Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments. Content Warning\/Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, child abuse, imagery of violent acts. Kindly read at your own discretion. Growing up, I was in a very toxic environment. I was raised in a very patriarchal household.\u00a0 The women in my family were always taught to never argue or talk back to men. Even if you were being abused by your husband, son, or father, you are not supposed to question them. Why? Because you are a woman.\u00a0 My mother was fine with this. Every time I asked her why, she would just ask me to try to understand. Maybe my father was going through difficulties to feed us, and he was just lashing out from frustration.\u00a0 One day, I asked my mother: \u201cWhy is this only happening to me but not my brother?\u201d Her reply was, \u201cIt\u2019s something common, especially for females.\u201d She brushed it off as if it was an excusable reason.\u00a0 I did not really understand her answer, but I believed her, especially since she said it so nonchalantly.\u00a0 For her, it was \u201cfine\u201d for him to do it, because he was a man. I learned from her that it was something that I had to compromise in life, especially if I wanted to have a good marriage in future.\u00a0 \u00a0Images via Unsplash My first memory of being hit was when I was around 3-4 years old. My father had just come back from work. Over dinner, my mother told him that I was being picky.\u00a0 When he heard this, he grabbed me by the arm, threw me to the ground and dragged me by my hair to a dark room.\u00a0 He made me sit in the corner of the room and yelled at me. With his hands still in my hair, he took the hot soup we had for dinner and threw it on my face.\u00a0 It went into my eyes and instantly started burning, which made me cry louder. That\u2019s when he decided to stop, he just left me there and went out of the room to call my mom. My mom came and cleaned me up.\u00a0 \u00a0As I got older, the beatings would get worse.\u00a0 Images via Unsplash It was never like a slight slap on the cheek, or a spank at the bottom. It would go on for hours. My father would keep screaming and hitting me.\u00a0 It was as though he wanted to take his time and enjoy it. I am sure if he could, he would\u2019ve beaten me to death.\u00a0 Usually by the end of it, I would have a black eye or purple bruises on my arms and legs. My whole body would be sore, and I would be unable to function for the next week or so.\u00a0 As a child, I grew up being scared of every second of my life. I did not know what to do, or how to defend myself. I would just shower and cry my heart out thinking, \u201cWhat did I do to deserve this?\u201d\u00a0 Sometimes I would think I would not survive any more of this, and I\u2019d just get mentally ready for my last day.\u00a0 There were even times that I would think about just ending my life. But a voice in my head always told me to keep going. My mother was also a victim of his abuse Images via Unsplash Other times, my mother would be the scapegoat for his abuse. I would see her getting punched in the face and kicked in the stomach. She always ended up with swollen, burst lips.\u00a0 There was one time my father was in one of his violent rages, and my mother said something in her defense.\u00a0 In a fury, he grabbed a chair to hit her with it.\u00a0 My mother put her hands up to protect herself, and when he swung it at her, the chair hit her hand and broke her wrist. She had to go to the hospital for an X-ray and was in a cast for weeks.\u00a0\u00a0 It was so brutal and violent. To see that as a kid, I was scared out of my wits.\u00a0 I wanted to know why my father hated me so much. I had no other family to compare it to, as I was not allowed to have a social life.\u00a0 My father controlled all aspects of my life My father was very controlling of everything in my life. Once I hit my late teens, he dictated what I wore, how much makeup I could use, or the way I do my hair. If it didn\u2019t go according to him, he would flip out.\u00a0 My father had this rule that I had to answer his call. If I didn't, he would hit me, no matter the reason.\u00a0 There were days when I would go to college and my father would call me because the house wouldn\u2019t be clean. He\u2019d threaten me, saying, \u201cYou better come back immediately or else to watch what I am going to do.\u201d It did not matter to him if I was having an exam or in the middle of a lecture -- I had to leave everything to go back to clean the house.\u00a0 My father would say things such as, \u201cIf you go out alone against the family, you would have no future. You would be forced to be a prostitute or worse, get raped.\u201d Images via Unsplash Since I was not allowed to have a social life or friends, I became socially awkward. I was the shy kid that was scared to even step out of the house. I became scared of everyone, and would not let anyone become close to me, especially men. I feared they would hurt me. I thought everyone would treat me like my father. Watching my father treat women like this, my brother was raised to think that it was okay for him to do anything to a woman without any consequences.\u00a0 He grew up to be an abuser like his father.\u00a0 One day, I said: \u201cEnough.\u201d And I packed my bags. One morning, I woke up to the sound of screaming, so I rushed out of my room to the living room. I saw my brother, standing in front of the iron board. He was yelling at my mother for ironing his shirt the wrong way. I interrupted him, saying, \u201cStop yelling at mom.\u201d He looked me up and down, then he came over to where I was standing and slapped me.\u00a0 For me, that was the last straw. I had been dealing with this for 23 years. I have had enough.\u00a0 So I went back into my room, packed up my bags, and told my mother goodbye before leaving.\u00a0 My mother looked at me pleadingly. She said she did not want me to be alone and that she will come with me. So I agreed and we left together.\u00a0 We reached out to a relative who offered us shelter until we figured out what to do. I have never met them, but luckily for us they were kind and understood our situation.