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Erin Grace

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?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Little Time

Just to let everyone know, I've got quite a few posts in the works. I'm working more now and also trying to let my brain get away from all of these memories for a few days. As I'm sure you've noticed, I tend to tell the story, as it relates to the title, but then I tend to go off into more details that probably could make another post all together! I distract easily ;)

So there's some more to my story, for sure...I'll keep you posted.

Thanks so much for the loving support.

xoxo Erin

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Party

*Sexual content*

"K said it was going to be great; a big party outdoors, at a gorge. We lived in Central New York, in an area called the Finger Lakes.

It was the three of us, plus the best friend of "S". There was a little area to swim among the trees. It was beautiful. I remember wearing my bathing suit the entire time, from early afternoon, until very late that night. There was a keg. I drank and drank....and drank some more. I was 12, maybe 13. At one point I remember overhearing the best friend of "S" say to her, "We need to watch her, she keeps running off, she isn't safe here."

I remember running through the woods, while people were doing God-knows-what, everywhere. I was free and happy. "K" was leaving me alone because there were too many people around. It was one of those parties in the summer that when word spread, it became huge. Cars just kept showing up throughout the day and into the night.

One of "K's" brothers was there and some of his friends. He was ready to graduate from high school. I remember at the end of the night, I was so drunk, I had to be helped into the car. I was lying down in the back, with the hatchback down and "K's" brother was lying there with me. He started to touch me. He stuck his fingers inside me. I was too drunk to care. I was used to all of this. It went on all the way home, with "K" and "S" in the front. 

"K" took his brother aside after we got home, he was furious with him for touching me. 


 I heard this song this morning....even in therapy I could never cry for what happened to me. Hearing this song today did it though. Thought I would share.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Shack

*Sexual content*

Besides having sex with me at the apartment, "K" took me places to "park" in his car but after a while, he was afraid he would get caught. He would make excuses to "S", for why he had to take me somewhere. I didn't care about much of anything anymore. I was pretty numb to it. I bought into a lot of his craziness, I guess. Anything to fit in. Sex was not a big deal anymore, I suppose. There was one place he started to take me frequently, it was located on his grandparents farm.

"K" would take me into their house and talk a while with them, maybe have something to eat. Then he would tell them he wanted to walk the property. They were elderly and I don't think they had any clue what was going on. The first time we went there, we walked through a field towards a long row of trees that divided it from the other fields. There was a little run down shack in the trees. I believe he said the family used it for hunting. We went inside and there were a few shotguns in there. There was a board that was attached to the wall, I guess it was a table or maybe a bed. He'd put me up on there and take my clothes off. I closed my eyes while he did what he wanted. I didn't know what else to do. Just zone out. It's what I always did. Think of something else.  Think of getting drunk later. Pretend you're somewhere else, I felt too dirty, too bad, to be present. He had sex with me pretty much every day. Sometimes more, if he woke up in the middle of the night too.

  After a while, "K" was having one of his younger brothers and his friends to our apartment to party and then when he and "S" bought a house, he'd have parties there too. "S" never liked it but she didn't complain, she had no clue how to leave. He would kill us both, we were all meant to be together, he said. All the guys suspected what was going on with "K" and me but it wasn't talked about. I just knew that they knew but he was the supplier of their alcohol and pot, so I didn't hear anyone say a thing. "K" told me he even went to parties where young girls hung out, I knew he had to be having sex with them too. He even had some legal problems for providing alcohol to minors and the like, but his father seemed to get him out of anything. He knew enough judges and lawyers, so he was pretty much covered.

What scared me the most is how he made a lot of references to a young woman who went missing after a party in our area and whose remains were found in a swamp. It was a huge murder case at the time, making national news. It's still an unsolved case and a very controversial one. Supposedly there was more than one person involved in her disappearance and "K" said, on more than one occasion, that he had information about the case. He knew her. I always was scared that he had something to do with it, considering all the parties he went to and the young girls he met. I never asked. I don't think I wanted to know.


