Tammy’s story

     I’m 43 years old, and my story starts off when I was born.  It’s a bit long so please bear with me…  When I was born, I was already dying so I was immediately shipped an hour away to another hospital.  My mother never got to hold or even touch me. The doctors there shaved my 2-inch-long thick, black hair, off so they could place tubes, etc. and other life saving measures.  After 2 weeks of being there, my ‘mother’ was finally able to take me home. This was the first time she actually got to see me or hold me. But, even here before she could hold me, the nurse actually gave her someone else’s baby!!  As she coddled and cooed with this baby it was my aunt who saw me laying in another bed and said that baby she was holding wasn’t hers… and pointed me out.
     My earliest memories began around three years old, me just want to be loved and excepted by mom and dad, and to be treated as they treated my brother. But throughout my childhood, all I heard every day was how, “I wasn’t hers, I was switched!”; So, I was beat, verbally, mentally and emotionally torn down. By the time I was nine years old my mother had given birth to my sister; and I found myself literally digging Monday off into my skin to hurt myself more than a throbbing pain I already felt inside by the time I was 10. But… no one noticed, and no one noticed the bruises I carried either. But 13 years old, my brother had been born and I became an instant mom too, not by choice but by force, so my mother could play Nintendo all day long.
     I was a real life Cinderella. The cooking, cleaning, childcare etc. I never had a childhood, and when I cried about it I got dirty, greasy rags shoved into my mouth or my hair cut off; and of course, more beatings. By the time I was 16 I had moved out on my own. But by this time, I was looking for love in all the wrong ways and places and I became pregnant with my first daughter. I continued with high school wanting to better my life and knowing I was not going to be anything like my mother!!! At 19 I met a man I thought was amazing knowing my history with my mother, he promised me that he would never hurt me!! At first, he was amazing with my two daughters and soon we even got pregnant with our son. A short couple months later we married, and everything was looking like the fairytale I had dreamt of as a little girl; that is until our marriage license came in the mail and he felt like they were his ownership papers. Suddenly my amazing fairytale shattered! Being pregnant didn’t stop him from hitting me either! It just changed where he hit me!! But by this time, I had learned to fight back. There was no way he was going to hit me and think he could get away with it; who did he think he was???
     As months turned into years however; his manipulations, verbal attacks, emotional abuse and mental attacks were wearing on me to the point I had no idea who I was anymore. My family and friends were taken away from me. I was a literal prisoner in the house that I had bought. I couldn’t even check the mail on my front porch without repercussions! The beatings I got, the broken bones I received, somehow, he had made me believe that I deserved. I was a literal puppet on strings again, looking for someone to love me and I’ll begin to question, how did I get back into this life again?
     Each time I called the police expecting to get some kind of help, they would literally shake his hand and tell him what a good man he was. I was stuck!! No one could or would help me, until the day he decided to kick out my big picture window. Then my oldest daughter’s father took me to court and get custody of her. Even though he had never hit my kids, as the abuse had been limited to just me, I never seriously thought about the damage I was doing to my children. Losing your child will make you have superstrength, strength you never knew you had. A short three days later, I was gone! I did find that an order of protection was not helping; every time he broke into my house, chased me in my car, or called me 100 times the cops told me “oh he didn’t mean it, it was an accident“.
     Now I feared for my life, so I took my kids six hours away. I was finally free and able to live life! Then I found out my abuser has started dating my CPS worker, she had even given my abuser my new address!
     While waiting for my children to get off the bus one day, I look over and there he sat, my abuser was parked in my driveway six hours away from where I had left him.  I was so scared! Then the CPS worker showed up at my home and informed me that she was placing a neglect order on me for “allowing my beatings“ and “because I had left my hometown I had violated this neglect order and she was now taking my kids”. She didn’t care why I took off, nor that he was in my driveway proving I was not safe. She didn’t care that I had full custody of my children! I had fought a war no mother should ever have to fight, through a corrupt court system for seven long, painful years. One where even the judge was being paid off. It wasn’t Until a week prior to this judges retirement that I was able to get full custody of my now full grown children. As happy as I was, I had missed so much. A granddaughter had been born, there has been graduations, birthdays, holidays etc.
      After five years of having my kids home and spending my time crying most of those five years in the bathroom because of my children being rude, nasty, and verbally abusive; I finally had enough, and I let them go. They were near their 30s, and they needed to stop believing the lies and learn some respect. I decided I didn’t need this anymore, as I didn’t deserve it.
      Then I find out my neck was broken, I had been walking around with a broken neck for years. I now have six screws and a metal plate inserted into my neck. But that isn’t the worst of it. I also found out that I have a very rare spinal cord injury call Syringomyelia, (Basically a cyst like tumor that grows lengthwise inside your spinal cord).  It’s inoperable and unfortunately it’s incurable. It’s from being knuckle-punched between my shoulder blades for 10 years by my abuser. This disease is slowly killing me, it is extremely painful; and it affects my entire neurological system, motor skills, many of my organs, my eyes, my ears, and is actually paralyzing me.
      I’m not angry anymore about my future, because I’m alive. I survive so much where someone could have killed me, or I could’ve ended it myself because of the garbage of it all. So, I’m grateful for life, I’m grateful that I can share my story with you.
      It’s now been 20 years since my last meeting, and I have learned to use what happened to me to learn, grow and to help others. When I see the slightest character of “him“ in anyone I meet, I turn and walk away. I am a survivor! Love DOESN’T hurt, EVER, emotionally, mentally, verbally or physically. If it does, they do not truly love you! I have now been happily married to a wonderful man for the past six years. We have been together for 11 years, he married me knowing my past. We have a beautiful six-year-old together, and my life is good. You must just get through the tough times and know that you are worth more than you give yourself credit for.
      You can get out, I promise! Stay safe, love to you all.