W.I.R.L. To Come From An Abusive Childhood… Growing as an Adult

Abuse WIRL Project

Hi all! I’m Nicole. I’ve contemplated for days and weeks just how I would write my story. I’ve felt guilty and convinced myself how wrong it could be telling the world about the ugly life I lived. It wasn’t until today, that I realized my story may help someone, including myself, as I begin my long journey of letting go. I hope you can too. I wasn’t even sure how I would begin, so I’ll start with a simple hello and I hope you appreciate how hard this is for me and try to understand what it’s really like …

I grew up in a small loving town, but nobody knew just how ugly my life really was.

Everyone from Corry, Pennsylvania is nice and caring… everyone but my family. A family that is filled with greed..gossip..drama and anger. Note how I mention my family, not me, and by family I mean my parents. I come from a family that consists of my two brothers and a step sister, my father and a step mother who I now refuse to associate with the word Mother. I don’t know much about my real mother as nobody has ever taken the time to tell me anything positive about her. I have heard stories of her being a drug addict and many other things that may or may not be true. One thing I am certain of is that she abandoned me and my siblings. I also learned in my later teens she has a major problem with Heroine. The stories I heard never amounted to much as my parents lied and betrayed a lot, and of course they were addicted to drama and telling untruthful stories to those who would listen. I don’t have many happy memories but a few. To be honest I would say I have a single, solitary happy memory, but not two. The memories I hold within my heart are ugly and sad.

When I was young I remember my dad bringing this women home, he told my brothers and I he was getting married. The moment I met her I knew, even then, something was terribly wrong and at a very young age I learned what that “something” was. I remember instantly how scared I was of her. She looked scary to me. There was a time I convinced myself that she was the spawn of Satan. I have no idea what the devil looked like, but I was convinced it was her. My father worked a lot and we were left home with her. She forced us to call her mom. I was young and I wanted that. I recall being scared to death of her voice, even when she would yell dinner time!  I knew if I didn’t come fast enough I wouldn’t be allowed to eat and if I came too fast, I was running in the house and that was forbidden. Her voice was never soft or gentle and there wasn’t a time I remember not trembling inside when she would speak. She enjoyed yelling a lot. Words that a child should never hear. And yelling turned in to pulling…pulling turned in to smacking… kicking and so on. I was a very emotional child and cried when someone looked at me, I was in fear constantly. If we didn’t put our shoes away in our room, if we were too loud, didn’t brush our teeth…our step mother would show us. Often times that was throwing a shoe at us, or making us eat soap. The list goes on. My life was comparable to what I imagine hell is like. Over the years I started forgetting a lot of my life, I had to hide it, even now I have to skip to certain parts…

AS A TEEN: The majority of my memories begin here. In 5th grade I recall starting my period and her making me wear my bloody underwear to school instead of using pads or tampons, because she was angry I didn’t tell her. It was the nurse at the school who gave me a box of pads. I went straight home and hid them under my bed hoping she wouldn’t find them. She would also force me to wear really big clothes because she said I was too fat for anything else. I managed somehow to still make some friends. I guess it was my personality definitely not my style, as my step mother would make sure I had none. She would cut my hair in a mullet… give me steps on the side, it was terribly embarrassing and I would constantly try to hide it. I would have to put my hair up on the bus into a pony tail hoping someone wouldn’t notice and start laughing at me. One day I forgot to take it down and she cut my hair off, the way she would my brothers. She put a bowl on my head and that’s all I had. For my brothers and I everyday was hell for us. I tried my hardest to avoid causing problems, but it seemed to follow me. I was tortured and beaten for silly things. I lost a shirt to an outfit she liked and it was picture day, so obviously I went to school with a red swollen face. Nobody ever asked or noticed. I often wonder why? This wasn’t the only day I went to school with something out of sorts and still nobody ever asked. :( I was raised to believe I was nothing, she stole that from me. The things I heard no child should ever hear, and I heard it daily. There was never anyone to help ease my fears. I felt like I was too young to reach for God. I talked a lot to myself and still prayed, but never really knew who I was speaking to.

For some reason my family always wanted people to believe we were rich. It was her mostly, she needed to feel important. She always would always drive the flashiest cars, but nobody know the payments were never made. There was never any food in our house, at least not for us. I recall hiding raw spaghetti noodles in my closet and I would eat them when the hunger became too much. While we were starving I would later to find the stash of chips and cookies, etc. in her closet. We never dared to get caught in the cupboards or refrigerator. One time I did and the result was me standing in the corner until I was too weak to hold myself up, all the while being beating with a belt. It wasn’t until she bought a pet store that I believed this was all over. She had to let the people of Corry know she had money. Again this was not the case. I was happy and anxious because I knew she wouldn’t be home much. I was wrong. It was still just as bad, the only difference was now people believed she was some wonderful great woman. We felt we didn’t stand a chance for someone to help now. I can remember many times helping at the store, I had a fish tank hose whipped to my head and back for not knowing how to start it. The beatings never ended but it’s the words I remember and feel most. Even now. My family was even rewarded with foster children. Now she had her pick of the kids to choose from to harass. We were all eventually treated like slaves, constantly cleaning and cooking. As the number of children added up, it was easier to feel safe. We would talk about the physical abuse and confide in each other about the messy house that would result in no food. They knew they were there for money, and nobody ever came. I waited and waited and nobody came to save me. A few times people would come for inspections and end up telling my parents what the kids were saying about them. It got so bad that two of the children tried to commit suicide just so they could escape. Still nothing still was ever done. I could go on and continue to explain the abuse, the name calling, the yelling screaming. The fake personas they displayed in public, the fake life I was forced to play out. I was beaten …mentally and physically my whole life and forced to put on a smile. Those who know me that are reading this are probably in disbelief.

