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Dealing with Divorce

Tianna Manley

Many children born to married parents today will experience their divorce before the age of 18. What some parents don't know is that more children that come from divorced families are struggling through depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and even dropping out of school. This is my story about how divorce affected my life. I have never told anyone this part of my story, but I am telling it now. I believe everything happens for a reason, good or bad. Helping someone can make my experience worth going through.

I was really little when my parents started fighting. My dad mentally, verbally and sometimes, physically abused my mom. They would always fight about what seemed like the stupidest, little things. I would lose sleep trying to stay up at night and listen to them fight, wanting to make sure nothing bad would happen. When my brother started to understand that they were fighting, I made up a little game called, "Who can watch mom and dad without them seeing us?" While this was going on, I started to get bullied at school.

The kids at my elementary school were mean to me. I didn't understand, because I hadn't even done anything to them. They would call me "Manley voice" and say "Why are you so Manley?" They would leave me out of things they were doing and these were my friends. Now that I look back on it what they called me wasn't so bad, but it still hurt me and that's all that matters. Between the bullying and my parents fighting all the time, I couldn't take it anymore. Many times I wanted to put a knife through my chest, just to end all the pain and the voices. I could never go through with it because I wanted to take care of my little brother and my mom. I was only 12, but I believed it was my responsibility to protect my family, like a grown up.

As I got older, I didn't have those thoughts anymore. A year later my dad beat my mom until she was bloody and bruised; ripping and cutting through her clothes with his nails and fists. He threatened to beat me with a belt if I called the police. When I heard my mom screaming and crying out for help, I grabbed my phone and ran down the stairs. I tried to call for my little brother, but he didn't come. I ran over to my grandparents' house and called 9-1-1, locked all the doors and sat by door crying. After the police arrived my brother told me that he had been hiding in the bathroom. He said he saw my dad charging down the stairs with a belt in his hand. I lost all respect for my dad that night and our relationship has never been the same.

About a year ago I got in a relationship with this guy, who seemed like everything I ever wanted in a boyfriend. We liked the same things. We did everything together. It was amazing! Then things started to change. We started to fight. He would yell at me and when I wouldn't answer him back, he would break up with me. I would cry and say, "I'm sorry," even though I didn't do anything wrong. This went on for the rest of the year we were together. He would break up with me, I would stay away, and then he would come up to me like nothing happened. He was constantly playing games with me. One time I knew he had money, so I asked him if we could go do something. He called me a gold digger, even though I was usually the one paying for everything. I had my mom drive us around and even pick him up for school when it was cold outside. When I couldn't get my mom to pick him up, I felt guilty.

Then one day when we were fighting at school (I don't remember what we were fighting about) but I decided I was done. I didn't want to fight anymore. He grabbed me and tried to make me stay. I told him to let me go. I didn't like this feeling. I kept yelling, "Let me go!" When I finally got away, I ran down the hallway. I could hear him scream loudly and punch the brick wall. I sat crying outside my classroom. Later that night he sent me a picture of his bloody bruised hand and told me it was my fault.

I didn't know what to do anymore. I was sad all the time and I shut everyone out. I lost friends. I felt like I was nothing. I didn't know why I was still with him. No matter how many times I forgave him and he would promise to change, the cycle would continue. I finally broke up with him and told him I didn't love him anymore. He continued to harass me with lies, tripped me in the hallway and threatened to hurt me.

Eventually the harassment ended. I hope girls can learn from my story. No one should treat you like you're worthless. Currently, I have a boyfriend I enjoy spending time with. I truly couldn't ask for a better guy. Things are great and I am growing stronger in confidence every day.

Confidence & Love
Tianna Manley