I am 33 years old, and I have overcome a lot of personal obstacles in my own life. My background is that I suffered from physical, emotional, and mental abuse from my Mother since I was a baby. Personally, it was a very long struggle to break free from the cycle of abuse and allow myself to heal from trauma. However, I have suffered from another form of abuse from a step-father who sexually abused me. I experienced nightmares and I developed mental health conditions as a result. I saw and heard my step-father abusing my mom. I felt helpless because my mom did not want to seek help. She knew the abuse was wrong, but she was afraid to leave. I let her cry on my shoulder and listened to her, but I could not save my mom because it was her decision to stay with an abuser. As a result, she did not believe me that her husband sexually abused me. I made the decision to separate myself from my mom and her husband because I went to counseling, and the counselor taught me to make healthy decisions in my life. I learned to be assertive and to express my needs. I set boundaries with my mom and step-father. I made the decision to cut off my relationship with my mom and step-father because they did not want to change, and they did not show me love the way I deserved. I went through an adjustment period living without my mom, and the hardest part was to move on without my mother. My mother and I had a codependent relationship, but we were close and told each other everything. I felt she was my best friend, but she was abusing me at the same time. It was a love-hate relationship. It took me many years to stand up for myself and set boundaries with my mom. When I turned 20 years old, I was planning to get married, and she hit me out of anger. I called my ex-husband, and he told me to work it out with my mom. The next day is when I had enough, and I moved out. I came to point where I was at my limit, and I would not tolerate abuse anymore. Then, I married my ex-husband, but the cycle of abuse continued with him. He became verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive. After 3 years, I left him, and I moved in with my mom again. However, the abuse continued again. Then, my mom did not want me to live with her, so I moved to a different place. It was an unending cycle of moving in with my mom and moving out of my mom’s house repeatedly. Finally, after my step-father sexually abused me, I filed for a protection order and moved somewhere where he could not find me. I told my mother that I cannot have a father-daughter relationship with her husband. She said, “Well, I guess we will not have a relationship then”. I said, “Okay. Bye”. Then, I moved into a new place, but I began to have mental breakdowns from experiencing excessive amount of stress from abuse. I became hospitalized and went to different mental health facilities. Finally, I moved out of the mental health facility, and I lived on my own living on Social Security Disability, living on my own with roommates. On a positive note, I met my fiance` I have today, and he has made my life so much better. I went through an adjustment period where I had to learn how to have healthy relationships because I had unhealthy relationships with men in the past. It took a year for me to work through these issues. My fiance` is a Mental Health Counselor, and he has been a positive relationship in my life. I have had a lot of unhealthy relationships in the past, and I learned how to move forward from the abuse. We are getting married next year, and I had to take time to learn to trust him. He has earned my trust by showing me I can trust him. It has not always been easy for him when I went through this difficult time to work through these issues in my past, but he has had the patience to help me. He wanted to give me the opportunity to change, and he has shown me great love despite my personal problems. Now, I have a very happy life, and I can function in a healthy relationship because my fiance` has taught me how to have a healthy relationship. He has taught me how to maintain stable mental health and maintain stable behavior. I was in and out of counseling for a lot of years, but my fiance` is the one that helped me change. A lot of people have tried to help me, but my fiance` has had the gift of making a positive impact in someone’s life. I believe a positive support system is the best way to make your life better and help you to live a healthy life. It took me one year to work though all of my issues from the abuse of the past, but my fiance` worked with me on a daily basis to listen and guide me. I would not be where I am without my fiance`. As a result, I am mentally and emotionally stable in my life. I have a positive self-esteem of who I am, and I feel I can move forward with my life. I realized that in order for me to have a healthy relationship with my fiance`, I had to learn to not let the past affect my relationship with my fiance`. I had to let go of the past, and I had to learn to trust him. I realize that not everyone will accept me, and that is okay. It only matters I accept myself, and my fiance` loves me. I am more independent than dependent on people. I have learned to be happy with myself. I have overcome depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and fear. I have learned my wants and needs matter. I was determined to have healthy relationships, and as a result, I met someone who is healthy for me. My positive mind-set helped me to have a happy lifestyle. My background is that I came from a religious home, and my belief in God has helped me to have hope and faith. My fiance` is a Christian, and his beliefs inspired me to trust in God. My spirituality taught me to not give up and have faith even if it seems hopeless.

