Liza Unplugged: I was home schooled.

My senior year of high school was also kind of my junior year, and my sophomore year of high school was both my sophomore and junior year.

Warning: This post contains detailed descriptions of child abuse. If you are easily bothered by this, I recommend reading posts published way after this and am thus redirecting you to my homepage.

It’s six years later from the beginning of the worst year of my life, and I’m finally sharing my story. This entry, however, does not do justice in explaining the abuse and such I went through. I just figured having something to link to as reference would be nice to have for those interesting in knowing.

Excuse the typos; it’s not easy to write about this. I’m just tired of keeping it bottled up inside.

I changed the title of this, because I figured it suited it better.

The “Adventure“, Experience, etc.

See, I was taken out of public school in tenth grade. I had so many absences already. They weren’t from me skipping school — they were from me being sick, babysitting for my mom and stepfather, and so on. I lived in Forney at this time, with my mom and stepfather. Taking me out and “home schooling” actually didn’t go too well, and I’ve honestly unconsciously blocked the majority of this from my memory over time.

Anyway, my first course that was given to me was Psychology for Life Today. I did the work that was given in the workbook, which also included the exams. I just needed to mail it in, and to do that I needed a stamp and for my mom to mail it. I did the freaking work. I read the entire book. Letters would come in with due dates for my coursework, stating that I needed to send in my work on time. It wasn’t my fault. Then she received a bill for it. It was never paid, so I just gave up.

Then there was a program that Katherine, my mom’s friend (she’s now my friend, heh) and my first real boyfriend’s mom, gave to my mom for her to use for Isaac and I, as he was taken out of school as well. Isaac didn’t really want to do the work. I could do some, but staring at a computer program with crappy graphics, an aliased font and some really odd colors that don’t agree with sensitive eyes only means one thing: such is impossible to do. I mean, I don’t even stay on blogs whose layouts are not easy on my eyes.

And the Truth Unfolded…

Early 2007, when I was staying with her, Mimi found out. She flipped, basically. A lot of shit happened. My mom and stepfather actually went to her house and threatened me to go with them “or else”. Mimi had actually left the living room to give them some alone time with me. Everything was uncovered during this time. Whether it was January or February for sure, I can’t remember. I can, however, remember my mom and stepfather’s face when I told them that the way they treated me was abusive. My mom just continuously shook her head and told me it was because I didn’t listen — that it wasn’t abuse. She said it was punishment and discipline. She said that I deserved it.

More small talk continued, and the next thing I know, stepfather’s threatening me to go with them — “If you don’t get your ass up right now, I will fucking drag you buy your hair with your face against the fucking ground out there to the car. You’ll be lucky if you make it to daylight alive.” From there, my mom stated his name as though she was upset1, and Mimi came back into the living room telling him to get out of her house.

If I had gone with them, I highly doubt I would still be alive today. I would have either died or killed myself. Predicting what would have happened had I went home with them that night isn’t too difficult to do, even without the knowledge of everything else that I’d gone through.

Something I used to be humiliated over was that I wet the bed. I couldn’t control my bladder, so I’d have to wear pull-ups even sometimes in elementary school. It was really embarrassing, especially when I went to sleepovers and/or had friends sleepover. I was yelled at because of this — because it was my fault, not my body’s fault. I was supposed to be able to control it. Thus, when I couldn’t control it, I’d be punished — be it not allowed to eat, not allowed to use the restroom for x amount of time, not allowed to talk, not allowed to sit, not allowed to get a drink, etc. and/or beaten with a belt until I was black and blue and unable to sit… And then forced to sit to feel the sting.

My mom and stepfather were so pissed off at/with me, because this was the first time moving in with Mimi was an idea. And Mimi wanted me to; she wanted me to live there and go back to school rather than staying with my mom and stepfather. I mean, she seemed convincing.

The Next Day

I went with Mimi to work. She worked at the Wills Point intermediate school with students who needed extra help in reading and such. I sat under her desk/behind her desk, mostly, throughout the day. I did this not because it was “Take Your Grandchild to Work Day” or anything related to that. I did this because I begged to go with her — I was terrified they would come to her house whilst Mimi wasn’t there and make me go back with them/hurt me in some way.

