I was born to 2 heroin addicts in 1958. I was removed from my birth mother when I was 1 year old. I was placed with a couple who adopted me at 4 yrs old. They also adopted a girl they got when she was 4 (Debra, who I consider my sister even though we are not blood related) and a boy whom they got at 2 weeks old. (Joey, whom I do not consider my brother but that’s a different story.) My dad worked 3 jobs and wasn’t home much. Terry (I stopped calling her mom at 13) was a very twisted individual. I don’t know why she adopted 2 girls because she hated us. From my earliest memories, we girls were tortured, molested, beaten, forced to perform sex acts on Terry and each other, locked in rabbit cages in the hot Calif sun, tied to our beds, made to eat vomit, burned, told we were worthless, etc. School was our only escape. I adored school and made up my mind in second grade to learn everything I possibly could so when I grew up, I could get away and go to college to escape. We always had marks on us, but in catholic schools, no one ever said a thing. In all my sister’s school pics she has a busted lip. Terry cut our hair short like a boy so we were both teased mercilessly but it was still better than being at home. Debbie and I each coped in our own way. I learned to disassociate and become a people pleaser and Debbie became very meek and sad. She ran away 8 times and finally left for good when she was 15 and I was 12. I understood later, she needed to get out. But then the abuse of me took new demented turns. I was beaten at 12 when I had my first period. I was so frightened, I didn’t understand what she was saying as she was beating me (“The boys will smell you now!”) and had to have a friend at school explain to me what was happening, that it was normal. I really didn’t know what normal was. I wasn’t allowed friends, Terry kept us away from everyone. Yet we went to church every Sunday and holy day, went to catholic school, my “parents” were active in many church organizations and we looked to all the world like a good catholic family. They were praised for adopting 3 children. Yet it was all a sham. I was coping until Terry had an affair when I was 16 and my dad found out. He freaked out and raped me, so my dad was the first male I had sex with. I tried to kill myself for the first time after that horrible night. I ran away, but Terry cried and pleaded with me to come home when I called her, she said she would change and all would be better, so I came back. It was okay for a month. Then all types of abuse began again, every single day, worse than before. I took it until I was 17, then I had a nervous breakdown and ran away again, never to return. I was on the honor role and qualified for a scholarship, but my dad was self employed and wouldn’t show his tax returns, so I never went to college. That broke my heart.
I’ve left out a lot, but you get the gist of my story. I was so sheltered and naive that I thought getting out of that house would solve all my problems. Um, no. I had issues galore and spent a lot of my adult life addressing them in therapy and with prescribed medication. After 12 years of therapy I succeeded in putting myself back together and I have never ever hurt my 4 kids. I never wanted to. I knew I was going to break the cycle of abuse before I even knew what that meant. I truly love my children and loathe pedophiles. I have turned my anger into awareness and fighting pedophilia instead of despair or addiction. I have a deaf son, so I fight for all children and the deaf.
Terry died last August and I am at peace. Closure, whatever. I tried to have some kind of relationship with my dad, but he’s in deep denial. So I’ve made my own family and I’m a very positive thinker. I hope I can listen, console, help or do whatever is needed to help others who have gone or are going through an abusive childhood. That’s all I want to do, is help others and make my little corner of the world a better place. I live in Ohio now, I tried to run from my past but it came with me, so I dealt with it. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And you can too. Courage.