child abuse story from Liz page was created November 13, 2006. Installment #1
below was originally posted on October 12, 2006 as story #44. Three installments
of her story are included on this page:
Liz is from Madison, Wisconsin, USA
In this child abuse story from Liz page, both installments depict physical abuse and emotional abuse. Installment #2 depicts neglect that was severe enough for Liz to require a blood transfusion.
The child abuse effects on Liz are numerous. Liz states that she doesn't talk very much, that she suffers from sleeplessness, only sleeping 2 hours a night, that she flinches when people raise their hands or their voices, and that she doesn't cry. During childhood, Liz received beatings severe enough to require stitches.
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All of my life I have been abused. When I was
younger, my dad usually abused me. My mom would just sit there and watch, which
was almost worse than the abuse. My dad would hit me constantly and severely. I
was never allowed to cry. If I cried, my mom and dad would tell me to
"suck it up", that it was my own fault, and that I "asked for
it" because I wasn't what they wanted me to be.
My mom would sit and watch my dad hit me. After
he was done, she would take me to my room, wash off the blood if there was any,
and tell me that I had deserved what had happened to me. She would tell me that
if I would just be a better daughter then things like this wouldn't happen to
me. So, I tried my hardest to do everything the best that I could. But it was
hard. At this time I was around four years old, and I was already making my own
meals and cleaning the house. I was often left home alone as well.
When I was six my mom and dad got a divorce. My
dad pretty much disappeared for a few months. I don't remember seeing or
hearing from him at all during this time, which was fine with me. However, my
mom started to beat me in my father's absence. She would tell me that I was
still a very bad girl and that I still had to be punished. I had become so used
to being hit by this time that I would just sit there for her to hit me. I
learned very early on that if you tried to prevent the beating, then it was ten
times worse than it would have been, and like I said earlier, I didn't dare
My dad showed back up a few months after the
divorce and continued to beat me. I started grade school, and during the years
was confronted about my many stitches and bruises around six or seven times.
Each time I said that nothing was going on, that I was just a very clumsy
person, always getting myself hurt.
I remember one day when I was in second grade,
my teacher asked my mom if she abused me. My mom asked why she thought that,
and my teacher said that I have new injuries every week. My mom said that I was
a kid, that kids get hurt all of the time, and that she would never hit me.
After all, she was a nurse for God's sake! My teacher totally believed my mom.
To this day it amazes me that she let it go that easily.
As a result of the constant abuse, I never
talked, not even in school, unless I was asked a question. I was also convinced
that my parents did what they did because I was the worst child on earth. After
all, none of the other kids in my class had bruises every week.
Once I got into middle school, I began to
realize that there was something wrong with my situation and with my parents,
but I was too ashamed (I still thought that all of this was my fault) to say
anything about it. I began to wear long sleeved shirts and jeans year round to
cover the bruises and scars that I had accumulated over the years (my parents,
later on, also resorted to cutting me as a punishment). I was so humiliated by
the situation that I never said anything about it.
However, once in eleventh grade, my English
teacher came up to me and asked if I was alright. I'd had a really bad night
the night before (one of my other coping mechanisms had become not sleeping--I
would only sleep around an hour or two a night). I just broke down and started
crying, for the first time in three years. He sat me down and talked to me for
about two hours about my situation. He promised me that he wouldn't say anything
about it, but that if he saw any physical signs he would be obligated to report
He never said anything about it. To an extent I
almost wish he had, but I'm also glad that he didn't because I wouldn't have
been able to live with myself if I was the reason that my mom and dad went to
jail or got into trouble with the law. I graduated and went on to college,
which is where I am now. I have not gone back home since I have been in college
and I don't plan to.
Although I am now away from that abusive situation,
I still have lingering effects of it that I carry with me. I still don't talk
very much, I still only sleep two hours a night, and if anyone raises their
hand or voice to me (even in a friendly way), I flinch. I still don't cry, and
I'm slowly trying to come to terms with what happened to me during my lifetime.
I am working on becoming more and more normal every day.
I wrote this to try to convince anyone that is in an abusive situation to please get out of it. I understand all of the reasons not to, believe me, I do. But if you don't do it yourself, or get someone to do it for you (if you are a minor), then it will never get better. It took everything that I had to leave my mom and dad to go to college, because I still felt bad leaving them even after everything that they had done to me. I don't hate them for what they did, but I find it hard to like them at the same time. I will always love them because they are my parents, but I doubt that I will ever go back home. Please learn from this story and don't let this be your life.
Since the last time I wrote down my story to
submit here, I have started to write my life story. It is very hard to do, but
it is also oddly relieving to be able to get it all out in writing, since I'm
still not comfortable talking to people.
While writing, I discovered memories that I had
almost forgotten, but had cropped up the more I started to dig into my past. I
have decided to share one of them here in order to try and help others.
One of the most pungent memories of abuse from
my childhood occurred when I was in fourth grade. My mother and I were going to
a baby shower for a woman that she worked with. We lived on the third floor of
an apartment building, with flights of concrete stairs to get up and down. I
was carrying a large crystal punch bowl down the stairs, and my mom, who was
behind me, was carrying a plate of brownies. My mom was yelling at me as we
went down the stairs, and when I didn't answer one of her questions, got angry
and shoved me. I went tumbling down the stairs with the crystal punch bowl,
which broke in the fall, and landed with the pieces of crystal on the landing
below. As soon as I hit the ground I realized that I had broken my mother's
favorite punch bowl, so I jump up and started apologizing. In the middle of my
apologizing and my mother yelling at me about "being clumsy", the
woman who lived in the apartment of the landing that I landed on came out and
took one look at me and started asking if she should call an ambulance. My mom
thanked her for her concern and said that it would not be necessary for an
ambulance to come, but that she would take me to the hospital herself. I didn't
understand what they were talking about until I looked down and saw that my
hand, arms, shirt, and legs were covered in blood. I just stood there giving my
mom a "help me" type of look. She pushed me back up the stairs, and made
me go stand in the kitchen so that I wouldn't get blood on the carpet.
