"I was 4 years old and with my parents when they were robbed by three men. Two men had weapons, one pointed at each of my parents, the third took money, keys, etc. Then the guys tried to kidnap me. I remember screaming and clinging to my mom as I was being pulled away by one of the guys while my dad tried to fight the guy away from me. Neighbors came out from all of the commotions, so the robbers/abductors quickly split.
I had the worst nightmares at night after that for a few years and thought I was okay for the longest time.
Then I watched 'Taken' while on vacation with my husband last year and had a nightmare about being abducted that night. I woke up yelling this blood-curdling scream that woke our hotel room neighbors up who called the front desk. I had to explain that it was just a horrible dream, which was embarrassing."
"When I was 7 years old, my parents and I went shopping at a mall. My mother was ready-to-pop pregnant. I went with my dad while she went off on her own. We were all supposed to meet back in front of a large fountain after two hours. The two hours came and went, with my immature, angry, father working up a good boil as we waited.
When she finally showed up, it was closer to three hours. My father made a huge scene and stormed off with me. My mother was following in tears as she begged him to calm down. He dragged me by the arm, purposefully going too fast for a woman who was eight months pregnant to keep pace.
When we got to the truck, she was 50 feet away. He waited until she was almost there, then started the engine and had me open the door. I thought it was to let her in. He instead screamed more obscenities at her and ordered me to close the door. In those days, I was frightened by him, so I obeyed. I slammed the door in my pregnant mother's face as he sped away.
That was 27 years ago, and I still remember the look on her face. The look that said: 'I've just been betrayed by my firstborn. The look that shows hurt as deep as it gets. To this day, I feel ashamed by my cowardice."
"Age 12 - an older friend and neighbor invited me to his house to see their pool.
After he gave me a tour around their house, we went into one of the rooms near the pool and he locked the door behind us. He asked to assault me, told me that it is going to happen whether I like it or not and that I should just give up and let him have his way with me.
I'm 24 years old now. I've never in my life felt as scared as I did that day, I cried as I begged him to let me out but he refused. I kept circling the room simply lost, I did not know what to do.
Fortunately, there was a sharp metal stick in the corner. As I was about to pick it up, he laughed and told me that he was just kidding (he wasn't) and opened the door. I was ready to stab him with it in the chest if he didn't. I can't imagine what my life would have been like if he did take advantage of me that day. Honestly, I don't think I would have been able to handle the memory, the low self-esteem, and self-loathing that it would have caused me. I have never told anyone about this, I probably should have, I know that jerk must have done the same thing to some other kid."
"My mother never wanted anything to do with me. She was busy with her career and made sure that I was aware that I was the result of failed protection. I was made aware that I was not planned, or wanted, but since I was here, they just dealt with it and me. My two older sisters were planned and were treated accordingly.
One day my mother comes up to me and says: 'Hey! I have something fun planned for today that is just for the two of us! So get excited because today is a daughter and mommy day!' Huge smile on her face and then, of course, a huge smile on mine. I was elated! My mother went out of her way to make room for me in her world and to do something special for me! How much better could it get?! Heck, I might even get a hug and some kind words out of this!
So off we go in the car, me about to jump out of my pants in excitement. We pull up to a building that houses doctors offices. I am beginning to get a bit confused. I ask my mother, 'Where are we going?' She tells me, 'Oh, don't worry. This is going to be tons of fun!' We get into the office of something called a urologist. I have no idea what this was, but mom said it would be fun! I trust her, so I go with it.
There are infants and toddlers all around and I am easily the oldest in the room (6 or 7 years old, at the time). We get called back into the office and then the horror begins.
I am made to lay on a table butt-naked while some guy starts poking around my lower region, using long q-tips to scrape my poor little body and then making me pee in a cup after he is done checking every single fold available in the lower half of my body.
Turns out my mother was sick of me wetting the bed and she wanted to get me 'fixed' because there must be something wrong with me. The doctor tells her that some kids grow too fast for their bladders and that was all it was with me and that I would grow out of it.
We left the office, mom was livid with me not being 'fixed.' I was horrified, mortified and humiliated. My spirit was crushed after that and I realized that I was wrong, I was bad and I was not worthy of love because I was broken. It was the single most horrific experience of my young life."
"When I was about 10 years old, I used to play on a basketball team with my brother as part of a Boys and Girls Club. On the nights we played, a team of younger kids would play before us on half court with two hoops, perpendicular to the usual basket. Some parents and coaches would sit on a bench at half-court cheering, while others sit in the traditional bleachers.
One night, as I was watching and waiting for our turn to play, suddenly the bench at half court, goes flying toward the game. Instantly a man is on top of a woman beating the life out of her where the bench was located a fraction of a second before. The crowd in the bleachers screams and in a moment several guys have the jerk; one on each arm and one pounding on his torso. People are screaming for them to let him go.