After work that day, Mimi gathered up my things and said that I needed a “change of clothes” — something different to wear or something. Instead, we drove to Forney, to that house, unpacked her truck…

My mom talked to me about a note I’d given her at some point, and I wish I could tell you the exact date during this whole mess that I gave it to her. It was suggested by Katherine that I write her a note. Katherine was someone I confided in even after her son, Andrew, and I broke up (before Valentine’s Day in 2006, really). I took her suggestion and tried it out. My mom said that things could change, etc.

Mimi said that I needed to stay. I was devastated and so confused about everything! WHY did she want to let me go back? I look back at 2007, and I realize that my dad should have been called. He never was. Things were “normal” for a while: I applied at Sonic where I received my first job, I shopped at the mall and bought my first guinea pig, I got my second guinea pig, my first guinea pig died, I got my third guinea pig, my stepfather and said sibling(s) thought it would be funny to put them into the same cage (male and female), my guinea pigs MATED2, I gave my two remaining guinea pigs away…

Fast forward to me going back to school in August, as per the stepfather’s demand. I’d already wanted to; that wasn’t of question. I quit my job at Sonic in July due to family issues (i.e. not being able to babysit for them because Sonic kept working me for 60+ hours each week3, which made me beyond exhausted).

History Repeats Itself

My entire sophomore year was wasted due to me being taken out of school before the semester ended.4 Thus, instead of taking a placement test, the school’s administration put me back into tenth grade. I had to take a lot of classes, and rumors floated around that I’d dropped out, gotten pregnant, etc. Going back as a sophomore during what should have been my junior year was absolutely humiliating. A lot of people say it doesn’t matter what year of high school you’re in because the classes have people of all grades, but those people usually are not from small towns. Forney is a small town that is growing bigger. Thus, it did matter!

Everything basically happened all over again. I literally felt like my previous year was repeating itself everyday. The only difference was that it had already happened, and I had different classes, and it was a new year, and the school was trying out an A/B schedule (ugh) due to the expansion of the school (they should have upped passing period to more than five minutes with that). My grades were slipping again, I was absent a lot, I was late for the bus a lot, I was exhausted… Again, I was having to watch the kids, take care of them, clean the house, etc., and I lacked time to do actual school-related things. Some teachers didn’t/wouldn’t really let us take our homework/etc. to lunch with us. Forney High School was really strict about that. I’d tried to explain to my teachers about my home-related issues, and none of them would listen. Ever. Teachers are supposed to listen, not congratulate their students on stories they find too surreal with having a great “imagination”. What the hell?

September

Things were getting bad, so I began sneaking around to get online. I’d bought my own cell phone for the first time sometime around March or April of 2007, and I needed to pay it. The money I made at Sonic was taken from me; my mom and stepfather decided they needed to “hold onto it”. Although I still had some money, I just needed to find a way to get it from my hands to MetroPCS, as that is what my phone was with at the time.

I mentioned to my mom asking my dad if he could pay for it, and I’d give him the money for it. She rolled her eyes and said no. See, he and I were talking at that point. Neither my mom nor stepfather ever really enjoyed me talking to my dad, or that I might somewhat have liked him at that time.

There are some people I come across online who say their dad brought them something and was supposedly trying to help but failed, and then they go into talking about how said father never does anything to help out. I understand that it may seem that way, but if you’re one of those people, put all that anyone else has ever told you about a parent aside, and just give them the time of day! Just give it to them! I seriously hate how society makes the fathers out to be these horrible people. My dad fought for me time after time, and my mom got to keep me. Why? Because the courts rule in favor of the mother, and they think that children should be raised with their mothers. Courts assume that the fathers are going to be horrible to the children. What happened to make my parents divorce happened because they were young.

She said that I didn’t need a cell phone. Thus, I asked her for my money. She wouldn’t give it to me. I was lectured on how I needed to contribute to the family. I was just 16. No sixteen year old should have to worry about their parents’ debt due to something their parents did! As if the child support my mom had continuously conned out of my dad via numerous court hearings wasn’t enough, money I’d made at Sonic had to go to them. If I didn’t give it to them on my own, they’d take it anyway. So I handed it over. I mean, what else could I have done? -.-

I eventually got my dad to pay my cell phone bill. I’d given him the instructions on how to do this via my secret Yahoo! email at the time5, as well as saying something along the lines of me being in a “cult”. I just didn’t know what else to do. Once it was paid, I sneaked around school with my phone, text messaging my dad between passing periods, when the teachers weren’t looking, sometimes during lunch (that was difficult!), and on the bus. I was thankful to have had a bus driver who was nice, because there was a “NO CELL PHONES!” rule on the buses as well. -.- Forney High School was like prison to me, but I probably have that perception because of the way my home life was throughout my time there.

