Picking Up The Pieces

She always taught me how to pick up the pieces. She always taught me to be strong, that nothing can ever stop you. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And she was right, and forever will be right.

My mother did not crumble after the so called love of her life left her, instead she composed herself. She picked herself up and became unstoppable. She moved forward with her life and showed me that no person can bring you down. They can rip away everything from you, tear your heart out and walk all over it, but what comes in the aftermath is up to you. You can either let them win and be defeated, or you can show them that you in fact did not ever need them. The best revenge is happiness.

It took her a few months but she bounced right back. For the first time in her life she could truly say she was free. This meant a lot to her in many ways. She was free to live how she wanted, not worrying about upsetting him. She was free from an abusive relationship, both my father and my step-dad. Her entire life she had, had toxic men but for once they were all finally gone. There was no one there to intrude on her when she was weak. She was ready to be the woman she was truly meant to be. She could blossom. She now had all the power in her hands. The world could be her oyster, as cheesy as that sounds, it was true. The limitations were gone and a woman could finally come into her own.

Sure she cried. For months I would hear her weeping in her room next door. She lost weight, as any person would going through a time of extreme stress and suffering. But as the months passed she became stronger and stronger. I could see the light coming back to her eyes, I could see my mother coming back to me.

When the cancer treatments were finally over and she was in the clear she found herself a job. She put herself out for the very first time in her life for dating. She signed up for multiple dating websites and took herself out. She said yes she could. She didn’t care. She had never had this before in her life. It was all new and for her it was all so exciting. She wasn’t looking for the next permanent relationship, she was looking to have fun. Forever the men in her life strangled the life out of her. She couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. She was stuck, but not anymore. Sure, were there a lot of busts, yes but it didn’t get to her. It was her time to learn and her time to explore. But most importantly live again.

Over these past 4 years since he left I have seen her turn into a completely different woman. She is care free and putting her happiness above anything else that’s trivial. She has learned to manage the stress of everyday life and make sure what she does is exactly what she wants to do. There is no living for another anymore, it is her heart and she plans to keep it in tact.

reborn

What I have learned from her is that no person should ever control you, and no matter what the emotional grips they have over you, you are your own person. Even when they walk away it is not the end of the world. This is a time for you to be reborn and carry on with your life. No person is worth being miserable over, especially when they have intent to hurt you. You are better than that and deserve better than that. Sometimes you need to be ripped away from your comfort zone to realize your potential. My mother was comfortable in this abusive cycle, not looking outward to see what her life could be. Then when he left and made that first decision it enabled her to push forward, to see that there is life outside of this horridness. It might have been an extreme situation but she picked herself up and is happier today because of it.

I ask her sometimes if she ever thinks about him, or misses him. She always responds with him leaving was the best thing to ever have happen to her. She doesn’t hate him, she doesn’t love him still either. She feels nothing towards this man, because he deserves nothing else from her. He took a good portion of her life and she was ready to move on.

Her life is now her own and she has learned to find healthy relationships. She is currently with the sweetest man who just enjoys her company. They have been together for a year and a half. I truly and honestly couldn’t be happier for her. She deserves to be treated right and live a life of freedom, free of abuse.

Seeing her bloom has been the most beautiful gift, and has taught me so many life lessons. She will forever be my role model.

Because You Are a Liar and a Cheat.

He was gone. Out of the house, and with hope out of our lives. But my mother knew all too well that he would be back, and when he came back he wanted the house.

For a few weeks my step-dad was gone, completely out of contact with anyone. He had told my mother he was leaving, packed some things, and left. They had been together for 15 years and just like that he was gone.

I went on to graduate high school, on time might I add, which was a huge achievement. He had been with me throughout my journey whether he liked it or not, and when this beyond important date finally came he was not present. He had vanished just like that. One minute we were bonding over life and the next he had moved on. Deemed us no longer worthy to be in his life, just like that, with a snap of his fingers.