Christina Chacon

Twinkly Tus is a singer-songwriter and mental health advocate who works with a group of artists to empower vulnerable people and we are happy to share her powerful song. It is so exciting to see young people lose their fears and get involved in raising awareness about emotional and psychological abuse.

Twinkly Tus

Grow Above Community

Twinkly Studio

Hi. I want to talk about what happened to me.  My mother had a boyfriend when I was 9 and he didn’t live with us at first and only came by for a few hours. Then he decided to spend weekends at our house and have a break from living with his parents. This man, let’s call him Brian, had his own children but didn’t care for them much. I don’t know why my mother thought it’s a good idea to fall in love with Brian, but she did and nobody else mattered.

I’m an only child and was bullied at school and it was always tough for me to bond with people and trust them.  When Brian first came into our life he was fun and friendly, we played football together and he listened to me and I felt really important and grown up. Brian was the only bloke who didn’t make fun of me or tease me or try to take something of mine. Mum was very happy and we had a good time.

Problems started when Brian moved in and very quickly weekends turned into the stuff of nightmares. Brian was pretty weird and didn’t want us to use his stuff. For example, he picked a chair for himself that he liked to sit on and said it’s his, which meant we couldn’t sit on it even when he wasn’t there. Then he had his favourite set of dishes, which were really my mother’s favourite dishes, but he sort of pushed her aside and said he will use them now and she can buy some more dishes for herself. If we touched his stuff and he found out he got angry, but not in a violent way, he was never physical and didn’t hit us. He didn’t even scream, his angry voice was this horrible hissing and he stared at us, nothing else.

Everything became about Brian and his needs and he no longer spent time with me like before. Weekends were his rest days and he wanted to do what he felt like doing such as watching TV and having a pint.  He didn’t have a drinking problem but I was just a kid so maybe he did and I couldn’t understand it. When he turned on the TV we all had to be silent and not disturb him.  Sometimes he invited one or two of his friends but they always looked uncomfortable and never stayed long.  Anyhow, my mother lost all interest in me and didn’t feed me or take care of me when Brian was there and I was snacking instead of having meals. During the week she returned to normal and our life went on like nothing happened.

This went on for a few weekends and then Brian decided I was too noisy. I was always a quiet kid and because I had nobody to play with I had an imaginary world in my head with imaginary friends, but I played in the sitting room where the TV was because I wanted to be a part of this life. So one day I was playing with my toys and Brian told my mother that my noises disturb him and my mother told me to quiet down. It’s so weird now that I think about it, because I really wasn’t noisy and anyway I was home and he was the guest. When I continued playing Brian started calling me names in his snake voice and telling me to go play outside or in my room or somewhere he won’t hear my buzzing. Mum told me to apologise and sent me to my room and I cried because it was so unfair.

After that moment everything Brian did was about chasing me away and making me feel useless to keep me quiet. Between hell at school and crazy weekends of silence I didn’t know what to do. I never met my real father and my grandparents didn’t live nearby and I had nowhere to go to be myself. Mother was useless at weekends, it’s like Brian put a spell on her from Friday night to Monday morning and she lived for him.

This went on for about a year, maybe more, but I remember one weekend Brian didn’t come over and my mother was going crazy and crying and hugging me to comfort herself. The weekend after that she told me he won’t come again because he found another friend to stay with. I was a kid but I wasn’t stupid and understood he met a new woman.

This was a really difficult time for me and I don’t understand why mother acted like I don’t exist. She never talked about it, never mentioned Brian again and if she bumped into him she didn’t stop to chat.