There’s one turning point with a lot of events leading up to it.

I guess we will go backwards.

After I graduated from high school and after I had spine surgery, I had this moment where I decided I was not going to be tied-down to someone who is manipulating my family and me.

That person was my dad.

This all finally tipped when he wanted to have a meeting with me to discuss how I was going to pay for college.

My mom was going to give me some money, because my parents are divorced, and then my dad was going to as well, but he changed his mind, said I needed to spend time with him and be a good daughter, then he would pay off my loans.

He’s been a horrible, manipulative person for years.

I told him I didn’t want his money. I’d rather have three jobs and pay for myself instead of making a deal with the devil.

He yelled at me and said, “You’re going to come crawling back and need me.”

I am doing everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. Freshly eighteen-years-old, I couldn’t work because I had back surgery and was about to move to a new city and couldn’t pay for things, but having faith in myself was less of a risk than putting myself in that situation. If I took his money, he would have his hand over my head for the rest of his life.

He abused my younger brother and my mom, once tried to swing a metal bar to her head to “spill her brains open.

He’s had abuse in his past. With the way he grew up, abused every day of his life, part of me feels bad about it all, but not enough because he could try to break the cycle. Now he does it to us. It’s what he’s used to. His sister was sexually abused by his parents. He never wants to talk about any of it.

One new year he pulled a gun out in front of my mom and I and said he was going to kill himself. I pulled the gun out of his hand. We reported it to CPS, but the manipulation continued.

He held money over our heads constantly. You guys aren’t going to make it without me, you can’t keep your house.

It got so violent my mom needed a restraining order.

There was one Thanksgiving when I was eleven or twelve, I don’t know if it was alcohol or something else, where he got really violent. Punched a door and a cabinet. I ran down the street to our neighbors because one of them was a cop and tried to get him to help.

It was a big turning point. My mom told my dad to move out.

That’s when they got a divorce.

Later, my brother tried to commit suicide. We would get nervous if he was upstairs alone for too long. At one point we took his door off and in another time we moved his mattress into my mom’s room. But we are all so much stronger now.

I picture myself as the rock in my family because he can always emotionally bully my mom and brother, but I look at him and say don’t you dare.

We couldn’t emotionally lose him, he was already gone, but financially he knew we needed him.

We don’t really talk much now. I’ve spoken to him once in the past year. He’ll call me every couple weeks and leave a voicemail that is completely irrelevant.

“Hi, I hope you are doing well, love you.”

He didn’t even know my major till after my first year.

The latest thing is that my dad, even though I told him I don’t want any part of this, continues to try to bring my family down. Recently, he decided to stop paying child support for my brother and has taken my mom to court to not pay her alimony. Which then in turn drips down to me because my mom can’t help me with college anymore.

I’m still determined to make it, no matter how many times he tries to fuck my family over.

We had a scare a while ago where my mom said she couldn’t help me financially. I was worried I was going to need a fourth job or to drop a class. I almost lost my scholarship because I’ve been so busy working. My parents have gone to court a couple times, but they haven’t settled yet.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to support myself, so before I went to journalism – which is notorious for no money after college, I was originally nursing because I would have a staple career where I could make money. But then, before my next fall semester, I said, you know what, If I’m going for this, let’s just risk it all and do what I want.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s all paying off.

Now, my brother, who has autism, is graduating from high school and he’s going to study computer science at UNLV. I’m graduating a year early from UNR with three jobs. Working my butt off has been worth it because I have never felt like I needed to commit myself to my father’s deal.

My mom, brother, and I are happy. Even if we are on the poor side. He has nothing but his money and he can keep it. We are working our butts off and don’t get to go to on fancy vacations, but it’s worth it.

This time next year I’ll have my bachelors degree and he still treats my like a child. He thinks my brother and I are brainwashed against him. I also feel like he uses me as a trophy when I do good things, but when I mess up I’m my mom’s problem.

There’s never been a true apology. He apologized for the divorce, but never an “I messed up.” More a your mom this, your mom that, never I. I don’t think he every will.

I felt liberated when I told him to fuck off, I don’t want your money, I’m moving away. My mom and brother are still stuck though. They live a mile away from him, my brother gets driven to school by him every now and then.

Soon my brother will be considered an adult and won’t have an obligation to talk to him.

Hopefully in June the court will decide on spousal support. Good or bad, you can’t take him back to court for another five years. Hopefully, after this, we can wash our hands of him.

All success I have he will have no part of, no recognition. And that’s okay because my mom is strong enough to make up for two parents. She’s a nurse and an instructor down in Vegas. She has three jobs. We are incredibly close.

My brother is doing really well. He’s still on antidepressants and ADD medication, but he hasn’t felt suicidal in a long time. Part of it is the chemical imbalance, but much of it was environmental. The situation was a lot to handle, for all of us. I feel like at this point, if he tries to mess with my mom, my brother and I can go after him.

I’ve let go a lot of the bitterness. It is what it is. Everyone has that one family member, some more intense than others, but at the end of the day you have to be grateful for the family you do have. He’ll fade away into the background and won’t be a part of our lives anymore. We will out work him. There’s an innocent child in him, but you need to be strong enough to break the cycle and he wasn’t. My brother and I are.

I am thankful for my black lab who flips her head back and smiles, when my mom laughs and hits me in the face with a pillow, having a brother who is so opposite of me and yet so similar, to have another lab that I grew up with for 13 years, for the way my hair smells after I go swimming, beaches even though I’m afraid of the ocean, left over Mexican food and coffee in the morning – something about hot sauce and coffee is my favorite thing, for not being paralyzed after multiple surgeries, when the sun hits the back of my neck and warms me up, to be a Nevadan, and to finally like my brown eyes.

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