Suffering Chronically

by Cassandra
(Louisiana, USA)

I am 35 years old. I had not dealt with my childhood abuse or any of the trauma I’ve been through at all until this year.

I was neglected. I was emotionally, physically, & sexually abused. My first memory is of sexual abuse. I was 2.5 years old. I witnessed drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide attempts, & domestic violence between parents. Domestic violence also included my parents and siblings. I witnessed a house fire in which we lost everything we owned. I witnessed my siblings enduring the same abuse. Sometimes their abuse would be worse, depending on who or why.

I endured the death of my father at age 4. I was put into a foster home twice & eventually spent my teen years in one of them. I was kidnapped by my foster parents when we were first placed into state custody. I was 18 months old. I have no memory of the foster home, the kidnapping, or the foster parents.

I was returned to my mother and a step-father I had never met or seen before at age 2.5. I was again placed in foster care at age 12.

My abuse was by my mother, step-father, step-siblings, & by my parents’ friends. The neglect was physical, medical, and emotional. Drugs, alcohol, and sometimes work were behind the neglect. I remember bathing in ice cold water by candlelight. I remember finding and hiding bread in my closet so that I wouldn’t go hungry. I remember being covered head to toe in bug bites. My mom’s cure to the itching was to cut my nails so short that they hurt and bled.

There was constant name-calling in our home. Fat ass, big mamma, lard ass, became my household names. Our siblings of course were expected to join in.

The physical abuse depended on the mood of my parents. Sometimes I would be forced to kneel over rice for days on end with breaks for the bathroom and bedtime. If we were to get whipped with a belt, we would pull our pants down and lay over a chair. Both parents and some friends of theirs would take turns doing the spanking. These spankings would also go on for days at a time. They would spank you every time they walked through the room you were in. Bathroom and bed time breaks were given.

When the physical abuse reached its peak, I would be hit with any item in reach on any part of the body. Things would be thrown from across the room. I spent hours, sometimes days locked in my room. I remember having to use the bathroom in my room and the 3-day punishment/beating that followed.

I was violently sexually abused by my step-father. I believe it started the day we were moved back in with my mother. There was force, there was fear by gunfire, fear of death, fear of death of my siblings. I was sexually abused day or night. It happened in the kitchen as my mom watched tv or on the couch while my brother and sister were laying on the floor watching cartoons. If there were too many people at home, he would drive me around to different rest areas, or just do it in his van. The sexual abuse included choking, hitting, threats, laughing, pornography, forced vaginal, anal, & oral sex. It ended when I was 6 years old.

Soon after, he began to abuse my sister. She was 8 and he abused her until she was 11. I did not know she was being abused until I walked in on it. I told my mother of my abuse right before it stopped, and I assumed he was too scared of getting caught to touch me again. Later, I find he just moved on to another victim.

My mother denied the abuse. I feel as if she knew all along. She had come home in mid-abuse session more than once. It was obvious something wasn’t right, but she ignored it.

I could go on, but feel sharing as much as I have is more than I have ever done. Recently, I realized blocking all of this out for so long was causing me more suffering than good. I suffer from severe PTSD that began last year. I suffer from chronic mental health issues, chronic pain, chronic health issues, destructive behaviors, self sabotage, relationship sabotage, substance abuse, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts, and have lost two children to the state due to failing a drug test. I don’t know if I can ever fully heal. But I know this is the way to start.

I pray this story helps someone else and that one day my story will also help the medical field with associated mental/physical health issues.

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From Victim to Victory
a memoir

How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life


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