The Courage To Change
I was raised in the typical American dysfunctional family. My parents were divorced and they married divorced people with kids so I had step parents,step brothers,step sisters etc. My sister and I were young when our parents divorced and our mom hadn't graduated from high school so our life wasn't that stable. My dad and his new wife liked to drink too much and their house was one big party. My mom was so scared that she quickly found a new man to move in and help her financially. As I was growing up it became apparent that my moms new man had a drinking problem, but she married him anyway. When I was around ten years old, my mom got a job in a factory working afternoons. This was big for my mom because she was making great money and she had insurance and vacation and the union made her job secure, she loved it. But her husband didn't always work afternoons like she did and his drinking was getting worse. When he started smacking us around my mom wasn't sure who to believe because she wasn't home to see what was happening. My stepdad was a little perverted and I made sure I told my mom everything that went on because I knew that would keep him in line at least a little. I was the oldest so I took it upon myself to protect my younger sister but that made me the prime target. He didn't like me much and he was cruel, but once I got old enough I started fighting back and he lightened up. But home was not really a home and once I could drive, I was never there.
When I met a guy who wanted to take care of me and make me feel safe, I latched onto him and we eventually got married. We had a good marriage until we had children and then things started changing. After our third child came along I finally realized I married someone like my step father. But he was also controlling and manipulative and as I grew older, I realized I couldn't live like this. I went to counseling to try and hold onto my marriage but it just made me stronger, and I still wanted to keep my marriage together for the girls. But one night of violence made me end my marriage for good because my children were not going to live like I did. I took the girls and left and never went back. I left the house and everything in it, I just wanted to keep my girls safe from harm. I took them up north to the small town my mom lived in. After a ugly divorce and custody battle, I got my divorce and custody of my girls and we started over. I went into therapy to deal with the trauma from the divorce, but I stayed to get mentally healthy. I vowed to myself that I would go all the way through therapy until I was mentally healthy and free from the demons from my past.
Along with counseling I went to a couple support groups and I attended Al-Anon for awhile. I read any book I could find that talked about alcoholism, divorce, co-dependency or dysfunctional families. I even had hypnotherapy to uncover the hidden pain of growing up in an alcoholic and abusive household. It took longer than I thought it would before I finally broke free of the insecurity I felt inside. I have a new found confidence about myself that most people notice. My family isn't very supportive because they try to find fault with me instead of being supportive. I don't talk to my mother or my sister because they are jealous of my independence and strength, but they chose not to complete their therapy. I pray for them but I don't feel guilty that I'm free from the past. I worked hard to heal myself and put it behind me so that my children were able to grow up in a home filled with peace, happiness and love. My children and I are very close and they love and respect me alot, even though we've struggled a little bit. For my children I found the courage to change and it was well worth it.