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Forgiveness is freedom

by 4d via Android

I responded to a post last night/ this morning. that got a lot of feed back and I'm doing a really shitty job of explaining in 140 characters. So I figured I would take the a moment to share my experience to people who might relate and find it helpful to hear another's perspective. So I'm not a therapist or trained in psychology, I just know what helped me get through the bitterness and negativity that I was carrying around. Anyway, that's my disclaimer. So a bit of a back story. The kidnapping My parents had 5 kids, and fought constantly. My mother decided she wanted out. She left the kids and my dad and got a boyfriend. My Dad worked midnight shift this week, and my 17 y.o. sister was supposed to be watching my younger sister and me. My mother showed up about 2 am with a luxury van. For those of you who don't know, its basically a living room on wheels. She packed up all my stuff into garbage bags while I was sleeping. She and her friend woke me and my little sister, got us dressed and put us in the van my older sister helped her. We went to her friends house and carried everything in and slept on the floor. Why didn't my father call the police, you ask? He did. He was told it was a domestic dispute, and until custody was established she wasn't breaking any laws. So long story short, I lived in a van for a few days before we get to boyfriend's house. He was a drunk and mean. He took all my toys to the consignment shop. There was a wicker baby carriage for a small doll that my grandfather had given me. He had died 2 years prior and it was precious to me. He also shaved my head to hide me from my dad while we were still in the same city. They told people that I had lice. They did the same to my little sister. When they realized they couldn't keep doing that, they came up with a fool proof plan. To take a greyhound bus to Los Vegas with two small children. What's the plan when we get there? Wing it! Boyfriend has a sister who lives there, we only have money for a few nights in the motel. So he decides that we're going to walk to his sister's house. It took 3 days of walking to get there. Sleeping in the desert is very cold, and bugs really enjoy your warmth. Not to mention all the crap that gets stuck in your hair. We get to her house, and she takes one look at our dirty, hungry faces and tells us all to piss off. So we spent the next few months living in the streets of Las Vegas. We slept in parking lots that were set up like out door shelters. There were good people and creepy people. I watched out for them and made sure my little sister was always with me. I had to grow up very quickly and learn who to trust.

Cut to being found. We got into low income housing because my mother finally got a job at a casino. I don't remember the name exactly, but I remember the space theme. The Galaxy, or the Universal? Anyway I digress, also we had to be enrolled in school because of state law. Since low income housing makes you provide information, they had no choice. By this point I've been conditioned not to talk about my dad or family with anyone. Especially adults. I had tried to tell a few adults, but my mother convinced them I was exaggerating the situation and it was just a custody dispute. Going to school gave me a break from the constant drama. I was worried about being taken away again. However the physical abuse got worse. The school nurse and my teacher sat me down and I spilled my guts. I told them everything. I remember our house number and the nurse called my dad. He wasn't home. He was at work. The nurse told me that she was going to help me and not to tip my mother off. Because she didn't want me to disappear again either.

Going home. As you can imagine, they called CYF immediately, they contacted my father and the CYF in Pittsburgh. My mother couldn't run, and my father knew where we where. Since custody still wasn't established, they did a very brief investigation and my father was awarded custody. They put my sister and I on a plane, it was the last time I'd see my mother until I was 18. My dad got me into therapy but I wasn't ready to talk. Before I was a bubbly sweet little girl, and now I was quiet and self contained. I didn't do any acting out, I wasn't particularly aggressive or hurting myself so they let me be.

The next few years were very painful. I was only a child when everything happened and in a way it's a blessing, but as I got older I began to realize how fucked up that whole situation was. How could my mother do that to me? She was supposed to be my protector. She let her boyfriend hit me and put me in dangerous situations over and over again. How could all those people let me stay in that situation? I was bruised, under weight, skittish. The investigator called it "beaten dog syndrome" Hearing that about yourself leaves an impression. I closed myself off and spent most of my time reading. It was a form of escapism sure, but also an outlet to understand what I was going through.

Healing didn't want to be closed off anymore, I made peace with what happened by accepting I couldn't control it. I wasn't given a choice, but I could let it continue to hurt me. By closing myself off I was missing out on all the good things too. I wanted love and trust and security. I had to overcome my fears. I had to trust in myself, that if someone one betrayed me I'd be strong enough to get past it. Don't get me wrong, I won't continue relationships with toxic people, and I won't let them change who I am. Figuring out who I am was a big part of healing. For me it's a work in progress, I'm not perfect and some days are easier than others. I'm allowing myself to grow and learn as I go. I want to be a source of love, compassion, acceptance, and safety for the people in my life. I know what it is to hurt and to suffer, when I see pain in someone it's reflex to reach out. That's in my heart, my mother's actions won't take that from me. The bitterness and anger was weighing me down. I had to take what positive I could from the situation. I learned that I was a survivor, I understood suffering and pain and it made me a more compassionate person. I saw what happens when a mother doesn't protect her children, and I became a better mother.

Forgiveness Acceptance and stubbornness to not let them change me was what I got by on for a long time. As a result of my adventure I have anxiety. I deal with it with meditation and crafts. I also like to cook. I don't know if I'll ever feel safe completely, but I know I'll do my best to deal with what life throws at me. The forgiveness came with my first child being born. I didn't get to have a mom, I didn't have that bond with her. I only had her absence. With my child, I was able to experience that from the other side. I could never be the child, that was lost. I could be the mother though, and I poured my heart into motherhood. My son (and later my daughters) was my priority and I spent everyday making sure he knew he was loved. I began to understand that the instinct to love and protect your baby is integral. For my mother to ignore it or lack this ment she was broken in some way. She was someone's child too. What pain and hardships she went through(my grandfather was abusive). She wasn't some monster, she was just a broken person lost in her pain and negativity. Resentment turned to pity, and pity into compassion.

Forgiveness is freedom from pain and bitterness. Freedom to be the kind of person who lives life with an open heart. Not letting your past dictate your future. People will hurt you, disappoint you, and leave you questioning yourself. Don't let them change you. Don't let it wall you off from the people who love you. People will also take your breath away with kindness and glowing hearts when you find yourself in the darkness. For me its well worth the risk. I have a beautiful family and a great life. We are open and honest with each other. My siblings were also affected by the experience and it helps them to talk it. I think knowing I'm going to be ok helped them to forgive too.

TL/dr Mother kidnapped me, lived in the streets Was traumatic, I got over it. Well I hoped that this long ass post is helpful. I don't want it to come off as a sob fest. I just wanted to share how forgiveness is possible after such a traumatic experience. Feel free to ask questions.

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