If you ask me, memories are tricky. They can be manipulated, twisted, and turned upside down. Many times, we remember things that others swear never happened, or they say, "Someone told you that, and you just think you remember." I can't even count the number of times I have been told my memories were inaccurate, causing me to question myself at a very young age. I have now come to realize, people only tell you this to protect themselves because they can't face, or they have tried to block out, the things they have said or done. I no longer choose to allow my truth, my memories, my reality, MY LIFE to be meaningless due to others devaluing my memories of the truth.
My name is Savanna and this is where my story will begin.
I have allowed people to rewrite my memories to save themselves for far too long. I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and insomnia for most of my life due to people I love, of all people, trying to recreate a past that never existed. There comes a point in all our lives that we finally realize that our happiness lies in our own hands. It's up to us to do the work it takes to create our own happiness and calm. Finally, I have reached that point. I no longer wish to live with these memories. You see, my real memories, they only hurt me. They threaten to take me down every day of my life because I allowed others to try to control them. My real memories and truths need to be broke open and exposed. Only then can I begin to heal my broken heart, spirit, and soul.
I am so very tired of hurting and suffering because of the abuse others have done to me, the things they have said to me or, The things they haven't said or done that needed to be said or done. I know we are all only human but, some thing, are bigger then just a simple mistake or lapse in judgement. They are purposeful, hurtful, spiteful, vindictive, and some, are just plain WRONG. I want to be free and the only way that can happen is if I break it open and expose it for what it really is/was. ABUSE. Abuse in every form of the word.
My hopes and prayers are that I can help someone out there like myself realize that they don't have to allow others to control or manipulate them into believing things never happened or that they didn't happen the way you remember they did. You don't have to accept a truth you don't want to live in. Nobody has the right to force you to live in silence and quietly die a little everyday just to make them look good. If you are in a situation that threatens your sanity, your heart, your morals or values or hurts you in any way, I encourage you to speak up. Go to a trusted friend or family member. Just talking about things can help you relieve the fear, tension, stress and pain. There is help out there for abuse of any kind. I am opening up myself to anyone that needs to talk or needs someone to listen or help.
If you can't find anyone to talk to or you don't want to talk to anyone you know out of fear, Please email me at email@example.com. I am making a promise that I WILL respond personally to each and every email I receive. God Bless.
I Deserved Better, and So Do You!
"Memories" gave you a little basic information on my background, and why I suffer with painful depression and anxiety. I left out details though. Many painful details. Naturally, I only remember so far back, but for as long as I can remember, abuse and trauma have lived inside me. If it wasn't me being abused, it was my mom or one of my sisters. Something we were absolutely stricken from talking about. Our family's motto was "what happens in this family, stays in this family" and this is where my story really begins.
First of all, I want to say, I absolutely love and adore my parents. It took years of learning to self heal from the pains they have caused me but, I don't blame them anymore. In order to heal, I had to forgive. That is the first step in healing from anything or anyone. Forgiveness is not for them, it's for me, for us. So we can move on in life without a terribly heavy burden that we had no control of. We didn't cause this, create this, and we don't deserve to have to carry it. We deserve better! I deserved better and so did you!! For your own health and happiness, let it go and let God.
Now that that is out of the way I can continue and get into the heart of where it all started for me. At least from where I can remember anyway.
As a young girl, I always remember being my "daddy's girl"—man did I adore that guy! He was the one I always wanted. When I was sick, I remember him taking off work just to sit home with me. He always had a beer in hand but, that never seems to bother me. Him being there was all I cared about. But, by the end of the day, he was drunk and I ended up taking care of myself since my mom worked so much. My mom worked so hard and so much because my dad drank all our money away or he gambled it away or he bought drugs with it or he took out other woman with the money he made. He was very successful and extremely smart. Unfortunately, he was also very strong and mentally unstable.
He never came straight home from work. He always had to stop at the bar for a few hours with "the guys". So many nights, I would hear him pulling in the driveway and my mom would start panicking because she knew he was drunk. We all knew what that meant. My mom would put my baby sister in her crib and pull our door shut so she was safe, my older sister went to her room, shut her door and turned on her music so she couldn't hear anything, and then there was me. I was the one always trying to save and protect my mom from my dad. My mom would sit me on her lap on the couch in front of the door and we sat there, holding onto each other, waiting for him to barrel in the door. I just knew he would never hurt her in front of me. How could he? I was his baby girl. I was daddy's girl.