When he came back he forced my mother into a corner, either get out of the house or pay him what he owned. His name was on the title, making him the half owner of the house even though my mother first purchased the house and paid it on her own for 3 years. My mother, still going through cancer treatments, decided she would just pay him off. What choice did she have? She wasn’t going to let him take everything and get away with it.

He was stubborn. Not for a million years did he think she would settle, and he came at her with everything saying that he owned more than he did. He argued over the money for months. My mother had to take out a loan in order to pay him back, and days before the closing fee was due he backed out. He said he refused to pay his part, so to get rid of him my mother paid his fee. All of this just to stay in our house, the only house I have ever known. Why did he do this, oh for the money of course. Part of this property he owned, and with that came money, even if it was a trivial amount.

Later he came and took the rest of his things. His brother helped him move the stuff out, the brother that was closer to my mother than my step-dad. They took meaningless things, but it was still the act of coming into our house and removing items that I have grown up with. It was like I was reliving what I did years before with my father. I was losing memories, even if they were held in material items.

My mother stood stoic on the front lawn as they removed piece after piece. I followed them around the house to make sure they weren’t taking things they weren’t supposed to. After the truck was loaded up they were gone.

That was the last time I ever saw him or spoke to him.

So why did he do all of this? Why did he rip a family apart? His reasoning was because he was finding himself, that this journey he was going through did not include us. He was adopted as an infant and grew up with these feeling of abandonment, then he had two children it turns out he didn’t want and in turn practically abandoned. These feelings are what he blamed for leaving. He added that he couldn’t handle our medical problems, that it was just too hard for him. So he left.

My mother did more for that man than he ever deserved. He never opened up to her except in the end when he was looking for a scapegoat. My mother raised his children, fought battle after battle for him to have better custody, told him what to say to have a real bond with his children, paid for everything and anything all on her own even though she too was sick and struggling. She did all of that for him, so that he could have a good relationship with them. Well it turns out they were both mistakes that he never wanted.

My mother’s last name revolves around Valentine’s day and she was born only 3 days after the holiday, so pretty much Valentine’s day was her day. In all 15 years he never once took her out or bought her a present. He viewed it as meaningless which meant he could care less. He viewed every holiday as meaningless. For Christmas my mother would go out and buy his children gifts so that they had something to open from their father. My mother did everything for him. In his weakest moments she was there to pick up the pieces. Well it turns out it was all for nothing.When the pressure was on him he couldn’t handle being a real man. He was a coward all along.

He was cheating. All along it was another woman. All the lies that came out of his mouth were to cover his own ass to make him feel better. Apparently saying that you’re leaving because you need to find yourself makes the guilt less than saying what is really going on. Apparently that makes it all okay.

The moment we knew was when he accidentally sent a check (which was so small that it didn’t make sense, years later we figured out it might have been him sending money for the closing fee?) with his address on it. An address we looked up, which was owned by a woman, a woman who went to the same yoga studio as him, a woman he had wrote about in his yoga journal. She was younger than him, had her own house, and was on this spiritual journey. Just like he “was”. She was living the lifestyle he wanted, and unknown to us they ended up together.

Both my mother and I drive by the house often since it is on a main road going to the local hub of the area. His ancient car sits in the driveway. The man that refused to buy anything found a new host to mooch off of. His charm is never ending and clearly she was as easily fooled as my mother.

liar

What he does is mooch off of people. He has this innate desire to save, save, save. For what? We will never know. At this point he would have close or over a million dollars. Yet he has nothing to his name. He has a car that is falling apart, no property to call his own, no relationship with his only family, and no interest in marriage or anything.. He essentially has nothing. But yet he must think he has everything. He gets to live in another house, pay nothing, live the lifestyle he wants, and pretty much get away with murder.

He left us. He abandoned us. A ran running away from his own turmoil with abandonment went and left his closest family. And he didn’t even care. He had a family that loved him and was working with him. Sure it needed some serious help but when something is worth it you never give up. And you never leave when he did with my mother still battling cancer and me struggling to get out of bed every day.

The day he removed his things was the last time we heard from him. He has never contacted my mother. Contacting me would be a joke, I wasn’t even on his radar to begin with. That was 4 years ago and I have no doubt for the rest of our lives we will never hear from him again.

