My Rocky Road to Heaven

Dedication: This story is dedicated to women suffering from the damage of sexual childhood abuse

A struggle to enlightenment
When a child is violated by other humans, healing may take several lifetimes.


Spirituality is our very individual and personal development.
Most people will have to learn that each has a uniquely personal idea of what enlightenment exactly is.
It never feels the same for all. That is why it is so hard to explain.
As there are countless books, clubs, videos, and exercises available to aid in spiritual development, not everything is fitting for everyone’s understanding.
It is definitely beneficial to have many different forms of information available because we all come with a different human understanding and ego.
It is advised to read what makes sense to you and what you feel drawn to.
Many engage in just what is fashionable among peers to join a “movement” or guru – to be part of something.
This may create a detour and turmoil.
It is most important allowing each person to find what is suitable for their life at their own pace and understanding.
Forced information is not likely to be perceived sustainably and may even prolong a spiritual development rather than further it.
Sometimes reading too many books might be counterproductive, as we are submitting our brain to many (sometimes competitive) ideas, which can be confusing and leading to nothing positive.

Intellectual understanding will not automatically change the emotional pattern developed throughout lifetimes.
Applying intellectual understanding to everyday experiences is definitely not as easy as that. It has to “click” somehow in order to follow through effectively.
Consistent training is needed to identify and change any habits and patterns interfering with inner peace and happiness.
It takes immense willpower and strength to stay consistent with a goal in mind.
This can be done with the aid of continuous meditation, prayers, or mantra repetition.
Guidance should be searched for and chosen by self and not others.
Only you can truly motivate yourself.
Pure and sincere intention is the most powerful drive to archive what you want.
Adding passion and love to the mix makes success inevitable.
A person with major depression and anxiety will need consistency within a balanced and supportive environment avoiding triggers.
That is hard to find as life, in general, seems to be full of challenges, mostly driven by ego.
Many humans go through damaging experiences throughout their lives working hard to get rid of stigma and judgments.
Especially self-judgment!
Yes, this is the most important acknowledgment.
With the concept of “what I think and do, I think others would do too”, we are a supreme judge for self and others.
This often leads to a lack of self-love.

If you don’t love yourself unconditionally, you are simply not able to fully love someone else.

Dedicating your life to others without regards to your own might sound heroic, but is not based on love. What you don’t have, you can’t give!
There are unique motivations for looking out for others more than yourself.
Being loved by others is for many the ultimate goal.
Most likely, relationships are doomed to fall apart if you are looking for love provided by someone outside yourself.
You have to be the base for love by loving yourself first.

In my mind, the only sin in life is not loving or living it to its fullest capacity you can envision.
If you can’t envision it, you won’t be able to fulfill it.

Living life to the fullest is living a purpose.

Do you know your purpose?

I have lost mine often and felt lost to the world as we see it.

Nobody knows this about me.

I am one of those people who give to others what I long for myself.
This has turned out to be an ineffective method of communicating what I want for myself.
I created an expectation and was promptly disappointed.

This is not fair to self or others.

One of my dreams was to create a healing environment where every morning starts with laughter and joy to fill the spirit with the strength needed to face the rest of the day.

A place where you learn with absolute certainty to love yourself unconditionally.

People would stay for 21 days to condition this process. It is said that we humans can create a habit if we do the same every day for 21 days.

I guess I am not much a creature of habits, and it takes me most of my life to form one single practice that I don’t already have.
Be aware of resistance called ego!
Ego is part of us, and if we allow it, it will control our lives.
If controlled, the ego can be wonderful. The ego represents a person’s self-esteem and self-importance.
Depending on how well you have your ego in check, it can make your life heaven or hell. Ego is something you can train to serve you or destroy you and many others on the way.

The energy of a strong ego aligned with others as a collective consciousness is so powerful, that it can create war or peace when out of balance.

Some humans who search for their own awakening may feel insecure and muddled by the many options presented via media, through well-meaning friends and judgmental congregations.

Others need many lifetimes to find a direct approach to enlightenment.

Few are there instantly.
Actually, looking back, we all are there instantly. It just takes some time for the majority of humans to feel instant awareness.

Awakening to the knowledge we already have but ultimately forgotten is a very intimate process and ideally should be encouraged and supported by people close to you without interference or judgment unless requested.

Never should this process be judged or influenced by one’s own agenda. Nor should you go out and preach your point of view as the only pass to heaven.

No one is ever more or less evolved!

Wherever we are in our lives, it is exactly where we choose to be.
There is no rule or law on how and in what order we achieve enlightenment.
For many, there is so much to relearn in order to fully embrace who we are.

Nowadays, countless ‘gurus’ offering services and advice for a price some are unable to pay.
Many of these teachers do not have the tolerance to accept another point of view outside their own understanding.

So, we must rely on our own instincts to determine what we learn, understand, believe, and practice.
Know, that even a guru is no more than the rest of humanity – no more than you.
The challenge I am having with many “spiritual teachers” is that they insist that there is only one way to reach enlightenment – theirs!
Though I am in awe of many Gurus, I often experienced the feeling to be thought of lesser. These are my own thoughts – my responsibility.
When bowing down to a guru, I do this out of respect for their dedication and awe of their knowledge (and because it’s a way to greet someone from a distance).

We need to figure out how this fits into our personal understanding of self.

My idea of heaven is indestructible inner peace.
I don’t think I have experienced that yet for longer than brief moments – at least that’s what I thought until now.
It occurred to me that we can call every moment in our lives a lifetime.
I did experience moments of happiness and sometimes even bliss.
If I had focused on these moments during trying times, hell wouldn’t, no, couldn’t dominate.

I am learning to understand this better and better as I am writing.
How could we tell the difference between good and bad, unless we experience it?
It seems to me that going downhill is much easier than up-hill.
So, it is simpler to be sad than happy.
It doesn’t take much effort.
This is so apparent, yet it seems so weird to me.
Energy appears to have gravity.

We don’t consciously choose sadness. We are merely having a hard time climbing up to euphoria when we down.
Our energy is depleted and this is when we are experiencing hell.

When you are dead, you will not create hell unless you yourself had generated it during a lifetime and couldn’t overcome it.
This is one of my biggest fears.
I don’t want to end this human experience on a depressing note.
I believe that if I do, I will have to deal with the same stuff again and again until I am able to let go and choose something I enjoy more.
Why don’t I just choose something more enjoyable?
Because we have often forgotten how.

We all share the same basic knowledge. However, we should seek individual sources to manifest once again what we had forgotten. We don’t share the same awareness.

Jesus was a public speaker or guru who did not desire to be worshiped.
He merely wanted to share his knowledge with people, so they may realize their own uniqueness and wholeness with “all” there is.

He kept demonstrating that “in the eyes of God we are all equal and worthy to have a happy life experience”.
Let’s think about that for a moment……

No, really, just stop reading and give it some thought!!

“Who, what,” and “where” is God?

I personally feel that God is in EVERYTHING – we ALL are God.
God is love and that is our basic substance! We are designed to think, create, and make decisions.

I believe we all are god divided by ego. Not a body with a spirit, but a spirit with a body.

It is NOT a God outside us who decides – it is mainly our ego we allow making the choices for our life.

Maybe you will understand it with this example.
If you have a beautiful natural garden but chose to take out the flowers and pour concrete on that spot. Is that a decision a God would have made?

Of course not! It was your idea that you would have less maintenance if you just get rid of the flowers, and you chose to obey what your mind suggested without hesitation or consideration for God.
And don’t even think of blaming your mind.
You are not your mind!! However, you are the one allowing your mind to be filled with uncontrolled thoughts.
When we are born, we mostly arrive with a blank canvas – so we think.

I believe that our soul carries many memories from many lives into every new life. As a result we are were given a chance to resolve past conflicts or experiences.

So, where does God comes in?

God is Love, and if we totally surrender to Love with everything we think, say, or do, we will have a happy human experience.
God is the source (not an entity) we all can go back to in order to reset your mind in order to balance the emotional body.

Letting go of ailments, derived from emotional turmoil and unresolved past issues, and surrendering to Love, is the only way to conduct a happy and drama-free life.

This all sounds easy, and is easy but also very difficult at the same time.
It comes down to awareness, willpower, and intentions.
Unhappiness is somewhat an addiction and happiness is hard to find within for most.
First, you have to identify that you are responsible for anything you bring to your world – without shame or blame.

It is a battle between Ego and God and you are the only one who can determine who has the upper hand.

Let me be very clear about this.
Overcoming a life (or many) of victimhood will always be a work in progress, just like overcoming alcoholism.
One day at a time.
This is all part of human experiences.
We are never free of the danger to fall back into old patterns because old patterns are never completely erased from the emotional body.
We always have to reinforce strength and confidence to achieve a happy life. A healthy, supportive, and balanced environment is key.
Working on a sense of self-worth is challenged by daily experiences with negativity around and within us.
Finding a way of caring without attachment to the outcome, or expectations from the receiver of your love is a constant struggle which often leads to disappointments and letting go of supportive practices.
The following is the story of a woman working on overcoming victimhood and ending an unhappy cycle of many lives.
It is my story and it takes much strength and courage to go back in time to share it.

I am 70 years old and though I’d married 5 times, I never had a wedding dress, never received a ring from the man I married, never had a true connection, never had a healthy relationship with a man, never had happy and satisfying sex, and lastly, I never had gotten to know who I am because from early childhood on I had to pretend in order to accommodate the people in my environment and myself.

I never felt that I belonged.

In order to avoid facing and feeling my troubles on a daily, I became a powerful rescuer for others with a focus on their troubles and struggles.
It is what kept me alive then.
I helped until I was no longer needed – not understanding how ineffective my aid was.
I didn’t realize then that it is impossible to live the lives of other people.

To this day I realized that every thought, every deed, every emotion had a major influence on how I conducted my life.
I understood that I am the ONLY person who is capable of healing my body and mind.

No doctor, medicine, scripture, or operation is able to do more than aiding into healing with me making the choices for what is needed.

The search for enlightenment, inner peace, and unconditional love is a never-ending journey.
I pray for the strength needed to complete my path naturally.

There are still days in my life when I feel completely broken and unable to connect with other humans on a genuine deeper and loving level – Depression!

Throughout my entire life, I struggled with depression, anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, and infinite loneliness in my heart.

I felt easily discarded by many.
Today I understand that I had voluntarily, but subconsciously created this reality-based upon my childhood experiences.

However, very few people ever knew this about me.

Most would describe me as energetic, alpha, loving, caring, upbeat, and full of life.

I tried to take my own life six times and almost succeeded at the last attempt when I took 100 antidepressants my friend had in his possession.
It was about 20 years ago when I had an NDE (near-death experience).
I remember still so much about it.
It had changed my life because I got to asked questions and received answers from a power I had not been aware of – not that closely anyway.

Throughout the next 20 years, I had lost and found the awareness of my knowledge over and over again.

What helped me surviving, was my relentless search for a connection to another human, my infinite need to feel worthy and matter to someone, and the deep need to belong.

