Just to preface, I am not asking for anyone to judge me differently. This is the blog post that I… would never do and every ounce of me resisted. Quite frankly, it is really uncharacteristic of me to share something like this, regardless of how many years it’s been. I am sharing this here now because I would rather not be “gripped”.
When I was in 5th grade, my parents divorced. I learned in a crude manner about the physical abuse. There is a video describing the incident as narrated by my older brother. If you wish, you can watch it here. My mom, my sister, my brother, and I moved in with my maternal grandparents.
When my mom’s family helped gather all of the belongings, one of my uncles nearly punched my father after overhearing something. My father boldly stated to my sister, “You owe me”. He was talking about college tuition.
I was court ordered to go to anger management. This was the most significant “Catch 22” of my life. I did not know how to act. I never met such crazy people in my life with whom I had to share the room. Even they asked why I was there.
What made matters complicated was that I had to visit my father per visitation rights. A lot of money was wasted in court. Even obtaining something as seemingly simple as a signature for renewing my passport and giving the thumbs up for me to travel outside of the country was a huge burden financially and emotionally.
I listened to a ton of music. MP3 players were becoming popular at the time but all I had was a CD player. I built up my iTunes library and burned my favorite mixes on CDs.
My biggest obstacle to overcome was this notion that anyone else (but me) was allowed to thrive, flourish, and be successful simply put because they did not deal with my challenges. Granted, I did not wish harm or awful things upon anyone. They lived a life that was fully privileged and socially acceptable. I wasn’t quiet just to be nice. I was quiet because I lacked meaningful talking points. There was so much disconnect between where I was and where I wanted to be.
I learned to listen. I had to see a lot of different counselors, especially with my father. I could hear the tones and detect the mannerisms of my father dancing around an issue or trying to sway my stance in an argument. It would reach the point where he would tell me that I was brainwashed. Most of all, I felt powerless because I was “just a kid”. My grades had no impact on visitation hours. The judge could tell that I was smart based on my GPA but my words only carried so much weight.
What changed as time went on was that my mom did not want to play hardball. She did not fight for child support money, which I could care less about. As for me, I transitioned into high school. I joined the Cross Country team per my brother’s advice. I knew the coaches from the times I would visit my older brother’s award ceremonies when I was younger.
Moral of the story: Do not deny people their personhood, especially kids. Every case is tricky but I trust that everyone here has great intuition.
Thank you if you read this. I did not want to sound bitter. I just wanted to share my experiences and hopefully you gained some insight on the complexities of people. This is not something I normally just go around sharing (in person) and I think you could tell why. Most of all, I will not act weird or dark because that is not me. On the other hand, socially awkward is totally me.
Below are resources if you (or someone you know) is in need of help coping with abuse and trauma.