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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

This article contains mentions of child abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

Your mother, your guardian, your biggest supporter, and the woman who gave you life: the positive aspects of a mother. A woman who makes you laugh and who cares for you when you are sick. It’s the nurture in her that holds you so dear to her heart. She is your best friend, and you tell her everything. She is the first person you tell about your first kiss, your first time having sex, your first heartbreak, and the first of everything. She is the woman who will cry with you when you finally get married, the woman who will tie your tie or fix your bouquet when you go to prom. She will cry when you head off to college because “her baby is growing up.” She refuses to let you grow up, specifically if you are the first child or the last child, because both are hard for her. But nobody talks about the middle child and how the mother talks and acts with them. That is where I tie in.

Hi, my name is Elijah Obstler, and I am a middle child of two boys. I was born and was immediately neglected, as was my younger brother, but not as much. My mother told me on multiple occasions she never wanted me and she wished I was never born because her life would be so much better without me and her kids. I was hit and thrown against walls. I was called names. I was dropped off at drug dealers’ houses. I was neglected and screamed at. I was in trouble for being in the way of her drunk walking path. I was in trouble for watching her take a drink of Grey Goose vodka, hiding it immediately from me in the corner of our L-couch, and was told not to tell my father or she would beat me. These events went on for eleven years, then she left us and never stayed in contact and refused to fight for custody with my father. She knew he was the better parent without saying it. 

Now, the point of this is not to make you feel bad for me. It is to inform you. It is to inform that abuse does not define anybody. Abuse can come in all shapes, sizes, and time frames. Abuse can come from a parent, a friend, a significant other, or a random stranger on the side of the road while you are walking home from class on a Wednesday afternoon. You cannot let abuse take over your everyday life. You cannot let it affect your relationships. I can admit, I have abandonment issues from my mother, but the right person coming along, learning about your cracks and bumps will show you that not every abuser will be the same as a non-abuser. Not every man and woman will abuse you. Now this applies to your everyday life in going out in public. You cannot be afraid of somebody passing by you, walking next to you, standing next to you. Just because someone’s hands were not as nice earlier does not mean this random stranger’s hands, if they touch you, will not be angelic. You are not a victim. You are not a chaotic masterpiece everybody watches in awe and waits for you to crumble at their knees. You are in your own temple, a temple that you build, you light up with your smile, you fill with the music of your laughter, you sit with the comfort of your words or your gentle hands. Nobody is in control of your territory but you. It was hard for me to learn this. It took me years and therapy to learn this and be happy with myself. One of the hardest things you will have to learn, as I did, was not every abuser will apologize. In fact, they will deny the actions that happened, blame you, try to force you at their knees so they are higher up than you. You cannot let them do that. You must forgive them without an apology, and you cannot succeed in life and continue to be life-changing if you do not forgive them without an apology. 

Success and admiration take time; apologies take time or don’t come at all. Do not let somebody who hurt you put your life on pause because they do not have the remote to your life, you do. You are in control of what thoughts you mute, what joy you turn up, what channels you turn to and binge-watch, what settings you choose to love yourself. Surviving abuse takes time, it takes effort, but it is always possible, never easy. The hardest thing to accept is that it was never your fault in the first place. You are not the victim. You are the survivor. So, I survived my abuse in the past, and whether yours is in the past or not, you will too.

Hello! My name is Elijah Obstler. I am a sophomore at The College of Charleston, studying psychology! My hobbies include drumming as well as singing my heart out to my favorite songs, as well as writing! I have always had a passion for writing and getting my voice out to the public. My wish is to be a motivational speaker, but writing out my passions will be a fantastic start!