I am...

My parents look at me and see a child they never wanted.

I am 1. My parents look at me and see a child they never wanted. They had wanted to abort me, but didn't. They look at me with disdain and hatred. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and accepted.

I am 2. My parents see a child who makes a great punching bag - and great person to handle their anger and confusion. When they can't deal with life, I can deal with their emotions. I am broken for them. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be held, not hurt.

I am 3. My parents see a child who can make money for them. They sell me to friends and random strangers to satisfy their sexual urges. My parents tell me that I have to do everything I'm told or they will let the mean man (the one that I hate) take me away forever. This continues until I'm 14. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to make them happy.

I am 4. My parents see a child that is worthless and a waste of space. They lock me in my room for hours at a time, sometimes all weekend. They don't acknowledge me unless they are yelling me or hitting me. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be special in their eyes.

I am 5. My parents see a child who is always in the way, who can't do anything right and is too loud, always making messes. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved despite all that is wrong with me.

I am 6. My parents see a child who is stupid and not worth even trying to send to school. They hide me and make me do work at home, rather than letting me go to school. When the district finds out and mandates me to go to school, my parents tear up my homework and do not allow me to study at home. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be seen as smart, worth helping and able to do what I need to.

I am 7. My parents see a child who is a failure and who isn't going to amount to anything. They tell me so everyday. They beat me to a pulp, reminding me that it is the only way I will amount to anything. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wishing they wouldn't hurt me so much.

I am 8. My parents see a child who is causing them problems. The school has started asking questions about why I have so many absences and have investigated. My parents for once treat me decently, but only for a few days, while the Child Protection People are visiting. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wishing to be treated kindly more often.

I am 9. My parents see a child who is scared and hurting, and yet, they do everything they can to make this even more of a reality for me. When I begin to ask questions about God, they teach me about His judgment and His anger - and tell me that because I'm such a bad girl, God can't love me. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and feeling like there was no hope at all if even God couldn't love me.

I am 10. My parents see a child who isn't enough. They begin to sell me to people for sex more often and tell me that if I say no to any of them, they'll kill me. I trust that they will, so I keep my mouth shut and follow their orders. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wishing that they would accept me as I am, not use me as a money maker.

I am 11. My parents see a child who is disgusting and useless. I am beginning to self-harm, to hurt myself because of the pain that has been inflicted on me all my life. My parents take all furniture out of my room and leave only 1 pair of pants, 1 shirt and 2 pair of undergarments. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wishing they could see and would help the pain that I feel.

I am 12. My parents see a child who is disobedient and needs more disciplining. They begin a nightly ritual of locking me in a bathroom with ammonia and bleach buckets for extended periods of time. I get very ill and they continue these "treatments" until I'm too weak to disobey them. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to make them happy, but knowing nothing I do will ever be enough.

I am 13. My parents see a child who is doing well in school, and receiving awards, and yet they still reject me. They will not attend any award ceremonies and tear up my certificates when I receive them. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to make them proud of me.

I am 14. My parents see a child who is beginning to date, to get close to another human being. They begin to beat me more and to sell me more often, so that I don't have time to get to know this boy. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be seen like a normal teenager.

I am 15. My parents see a child who has dreams that need to be crushed. They remind me that I'm a failure, that I'll never be anything, and I'm a waste of space, everyday. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and to be told that I can do anything.

I am 16. My parents see a child who is no longer suitable for selling for sex, and therefore totally worthless to them. They stop allowing me to eat at their table or do anything with the family, including going on family vacations. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be worth something to them.

I am 17. My parents see a child who, despite their best attempts, is still trying. They do not support me as I apply to the only college I can find without an application fee. When I am accepted, they remind me of how worthless I am, how nobody will want me and of the fact that if I go to college, they will do nothing to help me. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and hoping that one day, they will support me and my dreams.

I am 18. My parents see a child who is moving out to go to college, distancing myself from them. They cling and hold tighter. They promise to never hurt me again, only to do it over and over. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting to be important enough for them to keep their promises.

I am 19. My parents see a child who is working hard and having success, and they can't stand to see it. They continue to remind me over and over of what a failure I am, despite all evidence to the contrary. They again try to hit me, but this time I start to stand up and not let it happen anymore. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and hoping that they can see I love them, even if they don't love me back.

I am 20. My parents see a child who is beginning to back away from them, to do things that make her happy, regardless of their feelings. They fight to keep me under their reign and not allow me the space to make my own choices. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting their guidance in my life, but not their control.

I am 21. My parents see a child who is totally betraying them. I move internationally, following a dream that I've always had, but don't consult them first. They fight me, take money from my bank account and try to make it so I can't make the move. They tell me that I will always be a failure and have no future. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting them to support me as I try to take on this new adventure.

I am 22. My parents see a child that they still want to control totally and completely. They fight for me to give in to their will and not to stand on my own. They constantly put me down and question my decisions. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved and wanting them to see me as an adult - a strong, capable, independent adult.

I am 23. My parents see a child who has made her own decisions and is becoming a strong, independent woman. They curse me and tell me that I'll never be anything, I'll never do anything for anyone. They continue to want to control me and keep me in their mindset, but I'm not having it. I look at my parents with eyes longing to be loved, accepted, held and wanted - but knowing now that it will never happen, I walk away.

I am an adult, a strong, safe, independent adult - and only God knows what I will be.

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