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Fighting to Let Go When Your Child Abuses You: The Painful Short Story of Melissa Harold

Lately, I’ve been seeking answers to a problem I have. No one knows my secret other than the people who live with me, which includes my husband and our three teenage sons, and I’m desperate to prevent this secret from being exposed to the people in my town. I’ve told my husband and our sons to guard this secret with their life. It can break me, or worse, destroy my reputation. I’m desperately trying to fix the situation, but I’m afraid that too many people have already stirred the pot.

I’ve been through a lot in my life, including a troubled marriage, yet I’ve found myself caressing my husband’s tear-wrenched face in my bosom as he cries helplessly at night. How long to hang on? When can I let go? I’m scattered mentally with these thoughts, and I haven’t found any answers yet. “I’m going to fix this,” I told him, but he was too distraught to open his eyes.

We don’t sleep. Well, at least I don’t. It’s not my fault, but I’ll take the blame to make it go away. I’ve tried apologizing, not knowing what I was apologizing for.

I’ve given money to buy time, and for what? I have to pull back to save myself because I’m afraid that one more dagger could cause me to slit my throat to escape this misery, which I’m desperate enough to do. But the rest of my family needs me. Can’t they see that I’m weak. I’m afraid that even if I was to entertain giving up, death would turn its back on me in shame.

Emotionally drained, weak, and tired of fighting for peace, I’ve decided to pull back. I won’t do this anymore. I don’t care what it’ll cost me. I’ll pay whatever I have to. My home has a dark cloud over it, while this person smiles and comes up with more ways to create additional pain for my family. I’m working hard to balance things at home. I wasn’t heartless before, but I am now. It’s war, and I’m not one for backing down, but I have for this person.

What was I thinking? Why did I look away? This is just as much my fault as it is hers, but if there’s a possibility that I can fix this situation, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I’m building my career and battling an enemy simultaneously. Some would say that it’s all in my mind, but it’s not. I’m no longer ashamed and embarrassed by my situation, just tired. I hear stories of parents abusing their kids every day, and it upsets me. Previously, I wasn’t ready to tell my truth, but I’m ready now, and people can think whatever they want about me. I don’t care.

Yes, I’m being abused, deceived, gaslighted, dismissed, hated, and ignored by my daughter. I constantly ask her to tell me what I’ve done that makes her want to abuse me, but she shouts in my face and balls up her fist to hit me. She’s jumped to fight on more than one occasion, even when questioned by her dad. I’ve been called a liar, a bitch, and recently told during my marital battles that my marriage wasn’t healthy and that there’s no place in town I can live.

I’ve been dealing with this for years, and I’ve been too fearful and ashamed to say anything or put a stop to it. My daughter, Crystal, has been talking about me to everyone in town, and it’s breaking my heart. Nothing I do is good enough.

Nothing I say is right, and she doesn’t want to hear anything I have to say. I asked her to help the family financially years ago, and that’s all she seems to bring up. I don’t hear anything about the car we bought her, us allowing her to live rent free, getting her jobs, giving her money, and the list goes on. I would do anything for her, and I guess I’ve gone too far by allowing her to mentally and verbally abuse me. She wants her father to pick her over me, and I feel as if I’m in a third-party situation. It’s getting out of hand.

“Crystal,” I told her, “you’re going on twenty-six, dear, and we love you.” It was clear this child didn’t want to hear my voice, and she only listened to her father and her brothers. I’ve even slept at her place to help her to stop drinking. I’ve been running out of options. I even expressed that she should participate in family counseling before the day it came crashing down when she verbally and physically attacked me. It was the last straw, so I called the police to have her removed. It was more than I could deal with.

I’m now dealing with her silence and indifference more than anyone, and I’m tired. I’ve been through abuse as a child, and I haven’t been able to escape it as an adult, despite how much I love others. What am I doing wrong? We’re all confused, but I’m changing, and no one can tell me how I should feel. I was once asked about Crystal’s relationships, and the answer was that all her boyfriends have expressed concerns to me, her father, and her brothers about her aggressive behavior, and I know exactly what they’re talking about.

I realized the other day that I no longer want to invest in this relationship anymore.

All it has done is cause pain and sadness through lies and deceit. I just wanted my daughter to love me. Yeah . . . I may’ve done too much for her, but I only wanted the best for her. I’m beginning to understand that she wasn’t born to love me. I can be a very protective person if I have to, and I know that my husband and I have hearts of gold. We’ve both been fighting to hold on to her despite the physical and verbal abuse. I refuse to be held responsible for her failures any longer. I must save myself, my husband, and my sons. So forgive me if I cut the parental cord to set myself free so that fear, anguish, and despair can be lifted. I’ve already lost her. This I know. I’m letting go of this secret so that I can be released from victimhood.

I may never trust her, and she may never love me, but I’m okay with that now that the secret is out. I just want to heal and experience better days. I no longer want to cry in the shower or in my closet beneath the hanging clothes. But I must admit that this feels like a breakup. No, a divorce. Maybe even death. But I realize that keeping this person out of my life is the best thing for my mental and physical health.

I’d been afraid to say anything in group therapy for parents who are abused by their kids, and my husband and I decided to just listen, until I finally stood up and said, “My name is Melissa, and I’m a parent who’s been abused by my child.”

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