"K" was very much into martial arts. He loved martial arts movies and he loved practicing his moves. What he found most entertaining was to practice his moves on me, his reasoning was, I was "helping" him so he could  practice using it in "real life" situations. There's nothing like a kick or a punch that comes within an inch (sometimes closer) of your body, especially your face, to get your attention. How he didn't manage to hit me, I'll never know. He was very strong. When he was angry at me or "S", he would suddenly throw a kick or punch at us when we least expected it. Even just for the hell of'd turn around and a foot or a hand would be flying in your face, then he'd laugh a crazy laugh and show his insane looking smile. His eyes just looked as if he'd completely lost it.

"K" decided he needed a dog. A pit bull, to be exact. His name was Max. The quest to "make Max mean", began. Considering what that dog went through, it was a miracle how sweet he remained.

One afternoon, I went out to see what "K" was doing with Max. He had the leash tied to the back of his motorcycle and he was riding it, while Max ran along behind. "K" began to go faster and Max was having a hard time keeping up. Finally, Max became too tired and couldn't keep up with the motorcycle any longer. He began yelping and putting all of his leg strength into locking up his front legs and trying to stop. His paws just slid along the gravel. I ran to keep up, grabbing at Max and trying to release him. "K" just went faster and angrily yelled, "He's gotta learn to keep up, leave him alone! He'll toughen up" I was furious and crying and neighbors were staring. GOOD. At one point, the bike was going so fast that Max was just dragging behind it and tumbling around and around, like a tin can. "K" finally stopped as I kept running and screaming at him. I untied Max and took him back to the apartment. His paws were all scraped and bloody, as well as his body. From then on, "S" and I tried to look out for Max as much as we could.

"K" was pissed at my mouthiness. He chased me out of the apartment after I rescued Max. I was scared to go back, so I didn't. It was one of many times that I rode my bicycle for hours along the lake that we lived by and then I'd go wander around the cemetery next to our apartment. The cemetery was actually a beautiful place and I spent a lot of time there. I ended up sleeping under a tree in there that night, until he came out and convinced me to come back in...but I had to apologize. Unfortunately, when I stood up to him, he'd take his fury out on "S". He'd hit her and threaten her, as punishment to me. She was very tiny. No match for his strength. I once witnessed him pick her up over his head and throw her across the room. He said I needed to shut up because look what was happening to her.

"K" never seemed to worry that anyone witnessed his anger. He caught me and his sister (who was my age and terrified of him, as well) talking to a boy out our window one night. As soon as we heard "K" coming, we told the boy to run or we would all be in big trouble. "K" was furious. He told us to stay put and went out to talk to the boy. He started yelling at him and then chased him down the street screaming that he would kill him if he ever talked to us again. Then "K" came back to deal with us. We were "sneaky" and "slutty". His sister confided in me, later that night. She said that when he lived at home, he had punched her and almost broken her nose and threw her down a flight of stairs.

If "K" didn't get what he wanted, he did what he wanted. He made a scene in the local mall one day because he was banned due to an incident, years before. He screamed at the security guards and challenged them, only to be hauled out by the police. "S" and I just sat there, humiliated.

"K" would even chase people with his car, while they were on foot. He chased me in the parking lot of a local park one day, people just stood there and stared. He had a black Ford Escort and he chased me as far as he could before I ran behind a parked car, then a tree, then he quickly turned the car around, spitting gravel as he went. No one did anything. Years later, at a court hearing, he got angry and lunged over the tables. Before the guards could grab him, he grabbed the judge around the throat.

As much as I fought with "K", he had me mesmerized and terrified of him. He was so dangerous and destructive but "protective" of me. I was special. I began to side with him against "S". I also couldn't bear the thought of going back with my parents. After everything with my parents, especially my father, sad to say, I was very taken with "K". "S" tried to talk to people to get help, she couldn't count on me though. She didn't get far. The social worker who lived below us, blew her off. Maybe she was scared of him too. She said she suspected something was going on and she heard things but she never would help.

 "K's" family would not help. Absolutely not. His father was a police officer in our city.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Easter Sunday

It was like a lot of other what you say, how you say it and be careful how you walk. I'm not sure exactly what set "K off that morning but it was one of those days that you never forget.

We were getting ready to go to see the family of "K" for Easter Sunday. The problem started before we left the apartment and escalated while he was driving the car. This was supposed to be a 10 minute ride to their house. If you've ever been a passenger in the car with an angry driver, you know how it can show in their driving. Imagine a driver out of their mind with anger. It was terrifying. It was an interrogation of me and "S", except in a speeding car. Sitting in an apartment for hours on end was nothing compared to this 45 minute ride from hell.

