My life wasn't great and I never pretended it was, I just joked about it.
It wasn't hard to find the humor in an abnormal situation, but I've come to a point in my life where it's dangerous to joke about it anymore since people care now and I don't want my family to get hurt.
My childhood ended at 7, the year my dad lost his job due to his mental illness, the year my mom repeatedly slapped me, the year my bullying at school and home began.
I've never made it a secret that I was bullied in middle school; in fact I constantly tell people so I can joke about that pain in my life too, I laugh about the things they used to call me, the way the would attack me and mostly the way I felt.
The thing is, bullying by my peers didn't hurt as bad as the bullying at home. My family in times of distress looked to have control in their life, and as the youngest, I was usually the target of their control and negative feelings. Up until seven I was an unburdened loved child, but I don't feel that way anymore. In fact I feel as if I am the most burdened in my family. For years my family mocked my laugh, my intelligence, how I don't fit in with them or anyone at school, how I'm loud and annoying, and how I wasn't funny. In middle school I began to believe that I wasn't loved, considering my family constantly emotionally abused me and my mother and brother physically harmed me. To add, I only had one friend, it was hard to not believe that I was worthless. I contemplated suicide often but had no available tools to commit this sinful act. When my dad lost his job again in 8th grade, I knew my life was over. I knew my mom wouldn't be able to handle the stress, I knew my father would feel worthless and I knew by brother would need someone to blame. Unfortunately for me, I was that someone. I was repeatedly punched, kicked, and slapped for what felt like everyday, leaving bruises that my mother and father wouldn't address, constantly saying my brother just plays rough. My mother neglected me in this time, when I felt most helpless, and I became truly alone. I spent the next year while our house was being foreclosed, our animals given away or put down, my parents’ marriage falling apart, crying. It felt like the only thing I could do: cry. I began to hide how I felt, if I could allot myself time each night to cry, I wouldn't need to during the day. I became a strong anchor for my family, I encouraged positivity when I felt most negative. By 10th grade my parents finally decided to end the toxicity that invaded my life by ending a twenty two year marriage. It was the best and worst day of my life. Two days before my 16th birthday I was informed of this unfortunately joyous news. I wept for days but inside I was filled with guilt. The next six months were the hardest of my life. My brother, who had returned from the army, accused me of being brainwashed by my mother to leave my father, and the result? A bruise the size of my brothers fist in the middle of my chest and no communication for two years. My father wept openly in front of me, which resulted in an overwhelming wave of guilt cast upon me that lead to self harm. My mother was the only one who still tried to make me feel better, which was ironic because of how much of a cause she was in my own emotional turmoil. Regardless of everything, the emotional manipulation and physical abuse, I still love my family. My mother still raises a hand to me, and on several occasions I have to hide bruises at school. My father still acts like a victim and I go to sleep crying, wishing I could help him. My brother, who now speaks to me, openly verbally abuses me at any given chance, but it's better than no communication in my mind.
Despite it all, I love my family. You may think it's dumb or it's wrong, but I remember all the good times I shared with them too. I was dealt an unlucky hand but I still try to play it the best I can. Through bouts of suicide attempts, self-harm, and overwhelming panic attacks, I've learned to deal with life on my own. I grew up quickly--that's something I'll always hate, and being physically abused is something I'll always cry about and fight against.
As I grow older I have learned to lean on my humour to cope with my past. By joking about the pain, it somehow diminishes it in a way that I can live with and move on from. The funny stories I tell are a way for me to gain a new perspective on my horrid past and find humour in the situation. Not only has diminishing and compacting the pain helped me cope, it has also brought me closer to friends who have had parental abuse, whether emotional or physical. I wanted this article to be anonymous not because I am ashamed of my family or my past, but because I fear the ramifications that may come of exposing my family. I fear that my friends may find out information about me in here that is too personal to share. I did want to share my story though, I want people to know that abuse can happen in any home, for any social class, for any race or ethnicity, that it isn’t limited to a certain group of people and that it can happen in many different ways. Abuse affects us all differently and we all cope in our own special way. I want you that even when I joke about my abuse, I don’t condone it, or incite it. I abhor it. But as for now, it is the only way I can get through it without falling into further despair. If you have a story like mine, I want you to know you are loved and you are worth more than you know.