Escaping Abusive Parents: Yes, You Can

by | Oct 27, 2022 | It's Family | 0 comments

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Escaping Abusive Parents

escaping abusive parentsAs promised, this is the second part about my escaping abusive parents. Well, this is how I physically escaped abusive parents. But unfortunately, it wasn’t until about four years ago that I began to escape my abusive parents emotionally and mentally.

Escaping physically and emotionally are two very different things. I escaped physically almost thirty years ago but living with abusive parents left me with emotional and mental wounds that I will be working on healing for a long time.

In my earlier post, How Abusers Control Their Victims, I wrote about growing up with two abusive parents. And how both of my parents groomed me to be their victim. I wrote over 2500 words. So apparently, to write on that top

Survive Until Eighteen

escaping abusive parentsI looked back on that time and was lucky in many ways. After trying to run away from home many times, only to be brought back to my abuser, I realized that my abuser would control me until I turned eighteen.

Ironically, my mother put that end date in my mind. She would always say, “until you are eighteen, you have no rights; I own you; you have to do what I say.” Well, okay then, I know what my goal will be.

So, my eighteenth birthday was the date I focused my mind on. Then, when the abuse was really bad, and I felt I would explode, I would focus on that future date. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it had a huge, brightly lit “18” all over it.  

Until then, I would continue to suffer in relative silence.  

A Chance Meeting

One day my mother decided we should all take martial arts as a family. You know, as dysfunctional families do. Honestly, I have no recollection of why she made that decision, but she did, so we started martial arts. I had no idea that decision would change the trajectory of my life.

The Indomitable Jean B

At karate class, I met Jean B. Jean B in her late fifties when I met her. I think she had been married to an abusive husband for about twenty years. But she eventually kicked him out. After that, she started studying martial arts to learn how to defend herself. She was amazing.

Interestingly, I think my mother saw a kindred spirit in Jean B. They had both been married to abusive people. They both had four children. However, Jean B’s kids were grown. And I think it was that feeling of kinship that my mother brought Jean B into the fold. And when you are in the fold of an abuser, you are close enough to see the cracks.

But Jean B wasn’t buying what my mother was selling. I think she did at first, like most people. But then she started to see things that didn’t sit well with her. She began to suspect something was amiss. And because she knew what it was like being subject to the will of an abuser and she knew the insidiousness of emotional abuse.

escaping abusive parentsBecause she had been through it, she saw through my mother’s lies. Jean B was the first person in my life to validate my truth. Thank all higher powers that put Jean B in my life. She was a spark in the darkness for me.

Jean B and I started to plan my escape. I would live at her house while I finished my last year of high school. I had to pay a portion of the phone and cable bill and my food, but I would not have to pay rent.

Having that opportunity was incredible. I could not have left otherwise. I couldn’t afford rent, making less than $400 a month. And that was working thirty-five hours a week while attending high school full-time. I was able to attend school half-day eventually. I had enough credits to graduate, allowing me to work more than 40 hours weekly. 

Escaping Abusive Parents

I was living out of my car the summer before my eighteenth birthday. The abuse had been escalating, and I would have rather been anywhere else but home. And that is what I did.

Because I was not going home anyway, we decided that I should move a few weeks before my eighteenth birthday. We picked a weekday to minimize interactions with my mother. We didn’t know how she would react, and she could be prone to physical violence, so it was safer with her not being there.

But my brother was home, and he called her when I started to move my stuff out. She came home from work to watch me. Oddly, she did not intervene. Instead, she spent the time talking with her friend on the phone. While on the phone, she was wiping the dust off this little CD player I liked. I wasn’t planning on taking it with me, but as I left with the last load of items, she handed it to me.

People often ask me how they can best support someone they believe is being abused. I tell them to validate them. Believe them if they come to you and tell you things aren’t right at home. Then, ask them if they want to talk about it further and if they say “yes,” find a quiet place and let them talk.

If you are sitting with someone who shares their truth with you, please encourage them to seek professional help. I recommend Online-Therapy.* Encouraging therapy is their first step in healing.

Oh, The Abuser’s Grooming

Now, you are probably wondering, wait, what? So you told us that your mother was this horrible, manipulative person who tormented you, but she sat there, wiped the dust off that little CD player, and handed it to you? She doesn’t sound that bad. That sounds nice of her.

Oh, on the contrary. That is part of the abuser’s grooming tactic. You see, I had someone with me. I brought a witness. And to maintain the narrative that I was the one with all the issues, she had to do something that showed it wasn’t her. She’s a great mom. Look, she gave me that little CD player.

That CD player was a piece of the abuser’s grooming of the victim (me) and the public (Jean B’s son) to ensure that she was seen with sympathy for having a horrible daughter like me. I had to be the bad person for as long as she could make others see that.

escaping abusive parentsIt almost worked because, you know what? I remember feeling bad that I was leaving. But then, as I took that CD player, I started questioning my truth. Was I making a mistake? Was I wrong? Was it me?

That is how deep an abuser’s grooming can infiltrate. And why it is so hard to break free. Yet, I did. And so many others have as well.

* I receive compensation from Online-Therapy when you use my referral link. I only recommend products and services when I believe in them.

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