Skittles's Story (very long, and triggering)

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Skittles's Story (very long, and triggering)

Postby Skittles » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:03 pm

Hello, friends!!!

As part of the healing process, I decided several months ago to write about my life; a few of my close friends here have already read it, and numerous people have been asking to see my story. So after 18 months, I finally decided to post it!

I am, by nature, a very vivid and graphic writer - I used to win awards in school, and had a lot published in both my high school and college papers. When I wrote this, I tried to keep it as toned down as I could, without losing my personal writing style. As a disclaimer though, it's very veryyyy long (I'm long winded ;) ), and even the watered down version is probably triggering.

I'm not sure that "enjoy!" is the right sentiment, but.. here is the first part of my story :) ...

I had a very idyllic childhood, for the first 9 years of my life at least. We were by all standards the picturesque American family. My father had a good corporate job and worked very hard to bring home a nice paycheck. He was strong and handsome and everyone knows that daddy can fix anything and everything. My mother stayed at home to raise my brothers and I. She was beautiful and fun, usually soft spoken, made crafts with us and cooked every night. I always viewed her this elegant lady. My older brother is 7 years older than I am, and was fun, played with us, invented games and built castles and got out the video camera to make movies. I was adopted domestically as a newborn and was always told how special I was, how much they wanted and prayed for me. My younger brother is 16 months younger than I am - he was a "surprise." My mother was told that she could never carry to term again, she had had 4 miscarriages before they adopted me. When I was 7 months old, she got pregnant with my brother. We were so close in age that we were almost raised like twins for several years. I was very happy, loud, and outgoing. I loved to run and play, talked constantly, got into trouble all the time, and was a bit of a tomboy. Everything was good.

The night before Easter, the year I was nine, my parents sat the three of us down and said they needed to talk to us. My mother was sobbing. My father told us that they were separating, it wasn't any of our faults, that they loved each other but he wasn't "in love" with my mother any more. My older brother stormed out the room and my younger brother began screaming. I felt like the world was crashing down around me. It was very surreal, sitting on the couch listening to my younger brother scream "Why? Why mommy why?" over and over again, my mother sobbing too hard to comfort any of us; it was like looking through a window pane at someone else's life.

People ask me all the time, "You really didn't see it coming?" It honestly came out of left field. My parents, by some miracle, has managed to keep up the "happy family" facade even as their marriage fell to pieces. I don't ever remember them arguing in front of us. They appeared to get along wonderfully, or so it seemed through my happy child's eyes. Looking back, I suppose it's very possible that I missed the small signs, the little indicators of trouble (I found out as a teen that they had attending marriage counseling in secret for 2 years - I had no idea) We were blindsided. I think because the divorce was such a surprise for us, we struggled to accept it and readjust to our new lives.

That was the catalyst. My parents separation and subsequent divorce was the point at which everything began to spiral downhill. It was like a boulder rolling downhill; things just got worse and worse. It was so many big changes at once. We were forced to move from the house we had grown up in (or the one my younger brother and I remembered, at least). My younger brother and I had to switch to a new elementary school - same district, different school. And of course, my father was gone.

If I'm going to be honest, the next several years are very hazy for me. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I think at some point it just became too much for me to bear and I began to repress memories. A lot of the details and finer examples are fuzzy, and there are large gaps of time that I barely remember - like months long stretches. When I try to think back, things are very jumbled up and unclear. I'll try to organize and explain it the best I can.

The divorce broke my mother. I really believe that she suffered some kind of mental breakdown. She was no longer the beautiful, sweet, loving mother I had known. She was ugly and vicious and hateful; she'd become a totally different person. She would keep me up all hours of the night to complain about my father. She would say terrible and hurtful things and, being all of 10 years old, I believed her. I was so young that I didn't understand how sick she'd become, or the fact that she was making things up in order to turn us against our father. My father couldn't handle the stress, the tears, and my mother. He disappeared for about 18 months. We only had visitation with him every other weekend, and he was canceling every 2-3 visits. We barely saw him for a period of time. he also began to date another woman. This, of course, made my mother even angrier, and her ugly rants began to escalate.