I heard my mother running water in the
bathroom. I stood and waited in the kitchen, trying not to cry as I saw a small
puddle of blood at my feet on the floor. I started to feel the numerous cuts
that I had gotten from the fall. I looked at my hands and arms and saw that I
had crystal sticking out of a few of the cuts. Once I noticed this, my mom came
into the kitchen and told me to take off my clothes so that she could see all of
the cuts. I took off my clothes, and she dragged me down the hall to the
bathroom and threw me into the bath tub. It was full of really hot water. I
felt like my whole body was on fire. It wasn't long until the water turned red.
Mom left me in there for about 10 or 15 minutes, alone, while she did something
in another room. I was convinced that I was going to die.
I laid back and tried to relax as much as I
could, waiting for the inevitable. However, a few minutes later my mom came in
and took me out of the tub and started to bandage the cuts that didn't have
crystal in them. After she was done with those, she pulled the crystal out of
the other cuts, and then bandaged them as well. She then told me to go find
some clothes to put on, and to go lay down. Then she went over to the coffee
table and grabbed her keys and purse. I asked her where she was going, and she
said, as if I were stupid, to the baby shower. She then told me that I needed
to clean the kitchen and bathroom, and that I better not get blood on anything
else. With that she left me home alone, hardly able to move.
I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and then
laid down in my bed and went to sleep. I ended up having to go to the hospital
the next day, where I had to get a blood transfusion from the massive amount of
blood loss. When asked what happened, my mom told the doctor that I had tripped
going down the stairs while holding the bowl. He asked her why she hadn't
brought me in when it happened, and my mom said that she didn't think that my
blood loss was as serious as it was and that if she had known then she would
have brought me in. I also ended up getting 42 stitches for various cuts that
day as well.
If anyone reading this has had something like this happen, please get out of the situation NOW. It will never get better. No one deserves to be treated like this.
Although I am not living at home anymore, (I am now attending college to become a veterinarian), my mother's abusive ways are still influencing my life. This is my most recent experience:
I left for college this year, and I was forced to leave my cat behind because as a freshman, I had to live on campus, and animals are not allowed in the dorms. My mother does not like my cat at all. In fact, she can't stand him, but she wanted me to let her keep him, because she actually told me that with her keeping him, she was guaranteed to still see me because she knew that I would come back home fairly often to see him. I absolutely love animals, and I have raised my cat since he was one day old (his mother abandoned him after giving birth, so I took him in and bottle-fed him).
He is more like a child to me than an animal. For the last 4 years, we have been together continuously because he lives in my room and my mother forbids me to let him out to roam the house. He always had a very sweet personality, but when he was 2 years old, he had a 3-hour-long seizure and since then he is only nice to me. So, my mother has gotten to the point where she does not even want to feed him. I knew this before I left, so I bought 4 continuous water feeders, and a Rubbermaid container to put a large amount of food in, and several litter boxes, so that he would not need very much care between visits home. However, I do ask my mom to look in on him occasionally, just to make sure that he still has enough food and water.
I recently went home for Spring Break to find that my cat had no food left, and had lost several pounds due to starvation. I was really upset because I had asked my mom only a few days before to look in on him while I was on the phone with her, and she pretended to look in and tell me that he was fine. So, I had to take him into the vet's office that I had worked at for the last several years and lie about what had happened (I told them that he had run away, and had then come back in this condition). He stayed there for most of the week, so I visited him several times a day, sometimes staying to help out around the clinic if they needed it.
One day while I was there, my mom showed up. We got into a fight over what we were going to do with my cat after he had recuperated. We have never really gotten along, but we very rarely fight in public, and when we do, it is always in hushed tones so that no one can hear the argument. However, we were both very upset, and my mother started yelling, which made the vet and some of the people that I used to work with at the clinic come to see what was wrong. Right when they were standing there, the argument got really heated. My mother slapped my face in front of everyone, and then stormed out, yelling back that she never wanted to see my cat again.
I have gone through much worse abuse than being slapped, but I had never been hit in front of anyone else before, especially not people that I knew so well. All I could do was stand there with this mortified look on my face. One of the vet techs asked me to come and spend the night at her house so that I wouldn't have to go home to that. I was so embarrassed that I started to make excuses for my mother, but they sounded idiotic and meaningless. I finally turned the vet tech down, saying that this didn't happen very often and that everything would be fine. However, having worked at that clinic for several years, I had walked into work with many injuries that had resulted from my mother, but I had always had valid excuses for them. While standing there with everyone staring at me, I could tell that they now knew where all of those injuries had come from.
I didn't know what to do, so I arranged for my cat to be boarded there until further notice and left the clinic, and then left town for college without even telling my mother bye.
I wrote this to tell my story, and hopefully it will help someone else, whether it is just letting them know that if they went through something like this then they are not alone.
The worst part of this whole experience, besides not knowing what will happen to my cat, is now knowing that everyone I worked with for all of those years now know that I lied to them countless times to help protect my mother. I am not going to sit here and say that I have outgrown the need to protect her, but I do now realize how it can make me look when everything finally does come out into the open.
Please, if you are in a situation like this and don't have a way out like I do, go get help. It isn't your fault that it is happening to you, but you can help yourself.
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the
Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
Child abuse story from Liz was re-formatted June 3, 2015
From Victim to Victory
How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life
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