‘I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell him I was pregnant. I found out he had been cheating. Just 3 months before, he learned he had a son from a previous relationship. I was a fool.’

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“As far as I can remember into the years of my childhood, I experienced trauma. I’m not talking about the ‘I fell of my bike and skinned my knee, so I’m never getting on one again,’ trauma. It’s more along the lines of, ‘I watched my dad scream in rage at my mom for God knows what.’ it’s the holes in the walls and doors right by her head that never gets talked about. It’s the rage you can feel every single time he yells and screams at your mom right in front of you, let alone his three daughters. It was constantly not knowing what and what not to say to someone who was stone cold drunk, but was in such denial about, and was a PRO at hiding it after so long. I mean, who can be so drunk they literally pretend they are sober, and actually pull it off? An addict, an alcoholic. My father left when I was 13 years old, my older sister (15), and my younger sister around 5 or 6. My mom gave him more than enough chances to make our family work again. He would eventually choose another woman, who had ZERO respect for his kids, and a bottle over his family.

I was a child of sexual abuse and molestation. Someone I NEVER thought would do those kinds of things to me, did. I thought for the longest time that it was their way of ‘caring.’ Man was I so naive to think those kinds of things. I have since then forgave him for doing those things to me, I have forgiven him for committing suicide to avoid the pain of being prosecuted. I will never forget what happened to me, but I have since then realized that I cannot let that define me.

I was sixteen through twenty when someone who should have NEVER done the things, he did to me, did the same things also. I was forced into sexual activity with him, I was held at knife point and told that if I didn’t engage in sexual activities with him, he would kill me and tell my father that I was willing to do everything we did. So, what does anyone do in that situation besides beg for mercy, you go along with it. I tried for so many years to tell my Father and his Mother what was going on and what was happening, but they never believed me and just assumed I was making everything up. Who does that? In no way shape or form have I EVER forgave my second abuser, he knew full well what he was doing, no one deserves a medal of honor for that. I was a sex slave to him. I cannot count on one hand how many times I was hurt by him.

After my first abuser and into the second, I was wondering if this is the life I deserved for some ungrateful reason. I started cutting to take myself out of this world, on more accounts than one. I tried taking a bunch of medications in hopes that I would not wake up. I would drive recklessly through town in hopes that I would get into an accident and not make it out alive. All so I wouldn’t have to deal with any of that ever again.

I suffered my first severe heart break at nineteen years old, I was engaged to someone I thought would eventually be my husband. I threw myself into school, work, and planning a wedding, all while he was deployed to Iraq/ Afghanistan. Not even six months later, the engagement was called off. He came home and I knew he was suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but he didn’t want to listen. That took over him and he would blame me for cheating and being out with other men when I wasn’t.

We got into a domestic dispute because, he was walking to my mother’s house drunk at two in the morning When me and my sister picked him up, he was so gone he had no idea what he was saying. Started calling me a whore, and when I went after him to scream at him, he grabbed me and threw me on the asphalt, in the middle of the road, at 2;30 in the morning.

At 20, I moved in with my ex. It was the easy way out for me, even if it was only after dating for 6 months. I needed out of that house, and out of that environment or else I would never make it out alive. In some form, I am very grateful to my ex for saving from that lifestyle, even though he never knew about anything from my past. I think in a way, I at first kidded myself for actually loving him, I just wanted out. But over time I fell in love again, and that world came crashing down after so many fights and arguments, then he started coming home later and later on Friday nights after work.

We eventually got to the point where I went to stay with my mom and ended up moving back home. In the midst of everything, I found out that he had been cheating for the last year and a half of our relationship, and we were together two and a half years. Anyone heard the saying, ‘only fools rush in?’ That’s exactly what I was, a fool.

I carry so many demons from my past, after two sexual incidents that never should have happened, after a failed engagement and a boyfriend who wasn’t committed, I automatically thought that it was something to do with me. I thought that I was the problem, that I was the one with commitment issues, that I was the one that all these things happened to me and that’s the reason why everyone leaves. I tried to lie to myself and tell myself that it was them and that they were the problem behind their masks. In fact, I thought I was the one with the mask to not see the horrible things that were happening around me.

One of my biggest downfalls is trying to see the good in everyone, and eventually it comes back to bit me in the ass. I told myself that there is still good in evil people. That they are doing these things because they are trying to show that they mean well and that they truly care for you and about your feelings. NOT!! In people like that, there is no good, only evil.

After my first abuser and into the second, I was wondering if this is the life I deserved for some ungrateful reason. I started cutting to take myself out of this world, on more accounts than one. I tried taking a bunch of medications in hopes that I would not wake up. I would drive recklessly through town in hopes that I would get into an accident and not make it out alive. All so I wouldn’t have to deal with any of that ever again. I have suffered from depression and anxiety most of my teenage years till now. From age sixteen to nineteen, I resided to self-harm when I was so mad, angry, depressed, hurt, violated, I just wanted it all to be done and over with. I even tried to take my life but again taking a bunch of medication that never worked. I was so angry, I just wanted to be done. I eventually got therapy and although my therapist did not work, because more so I didn’t like her, and she told me in a nice professional manner, that I had severe daddy issues.

I knew that I was looking at a rehab facility if I continued on this path that I was on with drug abuse and self-harm. A few years went by and I didn’t reside to self-harm. Now at twenty-seven, I can’t say that. I eventually relapsed and went right back to cutting. Some will say it’s for the attention (if you care to brag that you cut yourself,) some will say it’s to make yourself bleed to death (but you have to know which way to go in order to bleed out.) Then you have the ones that say it was just for the feel of the pain, cause the moment that sharp object touches your skin and makes a mark, your pain is gone, at least for some.

