Viking Ridge for a tragic reason and that’s because my son took his life in front of those who bullied and tortured him day in and day out. Principle Noble should have listened to what I had to say in our meeting about Luke and this continuing issue and maybe my son would be alive today and I wouldn’t be here. However he didn’t and now my youngest and most loving son is gone. Bullying is a continuing issue in the United States. How many more kids have to feel the need to kill themselves or others as way out from this torture? My son just adds to the count. 

Reporter: As you can see she is saddened yet angry that her cries for help for her son were not heard and now he is not with us. It’s a sad day here at Viking Ridge. Back to you. 

News Anchor: Okay well thank you for that heart aching story of a troubled soul….. 

Copyright © 2012 by Alexandrea DAcunto.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reaction To My Blog

Reading over some of the last posts, I think that some of my comments about coming out with my childhood may sound like that of someone who is unsure of herself. For my own comfort, I want to make it clear that it is not. It comes out of recently having a huge amount of stress to manage and not allowing myself some time to have a good just accept that I'm managing the best I can and there's no more that I can possibly do. I am enough and I'm doing enough.

I've had to build my coaching business around my children because I have no other choices right now. It was tough to think about, kind of overwhelming, at first. I am excited though because that is what's motivating me, now, more than ever! I'm doing all that I've wanted to do for the past 20 years!

Some other things that I have had to deal with and yet they only serve to motivate me further, are the many reactions from people. Seems that with my talking about my past comes three responses: 1) By a landslide, I have received an enormous amount of kindness, respect and even some people sharing their own stories for the first time in their lives (for that, I feel very honored to be trusted) but I have also been on the receiving end of 2) projection and a few people 3) treating me as if I am exceptionally fragile and (anyone who knows me, knows that is a laugh!) unable to make good decisions because I am so damaged. Oh brother.

I am someone who has been brave enough to share their story with the whole world and I have become a good example for others that you do not have to become a product of your upbringing. There's no fragile here and I do just fine with the decisions I make, exactly for the reason of how I grew up! I've always tried to learn from my mistakes, so I'd say I'm very good at looking out for myself. I have a lot to offer the world, as far as relating to people goes. I know quite well, who I am and who I am not. Do I have times in some days when I feel less than great? Of course, who doesn't? Overall though, my current situation and how I grew up, have ultimately strengthened me greatly and although I wouldn't wish it on anyone, I have learned to take the very best and most positive things away from these extremely painful experiences and anything less than that, I do my best to leave behind.

As I reassess all that I've learned over the years and my strengths, especially with the many people who come to me because I seem to "get" where people are coming from (that makes me feel great!), I am reminded that I am doing really well, no matter what the paycheck.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fast Forward

Recently, I received a phone call from my sister, who has been helping my mother sort through her belongings. I was told that in our mother's room, she had found unopened letters I had written to "K" and there were also letters that "K" had written to my sister. The letters were from before my sister found mine in the mailbox that day. When my sister asked her, my mother says she has no idea why they were in with her things. She has always been one to not face things or take responsibility for her actions but seeing as she's elderly now, she may genuinely not remember. Somehow though, I have the feeling that even if she was 20 years younger, her answer would still be the same. My mom is legendary for the phrase, "Hmmm? I don't know." I do not understand why she would have intercepted those letters and not confronted me or said something to someone?! Someone could have stopped me from communicating with him; saved me from myself.

She may not be able to empathize at all or communicate in an adult manner about things of a personal and sensitive nature but when it comes to being threatening, that, she could do. For some reason, she could defend us when someone else was clearly in the wrong, as long as it concerned things of a physical nature, like a bully hitting us. Bottom line, she'd threaten you if you laid a finger on her kids. She could scare the hell out of any kid and we have a few funny stories from the bullies themselves. As a kid, I began to do the same thing as my mother to anyone who made fun of me, as long as I thought I could handle them. After scaring one girl so badly that she broke out in hives and her mother told me that she had to go to the hospital, I decided I'd rather not handle things that way.

My sister and I still see members of "K's" family every once in a while, in fact there were a few times that she met with his sister not so long ago...we were both close with her, so I'm sure that was tough for the both of them.

I've seen his brothers a few times over the years.  In fact, my ex up north had a best friend whose sister married one of "K's" brothers. We went to the best friend's wedding, which meant that I would run into members of "K's" family. At the church, I spoke with his parents who were very polite. The scariest thing was that just as I walked away from them in the church, "K's" mother fell to the floor and had a grand mal seizure. An ambulance was called and I later found out that she had a brain tumor. I believe she was able to have surgery and recover. I couldn't help but initially think that talking to me upset her too much because of all that had happened.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pointing The Finger

**This is the toughest post to put out there, over all of the others.  I've debated whether to even write it but it would be leaving a big part of my story out.

For so many years, after this all ended, I really felt as if I was a willing participant in everything. That's what those situations to do you, the abuser puts it on you to carry the guilt and shame. I was afraid I'd end up in foster care if I told. I didn't want to be with my parents but I felt what happened with "K" must have been my fault. I thought if I didn't want to do it, I could have said something, I could have just gone back to live with my parents. I got to be with my sister though and that meant everything.

Eleven turned to 12, then 13 and 14 years old. As I said, except for going to school, I spent all of my free time with "K" and my sister. Eventually, at about 12 years old, I didn't see my father anymore. I went back to live at my mother's house, while going back and forth to see "K" and my sister.

This is why...

After about a year or so of going between my father's house and their place, "K" knew how things were with my father, he used that to his advantage. He'd often try to talk to me about what it was like to live with my parents and he was very sympathetic. I didn't understand that he was just using me for his pleasure and giving the illusion of caring for me. The more he saw me cry and beg to stay with them, every time I had to leave, the more "K" would ask me if anything was "going on". It came to the point where he flat out asked if my dad was doing anything to me. I didn't know how to articulate some of the weirder stuff that was going on between my father and myself. Here I was being told by my sexual abuser, that my father was in the wrong and he was going to help protect me from my father. I felt like a sheep...just follow the leader.

Very quickly I found myself in front of detectives and state police, asking me what was going on with my father. I believe "K" told my sister and then my mother found out. He never said anything specific, just that he knew there were things happening to me, at the hands of my father. I was in over my head before I knew it. It was a whirlwind. Within a day or two, I was giving sworn statements about what my father was doing to me, by recalling events that I had been through with "K". I didn't think I had any other choice, what would "K" do if I told everyone it was him? What would happen to me, my sister, or him? I didn't even have time to consider that it may have been a good thing to tell them the truth about "K". I was blindsided. I was being sent to victim's groups and counseling, all the while keeping secret what was going on and what would continue for another 2 years, with "K".

