He says he loves me but how should I begin to believe him? So many people have said they loved me throughout my life and have proved otherwise.
My dad said he loved me yet I haven’t had a relationship with him since I was 5 years old. He has abandoned me. Is that love?
My mother said she loved me despite the fact that she abused and neglected me throughout my childhood and we can no longer have a relationship due to her failure to respect my boundaries. Is that love?
My first serious boyfriend said he loved me but when we moved in together at the age of 19 he cheated on me with his boss within the first month of living in our a shared home. Is that love?
Abuser M said he loved me but he acted out his violent fantasies on me and then left me in the dust reeling with confusion. Is that love?
My ex boyfriend said he loved me yet he couldn’t stand up to his abusive friends and family when I begged for his help. Is that love?
I have said I love myself but I have put myself through a sort of constant torturous reenactment of my abusive childhood. Is that love?
And he wonders why I hear those words “I love you” yet I still can’t believe them. For if I were to believe his words, I would be exposing myself to more vulnerability and confusion.
I believe that I was in second grade when I was hit and ran over by a Suburban SUV. At the time I was riding my bike to/from school and home which was a few miles away. I had to ride and maneuver my bike through fairly dangerous conditions and intersections to get to school. To this day it is still unclear to me as to why I was not being offered rides to and from school by my step-father Chris. My step-father worked from home and we lived fairly close to my school so he did have the chance to volunteer to get me to school safely. However, no one really cared about my safety as long as I got to school on time.
And so I rode my bike to and from school starting in the second grade. I’m unsure how old I was at that time but I remember being cold in the mornings in particular. I attended a private school where pre-determined plaid uniforms were mandatory and I found the outfits to be chilly as well as itchy. I could never seem to get warm enough in those plaid uniforms. I remember being scolded about how expensive the uniforms were and I felt really bad that my parents had to spend so much money on clothes that I hated. I was not a fan of wearing the uniforms to say the least but uniforms were a requirement of the school. Therefore I was wearing a uniform on the day that I was hit and ran over.
The details of the accident are as follows; I was riding my bike home from school so the time must have been anywhere from 1:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. I was beginning to cross the crosswalk in a busy intersection close to a mall. A woman in a dark navy blue Suburban SUV approached me on my left side to make a right turn as if she did not notice me. Suddenly I felt the Suburban tap my left shoulder and that is the exact moment when I thought to myself that I must “get the license plate number”. I do not know why that was my first gut reaction. Second to my primary reaction to being hit my life slowly “flashed” before my eyes as I was knocked to the ground by the approaching Suburban. I began to scream.
I remember pain… A lot of pain as the front right wheel of the Suburban ran over both of my lower legs. Although I was laying on the ground by this point I was still positioned on the bike and the bike frame was crushed around my legs as the Suburban drove over both the bike and my legs. The Suburban stopped before running me over with the back tires. The lady driving the Suburban said that she was not even aware that she had hit me until she heard me screaming and by then I was already crushed under the SUV.
That was the first time I can think of that I remember my life flashing before my eyes. That part really happened and it seemed slow, as if I had a long life to play in front of me. After I was completely underneath the Suburban the car behind her started to honk their horn to alert her to the accident. The driver of the car put their flashers on behind the Suburban and got out of the car. I only saw that the driver had stopped traffic in the busy intersection and me from under the Suburban. The bike frame was deformed around my legs and my school uniform was completely demolished. I never got the opportunity to say thank you to the person who pulled me from under the Suburban that day, so if you are reading this, thank you!
The next moment I realized that an EMT was frantically working on cutting my clothes off so that he could easily free me from the crushed bike frame. I was mortified and completely humiliated! My gut reaction was to yell at the EMT that my “step-father will be so mad at me!”. I am unsure why I believed that Chris, my step-father would be angry at me for the damaged clothes, but at the time it seemed very rational to think so. I was whisked to the hospital protesting in nothing more than my undergarments. It was quite revealing and embarrassing to have my clothes cut from my body in the middle of a busy intersection, even at such a young age. At the time I cared nothing for the pain that I was enduring but I was quite preoccupied with the worry that I would be punished for ruining my school uniform. Apparently this behavior alerted the medical personnel to “speak in private” with both my mother and step-father. What they said there, I will never know.
I don’t remember my hospital stay at all but I do remember that my legs were miraculously not broken. However, they both had clearly been ran over as there were large Suburban track marks running across both of my calves. The doctors were surprised to inform me and my family that my legs and feet were simply deeply bruised but not broken. They were so bruised that I was not able to walk on my own for a few months. I remember this challenge being particularly difficult because my classroom was at the top of an old church tower and there was no elevator at the time to get up there. If I remember right, I crawled up the stairs to get to my classes because there was no possible way for me to walk up the stairs on my own two feet. The rest of the time I was given a wheel chair to sit in. I believe it took about 3 months for my legs to feel healthy enough to walk on my own again.
I hadn’t really viewed this event as extremely traumatic until recently. I see that the accident did in fact have a profound effect on me both physically and psychologically. For a moment that day I believed that I was going to die and it certainly was traumatic for a girl of my age.
I am curious if this accident has impacted my life in more ways that I am still unaware of and yet to find out? Only time can tell.