When "K" didn't get the answer he wanted, which was pretty much the entire ride, he would floor the accelerator, flying through stop signs, red lights, swerving onto the opposite side of the road, doing well over the posted speed limit, which on those roads was 30-45 mph max. He was screaming at us and laughing like a maniac. He was trying to scare the "right answers" out of us. I was in the backseat and "S" was in the front, she was grabbing his seat with one hand and her other hand was on the door handle. Her eyes were wide and fixated on the road, she was begging him to please slow down, she was sorry she upset him and does he want us all to die? I don't think I said a thing. Nothing was the "right" thing to say, it didn't matter, he was in another world.

After driving like a madman on main roads and back roads, for what seemed like forever, we were on our way back towards his family's house. We were still speeding along and "K" was still yelling, when we came upon a big hill. There was no way to see if there was oncoming traffic. "K" swerved to the opposite side of the road and floored the car up the hill and we went airborne a little. I thought for sure we were dead. In that city, that road is a pretty busy one but seeing as it was Easter Sunday, we were lucky. There was not a car in sight as we shot over that hill. He began to calm down and started to do his lecturing about God and how we belonged together. By the time we got to his family's house, "S" and I had our "normal" faces painted on, no sign of the events that occurred just a few minutes before. I know I was just thankful to be arriving anywhere at all.

Open the front door and smile.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I've tried very hard to push everything that happened, out of my mind. I got so good at it, as a kid, that it has been my way of coping. It amazes me the detail that some people remember from terribly abusive situations. To keep my sanity, I suppose, I "normalized" what was going on in my life. I notice a lot of similarities I had with people who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome is a paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.

It's very difficult for me to cry. If I cry in front of someone, it means I feel safe around them and trust them. That doesn't happen often, I am afraid of looking vulnerable. Vulnerability always got me into bad situations, so I act as if I don't need anything or anyone. Looking back, I feel I have had a lot of therapy to help deal with it all but maybe I haven't. This blog is helping a lot...forcing me to show my strength in being able to put it all out there. Now I truly do not care if I'm rejected by anyone for it and I can see "users" a mile away. I really like who I have become, I don't need anyone else to tell me I'm good enough. I know I am. I wish everyone could feel this way about themselves!


I apologize for not warning anyone of any sexual content in my other post...this one has some, so be advised.

Summertime came. I was 12. I was dealing with my father's mounting anger and paranoia, my mother showed no interest in seeing me and I was constantly missing school either because I was sick or I was just too depressed to go. Despite all that had been going on, living with "K" and "S", I still wanted very much to stay with them. It was still not life with my mother or father and I was getting attention. It was a very twisted form of attention but it was attention. I also could numb myself with alcohol, which he made sure was always available to me. I went to live with "K" and "S" for the entire summer and ultimately up until I was 14. How I was able to live with them is a very difficult post to write, I'm working on it but it will have to wait. I just can't bring myself to publish it yet.

"K" decided it was time for me to stop sleeping alone. He frequently talked about divorcing "S" and marrying me. In his mind, he thought he could have two wives in a way because he was already been married to her and he needed to marry me. The bed he and "S" shared was too small for all of us, so he made a large "bed" on the living room floor and that was where the three of us slept. He was in the middle. I don't know how "S" managed to make it to work most mornings, considering how many nights "K" would keep us up. He would plot crazy things akin to the movie "Natural Born Killers". He dreamed of going out in a memorable way and we would go with him. I got caught up in the ideas of living on the run and robbing places. I had no desire to hurt anyone though. I was included. I belonged. I began to throw out crazy fantasies of my own. It was fun. It was an escape for me.

Many nights I would awake to him touching me. I would pretend to be asleep. I don't know for sure but "S" must have known what was going on. We were all right there next to each other. He'd eventually get on top of me. I'd always pretend to be asleep. He didn't seem to care. He'd have sex with me right there. Next to her.

Footsteps (The cult of "K")

One day, as I was walking across the living room, "K" said, "What's wrong?" I told him nothing was wrong, I was just going into the kitchen. He insisted something was wrong: My footsteps were too heavy on the floor, I must be angry at him. "No, I'm not angry at all." I said. It didn't matter what I said, he believed what he wanted to believe. If my footsteps were too soft, I was hiding something from him: I was being sneaky. There was always an underlying reason for it and I'd be interrogated until the "truth" came out.