My older brother was very angry with the situation, and began to act out; he was sneaking out to parties, drinking, and fighting with my mother. My younger brother began to have behavioral problems; he was diagnosed with ADD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), as well as some slight learning disabilities. There was always someone screaming in the house. Either my mother and older brother were screaming over a party or his record number or detentions, or my mother and younger brother were screaming over the homework he didn't understand or his attitude issues Somehow, I had become my mother's confidant. She would tell me all the terrible things that my father was (supposedly) doing to her, things that no child should ever have to hear about their parent. She would tell me that my older brother was going to get himself killed, that she couldn't handle my younger brother. She would tell me how she just wanted to run away and start over, begin with a new life and no burdens. I still remember, so vividly, being 10 years old and standing behind the kitchen counter, sobbing, while she paced around and screamed at me, "You're FATHER is sleeping with that whore in MY house, in the bed that was ours when we were MARRIED. He took you off his will, did he tell you that? He took you off his will and put her on instead, because he loves HER more than he loves you." Those kinds of comments stayed with me for a long time, and that was the beginning of my self-worth issues. After all, if my own daddy didn't want me, then who would?

I suppose it's important to clarify that my mother is a compulsive liar. She makes things up, and then she believe them like they're the honest to God truth. Many of the stories she told me were either greatly embellished, or didn't happen at all. I think she wanted us to be on "her side." I think she was hurting and the way she coped with it was by making up lies in which she was the victim. But, back then, I didn't understand all this. It took me a long time to realize that she was dripping poison into my ear. She was telling me all these terrible things and my father wasn't really coming around at the time, so I thought it must have been true. Ten is still a very impressionable age, and she was blatantly telling me, "He doesn't love you" and "If he loved his kids, he wouldn't have walked away like that. He left you." I also remember being told at one point, “He left because of YOU. He didn’t want you kids.” She was warping my mind, attempting to make us dependent on her and her alone. I was feeling very unloved; like I wasn't good enough. I began to struggle with anxiety and trust issues. My personality was changing drastically.

I was struggling to make friends at the new school. The divorce and all the stress at home had turned me into an introvert - I barely spoke in class, preferring to sit quietly and mind my own business. I was suddenly very shy and quiet, and feared rejection. I wasn't included in the playground games, so I would sit on the asphalt and read. I had hated reading at that point, but was too embarrassed for everyone to see how lonely I was. I soon became an avid reader, discovering that books were the perfect escape to my miserable life. But that's a different story : ) I had very very few friends, a non supportive self absorbed family, and no one to vent my fears and anxieties too. I was actually so lonely that I invented an imaginary friend. I know most children have an imaginary friend at some point or another, but 10 is fairly old to be talking to a made up being. His name was Draco, and he was a vampire. His coffin came out of the air vent in my room, and he'd talk to me every night. He was comforting and supportive, the friend I didn't have in real life.

For the first time in my life, I was being left home alone (my mother had been forced to get a job) and I was struggling to control myself. I was eating out of stress, finding comfort in food, which lead me to gain weight. I became a little chunky, and people noticed. My mother would tell me that I ate like a pig. The first summer after the divorce, I was 10 and he was 8. My mother had picked up some odd job as a merchandiser and was gone during the days. My older brother was working to save money for college. I was responsible for keeping track of my younger brother, making lunch. He wouldn't do what he was supposed to, so I would get in trouble. More stress, more eating, more weight gain. The bullying began when I moved into middle school (5th grade). I cried for an hour every single day when I got home from school in 5th grade, wiped myself up, and went out to the bus stop to get my younger brother. My older brother was in the final 2 years of high school, and was too busy to be bothered with taking care of us. He tried, he was supposed to be home when we got home, but he never was. So much of the responsibility of my younger brother fell on me. He was far from ready to be home alone, someone had to watch him and, even though I'm just 16 months older than he is, it became my job.

The next year was very similar. I was coming home from school and crying most days, and I cried myself to sleep every night for nearly two years. It's hard to express in words what a sad, lonely little girl I was. I used to lay in bed and sob, crying for someone to hold me, cuddle me, give me some form of comfort. My father was emotionally withdrawn and my mother was too busy wallowing in her own misery. No one noticed really noticed me. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the term "self-soothing," but I eventually developed my own technique to calm myself down. I began rocking myself, a slight side to side motion, until I fell asleep every night (That habit stayed with me until I was married and even know when I'm sick or upset, I catch myself rocking). I would cry out to God and ask him why he wouldn't just let me die in some accident, I’d beg Him, "Just kill me please, please just let me die."

