When I was a kid I used to dream about what it would be like to be a mother. I would carry my baby dolls around and act like they were my kids, just as I am sure many of you did.
When my brother was born I pretended like I was his mother, taking care of him, always making sure he had what he needed.
Besides wanting my own business, having a child was my only other real desire. I was violently sexually abused and then raped by three different men between the ages of five and thirteen.
In addition to that I was raised in a neglectful and abusive situation at home. I stayed in my bedroom most of the time because I realized if I stayed to myself, the chances of being hit or seeing something vulgar were much more slim.
I wasn’t taught to dream, have goals, or ambitions. I wasn’t taught anything really. I was mostly just ignored and brushed aside.
I constantly begged people to let me spend the night so that I could get away from home. When my dad wasn’t ranting and raving, he was partying with his drinking buddies and I was having to watch my back.
Sleeping in that house was nearly impossible at times.
When I was in the seventh grade I missed 54 days of school. The entire year was literally one big party at our house, while I secretly sat in the background being abused and ignored.
The next year I ended up having to repeat the eight grade and by the end of that year was convinced I had a learning disability. My parents didn’t help me, or get me the help I needed to catch up and my schooling went down hill from there.
I honestly felt that having kids was my only shot at being loved unconditionally by another human being.
My new book Held Hostage will reveal most of my story but what I want to talk to you about right now is how being treated as a victim, will actually cause you to live a life of defeat if you don’t BREAK FREE from that.
The sexual abuse caused me to develop several medical issues including PID, pelvic adhesion’s, endometriosis which caused cysts, and a titled uterus.
By the time I was fifteen years old, I’d had PID for so many years they had to put me on a myriad of antibiotics and I stayed on pain meds for almost two months.
Due to the length of time I’d had PID by the time they found it, they also gave me a diagnosis of infertility. They said there was just too much scar tissue for a baby to grow in that environment.
They said if I did happen to get pregnant I would not be able to carry the child to full-term. I didn’t have unprotected sex by choice and knew that the barrenness came from the abuse.
No Longer Defeated
I cried myself to sleep night after night not wanting to wake up the next day. I was embarrassed and ashamed.
I was so depressed my mother had to put me in therapy. After the therapist telling me my mother was my main problem, she stopped taking me after the third or fourth session.
I was so far behind in school by then it left me feeling like a huge failure. I tried hard to do my work from home but not hearing the lessons made it too difficult to keep up.
After thirty days of being out of school due to the pain, depression, and medical issues, I realized I was once again going to have to repeat another grade. With no one at home to help me study, there was just no way to get caught up at that point, so I quit and eventually finished school at Jeff State Community College.
I had a poor self image. I did daily aerobics trying to get rid of my “fat,” burned myself drastically in the sun trying to tan my Irish-looking skin, starved myself on a regular basis and then would binge sweets and make myself throw them up to keep from gaining weight.
I was an emotional wreck. I felt fat and ugly. As you can see in this picture I wasn’t over weight at all. I weighed about 101 pounds.
My abusers and home situation caused my self esteem to be very low. There is nothing worse than the feeling of defeat.
They made me feel cheap, unimportant, and most of all very unloved and unwanted, like a used up rag doll.
The longing, the suffering, and the internal pain of being barren lasted for ten years, but I spent that entire time praying for children.
By the time I was twenty five I was healed and pregnant. My self-esteem began to grow, knowing that God loved me enough to hear and help me.
I knew that my broken body wasn’t able to produce those babies. God didn’t do that for me because I deserved it or earned it. I believe He did it to make some wrongs right in my life.
I no longer felt down on myself. As a matter of fact, the joy of motherhood actually helped me to love myself.
After my boys were born, my view on life became much more positive and I began living life anew.
Removing the Brick Wall
The older I got, the more motivated I was to learn and become a better person, not only for my children’s sake but for my own.
I read every book I could get my hands on about being positive, overcoming the past, building your business, becoming an entrepreneur, taking care of your family, and how to be a good mother.
I developed my writing skills and started writing on salon.com. I also started a new blog, which was just becoming popular in the early 2000’s.
I even published my own printed magazine, which back then was not as easy to accomplish as it is now.
My ex didn’t seem to want me to excel, but I finally went against his wishes. I started writing my first book, applied for financial aid for college, and started going to the gym; tired of being dominated and feeling like a victim of circumstance.
I gathered up math, English, and reading material and taught myself. I took several small business, decorating and online classes with so much excitement to see that I had the ability to learn after all. I learned as much as possible.
However, I was still intimidated and frightened by another persons actions if they were the least bit negative, causing me to be easy to dominate and manipulate.
My family basically taught me to overlook abuse, as though it didn’t matter, so I handled my ex’s subtle abusive behavior exactly as I was taught to do, by overlooking it.
I was told to “forgive and forget” when it was someone related to me, just simply because of the role they carried in my life. Since then, I have learned that being kin to someone doesn’t earn them the right to be in your life. Respect is what earns that.
If you are being abused by someone, you have to learn to love and respect yourself FIRST.
When I started developing some self-respect, I backed away from the people who hurt me the most and put distance between myself and them, so that I could be happy. People accused me of “leaving my family.” I didn’t leave them, they left me as a child.
I eventually had to include my ex in that list of people. Now, I have also distanced myself from my entire immediate family, so that I can be happy.
After leaving my ex, and as the years went on, I used all of that deep seeded frustration to make me stronger.
