“I’m not feeling sorry for myself, so please don’t pity me, it really just makes the situation worse. What I need is to know that something I say or do or write will help you support someone whose been harmed, as well as prevent or intervene when something happens in your circle today.”
Over the past ten years I’ve been on a reality mission to figure out who I am, without focusing on what has been done to influence my past beliefs and behaviors. Learning about the aftermath of my personal war and the influence I have left on those I treasure most. This is not an easy process and one which comes and goes in different situations and challenges as I get stronger and learn more about myself and the actions of others; all resulting in who I am today.
My idea of self appreciation and self worth was never developed because I was put in my place, and lived in the example of who THEY thought I was or the value I carried as a person. Tragically, just in America, we have 3.7+ Million children still living in those same types of environments today. Even worse is that myself and millions of others know exactly who that child might become tomorrow, especially if they are not given help or have at least one positive person who gives them something more to believe in and seek to achieve a greater good.
My stepfather, Malcolm White, was truly walking evil; to me he was and always will be the devil himself. In fact, he used to quote; ‘Heaven doesn’t want me and the Devil is afraid I’ll take over’. I knew in my heart that he would definitely kick the Devil’s ass and de-throne him without an ounce of effort. However ridiculous as it might sound, I am still afraid of his ghost some six years or more after his death. I can still feel him lurking around like an animal after his most favorite prey. I can’t sleep for more than three or four hours at any one time, then suddenly I’m shocked awake and for a split second I’m still in harms way, even though I truly am not.
For Malcolm, the violent molesting attacks that began before he married my mother was not enough. His appetite for cruelty and deviate influence progressed to the point I became HIS PROPERTY; my mother, Mona, stepped aside and did absolutely nothing to help me or care for me ever again. I was told to shut up and stop whining. I still hear this from my siblings today on the rare occasion I speak to them at all. For me the only family I had died in March 1989 and I still mourn his death today. I just stopped by his grave last week and thanked him for helping as much as he could. He was just a boy, a boy who willingly lived in our home until he was 22yrs old; but he was a boy who stepped in front of Malcolm’s rage more than once and he stepped in front of the loaded weapons pointed at my head. He would have taken that bullet rather than see me be harmed. For John, I will never have the chance to repay what he did for me, which was the best that had happened until I was 40 yrs old.
Malcolm influenced my sexual behavior with other boys and men within the community of Freeburg beginning around age 11, when he first arranged a special party with a case of beer and about five neighborhood boys who hung with my brother. I was instructed on who to invite, how to dress, and what to encourage and allow these boys to do with me. It is the most shameful and disgusting memory that I carry. I attended school with these boys. I saw them hanging in the park everyday, and I would party with them being my ‘friends’ for the next five years.
It was just a few weeks later he took me to JB Tavern, just two blocks from our house, where my mother worked and all the coalminers hung out. I was fed double shots of vodka with orange juice, so many that I puked the entire evening and next day. We were there for about two hours when Dave and a crew of miners came in to shoot pool and toss back a few beers. I was given a dollar for the jukebox and instructed on how to ‘shake my ass’ as I played the music. I was asked to pick out the cutest guy, and then taken to his table and offered out for a trip out back or in the car; all it would cost is a couple of beers. This was my value if I had any at all, and when he looked at Malcolm and said; ‘She’s just a kid’, I was taken to the car and beaten for being so ugly no one would ever want anything to do with me at all. ‘I was lucky they wanted to ‘f***’ me’. This was who I became and just part of how I was used until I finally escaped, running to move in with the first guy who asked; a guy from thirty miles away who didn’t know anything about me or my family history. I just needed to get away before I either killed Malcolm or he killed me.
At that time I was 17yrs old; he was going to purchase a mobile home and put me on a plat of ground where he would have his own special key to come over anytime and bring whomever he wished. I didn’t care who helped me get away and I certainly didn’t take time to evaluate who he was or how he treated me. As a result of my inability to realize the inner cruelty he had, the following two years would be almost deadly on a weekly basis.
In the influence of my parents, I became the perfect lifetime victim. It didn’t take much kindness for me to open my legs and my heart; for me to seek their approval regardless of the cost, so long as I felt they wanted me. My behaviors became coping strategies. I was fed a case a beer before I turned 10 years old. It was the way Malcolm reduced my rejections or put me in a manipulating and controllable condition. I was given my first joint before I was 12 and to say the least, this is what I depended on to numb the loss and disgust that I couldn’t escape. Lance was the first to give me cocaine, and I even did a few small hits of acid; but it definitely was not for me and the cocaine was too expensive, so my constant state of being was either drinking or high, or both until I got pregnant and left the country. It was a blessing to be removed from all that surrounded me, but the man I married was not the same man I lived with over there. This man had me in the perfect place; I couldn’t escape and had no one around to talk with or convince me that I wasn’t as low a piece of crap as he insisted I was. Our society wasn’t even discussing the acts of child abuse or family violence back then and I definitely didn’t know anything other than what I had been so well trained to accept; it was my ‘normal’.
