Content Warning: This story contains depictions of familial physical and verbal abuse.
I consider toxicity to be when someone’s behavior constantly affects your life negatively and upsets your life. What makes a person toxic is when you’re using your trauma or whatever you went through as an excuse to upset others on purpose. My experience with living in that atmosphere was mentally and physically exhausting. I would get beat, bullied, used, and manipulated.
My relative, who I thought would never hurt me in that way, caused more pain than my biological parents. Before being in their care they convinced my little sister and I to live with them and they promised to take care of us better than our mother who struggled with addiction and mental illness.
Two years into living with them, they were already putting me down about my body and how I should look. 15 years old is when I started developing insecurities and image issues. I would try starving myself and working out, and out of spite and jealousy, they would
make remarks like “It’s not working why are you even doing it still” or “You look the same” and also “You’ll never be as skinny as me, you’re always gonna be big.”
My relative was a Jehovah’s Witness, so the household was strict already. Whenever we didn’t want to attend Bible study we would either get slapped or hit with a wooden or metal spoon and get yelled at. While living in their house, they would always remind me how I shouldn’t go to college for too long because it would “drift me away from God.” So trying to pursue a career in that house was nearly impossible.
They always kept me busy. My everyday routine was wake up, feed the children, get them ready for school, take them to school, turn on zoom meeting for school, and clean the house that their 5 kids, my sister and I make a mess in. When school was over, I tried to finish all my work to keep my good grades but there was always something they wanted to nag at me for. Let them catch me doing something they didn’t like or I wouldn’t agree with them about and I would get beat.
When they would be in the wrong they would manipulate us and try to excuse their behavior. What makes it worse is they didn’t just do all of that to me but their own kids and my little sister as well. I would try my best to help them with everything so that they wouldn’t hurt them physically or mentally. Even if we did listen, they were never happy.