The bullying got so intense that I would feel physically sick before certain classes. I was still fairly quiet, chubby, an easy target. There was one "popular" girl who took a particular disliking to me, and she was terrible to me. Another popular girl, a cheerleader, was merciless. They would tell me that I was fat, and ugly, and even went as far as to say things like "You should just go kill yourself cause no one's ever gonna like you." My self confidence had dissipated almost entirely, and my mother was helping to chip it away with comments like, "You sound like an elephant when you walk, clomping around like that. At least pretend to be a lady." She refused to help me with the bullying situation, claiming that she didn't want to get involved, had too much of her own “shit” to deal with, and that I needed to "fight my own battles."

My mother had begun to date again around this time. She was always seeing 2 or 3 different guys, and neglected us in order to speak with them. There were so many nights that she would start "dinner" and then get a phone call. She would go sit in our computer room, usually in the rocking chair, in the dark, and talk for hours. I would go back once or twice to see if she'd come out, only to be very emphatically told no via sign language and with "the look." I would finish cooking whatever variety of hamburger helper that was on the stove, open a can of peaches, and make up plates. My younger brother and I would sit at the table and eat dinner alone, while she talked. My mother was was leaving food on the stove so often that, by the time I was a sophomore in high school, she had burned all the Teflon no stick surface off the bottom of her pans (I'm sure Teflon flakes are great for children to digest). This was back when our internet was still dial up, so my brother and I would have to go back repeatedly and beg her to get off the phone so we could finish homework/do research online. She would get angry with us and make us wait, often staying on the phone until 10pm or later, and telling her boyfriends "The kids are bugging me, I have to go deal with them." I remember being up until midnight and 1am some nights, in 6th grade, trying to finish reports, because she'd refused to get off the phone. This went on for several years.

After one particularly brutal day of bullying, I felt like I'd reached the breaking point. I called my father bawling my little eyes out, telling him how upset I was, and asked if he could come be with me. I remember, vivdly, saying, “Daddy I need you.” He was an hour away with the woman he was dating (now my stepmother) and her father was very ill. He was in the hospital, and even though she had 10 siblings and many of them were at the hospital, my father said to me, "No, she needs me more, I’m going stay here, I'll see you next weekend." I hung up the phone, slumped to the floor, and sobbed my heart out. Between the way my mother was acting and that conversation with my father/the way he treated us, I had lost all faith in my family. I felt that I had no one to count on, and felt like they couldn't be trusted.

My mother had begun to drink, and quite a bit. It was noticeable to my older brother and I. My younger brother still lived in his own little lalaland and was oblivious to that fact that our mother was developing an issue with alcohol. My older brother tried to protect us from her, and I tried to protect my younger brother from it all. I'm still not sure that we did each other any favors there. My older brother and I later began to suspect that my mother suffer from Bipolar Disorder, though God help you if you even imply that maybe she needs professional help (that's a different story all together).

She had a liquor hutch in the corner of our formal dining room (which we never used). It was full, I mean literally packed full, of alcohol. When I grew older, I joked that we had our own bar. She also had a wine rack that, at my last count earlier this year, had 40 bottles of wine/wine cooler stacked on it. She was having, at our best guess, two or three drinks a night. She loved gin and tonic. We could tell when she was drinking, because she would get angry and lash out for no reason. My brothers and I (when the older was home, which was rare) would be laughing, loud, having a good time, and she would start screaming at us to keep it down or to "Stop fighting." She would fall asleep on the couch, and I would be trying to wake her up at 10, 11. "Mom, you're sleeping, go to bed. Mom, come on, it's time for bed. Mom please, you need to go to bed. Wake up. Mom. Mom! Go to bed. Please." I remember trying to ask her questions and getting back the oddest answers. I tried to wake her up and ask her where the extra bed pillows were once. She mumbled to me, through squinted eyes, "They're in the... the kindergarten room. With Mrs. {Teacher's name}." I tried to laugh it off and ask again, but she was too far gone and got angry at me, repeating that the pillows were in the kindergarten room and then telling me to just "look until you find them" (she worked in a school district at this time). She used to call me her little mother, because I was always trying to take care of her and my brother. She used to tell people that I was her "little mother." She used anything she could to get attention and joking about her little mother was one of those ways, because she then received compliments on how well she must have raised us. She didn't realize how difficult it was for me to be try to take care of her and my brother. I was 12, I shouldn't have had to coerce my drunken mother into her bed. It was hard for me.