From 20 to 40 there was a handful of failed and cruel relationships, some more violent and destructive than others, but each a reflection of the only thing I knew. I fought constantly trying to absorb all of the bad so that my kids would never know that type of pain; however, I didn’t realize just how the chaos was affecting them and the example of womanhood I was giving my daughters. Imagine seeing your mom be beaten to a pulp while you’re sitting at the kitchen table waiting for her to come eat dinner with you. Suddenly the perfect plate of food she delivered to him goes flying across the room, and because she wasn’t going to sit on the couch with him, she was thrown, kicked, punched and slammed against walls, the stove, the sink and the door. Finally the fighting stops and she comes into the table, trying to calm your little sister and get everyone to eat as if nothing happened. Imagine the confusion and human value your children learn in our examples of tolerance. How do you think they will grow to see the world and what value they will hold precious about themselves? What will their children learn and how will they behave in school or in the teenage social situations as they develop?
This is our human conditioning and it leaves an ugly mark on all those affected. It distorts our value of ourselves and how we treat others. Some might become extreme protectors and put the needs of others higher than the needs of themselves and their happiness. Some might become lost in drugs, alcohol, or even deviate attacks on others. Some of those like me get so lost they can’t get out and are emotionally wounded forever; these are those prone to submissive and self harming behavior, that which commonly ends in suicide or overdose ending in death. They can’t hold productive steady employment and have chronic health conditions which studies are finding are actually early onset conditions that first show up as Juvenile Fibromyalgia or Early Post Traumatic Stress; conditions that hold trigger reactions before the person is old enough to realize the effect at all. The overall economic cost to society, becomes the taxpayers burden because of these invading health and emotional conditions that cause a reduction or inability to sustain in self supportive life development. Most have difficulty in learning skills or the development of healthy, productive life skills. After all when did they have time to concentrate on homework or study for that big test?
Personally, I’ve got so many injuries and health problems my body and my daily life are a mess. The cost of my constant healthcare in pain management, medications, various procedures, circulatory and pulmonary progressive diseases; I’ve been on disability since 2007. I would have to say that the worst of my conditions today is the permanent spinal cord trauma which has caused elongated cystic sacs to grow inside of my central canal, a condition called Syringomyelia. This alone causes wide spread severe pain, but add in the intense Fibro & Head Trauma and you’ve got a disastrous mess. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, so please don’t pity me, it really just makes the situation worse. What I need is to know that something I say or do or write will help you support someone whose been harmed, as well as prevent or intervene when something happens in your circle today.
Victims and Survivors need to know that their suffering and their voice matters to someone; that someone cares enough to help heal the wounds and make us stronger so that we can provide a better life for ourselves and more importantly our children. We need the law changes to prosecute these types of repeat heinous offenders. For most of us, we will never be given a chance at justice, because the laws of our past allow absolute minimum time to report or press charges; in Illinois these offense statutes allow only ONE YEAR after victim’s 18th birthday. Hell, I didn’t even know what the word trafficking was and definitely feared this couple so much, along with the condemnation of those around me; my life was something so destructive and disgusting I couldn’t tell anyone what happened to me at all until I was around 35 years old. Some knew that my childhood wasn’t pleasant, but no one, including myself, really knew just how evil and tragic it was.
We are NOT our parents, and we do NOT have to live in the sorrow, pain, and pattern of harm or victim they taught us. We have a choice today and we can actually use the strength of amazing survivors who are finally able to discuss what’s happened; use their courage to speak up as a precious gift. This is a strength beyond measure they cling to and can use, not just to help themselves, but to influence how we help and how we can truly save the life of someone else today. You can be the one to step in and take the bullet; you can stop the bleeding and help stitch up the wounds of our kids lost in the pattern of destruction, crime, drugs, and harm they are trying to survive today. Please don’t sit on the sidelines and judge what that person should or shouldn’t do, because until that same personal violation is against you, then you can never know how it feels or the damage it causes. You may be stronger than they are and bounce back with no problem, but you may watch someone else slowly disintegrate so horribly that it becomes their own extinction.
Today I use my past, all of it; my behaviors and my pain, my bad choices and the influence I’ve seen continue in my children and grand children’s lives; I use all of this hoping that somehow I can help empower one other survivor to believe they absolutely matter. Hoping that I can inspire one victim to get help for themselves and their family. Hoping that I can change the offensive behavior of someone who has been harmed, but reacts and attacks others in their pain. We DO NOT have to harm others or devalue ourselves, because on this amazing planet; every life and every breath taken truly matters and we all have the power to do something about it.
Be a Hope-Line & save a life
Thank you for reading & I do hope you’ll share
Love for all,
Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
Author: ‘My Justice’