And at the exact same time I don’t care. To me he is nothing more than a liar and a cheat.

The Wound That Never Heals

This is a continuation of my journey with my father, read part one, part two, part three, or part four.
There are always consequences to your actions, even if you are just a child. I didn’t know what was going to happen next in regards to my father, in my brain I guessed taking the initial action would be enough. I would never ever have to face him again, I wouldn’t have to fear what was coming next. But I was young, and I was oh so naive.

The first round of court was focused on making my father out to be neglecting. Our first lawyer said the abuse claim wouldn’t hold up in court since there was no actual “abuse”. That was like a slap in the face, even our lawyer didn’t believe I was in danger. I was told what to say and how to say it, nothing which was actually true. Because I was a minor most of the talking was on my mother’s end since she held custody. But what doomed me was the fact I verbally agreed to do week on week off with my parents and both of them signed. Although it was not court officiated it was used against me that first round. We couldn’t even take the case past the lower judge since my lawyer royally screwed us over. So at the end of this I was forced to see my father as I was before and if I didn’t they would hold my mother in contempt of court.

But to my surprise my father didn’t want me. He of course didn’t say it in front of a judge because if he said that then the all mighty dollar would come back into play. By stating he didn’t want me he would be forced to pay child support. I couldn’t stand to be around him. And worst of all he was trying to make it seem like nothing happened, that I was overreacting to the entire situation. I would be lectured over and over. The family outing tripled. The car rides were excruciating. I had nowhere to hide. I was trapped and that was that. If I didn’t do everything he wanted I was psychologically messed with. The family friend would make comments about me to my face, then trade off to my father who would mock anything I do. The two openly discussed how horrible my mother was and that I was just like her. It was never ending. Then on top of that my father was pushing me further and further into the school nightmare. He would watch every homework assignment I had to complete. If I didn’t complete it to his likings well I better do it again, and again, and again. There was no asking for help. I did it right the first time or I was a failure. This was drilled into me until I broke down inside and knew I was a failure who would never be smart enough.

When I went to my mother for a second time I asked her if we could pursue the custody issue again but this time with a different lawyer. This time we won, we pursued the abuse issue and the courts dissolved the matter of me going there every week. My mother and him discussed on the phone how I would come over on weekends like before, and no fight was to be had. Those weekends were painful. Those weekends I shut off, I couldn’t stand to be in that house. I eventually stopped going because my father’s rage was clearly building again, and if he exploded in front of me again I just don’t know what he would have done. When my mother went to the court to have child support put back into place my father lost it. He was threatening my mother in front of two lawyers and a judge. Even his lawyer screamed at him to shut up but with no success. The last time I saw my father was that last day in court. He sat next to us waiting to be seen and tried to talk to me like it was any other day. He was unapologetic. He still thought I was making everything up. He truly believed my mother was the one doing all of this and that I was just following her lead. He had no idea what he had done and what he was doing.

I haven’t actually had any contact with my father since then, he had contacted me on three occasions and that was when he was about to go to jail for not paying child support. Every single time the bill was due he wouldn’t pay and when I turned 18 he just stopped paying all together even though in his marriage contract he signed to pay support until I was 23 no questions asked. He is currently 9k in arrears. For years after the last battle he would claim he was disabled and completely broke so that the court would pity him. He would show up with no shoes on and a walker, saying that his health is so horrible and he hasn’t been able to afford shoes in 20 years. He would fake a variety of ailments all to get his cost lowered. He would show up on purpose without any paperwork that the court ordered. The same man with a record collection worth over 100k. The same man with two cars. The same man that collects artwork from around the country. The same man that travels around the country for leisure. By the end of it all he was paying less than $200 a month for me. And even that was so much for him. For his own child with medical problems I was worth $200, and even then not even worth that much because he didn’t pay that money. The realization came to me years down the line that my father put on a charade just to get out of paying child support, but the game he was playing was my life and to him I was just a puppet.

