Coming to America and Overcoming Abuse

Aug 3, 2023

I came to America when I was only thirteen to live with an uncle. My parents had just divorced. I didn’t speak much English and had never met this part of my family. After staying with me for a short period, my father left to return home.

The first year was nice. I was able to make some friends and feel like I was adjusting to the culture.

Just as I thought I had become part of the family, everything changed. Slowly, my aunt stopped talking to me. And when she did, the words were hurtful and sarcastic. I didn’t know what I did wrong. I was too afraid to ask. So, I just kept quiet and continued to focus on schoolwork. More and more, her words were not just sarcastic anymore but purposely cruel. She started to abuse me with her words, even in front of her two young sons. But never in front of my uncle.

I felt so helpless and afraid. But I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I didn’t want to tell my parents how much suffering she was putting me in. I didn’t understand why she was so mean. What did I do? I kept telling myself that she was unhappy. She had too much stress.

Day after day, month after month. This kept going for more than a year. Not only was she being so nasty, she didn’t provide any lunch money. Thankfully, all of my friends would share their lunch with me. They all knew what was going on with my aunt, and they made sure I was taken care of at school.

One day, we were home. As I walked past her room, she said, “I don’t know why I have to be responsible for an unwanted kid. What pathetic parents she has.”

I broke down. I was so angry. I was screaming so loud in my mind, but she couldn’t hear it. “NO, she does not have the right to talk about my parents like that.” I told myself.

That day, I emailed my dad. I told him what happened. The things she said and the attitude I received. I couldn’t do this anymore. My best friend and her family offered to take me in. I moved out within a month. I was just fifteen.

It was sunny the day I left. I was finally able to leave the horrible place behind. I didn’t have to take another word from her. I could be myself again.

Even after all these years, the scar has stayed with me. Though this may have been one of the darkest times in my life, I do not want to forget how I felt. It forced me to learn to adapt and to stand up for myself. The hardship was the fire that forged me to be both resilient and compassionate.

At the end, I must thank her and wish her to find peace.

Submitted by Anne

Note from Mark: Anne shares that forgiveness is a powerful action. It allows us to move forward from past hurts,