I Came From a Toxic Family That Did Not Support Me

My father left me when I was 7 years old. This left a huge void in my life and a longing for that special bond with a dad. The same year my dad left, my mom had a new man move into our home with her, my sister, and me. He had two sons of his own and got my mom pregnant pretty quickly. They got married a couple years later and everything felt like it was perfect. I finally had the family I wanted and had a very special bond and closeness to my new stepdad.

He saw my eagerness and longing as an innocent little girl and he took advantage of it.

I was only 11 years old when the abuse started. For 2 years it was a nightly routine of him raping and molesting me. When I went to my mom for help, she did nothing and threatened that I would tear the family apart. I grew very sick over the next several years from the stress of having this man live in the same house as me. I was angry, confused, hurt, and constantly retraumatized by my mom knowing and doing nothing to help.

At 24 years old I had enough, and that man confessed. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 years. This was a huge victory for me and a moment that leaves me so incredibly proud of myself for being strong enough to face him. I came from a toxic family that did not support me and a mother who cared more about herself than anyone else. I said goodbye to all of my family, except my sister.

Since leaving behind the people who kept me sick, I have been the healthiest and happiest I have ever been in my life. I have a wonderful, loving husband. I have my sister and her husband and their beautiful baby boy. And most of all, I have me back. I have finally been able to find myself and realize how strong, powerful, and beautiful I am!

-Ashley, Survivor