Sometimes that worked. Most times however, he demanded me go to my room and since he was so big and strong, I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't listen. Don't get me wrong, my daddy never hurt us kids and never would. He has never even given us so much as a smack on our butts. My dad was beat and abused as a child so he would never do that to us. My mom wasn't so lucky though. My mom took so much abuse and survived being a human punching bag. My mom is my hero.
My earliest memory:
It was a typical day. Us big kids went to school, my mom went to work and, my dad went to work. My mom was a waitress at a local restaurant. My dad would stop in without notice to try to catch her doing something wrong. He never did but, his mental illness told him otherwise. He always thought he saw things. My mom never stepped out of line though for fear of what would happen when she got home. One night, he "saw" her flirting with a guy, and demanded she quit her job. She couldn't do that though. Her job was our livelihood. That was how we paid the bills, ate, why we had a Christmas, everything! My dad blew all his money. She told him she couldn't just quit. They went back n forth for a while and next thing you know, his mind had him believing she wouldn't quit because she was cheating on him. What happened next changed me for life. It took my innocence away and showed me the monster my dad was capable of being.
My dad raped my mom and made me watch. I was 5!He told me "this is what you get when you don't listen!" I looked into my moms helpless tear filled eyes and just like that, my life was forever changed. I didn't even know at that time what it was he was doing to her but, I knew it was bad. I knew he was hurting her in more ways then one. From that day on, I held on to that. I lived in constant fear of my daddy. My protector, my first love, the one I'm supposed to love and trust the most in my young life. That all disappeared and was replaced with only FEAR. Fear for my mother. My sweet, innocent, hardworking, fake smiling mommy. She tried so hard to fake happy for us.
This is where the real story begins. This is where anxiety begins. This is where my innocents was robbed from me.
This is just the start of my childhood. There is so much more to come.....
Living a Life of Fear...
I am exposing pieces of my past that has been buried so deep for so long that not even my best friend of 25+ years knew about it. Some things are so hard and unimaginable that you think if you never address it, it will somehow just go away. Unfortunately, that don't happen.
From the age of five until about seven, I saw some pretty terrifying and horrible actions from a man I loved and adored more then life itself. It's horrible what drugs and alcohol will turn a person into. My daddy was quite literally Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde. When he was sober, he was the most amazing man that I have ever known. He would give the shirt off his back if you needed it. My daddy had a good heart. He was a good man but, my dad was a victim of child abuse from his Step-Grandfather that raised him and he turned to drugs and alcohol at an early age to sooth his pain. That's where the problem came into play.
Now, as a young adult, husband, and father, he was already an alcoholic and a drug addict. He was never shown how to be a man and he sure as hell wasn't taught how to be a good husband and father! He was lost. He was stuck between doing what he really wanted to do (being a good husband and father) and being an alcoholic and addict. Naturally, the drugs and alcohol were too powerful for the young man and the child within to fight. They won. Every time. They won. And we lost. My poor mom lost more then any of us. Almost to the point of death a few times.
I watched my mom end up IN a wall, curled in a ball, the horrifying screams of my mother still ring in my head. I saw my dad point a gun at my mom, I saw him throw a dresser on her while pregnant with my twin siblings, one of which didn't make it. So many times I can remember sneaking out of my house to beat on the neighbors door to come over and save my mom again. Luckily, our neighbors were my grandparents. And THANK GOD my dad was scared of my Nana! The only person my dad ever feared in my life was that little ol woman that came at him with a broom. She would ever so calmly come over and tell my dad "Now -----, the cops are on their way, you go sit over on that couch till they get here or so help me, you don't even want to know what I'll do with this broom!"
After watching him do the things he would do to my mom, I'll never understand why he had so much fear of my little ol Nana. I mean, she was mean but, he could have hurt her if he wanted. He never did though. He always sat right down and put me on his lap, I think for protection, just like my mom did against him, and there we sat, both of us crying, knowing what was coming next... the cops coming to cuff him and take him away. As much as it was a relief that we knew we could sleep that night, we also knew morning would be here before you know it and then, it was going to start all over again. Was it ever going to end? Then one day, it ended. My mom finally had enough and filed for a divorce.