Whenever "K" was in a suspicious mood, which, after a while, was pretty much every day, "S" and I would have to sit down and anything we said would be taken apart, bit by bit, to get to the "truth". His truth. He'd sit us there for hours and hours, dissecting why we were walking or behaving in any way he deemed "suspicious". Every day we had to be careful what we said or did, to avoid an interrogation. He would lecture us from the Bible about respect and what God wanted for us. Many times, we would be kept up all night, alternating between being yelled at and forced to "forgive" each other when he sensed "S" and I were angry at each other (we weren't). The more he sexually abused me, the crazier his ideas and his paranoia seemed to become.

Forget trying to argue (which I did, a lot), it made things much worse. There was no being rational. When he walked out of the room to get something, "S" would whisper to me, "Just agree with him! Don't argue! Tell him he's right, at least it will shut him up." It killed me to do that. Why would I agree to something I didn't do?? That was one of many times I actually made things much worse. I wouldn't back down. I didn't understand that I had to play the game to stay safe. I don't blame myself but I soon understood that "S" didn't want to agree with him, she was just trying to keep things from escalating. And it didn't take long for me to see how they would escalate.

I remember the day, years after everything was over with "K", that I saw David Koresh. Koresh was the leader of the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, Texas. He was so eerily similar to "K". The face. The same glasses. The hair. His "preaching", his "beliefs. When I heard what happened at Waco, it's scary how similar it was to living with "K".

                                                                       David Koresh

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Day She Went To Work

After that first time "K" gave me a joint and a beer, beer was given to me any time I wanted it and honestly, I loved it. Drinking made me happy and helped me to forget. At 11 or 12, it didn't take much to get me drunk. I looked forward even more, to every weekend.

This was my first long weekend that I stayed with "K" and "S". He rarely worked, so he stayed home with me. It was not a major holiday, so "S" had to go to work. I had never been alone with "K". I was nervous. I was used to having her around too.

I remember watching the door close behind her and he was sitting on the sofa. It was about 8a.m. After only a couple of minutes he said, "Come over here." and patted the space next to him. Immediately my heart went into my stomach but I was too scared to say no. I went and sat next to him and tried to make small talk. He commented on my new haircut and said how pretty I was for being so young. It wasn't flattering, I knew something about this was wrong but I was frozen. He stroked my face and told me to relax, then he kissed me on the lips. My heart was pounding so hard and I kept wondering what to do. Really, I couldn't do anything. I was paralyzed. Petrified.

Anyone who has been around so much violence all of their life knows that when you're told how bad you are and go through so much, as I did, you never really have a chance to exercise your ability to say "no". It is taken before it has a chance to grow. With females I could say it but with men, I could not. I learned to put on a poker face and go along with anything.

 Maybe this will never happen again, I thought. I can't go back to my father. I got up. He grabbed me by the hand and asked what was wrong. I didn't know what to say except I believe I said it wasn't nice to do this to "S", as if I was a willing participant. I felt as if I was responsible because I was so scared to death to say "no". I felt as if I had done something to bring this on. He said, "She is okay with it. Really. She knows. I talked with her about it. You can be my girlfriend. Maybe you can be my other wife someday." That was something he would obsess about over the next couple of years....having two wives, among other insane things. My mind was racing. Just do whatever and pray time goes by as quickly as possible until she comes home. "No" is bad, it doesn't work. Maybe it's not so bad, at least he's happy to have me there, my father wasn't. Maybe "S" really was okay with it all. That must be it. If she left me with him, she must trust him.

He took me by the hand and led me into their bedroom. Their apartment was very small, so I had always slept on the sofa or the floor. Their bed. He told me to take my clothes off and I did. I sat on the floor by the bed, with my arms hugging myself, waiting for what came next. He took his clothes off and told me to get up on the bed. He had condoms. I don't remember much after that except the sex went on for a long time and it didn't hurt. I kept thinking it was supposed to hurt. Isn't that what everyone said? Why didn't it hurt?No blood either. Not until some time later, did I begin to have memories of when I was younger, in the back of that van with my fathers tenant. I closed my eyes and just laid there, opening my eyes made it too real. "Remember, she knows about it but don't talk to her about it, she'll get jealous." he said.