I began to get very angry. Instead of begging God to let me die, I began cursing him. I couldn't understand how it was fair that I had to be in so much pain. I couldn't understand why so many people were failing me. My older brother was hardly ever home, my younger brother was causing so many problems that my mother put restrictions on both of us. My mother was still saying terrible things about my father, but had begun to pick on me more and more. I think when my father withdraw from her abuse, she looked around for a new scapegoat and chose me. I'm still convinced that I had the most counting against me - both of my brothers were biological children, I was the only one who wasn't a "real" child. They were both boys, and I was the girl. My older brother was the first born and my younger brother was the baby. Both of my brothers would scream right back at her, but I had become more timid. I think she knew that she could scream at me all she wanted, and I would likely just stand there and take it, sobbing, without a fight. I was, essentially, the "weakest link." I was the easiest one to pick on, which made me the perfect target. I was seething inside, but didn't know what else to do other than keep my mouth shut and take the abuse.

At some point during that year, when I was 12, I saw 10 minutes of a special on a disturbing new teenage trend called "cutting." I was desperately seeking a way to cope with all the pain I was in, and couldn't stop thinking about that special. It took me 2 weeks to build up the nerve, but after a bad argument with my mother, I was so angry and upset that I took a kitchen knife out of the drawer and snuck it upstairs. I sat on the lid of the toilet seat and scratch my wrist 3 times. They were little more than scratches, but they stung and it made me feel good to have something secret. I read my mother's Redbook magazines for weight loss tips, which lead me to began to cutting back on my snacking as well as giving up soda entirely. I was slowly beginning to lose weight, though I couldn't see it. i has also managed to squirrel away two serrated kitchen knives and had them well hidden in my room . Over the course of the next few months, I began cutting back more and more on what I was eating, and the SI grew in frequency and severity.

The next year, towards the end of 7th grade, I got some sort of flu-bug. I wasn't able to eat for a few days and, when it finally passed, I hoped on the scale. I was surprised to see that I'd lost 6 pounds in less than a week. My mother asked what the scale read and, when I told her, she looked shocked. Looking back, I realize that I was no longer really chubby by that point. But my mind was already so warped that I was still convinced I was heavy. I'd brainwashed myself into believing I was fat. Everyone had been shoving down my throat the fact that I was fat; the bullies at school said, even my own mom said it. I saw the look on my mother's face that day and something just clicked inside me. I felt like I was chubby, and I wanted to lose more weight. When I stopped eating, I lost weight so easily and quickly. Therefore I should just stop eating period. It made perfect sense to me.

And thus began nearly 8 years of a serious eating disorder. I began experimenting with purging. I hated it at first, soon I was purging 2-3 times a day. Before I knew it, I was struggling with both anorexia and bulimia. I was barely eating during the day, and purging dinner every single night. By the middle of 8th grade, when I was 13, I was too sick to even attend school. I missed half the school year. Just getting out of bed made me dizzy, and I was blacking out a lot. I felt genuine pain when I tried to eat, and my parents refused to accept that I had an eating disorder, so they took me from specialist to specialist seeking a cause. Eventually, after numerous invasive tests and procedures, it was discovered that I had Giardia (an intestinal parasite). I'm sure that contributed to how rapidly my eating disorders progressed. I was getting severe pain on the occasions that I actually attempted to eat, and it just reinforced the idea in my head that food was the enemy. By the time the Giardia was discovered, my weight had dropped down to the low 90s. I went back to school for half days at the end of the year, but was still far too sick for whole days.

Although I didn't want to admit it at the time, a lot of my issues with food were about control. Yes, I had this totally warped self-image in my head. But my life had spiraled so far out of control. I felt like I was living in hell. I didn't have a safe place to go. I used to be so desperate for a break that I would tell my mother I didn't feel well, or would say I was cleaning, and lock myself in the bathroom; just sit on the floor and stare at the cabinets. Sometimes I would bring a book and escape into the fantasy worlds I was building in my mind. Things were so bad and I was grasping at something, anything, that I could control. The only two things that were left in my hands was the eating, and the SI. It became like a game I'd play against myself - how long can I go without eating or drinking before I pass out? How long can I forcibly starve myself because I get those crazy palpitations and have to have some juice? The more my mother bore down on me, the more I tightened my grip on the eating and the SI.