He was vindictive. A year after contact was shut off he went into my college fund and withdrew 10k, the entire amount he had saved for me while I was living at his house. Because of the plan we had that 10k would be so taxed that you were lucky if you got back 1k. It was a slap in the face. Even without him in my life he would torment me. He called me on two occasions before court appearances saying he was on his “way out” and that we should “hug one last time”. His reason behind his so called death, a minor blood clot in his leg that was so minute not even the doctors would write him a note for the courts. He called again saying practically the same thing, just a different excuse.

And when I cut off my father I also cut off that entire side of the family. They knew how my father was, they saw what he would do and how he behaved. But I lost them too. A grandmother, an aunt, two uncle, and two cousins never to be heard from again. They could have reached out to me, and honestly I could have reached out to them but we didn’t.

The life with him as my father left me scarred, left me emotionally broken and in therapy for years but I regret none of it. What I did that day was something I needed to do on my own. It was the first time in my life I made a decision by myself for my own wellbeing. There are still days where I look back and question everything that happened, questioned if I did the right thing. But every time, even if it takes weeks to come to this conclusion, I realize that I did do the right thing. Someone who takes you for granted and abuses your trust, mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and uses you as an object has no business being in your life. When I tell people my story I always get the “daddy issues” label and it boggles my mind. I think at the end of the day people need to dig deeper into who is in their lives and even if it their own flesh and blood realize that it is not okay to be abused.

It takes real courage and strength to exile an entire side of the family. It will haunt you forever. The emotions that come with doing this will cause all sorts of conflictions in your thoughts. My mind always creates scenarios where my father is a decent human being, where he isn’t the man that shaped who I was for the longest time. I have created my own defense mechanism where I just block out the painful barrenmemories. When I go to search for them they are no longer there. My mind becomes a wasteland and with that comes peace. I try my hardest to rid my mind completely of him, but what he did left battle scars that will never heal.

Slaying the Beast

DestroyerThis is a continuation of my journey with my father, read part one, part two, or part three.
Slaying the beast was the hardest decision of my life. It meant severing all ties. It meant leaving behind a life I would never return to.

As the weeks with my father deteriorated year after year, so did our relationship, well if you can even say we had a relationship at all. By the time high school rolled around I was practically tip toeing around the house. Anything I said could and would be used against me. The slightest bit of disagreement would lead to a meltdown on my fathers end. During my sophomore year in high school I was struggling in math and for that reason had a private tutor. It all came to a boil one night when I realized I needed a calculator for my test in school the next day.

I went downstairs to ask my father if he had a spare I could use, and when I told him the reason for needing it he started to unravel. He was yelling that I was going to fail, that because of one stupid mistake my entire math career was over, that because of this one thing I wasn’t going to get into college. I retreated to my room for cover as I usually did, until I heard my father yell that he was going to call my tutor. He did and started shouting that it was his fault. This switched over to saying his prices were too high. Then switched over to how my mother is a useless piece of shit. By this time I was downstairs again begging for him to get off the phone. I was petrified that he was saying this to my tutor. The family friend told me to go upstairs and close the door, she of course was going to try and calm him down.

I waited in my room, listening to my father explode. I could hear things smashing downstairs. I could hear the family friend screaming back. My father’s voice started to crack, instead of being his normal tone it was higher. It was him breaking down to his very core. I sat at my desk with my phone in hand shaking. I was scared, truly and honestly scared. Every bang I jumped, every scream a tear rolled down my face.

I sent my mother a text message, but was then too afraid to actually call her. We communicated that night via email, the one thing my father could not rip from my hands and use against me.

Then it happened. The family friend burst into my room, tears falling from her eyes. My father silent downstairs. She came over to me and hugged me. She was saying sorry over and over and over again. Then you hear the stomping. He was coming up the stairs. He burst into the room, she was screaming for him to get out. She sobbed as his face neared hers. He left, slamming the door shut. To protect us both she pressed her body weight against the door. We were both crying hysterically at this point.