My father was arrested and put in jail. The guilt I felt was so overwhelming. Whenever I saw a police officer  (it didn't matter if they were just driving down the road), until the day I came out with the truth, 10 years later, I was petrified I would be arrested and thrown in prison for making a false statement. Those words just hung in the air when I was talking to the detectives..."The penalty for making a false statement is..." Never mind that I was 12 years old when it happened. As the years went by, I just played the part. My father wasn't allowed any contact with me and for a while, I was home schooled.

My father put in a plea of guilty but thankfully my mother asked the judge to consider him for counseling and release as long as he kept away from me. She didn't think he belonged in jail. He told my mother he knew it was "K" who was behind this. In fact, one day when I picked up the phone at my mother's, I heard my father's voice. I started to cry. I handed the phone to my mother but I heard him say, "Erin, I know this isn't your fault. I know he's doing those things to you." I cannot tell you how much I felt as if I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.

The first person I ever confided in, was my boyfriend Darin, in 1991. He was and still is, a great friend. For the 3 years we were together, I wanted to tell him what I had carried around for 10 years but I just couldn't, I thought he would hate me. There were so many times I said to him over those 3 years, "There's something I want to tell you but I just can't." A few times he asked, "What did you do, kill someone? Why won't you tell me?"

 I remember one day, at an apartment we lived in, the police showed up looking for the prior resident. I heard the bang of the nightstick on the door and as soon as I looked out, I thought, "This is it, they know." I was terrified. Just before we broke up, I wrote my boyfriend a letter telling him the story. I gave it to him when I knew he could read it and have some time to let it all sink in. When I saw him later that night he was so understanding, I couldn't believe it. I broke up with him because I knew I needed to start dealing with what happened and start my life with a clean slate.

The next step was telling my sister. Gradually, my father and I began to talk again and although I know he didn't blame me, I still apologized for all that had happened. He was older and so was I, there wasn't the same dynamic anymore and although he still had schizophrenia, I was an adult and we had a different relationship. There were times when his illness got in the way but I just dealt with it, there was nothing I could do for him if he didn't want help. "K" was dead and we were trying to start over again. Ironically, the psychologist I started working with for the next few years (who was also my psychology professor) told me that after he saw me a few times, he knew my name sounded familiar. Although he couldn't disclose anything, after about a year of me working with him and knowing I was beginning to talk to my father again, he said, "I happened to look back in my records and a few years before you met me, your father was a patient of mine for quite a while." Out of all the people he could have picked, in the cities he lived near, my father picked that guy.

June 1995 - Dad & Me

A few years before my father died, in 2008, I got up the courage to tell a lawyer my story and see if there was any way to get any charges against my father dropped. He said it was so long ago that I shouldn't worry too much about it. I still wanted him to look into it but he never returned my calls. Thankfully, I found out that the registry for New York State didn't go into effect until January of 1996, fourteen years after everything happened.

I learned more recently, how angry my father was towards my mother, even as I grew older. Before my sister met "K", my father woke her one night to say that he was "going to end things once and for all", by killing our mother (my sister was living with him at the time, while I still lived with my mother). After he left, she tried to contact my mother but couldn't get her. This was long before 911 and the police wouldn't have made it in time. All she could do, she said, was pray really hard for something to stop him before he got to our mother's house. He never made it. A deer jumped in front of his car, caused an accident and he ended up turning around and going back home.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Coming To Terms

I've been doing a lot of crying lately, something I try not to do much of at all. I'm afraid if I start, I'll never stop, I'm afraid I'll get stuck in that despair. I realize things will get better but it scares me to feel all of this...I'm going through the breakup of my marriage and most days I really question if it's the right thing. It has brought out a lot of fears in me, that I have never let show before, but I'm done with covering it up. I'm really scared. I'm trying to manage not having support around me. Growing up as I have, I've always had to put on a front of being able to get through, no matter what. My mother tries but she has such trouble emotionally, that she's much like a child. Two of my brothers I have cut off contact with, due to the very abusive and threatening manner with which they have spoken to myself, my mother and my sister. The third brother is schizophrenic and our communication is mostly me writing to him. Due to our age difference, we have never really known each other and when he has spoken to me, it's very distant. I can't tell you how much it has hit me lately, that I so miss not having a close knit, healthy family. One that can work through problems and deep down, really loves each other. I have to mourn it and put it behind me. I have spent so long pretending it doesn't bother me and that I'm okay, when really, I have to stop and face the fact that it hurts so badly that I didn't have parents who could function as such, on even a basic level, consistently.

I am easy to make friends but it's tough for me to be the one to reach out to people...I tend to need someone to pester me. No matter how much people tell me I've helped them, through life coaching, I often feel as if I have nothing to offer. It's that feeling I inherited from my parents, their own feelings of worthlessness that I'm trying so hard to shed. I've become used to giving and not receiving if anything I give is not that worthwhile anyhow. The truth could be right there in front of me and I don't believe it. I realize a lot of that has to with being so betrayed growing up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm working on another's a tough one for me, so it has been slow in the making...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Walter is one person whose identity I won't conceal. Early on, he had an idea of what was going on and I overheard him telling "K" to be good to me. Walter was about 4 years older than myself and had seen a lot of tragedy in his life. His family blamed him for a siblings death, when he was very young (I believe it was a sister). I always felt he and I had a connection and he treated me like a little sister. Walter would come over alone or with "K's" brother and his friends. He'd hang out with me and he'd smoke and talk but if "K" was around, I think it scared Walter and he wouldn't stay long. He was so sweet to me and my sister.

One day, during Spring (just before Easter I think), Walter, "K's" brother and another friend stopped at the apartment. They were excited that the local "outlet", as we called it (more like a small river that runs through that city), was really churning with water. They were taking small rafts and paddles and were going to do a sort of "riding the rapids"  through the outlet. "S" was headed off to work and I was with "K". The boys hung out for maybe 30 minutes and then they were off.

Later that day there was a call from "K's" family. The boys had gotten into more than they anticipated at the outlet and Walter was missing. The other boys made it to shore but Walter was carried away by the current. The last that was seen of him was when he was pulled under by the water.