I grew a backbone. I became a fighter. I learned to stand on my own two feet. There isn’t a person on this earth I wouldn’t stand up to now if I saw the need.
I have learned that what makes me unique, what makes me beautiful, is my inner strength. It has very little to do with what is on the outside.
In order to stop being a victim you have to FIGHT your way out of a defeated mindset.
YOU ARE VALUABLE & YOU DO MATTER. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently. Abuse creates a sense of defeat that somehow never seems to heal, until you realize where it’s coming from.
The pain does get better over time if you truly forgive, but that sense of defeat is buried so extremely deep it is hard to recognize. Let me tell you something that I was never told- It’s OK to be ANGRY.
Being angry is what you should be if someone hurt you. But you can use that anger, that pent up energy for good. Use that energy to make yourself stronger.
That defeat will not go away until you grow a spiritual and emotional backbone. Anger is NOT a bad thing, depending on how you use it.
Become a Fighter
I like the movie Jennifer Lopez starred in back in 2002 called Enough. That was right around the time my ex really began dominating me to the point of me wanting to leave.
We had been married four years by then and I was already seeing signs of mild abusive behavior. I’d just had two babies and because things got too stressful for him, he literally dumped ALL of the responsibility of raising them on me.
I also had to run our business eight hours a day from a home office and because he wouldn’t allow me to get a babysitter, I was stressed to the max. I was literally worn completely out.
I knew I was being dominated but when I would stand up for myself it would make him worse. As the years went on he got so dominating that I had no choice but to fight against it.
He would break, throw and sometimes take my things, hit the wall, yell, refuse to let me go see my family or spend time with friends, and constantly blame me even for things he did wrong.
He would run my family off or keep them from calling, tell people off so that they wouldn’t want to be around us, and kept me from having any kind of social life.
I was only allowed to watch what he approved of on television, or listen to what he wanted on the radio, as though I didn’t have sense enough to decide that for myself.
He would talk to me and then literally walk out of the room and shut the door in my face when I tried to speak back, and the list goes on and on.
It was always me being ignorant or stupid.
It doesn’t matter if the abuse is physical or not, if it creates a sense of defeat in your life, it needs to stop!
Being verbally and emotionally abused is just as demeaning as physical abuse.
Seven years into our marriage, he started taking his frustration out on the kids. The older they got the harder he spanked them.
My oldest one potty trained quickly, so I never had an issue with him, but my youngest child took longer and had a lot more accidents.
My ex would make him sit on his potty for HOURS or in a tub of water until I got home to clean him up. You don’t leave a two year old unattended in a tub of water! …I was furious!
It was his punishment for having an accident and mom’s punishment for not being home to clean him up.
One day I got home to a child who was literally STUCK to his potty seat because dad had made him sit there for so long. He had seat marks on his legs for the rest of the evening.
I eventually left my ex for a week and stayed in a hotel to try and figure out what to do. Not having anywhere else to go, and not trusting anyone else around my kids, I had to go home.
I kept them with me every moment of the day after that. They went to work with me and stayed right by my side. And that’s how they grew up, right by my side, most of the time.
I managed to make it another year before finally leaving for good and after nine years I’d had enough. We were married two more years after that because he refused to give me a divorce (he didn’t want to pay child support).
So for a total of eleven years I was miserable and bound to a man who didn’t love me. His actions caused much more bitterness than I ever dreamed I could experienced.
Once he started leaving bruises on my kids, I knew it was time to leave. I had been working out at the gym for a while by that time and was physically strong. I wasn’t going to be like my mother. I was stronger than that.
I was prepared to put him in his place if the need arose, but in order to avoid confrontation and to keep him from taking my kids, I left without him knowing, on a day when he was at work.
By then he had taken me off of our bank accounts and I had no way to get to any money, so I was leaving him basically broke.
In the movie Enough, Jennifer Lopez displays the strength an abused mother has to find to be able to protect her kids. Watch the video below and it will give you an idea for what I was feeling at the time.
It has taken me many years to get over being a victim, but I am such a fighter now I would scratch, claw, kick, and beat my way out of an abusive situation if I had to.
NO ONE will ever treat me that way again. You have the God-given right to protect yourself and your children! I now have an internal anger (not in a negative way) that I have learned to use as outward strength.
I didn’t have that kind of backbone back then, because up until I was about thirty-two years old, I was still that little abused kid on the inside.
Kids are not fighters because they are taught to obey, to do as adults say, to be afraid. They are taught that their opinion doesn’t matter, that they don’t really have a voice.
My family had taught me to overlook abuse. Overlooking abuse will make you weak, it will turn you into a victim. You can’t overlook it. You need to deal with it.
Forgiving my parents, my abusers, and my ex was difficult and it is still sometimes a daily choice I have to make. It is where my idea for breakfreedaily.com came from.
It was a lifelong struggle to get to where I am now, but I went from being a weak victim to being a strong survivor. I will NEVER again be a victim because I no longer think that way.
Just as in working out at the gym, if you push past the pain, past your limits, past your resistance, you’ll find strength. Be brave, my friends, and be STRONG.
If you are in an abusive situation, I strongly suggest getting therapy, legal counsel, and family and friends to help. You are not in this alone.
Write that book, go back to school, see your family, chase that dream, do whatever makes YOU happy and free.
Above all pray for wisdom. It is in getting that, you get everything else you need.
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