My name is E.L. Henderson and I’m a 43 year old woman who suffered complex child abuse for 15 years. The middle of 3 children, we were middle class private school types, but our mother was angry, hostile and very strict. My father was barely in and she took it out on us. They divorced, she moved us far away and had license to just be worse and worse. She would come in our room at night, sweep everything off the dresser tops, drag us out of bed and shout at us to clean it up. This went on for years. She shouted, slammed things around, made us stand and answer questions, hit us, called us names. She hated me especially, because she hadn’t wanted girls and I was her second girl. She used to say she hated me and wished I’d never been born.

I was always in trouble and being hit. I’d say the worst injury I got was when she whipped me on my back with the cord to my Technics stereo stack. I got wheels of blood through my school shirt from that. The only time I ever thought I would die was when she was holding my head under water, which she used to like to do, and she did that for about 13 years, maybe more. The worst thing was the physical lack of boundaries.  Another ‘worst thing’ was when she spat in my face and prevented me from wiping it off and I had to stand there while it ran down my face.

Anyway so 15 years of this and then I left, for my dads, and then out on my own. Tried to be good, carried on at school, got my degree. THEN….I got some help, through the doctor. It was life changing. No one had helped me before or been on my side. This all changed. I remember clinging onto the appointments with the lady and self help books like life rafts, as I learned about abuse, what it is, how things go down. Life changing. So I saw the counselor and read and worked through the books and then I started changing things for the better. I became a charity worker for people fleeing abuse and through that I really solidified what abuse is, why people do it, the same old things they all tend to say (I didn’t do it, you made me do it, you’re lying, you deserved it.) Having to explain time and time again to people helped me. I started changing how I look, what I did in my spare time, all to make things better and start to have my brand of good time.

The best thing I think people can do who’ve been abused is come in out of the cold and meet others of us who’ve been through it too. You will see how common your experience is, how abusers all say the same sorts of things, how survivors are affected….and you can learn how to manage it when you get upset or are reminded. You don’t have to suffer and you didn’t deserve to suffer in the first place.

Recommended Book of the Month: Purple Dragon Mother, Healing from Child Abuse by E.L. Henderson. To purchase her inspiring survivor story, click here.

Good news! Amazon will donate a percentage of every book purchased through American SPCC, to support  our mission to improve children’s lives.  You CAN make a positive difference in the life of a child! 

April 11, 2018

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