I start to rush over to the brawl but had to stop myself quickly. I noticed a red color in my peripheral vision and look down. I nearly stepped in a large puddle of blood quickly forming around the neck of the woman who had been beaten. I realized that he had not been punching her, but stabbing her. Her throat had been slashed, and later I found out that she had been stabbed in the heart.
A loved one sat at her side crying while placing a purple windbreaker over her neck. Her son ran to her but a man prevented him from seeing her. Her son had been playing in the game moments before. The look in her eyes was terrifyingly vacant.
She died either that night or the next day. I heard the murderer was her brother, although it was so long ago that I'm not sure of this. I still wonder about her son."
"This was my first experience with death other than the grandparents I barely knew.
I was in the first grade and my best friend's name was Aaron. He was in second grade, athletic, and the kid that everyone wanted to be and for some reason, he hung out with me.
So one day over the weekend, we were playing in his backyard and I kicked a ball over the half-size chain-link fence. His dad was grilling on the other side but had left it open unattended. He started climbing the fence and his foot got stuck inside one of the holes and he fell over the fence onto the grill and the lid closed down onto him. I just stood there while he was screaming, not knowing what to do. He was nearly dead when his parents got to him and died by the time the ambulance got there.
It's the most vivid memory I have of anything. I distinctly remember the smell."
"I was assaulted by a classmate in the ninth grade. That was bad enough, but it doesn't end there. During the whole investigation process, the police relocated me to a new school, where they and the school administration assured me I'd be safe.
All of my teachers assumed I had been expelled from my previous school and refused to tell me what material they'd done so I could catch up. One even pulled me aside and said she'd 'be watching me closely.' Then, the classmate that assaulted me transferred to my school. I went to the principal, who explained to me that he was perfectly welcome and that nothing could be done. He started approaching me after school and pulling my friends aside to tell them I was 'easy.' I reported that to the principal too, but she told me I was making a big deal of nothing."
"When I was 4 years old, my dad's best friend came over to the house to visit. He was an 'outgoing uncle' type of personality and did the 'got your nose' trick to me. I reflexively grabbed my nose and the way everyone laughed at me like, 'haha stupid kid' made me feel angry and I looked up at him and said: 'I hope you die of cancer.' (My grandfather had died of cancer a few months before this, so it was the worst thing I could think of to wish on someone).
Of course, this brought a hush over the room and the guy tried to smooth it over with nervous laughter 'what a character!' even though he was shocked. My mom dragged me up to my room, no supper, etc. The next day, the guy went to a doctor appointment and was diagnosed with melanoma which rapidly spread to his lymph nodes and internal organs and he was dead within a month. He was 32.
My parents refused to let me come to the funeral. I was of course traumatized and desperately wanted to apologize to everyone in his family."
"I was in my teens. I was home by myself watching TV when I heard a loud noise. I didn't think too much of it.
A bit later, I see a bunch of flashing lights through one of the windows and go outside to check it out. Two guys are lying in the street, a trashed motorcycle, cops looking over the scene and paramedics just arriving.
I stood there watching the paramedics work. Both riders were still alive. The first one was quiet, but still breathing and shaking a bit. He wasn't wearing a helmet and was trying to talk, but it wasn't making sense, just random babbling. The other one was wearing a helmet and all I could hear was a muffled scream. I'd never heard a grown man scream before and hope never to again.
The paramedics were trying to assess the situation and the condition of the men. I don't remember exactly why, but the paramedics attempted to move the first guy a bit; maybe lifting his neck to put a brace on. In any event, as they lifted his head, what I can only assume was brain matter started to fall out. They put his head back down and turned it slightly, revealing what I'd already guessed, skidding across the concrete road helmetless had scraped the back of his skull off. His brain was being held in his head by the road.
I guess there wasn't much they could do for him because they left him there and went to work on the screaming guy. Several minutes later, the first guy died, all alone, while everyone else was focused on the other guy. I should have gone over there or something. No one should die alone. But I was too scared."
"I grew up in a loving, affectionate family, and I had two wonderful parents who never gave me any sort of abuse, but I was traumatized by my own bad behavior and what it almost caused me to lose.
I was 11 years old and heading off to school (I rode with my mother on her way to work), and was in a bad mood over something trivial and throwing a tantrum, being mean to my mom and dad over it. My dad was sick that morning and was staying home from work, but, as always, he called me in to give him a hug before I went to school. I approached his recliner, he hugged me, kissed my head, and said, 'I love you.' I turned and left without saying a single word to him. To most, this might not sound like a big deal, but in my family, verbal expression of love and affection was and remains a big deal.
So, right around lunchtime that day, I get a called out of class and told to grab my things, my mother was there to pick me up early. I ran outside happy as could be to get out of school, and my mother was on her knees sobbing, waiting for me. She wrapped her arms around me and whispered: 'I love you, Aaron. Your daddy is sick.'
