Mending What Was Broken

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This is the 72nd story of Our Life Logs


 

I was born in 1996 in Lexington, Kentucky where my parents worked to try to keep us above the poverty line. My mom worked tirelessly to make money with multiple jobs while my dad refused to work more than one job. To make matters worse, my dad preferred blowing the money he’d just made on luxuries instead of bills. At age five, I was expected to look after my brother while my parents were gone. By age seven, I was cooking food for us.
Section Break-Mountains
From ages five to 13, my father sexually abused me when I was too young to understand what was happening. I thought it was normal. My dad used to say that it was necessary. My mother never came when I would cry out for help. She didn’t see it as a big deal, so until I got into middle school I thought this treatment was normal. While my mom tried her best to make enough money for us to live on, my dad was out cheating on her constantly. My parents divorced when I was 13, and I decided to stay with my dad because all my friends were in the school district where he lived. Despite the abuse and neglect, I was still desperate for parental affection and acceptance, and my father was the only person who acknowledged me. I soon learned living with him was a mistake. He would go out on the weekends and leave me alone without any food or money.

When I was 15, my dad married my step-mom, I got to see him even less. My step-mom was strangely threatened by me. She enacted rules when she moved in, one saying that my dad and I couldn’t hang out together unless she was there. On weekends, my dad, step-mom, and her daughter would go out without me. I hated living in a place that I felt unwanted, so I moved back in with my mom.

Section Break-Mountains
In the aftermath of the divorce, my mom became a different person that was hard to live with. She became mentally abusive and sometimes she’d get physical, too. I was her punching bag for the anger she had toward my dad. There were times she’d bust into my room in the middle of the night to scream about something bothering her. I didn’t feel safe. I used to hide a knife under my pillow in case I needed to defend myself. I always had my guard up.

When I was 14, my mom started dating a guy in his 20s while she was in her 40s. Though they didn’t marry until my freshman year of college, I considered him my step-dad before then. He wasn’t any better than my mom, neither showing much compassion. My step-dad had no interest in getting to know my brother or me. By this point, I had assumed a more motherly, cleaning the house and cooking more often when my mom couldn’t. I felt a lot of resentment toward both of my parents that had kids but didn’t take care of them. Even though I felt this way, I tried to keep a relationship with my mom.

Trying to keep a good relationship with my mom was hard. Sometimes I don’t know why I put in so much effort. No matter what terrible thing he said or did, she would blame me. Even when I learned that my stepdad had been cheating on her with a 22-year-old, and I told my mom what was happening, she still blamed me for her relationship with my stepdad falling apart. She’d always blame me for things going wrong in her life even if it’s for her own good, so I stopped standing up for her and our relationship weakened.

• • •

Most of my friends had no idea that my mom would go on rampages any chance she could, as she would usually act sweet and quiet around them. But one night when I was 18, I had a friend was sleeping over and we heard a commotion downstairs. My mom was hurling soda cans during a fight with my brother. My friend was petrified, but I assured her that it happened all the time. Hearing my response, she offered me refuge in her house. Because I was 18, my mom couldn’t force me to return. I stayed with my friend until I went off to college a few months later.

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My friend that took me in the last few months before college, 2014.

Section Break-Mountains

I was happy to have finally escaped my mother’s house, but I felt so guilty leaving my brother. I visited every few months to make sure he was okay. Since he wasn’t 18 yet I couldn’t legally get him out of there without a fight. My mom would blow up on me the second I entered the door to check on my brother, but I expected nothing less. I stopped coming home after one terrible visit during my freshman year. She broke into my room and started screaming at me because I wouldn’t give her back money she had just given
me just hours before. I ran out into the snowy night, not stopping until I was a couple blocks when I felt I had run far enough. I waited for my friends to pick me up and bring me back to school.

For my safety, I stopped trying to contact her as often, and I didn’t have much contact with my father. It was heartbreaking to accept that being around my parents wasn’t good for me. I didn’t always cope with this conclusion in healthy ways. I had a problem with alcohol for five months of college. I never dropped out. I kept fighting through. I’d go to class during the day, then drink away my problems at night. Eventually through my friends’ support, I stopped my drinking as often.

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My goal after leaving my mom’s house was to get a degree that would help me make a decent living, so I can get a place far away from my family and past. I had dreams of being an actress or a writer, but I ended up choosing sociology. After all I had been through, I wanted to begin to understand people so that I could come to terms with what I had endured. I wanted to comprehend motives and behavior from different perspectives. I loved the program and have learned a lot about various human experiences.

Through college, I did have a group of friends that I leaned on for support. They helped me slowly stop my destructive tendencies. My friends made me see that there are good, genuine people in the world without a selfish agenda. As I healed, I had a few romantic relationships that didn’t work out until I started dating my fiancé. Though him, I saw how it felt to be truly loved. We plan to get married with a small ceremony of friends and some family.

In February of 2018, my fiancé and I moved into a house and invited my brother to stay with us. Though I had to leave him, he has never shown any anger toward me for it. I think he was happy that at least one of us got out. We’re closer than ever now that we’re away from all the tribulations we endured.

Section Break-Mountains

Sometimes, trying to mend relationships with people that don’t deserve you isn’t worth the stress. If the person is willing to change, there’s hope, but you cannot change people and wasting energy trying can mentally drain you. I don’t want that anymore. I want to be happy. Through the abuse I’ve dealt with, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be happy and think for yourself. When my father molested me or my mother made me do something, I let it happen because I didn’t want to upset them. I spent so much of my time trying to please others, I forgot to think about my own happiness. I know now that I deserve to be happy, but it took me awhile to say that without feeling guilty. But I’m different now, so let me say it again, I deserve to be happy.

Section Break-Simple

This is the story of Alyssa Moore

Alyssa currently lives with her fiancé and brother in Morehead, Kentucky. With a childhood full of hostility and abuse, Alyssa could have fallen down a destructive path, but she pushed past all of it to finish her degree in sociology and start a new life. To help further her study of people, she plans to teach or become a therapist after graduation. Her mother has recently apologized. Thanks to her fiancé and friends, she has found a new hope that people aren’t inherently bad, so Alyssa is attempting to mend their relationship since she’s trying to be better.

With her college graduation coming up in May, she’s excited to see what the future holds.  She hopes to start going for a master’s degree through an online school soon. Alyssa likes watching reruns of The Office, reading, and cooking, especially Italian food. She also loves to sing and listen to music. In her acting days, she was an extra on Elizabethtown.

 

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My fiancé and I, 2017

 

 

 

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This story first touched our hearts on April 19, 2018.

| Writer: Kristen Petronio | Editors: Colleen Walker; Manqing Jin |

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