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Images via Unsplash While I was there, I decided to report this case to the authorities. My father should not get away with it after everything he had put us through. When my mother realised what I was trying to do, she tried to talk me out of this. She was afraid I would embarrass the entire family and that no one would marry me.\u00a0 But I didn't want to give up. So, against her wishes, I reported my father for domestic violence.\u00a0 My mother convinced me to withdraw the police report After the report was made, my mother started manipulating me. She told me that I should withdraw the case and just compromise with my father. She said she only wanted me to start my new life without these issues dogging me for life. For some reason I was convinced, so I withdrew the police report. I do regret that now, because I should have moved forward with the case. But to this day, my father has never answered for his actions. After everything that happened, my mother knew there was no space for my father in my life. But she started saying how we should give my brother another chance.\u00a0 \u201cHe was young, he has changed now,\u201d she pleaded with me. I didn\u2019t want to have my brother in my life, so she tried to contact my father to go back and live with them, because she missed my brother.\u00a0 However, my father would not take her back. That\u2019s when she started accusing me of things like ruining her life and her family.\u00a0 My mother used to always tell me, because she gave birth to me, she can kill me too. She\u2019d say this to threaten me, to get me to contact my family.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 By then, I completely had enough. I was done. I told her if she wanted to leave, she could. I would carry on my own life.\u00a0 So, she went back to my father and begged him to let her move back. Eventually he gave in.\u00a0 As for me, I moved to a different state, got a job, and changed my number so that none of them could contact me.\u00a0\u00a0 Meeting my husband saved me Images via Unsplash \u00a0 When I met my husband, it was when I was in a very dark and alone place. He supported me throughout everything, and was the first ever person to show me what it is like to be loved. That love doesn\u2019t involve fear and someone laying their hands on you. Instead, it\u2019s about understanding and caring for that person. My husband was also a neglected child. His parents always worked and never was at home to take care of his needs. And even when they were, they\u2019d be distracted.\u00a0 Having distant parents and growing up as an only child, it was lonely for him. Their maid would be his only company.\u00a0 Our past brought us together since we knew how to ease and comfort the other. We understood each other\u2019s pain.\u00a0 However, his family was not happy about us being together. They were uncomfortable with the idea of having a daughter-in-law with my background.\u00a0 They thought I would be mentally unstable because of my family trauma. Since I came from a broken home, I was perceived as \u2018broken\u2019 and not good enough. His parents were worried what society would think of him getting married to someone with this background. It was difficult, but my husband didn\u2019t allow his parents\u2019 opinions to affect our relationship. He told them that, in the end, \u201cIt\u2019s my choice and my life.\u201d\u00a0 They were not happy about it but they came to terms that there is nothing they can do about it. It\u2019s been years and they are still unhappy about it, but they are more civil about it now.\u00a0 It\u2019s been 6 years since I got out of that toxic environment Images via Unsplash I am 29 now.\u00a0 To this day, I will never understand why my mother was not more concerned for me. It didn't make sense to me as a child, and it still doesn\u2019t today. I feel bad for my mother, I wished she would realize that she does not deserve that to live in that environment but at the same time when she had the opportunity to get out, she refused.\u00a0 It is not her fault as that is how she was raised. But at the same time she does not want to register that it's wrong. How is someone supposed to help her if she does not help herself?\u00a0 Hopefully, one day, she grasps what\u2019s right and what\u2019s wrong before it\u2019s too late.\u00a0 The last time I heard from them was through my cousin who found me on Facebook. She told me that my reputation among them is that I \u201cdragged their family name to the ground and ruined the family.\u201d\u00a0 Well, to me, there was no family to begin with.\u00a0 The moment my dad hit me, and my mother let him, the relationship was broken beyond repair. To them, living as a slave to be tortured and bullied is fine, but standing up for yourself is not.\u00a0 If there\u2019s one truth I realised, it\u2019s this: At the end of the day, you have only yourself to depend on and no one else.\u00a0 Keeping quiet and putting up with something that hurts you is not an option. You have to help yourself and leave. I am so happy that I decided not to care about what society thinks. I only wish I had done that sooner. People always think parents are right and you have to respect them no matter what. This is not true.\u00a0 Respect is a two way street. They are the ones that are supposed to protect you and love you no matter what. They\u2019re not just there to give you food and shelter, only treat you like you\u2019re worth nothing.\u00a0 Images via Unsplash In some cases like mine, parents have the mindset that they can abuse their kids and they think that\u2019s ok.\u00a0 But it's not right. No one is allowed to abuse anybody, no matter what gender or age. Everyone is equal and should be treated the same.\u00a0 It took me a while to realise that it was not my fault for being abused. It never was. If you are like me, I\u2019m here to tell you that what you\u2019ve experienced is a hard thing to go through, and it\u2019s never because of you. Do something about it, go out and speak about it. What is not acceptable is living with it. As soon as you acknowledge it, get out of that environment. Don't try to compromise or make excuses for that person.\u00a0 I did it.\u00a0 You can, too. For more stories like this, read: I\u2019m a Survivor of Domestic Violence \u2014 Here\u2019s What I Did After I Left My Abusive Relationship and How We Miss the Signs of Being in an Abusive Relationship To get new stories from IRL, follow us on Facebook & Instagram.