Shortly after we had left the house that morning, my father had slipped into a diabetic coma and suffered a stroke.
Being as young as I was, I didn't understand what was going on. I just knew that my dad was in the hospital, but even that didn't bother me that much. He worked in the hospital. In my mind, the trip over there was just like we were going to see him at work.
Then, we entered the intensive care unit, and he lay there, tubes and wires running in and out of him. He looked normal, so I approached him and put a hand on him and said: 'Hey Daddy, Mommy and I are here!' He didn't even flinch.
That's when it set in. My father couldn't hear me. He couldn't feel me. He didn't even know I was in the room. And the last time I had a chance to speak to him, I had stormed out in a huff. I hadn't told him I loved him.
I laid in bed with him, for hours on end, crying until my throat hurt and my eyes burned, telling him I loved him. Over, and over, and over again.
Dad was in that coma for a week or so, and for most of the time, it was 50/50 if he was going to make it through. He ended up making it in the end.
I spent all of those visiting hours, laying next to him and telling him the one thing I had been too selfish to say before.
To this day, that episode results in a very peculiar idiosyncrasy of mine. When it comes to close family and, in particular, significant others with which I've fallen in love, the NEED to say 'I love you' at the end of every communication exchange is almost unbearable. If I forego it, I lose sleep over it. If they do it, intentionally or unintentionally, my anxiety increases dramatically and I feel like crying. The worst, though, is when I get into an argument with a significant other, and they slam the phone down without saying: 'I love you,' to me. That sequence of events has resulted in the only two panic attacks I've ever had in my entire life."
"I guess maybe it wasn't traumatizing but it did change me forever.
I cried a lot as a kid, even past the age of where it was somewhat acceptable. Around 8 or 9 years old, I went to visit my grandfather in the hospice he was in after doctors agreed there was nothing they could do about his worsening cancer. He was fading fast and lost the use of his body and mouth, but he was still conscious and could respond by blinking when I came to see him. He would die a few days later, and my grandmother made it clear that this would likely be the last time I'd see him.
We sat and talked with him awhile, and she eventually left the room to let me say whatever I wanted to say to him. I remember sitting at the foot of his bed looking straight into his eyes for what seemed like years and kept thinking about all the things he said he'd teach me as I got older to 'be a man' as he often joked, and how he wouldn't be there for any of them.
Then the flood of tears came as I thought of everything I'm sure he wished he could have told me, but couldn't. But I held them back. I refused to cry in front of him because I didn't want his last memories of his grandson to be a crying mess, but rather that I could handle death and loss like a man; like he told me he'd someday teach me. If I could have even thought of what to say, my voice wouldn't have been able to produce it because the lump in my throat felt like a pumpkin.
After what seemed like an eternity of unspoken goodbyes, my grandmother came in and said we should leave. I went over and gripped his hand as we shared a few more seconds of silence and I left. I never wasted tears on anything again."
"When I was growing up, I had an older brother who was developed physically, quite early.
By the time he was 16 years old, he was bigger and stronger than anyone else in the house, including my parents. All throughout the years, he would hit people whenever he perceived a transgression or just cause he was bored.
One time, he got into a fight with my dad over something like being called a name, and it ended with him nearly breaking my dad's arm. I ran to the phone to call 911, but my siblings stopped me, pleading with tears running down their cheeks that they didn't want the police to take my brother away.
Later that night, when everything had calmed down, as my dad was icing his shoulder, I asked them why they didn't want me to call the police. My dad looked at me and said that he didn't want to ruin my brother's life. I explained that he was ruining all of our lives instead, but my dad waved his hand dismissively at me, saying that I would only understand once I was a father. No one disagreed. That was the day I realized that my family loved my brother more than me.
To this day, I have never understood their thinking, and subsequently lost pretty much all respect for them. They don't play any part in my life since I moved out."
"I was about 11 and my sister was 13. We were riding our bikes across the bridge, she was in front and we were moving fast. She lifted up her handlebars to 'hop' down the curb and cross the road, never slowing down.
She put her quick disconnect front wheel on incorrectly and when she lifted her front wheel up, the forks became detached from the wheel. The wheel gone, her front forks hit the ground causing her to flip very fast over the handlebars. She didn't have time to let go of the handles so the first thing to hit the pavement was her mouth.
The next few minutes are a blur, but I vividly remember her being unable to talk and with blood pouring out of her mouth she looked at me and tried to ask why she couldn't talk. She was in shock and opened her mouth, feeling for her teeth, they were all gone and the roof of her mouth and upper gums had broken and was pressing down on to her tongue. It didn't make sense to me that when she would open her mouth there were no teeth, just bone, and blood. I tried to tell her she looked fine and just knocked a few teeth that became loose, but she knew better. I got her out of the street and luckily a cop came by soon after.
When things finally settled down at the hospital, my dad yelled at me for letting it happen as she had just gotten her expensive braces off."