I grew up in a very religious home--one actually very similar to "Amish." My parents had belonged to a group similar to them, but them built their own religion from there. They used this "Amish" lifestyle as a cover and protection to keep people from getting too close to them and to keep them from seeing what was really going on behind the scenes. I was emotionally tortured beginning as young as I can remember. They kept us children extremely isolated--even home-schooling us--so we had no friends or real connection to the outside world. The outside world was an evil place and we were brain-washed constantly with how the world would end. The power of my parent's control was amazing. It was exactly like a one-family cult. We lived on a farm and I was worked like a dog, never allowed any freedom. No emotion was ever dared expressed. At age 12, I was forced into a "Amish" uniform dress--which isolated me even more. It was a world of mixed messages. I died inside a million times over to survive. I wanted to commit suicide because I had long concluded that hell (where I thought I'd go) could not be any worse than what I was going through. Since my parents were extremely religious, I could not see that they could be wrong so I just contributed everything that I couldn't't understand, and the pain and agony to the fact that I couldn't't ever seem to please God or be right enough with Him. I had no outlet what so ever--to a point most people cannot comprehend. The only "friends" that I had was a few goats. My parents literally killed and butchered with their own hands the goat I loved the most then tried to make me eat the meat and watch them eat it. They made us watch extremely graphic, unedited war movies, and movies about the concentration camps with the message that that was what our future would be like in the world. My parents fought violently and I thought that my father would kill my mother. I was the oldest and always had plans of shacks I'd seen along the road where I would take my brothers and sisters to survive if our mother died. It never crossed my mind then to approach anyone from "the world." I learned never to cry, and I still can rarely cry today even though I feel like I desperately need to. So much more happened than I can write in one setting, but finally at age 17 my parents allowed me to go to college (my first experience in a public education setting in my life) because my dad wanted to go to college, too, and I guess they felt like they could keep close tabs on me. However, I was in so much agony inside, especially seeing my first taste of the outside world, that I took the incredibly brave step of secretly meeting with a college counselor. That was a huge deal because counselors ranked up their with Satan in my parent's eyes and that is what we were brainwashed with. I owe my life to that counselor because I was suicidal. He literally forced/helped me escape my parents--that all happened in one day. I left home with nothing to my name--and joined a world I knew almost nothing about! That was a terrifying traumatic event. I managed to survive, got married, had children, and had to learn about life the hard way. I had to deal with the effects of the abuse the best I could along the way. I had some help that God put in my way. I only saw that counselor once again shortly after he helped leave home. Later I heard that he had moved out of state and I never knew where. I thought many times about him over the years, wondering what happened to him and wished that I could thank him and let him know the impact he had on my life. That was 26 years ago. I work in an ER now, and a few months ago, I got the shock of my life. Something that could never be planned in a million years. I just happened to notice a female patient with the same last name of that counselor. I didn't't think much of it because there was just no chance--and besides it was a woman. A couple of hours later when I was less busy, it crossed my mind again. I then saw to my complete shock that her husband's name was indeed the counselor's first name. My heart began to pound so hard I could hardly breath. I decided to just walk by the room casually to see if I could recognize him after all these years. I about came unglued when I saw him. I was a basket case. I walked up to him and told him my name and he knew me right away. He had been across the country over the years and had finally moved back to the area. He was very happy to see me, too, and we exchanged addresses so as to not loose touch again. That night when I drove home from work, I was crying so hard that I could hardly drive because as incredibly good it was to see him, it also triggered the realization that Yes, all that really did happen to me. He was the evidence. He has long since retired. Now we have become very close friends, and I see him every week and as friends he is helping me deal again with some of the effects of the abuse. This is a short version of my story. I would love feed back. I am new to this site.