Family

How I Lost My Family By Speaking The Brutal Truth

Photo: Valeriya Popova 22 / Shutterstock
girl in protective position, afraid of being hurt

I remember the first beating I got. I was 10 years old. And I was horrified. Why was my mother doing this to me? I’m only a little child. Doesn’t she realize that? What is going on?

I was in shock. Who was that woman who had just unleashed a fury on me as I had never known?

It was to be the first of many. And not only administered to my mom. Dad would eventually take over, and his beatings were way worse. 

Was this normal? Do all the kids in my school go through this? Is this standard punishment for kids? I had a million questions and no real answers. 

I did eventually figure out that this was the farthest thing from normal. 

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It stopped when I finally moved out

At 18 I found the 'love of my life' and moved out — eight years of physical abuse were enough for me. There had to be a better life than this. Surely someone out there would love me the right way and treat me with respect. 

That never happened. 

I spent the next 40 years in and out of abusive relationships, desperately wanting to be loved. I was looking for attention, appreciation, and acceptance. But mostly love: the one thing I never had for most of my life. 

My healing journey

I didn’t know I needed to heal until I realized I did. I had just left another abusive relationship and for the first time in my life, at 52 years old, I was alone. I had hit rock bottom and it was up to me to dig my way out. 

The healing journey was long, messy, frustrating, and ugly but it also came with revelations and so much self-love and compassion. 

For the first time in my life, I loved myself and knew I was a good person who deserved to be treated right.

I realized that all the people who abused me my entire life didn’t know any better. They treated me the only way they knew how and I had to learn to forgive and release them so I could move on. 

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Bleeding ink helped me heal

I started a little Feng Shui website back in 2010 and when I finally left my last partner, I turned it into a personal blog where I shared my stories of trauma and healing. 

The more I shared my stories, the freer I felt. There was a sense of empowerment I had never known before. I used my words and my voice to make me stronger. 

I didn’t care who read my work. I had the trauma to write about it. I had healing to do. This wasn't about anyone else but me. 

Until I realized that it wasn’t just about me. Others who read my stories were moved by them. They knew exactly where I was coming from and they were so happy to know that someone out there got them. 

They were finally understood and felt free as well. People around the world were starting to read my stories and heal too. 

And the more I wrote, the more I healed, not only myself but others too. 

Unfortunately, not everyone was as thrilled as I was about this. 

The people I lost along the way

At first, I was a little leary about sharing my stories publicly. I was worried about my family reading them. But once I started receiving emails from readers it was then I realized I was supposed to share my stories to help others heal. 

After a while, I didn’t care who read them. I couldn’t let my family’s opinion be the guide for my life or my work. 

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Until one day, my blog got into the hands of someone who would change my life forever. It was a Mother’s Day blog about how not all mothers are created equal and how you don’t have to celebrate mother’s day if your mother wasn’t the woman she was supposed to be

For the first 18 years of my life, my mother was a cruel and unloving woman. And I wrote a lot about it.

This blog was discovered just before my mother died of Alzheimer's (I had no idea). I flew home to attend her funeral and was not welcomed, at all, by most of my family. Aunts, uncles, and cousins all shunned me — people who, at one time, loved me. 

It wasn’t until the day of my mother’s funeral, after being completely ostracized by my family, that I learned that my blog was read and shared with the whole family. Their behavior all made sense then.

The skeletons in the closet

I eventually came to terms with the fact that most of my family hated me because of my stories. I couldn’t let their feelings stop me or beat me down. I was using my voice for good, not for evil. 

I chose to dig the skeletons out of the closet and help people deal with, and heal from, their own. If my family chose to keep their skeletons hidden, that was on them, not me, and I had to understand that not everyone wants to heal. 

I had to come to terms with the fact that some people prefer to brush things under the rug and pretend nothing ever happened. To live in denial. With pain and anger. I couldn’t do that.

I returned home this year to deal with personal matters and didn’t see any of my family that blackballed me. I’m fine with that. I stand strong and proud in my decision to keep bleeding ink in order to help the world heal. 

The world needs more healing. The world needs strong people to help others heal and I will always feel blessed to be that person. 

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Being a child doesn’t have to hurt. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. According to the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 28.3 percent of adults report being physically abused as a child, and 10.6 percent of adults report being emotionally abused as a child. Physical abuse of a child is when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child, including striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping, or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured it is abuse. When a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm, it is considered emotional abuse. While a single incident may be abuse, most often emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes damage over time. There are many physical and behavioral signs of child abuse in both the child and the parent or caretaker. To learn more about these signs, visit the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline’s website (https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/). If you suspect a child you know is being abused physically or emotionally, contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline for more resources at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Iva Ursano is a self-help/personal development blogger. Her mission is to inspire, motivate and encourage women around the world to step into their own personal power.

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