My dad and I worked out a weekend for me to come and visit he and Kim in Euless. It was difficult talking to my mom about me going. It was also difficult sneaking around. He came by the house to pick me up on Friday, October 12, 2007, and he dropped me off Sunday night, October 14, 2007. I was terrified to go back home. However, all I needed to do was tell my mom I was going to move in with him. That was hard, because I’d tried to in the past, and somehow she and her husband always managed to manipulate my thoughts and feelings into not wanting to go. This time I was determined.

If you’ve seen The Hunger Games, you’ve probably seen the survival game, and that’s kind of what I’m talking about. I was Katniss, determined to not die. I was weak, though. I was weak, and my siblings meant the most to me. It was difficult leaving them with my mom and stepfather, but I had to because I was breaking and dying and sick, and I just couldn’t be anymore. It was way too much. My life at my mom’s house was taking a toll on me, and it was slowly killing me.

My mom used to tell people — Mimi, her friends, people at church, etc. — that I cut, as if it was this horrendous crime I’d committed — as if I’d murdered someone. It was typically when I hadn’t cut in a while and/or when I was somewhat liked with other people as if it were something to get them to be against me. I lost friends because of this. Mimi would always tell me this, but in a whiny way and as if I was some bad kid. Never was I confronted for help; I just wanted to feel something.

In a conversation with my recent ex-boyfriend, Chris G. in about 2011/2012, I learned that he’d spoken with my mom about me cutting when I confided in him. He accused me of lying about this in 2011 and 2012, even though he dumped me in late 2009. He said my mom said that I had been scratched by one of the dogs or something, which I had… Just not on that leg.

In conclusion, I think it was only “acceptable” to tell someone about things about me when she was in control of the situation. She and her husband adore control; they want to swim in it. Chris and I never would have worked out, because he was too close with my mom and stepfather — and also because they somehow knew everything I told Chris. I couldn’t trust him.

I’ve decided my significant others can meet my dad and Kimily, but they’re not going to meet my mom and stepfather as long as I have a say in it. If they do, it’s under special circumstances, and they have to understand why I’m not for it.

14 October 2007, Sunday night at approx. 7

My dad and Kim dropped me off. After saying our goodbyes, unpacking my bag and walking to the front door, we parted. I was terrified.

I remember this moment like it happened just yesterday.

Me: [Walks inside, greets two youngest siblings, goes to my room.]

Five minutes later…

Mom: [Knocks on the door, opens it without me saying anything.] “Get your phone turned back on?”
Me: “Yes.” [Sees her roll her eyes, tries to explain.] “It’s my money, and it’s my phone. And he’s my dad. He’s allowed to help me, too.”
Mom: [Simply walks out, shutting the door. I can hear them talking in the living room about what I’ve done.]
Stepfather: [Sternly.] “Sarah. Here. Now.”
Me: [Hides my phone in my closet in a place no one would look, walks into hallway and stands in the hallway.] “Yes?”
Stepfather: [Laying on the floor watching TV and eating popcorn.]
Mom: [Sitting at the desk; pauses the game and turns attention to me.]
Stepfather: “Did you get your phone turned back on?”
Me: “Yes.”
Mom: [Turns to stepfather.] “See? Can you believe that? I can’t believe that.”
Stepfather: “She’s just so disrespectful. She doesn’t care about anyone or anything but herself.”
Mom: “All that we’ve ever given her and done for her, she just doesn’t care.”
Me: [Holding back tears.] “Can I leave now?”
Stepfather: [Points index finger at me and sternly replies] “NO!”

The two go back to talking badly about me, right in front of my eyes.

The rest of that event is something I can’t bring out of my mind and into this post. It was a really emotional night for me. It involved my stepfather telling my mom to “grab it”, referring to my phone. I was trying to text message my dad “HELP! 911! HELP! I’M GOING TO DIE!” because such was inferred that night. My mom snatched the phone from my hands before I had the chance to at least send my “HELP! 911! HE” that I had typed. I screamed and I screamed, many “I HATE YOU!” lines escaped my lips, followed with, “YOU’RE THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD! I HATE YOU!” I could hear my stepfather’s laughter as he cheered my mom on, and my mom just laughed. Then it was all over. “I GOT IT!” was what she yelled upon reaching “victory”, throwing me back down onto the ground. I was exhausted, I was beaten up, I was bruised, I was hurt, I was numb. That’s Hell for me. That’s what it is for me. I’m not scared of it, because I lived in it my entire life.6

I’m just terrified of the person I someday marry being like him or my mom.

