Family Values

Family Values

Imet him when I was 16. I didn’t know the red flags of abuse. It started immediately. A push, a thrown glass, a blocked exit, a broken-down door. He called me a bitch, a whore, a cunt. I was frightened but didn’t realize it. I minimized the attacks, protecting myself against an otherwise intolerable level of fear and threat. I became blind to the potentially devastating situation as I meandered my way through years of serial abuse.

I was isolated, seen only by family who couldn’t hear my screams. He abused my sex, my maternal blood, my loyalty. He shamed my body, my mind and my spirit. The cumulative effects weakened me to a level of vulnerability and fear that paralyzed me. I clung to strangers who I met on line for validation, starved for acceptance of my imperfections and he became jealous.

He did the unthinkable and destroyed my world in a fiery blaze of hatred and selfishness. I lost everything and everyone I ever loved. I learned that so-called family values meant it had been my responsibility to keep my family intact, despite the abuse. I learned that the narrative on the ideal family betrayed me by creating the illusion that a perfect family exists. And because I failed to have this perfect family, then I bore the negative consequences of my failure. I learned I was to blame for what was not achieved. I was betrayed by the wholesome, implausible portrayal of perfection because I did not live up to family expectations.


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