Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Joe’s Story of Abuse

A woman with wide piece of tape over her mouth. She looks angry. Text says 'Break your silence'

Joe’s Signs of Being Abused

My turning point came when Mom’s family intervened and Dad started getting in trouble for his behavior. When I lived with Mom’s family, I realized that there was another way to live and love.

Joe’s Emotional Signs of Abuse

Afraid, Sad, Lonely

Joe’s Story of Abuse

He trained me like a manger trains a fighter. He made my Mom hold cushions & made me repeat combinations into them. One time I fractured Mom's ribs.My memories are like an old thriller that keeps replaying the same scenes when I go back and try to rethink it. I often catch myself trying to justify my childhood. When I think back to the horrible events that have happened over the years, I can tell you I’m grateful for my life today. I love who I have become. Although I can’t change my past I can understand it. Writing this will be the first time I have come clean, another way of putting it behind me. I’ve wanted to let this out for some time now.

My name is Joe. As a young boy, I lived with my mom and dad and my sister. My sister was my closest friend. She was part of me as I was part of her. Dad abused my mom, sister, and me. My dad, who I thought was a normal average father and husband.

In 1975, I was five and my sister was three. We had money at this time of my life because my dad held a good job and important job. I remember being proud of what my dad did for work. I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I wanted to be just like him.

He had come from a hard childhood, in an out of foster homes and being abused by his parents.Alcohol played a big role in Dad’s life. He drank while he was a young man and he still does. He also liked guns. My sister and I grew up under the threat of guns an booze.

As far back as I can remember my sister and I felt as we were always walking on egg-shells. When my father got drunk, he yelled at my mom. It was the scariest thing to hear my dad yelling at my mom while fearing the sound of gun shots going off downstairs. Or the sound of furniture breaking. That was how my sister and I remember most of our childhood.

His temper had a hair trigger anything would set him off. If the automobile would not start my dad would go in the house get a weapon an empty it into the engine. That was how he handled things. Every memory is just as scary as the next.

My dad didn’t have legal problems back then because he was protected by his job. The authorities looked the other way. Cops an Firemen were in bed together – one big family. Not once as a child did the police come to our house for my dad’s raging moments.

Mom never drank, but as us kids saw it, she was there to serve him hand and foot. Mom was his sounding board – she did and still does take the brunt of his anger. We grew up thinking this was normal. Dads were scary men.

I remember one night when my dad had been yelling at Mom. In one of his drunken raging moments, he picked Mom up an slammed her to the floor. Dad broke her back. We were told it was accidental. I think this is the only time my dad physically hurt Mom with his hands. Every family member knew but dare not say anything.

My sister and I would wake up in the mornings and creep around the house to see all the bullet holes that Dad had left the night before. If it were not bullet holes we would find Mom’s nicest furniture all busted. Usually the next day would be quite around the house – until the next time.

My sister and I could never seem to get close to a pet. If the pet became sick or got hurt Dad would take it out back and shoot it. We lost a lot of pet’s this way.

This was our life for our first twelve years. Looking back, my dad was trying to clone me into being like him. My dad taught me to fight so he could send me to school to beat up on kids that he disapproved of. He found it very entertaining to receive a phone call to come pick me up for fighting. When I got home, I had to tell him about the fight over and over again for his amusement.

He trained me like a manger trains a fighter. He made my Mom hold cushions & made me repeat combinations into them. One time I fractured Mom’s ribs. All the while he sat in a chair and told me I have to be better next time, sipping on his drink.

Dad favored me over my sister. He never had laid a hand on me my whole life, but his yelling at me felt just as bad. My sister would get punished all the time for both of us. When he got angry with her he smacked her across the head then told her what she did wrong.

I feared him growing up. I was afraid of what he might do to me if I didn’t give him what he wanted or acted like the boy he wanted me to be. I was afraid of what he might do to me.

By the time I was 12, Dad’s life caught up with him. He earned himself a nine month vacation at the A.C.I for an act of violence against one of his coworkers. It was a break in our lives for my sister and me. We were able to live with family on Mom’s side that we were very comfortable with. We felt loved and safe. After three or four years of living in a non-violent home, we were able to have friends and family around that didn’t act like Dad did.

Around the time I was 16, my dad was in my life but it was not as bad. He still acted out but not as much. My sister and I wanted our own lives away from what we grew up in.

I was married young, became a father at 17, and tried to make sense out of life. I wanted my children never to grow up in the kind of environment as my sister and I did.

Today I’m not married. I’m forty years old and have four beautiful daughters. My life with them could be a lot better. I think my childhood and my relationship with my parents played a big role in the way my girls see me.

Because my father favored me growing up, I feel like the rest of the family is blaming me for what my dad left in his wake. He – to this day – carries on like he did then. Mom still puts up with it.

My sister is not with me today. I lost her a couple years back. My sister was my best friend. She picked up Dad’s substance abuse problems and they got the best part of her.

Growing up in an abusive home showed me what I never want to become. My life today is good. I have people who love me and they accept the unconditional love I have for them. In a way, I feel my childhood has made me a stronger person.

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