I was 17 years old when I was forced to disclose to my mother that my stepfather had been raping me for the past 14 years. I was still very hung over from the 64 sleeping pills I had ingested the night before and the ½ bottle of straight vodka I drank to wash down each death pill. I’ll never forget my mother’s finger in my face calling me a liar and a drug addict. Here is an excerpt from my book, “From Sorrows To Sapphires,” where I describe that horrible day in my life:
“Rejection and Rejuvenation
I can barely write what took place over the next few hours. I had arrived at Nicole’s father’s law office physically exhausted after the night I’d endured. I could not stop shaking. My body quivered from fear and exhaustion. The stress of the night, the sleeping pills, and the alcohol’s effects were still in my system. I was sitting upright in a chair when my Mother entered the room. She showed no mercy but immediately lit into me. She screamed that I had set in motion a chain of events that would now ruin her life. She blasted me with both barrels:
“You have ruined my life. How could you do this? How could you embarrass and destroy our family? You must be on drugs. You’re shaking like you’re on drugs. I knew you were on drugs. You’ve become a drug addict.” She never let me open my mouth. She continued to berate me, her eyelids blinking frantically, as I sat in the chair with my head hung down low. “I’ve contacted the Wells, and they said they would take you. You can go there this afternoon and leave us alone. This can’t be true. It’s all a lie. You are a liar. You’re a big liar.” She was fireball-red from the top of her chin all the way down her neck with red blotches screaming anger and fear out of her skin.
She would have hit me had she not thought she was being monitored closely. I could tell she wanted to rip me to pieces. She could have pulled every hair out of my head, and that still wouldn’t have solved her problems. She told me I could come to the house and gather my things, but I needed to make it fast. “You don’t need to put us through anymore today. We’ve had a horrible night. You have really ruined our lives, and I want you as far away from me as possible, out of our lives for good. I want you out. I don’t even know who you are. You are not the little girl I raised and loved. You are not the little girl I sacrificed my life for. I’ve called the Wells, and they’re going to take you in. You can go there as soon as you get your stuff, and I don’t want to ever see you again. You need to be with the Wells. You need to be with them now! Maybe they can figure you out,” her voice quivered.
Her eyelids were batting faster, as they always did when she was nervous, and her voice was stern and detached, and her neck was covered with red blotches. There was no sympathy in her tone. There was no wavering in her decision. I had told the unthinkable, the unbelievable, and her response was to bury herself in denial. The reality of what was happening at that moment was more than I could process. She turned her back to me, and even more heartbreaking, turned her back on me.
She walked out and slammed the door. Nicole’s father must have known I needed a few minutes, so I was left alone in the cold conference room. I was flabbergasted. I did not even have the strength to lift my head up. Never did I ever imagine she would turn her back on me. That was the final blow. The worst blow I could have received. “Why God? Why didn’t you take me last night? Why is there no end to my suffering?” My soul had been ripped out, my heart shattered to a million pieces. My Mother didn’t love me enough to fight for me, to believe me. I’d spent years enduring the unbearable, all those years protecting her and protecting the secret. She chose him. She turned her back on me and chose him. She betrayed me. I had no one and nowhere to go. I wasn’t going to
. The Wells’ left me and never looked back. They walked out of my life. I wasn’t going to beg them to take me in. I didn’t need them. I didn’t need anybody. Danbury
The door opened and Nicole’s father towered over me, as my head was still hanging between my legs. “You have to make a decision. We can seek justice. I need to know what to do, and I need to know right now.” His stern, deep voice shocked me back into reality.
“Can I have some time to think this through? I’ve protected them for so long. I never wanted her to know. I never wanted to hurt her like this.”
He stayed on his point as a lawyer: “I’m sorry, but you have to make a move now. I have no choice because you are a minor. You have to focus on you now. I will prosecute. We can put him behind bars, we can get justice,” he urged in a deep firm tone.
“There is no justice in this, no justice,” I said. “I just want my freedom. Please get me my freedom. I don’t want anything but my freedom, please,” I whispered in a soft crackling voice. “Just my freedom. Please get me my freedom, and I’ll go as far away from this place as I can get. I promise, please just let me out of this hell, please let it be over.”
