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Dear Mom

by Lissa Jean Johnson 3 months ago in Secrets
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My Confession...

I won't fail, no matter how many obstacles I have to face.

Dear Mom, there are some things I would like to get off of my chest. I fully understand that my truth and how I feel, may be difficult for you to come to terms with, nonetheless, it does not take away from my truth. I have come to the realization that the way you choose to live your life is through a false reality. I have also come to the conclusion that you should have aborted me and saved me from the hell I was born into.

I feel that due to your lack of education, which is not entirely your fault, you were incapable of raising mentally healthy children. You see, I have come to the conclusion over the past few years that children in the United States are not a priority. I have done a lot of research on this topic. Mom, you are not the only parent who neglected your children, nor are you the only parent whose husband sexually assaulted a child. “In 2020, a reported 483,285 perpetrators abused or neglected a child”. Of those children, 77% of them were victims of their parents' own doing. We were just four kids out of those 483,285, the problem is not just you, it’s at a much larger scale. Most parents never learn before becoming a parent, that their actions and the way they raise their children can cause both permanent changes in the brain and psychiatric problems. The Dana Foundation did a study on how abuse can affect a child’s brain. In their group of abused and non-abused children, they found significant differences in their brain scans. The EEG showed differences within the left hemisphere of the brain. Now imagine this mom, those 483,285 children are going to grow up to have children, and most of them will go on never knowing they themselves may have a mental illness. So, is it really their fault? I had no known knowledge of my own mental illness until after I had kids. Personally for me, the worst part are the memories of my brother getting beat, and hearing his cries. He got to a point where he no longer cried, he just waited for it to be over. I would have done anything to trade spots with him. Even though I was younger than him, I wished that I could have protected him better. Years later, when he got a woman pregnant while he was only 16, you told him the only right option was to marry her and raise his son. "That’s the Christian way”. He needed to get a job, take care of his family, and drop out of school. The kid had no idea how to be a parent, he had never been shown love, so how was he ever going to be able to do the things you expected of him? You couldn’t even do it. Of course, when the day came that he couldn’t provide properly for his family, he chose a path he saw too often while growing up. Theft. After seeing the joy on his new wife’s face with the gifts, he continued to steal, until he got caught. I am not understanding how his theft was any different from our step father’s? Oh right, he didn’t get caught, so it made it ok. After my brother’s marriage failed, and a few trips to jail (because sending him to jail was going to help teach him a lesson, right)? Fast forward to when he was 22, he met a girl who lived next door to him. They would stay up talking all night. She wasn’t like other girls he met. He asked her parents for permission to date her and with their permission, they fell in love. She understood him on a level no one else ever did. Until she got pregnant and he was arrested for statutory rape. He is now known as a sex offender and has lived more days inside a prison than he has outside a prison since then. The best part of the situation is she went on to marry a correctional officer, when she was 18, and the officer was in his early 30’s. Oh and yes her husband absolutely had a say in how Matt’s treatment went, while he was serving his sentence. It’s so twisted. “All is fair in love and war” that was your famous quote mom. I don’t understand how people who have never been sexually assaulted or beaten bloody, have so little sympathy and no understanding for those of us who have been beaten and or sexually assaulted. Or at the very least, educate themselves on how child abuse and neglect can alter the development of the child's brain, and how their thought process works.

Now onto me mom, your lack of education with how to properly care for children, led to my being diagnosed with Depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorder at the age of 28. So I was one of those people living with a mental illness and never knowing it. Do you know what that means for me mom? That means I have literally lived my entire life in a fight or flight state of mind and am still stuck in that mind set. I was never taught self love, boundaries, self respect, or even the word no. I was manipulated with religion to make sure I obeyed yours and your husbands every word. I am told repeatedly that life is not fair, and I get that. However, due to your inability to properly raise me, I not only married, but had my two beautiful children with a man who is not only a manipulator but a narcissist; in fact he reminds me a lot of you mom. I have learned over the years that sometimes we look for things that feel familiar. So I found someone who felt a little like, “home”. Statistically speaking, that’s what we as humans do, if we have never learned what it’s like to be properly loved, then we look for a familiar feeling of “love”. Isn’t that crazy? Anyhow, leaving a man like that was not easy, in fact it took two years of therapy, me kissing another man, and my then husband convincing me not to get my own lawyer but to use his for our divorce. He told me I was a selfish mom for doing this to our kids. He told me I wasn’t entitled to anything. He told me no one would ever love me like he does. He told me I couldn’t take the kids off of the property for the first few months we were separated. I had no money, no education, no place of my own, a car that was barely holding on. I told myself I would rather die than stay married to him, so if I leave and end up homeless, at least I tried to do it without him. He can have the house, the furniture, my hair dryer, but I won’t go back! The only thing I had were my kids. Leaving a narcissist doesn’t come without a cost, he told me I was not allowed to say goodnight to them on his time, so I went from a full time stay at home mom, to only being able to speak with my kids half of the week. I wanted to die so many times. I felt so alone and I felt so defeated. I wanted to be able to do it on my own and had I had the proper upbringing, maybe I wouldn’t be so lost in life right now. Maybe I wouldn’t feel like such a failure as a mom. I did everything in my power to make sure I would never end up like you mom. I put myself through Cognitive behavioral therapy for seven years. Let me tell you how hard that was? Talk about living in a false reality, my poor therapist had to convince me that being sexually assaulted for years; then having to live with the man as if nothing happened, was not ok nor normal. I fear I am not good enough for my kids. Children learn from their parents, how can I teach them strength, when I feel so weak? How can I teach them confidence, when I have none? How can I teach them to be financially stable, when I can’t even support us? I went to work, do you know what happened mom? I literally suffered from anxiety and or panic attacks. If a man walked by me and looked at me, my body and brain would respond like I was a little girl again, as if I couldn’t protect myself and I was going to be raped. All I could think about was how I couldn’t survive something like that happening again. Now imagine experiencing those types of emotions every day. I rarely go anywhere alone. How can I be a good role model to the two most important people in my life? I try everyday, but some days I feel like a failure. Do you understand that I didn’t have to be like this mom? Do you understand how many more people are just like me, and trapped in their own minds? Do you know how many people mis love, because that was the only love they were ever shown? Children don’t get to choose the family they are born into. I didn’t get to choose to be abused, nor did my siblings. Yet I am still trying to put my life back together the best I can, at 35 years old. I am trying to show my kids that with love and determination, we can get through anything. I will fight my hardest every day to be my best for my kids. You see they didn’t choose me, just like I didn’t choose you. However, unlike you, I will keep fighting my hardest to become my best self for my kids. I will love them unconditionally. I will protect them, the best I can, and if I fail, I will be there for them through the healing process. Most importantly, I will continue to educate myself on how to parent, because I did not have a good example.


About the author

Lissa Jean Johnson

I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

I broke free from a toxic mother & step-father at 28 with the help of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

While going through therapy, I wrote a book; The Trauma That Made Me.

My writing has become my voice.

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