Emergency crews searched for Walter; they finally found him. He had been pulled under and slammed against one of the large pipes that ran under the water in the outlet. Walter was dead.

"K's" brother was inconsolable. I remember going to the wake. It was surreal. Kids crying and going out on the porch of the funeral home to vomit. I had to leave, it was too overwhelming. I still have a little ceramic, painted creamer that I made in elementary school, that I let Walter use as an ashtray. I took a rose from his grave site and put it in there, with the cigarette ashes.

"K" and Walter are buried in the same cemetery. The extension of the cemetery (the smaller part) was the one that we lived next door to, in the apartment....the one that I used to ride "K's" motorcycle through and walk through, when "K would get really angry with me. It's strange how life goes. Who would've thought I'd be going back there to visit them, after spending so much time living so close and wandering around in it? When I lived back in that city again, years afterwards, I used to drive up to that cemetery and spend hours walking through there and visiting their graves, mostly Walter's though. I completely get the people who sit there, talking to people that are gone. It's actually kind of calming, at least for me. It helped me move on.

Miss you, Walter.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Amazing Sister

In case it was missed, in my last post, "S" is my sister. I won't give her real name, out of respect for her privacy but, as you can tell, she has been with me through the toughest parts of my life and she still is, even if from a distance. She has been very traumatized between her own childhood with my parents and her marriage to "K". 

We've talked more about that time, almost 30 years ago (wow), more now, than ever before. I think after it all happened, we just never felt like talking about it again...we needed to breathe, to just have a break and try to find what "normal" feels like. She still feels a lot of guilt for me living with her and "K" because she knew some of what was going on and tried very hard to leave without getting us killed. Every day she was planning. Every day she had different experiences than me because while I was being used sexually, she was the one threatened or assaulted by him, to keep quiet. As I said, if I mouthed off to him or caused problems for him, he would take his anger out on her or whatever I cared about. We were both "kept in line." She had very genuine reasons for being terrified, as do most victims of domestic violence and repeated sexual assault.

I am encouraging her to write about her life and experiences (maybe as a link to my blog, maybe not), to help her have a voice. We have talked of writing a book someday. I truly do not know what I would do without her and I don't know of many sisters who have written together, of their experiences. 

"S" was literally told, at a very early age, that she didn't seem to ever "need" anything. Our parents "projected" their needs, onto her. They weren't able to be parents or even have a loving marriage, so they put it on us, to do for them. She was and is very intelligent, compassionate and talented. Those qualities were seen as interchangeable for independence and used as an excuse not to nurture her. Her job in he family was to "do" for everyone else, especially our parents. Like other female survivors I have known, she felt and was, enslaved. 

There is a very damaging concept still going on in our family (and many families) called "enmeshment". It is excused as being "typical" in many families...something that gets excused as being passed down as part of your nationality or gender role but it is warped and damaging. I spoke before of "parentification" and "spousification", those were our roles with our parents, as well as, in the relationship with "K". Seeing as my main influence was my sister (who should never have had to raise me), I guess it's no surprise that, as an adult, I began to mirror the role in relationships, that she had learned. In the past few years, I have come to understand myself better and why I end up in certain types of relationships.

Senior Year

So I was now living with "James" and his family. I hadn't stopped to think of how much I had moved around by then, it certainly was a lot. I wanted so much to have my own place and only move when I wanted.

I was always the first one on the bus from "James's" house and the first one off. Due to asbestos removal at our high school that year, the juniors and seniors had to go to local middle schools, in split sessions, with the freshmen and sophomores. It was a crazy way to spend a senior year. Despite it all, I was really buckling down in my senior year. After the past few years of really screwing up and failing in classes that I loved, I wanted to do better and try to live a decent life. If only I could figure out what a decent life was...

 I was getting my bus at 6am and getting out at 12pm or so. Other classes would go from 12-5pm The schedules at the schools were crazy, to try and accommodate everyone. My first day riding the bus was an eye opener. The route came out onto a main road and there, on the side of the bus that I was sitting, was a field...and the shack. It was set back from the road but due to all of the leaves falling from the trees, over the winter, it was easily seen from the road. I had to go past that every morning. I tried to just ignore it or it would ruin my whole day. It was hard to do though, I would always catch where we were, out of the corner of my eye.

Then one day, during change of classes and a week after "S's" birthday, I ran into the sister of one of "K's" friends. She said, "Did you hear?" I didn't know what she was talking about. ""K" shot himself last night, out on his grandparents property. They said he never came back from hunting out there and they found him in the hunting shack." It was the shack he had taken me to, so many times. I felt like a zombie. I just walked away to my next class. I was late. I didn't know how to feel. I sat down and my teacher looked at me and asked if something was wrong. I said out loud, "My sister's ex husband killed himself." He said to go to the nurses office and I was excused for however long I needed. The nurses office wasn't so understanding. They had heard nothing of it and didn't want to allow me to leave school. I told them I was leaving and they probably didn't know anything because it just happened overnight. Out in the lobby, I called "James" to pick me up.

Years after that, I was looking through my yearbook at candid pictures taken around school. There was a picture of me, from that day, talking on the payphone. There aways seemed to be little reminders.


Oops! A couple of my last posts were out of order and I left a new one unpublished. Things may make a bit more sense now...

Late 1987-1988 (Senior Year)

I had wanted to go see a therapist for a while, to deal with how I was feeling. The first appointment I had was in Syracuse and it was the first day of the season that we had any snow. I was really nervous about driving and I had asked my mother to go with me, prior to that day. I had just received, as a gift, my great aunt's enormous, 1972 Oldsmobile. I swear that damn thing took up the whole road. I should have called it The Intimidator, at least for how it made me feel. Anyhow, my mother said she couldn't go with me because she had to do some things (?) with my car before I could drive it. I was stuck driving her smaller car, which made me nervous in wet, snowy weather. After the last accident with her, most little cars made me feel claustrophobic. My mother and I got into a huge argument because she said she couldn't go. The last words I said, before I left were, "Well, don't blame me if I get into an accident." Famous last words.

I was driving down the road, about 4 miles from my house, when I came up over a small hill. As I crested the hill, there was a car that was pausing (not stopping), at a stop sign on the right. She pulled out into the road in front of me and I was, admittedly, going about 5 miles over the speed limit. The roads were slippery, so I knew I wouldn't be able to slow down in time, without hitting her from behind. I began braking but I also jerked the steering wheel too hard to the left, catching the left rear of her bumper. I still had the wheel turned too hard to the left and as I caught her bumper, I felt the car start to roll. I thought, "This is it. I'm going to die." The car rolled side over side, three times, until it came to rest right next to a large boat that the homeowners had in their driveway for the winter. I had rolled over their mailbox (special delivery!) and through their front yard. Luckily, after the accident with my mother and "S", I had learned to wear my seat belt. No doubt that saved me.