Three years ago, I met an amazing man. After everything I went through and the two failed relationship, I thought that I was incapable of love again. Man, I was wrong and I’m so glad that I was. From day one he was my best friend. Stood beside me when I was going through my last break-up. Talked me through all the bad times when he could have said, ‘Just break up with him Tash’!

It’s been almost four and a half years since we first met, and it’s been a hell of a ride. We moved to Alabama, oddly, six months after dating (what!! Again??) (Let me just say that we had been friends almost 7 months prior to that.) Things were grand, we went out when we wanted too, we did what we wanted to, could go anywhere we wanted to go.

When I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, five months after moving to Alabama with him in 2016. We were constantly fighting at the time and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to tell him I was pregnant, hell the first person I called and told was my mom and she squealed with joy, and then started laughing hysterically because well, I was freaking the hell out. I debated telling Jeremy because I didn’t know what he would say or how he would even react because just three months before that, he found out he had a son, from a previous relationship encounter before we got together, and then a pregnancy scare with us two weeks later. But my mama said I should tell him, so I did.

He seemed happy, he seemed excited even (I think.) I started getting depressed about how good of a mother I would be to my daughter and what kind of life I could give her that I didn’t have. I just started thinking that my daughter would be better off if she wasn’t with me and have to go through all that. But I was wrong. The day I went into labor and went to the hospital, 34 hours of labor, the doctor put her on my chest and all those thoughts faded away. I tried and promised myself that I would try to be the best mother to my daughter that I could be, despite my past. At times I would like to think I succeeded for a while.

We moved back home to Ohio in November of 2017 when my daughter was only 9 months old. New Year’s Day of 2018, I found out I was pregnant again. Everyone was happy except me. In January of 2018, I passed out and they were running all these tests to figure out why. I was off work for 3 months due to complications, and I kept the pregnancy a secret for the most part.

April of 2018, my boyfriend and I got into a huge fight which led to him telling me I needed to go stay with my grandparents, and I thought we were breaking up. The worst part is, my daughter was on the back porch and watched it all happen, I felt like the world’s worst mom at that point.

During her bath that night, she wasn’t the playful, laughing, splashing baby that she is every other night during bath time. That night she just sat there with her head down, and her hands in her lap and was not playful at all, she wouldn’t even laugh. I went back to work and I thought that I was fine, that we were fine.

August of ’18, I had my son by c-section. As bad as it sounds, laying in that hospital bed getting ready to be cut open, I wasn’t excited, I was just ready to not be pregnant anymore, that I would eventually get my body back after sharing it with yet another little human for 9 months.

When the doctors delivered him, I didn’t cry with joy, I didn’t ask to see him. When I was stitched up and taken back to my room, my son was in there getting weighed. late into the night, I was feeding my son and then burping him, I guess I must have dozed off for a second, and he rolled off my chest and hit the side rail. Most moms would have freaked out, my thought was, ‘oh well.” What kind of Mother/ Monster am I?

I didn’t have that love at first sight connection with him, I never got that till her was 7 months old. I was three months post-partum when me and Jeremy had YET another big fight, I went to the bathroom and cut to ease my pain and my anxiety, I didn’t want to be here anymore, so I wrote my suicide note.

During the writing of that note, I was bleeding, I was sobbing, I knew I was going to miss out on my sons first Halloween, his first Thanksgiving, his first Christmas, my daughters second birthday, my sons first birthday, his first Fourth of July. I eventually went back to work and poured myself into my job. I was so depressed; I made excuses and lies about what was really going on with me and my life outside of work. I just kept telling everyone that I was ‘fine.’ when I wasn’t.

My boyfriend and I separated for a month in January of ’19. During that time, I was so lost, so depressed, all my thoughts came running back and I felt that my kids would be better off without me and not have to live this life, I knew that they would be taken care of. So, I took to self-harm, I cut. He came back home a week before our daughters second birthday. I told him he forced his way back into the house by saying he was coming home regardless of my decision. I was just so far gone into rock bottom; I didn’t know what I was saying or even what I wanted anymore.

In March of 2019, I finally took the step to recovery, I signed myself into rehab and was there for a week. I was determined that I was finally going to leave my boyfriend and that all the fighting would stop. He proved to me that even in my toughest times, and my worst times, that he wasn’t going anywhere even when he had the opportunity to do so. He found out that I went to rehab after I just went and didn’t tell him. He was there every single day and we talked on the phone every night before bed time. That is when I realized that I was going to be okay, that my life would continue on, he had every opportunity to leave, but he stayed beside me, even in my worst of times.

I started to road to recovery, I may have some slip-ups along the way, but after rehab, I know that there is more to life than letting depression and anxiety define you. You have to do the best you can for yourself and your kids/family. I have promised myself after rehab, two cycles through a PHP program, and going on two cycles through an IOP program, that I may still have a lot to work on, but I have a LONG life ahead of me.

I plan to go back to school for psychology/ social work. I eventually want to become a motivational/ public speaker for those going through the same things I am/did. Your past does not define you, what you went through does not define you. You can hold onto the shame and guilt as long as you let yourself do so.

As long as you are still HERE, you are NOT finished, YOU are NOT done. Only YOU can change your future, Only YOU can control your future, and only YOU hold the key to your future. Don’t give up, don’t lose hope, don’t let what happened to you or what you did in the past control you from making a better tomorrow for yourself. YOU my child, are worthy of something so much more. YOU are loved, YOU are important, YOU have purpose, even if you don’t know what that is yet. I promise you; it may seem tough right now and that I may never get better, but I am proof that with hard work and recovery, it’s going to. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Love yourself, and the rest will follow. I know now that I am a child of God, and that I am truly his Warrior Child.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Natasha Putt. Do you have a similar experience? Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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