ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

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The First Abuser

Overcoming abuse doesn’t just happen It takes positive steps every day. Let today be the day you start to move forward. — Assunta Harris

I have so many ideas of fun things I would like to do and write about, but I made a promise to myself that I would get to some of the items I’ve been avoiding writing about first. I will start with the first demon of my past: my sister. I have too much to share in one sitting, and believe me, even in this format, you’ll want to take my sister in small doses.

One of my very earliest memories with her is clouded, obviously, from my young age. We were in the back playing on the slide. I remember falling off; I think I was five. At this time, our back deck had been built and a pool from a house my grandparents purchased was in. I say that because I remember having to run around it to get to the house. What I’m not sure of is how I fell off the slide. It wasn’t a tall slide; the sides were short, but I was a small kid, and to go flying off the side after so many years of going down that thing… I could have gone flying off the side. I flew, gravity took control, and I hit hard.

The next thing I remember was being in the car pleading with my mother not to take me to the ER. My mom asked me to move my hand and make a fist, all of which I did. She tells me, while I did this, I was white as a ghost and bawling, but doing it and pleading not to go. Turned out, I fractured my right wrist, giving me a cast with lots of “you cant’s” to a 5-year-old.

We have home movies of me sliding down that slide while I was still in diapers. It wasn’t a new slide to me. I’d been down it many times. My sister was with me when I fell. Did I fall or was there an added push involved? I won’t ever know. I’ve always found it odd that someone standing right there watching me could truly not see anything. I do know for sure my torment from her started in earnest the next year.

A month before I turned six, my grandmother died suddenly of a heart attack. My main memory of that day was hearing my mother screaming in the house, and then later, Dad taking us to my sister’s room to tell us she was gone. Kristy immediately started crying and I remember not really understanding the fuss and just wanting to see if mom was ok.

Now, having studied child development, I know at that age I had no concept of what death was. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn that soon enough. It was right after that that my sister used my lack of “crying” as a sign that I didn’t really love grandma. For years after this, I was told by my sister almost daily that I was uncaring and unloving. I was a disappointment to Mom and Dad because I obviously didn’t know how to love and appreciate people. I was set up to live so many early years of my life fearing and feeling alone. I couldn’t love, so no one could ever love me. What was there to love about me?

I didn’t know then, but this was the beginning of her campaign to terrorize me into blindly following and obeying her. I don’t know, maybe it was the family version of Stockholm Syndrome. Pleasing her and keeping her happy so she wouldn’t bring Mom and Dad’s disgust and anger onto me was the main goal of my early life. I appeased her as best I could to keep the peace in an otherwise unpeaceful, full-of-fear life. I was groomed to have my worth set by her or others around me. I was made to do as she instructed, whether I understood what was happening or whether I felt it was right or not.

She groomed me from such a young age, it would be decades before I would understand that what she’d done was wrong. Unfortunately, I learned the lesson way too late in my life.

The writing of this was difficult, deciding to post has been tortuous. Coming out and admitting to the abuse I experienced, sharing the details of that abuse is some of the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt. What truly scares me is knowing, this is just the tiny beginning. I have so much more I need to get out and share. I hope I can continue to find the strength to do just that.

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Esse Letters

Esse Letters

I explore abuse at the hands of my sister, bullying and worse from men early in my adult life, along with my lifelong health and chronic pain struggles.