My father was ballistic. From the other side of the door he was screaming that my mother was a lying bitch. She was worth nothing. That she ruined him. That all she wants is money. He called her every name in the book, saying that my then step-dad was the reason for all his despair. With every word he banged his fist against the door, the friend pushing with all of her might to keep him out. When she couldn’t any longer he was there, in front of me, practically foaming at the mouth. His fists were inches from my face and I was now my mother. In his eyes there was no difference. He was yelling at me like I was her.

My mind went blank. I sat there as the world seemed to fade around me, my father’s hands blurred, the sobbing in the room disappeared. In that moment I was gone. And then it was over.

He left. She left. I was there alone. The faint quivers from my father could be heard from downstairs. I sat there for a while. Not moving, not sure what to do. If I moved he might hear me, and if he hears me he might come back. So I sat as still as a statue.

After about an hour I snuck an email to my mother, her reply was pack as much as I could into my backpack as I could and act normal until I left for school the next day. Hours after the explosion my father came into my room. He comes over to me. He forcefully hugs me.

He says “that needed to happen, you needed to hear that” and leaves. I packed my essentials and as much clothes I could fit in my backpack and went to bed. I didn’t cry that night. I didn’t think of what had happened. I only thought about getting out. My only goal was to get out of that house safely. The next morning no one was awake to say good morning, no one was awake to tell me good bye. I walked in the dark to the bus stop and waited. I went through school like a normal day. I told no one what happened, and when it was time to take the bus home my mother was there to pick me up.

We drove to a parking lot close to school and she asked me if I wanted to do this. I was ready. I was ready to leave that house and I was ready to pursue legal action to do so. From here we drove to both counties my mother and my father lived in and told the police what happened. We also did this to notify them he has a history of physical violence and that there is a strong likelihood he will show up at my mother’s house expecting me to come back with him. When we got home my mother called him letting him know where I was and that I was not coming back. Within 20 minutes the family friend was dropped off at my mother’s door and was trying to negotiate a peace treaty. She kept insisting to see me. My mother kept me away. After no success my father picked her up and we didn’t hear from him for a while. In a weeks’ time my mother negotiated a way to pick up my stuff from his house, not realizing this was going to be a permanent removal. When I went to pick up my things no one said a word to me, in fact no one really looked at me. I was able to take my remaining clothes but that was about it. My computer was there, my bedspread from my mother’s house that I had since I was a young child, family keepsakes, all my childhood toys. I was leaving behind so much and it broke my heart. I knew this would be the last time I would be in this house. I knew even though just material objects, I was leaving behind a part of myself.

Within two weeks the court order was sent to my father and the legal battle began.

Innocence Removed

This is a continuation of my journey with my father, read part one or part two.

What happens when good intentions cause immense suffering and betrayal? What happens when you are protecting your loved ones and yet causing battle scars that last forever?

The warning signs were all around me, the red flags signaling at every turn. Who was my father really and what have I gotten myself into? At my mother’s house I saw actions that were the norm, drinking alcohol at nights, prescription medication for the variety of medical issues everyone suffered, and regular arguments between family members. When translated my father’s house was no different. But when critical information was withheld I didn’t realize what was happened was the beginning of something much worse.

To protect her daughter my mother never told me my father was an alcoholic and drug abuser. She never told me of his anger issues, never told me of marriage from hell, never told me of the abuse my father inflicted upon other women in his life. I was none the wiser to his actions. I never thought to tell my mother of any red flags because things seemed similar. When a child sees one parent doing an action if the other repeats then why would that cause alarm?

I was already uncomfortable staying at my fathers and knew if I said anything the consequences would spiral out of control. I was already losing control of myself and my life, I couldn’t stand to lose even more. Staying at my father’s house as a recently puberty ridden young woman was tough. My body was changing and the support given to me was just uncomfortable. At school I was being sexually harassed. I was a late bloomer in my physical appearance which caused a group of older boys at my school to harass me. They would follow me around, comment on my Wickedmosquito bites, make remarks that I must clearly be a boy, talk about actions similar to rape in regards to me, and call my home phone until we were forced to unplug the cord. Day in and day out the remarks were shouted at me, isolating me even further from my peers. The stares others would give me made me feel so alone. The backlash I projected alarmed even more of my peers. The harassment was making me the weird one. When I sought comfort with my father his responses were awkward. He would reply with “I always found small boobs on women attractive”, as if that was to comfort me. I confided in him before my mother, and with the awkward response I never told my mother in fear her response would be similar. It was not until the day they called my mother’s house phone literally all day right after the other that my mother went straight to their parents. She had no idea what was going on and when reported to the school it stopped. Legal action was threatened finally on my mother’s part before the sexual harassment completely stopped.

