When I was 3, I was separated from my mom in the grocery store. Some random lady took my hand and began to walk me out of the store. I was too little to think anything of it. My mom stopped her at the door and said, "Excuse me, that's not your child." Suddenly the lady was gone and our day proceeded.
Wasn't till I was a grown up that I realized I was almost kidnapped.
My mother used to drive home from the hospital she worked at high as balls from the morphine she had stolen and then crawl into my bed and pass out. I used to scream at my dad to come get her out of my room so I could finish my homework and go to sleep for school the next day. It’s a miracle the woman didn’t kill anyone on her drives home.
It was in my after-school activity center and we were all out for a walk with the teachers and I remember witnessing a lady laying face down in front of an apartment building's entrance and a broken window above. There was a lot of blood. The adult just kept on pushing us to walk by her. I remember questioning it and asking to help her. I think maybe they didn't want us to look at the scene too much.
When I was 8, I took care of my father in-home who was dying of AIDS. Mom wasn’t in the picture. None of the adult family wanted to be near him and help out because they all said it was contagious (this was the '90s and HIV ignorance was still at an all-time high.) I changed his diapers, showered him, fed him, gave him his pills. Until he died. As a kid, that was my “normal.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but it really fucked me up. He was my hero and the strongest man alive to me, and seeing him in such a vulnerable state and reduced to nothing really messed up my brain. It just kinda numbed me. Literally did not/could not cry for 12 whole years after that. I still struggle nowadays to “feel what I’m supposed to feel” in certain situations, but I’ve gotten a lot better and am definitely more in touch with my emotions.
My mom's cousin was raised by my grandparents and I would stay there often. I was 7/8. Back in the day I think it was HBO or something would show adult movies after a certain time at night. He would only let me watch TV at night if it was on that channel in his room and then after I was done watching the movie the adult movie would start playing. He wouldn’t be in the room but he would check to make sure I didn’t change the channel. I would get weirded out and just turn the tv off. It was so weird bc he wouldn’t say anything but insist I could only watch that channel at night. It also had to be loud enough that he could hear it outside the room.
He would also leave his adult magazines open and laying around in his room when I would sleep over and then ask me to get him stuff in his room that were right by the magazines.
I remember asking my mom why I didn’t have hair like the girls in his magazines and she lost her mind. He lied and said I was snooping and that he caught me looking at adult movies on TV. My mom didn’t believe him and my grandfather cancelled the cable and had him move to the efficiency they had. He was super mad at me and barely spoke to me after that.
I couldn’t understand why he was mad because I never told on him and I felt like I had done something wrong.
My dad grabbed a knife while punishing my brother. Dad had him sit at the kitchen table and ordered him to put his hands on the table. Dad then put the knife edge on one of my brother's thumbs and threatened to cut his thumbs off. Can't remember what it was about, but this caused me to fear my father from a very young age. My brother was only around 9 or 10 years old at the time.
When I was in elementary school, I became close friends with a family that had children similar in age to me. I only ever saw them at school with their mom and my dad. The oldest daughter and son couldn't stand me and I never knew why, so I would cry and talk to my dad about it and he would reassure me that they did in fact like me. During this time, we had a landline at the house and I happened to pick it up one day and heard my dad on the other line with the mom of that family. He was talking about giving her roses and spending time with her. When I asked my dad who that was, because it clearly wasn't my mom, he disconnected all the landlines in the house. Turns out, he was absolutely cheating on my mom with this woman and I was inadvertently involved by becoming their friends. Was a pretty shit situation in the end.
Back when I was a kid (4-5), I lived with my mother in a one-room apartment. We had to even sleep in the same bed. Occasionally she would bring random men over and tell me they’re going to be my “new daddy.” They’d get drunk, and then make whoopee…in the same bed that I was sleeping in.
Back then I thought it was funny, now it just makes me furious.
I was once at one of those birthday parties in McDonald’s (late '90s) as a young child. There was another party going on on the opposite side of the restaurant, so it was pretty chaotic with kids running around everywhere and only a small amount of adults to corral them.
There was a man wearing a red t-shirt and blue jeans sitting and eating kind of close to the other party, which was odd in itself because most adults that were coming in were getting their food and getting out of the noise of 20+ screaming kids as fast as possible. I only remember him because looking back on it a little while later, I saw him leaving the McDonald’s with a kid from the other party. The kid wasn’t struggling or anything, but the man was kind of rushing him out. In my kid-brain I assumed it was his dad or whatever, but a couple days later my parents found out through mutual friends that there was an attempted kidnapping in the McDonald’s we were at.