Around the same time as the development of the eating disorder, my SI was discovered. This obviously lead to countless Dr.'s appointments and multiple therapists (this was happening while I was still seeing Gastroenterologists for my intestinal issues/the eating disorder) . I was angry by then and I'm the first to admit I was a very sullen patient. I refused to cooperate with the therapist, wouldn't talk to the Dr.'s about why I was hurting myself. I tried, in the beginning, to talk about the emotional abuse, explain about the hell I was living in. At school, they tell you “If someone is hurting you, tell an adult.” I did that. I told the therapists, I told school counselors, I told the Drs in the ER every time my arm needed glued back together. I told my father. No one would listen. They always defended her, and told me I was lying or making it out to be worse than it was. So I just stopped talking during counseling. I would sit in silence and stare at the floor, and each therapist would lose interest rather quickly. In a period of 8 months, I went through at least 4 different therapists - they all either quit on me, or gave up. This just reinforced my feelings of worthlessness and my fears of rejection; my parent's were paying these people and they STILL abandoned me. My mother was still angry at my father, but as the days turned to week and the weeks to months, she began to turn that anger more and more on me.

My mother is a very sick person. No matter what happens, she finds some way to make it about herself, always. I understand this now, but back then, it was devastating to have so much blamed and hatred placed on me. I think the stress was too much for her, and that lead her to lash out even harder. She was screaming at me, calling me names, and slapping me. She would try to force me to get out of bed to go to school, and I would refuse. The emotional abuse escalated to an almost unbearable level. The fine details of much of what she said has been repressed, but I remember just being crushed every single day. She was telling me that I was ruining her life, screaming in my face that nobody wanted to date the woman with the sick kid, told me it was MY fault she couldn't get a boyfriend to stay with her. I remember being slapped across the face on weekly basis. I remember her telling me that she wishes she could give me back, "If I knew then what I know now, even though I wanted a baby so badly, I wouldn't have taken you, I would have said I don't want her, give her to some other family." I remember her slapping me across the face with an open hand, leaving raised, red finger prints down my cheek, and screaming at me, "You only cut yourself to hurt ME" (because, don't you see, no matter how much I was hurting, it was always somehow about her). She would rub my face in the fact that I had issues, would tell me how inconvenient this all was to her, how I was messing things up for her and costing too much money. She could barely pay her bills because of my medical stuff (or so she said), and it was all my fault. I remember being told that I was worthless and that I was destroying our family, that it was my fault everyone was unhappy. I could start eating again, if I really wanted to; I just starved myself for attention. Why was I doing to this them? Did I want to ruin everyone's lives? She even went as far as to tell me that I would never be anything, that I'd never find a man to keep me, the list goes on and on. Soon I had traded my kitchen knife for a razor blade, and my neat tidy lines for wild cuts, deep and disorganized in my pain and fury. The worse she was to me, the worse I began taking it out on myself. I couldn't take the constant screaming. I couldn't handle being ripped apart emotionally every day. I was already hurting so much, and this person who was supposed to protect me and take care of me, she was the worst offender of all. The SI was getting deeper and deeper, and I kept getting thinner and thinner.

As I said in the beginning, much of my story is very intertwined, and kind of hazy. A lot of these events went on concurrently, and so it's difficult to write it out logically. I did my best, though! :)

This segment ends right before some very, very dark times and traumatic events. Eventually I'll get the 2nd portion written out and posted as well, though it's taking me awhile, because nearly all of the time frame is repressed, and I'm struggling to pin it down on a timeline.

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Postby Sheyehs » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:05 am

Hey, thank you.. for sharing that. I mean.. I know this story, all to well myself. Found it kind of scary really, how much my own exhistance relates. Anyway.. thank you.. and mm i dont talk all much in the chat.. but just wanted to throw out there, that if you wanted to chat sometime...... feel free, k? Thanks again for sharing that..

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Postby Monty » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:46 pm

Just wanted you to know that I read your post.

Don't know if it is the same for you but I have found it very helpful, to sit a the keyboard and just let the words flow.

Sounds like you did it today.

Good on you.

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Postby tiredoftired » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:54 pm

HUUGSSSSSS You are amazing for having the courage to post this. Not only for reliving it while you were writing it, but for sharing it with everyone. I hope you found it as therapeutic as it undoubtedly was. You are such a strong woman for everything you endured and remaining to press on each day. Especially in how you take time to provide for others, too. I hope your burdens lighten each step you take and the only tears that you shed are tears of joy. :)

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