I stopped going to my father after this for any help on how I was feeling. The tension at his house was already growing. The former family friend with the beach house moved in and acted much as a second mother towards me. As the migraines progressed so did the harassment at his house. When I had a migraine one of them would burst in and make a comment. At his house my room did not have a locked door and he refused to put one on. There was no knocking, no simple voice spoken to make me aware someone was coming in. Just the burst and my door wide open. On many occasions I would be changing and there I was out in the open for either to see. On days I had a migraine I laid in bed hoping no one would come in, usually without success. Someone always felt the need to say suck it up or get up you’re faking it. Soon the comments turned to anger and I would be screamed at while in bed with a migraine. I hated it there. No one believed I was in pain, and no one believed anything I said.

The fact was that no one at that house was taking care of me. At first the transition was successful and privacy was respected, meals provided, a caring and comforting environment for me to grow up in. In a matter of just months that all left. Where there was once family dinners now laid empty tables and empty fridges. If I was hungry I would scrounge for anything in the house, soon I was strictly eating the dollar noodles. My father, preparing for cycling, would starve himself and with that starved me. In the fridge lay a pack of carrots and alcohol. If you were hungry you would snack on the carrots, which at the time I hated. When I brought this up to my mother she would give me money to go to the local store for food and continuously yell at my father for not cooking. He tried on and off, he tried to be there for me but the effort was fading. Grilled cheese became a regular item for me and when food was cooked that I didn’t like a fight would breakout. I would apparently throw my nose up and disrespect what was put in front of me. When I was excused from the table someone would follow me upstairs and yell at me. You might blame this on me being a picky child but what once was little a scolding were turning into fights that made you fear for what would happen next.

The red flags were surfacing at even a faster pace now. On multiple occasions my father would walk to the bathroom naked, which you must understand my room was right outside the bathroom and the hallway was not long. Every time he would act shocked that I was there, but how could you not know I was there with my door open? The comments were being made left and right about my weight. “You can’t eat that, it will go straight to your thighs”, “Once you turn 13 its all downhill, eat what you can now”, “Skipping a meal might be good for you”. The lack of approval was also fading. Nothing I ever did was good enough for my father. I excelled in school despite my constant absence. When I came to him and told him about my success I was told it was not good enough and to do better. If I had an A I should have an A+. If I wasn’t perfect I was failing. This created this gap in my brain that fostered and grew into something I still deal with today. This constant reminder that I am not good enough, between my appearance and my performance.

I was putting up more walls, creating more barriers between me and other people. The little friends I did have were fading. When I was allowed to go out I hung out with the bad crowd, I was a bystander to my own life. I was there with a group of people who accepted me coming from their own troubled home life. I was always asked by my teachers why I hung out with “those” kids, that I was better. I didn’t know I was better, in my mind I was worthless. Who cared if I was a straight A student hanging out with the middle school drug addicts, at least they seemed to care about me. When high school rolled around most of the people I hung out with went to the tech school or they were forced into private schooling leaving me friendless. The friends that did transition to high school with me ended up abandoning me for being weird. Even the troubled kids thought I below them.

Eventually I was accepted into the nobody crowd, those kids that didn’t fit into any sort of clique. Even though I was accepted it didn’t mean I would be welcomed. I was still an outsider even amongst them.

As middle school came to a close and my high school journey began a new phase in my life started. But even by now the once innocence I had was torn away and replaced with a growing fear and regret for past choices.

Strangers To Enemies

This is a continuation of my journey with my father, read part one here.