I had made it clear that I was moving in with my dad after that, and that they couldn’t stop me. On Friday, November 2, 2007, I did. Saying goodbye to my siblings was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I gave up a lot of things I loved to save myself. I slept in my closet that night. That night was the first time I realized how easy it was to hurt myself with a paperclip. I tried to kill myself. I prayed and begged God to just take me away — that I was done.

Aftermath

I waited a while before I posted on any social media networks. MySpace was slowly wearing down on the popularity scale. I posted a blog about that night. My friends commented on it, messaged me, etc., saying they were so happy I was alive — they’d assumed I was dead. I didn’t blame them; I thought I’d died, too.

I remember talking to Mimi — whether it was on the phone or in person whilst I was visiting her I can’t remember — and she mentioned that I was making it difficult for my mom because I was posting lies about her. It was then that I realized just how serious everyone had been this entire time about keeping what goes on in my life all in the family.

Abuse is real, and it really happens. It should never be kept quiet.

Today

People today ask me why I never told anyone about it. That’s because of fear.

I’m asked today why I went back to live with my mom and stepfather in 2009 after I graduated. They don’t realize what kind of a hold on me that my mom has. It’s difficult. I felt as though I needed her — that I needed her acceptance. They tell me that it was so difficult for my dad to let me go back, but they don’t realize that that hurts me, too. It hurts me to think about.

People wonder why people being abused don’t have the “intelligence” to get out. It has nothing to do with being smart or clever. Staying in an abusive environment/relationship/etc. has everything to do with fear.

Some people will mention on Twitter how they’re being “abused” — or even how they were “abused” by their [now] ex-boyfriend. It’s usually over hurt feelings, which I know is the case because they cool down and say, “Oh, that? I was just mad. I wasn’t really raped/abused/etc.” Abuse is fucking serious. If you lack fear of the person7, I’m sorry. I don’t believe it is possible to have been abused and lack fear. I also don’t believe that being able to “handle” or “deal with” or “live through” abuse is what makes a person “strong”. That’s not strength. That’s survival.

Statistics

RAINN is a hotline I called. If you need someone to talk to, they’re great. I read about it in Seventeen Magazine, and I called. They helped me.

  1. If she was, I didn’t believe it.
  2. It’s VERY dangerous for guinea pigs to mate. It’s also VERY dangerous to get them fixed! The first one died because she was pregnant… At the pet store, they put them altogether. -.-
  3. I am aware this is illegal now. Everything that happens to me at workplaces I find out to be illegal when it’s too late.
  4. The original plan for home schooling was because missing school to go to photo shoots was out of the question.
  5. had to share my email and password and social media usernames and passwords with them. It was like this because they didn’t want me to be talking to my dad. I had a MySpace account at one time, and I’d gotten my BFF, Leigh, to change my password for me the next day at school. …they were upset with me, and I lied, saying I must have been hacked. In my defense, I had to lie in order to play life, the survival game.
  6. Except that’s exactly what I am of it: scared. To death.
  7. For lack of better words: If you lack fear of the person WHILE it is going on, etc.

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Comments on this post

Robin’s gravatar

Very interesting post. It must have been tough for you to share all of this. I hope your story might be helpful to anyone who reads this and is going through the same situation.

Paulina’s gravatar

You did a great job about talking what had happened to you. I know you know I have gone through some similar things with abuse. So I know exactly what you mean by the fear. It was very hard to pull away from that and stay away. But these were only peers so I can only image what it is like when it is actually your family. You are doing a great job with all that you are able to do.

Stephanie’s gravatar

I’m proud of you for sharing this post with us. It’s a story that needs to be told, and it’s a hard story to tell.

In the future, if you’re not talking to your mom, rest assured that there is no reason that any person you interact needs to meet your mom and stepfather. Your stepmother should suffice. I just hope that your younger siblings aren’t going through the same abuse that you went through.

[…] LOUD, and people need to be aware of the signs and the outcome. Who knows? Maybe a parent will read my story one day and realize that their child is terrified of them and want to change things, or perhaps it […]