Master Manipulator

**Trigger Warning**

For many years Sunday nights have met me with a strong sense of impending doom.  Most of the time I am able to brush the feelings off to the side and talk myself into a more positive state. It took me a while of wondering why I would feel this way every Sunday night to reach what I believe to be one of the primary causes. When I was a young girl, I would have to ride with my abuser on Sunday nights to take my friend home after sleepovers. I dreaded these rides so much that I would often offer my younger siblings any good I had that I thought they may want- from toys to candy to my allowance. They hated being stuck in the car and to a kid, 30 minutes is a LONG time so I went alone. Most of these rides were benign; however, one night my abuser executed his art of manipulation and made my fears become a reality.

I can’t tell you the month, much less the year this particular ride home occurred; however, my guess would be that I was in the 5th or 6th grade. Although I can’t tell you the date, I can still take you to the exact location on Hwy 903 in Magnolia that these words came out of his mouth; “so why’d you tell?” As quickly as he said those words, tears began pouring from my eyes. I knew my silence indicated to him that I had told someone about our secret. Because nothing in my life had changed since my first disclosure, my abuser now knew that he could continue to get away with using me for his sexual pleasure.

Rather than ending the conversation there, he continued. As tears poured from my eyes and fear that he would kill me before I could get home overwhelmed me, he continued his manipulative tactics. He calmly proceeded to explain to me that “that was our little secret” and that he “was only trying to help me out because he knew how curious little girls are.” He was telling me that he was doing me a favor, that me sexually servicing him was beneficial for me- a child… I was “learning.” For an already confused sexual abuse victim, this wreaked havoc in my mind. As if that was not enough manipulation for him, he continued before we could reach our driveway.

As he was driving down Hwy. 903, he exposed his genitals and asks/tells me “if you want to touch or see it again you can, I’ll let you.” I clutched the passenger door and slid myself as far from him as possible. As soon as we reached the house, I barreled out the door and to my room and did not come out again until the next morning. Then, things went back to “normal.” 

I recall this experience so vividly. As you can see through this encounter, my abuser continued to implant the beliefs that what was happening to me was normal and okay. An abuser strives to do this. If they can manipulate the mind of a victim into believing they (the abuser) are actually helping them out and doing them a favor, they gain significant control and the likelihood of disclosure lessens. An abuser may first use threats, such as “you better not tell anyone or else,” to gain the submission of the victim. If abuse is ongoing, the abuser is going to continue to manipulate their victim because eventually, the threats do not carry the weight they once did. At some point, injury or death may begin to appear more desirable than continued abuse. This is why the abuser works to normalize the criminal behavior and make the victim feel “special” because the abuser is “doing him/her a favor.” Once a victim begins believing the abuse is normal, it takes a major breakthrough for them to realize that what is happening to them is not normal.

We need to do more to equip our children with the education of normal behaviors and abusive behaviors. We need to create a better dialogue with them so they can come to us as soon as something feels uncomfortable even when someone tells them what they are doing is okay. Most importantly, we must hold those who choose to abuse children accountable for their actions in a manner that will deter future child victimization. 412855_10200269506165160_25001732_o

10 thoughts on “Master Manipulator

  1. KSC June 22, 2016 / 1:21 am

    You are so brave. Thank you for sharing your story so that others know they are not alone. This information also helps parents educate their children and hopefully reduce likelihood of victimization.


  2. grace to survive June 22, 2016 / 9:37 am

    I’m sorry you had to suffer such things. I wonder about the adults protecting you and wonder if their instincts weren’t clanging warning bells.


  3. SJN June 22, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing this difficult time for you with us. I feel sure many young children will be protected because of your willingness to provide information and some of your pain. You are an awesome young lady!


    • findingthegreengrass July 7, 2016 / 10:31 pm

      Thank you! I pray the information I share will increase knowledge resulting in more protection for children.


  4. Sue July 7, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    My heart aches that you endured this. And to think so many others are going through very similar happenings. Silent. Hiding. You’re the voice of many. Speak on Brave girl. Love you much.


    • findingthegreengrass July 7, 2016 / 10:25 pm

      Love you so much too.


  5. Releasing my past October 18, 2017 / 4:51 pm

    I am just beginning to come with terms of what happened and that it wasn’t my fault. For a long time i ignored it or pushed it aside and let it slide cause I didn’t fully understand. I hid it more to protect other people only to harm myself more for alot of years. I never reported yet I do feel some relief because the person is now deceased. Not saying that I’m glad that his death occurred but knowing I never had to face him again was better.


    • kendallw25 October 18, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      I can definitely understand feeling relief that the person who hurt you can never do that again. I have heard quite often people say they didn’t report their abuse in order to protect others. You are not alone in that. I hope that you are able to continue on this healing journey. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m here for you!


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