I know today that I had my chances but self-distracted promptly.
Without realizing this, I became my own unyielding victor.
I would never allow anyone to hurt me more than I would hurt myself.
I hurt myself a lot.
I never allowed myself to create roots and often question my sense of purpose when in a depressive phase.
I believed my parents, uncle, and ants when they told me that I was worthless and because of it deserved nothing good.
I believed them because I was a child and they were my guides.
I thought that all girls have to go through what I experienced.
No one told or showed me differently.
So, I agreed with what I was told.
Intellectually, I understand now that I had to break these damaging agreements in order to heal.
It was not as easy as that.
It felt to me that my experiences were carved into my DNA.
I tried so many things to overcome who I became.
I desperately wanted to heal.
Depression surfaced more and more often and during these phases, I fell back into the black hole I kept trying to climb out of.
My behavioral pattern developed from these experiences, and I did not believe that it could be changed easily.
The hardest task was to unlearn behavioral patterns while in a difficult environment.

During one phase of deep depression, I did accept the medication offered by my doctor because I no longer cared – it almost killed me.
I vegetated in bed for nine months mostly thinking about how I could die without hurting others with my actions.
Anger towards my medical professionals and their ignorance prompted me to fight for myself again.
With a new surge for life, I searched for answers on the internet to end this gruesome agonizing emotional pain.
I almost consented to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), when Ayahuasca came up during my research.
ECT is dangerous because it erases memories and it will not be by choice which memories you erase during this procedure.
Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) is a vine of the jungle, which grows in the entire Amazonia, from Columbia to Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Guyana.
It is known to and respected by all indigenous peoples as a healing plant or master “teacher plant” and represents the basis of their traditional medicines.
Medicine is used to treat many ailments in its core and eliminate the cause.
Total healing can occur.
So, I elected to travel to Peru to work with Ayahuasca and started preparation.
First I weaned myself off all meds within 3 weeks. Then, I started a strict diet suggested for the Ayahuasca treatments.
The preparations alone were so invigorating, that I found myself having hope again.
Traveling to the Peruvian jungle was exciting and took my mind off everything else. The contrast of wild beauty in the jungle and the poverty among the people who in spite of it demonstrated happiness and joy for life was astonishing.
After my arrival, I met with the Shaman for an initial consultation. He was already aware of my story and let me know that in my case, it may take a few months healing instead of two weeks.

The process with Ayahuasca was not an easy one, because it was accompanied by horrible nausea and purging.
I did six ceremonies and started to feel better and better, every day in every way.
After my last ceremony, I was dancing and singing.
I had not danced or sang for so many years.
The plant medicine did help a lot and I came home feeling almost healed. I was able to let go of many damaging memories and emotions.

Unfortunately, upon my return, I still lived within a difficult environment I could no control, and as a result, depression came back like a raging lover manifested in physical ailments like Fibromyalgia within a few months.

I essentially wound up in a wheelchair, unable to walk more than a few steps.

I went to Peru again to consult with a Shaman, a Healer, and Ayahuasca.
After six more ceremonies with Ayahuasca, I felt stronger every day returned fully restored physically.
There is so much to be said about the understanding I gained through plant medicine.

Though depression still keeps returning without warning, I learned to monitor my mind and behavior closely to detect early signs of the darkness (depression) returning, so I could effectively nip it in the butt at the beginning stages.

I never wanted to take medications again as they just created another ailment and robbed my mind of its clarity.
I used Marihuana to control anxiety and at night allow my body and mind to rest.

I educated myself about my brain and body functions, and what I could do to make it all better.

I still have much work to do, every day in every way.

Fighting for my life became my life throughout my life, and I was pretty resourceful and always found a little straw of hope to hold on to.
I never knew a different life than fighting and struggling.
I kept researching in order to understand what I could do to cure depression and enhance my life without the use of mind-altering medications.

While writing about my journey, I learned and grew so much, but I have little advice for others, as everybody is so very unique and not one medicine or advice is right for all.

Maybe others see an opportunity for themselves through my story.
Maybe some words trigger an awakening moment for the reader of my story and they find the courage to take on a changing journey with awareness and self-love.

I’ll let you know that throughout my struggles, I had also many adventures and experiences, more than any people I met in my life.

My life was interesting!

It often felt like I lived many lives in one lifetime.

I still feel gratitude for that!

I was able to see myself from the outside in and evaluate my state of mind.
This way I could remove myself from emotional triggers as soon as I identified them.

This worked most of the time.

I changed what I eat because I learned to understand the effects of some foods on my brain and the rest of my body.

I also learned to understand the connection of my brain with my gut when it comes to food and emotional stimulation – good or bad.

I know about toxicity and the possible effects on my physical and emotional health.

I am writing these memories without letting them rule my life anymore.

Today, I am aware of who I am, where I came from, and what I am doing here.

That very knowledge provided healing from depression and anxiety within a brief moment.

Yes, I am free and I know how to be happy with myself and no longer needy of the praise from others.

If my words can help to change someone else’s view of life or trigger an ‘AHA-moment’, I believe my journey had a purpose, and I have gratitude for my experiences!

Now, without further delay – here is my story.

My story

Trigger warning: Before reading this post, please be aware that it contains descriptions of childhood rape, childhood sexual assault, and other forms of abuse.

My story may not sound like a nice story and you may wonder what good it does to write this down.
I came to the conclusion that sharing myself with others may offer hope and guidance for further development to some with similar experiences.
I also hope to find more inner peace for myself through writing, as I have often lost my sense of purpose in this lifetime.

My journey is not finished by far, and even now, so many years later, I am still busy cleaning my mental house.
I still try to surrender to God and have not found my way, though sometimes it feels like I am close.
Intellectually I got it.

Though I had many sneak peeks into what it is like to reach the point of unconditional love for myself – God, it is hard to hold on to – for now.

Recently I had lost my sense of purpose once again and feel many struggles to keep living.

However, some glimpses into what could be, keeps me fighting for my life on earth.
They are giving me hope and trust that one day I will understand and appreciate all of my life experiences.

This story will describe the first 30 years of personal struggle resulting from severe childhood traumas.
It will also describe in detail how I have fought for my life and finally hope to be ably to conquer Major Depression, PTSD, and anxiety which had manifested an array of physical illnesses after many years of suffering.

My early childhood abusers are mostly men (and a few women) from my family.

Now, that everyone involved (except myself) is dead, I can and must speak up.

Though I have forgiven my abusers, it seems to me that my emotional body can’t forget and models my behaviors as a result.

I hope my story inspires others to take charge of their lives and start living it to the fullest no matter what their history was.

I also hope it prevents some child abuse and encourages parents to support their children unconditionally.

My life

Our way to heaven begins with our first breath and we have no knowledge of how long each journey will take.

The first years of human life are really not so much our personal journey because others, mainly family, steer us in directions and instills beliefs chosen by them.
We were conditioned to believe that theirs is the only or the best path to take and we believed all of it until something or someone is waking us up!

Like with every living creature, the environment we are raised in is influencing our entire journey on earth.
Even when we start forming our own opinions about life, it is still based on the conditioning behaviors and outlook on life learned as a child.

Then, after identifying flaws in our parent’s choices at a young age, we either rebel or just go along with everything, not recognizing our own choices yet.
Some children learn early on to lie in order to protect themselves from some forces of adults around them.

I learned to understand early on that what my parents had chosen for me or my brother had absolutely nothing to do with either one of us, yet it affected me deeply.

I was born, raised, and educated in Germany in 1949.

I was a cute and bright little girl, full of fantasies about what life could be for me, even though I was sexually abused since age 2. I didn’t think of it as abuse then, because I didn’t know that what was done to me was so wrong.

My parents were simple middle-class people with the dream of building a home and creating a “better” life.
Up to date, I don’t know what their expectations of a “better” life was, or if they ever achieved it.
They never talked about it.

My mother was a member of Hitler Youth during WW2, and my father was a marine until he was wounded and hid in the mountains of the Schwäbische Alb, Germany.
I learned this information from a woman who cared for my father when he was wounded in WW2.
My parents never shared with their children how they had met.

The women’s name was Klara. She told me that my mother followed my father into hiding to be with him.

They had not married yet. I learned later that my father was already married at that time, but that his wife defected to the Russians. They initiated the annulment of this marriage.

Times were hard and neither one of them had any money.
Klara’s house was a humble refuge with a Sofa in the living room serving as their bed.
During this particular time, my mother got pregnant with her first child, my brother.

It was apparent to Klara, that my mother had great dreams about becoming a lady of society and so she insisted to get married at once, and it was no surprise to her that my brother was born “premature”.
Klara also told me that my mother was fiercely protective of my father and wouldn’t want to share him with anyone, even though he was a social creature, so fun-loving with everybody around him.
People liked to be in my father’s company. He made them laugh and forget their problems for a while.
Sixteen months after my brother’s arrival, I was born and my parents moved back to Eastern Germany to be close to family.
My father had nine siblings, and Mother had ten.
Unfortunately, only seven of her siblings and six of my father’s siblings survived WW2.

We called my mother “Mutti”, and my Father “Papa”.

Papa was handsome, mostly light-hearted, and a very good craftsman who loved a simple and happy life during these first years of their lives together.
He had charisma and people enjoyed his company.
I remember him playing his banjo and singing along with the instrument. Even Mutti chimed in once in a while. She had a lovely singing voice. I wish she would have kept on singing throughout her lifetime.
Everything would have turned out very different for sure.

I loved my father especially during the first years of my life. I trusted him even though he was a strict disciplinarian.

He was not like the other men in our family then and I felt safe with him.

When I was about 12 years old, I realized that Papa had given up on his dreams because he got tired of fighting for himself.
Tired of her nagging, he reluctantly resigned to Mutti’s ideas on how life should be conducted.
The banjo was put away in the attic, and there was no more singing.
My mother was very ambitious and pushed him to work more and harder for a richer lifestyle.
He became quiet, stopped playing his banjo, and didn’t sing anymore.
He only worked and his disappointment with his life became apparent in his behavior.
He resigned because in Mutti’s eyes, no matter what he did, it just wasn’t good enough for her.
It made him sad and he lost his happiness more and more.
Around the same time, we purchased our first TV and between work and the shows, there was no more time for family togetherness.

I despised my father’s weakness and lost respect. He was supposed to be the strength to draw from, in my mind.
I was angry that the only stability I thought to have was weakening and no longer dependable.
We, the children had to assume roles we were not ready for. I had to run the household literally by the book at age 12, meaning that I had to keep a household book recording everything I did and any money that was spent for all of us. I did the cooking, the cleaning, and shopping.

My mother was very controlling and jealousy often fogged her mood and actions.
She didn’t want to share my father with anyone, including with me, his only daughter.

But that is another story…..not mine.

