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Chapter 5

Entering Survival Mode

After living with my parents for about a year I finally moved into into my own apartment with my son. Even this was a fight though. I had my own place but my parents wouldn’t let me stay there and I was once again trapped. Eventually they gave in and we started staying there. I thought that I’d finally be free from the abuse and able to parent the way I wanted but unfortunately this wasn’t the case.


My parents’ goal was to remain in control over me. Unfortunately, this was easy for them to do since I didn’t have any other friends or family to rely on to help me. I also was living in a place where I didn’t have any transportation and so I needed them to help me get around. My lack of transportation continued for years until they decided they were going to move to Ohio for a while. At that point I went and got my own vehicle with the help of my aide, Carlee. As for the parental control issue, I’m not sure why they wanted to do this, but it was something that would continue until I finally cut them out my life. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen until Adrian was 18-years-old and my mother called him “a $24,000 thing.”


Admittedly, starting over with nothing when you’re an adult is really difficult. At that time I didn’t know that there were organizations out there to help me. Instead, I dug deep and started learning how to depend on myself for the first time ever. The struggles I went through were raw and numerous. My end goal was to do everything I could  to protect my child from an abusive father but failing to protect him from abusive grandparents because I had to find a way to survive as a single mom. That meant that I’d send Adrian to my parents’ home on the weekend just so I could have some time alone.


All throughout this time I worked my ass off to support Adrian and I because you can’t live on a check from disability. This also meant that we had to move every year or two because housing would get too expensive for me to sustain it. Hence my decision to homeschool Adrian so that he wouldn’t have to continually change schools like I did when I was a child. (I moved at least 6 times and attended around 10 different schools as a child. I even moved right before my senior year of high school which was hell because I was bullied throughout that entire year.) I also thought that this would help to protect him from being abused.


Throughout this time Adrian’s father was never a part of his life. While it may sound as though it was easy for me to cut him out, nothing could be further from the truth. Initially there was a huge court battle for parental rights. Remember how I said that Chuck was a master manipulator, well his manipulation knew no limits. He somehow managed to convince the judge that he was the better parent and that Adrian should live with him. Unfortunately, his home was far from stable. At the time he was living with his then girlfriend, her husband and their 3 children - none of whom were good parents. In fact, Adrian still remembers Chuck blowing smoke in his hair and force feeding him a katsup sandwich. When Adrian vomited the sandwich up his father made him eat it again. I also have reason to believe that Adrian was sexually assaulted at that time by someone in that household, possibly even his own father.


Eventually I’d had enough of nobody listening to me and Adrian being abused. Here I want to point out that when you’re trying to protect yourself you’ll go to any measure to do so even if it means talking to your abuser again once you’ve escaped them. This is precisely what I did. I got on the phone and became a master manipulator myself, but I was championing a cause: protecting my son.


At the time nobody knew what I was doing and I played a pretty good role because I managed to convince Chuck to tell me just what I needed to know. He told me that he was planning on taking Adrian on a bus to another state to be with some female. This didn’t surprise me one bit but I decided that there was no way in hell I was going to let this happen. So once I felt as though I had enough information I talked to my lawyer, confessing what I’d done and what I’d learned. At this point my lawyer took it all in front of the judge and for once Chuck was honest and admitted to everything. The judge then gave me full physical custody and told us to share parental rights.


One day around Christmas time I was in the backseat of the car going somewhere with Adrian and my parents when Chuck called. He wanted to talk to Adrian but my parents figured out who I was talking to on the phone and made me hang up on him. After that he never called again and since I refused to go after him for child support he never contacted us again. Eventually we both lost touch with each other and to this day I still don’t know where he is and Adrian never asks about him. So, this whole hard won battle with his father finally ended for good leaving me to only deal with the abuse of my parents from that point forward.


The weird thing about all of this is that while you don’t have to surrender to anyone who’s abusive or choose one abusive situation over the other I felt like this was what I had to do. Therefore, I still wasn’t free from abuse. I just chose one abuser over another and started wondering if life really was supposed to be this hard.

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