When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics told me that I was very lucky, as the week before, they had been to a very similar accident scene that was a fatality because the person wasn't wearing a seat belt. I had no serious injuries but the next day I couldn't get out of bed. When the car began to roll, I had tensed up so much that all of the muscles in my body had been exhausted from gripping the steering wheel and trying not to get thrown around, inside the car. I had hit my head and shoulders against the drivers side door and window but I didn't have any serious injuries from that.To add insult to injury, so to speak, my mother came tooling by the accident scene right after it happened. There were no emergency vehicles there yet, so she said she just looked at the car sitting there, next to the boat and she told me that she said to herself, "Gee, that kind of looks like my car." I had to laugh at that one, you know what they say about luck...

Now that my mother's car was totaled, I had no transportation to and from my mother's house for school. My mother was so upset about the accident that she barely wanted to let me leave the house, much less ever commute again. She had to use The Intimidator =) until she could get another car. I refused to transfer back to my hometown school and stay with her. "James" said his family would allow me to stay with them, so I began living with them and taking the bus to school. My friend "Jared", who hung around me when I was dating "Lee", was also the cousin of "James". It was great that I got to see him again and we had become really good friends.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1986 & 1987


I started getting into a lot of trouble after "S" left for California. I had no adult to keep me in line, except "Ann's" mother. Since I didn't know her mother very well, I felt, as some teenagers do, that I didn't have to listen to her. After everything that had happened, I just wanted to do my own thing. There was a lot of partying and at one point, the school said they were sending a truant officer out to pick me up. I didn't come home on school nights...I had come to the point where all I wanted to do was sleep in, go where I pleased, drink and smoke. I missed way more school than I attended. I'm not proud of some of places I went and things I did. I figured no one really cared enough to try and make me shape up. My parents were dependent on me, instead of taking charge. "S" was the only one who cared enough to speak up to me and she was gone.


"Ann's" house was where everyone in the neighborhood hung out. It wasn't unusual to have a houseful of kids, after school and on the weekends.  One day, a good friend of mine stopped over, as was his routine. He said he had something for me and handed me an envelope. I opened it up and began to read. It was a letter from "K". I started to freak out. I asked my friend where he got the letter and he said, "I work alongside "K" and knowing my age, he began to ask me about young people and if I knew anyone by your name. When I said I did, he said you and "S" were really wonderful women." All I could do was tell my friend to never mention anything about me again to "K" and don't bring anything to me again. He didn't understand the hell we went through. He could hardly believe this was the guy he had been working with, he seemed sincere, like a decent guy. 

Early in 1987, "Ann" and I both decided we wanted a change. We left New York (in the middle of the school year) to live in California. She had visited California about a year or so prior to then and after we had a visit from a boyfriend of hers and his friend (who I liked a lot), we decided it would be great fun. Yikes. "Ann's" father and step mother lived in Simi Valley and "S" lived in Burbank. "Ann" did not have her mother's permission, so basically I helped her run away. My mother tried to make me stay but I wasn't going to listen to anyone, except maybe "S". "S" wasn't a hypocrite. She loved me. Basically, I ran away too. A friend picked us up in the middle of the night, while we were at my mother's house. When you neglect a child for so long, allow them to do whatever they please and let them be vulnerable to all sorts of abuse AND make excuses for why you cannot be a decent parent, you aren't going to get much respect from your child. "S" was the only one I would respect.

It was a crazy trip out to California, as we dealt with many flight delays and I became really sick on the way.  People have asked me how I had the money to fly out there and I cannot remember. "Ann" had dropped out of school and was working full time, I was not. I had occasionally cleaned houses with my mother, so I guess I must have saved money from doing that. By the time we got into LAX, it was after midnight and our ride was long gone. For the first few weeks, I lived with "Ann" and her family where there was more of the same, as in New York...lots of partying, hanging with other delinquents and no school. The guy I wanted to see more of, who visited New York with "Ann's" boyfriend?  We wrote each other all of the time. He was 23 when we met, while I was only 16.  He saw me once when I was in Simi Valley and that was it. I was devastated but of course I was too young for him, among other things, I'm sure.  In retrospect, it was for the best. I found out in his last letter before I moved to California, that he was a recovering heroin addict. 

At one point, we were dropped off, for the day (two 16 year old girls, by ourselves), on Hollywood Boulevard. That is another story all together. Another time we went on a drug run, with a "friend" and she left us in her car, to go in and make a buy. A few minutes later, she came running out, jumped into the car screaming, "We gotta go! He's got a gun! I just stole his dope!" If I wasn't so terrified, it would have been funny. She was this little Hispanic woman with bigger cajones, than most men I know. She also said the constant thumping of her car, as we drove on the interstate, was because she had 4 different sized tires on the car. Oh joy. I spent the rest of the trip praying we would get pulled over. Every time I hear, "Living After Midnight" by Judas Priest, I think of that day. That's the song that was playing, as we were high tailing it out of that apartment complex.

I took my time contacting "S", I just didn't care about anything. She asked if I had known "Ann" ran away. "S" wanted me out of there. Now. She came to get me in Simi Valley and took me back to Burbank. I enrolled in high school at Burbank High and finished up the last few months of my junior year there. I did miserably and that was no surprise. You can't leave after over half of the school year is completed and expect to catch on to the last 3 months of a different curriculum, across the country. Needless to say, at that time I really didn't care. I hung out with a real ragtag bunch from school in Burbank, one of whom I was especially close with, he is now in prison for drugs. I really needed to get my life in order.

It was around July that I announced I was returning to New York. "Ann" stayed in Simi Valley. I moved back to New York to begin my senior year of high school. My mother pulled the car over, on the way home from the airport, grabbed me and started to cry, saying, "Don't ever leave me again!" I never felt I could lean on her and this again proved it. I had to be there for her, it was really difficult. I spent the next month or so feeling very depressed and I cried a lot, which is not like me. I remember having a very overwhelming feeling, as if I didn't belong anywhere. I never felt I belonged anywhere.

