My dad died when I was 2 years old, and my mom got married the second time when I was 4. My step father was an alcoholic. He would beat up my mom, me and my little brother (his son) almost every day. Sometimes he was ok when he wasn’t drunk. But again, if there was something he didn’t like, he would try to verbally put me down like I was nothing.  He was thinking that raising me this way will help me to become a better and stronger person.  After 2 years of constant physical abuse, I didn’t feel anything anymore. I can say that physical abuse didn’t hurt me anymore (it still wasn’t ok!), but the verbal, emotional and mental abuse, that’s what was killing me the most.
I’m still healing from all those experiences.
I feel like I’ve never had a chance to be a kid. I could never make a mistake or break something by accident and just be forgiven. I had to suffer for every opinion that I had, for every mistake that I made.
Kids should be kids. Yes, they make mistakes, yes, they have their opinions, and if they want to voice them, let them do it. You don’t have to agree with them, but sharing your own opinion with your child will create healthy conversations which will lead to connection.
I’m a mom now to an almost 6-year-old boy, and I remember all my experiences.  In some way, I am grateful for all of them because they taught me how not to act and how not to treat my child.
There was something that my step father was right about – I became a stronger person!
A person who can see the right and the wrong in any aspects of my life.
That horrible abuse wasn’t the only obstacles I had to go through when I was a child.  I was also bullied at school and outside. The kids would never like me for some reason (maybe they didn’t want to play with a kid who is always covered with blue and red bruises). I would get beat up at school.  Outside while going to a grocery store kids would steal my money.  According to my step father, it would always be my fault.
When I was a kid I didn’t see things like they were. I was happy. Now I can see that it was a horrifying experience.
—Larisa, 27 years old

April 12, 2017