I read Amy Asphodel's post on Prejudice and her experiences with it. this drove me to want to share my experience with prejudice and bullying. I hope that someone will see this and feel some hope for the future. I believe my experience with prejudice and bullying is slightly different. Why do you ask?
My Bullies were family.
I was always a bit of an odd child. I talked to myself quite a bit, had numerous imaginary friends. My dad and I lived on our own and traveled quite a bit. thus I was a fairly happy kid.
when I was six, My dad remarried my step-mom. she was very nice and soon my full-blooded brother came to live with us. we were enrolled in school and I was relatively happy. When my mom had my younger sister, we were pulled out of school and home-schooled. This only added to my shy personality but gave me the opportunity to read and study at my own pace.
Somewhere between the time my baby brother was born and our move from Las Vegas to Pahrump, a small rural town in Nevada, things began to change. Words my family passed to me and my siblings turned sour.
Both my parents worked long hours and trusted no one to watch my younger siblings. Thus the job fell to me as well as most of the house cleaning, taking care of our various farm animals and seven dogs. My youngest siblings were only four and five. My brother tried to help but he eventually began to leave the house to see his friends down the street. I did little to stop him. Our parents did not believe we needed friends or other people. they still believe that having friends is unnecessary.
My parents stress from work began to leak into our everyday life. yelling about small problems, little slaps upside the head for doing something as simple as making noise when they had a small headache. we took this in stride and struggled to be adults, even though my brother and I were only 12 and 13.
My brother's visits to his friends were eventually discovered and for lack of a better term shit hit the fan. I won't lie, my parents constant emotional and verbal abuse caused me to start using my arms as a cutting board. but the night they snapped was horrible. My step-mother punched me (even though she denies it now. I remember.) My brother ended up with a black eye. My Step-mom accused me of endangering her children and I thought the night would never end.
We eventually moved after that, to Florida and things got better. I started high school and everything started to improve. although my parents were still controlling as ever, it was more bearable to have a place to escape to.
As the years drug on, My brother discovered Punk Music and with it came rebellion. My parents and he were always at each others throats. he refused to be controlled or even try to please them. He finally left for good one stormy day in June. He told me before he left. "You'll realize how wrong they are one day. I hope." He left and I would barely speak to him for several years.
I discovered the Gothic Subculture in junior year of high school and finally found good friends who loved all my quirks. As I developed my own sense of self, my parents struggled more to control me. From tearing up my fishnet stocking (they are only worn by hookers, my mother claimed.) to forbidding me to make spiderwebs on my eyes with eyeliner. As I continued to cling to the one thing they couldn't change about me.
Something was changing, I graduated and started dating a boy they hated and forbade me from seeing him. I still managed to date him for a year. he was no better than my parents. He told me my opinions were stupid unless I agreed with him and he told me that my crying over something my parents said or did was growing tiresome and I should learn to not let it get to me so he did not have to listen to it all the time.
So I continued to let My parents control everything, use me as a house maid, call me "freak" "hooker" "loser"
Phrases such as "You are such a freak, you'll never amount to anything if you keep acting this way." and "You like My Little Pony, I thought you couldn't get any dumber." I started college, my confidence little to nothing left of it.
Then I began to enjoy my classes. I met a nice boy and I stayed in contact with my friends. They all told me how wrong my parents were and how much of a jerk my boyfriend was.
I started to grow stronger. I broke up with the horrible boy and started to date a good gentleman, who's family told me how wonderful I was.
The verbal abuse got worse. My Step-mother began to attack me verbally for no reason. I would come home from a date just to have her try to beat me down.
Then a great thing happened. call it fate, divine intervention, or sheer luck. Andrew's mother offered me a place to stay at their home. She told me to talk to me parents, who hated the idea but I knew I had a way out now. My own father ended kicking me out "you are either in this house as part of this family or you are not part of it."
I stayed strong until I was safe in Andrew's arms. Part of me sad at the loss of my family and home, the other happy for finally being free.
I still have many issues to work through. but I know one day I will be strong enough to face the memories that make me cry. to face the family that caused those tears.
I am telling this story in hopes of helping someone. I am not looking for pity or anything like that. I just want a victim of abuse be it by family, spouse, sibling or significant other out there to one day see, it will and does get better.
Bats and Kisses