First There's Smoke

I began spending entire weekends with "S" and "K". I would daydream all week about going to see them and I'd cry and beg my father to let me stay with them, when he came to get me at the end of the weekend. It got to be quite a scene. I'd call them as much as I could during the week and my father would get really angry when I talked about them, which was a lot.

One Sunday afternoon, my father picked me up and at the first traffic light we stopped at, I guess my crying and carrying on got to him. He turned around in his seat and lunged towards me in the back seat. He grabbed me around the throat with his hands and started squeezing. I was scared to death. I'm sure I shut up. When he got angry, he changed so drastically. He'd let his frustrations build and build until he could take it no longer and then he'd blow. I hated going home with him. I became really obsessed with how I could spend more time with "S" and "K".

I noticed fairly quickly that "K" was the one who had the final say in everything. He angered very quickly. Still, I was in a new environment and that's all I cared about. It just didn't seem like a big deal, yet. 

One night, not long after I began spending weekends with them, "K" said he wanted to show me something wild. He took a Bible off of the shelf next to the television and brought out a baggie filled with something I had never seen before. He opened up the bible, ripped the first page of Genesis out and laughed. He waved the page at me, took some pot out of the baggie and proceeded to roll a joint out of the first page of the Bible. "S" wanted nothing to do with any of it. He took a drag to show me how and then passed it to me. It was new and kind of scary but I trusted him and I was happy not to be with my father. "K" went to the kitchen and brought me a beer. That was my first experience with any substances at all.

Out of the frying pan...into the fire

There were a few friends and their families from my hometown that my father liked, I was allowed to spend time with them and they were very generous to include me in their lives. I loved being around families. Out of all of them, one in particular was my closest friend, since we were at least pre-schoolers. Up until about age 11, we did almost everything together, sleepovers, camping, hiking, traveling by bus to the "big" city (many times, by ourselves). A majority of my childhood memories are with her. Back in the 70's, it was different, plus we were always tricking our parents. I believe she was the only person I confided in, back then, about this next part of my life. At the time some of the things I told her, seemed normal, to me. Now I think back and wonder if that poor girl thought I had gone crazy. We lost touch after about 14 years old. Sadly, she died in 2010.

**The next relatives who came into my life, I will just refer to him as "K" and her as "S"**

After this experience, I really understand how people can become brainwashed. I was young, had no stable family structure and I was dying to belong and to have attention. I can see how, in the right circumstances, people can be willing to do just about anything for someone or something else.

I guess it was around 11 years old that I began to see "S" and "K". Somehow, I convinced my father to let me go and visit, just for the day. My father was not happy at all about my spending time with them.When it came to visiting them, my father was really angry at me. He'd say I was ungrateful for all that he did for me. I never appreciated anything. Then I was a good girl, the only one who understood. Back and forth, back and forth. I think he felt rejected but he didn't really like "K" either. Still, he let me go because he saw how happy it made me. He hated hearing about them and I talked about them, a lot.

I felt absolutely FREE with them!! I was meeting new people and got attention and it felt great! No dad to rant and rave to me, no paranoia, no one was in bed all day with the shades drawn, I wasn't isolated: it was fantastic! I felt as if I had real parents. I didn't have to take care of anyone else, I got out and rode my bike, we went for walks and to church. I felt as if I had a family.

"K" taught me how to ride his motorcycle after I begged him to teach me, I'd ride it on the back roads (eventually, by myself...which was crazy, now that I think back) and as long as it didn't fall over, I was good to go. At my age and size, it was huge and heavy as hell and I had no business being on it but I loved to ride it. If I had fallen over, it would have seriously hurt me. I had to be extremely careful to balance it just right. Many days I just spent my time riding it around the cemetery we lived by. at the very least, "K" would come looking for me in his car, if I was gone to long.

I had no idea at the time but "S" was trying to figure out a way to leave "K", when I came along. She knew my situation with my parents and didn't want to tell me that I couldn't come and visit. She felt caught between a rock and a hard place. In the beginning of my time there, they lived above a social worker who admitted that she heard things and she strongly suspected other things were going on, yet she did nothing. At first, I didn't see whatever was going on between them (of course what did I know about "normal" anyhow). Things would go from bad to much worse, once I came into the picture more frequently.