So about me you may know that I'm in my forties and currently live in Wales growing up my "dad" was in the RAF so I lived in lots of places but ended up in Scotland as a small child along with my brother who I was just over two years older than. Being a little girl I remember quite a happy childhood when I was say 6 years odd but that all changed when my families religion changed from my father being a Catholic and my "mum" being a non practising Methodist to a different religion that I won't name but you may guess when you read on. I noticed that a lot changed the Christmas tree was thrown away and I didn't have birthday presents or parties anymore, and nor did my brother, I will say my father wasn't part of the new religion but he agreed with the stopping of birthdays and Christmas. At school I was taken out of participating in Christmas concerts in mixing with the children out of school and not allowed to receive or give presents, I remember being stuck in a room on my own whilst the other children enjoyed christmas parties and not enjoying that feeling.
Attending the meetings (talks about god etc) where very regular, I personally hating walking there we would be made to do the three mile trip there by foot three times a week in all weathers, I don't think I missed one even if I was unwell. So I got to about eleven years old and then my parents told us we were moving to Wales I was quite excited about this, being a kid I thought this was a great adventure new school new friends and hopefully not having to attend those meetings. Little did I know that my life was going to get a whole lot worse.
The move was complete and my brother and myself were put into new schools, I settled ok, and was invited to lots of places but I was never allowed to go, I don't know what changed in my dad but I started beating my mother really really badly and they would be arguing constantly, he started drinking extremely heavily and that did not help matters. Whilst all this was going on I still was attending this church. My mother became more and more iratic in her behaviour and would shout at me whilst on the way to the church, if I didn't participate in the meeting she would hit me on the back of the head with her hand or worse get the microphone and hit me on the head with that it was mortifying.
Home life was getting increasingly worse, I was now 13 and my brother 11 and my father was beating my brother all the time and throwing so much emotional abuse at him, in the end my brother stopped going to school and ended up running away from home and getting into trouble. I was being made to go to the betting shops and stand outside and ask old men to put bets on for my dad as he wouldn't leave the house and then I would have to get people to get cans of beer and cigarettes for me to take home for him to, this was daily, my brother didn't return home after this he ended up at young offenders institutes which was awful, meanwhile back at home the beatings went to me. I was still having to go to the church and disguise my bruises my swellings and my tears. I wasn't allowed to discuss what was going on,
I sat my exams and I really do not know how I did it without falling apart I was desparate to get away from the church and my situation at home, I remember being scared going to bed and going to sleep in fear as many times my father would drag me out of bed by the hair and pull me down the stairs and scream swear at me and beat me, he would continuously tell me how ugly and horrible I was so naturally I thought I was. I begged my mum to help me but she wouldn't listen to me, I was now 19 and I was mentally and physically battered, I had been beaten 4 nights continuously and was a wreck, the church were having a party (gathering) In a house in Cardiff and I begged to go, I couldn't believe I was allowed to go, I went and was told to be home by 11 bearing in mind I was 19, I was enjoying myself and realised it was 12 o'clock and at that moment I decided I wasn't going to return home and I never did.
For three years after that night I would go to work and my mother used to wait in the bus stop and thrust letters in my hand,, she wouldn't talk to me, she said she wasn't allowed as I had left the church to, she said she couldn't have anything to do with me anymore, the letters were very long and rambling and didn't make any sense at all. But in essence she wouldn't bother with me anymore.
So where am I at now, well I'm 43 years old, my parents are now living in Reading, I do not see them at all anymore, I have seem them once 15 years ago and that was when my brother died, but I don't anymore, if you think I'm harsh not having things to do with them this has been a long thoughtful decision, I am a mother to three children myself and I would never ever treat them in this way or force them into a religion either. I would say that I haven't been left unscaved by them and I struggle with a lot of things, I was never shown love or affection by them, so I do find it hard to be loving loving if that makes sense, I know I'm not ugly but it's taken me a long time to realise that but the feeling of escaping the clutches of the religion were and have been overwhelming some of my memories have been lost of my childhood I don't know if it's because of trauma but I can't remember them, but now I'm happy and living a normal life.
So if your in a similar position or scared you cannot get out of something you can be brave strong and do it, you won't look back.