A place to clear my head…

The Boogeyman is real

As parents we need to stop teaching our children that boogeymen and monsters are not real. They are absolutely real, and they lurk in every shadow and every corner of our lives, waiting to steal our innocence. Waiting to take all the pieces that make us who we are. They take until we are nothing but a shell of the soul we once were. It is our job as parents to teach our children how to defeat their boogeymen.  We must teach them how to rise above the bad things. And to hold onto the good. I almost forgot. And I almost lost myself in the process. I’m finally finding the power to defeat my boogeyman. It’s taken me 28 years, but I finally did it.

My childhood looked pretty great from the outside. I had friends. A loving father.  A loving mother. My parents provided my brothers and I with everything we needed. Plenty of food, nice clothes, a nice home. From the inside, I was living a nightmare. My parents were divorced, and I was living with my dad and my stepmother.  My stepmother was a drug addict. And her hatred for me was never a secret. I reminded her of my mother And she took it out on me constantly. My childhood was full of abuse. I had my hair ripped out, my head held under the water in the tub,  I was beat on a daily basis.  My doorknob was turned around so she could lock me in my room all day until right before my dad came home from work. Until she finally had enough of me, and she threw me away. I was sent to live with my mom and life was good. I was part of a family again. And then my dad came to me one day and said the boogeyman was gone. He asked me to come back, so I did. And for a long time life was amazing. He had the greatest girlfriend Kristi. She was  patient, and loving and kind. She loved us without question. Without expectation. She asked for nothing but our love and respect in return. And we gave it to her without a second thought.

And then one day, she was gone…  Life was still good, but not as happy as it was when she was still there.  We did all the things normal kids do.  We played football in the backyard.  We played manhunt at night with all of our friends in the neighborhood.  We had family dinners and game nights.  Then my dad got a job offer on the other side of the country.  So we said goodbye to everything we knew and loved, and went to start our new life in Arizona.  And then the bad news came.  The Boogeyman was coming back.  Things were ok for a little while.  She seemed like a different person.  The monster that she was, seemed to be gone.  This was the first time I figured out how deceiving appearances can be.  It did not take long for the two headed monster to rear its ugly head.  The physical abuse never returned, because I was older, and she knew she couldn’t hurt me that way anymore.  But the mental abuse returned.  Only subtly at first, but it was there.  Lurking below the surface.  After living in Arizona for about a month and a half, my dad’s job transferred him to New Jersey.  So we travelled back across the country again.  Once we were settled into our new home in New Jersey, the two headed monster came back with a vengeance.  I was banished to my room, only allowed to come out for meals and to go to school.  She searched through my things looking for anything I wasn’t allowed to have, which was basically anything I could use to occupy myself.  She took all of my books and threw them in the garbage.  I was left with nothing but 4 walls and a ceiling to stare at.  The only break I got was going to school.  And school wasn’t much better.  I was so emotionally withdrawn from life, that I kept to myself.  I didn’t make any friends.  I didn’t participate in class discussions.  I spent my time fantasizing that this was not really my life.  That I really belonged to another family, and that one day they were going to come and rescue me from my nightmare.  I wanted to die, but I didn’t have the courage to end my life.  And then one day, my nightmare ended.  She threw me away again.  I made the trip back to Pennsylvania to live with my mom again.  She was about to get married to an amazing man, and he welcomed me into his family with open arms.  He did everything he could to win my heart.  And my mom tried so hard to make my life better.  Unfortunately for them, I was broken.

Nothing they did was good enough for me.  I always wanted more.  I acted out, I ran away from home.  I fought with my little brother.  I did horrible things.  Because I didn’t know how to deal with the life I had left behind.  I didn’t know how to let go of the hurt.  I didn’t know how to let go of the anger.  So I lashed out and took it out on everyone that cared about me.  I hurt the ones I loved because I was hurting.  In my head, if I couldn’t be happy, no one else was going to be either.  I pushed my mother to her breaking point.  She had no choice but to send me back to my father.  When I got back to New Jersey, the boogeyman was gone again.  And life became normal once more.  I started making friends, I was doing well in school.  I had my dad back, and although I hated South Jersey, life was content.  Until the boogeyman came back.  AGAIN.  This pattern would occur two more times over the years, until I finally broke free 13 years ago.  I met the man I eventually married, and pushed the boogeyman out of my life.  Unfortunately all I did was trade one monster for another.  I continued my pattern of abuse victim into my marriage.  It was mostly mental. Some physical. Major psychological.  It’s taken me years to get past the horrible image he imbedded in my head about me. It’s still a working progress. After four years I found the courage to leave and start my life over. Little did I know I was jumping from the frying pan, directly into the fire…

To be continued…

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