Moving to the West

When I was just 5 years of age, my parents decided that they wanted better opportunities, and so, they fled with us to the western side of Germany leaving everything behind – including all of our relatives.
We had no one in this part of the country.
For the first seven months, we lived in a refugee camp sharing one about 400 square foot room with another family.
The room was only divided by thick green military blankets. Everything, absolutely everything could be heard on both sides of the blanket wall.
There was little to no privacy.
Each family had two bunk beds and a table in the center with 2 chairs. My parents sat on the chairs, while we kids sat on the lower bunk when we ate.
Metal closets with individual locks were lined in the hallway for the family’s personal belongings.
There was one kitchen in each barrack for meal preparations to be shared by 10 families.
Often we had only a slice of bread dunked in cold coffee or water with sugar on top for breakfast.
Every morning we were dropped off at a daycare center within the refugee camp.
I hated the daycare where we were treated like prisoners.
Every day about noontime, we had to lay down for 2 hours and close our eyes, while the caregivers had their break.
They took turns to make sure no one opened their eyes until it was allowed.
I was one of the toughest kids in my age group and even above.
I climbed the highest trees, fought like a boy, and came up with creative ideas to enhance our childhood at the refugee camp.
I thought I was a privileged kid because men and boys liked me.
I thought they loved my spunk and fearless adventurism.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
One day I got sick and had to stay in bed while my brother went to Preschool and my parents to work.
We had no babysitters, or someone checking in with me.
My mother put a slice of bread and some water on the table for me to eat. I even remember getting an apple – which was a rare treat.
On the other side of the blanket lived a couple with a 16-year-old boy.
This boy was home that day and promised to look in on me often.

So, after our parents left, he crossed to our side of the room and told me that we should play some games to pass the time, and I readily agreed.
He started with a guessing game of body parts.
I remember getting increasingly uncomfortable when he insisted that we touch the body parts we named on the other person.
I didn’t want to play anymore and told him that I needed to sleep because I was sick.
He told me that he would leave me alone if I would just lift my nightgown for a brief moment.
I was scared because my mother didn’t allow us to wear anything underneath the nightgown.
When I hesitated, the boy lifted my gown and pushed me down while frantically masturbating his penis on my stomach until a white creamy liquid came out of him.
He started making distressed sounds and his face looked like he was in pain.
I was horrified and cried a lot. I had not seen this with my uncle and this was different than he had taught me.
After he dressed again, he wiped my belly with toilet paper and told me to keep quiet.

He threatened to kill our entire family in our sleep if I said anything to anyone.
I was truly terrified and felt responsible for my family’s life at age 5.

No one came to rescue me.

I had no one to tell.

I was accustomed to being the interest of several of the male members of my family. It was my normal whenever I visited with my relatives during school vacation.

The boy in the refugee camp was not the first liking my body this way.

There were several grown men of my extended family involved in conditioning me for my future as a woman.

One of my uncles had chosen to instill my first understanding of self-value by raping me at age two.

I really don’t remember this particular event. It came out during a hypnosis session I tried as an adult in order to understand what had me so broken and incapable of creating healthy relationships.

My first conscious memories of sexual activities in my life started at age 5, prior to our escape from the communistic part of Germany when I stayed with my uncle’s family for a week while my parents prepared for the move to West Germany.
My uncle had two children on his own and my grandparents thought it would be much more entertaining for me than staying with them. He was the youngest of my mother’s brothers and everybody liked him.

I remember the first evening in his house vividly.
I wished most of my life that I could forget the smell and the pain and fear.

After a day of child play with my cousins, my bed was made in the living room on the couch.
I slept soundly when I woke by feeling rough hands under my nightgown.
A voice hissing into my ear telling me to be quiet.
He told me that I have the privilege to learn early on what it means to be a good woman for a man.
The alcohol on my uncle’s breath was a scent that followed me throughout my life.
His large smelly hand covered my entire face and I could hardly breathe.
I was so frightened when I felt his other hand pulling up my nightgown and something hard and wet forced its way between my legs.
The pain, when he penetrated me, was re-lived throughout my entire life with every intercourse.

This was different.
Most men just wanted me to touch them and play doctor with them.

My uncle told me that he would teach me what women are therefor in this world.
When he was done, he threatened to do harm to my family if I told anyone.
He said that this was our special secret and that I was special to him.

He also said that no one would believe me anyway.

This went on every evening for the entire week and I was so scared of these nightly encounters.
It just didn’t feel right or good.
I pleaded with my aunt to let me sleep with her kids, but she was afraid we would keep each other up all night.
She didn’t understand why I was scared to sleep in the living room on the couch.

Though I didn’t know at that point that what my uncle did was wrong, it felt not right to me.
All my instincts wanted to tell on him, yet I didn’t tell anyone for many years, because in the end I thought of it to be normal for girls and I really didn’t have anyone to confide in.
I also never forgot his threat that he would harm my family.

Every time I felt guilt and shame to no extent and didn’t understand why.

Early on in my life, I became in my eyes the protector of my family by keeping this secret.

Shortly after that incident we fled from Eastern Germany and landed in a refugee camp for about seven months before moving to a better place.

My parents were very hard-working people with the ambition to make a better life for us all.
So, it was a real step up when they found a rental apartment within a nicer community.
However, their ultimate goal was to have their own home.
Because they worked very hard to build their home, my brother and I were left to our own devices most of the time and they explained their absence with the remark that whatever they did was meant to benefit us.

Many children had a key around their neck during these times.
Nobody had the money for babysitters or even thought of hiring one.
We were raised to be self-reliant.
Seeing children at a young age with a key around their neck was normal.
My parents kept reassuring us that everything they did was for our benefit.

It didn’t turn out that way.

No benefit for us ever surfaced – in my opinion.

On the contrary, I was made a housekeeper starting age 7, while my brother had to tend to the basement and keeping the shoes of the family shiny.

After all, he was a male, and housework was for females – in my parent’s eyes.

I was expected to keep a household book, plan, and prepare meals at age 10, while my parents went to work for a better life.

My mother was very frugal with the money. Our meals were always simple, cheap, and plenty.

Unfortunately, Mutti also was thrifty with words of encouragement and praise for the work I did around the house.
Usually, she only commented on what was not done or didn’t match her expectations.

I anticipated severe physical punishment and removal of any privileges when she wasn’t satisfied with my work.
The privileges would be, not being yelled at and no punishments.
This became the norm in my life.
Our food was simple and very basic for most parts.
I never knew what a steak was until I was an adult.
But then again, we had always enough to eat and could never complain about being hungry – unless we were being punished and had to go to bed without food.
This happened at least once weekly.

I loved the holidays and visitors because our food then was delicious and elaborate, and my parents were nice to us in the wake of the company.
Papa loved to cook sometimes and he was always very creative with the preparation of his meals.
His food was so good that my brother and I fought for a chance to lick the pots and pans.
My father was always served first and received the largest piece of everything – after all, he was the major breadwinner, and his strength needed to be kept up.
Kids were not allowed to speak at the table.
So, we didn’t share the events of the day and had to listen quietly to my parent’s conversations.
My mother was by far stricter than my father.
She did not tolerate anything she could not control.

Often when Papa came home from work, Mutti greeted him by complaining about us (mostly me) and insisted that we deserve to be beaten.
Both of my parents were very fast with physical punishments which were passed out generously; mostly in form of beating with whatever was close and available.
This included a garden hose, rug beater, umbrella, and coat hangers.
There were times I could not attend school due to open wounds on my back and legs.
Sometimes when we went for our Sunday afternoon walks, my father would go out of his way to find a willow branch which he found to be most effective for beating good manners into his children.

Usually, Papa stopped beating me when he saw blood.
He then tended to the wounds and I felt that he was sorry for what he did.
So, when I could foresee a physical punishment, I ran up the stairs very fast, hit my nose with my fist, and ran back down. I would get a nose bleed after the first or second hit and my father stopped beating on me then.
Yes, I was very resourceful and clever all my life.

My mother on the other hand was never sorry when punishing us. She would bite, scratch, and pull hair if nothing else was in reach until she was exhausted.

Other punishments when not in school included being locked up in our rooms without food all day until they came back from work.
A bucket was placed into our rooms for reliving ourselves, but often we had no water all day.
My room was upstairs, my brothers was in the basement. After my parents had left for work when I was locked up, I called out to a school friend across from our home through the open window.
His name was Kalle, and he would make sure I got something to eat and drink by placing items into a basket tied onto my bedsheet I let down from my window. Kalle was the first male that took care of me without demanding physical rewards.

He was my first boyfriend and he was the one I practiced kissing with.

Writing about being locked up reminded me of an incident when I was only 3 years old.

This I actually remember!

We lived in a rural area and had an outhouse in our yard. The door of this small building was huge and heavy.
Much too heavy to move by myself.
Yet, I was expected to use the outhouse during the day.

My mother locked me overnight in our small chicken coop because I had left the door to the outhouse open, and her favorite chicken had drowned in the toilet.
She was furious over the loss and her anger energy could be perceived physically.
I was afraid of my mother’s rage.

The night in the chicken coop was one of the most scary experiences in my young life and left a lasting scar in my mind.
The room was dark, and the chickens kept clucking, quite annoyed having to share the small space with a human who didn’t belong there. The smell was nauseating.
It was so dark, I could not see the hand in front of my face because everything was closed up from the outside.
Nobody would hear my screams, no one came when I sobbed aloud in horror.
When I realized that nobody would come and get me, I huddled quietly crying against the wall in a corner to protect myself from the pecking beaks of the chickens.
I didn’t sleep a minute and my mind was scared of fear and horror.

Today, I still feel claustrophobic when in a confined area. I still experience nightmares.

Later in life, when punishment was needed during school days, we went to bed hungry.

On occasions, when my parents were at peace, we benefitted from their good mood and sometimes would get some chocolate or we would play a board game, and it felt almost like harmony in the house.

I craved these moments! I craved them all my life until I understood much later in life that I could create them for myself and didn’t have to look for someone providing them for me.

Mostly, these minutes were very short and depended on Mutti’s mood.
They would end without prior warning or reasons I could understand.
I never felt relaxed and secure at any moment.
My mother would blame me for all the disharmony which made me feel barely tolerated.

I did everything a child could think of to recreate harmonious events.
Most of my good deeds were met with suspicion of covering up something bad I may have done.

Perhaps I did that too.

My best memories were when we went into the forest on holidays for picnics with friends of my parents.
Whenever people were around, my mother displayed much care and affection for her children.
Though I despised that because it didn’t felt honest, I took advantage of any peaceful moment.

It was apparent that Mutti did not like me much.
I was a huge disappointment to her.
She wanted a girly girl who would spend her time knitting or sewing, wearing pretty dresses, and be like her.
Someone she could mold and control easily.
She was a great seamstress and would have loved to dress me with whatever seemed girly to her.
She wanted to groom me to become a lady.

I was a tomboy.

I loved to play soccer and climb trees.
As a boy, I felt safer.
My brother told me that he was never molested and so I pretended to be a boy whenever possible.
One time, when my mother found me high up in a tree again, she wanted to embarrass me at school and made me wear my brother’s Lederhosen as punishment.
I was 7 years old.
She thought that would cure me of acting like a boy.
I did not feel embarrassed.
On the contrary, I felt quite empowered by my new dress code.
I felt fearless and safe!
She told me that I was an ungrateful child and no one could ever genuinely like me.
I believed her to a point.
But men obviously liked at least my body.

At age 7, I suffered a 3rd-degree burn by my own brother.
There was a construction site on our road, and the workers had left a pot of tar boiling.
Out of curiosity, I stepped close to the huge black boiling pot when my brother took a large chunk of solid cold tar and threw it into the pot, splashing tar all over me.
My parents were at work and neighbors called an ambulance.
My clothing and even shoes were fused to my skin, and it is a true miracle that I got away without lasting scars.
I never told my parents that my brother was the culprit – they would have beaten him senseless.
As much as I didn’t like my brother, I also didn’t want to see him beaten.