 I started driving and "Ann" was not in New York, so I went back to live with my mother and commuted to school. I began to date "James". Ironically, he was a guy that I never liked. I disliked him so much, that I would leave whenever he showed up around my friends at school. It seemed there wasn't enough room for us, plus his arrogance. =) When I came back from California though, I looked at everything differently and for some crazy reason, things seemed to click with us.

While I was still in California, "S" married the man she had moved out there with (they are still married and have a grown son) and during that time, I found out that "K" had been threatening to kill himself, on "S's" birthday, for a couple of years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


 (Names have been changed)

It's difficult to remember what happened after all of this but I do know that "K" was brought up on charges related to the abuse of "S". Through friends of his family, I heard that he had additional assault charges against him for attacking the judge (in the courtroom) who heard his case. Nobody ever really knew of what happened between me and "K", except for what was revealed in the letters and I don't know how much was gleaned from that either.

As things calmed down and "K" seemed to stay away from "S" and the rest of us, she went back to her house to live. In 9th grade, a few friends and I, from my hometown, began to go rollerskating in the city where I had lived with "K" and "S". Each of our parents took turns taking us, through snowstorms and everything. One parent who did the most for us was also my old bus driver from when I went to school in my hometown. Sadly, he killed himself a few years later. His death was one of many we experienced, over an 8 year period. It seemed people were dying in accidents or committing suicide at an alarming rate. By the time I had graduated from high school and a few years after that, I had lost 8 people I knew. Car accidents, drowning, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, shootings, was a terrible time.

 It was still tough to go back to that city but we had so much fun rollerskating and it got us out of our little hometown. I don't think the few of us really felt like we fit in. I know I didn't but it was not because of the people I went to school with, it was because I felt as if what had happened to me was written all over my face. After about a year, a couple of us became so intent on getting out of our town, that we decided to move to the city where I had lived with "S" and "K". I moved in with "S", transferred schools and began high school again. Despite the memories, that was where all my friends were from skating and at the time, that's where I felt I fit in.

I met a boy named "Lee" before I moved, when my friends and I were still traveling to go skating. Lee and I began dating. When I found out he lived right around the corner from where I would be living with "S", I was thrilled! Lee had a best friend "Jared", who began hanging around with us, soon after I moved there. It was just the three of us almost every day and we had a lot of fun. We didn't go out much of anywhere because we all had at least one big thing in common...we felt like misfits. "Lee's" father had an old car that he wanted to sell but for a long time he let it sit, tucked away at the end of their driveway, near the backyard. It was perfect for three bored 15 year olds. We would get our smokes, Cheech and Chong, George Carlin and Blue's Brothers cassettes =) and take turns sitting in different seats of the car, portraying the different characters. Many days we easily spent entire afternoons acting out the songs and sketches. We knew them all by heart. We'd pretend we were driving, putting our bodies into it, hooting and hollering and laughing our asses off. By the end of our fun, we had overflowed the ashtray and pretty much lost our voices.

Finally, after a whole summer of acting like nuts in a stationary car, Lee's father said he was putting it up for sale. We were so bummed. One afternoon, "Lee's" dad spoke on the phone with people who wanted to buy the car. They were coming over to look at it. We got out and had to clean it up, as there were cigarette butts and garbage all over. Then we went to sit on the porch, wait and pray that no one wanted that car. I was sitting in an area of the porch where I could see down the driveway a little ways and the car was right by the porch. We heard a car come into the driveway. As the people came crunching down the gravel driveway, my stomach turned, it was "K" and a woman. I jumped up in a total panic and ran inside Lee's house as fast as I could. I didn't want him to see me. He ended up buying the car.

"Lee" was very possessive and I ended up breaking up with him after 6 months. At one point, he had pulled a knife and slashed the paper I was reading because I guess I wasn't paying enough attention to him. I was done. "S" met a really great man, through friends, and was going to move out to California. I had 2 choices: Move back to live with my mother, or move in with my best friend and her family, so I could stay at that school. I moved into my best friend "Ann's" house.

Monday, February 27, 2012

On The Way

Hi everyone...I do have few posts coming up, hopefully one I will be posting tonight. Thank you for helping my blog gain a fairly large, international audience. Already I have had a few people open up about abuse in their pasts and they are working to move beyond it. No one knows better, how it feels, than another person who has struggled with carrying these painful secrets. You deserve a better life and a lighter load to carry.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pack & Crash

With no children, the history of abuse and almost everything belonging to "S", it made divorcing "K" much easier. Soon after the confrontation about "K" contacting me, "S" and I had to return to her house to gather up whatever was left of our things, thankfully, it was in her name. She would keep the house but for the time being, she stayed with us. A few days prior to going, we requested that an officer meet us at the house. "K" was sure to show up and he certainly wouldn't care that there was a restraining order. Since "K's" father was a police officer in that city, the department didn't hide the fact that it was an annoyance for them to have to help us. Knowing we would have very little time with their protection, we went right in to get packing, while my mother waited outside to watch.

"K" had taken or sold many things in the house for cash. We packed quickly. "S" was walking out of the door with the first load when I heard her start talking to someone. She set down her box and stood in the front doorway with the door open just enough for her. Whoever was there, could not see inside. "S" had her arm around the back of the door, as if to be ready to slam it. I walked up and stood right behind the wall separating the foyer and the den. I didn't want "S" and whoever was at the door, to see me. I heard "K's" voice. For the first time, I felt as if I would kill him. It was such a strong urge that it felt almost uncontrollable. Anger and hate welled up in me, so intensely. I finally felt nothing for him, no obligation, no sense of needing any connection...and no fear of him, at all.

"K" was asking "S" to reconsider everything and try to work things out. She stood firm and warned him that the officer would be there any minute and she didn't want him to be arrested. Staying calm and acting concerned for him, kept him from blowing up. After 5 or 10 minutes, he reluctantly left. Soon after that, the officer arrived and he made it clear he wasn't going to stay long. He was very unsympathetic. To keep "K" from being provoked, "S" didn't mention his "visit" to the officer. Unfortunately, it probably wouldn't have been addressed anyhow. It's a balancing act. "Experts" and the law don't really understand your abuser like you do, so sometimes you have to choose your battles. It should not have to be that way.

We all signed up for a self defense course and were attending counseling. Nothing stayed calm for long though. After our self defense class one afternoon, we were traveling back to my mother's house on a main road. My mother had been in "high gear" for months and like us, she was exhausted. We came up to a line of cars following a farm truck. On a 55mph road, we were going along at about 40mph, each car waiting to take its turn passing the truck. Mom was impatient and she began to pass the car in front of us. As we were passing the car in front, the farm truck slowed and made a left hand turn into a driveway. At 55mph, mom had no time to stop. We slammed into the side of the truck and seeing as we were in a little Chevy Chevette, a majority of the car started to go under the truck.

