Fighting a battle worth leaving

Abuser leaves unforgettable impact


Story by Audrey Haskins, staff writer

She understands what it means to struggle; to make violent efforts to get free from restraint. She does this most days in a house built from the items meant to feed an addiction. Needles of the past entwined together to form a roof. Bottles of liquor stack themselves to make the foundation. The tight coil of deluded words wrap around her neck while her siblings and beloved mother take on their own battles.

From her first memory he’s been a part of her family’s life. A man with a critical drug addiction is the one left to care for her mother, siblings, and herself. This addiction has led him to use his emotions as weapons to harm the people he promised to love. The struggles within her household are both mentally and physically challenging, but her personal perspective exemplifies hers as well as her family’s fight.

“It was from when I can first remember to about ten. Basically my parents would fight a lot,” she said. “One time he got so angry about something that he ended up getting a cane that I had from dance class and broke it on my grandmother’s head, and sprayed her in the face with febreze. Then he threw glasses and bowls against the wall.”

Occasional use turns into a habit, which in turn becomes an addiction. This lifestyle he led acted as a snowball effect that continued to grow and destroy everything in its path.

“I remember this part very clearly. We lived in an apartment and I knew the neighbor behind us, so whenever we needed help I would knock on the wall three times and then she’d come get us,” she said.

A substance can have a powerful effect on a person’s mind. Often people look for safety or an escape from those around them to be free from the damage someone with a drug addiction can cause.

He would threaten my mom and say that he would kill us, kill my brother, my sister and me. You could tell it was drugs.

“He would threaten my mom and say that he would kill us, kill my brother, my sister and me. You could tell it was drugs. That’s why he died, a drug overdose,” she said. “My grandpa would always tell my mom ‘he is your husband’ and try to stick up for him. I guess that’s why my mom felt obligated to stay with him.”

Many feel like they lose a sense of pride and aren’t being responsible if they stay with their abuser. They feel as if they are the problem if they leave their significant other, but the abuser is always the problem.

“Since the twins were so little they couldn’t do anything, so we would just have to kick him out a lot, but I mean he never did hit us or touch us, but he did hit my mom and she defended herself in the only ways she could.”

The significant other of the abuser often feel like failures or unworthy of their relationship when they truly deserve better. Many partners take on an extra heavy weight desperately trying to “fix” their situation. She recalls the last drastic moment she and her family had with the man she was supposed to rely on.

“I was in the car and we were leaving him, the twins were in the backseat and he pulled her out of the car and started choking her, so I jumped out of the passenger’s seat and ran to my aunt’s house down the street and told her to call the police. I slept there, and when I came back home they were together and everything was fine. I was angry. She finally left him when I was in 4th grade and she got with my new stepdad. Two weeks, or maybe two months after they split, he died,” she said.“I was scared, but I was more scared for the twins. I was worried for them being left or alone. Of course I was scared for my mom, but I knew she was strong.”

A situation has to hit like an explosion for some people to realize  they need to leave the person hurting them. Love is powerful but it does not show itself in screaming and punching. It shows itself when the decision to do what is best for both parties is made.

“When somebody hurts your loved one that much, you hate them. When he died, I didn’t shed a tear. Anybody can be a bad guy, even if you love them, they can still be awful,” she said.

When he died, I didn’t shed a tear. Anybody can be a bad guy, even if you love them, they can still be awful.

To go through watching one’s significant other destroy themselves is unfair. Her mother went through the pain of losing him before he had even passed. She has learned from her mother’s struggle and knows exactly what she will do if she is ever put in that situation.

“If someone is that toxic and abusive, don’t stick around and wait for them to get better because they won’t. If you keep bringing them back, they’re gonna think they can keep coming back,” she said. “I would drop them immediately. It’s so negative. Most people on drugs are angry all the time, and it’s just in general very unhealthy. I know to stay away from them and to stay away from people on them because it never ends up being an okay situation.”

Many feel like they are undeserving of help. They feel like if they go to seek it that they are failures and they don’t know what to expect from treatment given to them. Most of all, they are unsure of how to live without the substance, but it is possible.

“It’s a very hard battle to fight because your body is so used to it, but once you get rid of it you feel amazing,” she said.”Get help from loved ones, seek help at a successful rehabilitation center.”

If you are seeking help, or need resources, click here.

*Subject has chosen to remain anonymous