Abuse Me, Refuse Me: A Recount of Control

I faced a lot of abuse as a child. To this day, I still feel an ounce of panic when someone raises their voice, and I still flinch when anyone raises their hand, even if just for a high-five. One of my most vivid adolescent memories centers on the first time I saw a friend’s parents interact without shouting. It proved to me that non-dysfunctional families did exist outside of fiction, that some people did get along without hurting one another, and that maybe one day, I would find someone who understood me, too.

I do not want pity for my past, but I do want to talk about how I coped with my abuse: I developed a huge internal locus of control. Every time my mom lashed out at me or struck me, I always told myself that if I worked hard enough, I would survive and get out of my house. This strict regime I set up for myself had negative consequences – my eating disorder, for example – but for the most part, it worked. I escaped my house, and I made it into the Honors program of my current college, where I get to study Psychology and English, two subjects I love.

What my school supplies look like during any given midnight. Thank goodness I got a smartphone over spring break to capture these moments.

What my school supplies look like during any given midnight. Thank goodness I got a smartphone over spring break to capture these moments.

But life has proven me wrong. Within the past six months, my grandfather passed away, a best friend betrayed me and broke my heart, and a couple of other close friends from high school abandoned me. I had no control over any of these outcomes; no matter how hard I worked or how much passion I poured into my relationships, these external events slammed into me with a strength I never would have expected. They knocked me down almost as much as my mother’s abuse.

Now I know: I can only control myself. I have food, water, and shelter. I possess an untouchable compassion and inquisitive nature for people. I have never once stopped caring, and I have always been there, for others and for myself.

I need to learn how to just be, to let the storm soak me without trying to stop the rain. In a world with so much hurt, I will learn how to heal myself, by doing and by being. I will close my eyes and tell myself: you will be stronger than you have ever been before. And I will continue on this process of growth, on this journey of discovery – on my path to breaking free.

Spontaneous selfie I took while writing this post. Some things never change.

Spontaneous selfie I took while writing this post. Some things never change.

Thank you so much, as always, for all of your support. I appreciate every comment I receive, and though my personal life has obscured every chance I have to respond to comments, I will as soon as I can. May this warm weather bring more uplifting posts about subjects other than myself – Ariana Grande, academia, and more. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week.



Filed under Personal

20 responses to “Abuse Me, Refuse Me: A Recount of Control

  1. And a wonderful rest of the week to you Thomas. 🙂

  2. Cristina Rodríguez

    You’re a beautiful person, Thomas. I love your posts

  3. I’m always so proud of how well you have handled what life has thrown at you. You’re a good person ❤ Great post too 🙂

  4. Kev

    One of the main reasons I have always loved your blog is because of how you’ve used your experiences to help out others who may be going through what you did at home. I imagine anyone who stumbles across your blog whilst looking for help or inspiration will find it with you. This post is another great example of that. You are a great role model for other young people.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Kev. It means a lot that this blog might help out others, and I hope it does do so. Hope you and all of your writing ventures are well!

  5. Hey 🙂 It’s great to see you back and I’m glad that you’re okay. I was a little worried about you. It’s honestly inspiring how you can still be okay after abuse and eating disorders and homophobia and J. You’re fabulous and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise :). I’m following you on Tumblr

    • Thank you so much for your support! It means a lot to me that people read this blog from Tumblr and from other sources; your reiteration of what I have overcome inspires me as well. Hope you are well on this summer day, and please let me know if I can write about anything of interest to you. (:

  6. peter

    It’s the first really warm afternoon of the year here in London and you have made it even warmer. Well done, Thomas: the world needs people like you.

  7. All of this. It’s hard not to let negativity around us affect our behaviour and perception, but you’re obviously strong, and I think your compassionate personality will shine through despite how differently others might be behaving around you. You go, Thomas! And nice selfie. It’s great that some things never change 😛

    • Thank you again for all of your warmth and your solidarity! I have missed reading your blog so much, and it feels so great to catch up. Hope you are doing well on this fine summer day.

  8. Hey sweetie. I’m really sorry you’re having a tough time at the moment, but I think you have the right attitude. Just focus on your studies for a while and make some time to meet new people – join a club etc. Hugs!

  9. You’re a great role model, and you. can. do. this.

  10. A friend of mine led me to your blog and I am glad she did send me here. This particular post resonated with me in many levels. First, I had an abusive mother, both emotionally and physically. Later on we found out she was bipolar. Second, I live with some trauma, mostly abandonment, and deal with my own mental illness lastly, I too took the same route your are taking—going to school, excelling in it and controlling what I could. The option growing up, for me, was either to take the angry road or to fight it with all I got and take control of my life. I took the latter and now I find catharsis in some ways as a psychologist helping people deal with similar problems. I am glad that despite everything you are continually caring for people . You are amazing. I am really happy to have found your story. 🙂

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