Until that day, I was not good about wearing my seat belt, often forgetting, unless my mother made me. That day, I learned my lesson. I was in the middle of the back seat and was thrown between the 2 front seats, into the dashboard. My right arm was caught behind the passengers seat, breaking it up near my shoulder and cracking it down almost to my elbow. My face, especially my nose, was a mess from the dashboard. "S" and my mother were hurt, as well.

Starting over again was looking to be a bit rough...and there were flickers of "K", along the way.

The Mailbox

When "K" had his sister call me, he asked a lot of questions about how "S" was, he wanted information about her because he "worried" about her too. He wanted to be sure she was "okay". Where was she going this day or that? What plans did we all have? Many times I ended up telling him. I cringe as I type that sentence but again, considering the state of mind that I was in at that time, it was as if I was on auto-pilot. I refuse to fall to the shame that I carried around, for so many years. If "S" isn't blaming me, I have to stop blaming myself.

"S" would go out somewhere and there "K" would be, watching her from afar or acting as if he just happened to be there too. We were living in a different county and when we did anything away from my mother's town, we traveled in the opposite direction of where we used to live. It was plain to see that there was more than coincidence going on.

This all went on for a couple of months. Calls, letters and lots of bike riding. He even wrote to me but had someone else address it, type it or even write it...just in case. He wouldn't sign it with his name. When "K" would meet me, he'd bring beers and offer them to me. I gladly drank them. If the place he wanted to take me was too far for me to drive, I would hide my bicycle on the side of the road or in a ditch and get in his car. No one seemed to suspect anything. All of that bike riding wasn't unusual for me, I rode for years before that, when I needed to get away from "K" and "S's" apartment. There were days when "K" would say maybe we should just take off right then and there. Start driving and never look back.

One afternoon I was in my bedroom and my mother and "S" came in. "S" looked scared. She was holding a letter and said, "What IS this?" She held up an opened envelope, with my handwriting on it. She had a funny feeling that day and decided to check the mailbox. My heart dropped. My blood went ice cold and I felt as if it was draining from my face. It was, by far, the most terrified and ashamed I have ever felt. Never before and never since, have I had such a reaction to anything. I began to sob and then start screaming. My mother was yelling at me to calm down and kept threatening to slap me to snap me out of it. I couldn't stop. I became so hysterical that my mother called the hospital. I could hear her telling them that she didn't know what to do. Could she have me hospitalized? If I didn't eventually calm down, she was told to bring me in. After a couple of hours, I began to calm down. I will never forgive myself and they will distrust me forever, I thought.

I was too ashamed to speak. That letter spoke for itself.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


It wasn't long after my birthday party that the call came....from a "friend", my mother said. I answered the phone. "Erin? It's "C" ("K's" little sister). Don't say it's me to anyone, please. "K" wants to talk to you." The phone changes hands and "K" speaks. He misses me. He knows this all wasn't my doing and he's worried about me. Can I meet him? I'm 14, so I would have to walk or ride my bike to meet him. I do it. I don't even know why I'm agreeing to it. Saying "no" just wasn't something I knew to do. I don't even think I gave any thought to anything anymore. I felt like a robot.

There were times he would just call to talk and there were times he would have me ride my bike to meet him. He asked me to write to him. I began writing letters and boldly mailing them from my mother's mailbox. One day, a few miles from my mother's house, he met me at the property of an old couple. He was already there. He grabbed my hand and led me up through the woods and fields, on the hill behind their house. I asked him what they would think, couldn't they tell I was so young? He said he told them I was his wife, I would be soon anyhow. He laid a blanket down and had sex with me there in the field. If they looked out of their windows, the couple could have easily seen us in the distance. Nothing really mattered to me at that point, though. 

When he was done with me, he began talking about us being together forever. He had contacted some people who had connections in Mexico. He was going to take me to Mexico where he could marry me and we could live. No one would be able to get to him there and we could be together forever. I was fascinated and terrified at the same time. It was another case of my imagination going crazy but the reality scared me to death, as well. It was intriguing, someone "cared" for me but I'd never be able to see anyone I knew, again. At the time, I don't know how much my 14 year old brain really cared. I was used to crazy talk.

So the trips to the library began, books about Mexico...every one I could get my hands on. Late at night I began teaching myself Spanish and hid the books under my mattress. He set a date and where we'd meet. We would leave late at night. He had connections. He had a family to live with...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Birthday

I believe we stayed at the shelter for about a week and a half, maybe two weeks. At that point, we thought it was enough time for things to cool down and we could perhaps head back to my mother's house. "S" and I had moved in with my mother.

It was coming up on my 14th birthday and I wanted to have a slumber party. I invited my closest friends. Although I had told my best friend one or two things about staying with "K" and "S", it never came up and I don't know that she ever shared it with the others. They never knew we had just come back from a shelter, all they knew was that I had gone to California with my mother for Spring break.

It was time to settle down and we had decided we would all sleep in the living room, which was at the front of the house by the road. Most of the lights were out and my friends and I were talking quietly, while my mother read upstairs in her room. The road my mother lives on is a very quiet country road, not many cars travel it in a day and if they do, they are most likely locals. All of a sudden we heard a shout from the road. A man's voice yelling that he loves "S", at the top of his lungs. My friends and I looked out the window and there is "K", in his car, with his shotgun pointed out the window. He just sat there in the road with that gun pointing out of his window. My mother came running down the stairs, opened the front door, went out onto the porch and stood there with her arms crossed. I have to give her credit, she just stood there and yelled at him to leave or she was calling the sheriff. He went down the road, she came inside and ushered us all into a back bedroom (just in case). I was so scared and so embarrassed. What would my friends tell their parents?

My mother sat in the front room in a rocking chair and waited. I remember the sound of her chair as she rocked back and forth. It sounded like someone was walking through the house with a wooden leg. The floor would creak and then there would be a small thump. I imagined "K" getting into the house and coming to kill us all. Soon enough, he came back up the road, yelling out the window as he passed. Then a few minutes would pass and he'd come back by, yelling out the window and pointing the gun. He did this for what seemed like hours and we hoped he'd just stop without having to escalate things by calling the sheriff. Finally my mother called the sheriff and they came to the house. They ended up sitting outside our house for a while and then patrolling past the house all night.