By the time I was entering middle school and diagnosed with migraines officially the home life started to get a bit rocky. The summer of 6th grade everything changed. I was with my father for an extended amount of time and he decided to go down the Jersey shore with me. A family friend, sometimes girlfriend, sometimes not had a bungalow down the shore. It was quaint and just a few blocks from the beach. I loved going down there to roam the town on my own, even though I was only 11 I was given the freedom to do as I please. Times down the shore were exciting with my father, he would often just give me quarters to go to the arcade by myself or plan exciting day trips as a group. I hardly knew my father even at this age, all he was to me was someone who wanted to have fun. The times we spent together were not spent in conversation but in activities. I had no obligation to talk to my father if all he wanted was my company. If he wasn’t talking to me then of course I wasn’t striking up a conversation. I was a shy child around strangers and my father was practically a stranger.

I remember on one of the last days at the beach my father was going to go out on a bike ride. At the time he was a competitive bicyclist, and a pretty good one at that. I remember having these butterflies in my stomach before he left. I even went to him and told him to stay home and not go out on the ride. He went anyways. Hours upon hours go by and we get a call from the hospital. My father had crashed and was at the local emergency ward. I remember arriving and being escorted back to the room where I saw him lying in excruciating pain on the stretcher. Apparently as he was riding he pulled off into an empty lot but didn’t see the lip from the road on to the pavement. He came crashing down smashing his entire pelvis. The hospital quickly figured out the shattered pelvis but took hours until they figured out the broken collar bone. My father was smashed into pieces and was helpless.

It was an odd summer. I was over my father’s house often because I felt some obligation to take care of him. He needed help moving and couldn’t really use his legs. Plus I wasn’t in school so what else would I do? It was also not far from my fathers rented house to my mother’s house, only about 10 minutes away. By the time summer was coming to a close my mother and I were not getting along, at the time I didn’t realize it was probably because I was over my father’s house far more than she wanted. My father seeing an opportunity decided to bribe me. For being such a good daughter over the summer he was going to buy me a new desktop and my very own laptop! The catch was that I had to agree to stay every other week at his house. I was thrilled! Fun time dad every other week?! I mean how could I pass that up! Especially since I was having a bad time at my mothers.

Instead of going to the courts to get it officially changed the group decided on just a written agreement. The main factor was that no child support would be paid to my mother since I would be half and half now. But my father had to start putting away savings for my college. It seemed fine to me, I was just happy to have all this new technology. So for the start of my 7th grade I was split between the houses. Things for fine for a while until my migraines started to come back in force. When I had a migraine at my mother’s I was cared for. When I had a migraine at my fathers I was being dramatic and should suck it up.

In 7th grade I also officially became a woman, which brought a whole new fun set of issues to deal with. The major issue, menstrual migraines. The nastiest, most brutal pain I could even imagine. And every month like clockwork I would get them. The worst part was the neurologist providing treatment could no longer help me. I ended up in the ER on multiple occasions just to get a cocktail of Toradol, Benadryl, and Zofran. Whatever the case this seemed to always rid me of my unbearable migraines.

I was always miserable whenever that time came when I was at my fathers. I was scared what would happen. There would be no way he would take me to the hospital if something were to happen. Soon my neurologist recommended that I see a gynecologist and be put on birth control. This way I could at least go 3 months without a hospital visit. For those who don’t know the pill form of contraception can be taken consecutively for 3 months then a week off, and it is not just used for birth control. In fact the pill can be used to help alleviate a variety of medical issues. In my case medical migraines. After this I started planning tTrappedhat time around the weeks I was with my mother. I couldn’t bare the thought of having to be at my fathers while that was happening. Soon things were starting to look in my father’s mind that I was only sick at my mothers. He started issues with my mother, threatening a custody battle until he decided that I clearly need therapy. So at 12 years old I was dragged to a therapist to work out my problems. I was told I was going to build a better relationship with my father, little did I know there was another agenda.