I don’t know if this is true, but part of me feels like I witnessed the attempting kidnapping. Thank god they caught the guy and the kid was okay, and because of that incident my parents lectured my brother and I heavily on stranger danger.
When I was a kid, all the kids would sleep in the basement on Christmas Eve to give space for Santa to drop off the presents. That night there was a lot of noise coming from outside on the street but we couldn't see anything because there was snow covering the egress windows. My mom came downstairs and told us to stay there. But soon we heard sirens and saw police lights reflecting in the snow. There was a lot of commotion that we couldn't see. Then my dad came downstairs with the very real Santa Claus. He told us that his sleigh crashed in the snow and that the kind police officers were helping him get unstuck and while they were working he was visiting the kids in the neighborhood. He pulled out a present for each of us and sat with my family while we opened them and sang a few Christmas songs. When things calmed down outside he went back to delivering toys.
Years later I learned that there was a large gang fight outside of our house and that a few people died right outside. An older man from our church lived down the road and knowing my parents had undoubtedly scared children at home, put on his Santa suit and came over once the police arrived. Santa was a hero to me as a child, but that man is a hero to me now.
My mother is/was a drug addict. As a kid lots of things happened as a result of it, but one thing I didn’t realize at the time that would stick with me…well probably forever, but at least thus far, is when my sister's childhood best friend’s father committed suicide, and my mother brought my sister and me to their house a couple nights later (the funeral hadn’t even happened yet) to break in and steal things to sell for drug money. She said at the time that she had permission to do so. She didn’t.
She just wanted to rob a dead man, and brought us along to help carry things. I still feel guilty about it.
My older brother overdosing. Always thought it was normal. Throughout my life (I’m 20), I’ve saved him from dying maybe three times I can remember. Always put him in his side, never called the cops. All of my brothers and sister have seen it happen. If he were to die tomorrow, I don’t think I could cry, as I’ve cried to many times over his death and…he ended up living. He’s still alive, currently in a sober home.
I grew up with a single mom until l was 12. We lived in a rundown trailer park where the owner of the park lived on-site.
1st of the month, there were always a few of the women that would go into the owner's trailer, be in there for half an hour or so, and come out.
The owner had some fierce arguments with my mom, because she never went into his trailer. He would shout at her to get in the trailer, and she would refuse and scream at him that she'd have his money Friday or tomorrow or whatever.
When I was 9 or 10, my family and I lived on the first floor of an apartment complex in Colorado. That year we had a particularly snowy winter.
Every day following snow (2-3x per week), the groundskeeper for the complex would make his rounds, cheerily using a snowblower to clear each and every path. I’d wave hi whenever I saw him pass by my bedroom window.
After one especially heavy snowfall, the groundskeeper was walking along clearing snow when, just outside my room when something got caught and obstructed the snowblower. I saw him struggle with the machine for a moment then walk in front of it. He bent over to look and when he reach his hand in a splattering of blood hit my window with such force that I’ll never forget the sound. We called 911, but his hand was gone. Luckily it was just his hand.
He left the job shortly after and I never saw him again, but I’ll never forget the sound of the blood hitting my window.
Living in an abusive situation as a whole. As a child, domestic violence was the norm for me. When I was at a friend from elementary school one time and his parents were having a disagreement over something. I asked my friend when they'd start hitting each other and he just looked at me funny, not getting what I meant.
As an adult, looking back on my childhood, it's only then you really understand how f**ked up it all was. As a child, it's intense and frightening, but you don't yet grasp the full situation yet.
I was medically neglected as a child. I also had asthma, diagnosed as a baby; my parents would find me with blue lips and rush me to the ER. And once I outgrew the hypoxia and cyanosis, they stopped doing anything about my asthma. Or any other medical thing. I'd have to ask to go to the doctor, and then my mom would say, "Are you sure you need to see a doctor? You don't want to waste his time, do you?" Well I guess I don't need to go after all. Eventually I just stopped asking unless I thought a bone was broken. And I'd ask my mom because my dad was Angry Dad and even a medical emergency would piss him off.
I finally took over my own healthcare when I was 17 after having an asthma exacerbation and bronchitis for 2 months. They never bothered checking on me or asking how I was.
I slowly learned as an adult how to care for my health. I got my first real primary care physician when I was 37. I realized I was neglected and therefore abused in my mid-40s.
Kids think that whatever is happening to them is normal.
My mom would sometimes have us play a game called “army” which consisted of me, my mom, and my siblings army crawling around our apartment. Kind of a hide 'n' seek-style game. She would yell “hit the deck!” randomly and we would all drop and find a hiding spot. We would giggle and giggle while my mom army crawled around looking for us. We loved the game so much.