Usually, I was the initiator of our childhood crimes. I was very creative.

One evening, when my parents went out, my brother and I went on an adventure hoping to find a bicycle tire pump we could bring home because we lost the one we had and were scared of my parent’s reaction when they would find out.
In the end, we were too afraid to steal one of someone else’s bike and when we got back near our home, we saw in horror that my father’s motorcycle entered our street.
We hid behind parked cars and after my parents had passed by on the way to the remote garage, we ran as fast as we could home and jumped into bed fully closed hoping not to be discovered.
Unfortunately, the neighbors had seen us and our illegal outing was exposed.

My creativity to get what I needed was unmatched in our house.

One day, Mutti brought home a huge box with winter apples from a place where she cleaned house for an older man.
She deposited the apples on top of the amour in their bedroom for further ripening until Christmas time when she would use them for baking and cooking.
One day I thought of a trade to get our hands on some chewing gum which was forbidden in our home. I was very attracted to anything forbidden and I arranged a trade among the children in the neighborhood who had plenty of sweets every day.
So, I had my brother throwing down apples from the bedroom window and I collected the gum we traded from neighborhood children.
We enjoyed the gum and never thought of the repercussion of our clever enterprise that day.
Several weeks went by and I had all but forgotten about the apples when we heard my mother scream in anger.
It was a weekend in December, close to Christmas and Mutti planned to do some baking using apples she was sure to find in the bedroom.
She found only one single worm-infested fruit left on the amour and was furious.
For some reason, she never looked at my brother as the culprit.
So, I got a beating without an opportunity to defend myself.
I was also quite creative with stories defending what I did.
Unfortunately, my parent’s motto was; beating first, talking (maybe) later.
If it turned out to be an unjust beating, we were told that we had one good for the next time.
Unfortunately, they never remembered anything about it when the next time came.

Though my brother was a year older, I was the one who got blamed automatically.
My brother had no unique ideas or any creative thinking at all.
So, it was me who had to suffer the consequences for most incidences.
I have gotten quite used to it and found ways to gain a nose bleed quickly, so my father stopped the beating after only a few hits because of the blood spritzing out of my nose.

I carefully evaluated if my plans were worth the expected beating prior to putting them into motion.

Though it hurts, physical punishment wasn’t as scary to me as emotional abandonment or the withdrawal of all affection and communication.

Physical pain was not as sustainable as emotional suffering.

As I am writing this, I do realize that perhaps I was a real handful for my parents after all.

Every year my brother and I spent our summer vacation visiting my grandparents in Eastern Germany.
I remember these times so well.
My parents were not allowed to visit the Eastern part of Germany at that time, but we children had no problem getting permission.
I loved being away from my parents.
My grandparents loved me and showed it to me.
They appreciated my resilience and creativity.
My brother and I took long train rides to visit.
It was a great adventure for me, and when we arrived, my grandmother always said that the first dream we had would come true.
That was the main thing – a dream actually coming true.
Without a doubt, every visit my dream consisted of a pound of green sweet woodruff candy which was not available in western Germany.
They were my absolute favorites!
Promptly, in the morning, I found a pound of my dream candy on the nightstand next to me.
It was like magic to me for many years.
When my grandmother asked my brother about his dream, he always answered that he didn’t have any dreams.
So, he didn’t get anything.

My brother caught on to my “assets” and so when I was 8 years old my brother offered to lift my skirt to an older boy in exchange for some bubble gum.

My value as a woman was determined early on.

During one of our visits to my grandparents’ house, I learned that I could not trust my Grandfather.
I was about 10 years old then, and whenever my brother and I visited our grandparents, I slept in their bed in front of my grandmother.
Their house was small and had only one extra bedroom.
One morning, my grandmother had to get up early to start the fire in the kitchen; it was cold and she asked me to stay undercover until the kitchen has warmed up.
I went promptly back to sleep and woke up feeling something big, soft, and slimy between my legs.
I was startled because it felt very different than with my uncle.
My grandfather was fingering me trying to push his limp member inside me.
Horrified and in shock, I got up quickly and joined my grandmother and my brother in the kitchen.
I was so confused about my grandfather’s actions and didn’t know what to do. I did realize that this was not ok.
Later that day I confided in my brother what my grandfather had done.

He just laughed and thought it was a joke.

He was only a year older than I.

He didn’t believe me.

My uncle was right. No one would ever believe me.

At that stage in my life, it seemed to me that my path was set, and I didn’t know that this was not normal behavior – even though it didn’t feel right.

It seemed to me that men loved me this way.

I hated being a girl!

My uncle actually taught me what I needed to be doing to be ‘loved’ by men.

All this time I was convinced that it was my fault because my body had liked some of the molestations.
That made me feel dirty, guilty, and without value.

I felt that I was the most unworthy person in the universe and brought everything onto myself.

I hated my body because I felt betrayed by it.

I had nobody to talk to about this.

I did not enjoy being a girl, so I became a tomboy through and through; much to my mother’s dismay.

At least men would leave me alone – so I hoped.

At age 8 I became too old for a knee ride by my uncle or grandfather.
My uncle kept stalking me when I was around and I tried to stay in the company of my cousins refusing to hear his call.
He talked my grandparents into taking me to his home, but I hid and rather accepted punishments that my uncle’s treatment.

When my uncle, who was my mother’s baby brother, died in an accident, I felt so relieved.
Though everybody cried, I secretly rejoiced because one of my most brutal teachers was gone for good.

But the painful memory stayed forever – it became a permanent scar in my DNA.

My grandfather never attempted to touch me inappropriately again.
I forgave him and still loved him, but never trusted him again.

There were many different male family members, until age 14, teaching me what I was made for – the art of pleasing a man.

I believed them. How could I not? They were all respected members of the family and community.
For most of my life, I believed to be unworthy of love and affection unless I give my body, and still feel that I have to do more than anybody else to be accepted into any social circle.
This was the pattern I unknowingly internalized for most of my life and my behavior was structured accordingly.

At that time my self-confidence was extremely low and suicide entered my mind more and more often.
I couldn’t make any female friends and longed for someone I could confide in.

Every contact I had wound up sexual.
The absolutely crazy thing is that if a man didn’t try to touch me, I felt rejected and unworthy.

Once I tried to confide in my mother. I only told her about my uncle and begged for her protection. That was before he died.

My Mother furiously slapped me in my face calling me a liar and a whore.

My uncle was right – nobody would believe me.

My mother told me that I was nothing special and should not expect anything out of the ordinary for my life.

I believed that too.

So, it really didn’t matter what I was doing since I was unworthy of anything good, I was grateful for every little affection I could get from any man.

I often lived a secret life my parents were unaware of.

There was a time I enrolled in an all-boys soccer team. I was just 11 years old and I played soccer using my one year older brother’s name and was only exposed when my father unexpectedly came to a game.
I didn’t know he was there because he never came to watch a game before.
I didn’t see him at first and played an excellent game celebrated by my team.
These moments were the best in my childhood.
I had value!
I felt accepted and a bit admired.
Little that I knew this was my last game.
Of course, my father recognized his daughter right away when watching the game and forbade me to return to the team.
Later he told me that he was proud of me and disappointed in his son who didn’t have any interest in doing sports.

He asked me not to say anything to my mother or brother.

I had no clue what he was talking about but was happy that he seems to like me the way I was.

When my father insisted that I minded my mother and became a girl wearing dresses, I felt betrayed by him, because I thought he understood me better.
But my father was a weak man who was terrified of my mother’s moods and tried not to aggravate her.
He actually brought her flowers every weekend for as long as I can remember.
Most of his free time he spent in his workshop, a little shed in the backyard.
At one point, my mother installed an intercom to keep check with what he was doing.
My father didn’t fight for himself.
He always told me to show love to my mother ‘even though’ she was very difficult to love.
I didn’t trust, nor respected men.
No matter what their position in life and as big and strong they pretended to be for everybody to see when in bed, they were weak, pitiful, and dependent.
I learned that I had power in some situations and sometimes I used it to manipulate the men in my life in order to be spared their advantages towards me.
I pretended to be excited when they masturbated and that is what they did at times. I had to be naked but tried not to be touched while they were busy with themselves.
At least we didn’t have the dreaded intercourse.
The most disgusting times were when they shoved their penis into my mouth.
I got sick afterward every time.
I often wondered if every woman have to go through this.
It just didn’t feel right.

No male encounter in my young life had anything to do with LOVE. That’s what I learned much too early in my life.

One Sunday, I was about 12 or 13 years old, my brother played with me his favorite hurtful game called muscle riding.
He forced me onto my back, pinned me down with his knees riding on my biceps.
It was very painful and so I cried out loud.
The door opened and my mother looked at us with an icy expression, then called us ‘pigs’.

I didn’t quite understand but felt very dirty and despised.

I had no real friends. Girls usually didn’t like me, because I didn’t know what to do with them, and so I ran around with boys most of the time.

My school clothes were mostly made out of my mother’s old dresses and skirts.

My grandmother, who still lived in East Germany, sent sometimes packages with pretty material, so my mother could sew me a nice dress for school.

‘Oma’ (my grandmother) was the only person in my life who genuinely cared for me, and I loved her fiercely.
My mother thought the fabric was too good for me, so she took some of her old dresses to convert into school clothes and used the new material for herself because she had to look good when going to work.

All I learned was “that I was not deserving or good enough”.

One time, at age 14, I turned to my Pastor, hoping for guidance and some kind of protection.
I was so wrong about the church.
He was in his late 30th and had young children of his own.
The man I perceived as “holy”, my Pastor, who had a girl in my class, he tried to comfort me with more physical attention.

He gave me afterward a validation of my role in this life when he insisted that it was me who made men do this.

It was my fault!

He told me that I tempted and teased men into a sexual rage and that it was not their fault if they lose control.
Men are just like that, they couldn’t help it.

It never felt right but I was taught to use my body to communicate with men.
I never accepted any gifts; not even an ice cream from any of these men, because my father said once that if women accept gifts from a man she is not related or married to, they are considered a whore.

So, maybe my mother was right and I am a whore.
One thing I was sure of – It was entirely my fault – all of it.

I absolutely believed that.

How could I not?

My role in this life was reinforced regularly by so many people who supposed to love me.
That was most confusing to me because I wasn’t sure what love was.

Who could I have asked?

There was no one I could tell.

Much to my mother’s dismay, I was cute, pretty, and witty.
When people pointed out to her how pretty or smart I was, my mother made sure that this would not go to my head by denying the compliments and insisting that I was nothing special – in front of me.

I only remember one time my mother actually attempted with me role-playing where she was the child and me the mother.
So, Mutti was laying on the bed pretending to be the child, and let me play out my role as mother by allowing me to cut a bun into little slices to feed her with. I smothered the little slices with strawberry jam when the jar slipped out of my hands onto the carpeted floor.
That was the end of our playtime.
I got spanked, told me that I am truly not good for anything, and I had to stay in for the rest of the day in cleaning my room.
She made sure I understood that people are not genuine when they gave me compliments.
It was all part of the social game, so she said.

I believed her and still don’t know how to accept kind words about me from other people.

