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‘I’m too scared to go back,’ I told my mom. His voice paralyzed me. I lived in fear he’d kill my mother.’: 23-year-old adopted by stepfather who ‘never ceased to fight’ for her during childhood trauma with biological dad

“I lived in 2 different worlds. Five days a week I was in a picture-perfect home with a beautiful stay-at-home mom. But the remaining 2 days, I was in survival mode. I remember watching the clock tick by, counting down the time I had left in my safe haven before I’d have to get in the car and enter my second world. My biological dad had trained me well, so I kept his secrets. I’d stare at the window in my bedroom, hands on the frame, trying to build enough courage to slip out of it and run.”

‘I’m one of the lucky mothers. I didn’t have to bury my child. I have my daughter back. For today.’: Mom of an addict says ‘heroin is not picky,’ she still ‘breaks down sobbing’

“I waited daily for the phone call that would tell me my daughter was dead. I planned her funeral. I did not sleep the entire night for years – always waiting for the ring of the doorbell. 18 months ago, she was living in the dumpster area of Taco Bell. She had sold her car for drugs. She weighed less than 100 lbs. Mariah celebrated a year sober yesterday. Do I trust her? Not fully. But she is sober. She is productive. She is happy. For today.”

‘Ma’am there’s been reports of gunshots.’ The cops open the closet, we all stop. I see his legs.’: Woman finds true love after abuse, miscarries, welcomes rainbow baby with man who ‘rocked her world’

“I come home terrified, not knowing what to expect. I walk into each room looking for him, nowhere to be found. There are cops at the door. My heart sinks in panic. The cops pull him out, still alive. He stated he was ‘cleaning his gun,’ and he wanted to ‘hide in the closet.’ WHAT?! ‘Ma’am, you need to get away from him. This is not safe.’ Then I met Michael. I forgot what laughter felt like until that moment.”

‘I took LSD and had a ‘bad trip.’ My whole life shattered. When I began to ‘come down,’ the panic didn’t leave.’: Woman finally ‘free of the prison’ she made for herself after treating alcoholism

“I was living life on the edge; it felt glamorous and sophisticated. Then at 17, everything went horribly wrong. I went into drug-induced psychosis, but at the time I had no idea what was happening. I almost got married to a man I didn’t love because I thought that marriage would ‘save me.’ I eventually went to the doctor and told him everything.”

‘My mom told me my dad was ‘gone.’ I fell to my knees. A nurse asked me to be ‘quiet.’: Daughter sells everything, lives nomadic life in search of ‘peace’ after father’s death to terminal cancer

“I woke up to a call from my brother. ‘Dad is really sick. He has cancer.’ Time stood still. ‘What am I supposed to do?’ In less than 2 months, he passed. My lifestyle has brought concern to others. ‘What do you mean you’re selling everything?’ ‘How are you going to live?’ ‘What about your careers?’ I was in the midst of a breakdown.”

‘I knew from the moment I saw you, that I wanted you.’ I got scared, and rightly so. Then came the pressure for sex. I was a virgin.’: Woman’s survives narcissistic relationship with her ‘best friend’ despite him ‘tormenting’ her

“‘You don’t love me if you don’t do everything I want in bed,’ he claimed. He stormed out, pushing me away in the process. I came after him, as always. I had been conditioned. He was drinking in my parking lot. We argued, agreed to put it behind us, and went to bed. ‘Don’t tell anyone what happened, even your family,’ he told me.”

‘I told her, ‘I’m looking for a ‘suit.’ He’s an ex-felon, an addict, covered in ink, going through a divorce, currently unemployed. Yeah, No!’ We married just 3 months later.’

“I clicked into his profile. ‘Hi.’ His response was, ‘Who is this?’ He would disappear for long periods of time – sometimes years – and no one knew if he was alive or dead. Just 6 days after meeting him, I was on pins and needles. I finally called. When he answered, I could hear the difference in his voice. I’m telling you, he was magic.”

‘I needed to tell, in case I went ‘missing.’ I was terrified. ‘You’ve been talking again, haven’t you?’ I ran into the bathroom. ‘Mom, please come.’ It was now or never. It HAD to happen NOW!’

“I snuck my younger children out. My 10-year-old and I grabbed the only belongings I had hidden. As we walked quietly to the door, his music stopped! I whispered, ‘FREEZE, DONT MOVE.’ With tears in my eyes I thought this was it, he knew I was escaping. ‘Run, run now!’”

‘Miss, I have your father’s autopsy results,’ the coroner said. ‘He felt absolutely nothing.’ I quickly asked, ‘It wasn’t an overdose?!’ ‘No drugs were detected, ma’am.’ I cried hysterically.’

“‘We can’t reach him,’ he said. My grandpa was at my dad’s apartment trying to get in. Police arrived. ‘Do we have permission to break in?’ The officer kicked the door down. ‘Dad!,’ my sister screamed. A police officer held our grandpa back. ‘Dana wake him up, get him up!’ All she could say was, ‘Grandpa, I am so sorry.'”

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