I realized a few years ago while retelling the story that we lived in a really terrible neighborhood, and she would yell it out when she heard gunshots outside the building. I’m assuming she was worried about stray bullets.
Once when I was, like 7 or 8, my biological dad left me in his car while he went to buy drugs, he then proceeded to take all the cocaine and heroin he bought, and told me it was medicine. I realised later what he was really doing.
My church's youth leadership convinced a group of us kids (4 to 7 years old about) to perform sexual acts on each other as a game. It was supposed to be our secret game.
They would have us play it during the adult's sermons, on bus trips, at campsites. They would whisper in our ears that it was time to play "softies" and we'd start undressing for the game. This went on for about 2 years before we moved to another state.
I was young and did not know better. I thought I had to keep the game secret because only God decides who got to play softies.
I could never unload that pain onto my parents, it would break them. So I've never spoken about it besides with my sister who also went through it.
Edit: I have tried to look these people up but I haven't had much success, this was a rural part of Washington state. The adults were men and women. I don't remember why the game was called softies. The church closed down awhile back; it was an evangelical church. I've moved on from this season of my life, and have sought and received help for the trauma.
My mother used to informally host orgies. Sometimes she was in them but most times, people would just let themselves into our apartment and start fucking. It was a 1-bedroom apartment and her "bedroom" was the living room so it was real weird when I'd come home from school with a friend and six people were in the living room re-enacting some raunchy Caligula scene.
I had a cousin that committed suicide by jumping into a quarry. I was 12. My mom and I went to the wake, and when we got to the body, the casket was closed from the chest down. But it was glaringly obvious that he had been at least partially decapitated, because his head was just kind of awkwardly shoved on. They tried their best, but apparently you can't make that look natural.
So, years later as an adult, I started wondering why in the world my mom would let me see that. So I asked her. It turned out to actually be a thing that no one in the family spoke about openly. My mom didn't know he would look like that, and neither did anyone else.
After my cousin died, he was transported to a funeral home. My aunt insisted on an open casket, which the funeral home refused. It somehow escalated to the point that my aunt hired another funeral home on the condition they have a viewing.
No one except my aunt knew any of this until after the wake. So people start showing up, view the body, and see that he doesn't have a neck and was decapitated. And it isn't like you can go around and say "fyi - the dead guy is all jacked up from jumping into a quarry and you really shouldn't look."
When I was about six or seven, I remember these two girls came to our house and proceeded to beat my mom up. My mom, being no more than 26 or so, was then shoved into the garbage can. She couldn’t get out, and I remember just crying and holding my little sister who is no more than one year old at the time. It didn’t really hit me until I was about 17. I never forgot what It looked like, my mom just crying and bleeding while trying to get out of the garbage can.
In the middle of the night the day after Christmas, when I was five, I woke up to screaming and loud noises from the living room. I walked out of my bedroom and into the living room and saw the Christmas tree knocked over and my mom grabbing at her chest and breathing heavy.
My dad was screaming at her to “stay with" him. I didn’t understand because she was right there. My little sister wandered out of her room and started crying.
My dad told me to hold my mom's hand and he would be right back. I grabbed onto my mom with one hand and my little sister with the other while my dad ran to get the neighbor to stay with us so he could drive my mom to the ER because the ambulance was taking too long.
My mom had her first heart attack that night at the age of 30.
My mom would spend the entire day on the computer in AOL chat rooms talking to her “friend” while dad was at work. She was so glued to the computer that my siblings and I could walk in the room and yell things at her trying to get her attention and she wouldn’t even notice us. We took care of ourselves.
I was like 10 at the oldest and I was forced to bottle feed my baby brother during this time and take care of him because my mom just wouldn’t otherwise. What I really hate is that I’m pretty sure I told my dad that I was having to be his caretaker and he didn’t do anything to make the situation better for me. I don’t know if he knew she was having this emotional affair or not but how could he not have?
Anyway, one day my mom decided we were going to leave my dad while he was at work so she could run off and be with this friend. She took myself and my five younger siblings while my dad was at work and drove us on a cross country road trip from NV to OH to surprise her online lover (who was also married) and once we got to Ohio and she told him we were there, he freaked and ghosted her.
At the time, the situation was confusing for me because my siblings and I just wanted to go home. It clicked later that my mom has always been a very emotionally-unstable person and my siblings and I all have heavy trauma now as adults because of it.
When I was 8-9, my biology teacher picked two students (one male and one female) and told them to undress so that we could see an example of the human anatomy. I only realised it was fucked up when I verbalised it to my mom a decade later.