Pretty soon he found a way to communicate with me and unfortunately it wasn't difficult to pull me back...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


So, I didn't mean to reveal to my cousin what was going on but I did. I remember before I left for California with my mother, "K" and I had been in an argument and he turned to "S", picking her small frame up over his head and throwing her across the room with ease. As emotionally tied to him as I felt, I was tired of being scared, tired of living such an out of control life.

My mother and I came back from California and I stayed with her, instead of my expected return to stay with "K" and "S". A day or two later, we met "S" at work. We went to the house and only took what we could grab quickly and we left. Max and our cat Tyler came with us, "K" would have hurt or killed them, out of revenge. The night before "S" left him, she said "K" had been violent and threatening to kill her at an even more frightening level than ever before...maybe it was because I hadn't come back to stay with them and he sensed something was up.

**At some point, while I was in California, "S" had called the police after "K" was violent towards her. "K" was arrested but soon he would be out. Finally seeing the bruising on her body, the Chief of Police apologized to her about returning "K's" shotgun to him, that last time she had reported him. In addition, the Chief told her that she very well could have sued the department.  To be turned away by your pastor and the police department? Is it any wonder that there are people who kill their abusers? People who kill themselves? Become addicts to ease their pain? Turn their anger and frustration in, onto themselves, or out, onto others? Any wonder that people resign to living an abusive life because there's no way out, no one to help?**

We put the animals at a boarding center, where they would be cared for and went to a domestic violence shelter in the city. It was surreal. I couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening. I remember sitting in my room at the shelter just stunned at everything that had occurred. I wasn't prepared for all of this to happen. I didn't mean to reveal anything. That's what was tough for me, I had no control over what happened, I didn't even know I had told anything. It all happened too fast. The war was over but I didn't know how to adjust to what was next. What was next? The people there were very kind, the staff and the residents were wonderful to get to know. I just wasn't relieved. I was still emotionally tied to him, my mixed feelings didn't just evaporate.

My mother and "S" returned from seeing the judge the next day, with a restraining order. Anyone who knows about restraining orders or orders of protection knows they really don't do much. They say that the person listed is to stay a certain distance away from you and can be arrested if they violate the order. A piece of paper can't keep that person away.

And it didn't.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brainwashing-The Phoenix Project

**This is something I have been dealing with for a long time. I felt that since I was 11 years old when this began with "K", I was old enough to have stopped it. That I, in some ways, DID want to be with him. I'm now beginning to realize how ridiculous that sounds. I wouldn't hold any other 11 year old responsible. "K" used to say if my mother found out, she would kill herself. She had enough pills to do it. He said he had spoken to her about other things before and she was so depressed already that I wouldn't want to push her over the edge, would I?**

Below is an article from The Phoenix Project, listed on the "links" part of my blog and has helped me to understand. The most important points, for me, I have highlighted:

Why the abuse was not your were a child.

What else?

When you are a child, you are unable to see the full picture of your situation. The abuser often knows what they are doing and how to manipulate you into thinking that you are responsible. It is not difficult to manipulate the mind of a child, and the more you relied on them, the easier it was for them to brainwash you. 

Yes, that is the only word that truly captures what I’m trying to say – ‘brainwash’. All victims of childhood sexual abuse have been brainwashed so that they never tell anyone what is happening to them. They may carry their secret to the grave; I know that was my plan for a time. The abuser may tell the child that disclosing would cause harm to themselves and/or others, or they may threaten suicide (my father did this), or abandonment, or exile from society. Basically, the things that the child holds dear (security, the love of other people, the love that they think the abuser has for them) will go away somehow, if they ever tell anyone. Thus the child quickly learns to feel responsible for the abuse and they develop a crushing sense of guilt that, frankly, I’m still learning to live with (I’m getting there).

When abuse victims find the courage to speak out and become survivors, they find a lot of consolation in the fact that other survivors truly relate to their stories. This is the value of support groups, and of sharing your story with others. By finding the common denominators in other accounts of abuse, we are able to begin undoing all of that harmful brainwashing. You may have felt that you were a mature child (most abuse victims are typically mature for their age from having to grow up too fast; they feel responsible for everything that happens to them, out of an ignorance of alternatives), and that you understood the bigger picture. Without meaning to insult your intelligence, you didn’t. A child can never understand the full implications of their abuse because their abuser has them so deeply rooted in it. You may think that you allowed the abuse to take place, perhaps passively, by not telling anyone – you may think you had a choice, but that belief in itself is a product of the manipulation. You did not have a choice.

Let me say that again. You did not have a choice. By not telling anyone about the abuse, you do not inadvertently give yourself responsibility for what happened.

Do you know what else may make a child feel responsible for the abuse? When the abuser has manipulated their trusting mind so well that the child actually asks for it. This won’t apply to everyone, but it applies to me, so I’m going to say it. I was ‘rewarded’ every time I was abused, usually with some material item that I wanted, such as a new computer game or – the classic – fish and chips. It was like being bribed. The trading system evolved until if I wanted anything (including the healthy love and affection that parents/all adults should naturally give to children) from my abuser, I would have to be abused first. I got the concept. Soon enough I was offering my own abuse to him because I knew there was no other way to get what I wanted. Sometimes I think I let him abuse me just to get his attention; he barely acknowledged me otherwise, let alone did anything kind for me that normal fathers are meant to do.

The latest hurdle for me has been accepting that, even though I seem to have asked for the abuse to happen, it still was not my fault! I would read through article after article about why child abuse is never the child’s fault, and I’d sit there and think ‘yeah but... In my case it’s different. For everyone else this is true, but I’m an exception’. If you are reading this, and still feel that the precise dynamics of your abuse make you an exception to the universal law that the child is never responsible, then I cordially invite you to contact me and let me know why you’ve so convinced. Go on, do it. I promise that I will not go ‘oh. I didn’t think of that specific situation.’ Then I can explain to you why it’s – guess what – STILL not your fault, and hopefully set off a life-changing transformative experience based on the release of your secret guilt!