My mother was a constant ticking time bomb and we never knew when she would explode. Being alone with my brother all week was definitely more desirable than spending one day with my mother.
I know, this sounds cruel, but it was the way we truly felt.
Today, I realize that my mother must have had some severe emotional problems and couldn’t help herself.
Sometimes I feared that I had inherited whatever she had.
Papa, on the other hand, had some pride in my resilience.
Our connection during my early childhood was much better than with any other family member. Whatever a father usually does with his son, he did with me.
My brother was not interested in much of what a typical boy would do.
Papa taught me how to hang wallpaper, work with tools in his shed, and how to be thrifty and creative at the same time. He showed me, emotional love, sometimes – much to my mother’s dismay.
Sometimes he would protect me from my mother’s rage and expose himself to the danger zone.

I loved these rare and glorious moments because I felt loved.

The payback came often promptly in form of something my mother wanted me to do, and what placed some distance between my father and me.

When it came to special events, there was always a good reason not to celebrate my birthday.

During all of my childhood, I got to celebrate my birthday only twice. The other times I was told that I was not deserving because of something I did.

For example, it was my dream to own a bicycle – even a used one.

My parents promised 7 times that I would get one either for Easter, Christmas, or my birthday if I would bring home good grades, or keep the house always clean and organized, or just be a good girl – whatever that meant.
Obviously, I was never deserving even though I always brought home good grades.

Well, maybe the house wasn’t as spotless as my mother wanted it to be.
The bottom line is that I never owned a bicycle during my childhood.

Christmas was not much different.
Usually, my mother would collect my doll and carriage for several holidays, painted the carriage, sewed a new blanket, and clothing for the doll. That was my gift.

I would like to make it known that I didn’t play with dolls at all.

I was a Tomboy, more interested in my brother’s building kit which he sometimes would share with me.

There were good times too. Especially when my mother was gone for a few days.

In the streets, I was a rebel, and not many kids would mess with me.

My brother had not discovered his strength and self-defense yet. He had a lot of fears.

I was the one fighting for him.

I remember age 8 a special incidence when my mother and brother were gone for the weekend and I was alone with my dad.
He allowed me to go outside to play with the other kids.
Most of the kids I hung out with were older boys – like age 10 to 12.
They tolerated me because I had the courage and amazing ideas for street games.
As most kids respected me, they didn’t think much of my brother, and when one of the boys didn’t stop trash-talking my brother, I snapped, jumped the boy, tackled him to the ground, and bend his arm to his back when I heard a loud crack.
The boy wailed out loud and I instinctively knew that I had broken his arm.
I run back to our house and told my father everything because I expected the boy’s parents would come over and let my father know what I did anyway.
I never forget how I loved my dad for his response.
He didn’t punish me right away but told me to go to my room and put on my Sunday dress and shoes and fix my hair with a sweet bow.
Then, he wanted me to wait in my room and think about what I did until he would call me downstairs.
I was so frightened about what was to come.
Surely I expected a beating at the least.

When the doorbell rang several hours later, I cracked open my door to see and hear what happen.
Sure enough, there was a large man with a very red face, and the boy I hurt with his arm in a cast.
The man insisted that my brother had broken his son’s arm and there will be hell to pay.

My father kept his cool at all times and just told him very friendly that his son and wife are out of town for the weekend, so it was impossible that he could have done anything he was accused of.
The man looked puzzled at his boy who then whispered to him that it was a girl who had done this to him.
The man hesitated a moment and accusingly shouted at my father that his older daughter had hurt his only 12-year-old son.
He wanted to go on about what kind of parents let a girl that age run around with younger boys.

My father told him to hold on for a moment, turned toward the stairs, and called for me.

And here I was coming down the stairs, cute as a button with white knee-high’s, a little skirt with the petticoat peeking out underneath, and two large bows holding together my pigtails.
Startled the man looked at me and then at my father and asked if I was his only daughter, and he wanted to know how old I was.
When he learned that I was merely 8 years old and that there was no other girl in our family, he apologized profoundly, turned around, and slapped his poor boy in his face.
On the way out he looked back at my father asking him never to mention anything to anyone.
When they were gone, my father just told me to change out of my dress and come back to help him with some shores.
He also asked me not to tell anyone about this, not even my mother.
I was so proud to have a secret with Papa.
Throughout the rest of the day, I gladly helped my father without complaining and he made me promise to never ever hurt another kid again like that.
I promised, but I also thought about how unfair it was that others hurt me without anyone ever knew about it.
My brother was unique, to say the least.
Because he was teased in school, he practiced his fantasy fight moves on me, his little sister.
I was not allowed to complain to my parents about it, it was categorized as tattle-telling and that was not tolerated.
So, I invented some protective moves for myself if I couldn’t get away from his attacks.

I loved the school.
It was like a vacation, every time. I was allowed to be a kid.
After school, I had the responsibilities of an adult.
Planning, cooking, cleaning often took the entire afternoon, and my homework was done in school.

Though I was highly dyslexic, which nobody knew at that time, I was very smart and always found ways to cover up a learning disability?
I made learning look mostly easy for me then.
It definitely wasn’t easy for my brother.
Whatever he started, I finished.
When he wanted to learn chess, for example, I beat him in every game.
He wanted to learn ping pong and I was chosen to play for the school team.
In the end, my parents forbade me to compete in anything my brother wanted to do, so he would not be discouraged by my ‘easy does it’ attitude.

When I was 12, I was accepted as a babysitter for some children in the neighborhood.
I made a little pocket money during this time, and my parents insisted that I use that money to purchase school stuff.
I had to justify every penny and was not allowed to keep any money for myself.

One day, when I babysat for a 2-year-old girl who was raised by her grandmother, I stole money out of the wallet I found in the kitchen and hid the empty wallet under the kitchen sink.
It was a few days prior to my 13th birthday.
The next day, the old woman came to speak with my parents who then cross-examined me about the missing wallet.
I didn’t admit to anything at that time but still was banned from all outside activities besides school.
On my birthday, the old woman came over and delivered a large cake for me. My favorite!
My parents asked me to come down from my room and thank the women for her cake.
I felt deeply ashamed and as a punishment, my parents made me eat that entire cake all by myself – in one sitting.
It was a lesson I never forgot. (I still have a sweet tooth though)
After that incident, I started helping the old woman with whatever she needed and never accepted a penny for it.
Of course, she found her wallet and knew right away that only I could have taken the money.
She never talked about it, and several years later when I asked her, she told me that she saw my remorse and thought it was enough to forgive me.
I was humbled.
She was the first person who was genuinely kind to me, and she taught me a very valuable lesson about my conscience.

I absolutely love sweets and my obsession with sweets found many avenues to be satisfied.

The most memorable incident was when I was about 12.
Every Christmas, my father brought home several large beautifully decorated candy boxes that he had received from customers. He gave these boxes to my mother who kept them in their liquor cabinet which was off-limit to us children.
On the back of the boxes were pictures with incredibly delicious and tempting looking chocolates – however, we were told that these sweets were for adults only.
Sometimes, when a box was empty, I was allowed to use it for personal treasures such as pictures I collected.
I was 12 years old and curious as a kitten and I felt it was time to find out what the mystique behind the chocolates in these boxes was.
My parents were both at work and my brother was playing outside with his friends.
Perfect timing!!
I quickly chose the largest most beautiful box, decorated with a “dripping” heart, a red rose, and lots of glitters.
My heart was pounding with excitement and maybe a tingle of fear when I very carefully removed the plastic slip around the box, making sure it didn’t break.
I worked fast, not allowing my conscience to interfere with the upcoming pleasure.
I would deal with that later.
And here it was – finally – 24 chocolates, we called them “Pralines”, beautifully decorated arranged in little golden molds – and they were all mine – at least that’s what I wanted to think.
I quickly bit into the first piece and savored its unusual but not unpleasant taste. Most of them had a strong but sweet-tasting liquid gushing into my mouth as soon as I took a bite.
This must be the way a grown-up feels. I had seen the ladies on TV lying on the chaise eating out of a box just like it.
So, I did the same.
I pretended to be one of these ladies and felt quite grown up eating each and all of the chocolates. My head started feeling a bit funny, and I quickly got to work covering up my theft.
I was always very inventive and so, as a substitute for the candies, I dropped a large Hazelnut in each of the golden compartments then carefully slipped the wrapping back onto the box.
I believe I slept for the rest of the day and since this was unusual for me, my parents thought that I was sick and forgave me that my chores were not done that day.
About a week before Christmas, my mother wanted to make a gift to a holiday function they had in her office.
Each person had to bring a gift for a colleague without the presenter to be known.
I heard her telling my father that she would gift the large box with the liquor chocolates and that she believed it to be a great hit.
You all might be able to guess what came next – well, my mother’s colleague loved the box so much, she wanted to share with everyone in the office and opened it right there. To her amusement and surprise, there were no chocolates as expected and my mother remained anonymous with her gift.
When Mutti came home that night she was enraged and told my father about her experience. My father kept glancing at me suspiciously but there was no convicting evidence.
I thought I got away with it, especially when my father gave me my very first box of chocolates on Christmas Eve.
I eagerly opened it and to my surprise, it was filled with NUTS.

* * *

Germany offers three different academic opportunities for a normally developed child.
There is the folk School with 9 years of basic education and additional vocational schooling.
Then, Middle School, with an 11-year curriculum and additional vocational schooling was possible for qualified students, as well as High School with 13 years of higher education, prepping a student for the University.
My parents didn’t believe that girls needed that much of an education, so when the time came to be tested for higher education, I forged my parents’ signature and was accepted.
I went to high school for six months before my parents found out about it.
They then accused me that my only motivation to go to high school was to spite my brother, who struggled in school.
Fortunately for me, my parents felt too embarrassed to take me out of school.
Maybe secretly they were even a bit proud since none of them had higher education.
The work for high school was a big load besides managing the household. I struggled sometimes, but could not expect help from my parents.
My schoolwork caused a rip in the relationship I had with my father. He was a simple man, unable to understand my homework, and often insisted that it was all “crap” what we learned in school.
He argued with me about the curriculum and we started to disconnect as father and daughter.
At age 14, I moved to a protestant convent to live and work. I wanted to leave home.
It was my choice
The reason I left with my parent’s blessings still is unclear to me.
Maybe it was due to recent events during my mother’s absence.
One day, my mother was on a spa trip, or health-supportive sanatorium, I was home alone and enjoyed rare freedom.
I forgot where my brother was.
My father went to a company event that evening, and I didn’t expect him to be home until late. Papa was not a heavy drinker and I only remember him drunk one time.
The scent of alcohol scared me.
He had a hobby wine cellar and enjoyed most evenings a glass of wine.
This evening something different happen.
I was already in bed asleep when I felt my father entering my bed. I was shocked and quickly turned on my side facing the wall when I felt him and his hands.
Please forgive me if I don’t want to go into details, but this was my Papa – I loved and respected him so much.
I thought of him as the ideal male. After all, he did bring my mother flowers every weekend and he didn’t leave her even though he wasn’t happy.
My mother was not easy to love, and I experienced more than once when they were fighting.
My mother used to say that their fight was about me and that was my fault.
I truly believed that Papa loved me. I felt comfortable cuddling with him. He never touched me the way my uncle did.
Now, this was all gone. My father turned out to be “just another guy”.
After I turned away from him, Papa seems to come to his senses and quickly left my bedroom.
My world crumbled and everything had changed – once again!
We were unable to look at each other the same way as before. I had lost my father for good.
To his defense, I know that he was suffering severely about what he did and regretted it very much. His hair turned white within weeks.
Unfortunately, the bond was broken and never completely healed.
I believe he understood why I wanted to leave the house and live somewhere else.
I am sure he didn’t want a reminder of that incident living in his home.

