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There was the covert sexual abuse but nothing overt that I remember…. parents walking around naked… leering… embarrassing statements made… my dad needing to ‘talk’ with me while I was taking a bath. There was no lock on the bathroom door and, besides, I couldn’t say no to him. Also, since there were no doors on the bedrooms, there was the getting dressed and undressed under the watching eyes of my father and brother.

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The neglect was a very hard part of my growing up… knowing that my parents wished we didn’t exist. Neither of them wanted any children but I don’t think they understood that there was birth control available. We were all accidents. They didn’t like to talk to us… play with us… even hardly feed us. As soon as I was old enough to baby-sit for money I was buying my own clothes and shoes and paying for my own dentistry. When dad wasn’t working he was sitting catatonic in his kitchen chair… a permanent frown on his face. Mom was doing her artwork and would tell us to “Go out and do something!”  I don’t remember them taking us anywhere except for once a year to a pizza restaurant. There were no movies to go to. I never tasted a fast food hamburger until I was 16years old. Mom and dad took several vacations in which we were not invited. We were left at home by ourselves and during one of those times, when me and my sister were 16, we went out and got ourselves and our brother hamburgers from Burger King.

Even with all the violence it was this neglect that made me suicidal. I believed I was such a burden that I didn’t think it was right for me to remain alive.

Later on in sobriety, I came to understand that I’d taken the abuse personally. That there was something wrong with me to drive them to do to me what they did. Many have told me that the problem lay entirely in their laps. However, I have yet to be able to fully embrace this reality. There always seems to be more work to be done to untwist the thinking. Even though I don’t really believe in prayer much, I still pray that one day I will be restored to full wholeness as a human being. I pray because I don’t know what else to do. Many years of therapy have done little to make any changes.

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