Ugly Ducklings Inc wants to join the conversation in relation to child abuse and raise awareness on this important matter. Charlotte is not only a survivor, but an example of how there is always hope and a way out. Check our Resources page to find help if you need it. Trigger warning: suicide, sexual abuse, child abuse
The stuff that really hurts people, the stuff that almost breaks them… that they won’t talk about. Ever.
– April Tucholke
Growing up I must have asked myself a thousand times, “Why doesn’t my dad love me?”
I wondered what was it that I could have possibly done to have made him so angry all the time. He didn’t drink, he wasn’t a drug addict, no history of mental illness. Not that those are ever excuses for abusive behavior, but at least I would’ve had a medical explanation, or something such as a substance to blame to explain for his actions. Instead, all I had was a father who was just simply evil.
To friends, to outside family, to the world he was the most amazing person anyone ever met. He was hilarious and handsome, had the best personality and was the guy everyone wanted at their party, their workplace, and in their life. He was successful in his career choices, had a home, wife, kids, and even the ladies on the side fell for him.
I would look at this man and think “Why can’t you be like this at home? How is it you have all of these people fooled? Why are you so nice to everyone but us?” It was honestly like watching a real-life Jekyll and Hyde.
I will not go into graphic detail about the abuse that I suffered from his wrath, but know that there is not a place on my body that has not been left untouched by his hand, his mouth, or his anger.
Abuse can come in many forms: physical, sexual, verbal. And I can assure you that all were both present and persistent throughout my childhood and young adulthood.
I was terrified to say anything. He was clever in the fact that he made himself known with his charisma to my educators, to my youth leaders, to my Sunday school teachers. Anyone that I thought that I could’ve turned to for help, he made sure to befriend them and look like the world’s greatest dad to them. It was repulsive, and sickening but in the end I knew that I would one day win.
The first promise I made to myself was that I would never turn out like him. There are too many stories of children who repeat the cycle of abuse, who are so angered by it that they replicate onto others what has been done to them. Instead, I would grow up to help other kids who have suffered from abuse.
The second promise I made to myself was that I would get away from him eventually, I would survive the hell of his hands and live to be successful despite his mission to break me. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I wanted my life to just end. You get to a point where you question humanity, God’s existence, and your place in this world. I mean, if the person who helped create you, your very own parent was this cruel, then what was the point in continuing to live? And when I got older, it took some very loving and special people to help me realize that I wasn’t damaged goods, and that someone could truly love me.
I was fortunate in the fact that right before I turned 18, I finally had someone to start asking me questions. Almost four years later, in a very serendipitious way I had somehow befriended my 8th grade Science teacher. Never one to have ever disclosed the horrors of home, I was extremely hesitant to have even trusted her with my secrets. And it would take months of having conversations with her before I did ever let on to what I had and was enduring.
I had honestly thought that my father had “planted” her in my life just to see if I would indeed tell someone about the things that he did. But no, much to my relief he wasn’t even aware that I had even ran into/formed a friendship with my former teacher.
Then one day, I was standing in my old teacher’s house and she pointed me towards two doors. “We have two guestrooms, pick one.” she said. And in less than 60 days later, her and her husband officially adopted me. I have a new family now.
My biological father did not win. I am a college graduate, a former educator, someone who wants to obtain a psychology degree to help children who come from abusive backgrounds. There was a time when I was terrified of that man. He had all of the power and control. But he has been dead to me for quite some time and I hold all of the cards in regards to my life.
Yes, there are things, unspeakable things that happen to abuse victims. But as long as we are silent, no one will know how to help. If you are being abused, change your status from victim to survivor. Speak out and do not let what has happened to you dictate your self worth.