He saw the utter despair in my face, and the total hopelessness of my situation. Out of pity, he asked if I wanted to stay with them a few days until we figured things out. I was in such a pitiful state; he had no choice but to extend a hand. I thought I was at the end of my rope on the bridge last night, and within a few hours, I had slipped even further down. There was no fight left in me. I was tired, I was alone, and I was defeated. I truly know what it feels like to be at the end of yourself and sitting on the bottom of life. At that moment, I had no more of me to depend on; I had only God. All I had was blind faith and a verse I clung to: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Within what seemed like minutes, I was getting my emancipation in front of a judge and my petition for freedom granted. “Get your education and make sure to make something of yourself,” said the judge. “Don’t let this ruin your life. You can rise above. Many others have done so,” he continued. Nicole’s father assured him he would seek therapy for me, and I would be living with them for a while.
Nicole drove me to
465 Briar Patch Place. Mom, Carl and my two sisters peered through the window as we got out of the car. The reception was cold. It took less than ten minutes to gather my belongings. I was given two black trash bags. My heart raced with fear and exhaustion. Carl stayed out of my way, my Mother cried, and my sisters clung to my legs, pleading for me not to leave them.
I was so angry, so fiercely angry, as I shoved my clothes into the bag and grabbed my eight-track player and all my eight tracks. I asked if I could take my bicycle, and they agreed. I found my schoolbooks, but not my diary.
“Can I have my diary please?” She said she didn’t know where it was. “It was in the car last night,” I replied.
“No, you can’t have your diary. It’s gone. He burned it in the ditch this morning.” [The diary, it turns out, was not destroyed, and miraculously, years later, I was able to find it, well-hidden under the armoire in the master bedroom at
465 Briar Patch Place. The “Journal” entries within this book came from this diary.]
Her reply didn’t register, as I needed to get out of there immediately before I started doing dishes or making the beds or worse, grabbing a butcher knife and going stark raving mad. I had to get out of there before I buckled, before I wrapped my arms around my sisters, thinking that I needed to stay to protect them more than I needed to go to protect myself. Leaving them behind made my gut ache. I wrapped my arms around them, held them close and said, “You both look me in the eye now. I love you, and I’ll be back to see you. You can call me at this number if you need me, and I’ll be back to see you. Be good. I’ll be back, I swear, I’m not leaving for good. Just a little while, and I’ll be back.” Tears streamed down their cheeks. “Please don’t cry, please,” I pleaded.
I had to leave my bicycle behind, as I threw the bags in the back of Nicole’s Toyota Supra. She said, “Help me take the tee-tops off. I have an idea.” We took the tee-tops off, and she told me to stand up in the front seat and scream to the top of my lungs. She said, “Experience your freedom. Scream ‘I’m free!’”
There was a mass in my throat. I couldn’t talk. I choked, but in a matter of seconds, I went manic as I screamed and screamed - all the way down
Fontaine Drive and all the way down Highway 217. She drove me all over town for hours screaming. It felt so good. I was free, and I had so much to scream about. I laughed, I cried, and I screamed. She was the best friend a girl could have. She kept driving, and I kept screaming all the way down Victory Drive (that was its name and it symbolized what I was experiencing!)
This was so very different for me. Often I would let my breakdowns explode inside my head, and I would scream silently. But now, thanks to Nicole, the screams were boiling out. And now, also thanks to Nicole, I felt release. She smiled at me as she drove, and I enjoyed the freedom to scream. I enjoyed the freedom to smile.
For those that are in this place of denial by your mother and other family members, my heart bleeds for you. I know your pain but please know that there is hope that you will get past this grief and build a happy life. That life may or may not include your mother or your family, but regardless we need to forgive those that have so deeply wronged us. It is not about releasing them from responsibility or accountability, it is about freeing ourselves from all the anger, the resentment, the pain they caused us. Love, Joy and happiness cannot coexist with rage, vengeance and hate. I have heard a quote that goes like this, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
I am still trying to build a relationship with my mother and it is always one act of forgiveness at a time. I have to give extra forgiveness for her insensitivity, her callous remarks about my childhood, and total lack of responsibility and accountability for her own actions. The conversation always turns to her mental state, and her inability to face this situation in her life. She justifies all my pain with what a good person she is and what a good life she lives. So I swallow and I make the decision to continue to work on our relationship to the extent that it does not hurt me emotionally. I have suffered enough and I continue to build good boundaries when it comes to a relationship with my mother. I realize it may never be like the relationship I have with my own daughter but I love my mother and I wish her nothing but the best.