But the war was just beginning now.
Hidden From the World
When you live in an abusive world, you hide away. You can't let anyone know what happens in your life. You only have a limited amount of people you know you can talk to about it. Usually just the ones that know what happens already. If you go to someone and they tell the "wrong" person, you may loose your children, your home, even, in some cases, your life. My mom carried a heavy cross day in and day out.
She was strong and brave through it all though. She put on that fake smile and pretended to be happy for so long. She tried moving to another state, hoping maybe my dad would be happier away from intruding in laws, She quit jobs thinking he would trust her enough to stop beating on her, Then, she got good jobs, thinking if she made more money he would be happy she was helping and stop beating on her, then she realized, it was never going to end until she somehow got rid of him. So, one day, she really got brave. She filed for divorce! She ended up too close to death one too many times. We hid out one too many times. She had been kicked down and put down for the last time.
My dad had been in jail for something. I don't remember what it was for this time but, that's when my mom decided she had to make her move. She filed for divorce and took the papers over to the jail. She told him it was to start over fresh. They would move away and get remarried and start a new fresh life away from everyone. It would just be us. Nobody else.
He believed her. He ate every word. And signed the papers! My mom felt so many emotions! As free as she felt, she also felt fear. Huge amounts of fear. What is going to happen when he gets out and knows the truth? Is this going to be the fight where he finally kills her? How will she be able to move on? Will he ever leave her alone? What was I thinking? Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life?
As the days went on with my dad still in jail and papers being sent to the court house, my mom had peace in her soul for the first time in so very long. She was able to come and go as she pleased, she had nobody to answer to, she was able to be 5 minutes late without getting beat up, she could sleep again, she could breath again. She felt free again. We were all happy. We all felt free and happy again.
Then, my dad got out of jail. The feeling of doom hit our home in a heavy way. The tension grew by the hour. My moms face grew whiter with each passing minute until he walked in the door. He was happy though! Happy to be out of jail, happy to be starting a new life, happy to see his family. Us kids were happy to see our daddy again too! Then, after a few hours of pure happiness and bliss, my dad started looking around. Why weren't our bags packed? Why was nothing packed?! He started questioning my mom and she got scared and upset and started stumbling over her words. He knew then it was all a hoax! A plan to get rid of him. He grew very angry very fast. He screamed and yelled, telling us kids to go to our rooms. We cried. We knew what was going to happen next, But, to our surprise, he just yelled around and slammed the door and left.
My mom was still edgy though and as a child, I couldn't figure out why she was still so upset. See, when you are a child, you really can only see what's in your face. You don't realize that there is more to come. That the night was just beginning. My poor mom. My poor poor mom.
She paced the floors all night long. My dad never came back that night. My mom and I stayed up all night waiting for him though. He went out on a drunken drug induced rampage. That rampage lasted well into the next day, when he did come home, He came home with God only knows what in his system.
He took a chainsaw and chased my mom through the yard. Threatening to kill her. If he couldn't have her, nobody could. He cut the windows out of her car, went and got all her clothes and burnt them up in the middle of the yard, busted everything we owned in his path of destruction. My grandparents came out and tried to talk him down until the cops came. He threatened to come back for them too. He was going to kill them all. Oh, the fear I lived, I hid away from others, it was enough to kill anyone from the inside out. The pain of watching the people you love the most in life causing so much devastation and destruction to each other. All the while, not being able to tell anyone what you have to see and hear every night. How does a child go to school each morning happy and ready to learn after being up each night trying to protect their mom from a monster? The days grew colder and so did my heart.
Finally though, it happened. My dad actually moved away and my mom was free to move on. Her 10 years of hell had finally come to an end. We could all live again. Sadly, there was so much damage done though that my mom never slept. I couldn't sleep either. I heard every noise, I got upset and cried if anyone drank any kind of alcohol around me for fear they would do to my mom what my dad did to her when he was drinking. I would grow upset and cry if anyone would argue around me for that same reason too. Eventually, all I did was cry and soon, I became so sad and miserable.