The convent, I went to, offered many different experiences.
During the weekdays, we attended school as usual. During the weekend we had to earn our keep and work either in the hospital or the living quarters of the Deaconesses.
The ministry of a deaconess is, in modern times, a non-ordained ministry for women in some Protestant churches to provide pastoral care, especially for other women.
These women were like protestant nuns. They did not marry.
It was my job, during my first year there, to clean their rooms so impeccably, that not even a shade of dust could be seen on the white gloves when they came for inspection.
Though it was tedious, I still enjoyed this work.
Most rooms were decorated with fine furniture and exquisite artwork. No one bothered me and I felt safe for the first time in a long time.
One day during cleaning, one of the Deaconess came to her room.
She gently closed the door and asked me to stay when I attempted to leave. She complimented me on my work and kept caressing my face, shoulders, and back, and told me to relax. She told me that she loved my tender skin and for relaxation, she insisted to give me a whole-body massage.
Of course, it was not just a massage.
So, I learned that some women are just like men.
I also learned that the church was not a refuge.
I was called several more times into her room and was just relieved that she didn’t ask anything in return.
I was only 14 and came to this place for protection.
The longer I was around, the more I learned how I was expected to be.

It seemed to be different from other girls.
They acted all confident and happy, and I tried to be like them.
It didn’t work out though – I could not disguise my own opinion about who I was.
Somehow, I was unable to connect to any of the other girls and didn’t make any friends except with one girl who was like me with a similar background.
She never directly told me, but it seems to be true without words.
Her behavior was similar to mine. Because men gave us much needed attention, we gave them what they wanted.
This followed me throughout my entire life.
In movies, there were men courting women, respecting, and spoiling them.
These were another kind of woman and I was not like them at all.
These were good and deserving women and I was not.
I never quite understood why and tried to copy these kinds of females!
I wasn’t a very convincing copy, because I still had the same experiences with men most of my life.
They just were interested in one thing about me.

By the age of 18, I got tired to play the role of a victim and tried to end my life twice.

We all do what we do best and I attracted the best victors in my life and prompted abuse if it didn’t come strong enough from my abusers. This was my NORMAL.
Maybe that was an accomplishment in itself.
My past had turned into a behavioral pattern of self-destruction.
I didn’t know how to be – period!
I made sure that I destroyed every promising relationship because I didn’t feel deserving and knew that nobody would want to stay with me anyway.

So, when I was old enough to choose my own life adventures, I continued to walk the only path I knew.
Though I knew that there was something much better and worthwhile to reach for, I just was convinced that the good stuff was not for me.
I was a great playmate but not considerate worthy wife material.
One man told me that I was too good in bed to be a wife. ?????
Sometimes, when I met new people, I manufactured a story of my life, in which I came from an upper-class environment with kind and generous parents in the hope of respect from men and women.
With most of the people, it didn’t take.
I could not hide from what I thought I was.
For most of my life, I just never truly believed that good things were meant for me.
I was told by my family that I was not deserving of anything good, because I was no good.
I was told by my teacher that nothing worthwhile will ever become of me.
Though I was in popular demand helping to prepare and serve at parties, I was never invited as a guest, never had friends who included me into their lives, and everything people said to me seemed to validate my lack of worthiness.
At least that is what I believed most of the time.
My father used to tell me that I was like a Jo-Jo, always bouncing right back – I often wished that he would understand me better.
Amazingly, I never gave up trying to find a reason for being and hoped someone would recognize that I did have value.
Unfortunately, the most important person who needed to recognize my value was me – I just could not see it at the time. I thought I had to do something to be of value but never knew what it was.
I sometimes still find myself getting out of my way to prove my worth – often without self-consideration.

As soon as I could read, I learned to live my life through books.
The creativity of my mind was my joy – but also my curse.
I was good at many things, but never exceptional at one – so I thought.
The lack of money seemed to play a huge role in my failures – at least that is what I told myself.
Today I know that my lack of self-love and trust in worthiness was initiating my thoughts and behavior.
In school I used my communication skills and fearless approach to defend others, hoping to make friends.
I never did.
I didn’t fit in.
I became class president, but still was never part of any group or actions.
I always tried to find new ways to belong and became known for advocating for those who could not speak up for themselves.
These activities got me some attention occasionally and I believed that I had found my way into society by rescuing the weaker and the needy.
At least it took me away from my own problems and made me feel a certain value about myself. It also made me incredibly resourceful and strong.
However, when I was not busy solving other people’s problems, I felt exceedingly shy and thought of myself as a total misfit without a purpose.
I didn’t recognize at that point in my life that I suffered from depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
When my mother suggested that I had fat and ugly thighs and should be ashamed of being seen in a bathing suit at age 15, I stopped going swimming in public.
I became self-conscious and my self-esteem was very low.
The only thing I was good at for others was sex; even though I really never enjoyed it and was glad when it was over – every time.
My biggest reward was in a hug or embrace after sex, making me believe for a brief moment that I was loved, appreciated, and wanted.

Because I trained my attention on other people’s problems, I wanted to become a doctor after graduating from High School.
Even though I know today that I had undiagnosed dyslexia, I had the scores qualifying me to be enrolled into medical school.
However, my parents felt that I, as a girl, should approach a more “practical” and fitting occupation, since I was expected to marry someday and higher education was perceived as a “waste”. Also, they didn’t think that I was smart enough to become a doctor.
One time, Mutti screamed at me that I must think of myself to be better than her, and that is why I wanted a higher education.
Well, I then became a nurse, hoping to have value to people weaker than me.
No matter how hard I worked trying to fit in, I was unable to connect with my fellow nurses, as we had nothing in common.
It seemed to me that I was not good enough for anybody.
Still, I enjoyed being a nurse.
I was an excellent nurse!
I seemed to have a niche for it, and the gratitude from my patients lifted my spirit, supporting the idea that I was good for something.
Being a nurse gave me a purpose.
Unfortunately and unexpectedly, my compassionate demeanor towards my patients was heavily criticized by my head nurses, because we were not supposed to spent time with a patient holding hands, consoling and listening.
It was our role to take blood, administer therapy, make their beds, and hand out medications in the quickest and most efficient way.
I just didn’t agree with that vision.

Shortly before my State exam, I met my first husband.
He was incredibly handsome and I was desperate to feel loved by somebody.
I was also anxious to be getting out of my parents control and starting my own life.
His widowed mother made space in her living room for us to sleep together, and when I got pregnant, she threw me out screaming at me that she only wanted that her son had some fun so he would get over the failure of his first marriage.
She wanted me to be her son’s whore.

My parents insisted that we got married before the child was born, and so I was married, passed my state exams, and gave birth at age 20 – all within six month.
The wedding was not memorable and I have really nothing to remember the event by.
I saw this marriage as a chance for a new life – a new beginning – a new me.
I wanted to be the best wife I could be and hoped that this was my chance to create a harmonious and save home environment.
So, I cooked, cleaned, washed, and made a beautiful home trying to create a harmonious and happy environment for my little family.
I had it all figured out in my head.
My mother was appalled and embarrassed by the thought of becoming a grandmother so early in her life mostly concerned of what her friends would say. My father was quite supportive looking forward having a grandbaby.
Unfortunately, my husband could not get over his first wife (who ironically had the same name as mine).
He worked long hours every day and stopped sleeping in our bed.
Now, I was taught since early childhood what my role as a woman was; so, being rejected by my husband made me feel isolated and unworthy – once again.
I still fought with all I got to make this marriage work.
My first baby was a girl and I called her Michaela.
Two years later I had another baby and got pregnant again when my boy was only three months old.
I called my second baby Christian and loved him with all my heart.
I swore that I would teach my boy to be a better man, a man who treated every women with respect and would never force himself on anyone.
Just before my third baby was due, my Christian got sick with an unidentified virus and died in my arms within 24 hours, losing all of his body fluids.
My mother accused me, that being a nurse, I could have prevented that, and I bought into her point of view that this was my fault.
There was not much time for mourning, because the day I buried my little boy, I went into labor and my third baby was born.
I don’t remember much of all this time, because it seemed to be so surreal and I was totally numb.
I gave birth to another baby boy and named him Michael.
Eleven days after Michael was born, I was released from the hospital.
My husband had asked me to wait with the baby outside the entrance while he was getting the car.
So, I waited with baby Michael tucked into a large soft down pillow when a drunk driver lost control of his car and drove directly into me and the baby.
Three weeks later when I regained conscience at the hospital, I was told that Michael had died instantly.
I got away with some broken ribs and a broken heart and mind.
My mother pointed out that it was irresponsible of me to have stood there.
I carried that guilt throughout my entire life.
Three years later, we filed for divorce, because I had a hard time overcoming depression.
I was no longer fun for my husband.
During the seventies in Germany, a divorce was only granted if a fault was determined.
Of course, I assumed responsibility for the failure of this marriage and not only lost all support from my family, I also lost my firstborn baby girl.
Because the failure of the marriage was considered my fault, I was determined to be an unfit mother.
I broke into many pieces and again lost reasons to live.


For many years I tried to attach myself to other people and families; however nobody wanted me to be part of their life after the novelty of the new wore out.
I had far too much baggage and that was not very attractive for anyone to live with – not even myself.
I found proof of this when I got involved with a man I worked with. He was so different – successful and enterprising.
It was so exciting to be with someone like him and after I got my divorce, I move into his home. He owned a grocery store and together we started a charter airline.
I became a true entrepreneur and felt more confident than ever before.
I worked at least 14 hours per day to make our venture a success and to proof my worth to him. For my work I received 10% ownership of his company.
I felt that my life finally changed for the better, and when he ask me to have a child with him, I was more than willing to grant his wish.
In my devotion and fear of losing him, I made sure I got pregnant quickly to give him this gift of trust and love.
We decorated the baby’s room, purchased furniture and clothing.
Everything we did, we did with a happy heart. It was an incredible time and I felt totally save in his arms.
For the very first time ever I felt valued.
Things changed drastically during the first trimester of my pregnancy.
I was in physical agony due to a pinch of my sciatic nerve and moving around became incredibly difficult.
As a result, I could not work as hard as I did before.
More and more evenings I was home alone while he went out with friends.
One night, he didn’t come home until 5 AM and I was up all night full of worry what could have happened.
When he entered the room, my stomach felt in knots, because everything about him seemed different.
He looked at me coldly and told me that he had changed his mind about me and the baby and told me to leave his house.
He had reconciled with his former wife and expected her to move back in with him the very same day.
When I didn’t comprehend what was happened, he called my father and asked him to pick me up.
I just stood there totally numb and couldn’t believe his words.
I thought this all to be a bad dream.
When I didn’t move, he got out some boxes and suitcases and packed some of my stuff. He then pushed me and my suitcase out of the door and called for my father to pick me up.
He then locked the door behind me.
Later, my father insisted that this man will fly with me to England where abortions were legal up to 6 months.
I was numb and followed directions given to me. So, we went to London and I had the most horrifying experience of my life.
This was worse than any abuse I had endured before.
I never gotten over this experience.
When we returned, my father went to see the man and came back with an agreement for me to sign away my 10% of our company in exchange for 10,000 Mark.
That night I left my parents’ house and kept driving for several days without knowing where to go.
I just could no longer listen to my mother accusing me that once again I screwed up and embarrassed her in front of friends and neighbors.
I missed my firstborn baby girl desperately, but was unable to see or hold her. Much drama and despair came along whenever I tried to see her. I constantly thought about the baby I aborted and felt that I could never be worthy of anything ever again.
Finally, I moved to Hannover, about 200 miles away and found a position as an RN at the Medical High School.
With the job came a little apartment on campus and I started life over again.
I was very up-and-coming teaching home dialysis to patients and doctors.
My supervisor was a 30 year old successful woman who befriended me.
I was so happy and proud that someone like her wanted to be friends with me. She invited me to her home and we spent many fun hours together after work.
One night it had gotten late and I had a few drinks with her, so I stayed over for the first time.
It felt natural for me to share the only bed with her, but not so natural what followed.
She started caressing me and got very demanding for me to participate.
I instantly sobered, but faked to be more drunk just wanting to sleep.
She finally gave up.
The next day I tried to explain that I was not interested in women that way.
She got very angry, said that I had mislead her, and our work relationship became difficult.
The friendship was over!
I started to avoid her as much as possible, however, she was my superior and I had to deal with that.
Eventually, I quit my job and moved away because the pressure was too much to bear.

