Content Notice: This story contains references to Self-harm.
My therapist and I were talking recently and she said she believes my self-esteem is rising. I feel free and able to breathe in the fresh air again. I feel I can say no to situations that do not bring me any mental well-being. I feel I am finally able to stand up for myself without being afraid.
The earliest memories I have of when traumatic events began are from when I was 10. My parents were never married. My mom and dad lived separate lives. I was able to visit my dad on the weekends, but my mom was married to an angry man and was very ill from an unknown disease. The man my mom was married to would yell and scream. They always fought. He was very intimidating and liked to intimidate me. My self-esteem plummeted, and I began harming myself.
At age 25, hearing her abusive lecture for the millionth time, I walked out. I initiated the cutting of ties. I walked out shaking with anger. I was already living on my own, but I was fed up with all the years of abuse. Finally, something inside me had had enough. I calmly got up, told her I had a friend to meet (I did, so it wasn’t technically a lie), and walked out of the restaurant we had been at.
Once outside, I ran behind a dumpster. I knew she would find me and force me to come back if I didn’t make myself hard to find. I was indeed scared but I was ready to escape and be free. The next day she wrote an email to my aunt and me, letting us know that she never wanted to see me again and that I should give her back her house key. So a few days later I did. Thus my journey into freedom began.
Freedom didn’t come without a cost, though. I was definitely at my lowest point in terms of my self-esteem, and I escalated to cutting myself. My aunt was helping me through this difficult time, and my poor Dad tried, but he was stuck in limbo with his wife. I switched to a previous therapist, the one who had first recognized the abuse going on in my life. She helped me stop cutting, and I have been seeing her ever since. It has been five years since my abuser and I cut ties.