I missed my daddy. I was daddy's girl after all. Where has he been? Is he ok? Why hasn't he come to see us? Don't he miss us too? Don't he love us anymore? Just because mommy didn't want him don't mean we don't! I started lashing out at my mom for running my dad off and bringing new guys home. Who did they think they were?! Laying on MY DAD'S couch! Eating our food! Bringing their kids to MY house. No! Just, NO! I just want my daddy back! He was sorry! I was sure of it! He always was sorry. He didn't mean all that bad stuff he did. He was drunk. Please, mommy, please call my daddy. Tell him we miss him. Tell him to come home! Mom? Are you hearing me? Mom....
My mom didn't listen. She was too busy living life for the first time in a very long time. She was happy. She was having fun. She wasn't scared anymore. She got to have friends, she got to go out, she got to be herself. She loved her new found freedom. Sometimes a little too much if you ask me. Now, I hated her. I hated the new her that was gone all the time. Out with friends, coming home drunk, forgetting to come home at all sometimes. This is not why you wanted dad gone! You just wanted to be able to breath. Not to go out and forget you had kids! What is going on?! I just don't understand. Didn't she love us either? Weren't we good enough to spend her time with anymore? What did we do wrong? I'm the one that was always there with her, protecting her. Now where was she? Why do we have a babysitter every night? Why is our babysitter getting us ready for school? Bathing us? Feeding us? Reading our stories? I don't understand why everything is falling apart now mom. Where do you keep going and why aren't you coming home?!
My mom introduced us to another guy. She expected us to like him and be respectful and kind. Ha! I don't know him! He's not my dad! I don't like him or his daughter! I don't care that we had the same unique name. She was a brat and he was... not my dad!! I hate this! Why are you with this guy? You didn't want a guy? Isn't that why dad had to leave? So it could be just us girls? WHY is he here? Ahhhh! Days past and each time the new guy came and left, he always left change in our couch because he needed a belt and never wore one. That was the only good thing about him! He would leave and we would tear the cushions off the couch and gather all his change! It does make me laugh now though.
My mom and "Hank" ended up getting pretty close. I tried my best to like him. I really did. Somehow, news of my mom moving on got back to my dad and he decided it wasn't ok with him. He paid "Hank" a visit at his work and messed him up pretty bad. REALLY bad actually. After he got out of the hospital weeks later, he told my mom he couldn't risk his life for her since he was the only parent his daughter had and he walked away. Just like that, my moms life was miserable again. My dad stayed in town long enough to hurt my mom by loosing someone she cared about and make us think he was back and he was better now. He fooled us all for a while too. Then, one night, the monster came back. And just like every other time, he went to jail.
They released him and he left again. Mom went back to her wild and carefree ways, and we were left in the dust again, by both, our mom and dad. We got pretty used to our babysitter though and she became like a mother to us. We never wanted to leave her. We did everything together. We had picnics, played outside, danced, played barbies, watched old movies, she even helped us surprise our mom for Mother's Day one year. We made reservations at a restaurant and made her a cake... she never came home until the next day. We were heartbroken. When she did come home, she was hungover. Apparently she was at the hospital because of an accident from drinking? That's how I remember it anyway. I lost a lot of love and respect for her that day. I don't know if I ever actually regained it again either.
Months passed, I grew more and more spiteful of the whole situation and hated my mom and dad. I hated what they did, how they were, what they changed our family into! I hated it all! This wasn't fair and we didn't deserve it! Mom met another guy. They got serious. He put on one hell of an act! Boy, did he ever! And now, the start of a new life began...
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Savanna Ryen
Anna on December 29, 2017:
The pain and sadness has been all too real. Seeing it from a child's eyes. So real so in the moment. It tears my heart into pieces. This wasn't my family of origin story but rather my current family story. So many similarities but some of it not quite the same. We all have different histories that had led up to the misery. And we all had times where it was quiet for how long , who knew, until the other shoe was about to drop.
Savanna Ryen (author) from Pennsylvania on September 10, 2017:
Thank you so very much Paula. That means more then you know. God bless.
Suzie from Carson City on September 08, 2017:
Savanah...If ever I have been privy to a story that stands as pure testament to the unconditional, innate, unbreakable bond of a child's love for her/his Mother & Father, your incredible story is it.
Many emotions have been stirred within me. Sadness, anger, confusion and doubt, but nothing as powerful as acceptance of this reality.
I hope this has been cathartic for you as it has been inspiring for your readers. I admire your courage of disclosure. Wishing you Peace, Paula