But I realize now my skin feels warm to the touch, my eyes filled with tears. I need to get to why I really came here to tell my story:

I moved out of my family’s house when I was 17. I actually finally worked up enough courage to run away. During this time I was working at Dairy Queen. One night I came home to dishes and filth all over the kitchen. I mentioned to my father that I had just worked a long shift and thought it was unfair that I was being made to wash dishes for 11 people when I wasn’t home to make any mess. I had my ear drum busted that night… he said I disrespected him. I think that was the final straw. I waited for them to leave and I packed my room up in trash bags, taking only the things I really needed, and I just left. I called my boyfriend (now husband) and told him I was leaving. He knew exactly what I had been going through and witnessed far too much of the aftermath of my home life. His dad told him to have me come to his house. Over the next few days my father in law gained temp. custody of me. I continued going to school and didn’t hear from my parents for 2 years until I graduated. My husband is the only man I have ever grown to trust in my life.

My life now as a mom and a wife: I’m thirty now and have been with my husband for 16 wonderful years. I believe God rewarded my troubled life by providing me with Shane. I accept that I still have issues, I struggle constantly with lots of things. With love, self esteem and trust. I often get so defensive during a simple joke, or conversation that it causes stress in my marriage and every day life. I struggle with friendships and I struggle with being a mom. I don’t know how to not fear my children knowing how much I love them. I feel in constant pressure to be their friend. I often get sad if I feel my husband is too hard on them. I struggle daily with self image and self worth. My husband tells me daily how beautiful I am, how much he loves me… after 16 years, I still do not believe him. I cause fights and fits that I shouldn’t. I have anger and OCD issues. I don’t like to be alone. EVER! I even have a hard time trusting God to be in total control of me. The abuse is constantly in my mind and I protect myself every single day, more then I really need to. I always feel like someone is out to get me. Always. I now see the bad in everything instead of looking for the good.

Finally the change I must make to live a happy humble blessed life. I understand it is a long process that counseling and medication alone won’t help me. Only I can truly help myself. 2015 requires me to work at letting go. Today I have zero contact with my Parents. I blame my father too as he failed God’s mission, he didn’t protect his children.

Some things I am committed to doing in order to improve my life include:

– Remind myself daily I am beautifully beautiful. I am me. I’m funny. Smart and can convince a worm it’s handsome!

– Today matters. Yesterday is gone.

– Divorce all the negative in my life. This includes everyone that brings me down.

– Remember God loves me and that’s enough.

– My family today was a gift and I’m here as a purpose and it’s my calling.

– Never say things you don’t mean. Because words hurt very very much.

– Be all I can be every single day. Be kind to everyone AND always make people smile.


Nobody ever knew or saw what was happening to me. Pay close attention to each and every single person in your life. Someone may be crying out for you to notice. I love you’s should be sincere and used as often as possible. Hug your children daily and remind them they are special. Pay attention to them and never over use affection because it’s what fuels our children to adulthood.

I have two beautiful children and an amazing caring hardworking husband that will always put me before his own needs. I have a wonderful life. Letting go of my history is God’s will. He would never have given me my husband and children if he didn’t think I could help them and thrive.

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  1. You have a beautiful story… and a beautiful soul. Keep working on your healing… while sharing your story. You don’t know who needs to hear it. You can and will make a difference. Many blessings to you and your family. And good for your husband for sticking by you through it all!!! You both should be proud!

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  2. Profile photo of Nicole Coulter

    I want to thank everyone for taking time to read my story. when I chose to write, I decided and was convinced that even as ugly as the truth can be. I wanted to help someone. And being able to see comments and post truly is such a feeling. A feeling, I’ve never felt. No lie or cover up is worth the pain and suffering. And being a voice for yourself is the only way to feel better. Feel accomplished! Thank you all again. From the bottom of my heart. Your words matter to me! I’m going to keep on keeping on. I hope to heal myself, but more importantly. If my story heals someone else. . It’s all the better. Being quiet eventually eats a soul. I believe that. I’m 30. And I’ve been broken from my silence for to long.

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  3. Dear Nicole,
    thank you so much for being so brave to share your story it takes courage to write what hurts us the most. But it is also liberating.
    My heart goes out to you no child ever should have to endure what you did. I’m so sorry you went through all this terrible abuse.
    I pray for God to restore you and to show you the truth of how wonderful he made you. May he bring justice and end all evil.

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  4. Nicole – I am so touched by your story. You are so brave for writing this for the group to see, and I hope it has been therapeutic for you. You’re right, you did not choose your past, but you choose your future. Live in the present and plan for the future, you can only learn from the past and that you have already done.

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  5. It’s great that you can tell this story. I’m sure others will benefit from what you’ve gone through and your journey to a happier life. In the end it is all about you and letting go. My thoughts are with you along your journey.

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