I was regretting my choice to change my living situation only a few months in and I knew if I changed my mind now it would only cause more drama. Therapy was practically a disaster, it was awkward and beyond uncomfortable when my father was brought in. I didn’t truly understand why I was there. I thought I was doing something wrong, that my actions at some point had led me into this situation. Therapy sessions ended with awkward hand offs from mother to father and vice versa. I was feeling so alienated between the home life and the medical situation. I felt like no one could understand what was happening to me.

As life around me was spiraling out of control so did my appearance. I wore nothing but black, talked to no one, and confided in only a single friend. Some say it was just a phase, that every child goes through their phases. But what was a phase and what was a desperate cry for help?

Loss of Blood Ties

The next part of my journey is quite a lengthy few years. At this point in time we introduce a pivotal character, my father. The stories are deep and very emotionally rooted. From a length perspective these are sure to be the longest portions thus far and because of this I am going to break it into parts.

From the getgo my father was a sly cunning fox who could sell ice to the Eskimos. He came from a religious family, his father being an Episcopalian minister. From the stories I’ve heard from both him and other family members his upbringing was a troubled one. By the time he met my mother she was desperate to get out of her own situation and married practically right away. He offered an escape for her and at the first chance she took it. My father was expected to be successful and in his own mind he was destined to be a man to be remembered. My mother worked full time to pay for his college degree at of all schools, Wharton (which is Ivy League level business). Coming out with a business degree he was expected to make millions, be a CFO of a company, anything successful. Instead his own mindset got to him. He quit his new job and decided to be an entrepreneur. From here on out the story fades, not much has been told to me. What exactly happened next is unknown to me.

The pieces I do know were of a troubled marriage spiraling out of control. My father was an alcoholic drug addict with an abusive temper, which wasn’t aided by the fact my mother also had a flaring temper herself. On a number of occasions I listened to stories where my mother had an outburst and was silenced only by the physical abuse of my father. By the time I was 2 years old my father had turned into such a monster that even my mother who knew she would be left out in the cold with a toddler decided to run. The night she knew it had to end was when my father was coming home from a business trip. He was so drugged out that he crashed his car into multiple neighbors parked cars and stumbled on home practically drooling on himself as he went. Seeing all of this happen my mother decided it was time, the unstable nature of my father was now in the public eye with a toddler close by. And the fuzziness begins again, the story falls short and the details are left blank.

If we speed up in time to when I was in kindergarten my end of the story can really fall into place. My entire life my mother and father were fighting each other, both for the approval and award as best parent. My mother being an actual good parent who cared about her child was always there to pick up the pieces. On her own as a single parent she was able to work and take care of me, providing me with the best childhood possible. My father on the other hand who only had me for weekends was trying to boast his fatherly skills. As a young child this consisted of child friendly trips such as the zoo or playground adventures. What I saw of my father was fun time dad, not anything of what he truly was.

The prime example of this was my kindergarten graduation. Since I went to a private kindergarten we had a special ceremony that congratulated us on our little achievements (which is seriously ridiculous). My mother was ecstatic, until my father showed up. I remember graduating, walking and standing for pictures then being given a bag of gummy bears. After that I was in a car being driven away frustrated that I couldn’t open the bag, which I eventually tore open and lost half of my prize. But it wasn’t my mother who was driving, it was a family friend. What was happening to cause this? Apparently a fight broke out between my mother and father which resulted in my father physically assaulting my mother in front of all the other parents and children. The cops were called and charges filed, all while I was being escorted away to hide the true side of my father.

So why after all of this would my mother allow me to see him? Why did the court allow him visitation? The simple answer was the abuse wasn’t affecting me and my mother truly wanted her daughter to have a father in her life no matter how horrible he was. She tried her hardest to make my father something he just wasn’t. No matter how hard he tried at the end of the day he was scum. He had cleaned up his act, got anger management, and by all means looked to be a decent father. Behind the scenes he was constantly fighting over paying child support, always lying to the court, and sabotaging everything my mother had worked for.

It was a tricky situation for anyone to be in, how could a parent tell her child no? How could one parent keep the child from the other? And how do you even start to tell your child the truth?