Children are naturally trusting and wholly innocent creatures. There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ child, just ones who have been subjected to the maladaptive behaviour of those who should know better, and responsibility lies solely with them. Somewhere along the line (and it varies between individuals, which is why I’ve avoided sticking a specific year of age to the child-adult transition, I think our legal age of 18 is a guideline), children develop into teenagers, who then learn to take responsibility for their lives and their choices, thus becoming adults. Then, and only then, are they in control. Children who are being abused are often made to think that they are in control, but they never are. Please, if you take anything away from this, let it be: the child is always 100% innocent and the abuser/adult is always 100% guilty. No matter where, when, how often, how severe, how strong the shackles of guilt and sense of responsibility; what was said, promised and pledged... The fact that a child is always innocent is beyond contestation. And it is one of the only cases (if not the only case) where the old adage ‘it takes two to tango’ does not apply in the least.

Please believe.

California, Here It Comes...

So, for 3 years this went on (1981-1984). For a while I shuttled back and forth between "K" and "S's" place and my father's, then between their place and my mother's house. The events that led up to me living back with my mother, in about 1982, I will address later in this blog. It's still very difficult to talk about, much less write. It's a piece of the timeline that will have to wait and be out of order.

 I was so torn and confused about everything. I didn't know what to do. "S" was scared of "K" and more physical violence was aimed at her, than at me. I was the sexual object, "S" was more of his mother figure. "K" had me in a place, emotionally, that I can't explain except to say it was like being brainwashed. He was terrifying yet seemed to feel protective and obsessive of me. It's so difficult to explain when you've had no parental attention or affection, then this man comes into your life and gives you all the wrong attention but for me, at that age, it was something. I liked it but I felt so ashamed that I liked the attention. I wasn't ready to let go. I was willing to overlook the craziness because I had that attention. I wasn't ignored and I wasn't told every day that I was going to turn out like someone who was hated. He gave me the most "positive" attention I had ever received (an insane form of "positive" but I was not in a good frame of mind). I felt for him. There were still many times when I actually felt I didn't even like "S". That made me ashamed too. He was dangerous but in my mind, I had to hang on to him. She wanted to turn him in and take away what little I had. I believed we had to stay together. Life was exciting, we would live on the edge, we could do whatever we wanted was so bizarre. I was a kid and a screwed up one at that, what did I know about making rational decisions about anything?

As I said, whenever I was able, I would be with "K" and "S". When there was no school, I was with them. Nights of interrogations, sleeping on the floor in the living room with "K" between myself and "S" and constant talk of marrying me and having two wives. He'd say we'd all move away and live how we wanted to...maybe we'd go to Mexico.

There were more places he'd take me to have sex with me and more drinking. I drank every time I was with "K". I was basically a heavy drinker from 11-14 years old. It helped because life overwhelmed me. I didn't know what to do, so I drowned it all out. I look back at old pictures and I can't believe what that 11 year old was going though. I look for any "signs". Of course, who would have known? It feels as if it's another lifetime ago.

So, it was about 1984 and I was 14 years old. I had a cousin who lived out in L.A. with her boyfriend. She had invited me and my mother to come out and visit. I still cannot believe my mother actually traveled somewhere by plane with me...she actually peeled herself out of bed. Miracles do happen. :) Out to Los Angeles mom and I flew. We stayed with my cousin and her boyfriend. We would stay up talking until all hours of the night. Between the way I talked so casually about some things that "K" did when he was angry and the way I dressed around my cousins' apartment, red flags were raised. My cousin took my mother aside and spoke to her about some of the things I said and what I was wearing (or rather, not wearing) around her apartment.

From then on, it seemed, my mother had a purpose, other than staying in bed all day. She still denied how awful things were with my father, but what went on with "K" seemed to temporarily snap her out of her cocoon. We arrived back in New York and after some grilling by my mother, I began to open up about "K". She called "S" and told her she was getting her out of there.

Of course, there was nothing smooth about the rest of this story either...

Monday, February 13, 2012


Before I continue on with the rest, I'd like to re-iterate what many people say when they hear about domestic violence cases..."Why didn't they just leave?" I can't tell you how ignorant of a statement that is. Anyone asking that question obviously has never been in a situation like that or had someone they loved, in one.

I'd like to clarify that while this was going on, "S" was trying very much to get help. As I said, there was a social worker living below us at the apartment, who had heard the violence herself but did nothing. "S" was attending church and went to the pastor to explain our situation. She was treated as if her story was an exaggeration or hysteria and told to go home. Be a better wife. Yes, this happens. It's bullshit.

She took his shotgun (which numerous times he had pointed at her, threatening to kill her, myself and my family) down to the police department and spoke directly to the chief of police (keep in mind, he was an officers son). The police department kept "K's" shotgun, then gave it back to him, when he was called in for a slap on the wrist. He then proceeded to go to her place of employment and threaten to kill her.

It's dangerous when you "just leave". You have to have a plan. You can die. Pretty soon, we'd have a plan. It all happened by accident, when I took a trip to California, with my mother.


I am blown away by how the article, at the link below, addresses my feelings, exactly. After what I've experienced in my relationships, as an adult, I'm approaching things very differently now. One of my closest friends told me how proud he was of the changes I have made. "No" has still brought huge problems for me because of the relationships I have been in but now I see people in a different way than before. I let people go who don't respect me, I trust myself first. Now my judgement prevails over what others think they know. I have stopped second guessing myself. My grandmother was very intuitive (she had second sight, as they say), my sister and myself, as well, but over the years I've lost more and more of it. It's time to pay attention to me again.

In different kinds of relationships, I've ignored "red flags". It's as if I say to myself, "Oh okay, there's a potential problem right there but now that I see it, I can dismiss it. I'm used to that, it's in the open now, it's familiar." Bad move. It hurts that people have called me naive, it's rude and how could I know any different, when I grew up in such a rotten way? I had no support, no reassurance from a responsible parent. A chaotic family was my "normal". Dismissing feelings was "normal". No limits or boundaries was "normal". The people I should have been able to trust with my life (family), I couldn't trust. My parents, especially, didn't protect me and they leaned on me, on top of it all. 

 I am very frustrated with myself though, for being so cautious with people now. I am trying to remind myself that it's okay not to trust right away or even for quite a while. If someone has knowledge of what has gone on in my life, they should understand completely. I grew up in such chaos that I have realized I am scared if there isn't a warning of something. I worry that maybe I'm not seeing something, maybe I'm getting too comfortable around them too soon. I want a calm life. I know I have very good reasons to feel as I feel, to be defensive if criticized, to back away from someone if I feel they are minimizing my concerns. I realize if someone can't be patient and try to understand why I'm so wary, then of course they aren't worth my time. 

Is trust a necessary key to emotional healing?