Step-Devil and 8 year old me

Dear Reader,

This recounting is one of several I will share with you. I open up so you might know you are not the only one. To the teen or the young adult with similar backgrounds, I got through it, and so will you- if you fight for yourself. Don’t take on the inheritance they have given you. Create your own, change the meaning and the outcome of your story. It is not easy, but breaking those chains is one of the most liberating and validating victories you will experience. All my love. N.

“She’s a drinker”. “I’m a drinker”. “He is a drinker.” All these phrases are said with a tone of reverence in my family. We do not use the word alcoholic, but being a drinker is a badge of honor. Unfortunately for my brothers and I, the affect of the drinkers in our family didn’t bequeath us any sense of pride or honor. What we received instead was uncertainty, dysfunction, and pain.


Step-devil was drunk in the dining room. My mother was yelling for me. I hated when they did this. I hated when they fought and brought me into it. I hated when the cops came, and took one of them away, or escorted us to my grandmother’s. I hated the stuffed animals the officers gave us. This night didn’t end with the cops, but it ended up with a little blonde girl standing up for herself the best way she could.

I came out of my room. Telling myself to not make any faces. Faces are bad on nights like this. My eyes meet his. His face was angry, and he was cruel.
“Did your mom tell you she is a slut’? He spat with all the vengeance he could muster. “Did she tell you Robert is not your dad”?

“Yes, she told me”.

The acidic words rolled off his drunk breath with unbelievable ease. He took pleasure in making other people feel small and weak. What is worse, is she didn’t stop him. She allowed him to hurt me. As a mother now, I cannot fucking fathom standing by watching some asshole hurt my kids, but she did. She always chose him.

Much of that night has been faded with time. What remains crystal clear is how I stood up for myself. After he was done, I went into my room. I took down all the things he given me. My New Kids On The Block poster, and sleeping bag, various toys and things. I took all that shit, and I dropped it by his feet and told him, “I don’t want this stuff anymore”, and I walked into my room, head held high.

I believe this was a defining moment for me. It planted a seed in my heart to be a fighter, to stand up for what is right no matter how terrifying it may be.

9 thoughts on “Step-Devil and 8 year old me

  1. An email probably would have been preferable to the comment but I couldn’t find the email button at first. You can email me with your response. Thanks so much.

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      • I have had to take stock in my relationship with her. She is not the mother I so desperately desire, so I stopped expecting or hoping that from her. I have accepted that we will never be like other mother/daughter relationships. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I handle her hurtful actions (or lack of action) better than I used to. In times of great need or great joy, I feel pain in that I cannot go to her the way I would like. My recovery time when it hits me is much better than it used to be.


  2. How did your relationship with your parents end? I am now at a point in my life where I am facing this crossroad (at 40). I’m scared but I want them to get better and not enable them, and I don’t want my kids to be exposed to all of the chaos and inappropriateness. I’m not sure what to do or how to do it?

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    • My mother and her husband got divorced about 10 years ago. My mom has a convience relationship with us now. I have forgiven her, but am working through the pain of my childhood. She isn’t unsafe for my kids to be around, but they have never stayed the night with her alone, and probably never will.


      • My parents are still together but both have issues related to alcoholism, I too am still working through the lingering affects of growing up in a home that was so dysfunctional. They are still dependent on me to “parent” them. My therapist always asks me why I continue to pursue a relationship with them when it is still so toxic for me. Recent events have pushed me to the point where I feel like I need to let them know that I can’t continue the way things are and that if they don’t start taking care of themselves that I will need to limit my contact with them. I just don’t know if I can do it or if I should do it.

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      • I am a fan of boundaries. It isnt easy because we want that realtionship with our parents so badly. Then i look at my children, and think about what i would say to them if they were persuing a toxic relationship. The fact is how they see us behave in relationships teaches them a lot about how to form their own. You having the ability to have healthy boundaries will teach them it is okay to do the same no matter who it is with. They may not understand it now, but when their relationships get more complicated, you will have given them the tools to discern if X relationship is life giving or draining, and them to feel secure to decide how much of themselves they put into it.


  3. So sorry that you had experiences like that in your childhood. It’s unfortunate how alcohol affects so many people’s lives in similar ways and so little is spoken of it. We always hear the dangers of drugs, but outside of drinking and driving little is mentioned of the abuse that often accompanies alcoholism.

    I am still dealing with the effects of alcoholism with my own parents. Our story is much different than yours but still contributed to similar effects on my health.

    I wish you the best on your journey.

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