I don’t remember much of this trauma but I have held on to this memory ever since the trauma happened when I was 5 years old. I still do not know to this day if my memory of the traumatic event is complete or not. Thinking about this day still brings tears to my eyes. I don’t know where my father went wrong this particular day. Perhaps he was high on drugs, perhaps he was on a power trip… I’ll probably never know but I still question to how any father could put his 5 year old daughter through such torment?
I was 5 years old when this trauma happened and living in Tehachapi, CA with my biological father, my step-mother and my months old half-sister. It was a hot summer day. There wasn’t much grass where we lived so we would take a dip in the kiddy pool or hang out in the shade to keep cool. I was obsessed with my little half-sister, like she was my baby doll. I loved her so much and still do to this day. On this particular day my father and step-mother were fighting… screaming at each other is more accurate. I don’t remember what the argument was about but I do remember wanting to get away from the screaming. Objects were being thrown and broken in the house around me and so I decided to sit on the end of my small bed. Silently and wishing I was invisible.
My father burst into my room screaming at my step-mother who was still in the other room. Sometimes my father would use me as a pawn to terrorize my step-mother and this day was no exception. I was sitting on the end of the bed, wishing he couldn’t see me as he proceeded to pull down his pants and urinate all over me. He completely soaked me in his urine from my head to my waist. My bed was also soaked in his urine. I remember feeling as though I had to protect my little half-sister in this situation but I am still unclear as to where she was during this incident. I don’t remember much more of the trauma other than my step-mother yelling back at my father about how immature his actions were. As helpful as she thought she was at the time, I now realize she was a huge contributor to many of my childhood traumas, just like my father.
How do I process this memory? I wish I knew the right answer. I have held onto the memory, remembering every single sense that my body allows me to recall from that day. I was terrified and degraded. I felt worthless and like a pawn. I was nothing but an object to my father, simply used to manipulate other people. I meant nothing more to him than a toilet. At least he would have the courtesy of flushing a toilet. Or maybe not? I will probably never know.
Dear friend, you know who you are. I miss you and love you. At one point we became great friends and I will never forget the bond that we have. But I haven’t seen you in over a year and I worry about you and your child.
Dear friend, I know that it may be awkward for you to sustain our friendship at this time. I know that we met through abuser M whom I no longer speak to. I know that your husband is his best friend. I know that your husband loathes me. I know that you still have contact with abuser M through your husband at times and that scares me. Do you remember the incident when you were pregnant and abuser M thrust a knife towards your face numerous times as if it were a joke? I will never forget the look of horror on your face. What you felt that night was how I felt every single day I spent with abuser M. But I know that you too experience something similar with your husband on a daily basis and don’t realize that it isn’t healthy. I understand.
Dear friend, although I love you and will always be here for you and your child you have abandoned me and my cause. I remember when you told me that you loved me and supported me and was glad that I escaped abuser M. I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to say the same for you and your abusive husband.
Dear friend, don’t worry… I understand why you fled from our friendship. There are many reasons. You are terrified. The truth that I confront you with is too hard for you to swallow. You can’t handle the fact that you know I know you deserve better. Both your husband and your brother-in-law hate me and you know why. You do not believe in unconditional love because you have never truly experienced and nurtured it in your relationships. All that you know in family life is dysfunctional. You believe that your abusive family life is normal and will never change. You feel hopeless, worthless, abandoned, helpless, loveless, degraded and alone. I wish you knew that I think the world of you and you are not alone.
Dear friend, do you remember the time that abuser M and I hid a pre-paid cell phone in your front yard bushes because your husband was being abusive and isolated you from everyone by shutting off your phone? The pre-paid cell phone was my idea of course. You had no way to contact anyone and you had an infant. What if an emergency were to have happened? What if you or your child needed help but had no way to reach anyone? I could not stomach the thought of that hence the reason for bringing you the cell phone. I wonder if you ever used that pre-paid cell phone for an emergency or if it is still there hidden in the bushes in front of your old apartment?
Dear friend, do you remember the time that you were ready to abandon your husband? I will never forget that day. You packed your car, you had a plan and you were ready to leave. Somehow the hills around your house caught fire before you managed to leave and you ultimately decided that you could not leave your husband. I still wonder to this day how the fire started and why it started on the day that you were ready to leave.
Dear friend, what concerns me the most about the domestic violence that occurs in your home is the lifelong negative impact that it is having on your child. You know better than anyone else that I cannot and will not tolerate child abuse and neglect. I will never forget how your child was obviously terrified of it’s father at only a few years old. I don’t even want to think about how your child views it’s father today. I remember that your child mimicked it’s father’s abusive actions and intimidating facial expressions. I remember that your husband would feed alcohol to your child. I witness this abuse numerous times and told you but it never mattered enough for you to leave him. There was a time however that I fed your child ice cream and you were so upset with me that you did not speak to me for some time. Think about the irony.
Dear friend… I plea with you that if you do not have the motivation to keep yourself safe, please try to have that motivation for your child. Your child is a witness to the terror that you experience every day. Your child will not forget. The memories will be stored inside of your child whether it remembers or not. And your child will act out on those memories later unless you can manage to break the cycle within your family before it’s too late.
Dear friend, I love you very much and understand that you cannot be here for me at this time but please know that I will be ready to stand by your side when the time comes and you need me. You do have the power and ability to stop the violence in your home. It is up to you to make the decision. I had the power to leave and so do you. When you are strong enough to make the decision to be courageous and leave the abuse once again, you know how to find me.