I thought my family and upbringing were pretty normal when I was growing up. My mom and dad were divorced and I knew there was some dysfunction there. My mom married my stepdad when I was around 5-6. My father remarried many times, one of them producing my half sister. On my mom’s side, it was my older sister and older brother and me. When my mom remarried I gained 1 stepbrother, 2 stepsisters, and a new half-brother. Sure there were rough times and I didn’t remember most of my childhood, but I assumed everything was normal, except for a tiny thought in my head something bad had happened to me. I used to ask my mom if anything ever happened to me, especially sexually, when I was younger. Her answer was always no, “You had a normal childhood.”
It wasn’t until I got married, at age 20, I realized I lived in a very dysfunctional family. My mom was very controlling and manipulative. She wanted to control me even though I was married and a mother. I started to remember the times she would scream at me and slap me across the face right before we had a function. I was supposed to smile and act like nothing had just happened with a big red hand mark on my face because we were the “perfect” family. I realized she put a lot of pressure on me to be the hero of the family by getting the best grades and getting in to college and medical school. I did get into Harvard’s early admittance program into the pre-med department, but before I could tell anyone, I found out I was pregnant. I tore up the acceptance letter and never told anyone until I was 44.
I married at 20, as I said, and had 3 children by the age of 24. I was a stay-at-home mom for 18 years. After my daughter was born, she was about 3 months old, I was raped in my home by a stranger because my husband forgot to lock the door when he left for work. After that day, I have not been the same person. I developed chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, and intestinal issues. I was depressed and not the mother I used to be. In fact, my oldest son told me, “You were a great mom until one day you weren’t.” How heartbreaking to hear this come out of my son’s mouth. I was a devastated person who could only live in fear of what was going to come at me next. This is where I am going to leave it for today. Believe me when I say, this is just the tip of the iceberg of my trauma.