* * *

Whenever I was looking for a relationship, I searched for a true connection, because I was incredibly lonely.
I had no roots, no friends, and no love – only work.
It was easy enough to get a man interested in me, as I was blessed with attractive looks and at first glance had a positive, vibrant and outgoing personality.
Still, I sabotaged every single possibility for a relationship pushing for quick validation that I was indeed not worthy to be with, when secretly I was craving for someone fighting for me to stay.
Men looked at me as entertainment, but not wife material. I did not know how to be that.
I questioned my reason for living and had tried to end my life many times.
Astonishingly, there was something making me get up every morning and search for my place in life.
I was never afraid to change towns, states, and even countries in hope to find “home” what I called it.
I wasn’t quite sure what that concept of home entitled.
I was only 25 years of age when I decided to move to Canada.
I didn’t know a soul in this country and my decision was made by turning the globe with my eyes closed when my finger pointed to Newfoundland.
Nobody seem to care for me in Germany.
Maybe it will be different in another country, where people didn’t know that I wasn’t worthy.
I purchased international newspapers and searched for job offers in Newfoundland.
Only a month later I responded to an inquiry for an Au Pair girl and got the job.
Moving was not an easy undertaking, and the immigration part alone was difficult and at some point humiliating.
It took two months to qualify and I felt almost special when I was accepted.
I was so excited to have a chance to start all over again in a country where nobody knew me. This was an opportunity to reinvent my life and start belonging to someone or something good.

The family who had hired me picked me up at the airport in Saint Johns, Newfoundland.
They had 5 children between the ages of 4 to 12, and lived very isolated in a rural area.
I was given a small room about 9’ x 9’, with a bed, a stool and a nightstand.
In the hallway was an amour for my belongings and I had to share the bathroom with the children.
It was my job to get up at 5 AM, prepare the breakfast, get the children ready for school, clean up their rooms, wash their clothes, clean the rest of the house, wash the clothes of the parents, prepare lunch, clean the kitchen again, pick up the children from the bus stop, oversee their homework, prepare dinner, serve dinner to the children, then later cater dinner parties for the parents.
I worked 6 ½ days per week, 12 hours per day, never sat with the family at the table, and all I got paid was $ 25 per week.
There was really nowhere to go on my half-day off, because I didn’t have transportation and we lived in the country.
Personal conversations did not exist and most of my communication was with the children, or receiving orders from their mother.
I was incredible lonely and felt more and more depressed.
Once again, I was validated as not worthy to be part of a family.
Though I loved serving people, I didn’t wanted to be merely a servant.
After 6 months, I took the $ 600 I had earned, packed my bag and left the family hitchhiking to the nearest motel.
Since nobody was interested to know a person with emotional baggage, I kept pretending to be a tough woman who is always happy and has no needs or worries.
People enjoyed being with me, they just would not take me home to be part of their lives.
I guess they must have seen through the con and figured that I simply wasn’t good enough.
Everybody had somewhere to go and someone to be with.
I did not!
Holidays were especially difficult and I tried to avoid them as much as I could.
Nobody got to know me, and I felt that nobody really cared to.
But then, I didn’t know myself either.
I started working all kind of jobs in Newfoundland and gave it my all with whatever I did.
I could not do anything without giving 100%+, and my co-workers didn’t like to be around me.
I messed with their speed of work by being too fast and efficient.

Most people I knew didn’t like their jobs, or cared for what they did for a living. I always did what I could to make any job interesting and creative.
I became more and more a loner – even though I longed to belong.
People embraced me quickly and let me go quickly. Something about me made them see that I was presenting a facade.
Some people found my life interesting and took me on as something like a mascot until they gotten tired of me.
I was a great toy to many men, but as soon as I became human, they lost interest.
Nobody knew my story, and I was too ashamed to share it.
I traveled extensively and adventurously – secretly always on a hunt to find a home, someone who wanted me and someone I could trust.
Today I know that I didn’t even trusted myself and that was my downfall.
At times I found it strange that I wanted – no needed- to trust a man.
I wanted to proof to myself and the world that there are decent men in this world.
I was so desperate to be loved for who I was.
Today I understand that I really didn’t know who I was and I was searching for someone to love me better than I did.
With every relationship, when I laid my heart to his disposal, I was disposed of.
I fell in love easily and dreamed to finally have found a home. I always believed all promises men told me just to get me into their bed.
I wanted to believe – I needed to believe!
I mastered lovemaking to keep men interested and hoped I would become indispensable to them.
My desperation to be wanted or needed, destroyed everything over and over again, validating that I was just not a keeper – not good enough!
I didn’t like sex, however was willing to pay with it for a night of embrace where I could dream to be in safe and loving arms.
I NEVER took any money or presents from any man and felt that differentiated me from the women working in the streets.
One of the men I trusted, invited me to a romantic evening at his place where he put drugs into my tea.
He then had other men come to the bedroom to have sex with me.
Not having ever used any drugs to this point, I totally collapsed and started crying for 3 days. I just couldn’t stop sobbing loudly.
He feared I had serious problems from the drugs and dropped me in front of a hospital leaving in a hurry.
The doctors at the hospital let me sleep off the effects of the drugs and then released me.
I had nowhere to go.
My room was no longer available and my belongings were gone.
All I had was my passport.
That night I slept in a homeless shelter and found myself to have only two choices; live or die!
Once again I chose to live and got myself a job at a restaurant the very next day. I found a second job as a night clerk for a cheap motel and with that a room to stay in.
Very quickly I established some financial stability and decided that if I wanted a family, I had to create my own.
So I wanted to have a baby and searched for a healthy, good looking, and talented man to father my child without planning a marriage.
I didn’t want to be discarded again and made sure that there were no emotional strings attached.
It was then when I met a charming French Canadian musician.
I liked him a lot, but was sure to hide my feelings until I got pregnant.
It was not easy to leave him after I got pregnant, but I was sure that this was the only way to avoid additional pain.
I moved to the suburban of Montréal, Canada where I applied for a live-in position with a former German woman who ran a house caring for several older people.
It was at this point the ideal solution for me and my baby. She knew about the pregnancy and vouched to support me.
She even offered me to stay on after the baby was born. I felt secure for the first time in a long time and worked hard to be worthy of this opportunity.
Pregnancy was long and very lonely for me.
One day I met a German man who was very attracted to me even in my now visible condition. He offered his company, which I accepted.
We took long walks, played board games, and bonded as friends.
I didn’t feel anything more than friendship and gratitude for this man.
Anyway, his parents wholeheartedly disapproved of me. They didn’t like my “bohemian” outlook on life and the fact that I am an unwed mother to be.
Social services visited with me and wanted to convince me to abort this child, because I was a single mother.
There was no way I would give up my baby – no one could take away my chance of having my very own family.
The birth of my son was awfully long and painful, and we both almost died afterwards.
My friend visited often.
He must have enjoyed his role so much, that he put his name as the father on the birth certificate without my knowledge or consent.
Surely, he meant well, but I did not have that kind of relationship with him.
Our friendship ended soon after.
A week after I brought my baby boy home, I developed a breast infection and high fever.
I couldn’t feed my baby, nor could I get out of bed to the telephone. My breasts were hard as rocks and the pain was unbearable.
I had to listen to my newborn scream for hunger and could do nothing.
I endured 2 days of this and had made peace with not surviving, hoping my baby would not suffer too much.
Finally, my Neighbors heard my baby crying for hours and sent someone to break into my home when I didn’t respond to their call.
They called an ambulance and fed my baby with formula I had from the hospital.
We both were in rough condition as I hadn’t changed his diaper and was not able to go to the bathroom myself.
This was truly a very close call.
I worked and lived in this house for several months when the owner decided to sell it to another person who didn’t had any use for me and needed the space for themselves.
I had only a month to find something else.
Inspired by the elder care, I rented a duplex – both sides and opened up a tri-lingual daycare center for small children.
I took in a pregnant girl from Ecuador to help me so I could attend classes for further education.
The center was profitable after only 3 months, so I enrolled myself into McGill University to study psychology because I wanted to learn how to fix myself for the sake of my baby boy.
I had not enough self-value to do this for myself.
I had no one else.
I kept very busy but felt very lonely at times.
I wanted family desperately, so I created one without considering the other side of the coin.
For now my son would not judge or discard me for many years to come.
He needed me – at least for now.

I had written to my parents about my baby and my mother wrote a long letter back describing why I was irresponsible and unworthy to be a mother; having two babies die on me.
She also felt I became an unwed mother just to spite her. She felt ashamed to tell her friends.
The memory of how my first baby boy died kept creeping up on me and during the first year of my new son’s life I never left his side in fear of something could happen to him as well.
I would not have been able to survive losing another baby.
He was so beautiful.
He was my joy.
Yes, I actually felt pure joy for the very first time in my life.
There was nobody who could take that away from me.
My business was only 7 months old when I was able to purchase the home and pay it off shortly thereafter.
I had a loyal high end customer base and added vacation service as well as other overnight events to my services.
Two girls trained in childcare, bi-and tri-lingual, which was a great asset to have.
I took on the night service, since it wasn’t too demanding – most of the time anyway.

Life was good for us and I started to be a bit more trusting towards others. I developed great friendships within the neighborhood.
When my son was little older than a year, I received a letter from my mother telling me that my father was very ill because I had given him too many reasons to worry.
She told me that I owed it to him to come home and care for him.
Loyalty and a great sense of responsibility define who I am on some level.
Some may say those are good trades to have.
So, I entrusted my home and business to a family I had befriended asking them to help with the sale of the house if I would not return.
Then I went back to Germany to care for my father.
It turned out that he didn’t know that my mother had written about his illness and he was on his way to recover from a heart attack.
Back in Germany I quickly found a job in my profession as a nurse and rented an apartment for me and my son.
It was very difficult to adjust to the cultural differences I have gotten used to and was fond of.
The hospital had daycare and for the first time I was separated from my son for several hours each day leaving him with strangers.
I missed my life in Canada.
My father loved his grandson and demonstrated genuine pride to be my son’s grandfather. Papa plaid with the baby, took him out for walks and proudly showed him to his friends and neighbors.
And I have to admit, my mother did what she could to love him as well – even though he was in her mind a “bastard”. In her own way, she adored the cuteness in my boy.
My house in Canada was sold by my friends; however, they felt that they deserve the money they got from the sale for their services and kept all the proceeds.
A Canadian lawyer I hired from the distance told me that I had to be present in Canada to pursue a successful lawsuit.
I could not afford to go back because all of my money was tied up in my home, and what cash I had, vanishing quickly.
I was tired of fighting and loosing.
I craved to have someone caring for me for a change.
So I started reading the personal ads in a national newspaper and answered some of them.
This was how I met my second husband.
We married after we knew each other only four months. It seemed to be the right thing to do at the time.
He was nice, had a good job and was willing to care for my son and me.
I didn’t believe that anyone could love me anyway, so I didn’t expect too much for myself.
Shortly after the wedding I was diagnosed with stomach cancer and went through a series of exhausting treatments.
He lost interest in me quickly and told me that this was not what he envisioned.
After only six month of marriage we filed for divorce.
I did not ask for anything from him, and so the procedure was simple.
The cancer went into remission after an operation and the treatments, and I moved with my son back to the northern part of Germany where I grew up.
Luckily, within six month I was recruited to re-organize the largest private nursing home in northern Germany. My professional knowledge and talent obviously was acknowledged by some people.
I felt hope inside me and let myself be excited again.
This was my new chance!
I absolutely loved this opportunity and thrived in my job.
For many months forgot all about me and my needs and focused on my career.
I re-organized the largest private nursing home in northern Germany. It became a true success and the stepping stone to more ventures.
Then, my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer and colon cancer with a prognosis of only six months to live.
I divided my time between my work, my son and caring for my father.
My mother felt incapable to care for him, because she felt the need to prepare to be a widow.
After only one month, I collapsed at work and was diagnosed with uterus wall cancer.
Like with the stomach cancer, I refused any chemo treatments or radiation and treated myself with raw foods, isolation from emotional stress, and meditation.
My mother never knew about my condition and thought my weight loss was due to my work. She actually encouraged me to lose more weight, because in her eyes I was always too fat.
I weight 120 lbs. most of my adult life at 5’5” height.
Even though I went through so much personal drama, my work was much appreciated and I received full support from the owners of the facility.
At one point I shared my condition with my dying father to encourage him to fight for his life.
He acted like he was almost glad to be that sick.
Papa found the courage to accuse my mother to be the reason for many personal losses in his life.
My father passed away 3 months later in my arms, making me promise that I would keep the family together and care for my mother.
During his last hours I called my brother to be with Papa one last time.
I was happy for Papa to have found peace.
Exhausted from the past months experiences, I asked friends to care for my son, while I had what was left of my tumor removed.
I went into remission once again and kept working at the nursing home.
My relationship with my mother seemed ok at this time. She wanted me to take care of her as I did with my father.
However, I convinced her to get a driver’s license and create a more independent life for herself – and me.
My father had requested that my brother and I give my mother our legal part of the inheritance, so my mother would have a comfortable life.
I totally accepted that while my brother was very angry not to get anything.
I returned to my own life after all was settled.
My work was very gratifying and successful covering the painful experiences of the past year.
For once I felt capable, needed and wanted.

After about ten months, the son of the owner told me that he was in love with me.
At this point I welcomed someone to help with my life and was full of hope to find happiness after all.
Unfortunately, his parents did not approve and the situation became very complicated. I was released from my work right after my initial contract ended.

We decided to move to another part in Germany and start over again by purchasing a small hotel in the Bavarian Forest thinking, that this way, I could have my son around me and didn’t need strangers taking care of him.
My son was my world and I could love him unconditionally without fear of being judged or rejected.

The day we had signed the purchase agreements for the hotel with the bank, I became a victim of a car accident and as a result I was unable to walk.
My right femur was fractured, I had a middle face fracture, my jaw was broken, and my rib cage was crashed. I was told that I would not walk again.
I could not accept the prognosis, and motivated by my vision for a new life, I went to a facility with doctors specialized in such injuries to fight for what I wanted to be.
I gave myself three month to recover and worked with Olympic trainers 12 agonizing hours each day, supervised by sports doctors.
Failure was not an option for me.
During this time my focus was on recovery to start my future life with my son, my partner and the hotel.
I did it!
Still on crotches, I renovated the hotel doing much of the labor myself as my partner was not very handy.
After the Grand Opening, I was able to take my then 14 year old daughter back into my care, because her father did not know how to handle her in her teenage years any longer, and wanted to place her into a facility for troubled youth.
I had prayed for the day to see my firstborn again and celebrated when I could picked her up from the train station.
She was so beautiful!
Very carefully I started to develop a relationship with her and my life seemed to be complete.
After only two months, I found my partner looking at my daughter inappropriately and my world crumbled.
Nothing had any meaning anymore.
My daughter wanted to return to her father’s care and I demanded my partner to leave.
He then started sabotaging the hotel by revoking his partnership and letting the bank know that he no longer supported this business.
If this was not enough, during the same winter, the roof over the swimming pool collapsed under heavy snow loads, and the bank refused to support the business further.
I had to let go of my dream.
In the process I had befriended a guest who visited my hotel three times, because he liked to be around me…..that’s what he said.
When he learned about my situation with the hotel, he offered his support and told me that he would stay on my side.
Since he was a Chef, and I had talent in the hospitality business, we tried to salvage from the hotel what we could and took over a restaurant in another part of Germany.
Herbert, my friend, was married and he claimed that he and his wife plan to separate.
They had an adopted daughter and because of her I tried to help him reconciling his relationship with his wife.
She had no interest, as she had found someone else, and so the couple divorced.
It still took another six months after his divorce was final before Herbert and I became an item.
Everything seemed to be working out and I started slowly to trust in my life again.
He worked in the kitchen, and I managed the rest of the business.
I was on my feet 15 to 18 hours every day and after a few months; it started to take its toll on my health.
I never totally healed from my accident and had still an 18” nail in my thigh.
Herbert got up at noon and went to bed at midnight.
He worked about 8 hours each day in the kitchen and spent the remaining time at the bar of the restaurant.
One day I went unexpectedly into the kitchen and found him drinking.
He then admitted to me that a little alcohol helped him to be with me and do his job.
He felt that I didn’t spent enough time with him and that I was mostly tired.
The next day when I went up to our apartment above the restaurant, I found him in bed with the neighbor’s daughter.
I lost all my will to keep going and told him that I would leave to look for a separate apartment for my son and myself and offered him to keep the place at the restaurant.
I told him that I no longer would have a relationship with him as a couple, but would not take his job away at this time.
So, I left to check out another apartment in a neighboring village to move there with my son.
That was the day he was found strangled in the doorframe of our bedroom – it was my son who found him.
We both had a total breakdown.
A suicide note was found, accusing me that I had destroyed his life, and that because of me he had lost his family.
The following weeks were like a blur and I don’t remember that much.
My mother came to stay with me for about a week, and she once again let me know that this could only have happened because of me.
It wasn’t comforting.
All this was my fault!
She then tried to take my son away from me, because I was a danger to anyone in my life.
At this point I also was shunt by the villagers.
My friend’s family had published the suicide note in the local newspaper and accused me of murdering their son.
Since I lived in a rural area, I felt hunted like a witch.
I could not stop in any local store and my landlord wanted to revoke the lease for the apartment.
The local pastor persuaded him to give me a break for my son’s sake, as I found myself in deep depression, not understanding why this has happen to me.
Sponsored by my doctor and the pastor, I was send with my son to a healing retreat for six weeks.
After my return, I just wanted to leave this country and go somewhere with a sunny climate, so we both could start healing.
I never returned to my restaurant and didn’t care what happen to the business.
Herbert never had a penny of his own invested into the restaurant, though his family felt that I am in debt to them for their loss, and so they took whatever was not nailed down.
All I had left was my personal belongings and some antiques, as well as a bank account with about $ 80,000.

After selling the license to my restaurant, I had about $ 100,000 cash.
I placed an ad in Texas, Florida, and California searching for a live-in position.
When I came to America, I had no idea that things could get worse. If it wasn’t for my son, I would have not endured what was coming to me.
My new life in despair had begun – in America!
I was stolen from, cheated on, abused, abandoned, imprisoned, deported, and married 3 times before becoming a citizen of the United States of America.
I would sleep with men and be a “good women” like my uncle taught me at age 5, only to have a moment of embrace.
Being held like I was loved, even if just for a brief minute, were the most desirable times in my life.
It made me feel worthy that instant, and I pretended my entire life that way.
Often I was told that I was no marriage material, that I should be available to every man.
That didn’t made me proud.
It was not what I wanted for my life.
What I wanted was a man who proves all other men wrong. Someone showing love and respect towards me. A person who wanted to know me first – before sex.
I never met him.
The strangest part of my American story was the behavior of women. Whenever I thought I could trust a woman and shared not my childhood, but the experiences as an adult woman in a men’s world, most women I knew would defend the men’s actions.
They said that this could never happen to them and women just have to be a bit tougher and not take any sexual remarks or gestures seriously.
Someday I may have the courage to finish writing down these memories, though somehow it might be a blessing if I could just forget. I am broken into million pieces hoping that someday they just magically come together and I have a place on earth where I feel welcomed and finally home.
Coming to America
Last words…..

Several years have passed since I have started writing my story.
Today, when reading what I wrote, it seems like the story of a stranger. Though remembering most everything quite vividly, my memories no longer connect with my emotional body and I no longer feel affected.
I can look back and I am well!
My focus has shifted, and awareness has come into my life.
I no longer suffer from my past;
I no longer have depression and anxiety;
I no longer live in fear;
I am no longer needy or desperate for the affection or acknowledgment of other people;
I no longer believe that I am not worthy;
I am no longer needy for love from others.
Today, I know who I am, where I came from, and what I am doing here.
Today, I love myself!
I live alone with my dog, Happy, but I am in no way lonely.
Being a loner and embracing my lifestyle has given me the peace I was searching for.
Though I always believed that in order to be happy I would need someone in my life who will cater to my wants and needs, today, I know with certainty that it is only I that can make me happy.
Happiness is a state of mind induced by thoughts of gratitude! I am 100% sure of that.
Everything I went through has been on the path to enlightenment and I made it all the way!
I feel successful now!

Story shared by...

Brig Brown

Born, raised, and educated in Germany, Brig now lives in Tennessee sharing her 196 sq ft tiny house with her therapy dog Happy. She is an artist at heart and challenges herself with many different and new projects. Her vintage glass creations enjoy the admiration of many of her friends. Brig's life is focused on gratitude, which, she feels, is the foundation of happiness and inner peace. "Gratitude has given me the direction and strength to let go what no longer serves my life"